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Stupid Howloween

I thought a lot about this post. Would I just post photos and be done with it? Would I write a happy little piece of fluff about dogs in costume? Or would I bare it all, exposing us for the poor losers that we are?

Today we went to a doggie howloween party. We do not believe in entering a costume contest in a store bought outfit. Sure, Lilo has about 20 costumes that we pick up on clearance after Halloween, but those are just for photo ops and my amusement. When we enter a contest we enlist the whole tribe as you can see on doggie easter and previous Halloweens. Two years ago John was a sheik and Lilo and I his harem girls. This year we went as a hippie family band.
We had Canyon’s music class this morning and a trip to Costco so we were on a tight schedule to get to the park on time and in costume. But we made it happen. The registration was 1:15pm-2pm and the contest following at 2pm. Well the party was unorganized and they decided to wait for late comers pushing the contest to 2:30pm. I managed to get a whole family in costume and get there on time but I have to sit and wait for another 40 minutes for someone to show up with their dog in a store bought costume? Whatever. We tried to relax, but John needed to get to work so the pressure was on. Finally the home made costume section starts and we are feeling pretty good. Whole family, a bit of performance-we are thinking this should be easy. I mean Lilo in a wig! With a tambourine!
They considered announcing the winners then but decided no, we would sit through the store bought category. Fine, John still had a small window of time to get to work. Lots of confusion, etc and they finally announce the winners. Third place went to two fluffy little dogs-one wore rabbit ears and was a Dust Bunny and the other had a sign that Swiffer. Second place went to a store bought hot dog costume that had added one of the vet cones-Coney Dog. And first place went to Doggy Gaga. Ah yes. The puns and joke costumes won. I admit it, we felt robbed. This happened to us one other year. We worked a long time on Lilo’s costume and then they gave the prizes to two store bought outfits and a dog named Xyla with a phone around it’s neck. Xylaphone. Next year we are just going to dress Lilo in a hula skirt and tie a stuffed Stitch doll to her neck. Lilo and Stitch. Done. I will give credit to Doggy Gaga though.
I feel bad about being a poor sport and need to make sure that we work on that once Canyon is old enough to realize that we are being poor losers. It should be about fun, doing things as a family and dressing up in goofy costumes, not about winning a prize. But oh we do like winning. And prizes. And that puppy in a bee costume…


1994. The Refrigerator Story.

My first apartment was on Third Street, right below the ghetto Spur and the Casa De Roma in Duluth MN. I had lived at home until I was 21, finally moving out of my mothers house because my coworker on the railroad had a spare bedroom and I had a new boyfriend. It was time.
One of my favorite tasks of my new found independence was grocery shopping. I distinctly remember my first trip up the hill to Cubs Foods and how exciting it was to buy my own food, make my own choices, plan my own meals. I had a well-stocked fridge and one day noticed something odd. I pulled out a bag of Lenders Onion Bagels and noticed that the bag was a little torn. Then I realized it wasn’t torn, but that something had taken little bites out of them. At first I thought maybe my family dog Baby had done it. She was visiting the last time I went shopping, maybe she had tasted things as I had them sitting on the floor, waiting to go in the refrigerator. But they were just little nibbles and seemed to small for a medium sized dog. I started to pick up other items and noticed the same thing, itty bitty little bites. I started tossing items to the kitchen floor, more tears, more holes, more bites. Finally I worked my way down to the crisper and opened the drawer. There in the bottom corner, happily munching on a kiwi was the biggest, fattest, furriest mouse I had ever seen. He was more like a teddy bear hamster than a mouse. He looked up at me in shock, blinking in the light. I squealed “MOUSE!”, slamming the fridge door. My boyfriend was in the bathroom and came out running. “There’s a mouse in the refrigerator!” He opened the door and pulled out the crisper-no mouse! Then we looked closer and saw it, stretched out in the upper corner between the crisper and the shelf. That must have been its hiding place when the light came on-pressing itselff up into the corner like a jewel thief trying to avoid a laser security system.

My boyfriend was a Minnesota boy who had just returned home from the Marine Corps-I am not sure which of these details contributed more to what came next. He walked into my bedroom and grabbed a winter glove, and then went into the refrigerator and searched out the mouse. I think most people would have just thrown the mouse outside, or put it in a box and released it somewhere further away. He crushed it to death in his hand. Why I did not see this as a potential warning sign for our relationship I do not know. This would not be the first rodent to die a violent death during our time together.

We never figured out how the mouse got in, but we did realize he had been there awhile. My cardboard container of eggs that I had thought was just disintegrating was really being gnawed at to make a nest. He was furry, but I am sure it was a challenge to survive in the ice box. Then again, it was winter in Minnesota-maybe he was just trying to get warm.

Mice in weird places seems to be a theme in my life. Another mouse story from 1981…


“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” Frank Lloyd Wright


What can I say? I am spoiled. I know it. I got to spend this glorious day, probably one of the last great days of fall, outside with friends, my baby and my dog. It really doesn’t get much better.

We started off at Karin’s place by the lake. Damn it would be nice to live so close to the beach. Unfortunately we are not condo people and there were no single family homes in our price range 5 years ago. But at least now we have friends by the water!
Friends who bury your hand…
After lunch it was naptime for Luella so Lilo, Canyon and I piled back in the KIA to head home. “NO!” My soul cried. it was too beautiful a day to go back to the house so we put on some Gipsy Kings and turned right, down Sheridan Road to Wilmette. October 10, 2007 was the last time we crashed the rich people dog beach so I figured it was time for a visit.
There is just something nicer about the rich people parks. No grafitti, no homeless people, no teenagers. Just old rich people, really nice dog owners and women with expensive baby carriages-and not nannies-real moms!
Even the trees felt more welcoming. For some reason I felt like I could just stand in front of this tree for hours, waiting for the last little leaf to fall. It was the kind of tree where the leaves make this rattly, kind of tinkly sound as they blow off. It really was just magical.
We crashed the dog beach and just walked around for a few hours. Of course the magic ended when I was driving around the suburbs trying to find the highway. Which I found, at rush hour. By the time we got home we were all starving and exhausted. But such a day!

Oh and did I forget to mention? The little man is 8 months old today!


A Big Day In The City

I invest a lot of time and energy missing a life more wild, woodsy or rural-mainly Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota area. I read the Duluth News Tribune on-line, check out Duluth centered blogs, have Minnesconsin internet friends that I kind of know more about than my local ones. I stock up on Alakef Coffee (roasted in Duluth by one of those above mentioned Minnesota friends), english muffin toasting bread, locally brewed beers and various other Northland food items that I can’t get in Chicago. I decorate my home with northern artists, driftwood and Lake Superior rocks. I basically spend a lot of time wishing I was there, rather than the city of Chicago.

Then there are days when I embrace my big cityness and take advantage of some of the wonderful things Chicago has to offer. This morning John had to be down at the Hancock Building for a market research study so Canyon I tagged along for the ride downtown. It’s free day at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I have not been for ages and was excited to go explore. The first thing I noticed as we rolled up to the museum is that the steps were swarming with hipsters and faux New Yorkers. Infested. They must have been drawn like hornets to the free admission and farmers market out front. It was a little intimidating. I kind of wanted to take a picture but it felt rude to photograph them-as if my photo for mocking purposes would steal what little soul they had left.

We enter through the bottom and try to make our way through the crowds of school children there for the free field trip. These groups were everywhere, sitting on the floors of the museum listening to art talk from the college student staff. We start off on the 2nd floor. It’s interesting to watch the rude looks a baby in a stroller gets. Now Canyon is clean, quiet and totally adorable so he was not asking for attitude. Through our entire museum journey the only sound he made was the crickle crackle of his toys that he was playing with to keep himself entertained. I wish I had brought toys for me because the museum was really, really confusing and dull. I felt so lame because I just didn’t get it. And what I did get, I just didn’t care about. I did not feel challenged, moved or enthralled. It was like that song from A Chorus Line, because I dug right down to the bottom of my soul to see what I had inside. And I felt nothing except the feeling that that bullshit was absurd. Canyon was not impressed.
We did both like the mobile exhibit and I am thinking about getting one for the house. Our last stop was the museum store kids section. Some nice stuff but damn was it expensive. I did get a kick out the fact that I had just bought this $15 item for .25 at a rummage sale last weekend. And this for $2 and a $25 wooden alligator for $3 earlier in the summer.
So out we went to the farmers market for fresh goodies to take home and puree for baby. I also picked up parsnips because they made them on Hell’s Kitchen and it sounded like something I could make. I may not be ready for 2 lamb, 1 beef and 1 wellington, but I can puree a parsnip.

John joined us and we decided to check out the playground in front of the museum. You know how Canyon loves swings!

As we were leaving John said, “So have you had enough of your New Yorker moments?” And he was right! It did feel a lot like New York downtown-the museum, the market, the people-even the kids in the playground! We then had the sad task of dropping John off at work. I love that he has an income but I hate that he can’t play with us all day! On the way home I got sucked into the vortex of Whole Foods. I have managed to stay out of one for months now, knowing that it is impossible to escape without spending a ridiculous amount of money on delicious foods. But as Derek posted on my Facebook page-
“expansive in its pretentiousness”. I guess pretentiousness was the real theme of my urban adventure because I ended up spending $50 on the salad bar and 1 small bag of groceries. But damn I love that Hot Bar and Salad Bar. I had some delectable butternut squash peruvian stew, a little piece of fish, some noodles and then a separate container of delicious cold salad items. Yes, I got a little carried away but I have a lot left for lunch tomorrow. I also should have thought through the bringing home chicken and bacon for Lilo off the bar-at $7.99 a lb those ounces added up!

And last stop on my urban adventure was meeting Patti for dinner at Yoshi’s Cafe. I love Yoshi’s but I haven’t been there since I left BMG. I stopped by once over the summer to introduce them all to Canyon, but we didn’t stay for dinner. Tonight was like coming home to family. Someday I will write a post about our long history with this place, but that time is not now. Let’s just say that we walked with in and it was like Norm walking into Cheers. The staff dropped everything to come over and give me a hug and to meet our little Man (who was a saint in his nice restaurant debut). My martini’s were dirty and blue cheese stuffed, amazing sushi and wagyu beef burgers with rosemary fries. Yoshi even came out of the kitchen to say hello. We tried to turn down desert but Nobuko (Yoshi’s wife) had them make up little mini versions of my favorite because they know how much I love it. All of that and we got to spend time with Patti who lives in Boston. She’s the kind of friend who not only didn’t mind when Canyon spit up on her, she also didn’t judge us for asking that her left over beef be wrapped up for Lilo (that doggie was pretty spoiled today Whole Foods salad bar and wagyu beef!)
All in all, it was a pretty good Chicago day. But I still wish we lived in the woods. Or on a lake. Or in the country…


“Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” – Author Unknown

Today was another beautiful October day and my first instinct was to get work done around the house. We still haven’t put out the Halloween decorations, huge sections of tree still need to be carved up out back and some of the summer yard decor is still out. There was laundry to do, floors to scrub, meals to prepare.

Instead we went to Gomper’s Park.

I know we made the best choice.


Oh It Is Pretty Outside

The sun has returned and we are back out and about. On Sunday we headed over to Horner Park to check out the pumpkin patch. The pumpkin patch was just a fenced off area with a box of pie pumpkins. You paid $3 to pick one out. We did not, and since Canyon is a little young for face painting and bean bag toss games we just went for a walk and played ball with Lilo.
Oh and maybe I took a few pictures.



For Those About To Walk…We Salute You

Yesterday at music class all the daddies came, not just John and the other John. It made me happy, to see all of these men singing and dancing with their kids.
For Those About to Walk…We Salute You
We sang songs about things in the sky and bumble bees and there was a story about hummingbirds.
It’s a mighty fine way to spend a Saturday morning.


Way Back When The Sun Still Shone…Tuesday.

Some days I don’t mind the rain so much. Cold, rainy days give me the excuse to just let John take the car to work and we camp out in the old compound. Nice days demand my attention and force me to gear up the dog and baby to head out to the lake or the park. Tuesday was a nice day. We went to the lake.

It was no Minnesota autumn day, but it still felt good.

This is my new favorite photo…