• Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    There’s No Place Like State Street for the Holidays

    For some unknown reason, it’s been a couple of years since I have gone into the city and visited State Street when it’s all dressed up for the holidays. I’ve visited the city itself in December, but I’m typically at the Christkindlmarket, on Michigan Avenue, or at some other area of town for a blogger event. Over the weekend I was invited to see the group Straight No Chaser (they were amazing, by the way), Because the weather was supposed to be rather hellacious, I kept an eye on my weather app all morning and chose to head in much earlier than I needed to be in order to miss…

  • Childhood Memories,  Favorite Things,  Travels,  UGH.

    Currently Breaking My Heart: Gatlinburg

    You may not have heard until around lunchtime today because for some reason the news outlets weren’t covering it, but Gatlinburg, Tennessee was on fire. Actually, it has been on fire for a couple of weeks–East Tennessee has been experiencing its worst drought in about a decade–but yesterday the winds kicked up and some fires that were simmering in the Chimney Tops area blew out of control and caused terrible devastation. Hundreds of homes, dozens of businesses, gorgeous, beloved areas of Smoky Mountain National Park: torched to the ground. It’s upsetting for anyone who has ever set foot there because truly it’s one of the most beautiful areas of the…

  • Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Confessions

    Thirty-ish.

    I remember when I was a kid I was fascinated with the year 2000. It didn’t seem real to me that in my lifetime, all of a sudden the years would begin with “2”. I figured out that in the year 2000, I would turn thirty-two. When I was doing that math, thirty-two seemed a million years away. It also seemed SUPER OLD. Tomorrow I’ll be sixteen years past thirty-two, and there’s really no need to do that math because in addition to what they say about fifty being the new thirty and forty being the new twenty (or something like that), mentally I honestly still feel like I’m half…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Childhood Memories,  Fun in Chicago

    World Series 2016: Go Cubs Go!

    My very favorite baseball team is the Chicago Cubs. Actually, my very favorite team in any sport is the Chicago Cubs. When you’re from Chicago, it’s kind of a rule that you have to pick a baseball team, because we have two. You HAVE to choose. The Cubs or The White Sox North Side or South Side Red, White, and Blue or Black, White, and Silver Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park (It’s not technically Comiskey anymore but go with it.) The thing is, I don’t actually remember picking the Cubs; I only know that I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. One example of how fiercely I…

  • Amazing People,  Best Thing Ever,  Childhood Memories,  Music

    The Concert of My Lifetime: Billy Joel at Wrigley Field

    When I was a kid in the seventies, we had a pretty nice-sized vinyl collection thanks to a friend of my dad’s who owned a record store and shared lots of the albums that he no longer needed. The square covers always had a 1/2-inch notch cut out of the top and a sticker that said “For Promotional Use Only: Not for Resale”. These days I’d have to sit and think about which albums were in our collection in order to talk about them except for two standouts, “The Jacksons” and this one, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”: When I was six and seven, that album cover both intrigued and terrified…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  I'm Apparently Old.,  Music

    You Don’t Have To Be On A Boat To Enjoy Yacht Rock.

    The scene: My car on a recent sunny afternoon. The players: My twenty-four-year-old son and me. The music: Yacht Rock. Dylan: “What the heck IS this?” Me: “It’s the theme from ‘Cannonball Run’.” Dylan: “Starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise*????” Me: “Yes! It’s on the Yacht Rock station. I’ve been on a seventies kick lately. I think it’s because it takes me back to my childhood. It’s comforting. Anyway (continuing in the voice of Thurston Howell III), don’t you feel like you could be sailing on a boat on a gorgeous day with not a cloud in the sky, listening to this music?” Dylan, rolling eyes: “Oh God.” Fade out.…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Random Thoughts

    Garage Sales. Don’t Get Me Started.

    Garage sales. Sigh. I’m not a fan of attending them, and I’m not a fan of hosting them. When I was a kid, my mom hosted multiple garage sales every year, and I wasn’t enamored with the process at all, to put it lightly. Sure, my sister and I got to be the creative geniuses behind the signs, which took hours thanks to my mom being an evil genius (story here), but we also had to do the work of going through our stuff, helping to price it, and sitting outside watching strangers pick through it all. Of course I completely get that many people LOVE garage sales as a…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Music

    Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.

    Today I’m participating in an old school Blog Hop, organized by my friend Nancy over at Midlife Mixtape. (Thanks for inviting me, Nancy!) The theme, as you may have guessed by reading my post title, is “Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.” Way (way) back in the summer of 1979, my family was preparing to move away from the Chicago area for the very first time. My dad was hired to manage a Holiday Inn outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. I was very upset about the move, specifically because I was scared to leave the the home I knew and loved and my friends and everything that was…

  • Childhood Memories

    Childhood, Revisited

    When I was a kid my family lived in Park Forest, one of Chicago’s south suburbs. We occupied one half of a duplex in a neighborhood that was quintessentially 1970’s, with mostly stay-at-home moms and mostly dads that left for work every day and mostly kids that goofed off outside in everybody’s yards until they got called in at dinnertime. It was a happy childhood for me and I wrote about it three years ago. I have always wanted to go back to see that neighborhood as an adult, and two years ago I finally did. It was more emotional for me than I thought it would be. Oddly enough…

  • Childhood Memories

    #StreamTeam: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

    I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and will be happily sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. (Okay, that’s an understatement. I should say CONSTANTLY. We use Netflix CONSTANTLY.) This post is sponsored by Netflix, of course!When I was a young teenager, my family lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area for two years. For the first several months, we lived in a couple of rooms at the hotel my dad managed. That was when our family started our Sunday Movie tradition. Getting dad off the property where he lived AND worked was great for his morale, and we got…