Monthly Archives: August 2011

Florence and the Machine- Cosmic Love (Acoustic)

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I first heard Florence sing about two years ago on kind of an underground radio station.  She blew my mind the first word I heard her sing.. She has such a powerful, fun-to-listen-to voice.  What really interested me at first was the story they told me about the artist after the song was over.  Florence Welch is an English musician from London.  She told her parents a few years ago she was moving to Hollywood, as I’m sure many young talented (and non talented) musicians and actors do… She made it and I have to say quite impressively! Nice work Florence.  Everyone else, enjoy!!

P.s. Who knew “Drake” (rapper) was this talented vocally!?

A ship is safe in the harbor, but that isn’t what it was built to do.

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This is the time of the year when new and different seem to be in order.  Preschoolers crying on their momma’s legs; grade schoolers, high schoolers and college “schoolers” wanting to, but just happen to be too grown up.

I have been talking to many parents and reading many Facebook posts about the new adjustments… on both sides.

When my first went to preschool, I can remember like it was yesterday, how he was holding up a piece of bacon smiling for the camera while wearing a purple backpack equipped with florescent stripes so the cars would see him.

Out into the world he was going …to be judged, corrected, and compared to others.  I wanted to wrap him completely in florescent stripes to protect  him so they could “see” him.

Even when your kids are older and they are trying to find their way… judged, corrected and compared still happen to be the greatest fears for both child and parent. In grade school it is who gets asked to play at recess, …in junior high it is who sits with whom at lunch, …in high school it is who’s dating whom and who is wearing you know who’s football jersey on Friday, … and in college it is how you will be accepted by your new roommate or “floor” and the turmoil of which Greek house might want you.  And on top of that, along the way, teachers and coaches let you know how you compare.

As a parent it is a tough thing to watch and is out of our hands.  There is not enough florescent stripe in the world to protect your  children from what is in store each day.  Nor would you want it.  Nor should they have it.  The chips will fall where they may and it  is how the child sails through it and comes out in the end that is  the most important thing.  Some will need a life raft, some will  need a flare, some will be tossed in the storm, and some will  appear lucky enough to have the wind at their sails…but  remember, it is never as easy as it appears.

And no matter what age they are, our job is to be the safe harbor  in which to land when the day’s cruise is done.

The Living Proof

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I have always been a big fan of Mary J. Blige.  Big, I’m telling you. HUGE.  Just ask my kids, they know I call her Mary J. like I’m her friend.  She has so many great  songs and I ♥ her version of  ~One Love~ with Bono.  She has a remarkable voice, but the lyrics are amazing and couldn’t have been a better fit for the end of The Help.

If you haven’t seen the movie The Help…run, don’t walk, run…hurry up, put your shoes on now, run. Grab your keys….and your money…now run.

But if you can’t run from your house at this very minute because you are a responsible adult,  just listen.  Ahh…Mary J….. but make a plan to go see The Help.

(And sorry about the annoying ads on You Tube, just click the x on the ad and it will go away.  Feel free to stick around and listen to any of her other hits after you decide you love her voice too. Just click the You Tube tab at the bottom right of the video. )

The Little Traveler

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I remember my mom taking me to the Little Traveler in Geneva in the 70’s when I was young.  And she remembers her mom taking her to the Little Traveler in the 50’s when she was young.  She described how they would get dressed up and go for tiny sandwiches and tea in the Atrium with her Aunt Laura.  They would shop throughout the store and throughout Geneva.  It was a big excursion.  Remember these were the days when there was no huge indoor shopping malls so you had to go from store to store outside!

My mom would take us to do the same.  Like the Brady Bunch, there were six kids in our family.  I remember sometimes I got to go alone, and sometimes we would take “the little kids”. Our family was separated into the big kids (Greg, Marcia, and Peter) and the little kids (Jan, Bobby and Cindy).  No Alice.  No second marriage.  And my dad was not an architect.  He was a farmer.

Stay with me now… Rod and Greg (Greg and Peter)  usually stayed home to hang around on the farm and to avoid shopping torture, but my mom would take me with “the little kids” …Marcie, Andy, and Monica (Jan, Bobby, and Cindy).

I vividly remember a time though, when we brought “Peter”, uhem…I mean Greg, with to buy dress pants.  Weird how memories go.  Shopping in The Junior Gentlemen.  I just remember going in and out, in and out of store after store looking for the perfect pants.  I wonder if he was picky??   I wonder if it was the pricing…I wonder if they were plaid…or if it was sidewalk sales?  I KNOW one thing, we were not shopping for me.

But one of the fondest memories was the Atrium Cafe.  I remember sitting inside, but feeling like it was a garden. There were fountains gurgling and warm light from the sun coming in, …very small tables, very small chairs and very small sandwiches.  We must all have been very small people back then.  We probably had a tuna salad, egg salad, or ham salad cut into triangles….remember when people made ham salad??? Does anyone out there still make ham salad? I am sure I had peanut butter and jelly.

So on this train trip, I asked “Carol”, I mean Mom, to go with me for some remembering.  There is a lot of history surrounding this home.  

It has been enlarged many times and the rooms are interesting in that there are different levels in the doorways from all of the additions.  It got its retail start back in the 20’s.  Here is a link so you can read all about it:

http://www.littletraveler.com/little-traveler-history

We started off with 8 minutes to go until the train arrived.  The woman in the station was so confused as to why we would be headed west…she actually said, “You can’t go that way.”  I think she just doesn’t have that many people buy a ticket to Geneva and that don’t buy a ticket to the city (Chicago).  We had to try to persuade her in under 8 minutes to let us buy a ticket.

After that confusion we were lucky enough to have had the most informative conductor on the train.  We asked if he could explain some of the best ways to buy tickets for short trips and give us some of the tricks of the trade.   He sat down and introduced us to the “rules of the tracks”.  If you are lucky enough to ride this line, hopefully you will meet Mitchell.

After landing in Geneva, we walked one block to the Little Traveler.  It was just as we remembered…EXACTLY the same, in fact.

We shopped, talked and ate at the Atrium Cafe.  

Our waiter, who had worked there since 1988, was eager to tell us about the changes in shopping habits and diners in the last 20 years.  He said he loved his job.  So far …2 for 3 on the helpful-informative-people chart.

We met many people that asked if we were mother and daughter and if we had been there before.  It seems like it must be a place that people revisit for nostalgia’s sake.

After a few purchases, (just enough that we made sure we could still limp back to the train) we decided to brave the heat and set out for more of Third Street.  The more things change, the more they stay the same…We remembered some of the old buildings and stores and found some great new ones. We had gelato at Graham’s Coffeehouse and ran into an old “young” friend by the name of Cheryl.

There are soooo many amazing-looking restaurants and shops that I will definitely be taking many more trips to Geneva.  If you haven’t been there, you should.  And if you have been to the Little Traveler before, but it has been a while, you should take a day to go back with your mom, aunt, sister or friend.   Maybe you will find that the memories will come rushing back, too.

Brett Dennen – Ain’t No Reason

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Hi, I’m Patrick, and music does an awful lot for me!  I can’t get enough of it.  If I have any free time that I’m not at the golf course I spend it searching for great new music.  I hope you enjoy this portion of the blog!

This song shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Brett Dennen really has a unique, outstanding voice and a unique look. Dennen has an incredible way with words.

I really enjoy listening to him because I love trying to decipher song lyrics and their meaning.  I love wordplay and symbolism which he is so talented with.  This song sends a message to me: Don’t get stuck in a rut and stay the same, be the person you want to be, and live the kind of life that is in your dreams. Dennen is fairly new to the music industry, so be on the look out for much more to come from him!

Trainspotting

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Trainspotting.  I like the sound of it. The name popped in my head while planning my little train trips to find fun things to do and eat along this stretch of Metra tracks.

The title is also a title of a movie from 1996 about some crazy heroin addicts in Edinburgh as they pass through life.  “The title of the film refers to the hobby of sitting and watching trains pass by and is used as a metaphor for ‘wasting time’.” (Wikipedia)  …I know, I know, every teacher in the world says not to cite Wikipedia, but I personally find it pretty informative. If you find something I say from there that is not true, then you can let me know.

So this is my version of wasting time by watching trains pass by …from the inside of the train.

“Holding down the fort” remember?  Trainspotting.


A Trip to Paris

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I love the internet.  I love that I can find any answer to any question at any time.  If I can’t find the answer, I am not asking the right question.

Although I love the internet, I am not a gamer. I don’t play any internet games at all. No Angry Birds, no Solitaire, no Farmville, but I love a good app.  (that’s Phone Applications for you non-app users) I have found there are certain apps that just make my life easier and more fun.

My first favorite app is Flixster.  Not only does it have a super cute popcorn bucket as it’s widget, but it is extremely helpful in finding movies, locations, and times.  I also really like that they use the Rotten Tomatoes reviews.  I used this all the time while Kate was at practice and I had to find something to do for 4 hours.

My second favorite app, that I didn’t need until I lived near a train, is …the Qikride app. (I like it and it doesn’t even follow the Qu rule) It lets you know exactly what time the trains are running.  It will tell you that you have “17 minutes until your train leaves!” or you can plan ahead for the next day.  I originally got this for Patrick so he would never miss the train home, but I think I like it more than he does.

Using this app, my friend Trudy, and I actually took the train from the Wheaton downtown station to the Wheaton College Avenue station once just because I was too tired to walk back from the Farmer’s Market.  Yes, it took 1 minute, but we didn’t sweat. Never mind that that particular day the train was 18 minutes late so it actually took 19 minutes to get home and we probably could have walked in less time, but that is besides the point…and we were carrying corn.

So tonight, equipped with my favorite app and my second favorite app, I ventured out.  Kate had a back to school dance so I figured I had time and Sadie needed a break from me.

I had a 3 minute train ride to Glen Ellyn.  Whew!  Are we there yet???  The Glen Art Theater was my destination.   It is an artsy theater that shows only 4 movies.  It is reeeeally old.  Here is some historical info on it if you are into that kind of stuff.  http://www.glenarttheater.com/History.htm

This is how far away the theater is when you get off the train.

This is how cute it is up close.

This is how the ticket booth still looks.

Due to my train schedule, I picked the most convenient movie based on time. I also picked the one I knew no one else in my family would want to see.  86% of Flixsters liked it and 92% of Critics liked it so I figured it should be worth the $7.  It was really kind of quirky, but I couldn’t help liking it.  It is about an engaged couple, who have different approaches to what they want from life.  Gil (Owen Wilson) wants to live in Paris and loves anything vintage and nostalgic. His fiance’, (Rachel McAdams) just wants to live in Malibu.  At midnight each night while on a walk, Gil is able to transport himself back to the 1920’s and meet all of the famous creative genius’s of that time.  Like I said, quirky, but beautiful and seemed like the perfect movie to watch in an old theater that also just happened to be built in the 20’s.

So I may not have gone to Paris tonight, per se, but it really was a fun little trip.  The first of many I hope to share with you.  ….. now I really, really, really want to go to Paris.