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This Is Halloween

Four and a half hours. Three Hundred and Fourteen trick or treaters. This is Halloween at the V-S. compound.


One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.
~Emily Dickinson


We gave out glow stick bracelets, candy, Halloween pencils and slinky’s. Everyone says we have the coolest house in the neighborhood. I have to say I agree, but man is it expensive and exhausting! But I love the costumes and the fantasy. We make Halloween an experience. Fire, glowy-lightup things, incense, fog machines and music. I do feel sad for some of the kids who don’t have costumes-I can never tell if it’s laziness or poverty. I think I will spend the next year buying costume pieces at thrift stores and then have them in a box on Halloween. If kids come by without costumes I can offer to dress them up. I will leave out a return box at the end of the night or they could just keep them.
And now it’s off to bed. I have a walking by the lake date with Midwest Melissa tomorrow. At SEVEN AM! What the hell am I thinking?



We had some friends over last night for pumpkin carving. The weather was warm enough for an outside party so we loaded up the fire pit and hung some lights.

Kristen had the brilliant idea of carving up her gourd and putting it in the fire. And then someone suggested sparklers…
A wicker basket also gave it’s life for our amusement…
I love my pyro friendly friends! Who knew autumn vegetables and sparklers could be so much fun?
Full Set of Photos here


Good Morning Chicago!

I woke up way too early this morning thanks to Kele De and my crappy mattress. I turned on the tv and meteorologist Ed Curran said that sunrise was still ten minutes away so I decided to head for the lake. I knew I couldn’t go from bed to lake in ten minutes but I figured it would be close. What I didn’t remember was that silly thing called rush hour. Man I am glad I don’t have a morning job!

Fall colors…

And what are these doing blooming in October??

It was so pretty that I may try to become a morning person. Maybe.


Star Wars Kid Has Nothing On Us


So John and I were invited to the opening party for the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. The invitation said costumes encouraged. We didn’t really have any Star Wars costumes and work had us running late so we decided that we were too tired to dress up. Made it all the way to the front door in our street wear but at the last minute we ended up racing up the stairs to try to find costumes. Yoda provided some inspiration, “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.”
I really wanted to be an Ewok but there was no way I was going to pull a furry forest dweller outfit from my closet in our ten minute deadline. I did find a pair of tan linen capri pants, lace up black boots and a black top that tied around the waste- topped it off with a cloak and I was good to go. John pulled on a bunch of black clothes and the black and silver cape. He was like disco Star Wars guy. Then down to the basement toy boxes where we pulled out a light saber and a blaster. We were set!

Get to the museum and we were about the only adults in costume. Dorks. The kids all thought we were super cool though. They kept complimenting our authentic weaponry. I think the highlight of my geekdom came when I was having my picture taken with Obi-Wan and I actually squealed with delight when he pulled out his light saber (that kind of sounded dirty). I also enjoyed my battle with the Tuscen Raider Guy, and when John set the camera bag strap on fire with a tea light candle.


There are many more photos but they are just too dorky for publication. Sorry.


Happy Howloween!

Today was the Puptown Dog Park Howloween party. About an hour before the party I was debating on how much effort to put into Lilo’s costume so I asked John, “are we in it to win it or should we just put on a store bought costume?” John was like, “oh we want to win.” So I race upstairs and dump out the costume bucket. I was thinking of Lilo’s Harem Girl outfit from a few years ago but we needed to spice it up. “John, do you want to be a Sheik?” No hesitation in his reply so suddenly Lilo and I were harem girls and John was the Sultan.


We took third in the homemade costume category! A $40 gift certificate to Bad Dog Tavern. And Lilo got three bags of treats at the party so it was a successful day!

And I love this dog…fairydogball.jpg

More photos here!


The Crucible

And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ heads on the pillow next to mine and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! -Abigail Williams in The Crucible

JP and I went to see Steppenwolf’s production of The Crucible. It’s one of my favorite plays of all time and I was really looking forward to seeing such an amazing company’s rendition. I have to say-I was not blown away. This is such a powerful play but I rarely felt fully engaged by the performances. The writing is so amazing that I still thoroughly enjoyed the show, I just hoped for a little more. I will say the one point that got me is when John Proctor confesses his lechery with Abigail and they bring Elizabeth into to confirm it as the truth…and she lies. I had forgot that moment was coming and suddenly remembered during the build up and I was squirming in my seat, stifling my urge to scream “Don’t do it! Tell the truth and end it all here!”

Here’s a factual account of the Salem Witch hunts from a law perspective.

And here’s a weird, but still kind of cool version from National Geographic.

And here’s a photo from the Superior Witch Hunts of 1977. Guilty!



Dirty America’s Next Top Gossip Girl

God I love Wednesday night television. America’s Next Top Model. Gossip Girl. Dirty Sexy Money. It is three hours of pure heaven.
Tonight was ANTM perfection. Ebony quits and Tyra verbally eviscerates her. I thought Tyra was going to implode. It was awesome! I played it back like three times.

Tyra then revealed Saleisha, Jenah, Heather, Bianca, Sarah, Chantal and Lisa were all safe. She added the judging panel agreed with jay’s assessment that Ambreal and Ebony were the “weakest,” and decided to keep the girl that has the most “potential,” which they deemed to be Ebony, meaning Ambreal was eliminated.

“I don’t really want to be here,” said Ebony to Tyra before she started crying. “You don’t want to be here?” calmly asked Tyra. “Why not? It’s okay, talk to me.”

“Modeling is not for me…” said Ebony through sobs.

“You know what I think is not for you?” answered Tyra. “I don’t think it’s modeling. I think it’s people telling you what to do. I think it’s people telling you you’re not perfect. I think that’s what you can’t handle. The most unattractive thing in the world to me is a quitter — and for that — you can go.”

Part of me thinks good for her, the other part read spoilers that said she tried to change her mind and begged the producers to take her back. I wish I hadn’t read that part. Oh. Now I told you too.
I can not wait until the fourfour recap on Monday!

And then Gossip Girl. I can not get enough of that show. On Sunday I actually caught myself thinking, Man I wish it was Gossip Girl day. (the link is to NY Magazines’s delicious Gossip Girl recaps.) The next episode isn’t until November 7 because of Halloween. Whatever will I do in the meantime?

And finally, Dirty Sexy Money. Now it’s not as great as the first two, but it does round out the evening. I actually didn’t watch last night’s episode, I am hoarding it for later.

All of the shows mentioned here can be viewed on-line. God I love the internet.


Pablo Picasso Was Never Called An Asshole or My Day at the Art Institute

I have been trying to be more outgoing-and by outgoing I mean going out of my normal patterns and trying new things. Today was the Art Institute. I had never been and didn’t really know what to expect. The place is HUGE and the map they give you makes no sense whatsoever. So I just wandered from gallery to gallery, listening to my I-pod. The coolest thing I saw was a group of 4 year olds sitting on the floor in front of a Jackson Pollack, drawing on their little sketch pads. I didn’t want to seem creepy so I didn’t take a photo-which I now regret.

I have to say that some of the contemporary art made me go, “really?” in a “what so great about this” kind of way. Same with the Richard Misrach:On The Beach exhibit. I love me some photos of water and people floating, but hard as I tried I did not see the symbolism described in the literature.

Here’s some of the artists I liked-
Odilon Redon
Joan Miro
Roberto Matta
Marc Chagall
Gustave Moreau
Joseph Cornell
Paul Klee
William Pope.L
Piet Mondrian
And before today I never got the whole Monet obsession-but after seeing them live I would say I am a fan.

I came away inspired. In an earlier post I listed some things I wanted to learn, and painting and drawing were included. But now I think I am more interested in experimenting with some other styles-Cornell boxes, found objects and maybe some multi-media work.
Now while I may be inspired to create and my knowledge of art has improved-I am still me. This is the card I bought at the shop across the street….

And I bought a glitter lava lamp at the Village Thrift. What art style is that? Kitsch? Krap?