Dirty Laundry

Have you seen this “life lesson” floating around on Facebook? A young wife keeps commenting about her neighbor’s dirty laundry–literally. The neighbor is constantly hanging up dingy sheets on the clothesline to dry. The wife wonders why the neighbor can’t seem to learn how to get her laundry clean, until her husband washes the window and voila! The neighbor’s sheets become white and clean. All along it was the windows that were filthy dirty. See what happened there? The wife was being so judgmental about the neighbor’s laundry when she should have been cleaning up her own house.

Every time I read that story (a lot of my Facebook friends apparently think it’s a good lesson) I think about my dirty windows–literally. On sunny days in November, I kept thinking I should wash my windows, especially the bay windows in front of the house along with my kitchen windows. These are the windows we look out of most frequently, and they are very dingy! November was such a beautiful month this year; warm and sunny. It was a very unusual November for Chicago, and it would have been the perfect time to wash my windows.


And yet, between Lily’s birthday and Thanksgiving, November flew by. It’s December already. The first couple days of December were cold, but still fall-like. Yesterday, however, the view out my windows changed drastically.


And I thought to myself, a bit belatedly, CRAP. I guess I won’t be washing these windows this week. There’s really no lesson here, unless it’s about my own laziness. I should have been “making hay while the sun shines” or something like that. The best I can hope for now is that we have a mild, sunny day in December. Who knows? It might happen. Otherwise my dingy windows will have to wait ’til Spring.

Just don’t judge me by my dirty windows, and I won’t judge you by the way you wash your sheets!


30 Days of Writing

Another year of National Blog Posting Month is over. These 30 days have certainly been eventful! November was the month of the Cubs winning the World Series, Lily’s 12th birthday, the presidential election, and Thanksgiving. We went to a museum and the movies. I also continued writing about our two week road trip to Yellowstone National Park. I still have more travel posts to write! Even though NaBloPoMo is over, I plan to keep writing.

NaBloPoMo November 2016

In order to get a blog post written every day, I fell in to the bad habit of writing the day’s post late at night. Some posts I like, some…not as much. Here are all 30 of them.

Day 1: Here We Go…Again?
Day 2: Go, Cubs, Go!
Day 3: Cubs Win!
Day 4: Three Weddings and a Funeral
Day 5: Two Daughters
Day 6: Two Coyotes
Day 7: Two Parties
Day 8: Why I’m Not Taking My Kids to the Polls
Day 9: I’m Sad Today
Day 10: Retreat
Day 11: Telling My Children
Day 12: The Bake-Off
Day 13: Leaf Season
Day 14: It Doesn’t Always Work Out
Day 15: Struggling Upwards
Day 16: Downs and Ups
Day 17: The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Day 18: Busy Day, Movie Night
Day 19: Sometimes We Like to Play Tourists
Day 20: Sometimes I still…
Day 21: Busy Airport
Day 22: The Tuesday Before Thanksgiving
Day 23: Pies!
Day 24: Happy Thanksgiving!
Day 25: A Simple Piece of Cloth
Day 26: I reached my goal!
Day 27: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; a Parent Review
Day 28: Incognito
Day 29: Sister, Sister, Brother, Sister
Day 30: 30 Days of Writing

Thank you so much for sticking with me during the month of November and reading the good with the bad! I’ve been participating in NaBloPoMo since 2009, and I found some of the old badges in my archives. My favorite one is the dish washing lady…a sense of satisfaction, indeed!

See you again in 2017, NaBloPoMo!



November, 2012

November 2009









Sister, Sister, Brother, Sister

One of the things I enjoy most about Thanksgiving is seeing my sisters and my brother. This year, I saw all my siblings, but at different times. After we eat a large Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law’s house, we have started the tradition of going bowling. My brother joins us for a few games. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of us bowling.


My youngest sister spent Thanksgiving with her husband’s family, and then she came up to see us. We went out to eat BBQ at a place called Smokey Bones.


My sister from California stayed at my house for the whole week! Today we took a long walk, and we also took some selfies.

A couple of years ago, we took this picture in the forest preserve. It’s still one of my favorites!

four siblings








My brain sometimes has seemingly random thoughts. These random thoughts form little stories which amuse me. But are these thoughts worthy of being written into a story, or are they just nonsense?

Right after church on Sunday, my family and I went out for breakfast in uptown Park Ridge. As we were leaving the restaurant, in walked a guy with Rod Stewart hair, sunglasses and leather pants. Who was he? I have no idea, but he stuck out like a sore thumb. Was he a celebrity or was he a wanna-be celebrity? (I’m thinking celebrities do not eat at Eggsperience out in the ‘burbs.)

When I ran out to the grocery store today, I saw a couple of people I know. This always makes running errands take more time because I stop and talk. One friend wanted to know how my daughter was doing, since Lily’s best friend moved away over Thanksgiving break. I ran into a co-worker and we talked about school. I chatted with the cashier and bagger as I paid for my groceries. It was just an average shopping trip on a rainy, November day.

After I dropped off my groceries at home, later than I had hoped, I went to the gym. I started thinking about the guy with Rod Stewart’s hair. He couldn’t help but be noticed with his leather pants in a breakfast place on a Sunday morning. Unlike him, I didn’t want to be noticed. I just wanted to exercise at the gym and go on my way. But what if I really was the famous one at the gym, with the hooded raincoat and pony tail, not wanting to be noticed, because everywhere I go I see someone I know in this small world known as the suburbs. You know, I’m like Jennifer Lawrence trying not to look like Jennifer Lawrence if she was a plump, middle-aged mom living in the ‘burbs. However, who’s more successful at being incognito? The paparazzi didn’t get one photo of me walking on the treadmill today.

Nope. I’m not the famous one after all. So I went home and ate a piece of pumpkin pie for dessert.


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; a Parent Review


Yes, we went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, even though it is rated PG-13. Ed and I don’t let Lily and Emmy watch PG-13 rated movies, but we made an exception with Star Wars last Christmas, and made another exception this weekend (perhaps because I really wanted to see this movie myself). What did I think? Well, it’s a mixed bag.

First of all, I didn’t realize that this movie isn’t adapted from a book. J.K. Rowling wrote the 41 page Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them for a charity, and it is a “textbook” that Harry Potter used at Hogwarts. As I was reading an article on USA Today about the movie, I realized that yes, I am your parent that has this book in the basement, as a caption of a photo explains. I bought it, along with Quidditch Through the Ages, from Scholastic Book Club when I was teaching second grade many years ago. While I was a avid Harry Potter reader and read all the books as they were published, I didn’t have any interest in reading these little side books. The actual story of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is only available as a screenplay and is not a novel.

Since I read the Harry Potter books so long ago and have only seen the first three movies (Lily wants to read each book before seeing them), I am happy to report that you do not have to read the Harry Potter books to understand what is happening in this movie. The Harry Potter references are there but not critical. Lily reports that the spells were familiar and Dumbledore is mentioned once. Grindelwald is an important name in the movie; unfortunately I didn’t remember who he was since he has a minor role in the books, but it didn’t spoil my understanding of what was happening.

So, should you take your kids to see this movie? The beasts themselves actually were fantastic, and it was fun to watch them all interact with the main character, Newt. Some beasts escape from Newt’s magical suitcase, and Newt needs to recapture them. That alone would have been enough of a plot for me, but there was also a much darker plot woven into the script. The story line included fantasy violence and death which I was uncomfortable with, and frankly, was unnecessary. The ending was very ominous and would also be hard for younger children to understand. I think my 9 and 12 year old girls were okay with it, but I’m glad they aren’t younger.

The characters in this movie, however, were an absolute delight. I enjoyed “getting to know” the four main characters: Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob Kowalski. Katherine Waterston, the actor that played Tina, reminded me so much of Maura Tierney, especially when she had a little mustard on her lip from eating a hot dog! However, I couldn’t find any connection between them, except for an adorable picture of Maura Tierney attending the movie’s premiere. It must have been just my imagination.

Overall, it was a fun movie, but if you are hesitant to take your kids to see it, I would recommend either seeing it yourself first or waiting until it comes out on DVD. If you have seen it, what did you think about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?


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