Rebroadcast: "Moments"

A coworker is going through a very tough time right now. Life and death kind of tough, which made stumbling upon this video from Radiolab New York timely. I'm "rebroadcasting" it from a blog I read, Hiving Out, along with their intro:

"One of my favorite Radiolab episodes, "Afterlife," was originally posted last September, and after the episode aired, the hosts continued with a series of short follow up podcasts, all about death and dying and what happens after. The final follow up short was the video, "Moments," by Will Hoffman. But it isn't about death at all. It's about life and the small moments that make it beautiful. You will love it."

I do love it. Like life there are a couple shots where you may think, "Whoa, I didn't expect that!" (Fair warning, readers.)

All in all though, it makes me feel like there may never be enough moments in life -- good, bad, surprising, lazy, sad. Even if I live to be over 90 years old, what if it's not enough?


For a little while -- actually over a year -- I've wanted to cover up the grey electrical box in our hallway. Talk about an elephant in the room.This weekend I took the suggestion of blog commenter and pal, Andra, to buy a artist's canvas as a cover-up. It was easy to find a canvas larger than the circuit box door, and since the back has a recess created by the frame, the electrical box won't be an unsightly lump underneath. At least not once I sawed off the inside support, with my new tool, the handsaw. I can see this coming in handy in the future. Then I ironed (and ironed!) the fabric I'd picked out to cover the canvas.Staple gun! This must be one of the most satisfyingly decisive tools around. Bang! Bang! Bang! And here we go!

First Golf Lesson

I haven't even taken to the course yet, but I've already learned one thing about golf. It is an expensive hobby!

My clubs didn't come with a bag, so I had to find one on the internet. Those things are expensive.

Fortunately, I found what's called a "Sunday bag", and for only about $15. Apparently due to the old-timey concern that the caddies didn't work on the Sabbath, you'd have to (horror!) carry your own clubs. Obviously, if it's you that is doing the heavy lifting, you don't want an unnecessarily heavy bag. But the caddy...well, that's his job!

Maybe if I end up playing, I'll upgrade to a "real" bag that stands up on its own. But they are still even about $100, on Overstock at that.

Even Better

Following on my last post, please take note of the brand name of my new-to-me, yet 1980s, golf clubs.
Just in time for Betty White to be cool again.


I've never felt too disadvantaged in life being left-handed. Growing up, I kind of felt like it made me and my mom members of a special club, being both lefties. (Juliet and Dad having their own righty club.) My seventh grade science term paper delved into left-handedness.

But after one session of high school phys-ed focused on golf, I thought I'd have to accept there might be some things I'd be better off forgetting about as a southpaw.

Mr. Chadwin would dump the clubs on the grass and everyone would quickly grab one along with their bucket of golf balls. I'd stand there trying to figure out if there was a left-handed club in the mix, and if so, which one of the last-pick clubs it was. Sometimes I found it, sometimes I think it got left in the equipment closet. A couple times I just tried to do it right-handed.

You should know that I am not naturally athletically inclined. In high school, there was an added layer of awkwardness and disenchantment with participatory activities focused on sport. I needed every advantage I could get in gym class, and using my dominant hand was one thing I could have had going for me.

Now my friend has suggested that we try golf lessons. I was reluctant, certain that I'd be reliving my high school experience. Or, in addition to the cost of the private 4-person lesson, I'd also be shelling out for sports equipment I might never use again. Luckily, I found the clubs in a haystack. Thanks to the internet, everything you seek is out there. In the southwest suburbs, Jane was selling her women's left-handed golf club set. I negotiated her down to $30. She might have figured that there really can't be that many 5'5" left-handed women in the Chicago area looking for golf clubs at any given moment.
We're going to call them vintage, because the "woods" are literally wood. But so are my friend's 1970s hand-me-downs from her mom.
I think we'll need to call ourselves the Ladies Vintage League or something. She totally has my clubs. I wonder where she got her hat and sweater?

I Could Just Do This

For those whose comments on my hallway decorating schemes seemed to be laced with a little bit of scepticism (specifically questions on how much time I spent in this space), I offer an alternative inspired by O'Hare International Airport. Neon. I'm thinking neon on the ceiling.

Go ahead and mock, but I did marry into a family with at least five electricians.


Our delivery time frame was 7 am - 10 am on Saturday morning, and I was advised we were the first delivery. Setting my alarm on a Saturday morning tempered some of my enthusiasm for the arrival of our new couch. (You remember my shopping for it, right?)

But it's here!The cats are also enjoying a new sock monkey bed, just $9.99 at Walgreen's. I couldn't resist.

Next Home Project

As noted before, Jason and I contemplate what to do about our long, undecorated hallway. This seems like a cheap, easy and fun idea. Although this was found on the internet and meant as an ironic joke, I actually think it's a good idea. I like the idea of making our own pedestrian photos into art that you might find in Urban Outfitters. It's also a less obvious way of putting up some favorite memories on the wall.

I started playing with this photo from our cruise.Or how about this photo from the Rose Bowl?As you can see, I'll have to settle on the right antique treatment to make the pictures consistent, and coming up with text I can live with might be a little tough.

Little Things I Love

One of the details I love the most about clothing is a beautiful lining. Like the silken fabric on the inside on this otherwise "reveal no secrets" leather jacket. Even if it's just a grosgrain ribbon on the inside waist of your pants, it's like the designer saying, "There's something I wanted to share, but only with you."

It's thoughtful, and one of the things I like the most is thoughtfulness, especially when it is unexpected.

The Girl With Her Nose in a Book

I've already burned through The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second in Stieg Larsson's trilogy of mysteries set in Sweden.

I got deep enough into the books and their characters to conjure pictures of them before hearing that Hollywood is considering making a movie starring Brad Pitt as one of the lead characters, Michael Blomkvist. Although I didn't figure the character to be that obviously handsome, I couldn't initially think of a better alternate. Colin Firth is too sweet. Harrison Ford is now too old. Maybe Viggo Mortensen? (Is that just because his name sounds Swedish?) Now I wholeheartedly endorse rumors of Daniel Craig (aka James Bond) playing the role too. Or maybe Clive Owen?

The female lead of Lisbeth Salander is up in the air. Maybe Carey Mulligan, Kiera Knightly, Kristen Stewart, or Natalie Portman. I could also see Emily Blunt.

I'm 30% into The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, a statistic that I can accurately report from my Kindle. This is when I reach the point of sadly realizing that my author has died, and this is the last book of his that I'll have to read.

A Tip for the Spa

I enjoyed my congratulatory day at Bliss spa on Sunday. My very first facial! Upon later reflection I'd like to pass on some newly-discovered wisdom.

When your aesthetician asks you about your skincare routine you will win points by mentioning any SPF over 15. Mine is 45, after some schooling.

However, they will not be able to suppress their frown when you declare, "I don't like washing my face."

I have dry skin! Washing my face regularly usually produces zits!!! I hate how your sleeves always get wet when you wash your face over the sink! The wash cloth is never really dry the next day, and that's icky!

Aesthetician Fred kindly probed, "What do you mean when you say you don't like to wash your face? When do you wash your face?"

"Um, in the shower, ...I let the water fall on it." I replied, beginning to doubt that being honest was really the best choice. "But I use a chamomile make-up remover at night!" I added, trying to salvage this new relationship.

He left me with a list of three new products to buy, as well as a free sample, probably hoping that I'd at least try something.

But Fred still didn't skimp on the shoulder and foot massage that comes with a facial. I had no idea! What a terrific bonus.

It has only tonight occurred to me that he alternated between touching my feet and then my face. I think he was wearing gloves...maybe...yes, surely. (Good thing the massage beforehand had included a paraffin foot feet were probably cleaner in that moment than my face. :)

We're Watching the World Cup

I'm not sure exactly why the World Cup matters to me. Maybe it's having the experience of living in London during 1990 World Cup, where we only had four TV channels and two of them likely had soccer matches playing. Or perhaps this year, it's that I was just in South Africa last summer so caught the World Cup fever bug -- and a tshirt for Jason -- there. Alexi Lalas, the ESPN/ABC lead commentator is also pretty cute, so that could be another cause. (I like him much more now that he's trimmed from his days as player for the U.S. team.)

But let's face it, soccer players are much more fun to watch as a woman than, let's say, football players. With football they're all padded up and their heads and faces are covered. Hockey players have few teeth, scraggly beards, helmets and baggy jerseys. No fun for objectifying the athletes. And in soccer, sometimes they even take their shirts off at the end of the game, which Jason chuckled at my encouraging.

This weekend we tried to rally friends to watch the US-England match at a local pub, but with few takers we ended up with a showing our on home television. It was an encouraging draw, albeit with a lucky goal that the England goalie will never live down. I caught Argentina's goal against Uganda while waking up Jason to alert him to the start of the day's coverage. Today Ghana's penalty kick against Serbia was seen from the elliptical at the gym. (The gym makes you "sportier" in two ways: your own physique and the knowledge you pick up from the TV's overhead.)

It seems like a huge party of nationalism, or even "continentalism" judging by the South African fans reactions to Ghana's win, celebrating an African nation's victory. I'm becoming more and more envious of one of my friends who's actually there, while I'm just watching from my couch or the elliptical.

I wonder if God has to open additional lines to heaven with all the players and fans looking skyward with pleading or grateful eyes during the games I've watched so far.


I made it!
And though I technically weighed in last week at the goal weight I was working towards, I am a cautious person who wanted to confirm the data point with a second week's weigh-in. But, I am pleased to report that I achieved my Plan goal for weight loss!While I'm nowhere near as buff as US women's soccer player, Brandi Chastain (above), I thought her celebration was appropriate, especially as we near World Cup time.

The pre-determined reward I get for my milestone achievement is a visit to Bliss Spa. I'm booked for a Sunday massage and facial.

I am wondering, so "what now?" I won't be losing weight until I'm an unhealthy twig. Here are a few goals after the goal:
1. Maintain the good new weight
2. Stay motivated to keep the weight off by remembering that my IL driver's license expires in September. Illinois is one of those evil states that makes you put your weight on your license. I confess, I fibbed a little when I got my license, but now I am honestly even below my fake number. I can't wait for the new photo too!
3. Keep a mental list of how good it feels right now to do things like ask the dressing room attendant if they have these pants in smaller size? To hear people I haven't seen in months say, "You look great! What are you doing, P90X or something?"
4. Get some photos on the blog so that I can share, since that'll also help keep me accountable to keep it going.
5. Maybe... sign up for a 10k run?

For those ask how I did it, I can post some details later, but the biggest thing was the buddy system with friend, and Plan author, Sura. It's curious and funny that I was more accountable when someone else was counting on me, rather than just reporting to myself, but that's how it goes. No doubt, blogging about it helped too. Even just by reading, you made me guilty about eyeing that breakfast bagel sandwich.

Weekend Recap

Sunday I was up early (nearly exactly the same time that I get up on work days, 6 am!) to take the bus to Lincoln Park for the annual Zoo run. As per usual, the lions were still asleep, or just lazing about. Those bums. I somewhat reluctantly put on my red and black run t-shirt, noting that it was Blackhawks colors. (Watching the Stanley Cup this week, I've realized that my loyalties do lie with the Flyers.)

Overcoming my fashion objections, I was ready to race. I am happy to report that I ran the fastest mile since high school, a 10:43 average pace! (I wasn't really trying in high school though, and usually walked at least a third of the distance, squeaking in under the 10 minute "President's Health Fitness Challenge" limit.) Even better for Sunday's race, I'd say that there were even times I felt like I could have run faster, but I was caught up in the traffic of other racers. Granted, it is all these other runners that likely motivate me to go faster, with the incremental milestones of passing that guy, then that girl with the pink top, then that kid.

The following night we planned on grilling, (another Chicago summer tradition) because we'd finally popped into the kosher butcher shop in our neighborhood. (Being closed on Saturdays, they were never open when it crossed our minds to investigate.) Lamb chops were on our menu, and I found a really simple and tasty Food Network recipe that allowed me to unpack the food processor we'd registered for nearly three years ago for our wedding. I had hoped to find kielbasa at the butcher, but after realizing this is pork sausage, it was unlikely to be found at a kosher establishment. So glad I didn't ask and accidentally offend the proprietor!
But the lamb chops were so tasty that I forgot to take a picture of the final plating. I did smoke up the kitchen terribly though by searing the chops after we learned it was raining and had to take the grilling inside.

Treasure Hunt

Want to go on a beautiful and delightful treasure hunt? Search for "coral" on the Anthropologie website. Coral is a universally flattering color, so say Stacy & Clinton of "What Not to Wear." You might want to try it yourself, as it works very nicely for me.

A few of my very favorites:
1. Sunrise & Midnight Dress
2. Scarlet Macaw Bag3. Coral Grove Quilt4. Smoldering Hues Shower Curtain I might consider this one if I were still in my "bachelorette" apartment. Sometimes I regret that I didn't take enough advantage of the opportunity to go completely over the top in decor when I lived alone. This would never fly in married life. I also mean that I would never subject Jason to facing something so frilly every morning. When I play through the scenario of asking his thoughts on this one it is laughable. (But sadly I probably felt like I didn't have the money when I was single! Or maybe I was waiting to get married to "invest" in my housewares via a wedding registry. It's sad that we don't have life to live again so that we can remember these things for another time.)

Good Read

I spent most of Memorial Day Sunday on the couch, with the sliding window open and the curtain blowing in the warm breeze, and my kindle on my lap. I was completely absorbed in "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo."
It was a little bit of a slow start. I knew how evangelical people are in their love for Stieg Larsen's trilogy of books (my friend recently picked up the last book during her trip to Europe), so I had very high expectations. But the story did gain momentum and I was reading it even while "helping" Jason install these cool new mail organizers we got.

By "helping" I mean to say that I got a hammer from downstairs and confirmed that yes, we had no extra batteries for the laser level. But they turned out ok anyway.

It's cool, your keys hang there by hidden magnets!

The delight of the kindle is that I have already downloaded the second book and it's waiting for me now.

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