Saturday, November 22, 2014

How Do You Spend Thanksgiving? This Is What We Do...

I can’t believe the architectural tour boats are still operating this late in the season. I can hear the docent’s muffled voice from my window in the sky. 


It’s been a long while since I’ve had to keep hushed well into the (LATE) morning. Mateo’s in the house! And mama wants him up, up, up because I miss him, and want to play. But first, I am going to quickly tackle this Thanksgiving meme set forth by Kwisgiver over at Sunday Stealing. Yes, it is Saturday but I am trying to be ahead of schedule (even though I am fully aware I missed yesterday). 

Things you may or may not care to know about my Thanksgiving holiday plans:

  1. Are you celebrating Thanksgiving at home or elsewhere this year? With whom will you spend Thanksgiving Day? I have cooked every Thanksgiving turkey for the last 24 years. I love hosting this holiday. House smells yummy, we require casual dress, eat, and watch football. This year, there will be the four of us plus my parents, my husband’s brother, and my daughter’s roommate. Can’t wait!
  2. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving? I am not a big breakfast eater, or maker, for that matter, especially knowing the sheer amount of food I will be consuming later in the day. My husband, for life, is the breakfast guy. He’ll do a full bacon/egg/hash browns thing, no doubt.
  3. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV? I have this whole Thanksgiving morning routine, which includes the Macy’s Parade in NYC and complete with the yearly anticipation of the Rockette’s kick line!!!
  4. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day? My mom usually brings an appetizer, which we don’t really eat because it’s Thanksgiving, and everyone’s holding off for the big meal. I always have medium sized black olives for my dad, and shrimp cocktail for my kids. Eat lunch before you come, please!
  5. What do you wear on Thanksgiving? We are very casual on Thanksgiving. I usually wear black tights and a light weight sweater.
  6. What’s your Thanksgiving table like- do you use special plates/silver/glasses, etc. Do you have a color scheme? Center piece? Candles? I don’t have a theme of any sort except Fall. Depending on my mood and available time, I make candle holders out of gourds or pumpkins. I put votive candles in pieces of fruit. Things like that. There will be a centerpiece of candles though I don’t know where the closest florist is to our new digs. Better put this on my list…Search out florist!
  7. Do you serve buffet-style or family-style? What do you have to drink? My family always serves holiday meals family-style, everything on the table. My dad likes Diet Tangerine pop, and the rest of us will drink wine. It becomes quite the party!
  8. Once you’re at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they are thankful for? I have never been to, or had, a holiday meal where we didn’t say grace. It’s what we do before most meals regardless of a special occasion.
  9. Do you have a dessert right after the main meal or later on? Later on.
  10. What do you do with your leftovers? Disperse them!!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Kid Turned 24 and I Feel...

I am not feeling any older than I did five short years ago. Not even ten years ago, maybe. I am in the same physical shape. A bit thinner actually (though I am not sure this is a good thing). Not as strong. Smarter, for sure.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” Madeleine L’Engle

My thoughts aren’t particularly those of a (little older than) middle-aged person. I do feel wiser after going around those blocks.

Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood

So then, how in the world did I become a person who has a 24-year-old child?

I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. Maya Angelou

Where did the time go? So imperceptibly, it moved, that I almost didn’t hear the whirr. 

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.
Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.
Milan Kundera (Who is this guy? He is the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being (good book/movie))

The speed is dizzying!

Just remember when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” Charles M. Schulz

Stop. Just stop.

Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now. “ Marcel Proust

In my morning prayers, I always ask for moments, minutes, entire days for which I am fully present. Living. Because “time and tide wait for no man” (Who said this? A quick google search gives credit to the poet Geoffrey Chaucer)

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau

I am desperately trying to maintain my zest for life. Be excited by things. Little things. Am I running out of time for new adventures? I desperately want to be interesting. Feel interesting. I still want “you” to think I am interesting. If nothing else.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been. Mark Twain

Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I see are dark circles and deep crow's feet.  Other times, I see the twenty or thirty year old looking at me. Many times I like what I see. Sometimes, when I’m tired, especially, I don’t. And I think to myself, “Where am I?” 

And I always notice the eyes. "Where is the crystal blue?".

I may be a senior but so what? I’m still hot.” Betty White

She's funny, and I wish. 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. Coco Chanel

Yep, my daughter turned 24 yesterday, and to think she believes she’s old!!!

First, I want to know how it happened, then why she didn't ask me if she could grow up so fast. 

And why don’t I feel old enough for that?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pre-Holiday Books: What's Everyone Reading?

What am I currently reading? 

I am reading Speedboat by Renata Adler,


PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives complied by Frank Warren (See HERE for explanation).

What did I recently finish?

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. Keegan had a job waiting for her at The New Yorker when she died in a car accident five days after graduating from Yale. Her essay entitled "The Opposite of Loneliness" about her Yale experience subsequently went viral. From the book's foreword, which was written by one of her Yale writing instructors, I gather she was spirited, curious, and feisty. Challenged people, questioned everything, and was akin to a square peg. For me, this translated into a wonderful reading experience. If you compare her writing style to the likes of more acclaimed short story authors like Alice Munro, or even Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More Than You), you will notice the youthful inexperience in her writing. But who cares? The stories and essays are still incredibly contemporary, engaging, and rather unique. I highly recommend it.

What will I read next (with my increasingly limited time!)?

I think it is time to pick up (again) a collection of short stories called Bark by Lorrie Moore, and Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique.

What is going on in your “reading” life these days?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Teasers

I haven’t done this in a while, so I decided to tease you with a few sentences from what I am reading. The rules are simple.

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

One book I am reading is called Speedboat by Renata Adler. Here is a fairly recent article from the New York Review- Books. I chose to read this book because it was the first book on David Foster Wallace’s literature class syllabus back in his teaching days. He fascinates me. [As a side note: He taught at my university for almost ten years, although after I had already graduate.]

 Page 70:

“Sometimes the point is a momentum, a fact, a quality, a voice, an imitation, a thing said or unsaid.”

“You cannot be forever watching for the point, or you lose the simplest thing: being a major character in your own life.”

There you have it! I have just recently started this book, but I am excited to pick it up later for more.

Thanks to Miz B at Should Be Reading for giving us book lovers a place to share.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Taking Stock: A Meme

This meme called Taking Stock was easy, breezy, and fun to do. 

Making: stuck my tongue out at my husband just now, so a face.

Cooking: pots are cold, and will remain so.

Drinking: Fiji water from Costco

Reading: A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Wanting: a glass of wine

Looking: for some quiet time after a busy weekend

Wasting: not away after eating a Turducken feast this weekend

Wishing: for more time with my friends

Enjoying: the couch with my feet propped up on the dog

Waiting: for my hubby to replace the dog and disturb the zen, which is just a matter of time

Liking: the view of the Riverwalk trees at dusk freshly lit with white lights, and the promise of good TV on this evening

Wondering: can’t believe I am saying or thinking this, “what’s for dinner?”

Loving: being horizontal

Listening: to the wind whipping wildly down the river from the 12th floor

Needing: to review some papers for my training, and sleep (desperately)

Smelling: fresh soap

Wearing: black leggings, long sleeve tee shirt, powder blue colored fleece jacket, and a pony tail

Following: the Bears game 

Noticing: the dryness of my lips 

Knowing: I have some really good friends

Thinking: I might fall asleep

Feeling: lucky

Bookmarking: Books from The Printer’s Row Journal

Opening: my mouth to yawn

Giggling: at a text message from one of my girlfriends

I realize it is Monday, but, to me in actual “writing time”, it is Sunday just as the sky is darkening (or 4:26pm, to be precise).

The Commotion on Michigan Avenue AKA Jane Byrne's Funeral Procession

My daughter’s birthday is in two short days. Where in the world did 24 years go? And to think, she feels old. Come on!!!

This is not about that.

I was birthday present shopping for her these last few hours.

This is also not exactly about that either.

While out, the corner of Michigan Avenue and Walton Street was completely closed off with emergency vehicles of all kinds. I paused with concern. Not wanting to be thought a “gaper”, I crossed myself, and said a quick prayer in case any tragedy occurred.  As I said, there were far too many flashing lights for this to be a small thing.

To get out of the fray, I walked a few blocks before hailing a cab. By then, traffic was at a stand still as a procession of 50 police cars with lights twirling whirred by. The cabbie commented that someone important must be coming through, and it couldn't be the president because he was just here

Then a shiny gray hearse passed us, followed black limousines of loved ones, we guessed. With smart phone in hand, the cab driver “googled” the incident.
Cabbie: “It’s Jane Bryne.”

Me: “Didn’t she die a while ago?”

Cabbie: “Only a few days ago.”

Me: “I had no idea. I remember when she was Mayor.”

And I do remember exactly when. Her four year term coincided precisely with my stint in college. 

I remember being happy and proud that a woman was the mayor of our city even though I never considered myself any kind of feminist. I remember she was very strong minded, willful, and feisty at a time when the “good old boys” ran the show around here. I can not recall, however, if she was crooked. I would like to believe she was not. Our governors are! I know the Circle Interchange (aka the spaghetti bowl) was recently named after her. Something else, too, if I recall correctly. I don't know, I felt a bit shocked that she passed unbeknownst to me. Maybe I need to be a little more cognizant of current events.

I looked it up when I got home, and found this extremely current article. As a matter of fact, her funeral may still be going on. She received quite the send off.

Rest in Peace, Jane.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Do You Feel About The Phrase "It Is What It Is"?

This saying causes me to cringe akin to pointy fingernails dragging ever so slowly across a chalkboard. Maybe that's a little bit melodramatic. It drives me nuts though, and I bring it up because I heard it said several times this last week. How do you feel about it? 

Without commenting on the fact that it's meaningless and redundant, nothing good seems to precede its use. Like, “I just cleaned the house for you. It is what it is.” Or, “I bought you that book you were drooling over. It is what it is.” Or, “We’re going on a date tonight. It is what it is.”
It doesn’t work that way. It is always something more disappointing in the realm of, “The dog keeps eating your socks then throws them up on the rug every morning. It is what it is.” Or, “Your parents can’t come (to whatever). It is what it is.” Or, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job/promotion/anything you really wanted. It is what it is.” 
Today, conversing with my better/kinder/nicer half during a several hour long drive, I asked, "Why do people say this?" His response surprised me, because he consistently approaches matters from a glass-half-full prospective. Though it concisely explained how I feel about it. 
“Bill Murray recently said when people use the phrase consider it synonymous with 'you’re screwed,'” he said. This made me laugh.

Now, I don’t know if my husband’s reply was a “butt fact” (butt fact =  saying something with authority, so it sounds believable, but it is most probably made up, and not based in any sort of fact). I didn’t have the energy to  “google” it either. It sounds about right though.

There is definitely a negative connotation to “It is what it is.” It basically means suck it up ‘cause it is probably not changing. You can't improve the situation. It is usually less than good news. 

It’s the inherent hopelessness it seems to convey, at least to me. Residing to a fact. It just doesn't feel happy. Maybe that’s what I don’t like about it. 

Maybe my lamenting is over the top. It's Sunday; my day to write off the tip of my tongue.
I say, "It just is."

It spares me the shivers.