The First Hundred the light of eternity. "Life's a tough proposition, and the first hundred years are the hardest." Wilson Mizner

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Taste of Chicago

Yesterday my husband and I carried out one of our annual traditions. On the opening day of the Taste of Chicago we strap our bikes on the car carrier and head for the lakeshore. (There have been times we've actually ridden our bikes on that part of the jaunt, as well, an extra eight miles each way, but this year Richard had mercy on me, knowing it was my maiden voyage of 2005.) We try to be parked and riding our bikes by 9:00am, knowing that latecomers will have to cruise the parking lots in sweltering heat waiting for someone to leave. Parking was a piece of cake, but there was no way around the sweltering. Did you know it was the hottest day in Chicago in six years? No matter. You see, tradition is very important.

You're going to think we're strange, but for us the Taste of Chicago isn't about the crowds, or the music, or even the food. If it were, we wouldn't pick opening day, and we wouldn't arrive while they're putting on the finishing touches and testing microphones, an hour before they start selling the food.

For us, it's all about getting there (and back), experiencing all the sights, sounds and smells along the way. It's sixteen miles of pedal-pushing; usually into the wind, because no matter which way it's blowing when we leave home it always seems to change direction depending on which way we're going.

Yes, it's a workout, but I can almost forget about the toil and heat if I keep alert to all that's going on around me: other bikers, fast and slow; joggers of all abilities, all serious about their jogging; people strolling, or pushing strollers; babies sleeping; children playing or crying; the tennis courts, sidelines filled with fuzzy yellow balls; the lady in a proper white outfit, waiting her turn; dozens of white-shirted kids on a long stretch of green grass, getting ready to score in the tot-sized soccer goals; dust flying upward off the baseball diamonds; die-hard golfers trying not to sweat; the waders and swimmers in Lake Michigan not sweating; someone at every water fountain, filling a bottle or drinking long and deep; the sailboats bobbing in the harbor; the huge ferris wheel on Navy Pier, ever-turning (almost imperceptibly) as tourists gaze out over the skyline; the man fishing for perch, his small son squatting to peer into their bucket.... all this, and we haven't yet arrived at the Taste.

So, who needs the Taste of Chicago? The best taste of life, in Chicago or anywhere, is in experiencing, being a part of, the day-to-day living that's all around us.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Good Ol' Coffee

I've decided to quit drinking coffee.

It's a decision I've made several times, over the years. (Once, I even went almost four years without the stuff.) I usually decide it's time to quit when I'm not sleeping too well at night, and I'm making that second pot of coffee before anyone else is up; they don't know I've already drained the first one... OK, it's only a 4-cup pot, but still...

I don't quit the way you're supposed to, you know, cut back by 1/2 cup every day until you are coffee-free. Not me. I go "cold turkey". And soon after my first coffeeless breakfast, my body starts complaining. Mostly it's my head. And when the head doesn't feel like being in charge, you know what happens in the ranks. Nobody wants to do much of anything. And all the head wants is for someone else to take responsibility for the silly decision it made....

The first couple of days are crucial. Your reasons for quitting don't seem that important anymore. You think, "If I could just have a sip to relieve this splitting headache..." Resolve is important, or backsliding is inevitable.

Now, when I resume my coffee habit, in a few months or years, I never consider it backsliding. After all, I've beat the thing, haven't I? It's my decision to start up again, isn't it? Is it?

Well, I know it may seem like a cop-out to you, but the real reason I know I'll always come back to the aromatic bean is that it's my legacy. To understand what I mean, you almost have to have had a Scandinavian grandmother. If you could have seen my grandma, at age 107, raise her morning cup of joe in a toast of, "Good ol' coffee", then you would know that it's my heritage.
Grandma Lily

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Father's Day

My dad.
Twenty-six Father's Days with him, and now twenty-six without.


Here's one of my favorite poems, written by my dad on the occasion of my 13th birthday.
(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flag Day

I know the poem is for the "old" flag, but I couldn't bring myself to post a photo of a ragged Old Glory.

Old Glory

The Old Flag
H.C. Bunner

Off with your hat as the flag goes by!
And let the heart have it say;
You're man enough for a tear in your eye
That you will never wipe away.
You're man enough for a thrill that goes
To your very finger-tips--
Ay! the lump just then in your throat that rose
Spoke more than your parted lips.
Lift up the boy on your shoulder high,
And show him the faded shred;
Those stripes would be red as the sunset sky
If death could have dyed them red.
Off with your hat as the flag goes by!
Uncover the youngster's head;
Teach him to hold it holy and high
For the sake of its sacred dead.

Monday, June 13, 2005

cookie dough

I used to wonder why I got so many more cookies from a batch of cookie dough than my daughter. At first I thought it was because I used a teaspoon and she used a tablespoon to measure the "plops" of dough. That would account for some difference, but not the missing mass of finished product I'm talking about.

Then I discovered the reason: she loves to eat cookie dough. And you can put her husband into that same boat. So, when the two of them are "baking" cookies, you might see a couple of sheets actually get baked.

Now, give me a frosting bowl that hasn't been completely scraped yet, or the fudge pan before you fill it with sudsy water. But cookie dough? No thanks.

It may sound like I'm being critical, but actually I'm not. When it comes to cookies, I've learned that there are basically two categories of people; those who like to eat raw cookie dough, and those who prefer the baked variety. You know which one you're in.

When it comes to the cookie dough choice, there is no "right" or "wrong". It's a harmless choice. In lots and lots of other life choices, it pays to be discerning and use some critical thinking.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Where do you store your stuff? Wherever it is, I'm sure it evokes deep feelings of ambivalence.

I recently spent several hours, with the help of my daughter, cleaning out our "crawl space". Since she's twenty-four weeks pregnant I didn't allow her to actually enter the black hole, but she was great at cheering me on and giving advice.
"Advice?", you ask. Yes, advice. To keep or not to keep, mainly.

Well, wherever it is that you keep your stuff, I know you love that place and you hate it, too.
If it's well-hidden, most of the time you don't even think about it. You go about your life, blissfully unaware but sub-consciously assured, that the certain something you will someday need is safely tucked away somewhere. If it's all-too visible, you are all-too aware that someday you will have to do something with all that stuff.

Now, I'm not talking about those holiday decorations, or that extra gallon of paint you're keeping for touch-ups, or the box of ceramic tiles you'll need to fix the shower stall. I think you know what I'm talking about.... so I'm not going to make a list, even if I knew where to start!

I would guess that most of us are pretty good at accumulating things, and the reasons are many: we might need it someday; it's still in pretty good shape; I paid a lot of money for it; it might fit me/come back in style again; it was a gift; it has sentimental value...
Whatever the "thing" is, it has us in its clutches and we're afraid to part with it.

Waddling around in the crawl space; bumping my head and bruising my knees, some thoughts came to me: Do I own it or does it own me? And, is it worth it?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


(click to enlarge)

"A joyful heart is good medicine" Proverbs 17:22

Saturday, June 04, 2005


Daniel, 1977, Campinas, SP, Brazil

Firstborn Saturdays

Like today, it was another Saturday morning, many years ago.
Unlike today, it dawned gray and drizzly, on the cusp of Brazilian winter. (Mothers remember these things, so they can tell their children what their birthdays were like.)

How far we've traveled in twenty-eight years! And, for the most part, it's been an easy-rolling, scenic drive, filled with achievement and adventure.
I wish we could map the whole route; know that the trip would be smooth and trouble-free. But even with the best planning, detours and delays happen.

We didn't know his own beautiful firstborn wouldn't live to take her first breath. That was a Saturday, too... a blue-sky, sunny, September Saturday.
But, God...

Yes..... God.
He is still Holy. He is still Sovereign. He is still Worthy.

Roadblocks happen. Sometimes the detour leads to a better destination.
Happy Birthday, my gentle firstborn.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Garden's in... school's out.

S p l a s h a r o u n d !



feet up.

Lemonade smile :-)