More transitioning to Christmas

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/29/16

It has been one busy week.

There have been lots of early morning wake ups.

Tuesday was busy with the kids and I even decorated the kitchen window with the stained glass ornaments.

Thursday found itself exactly the same, up before six and out the door before 6:30 AM.

Kids were with us in our house by 7:30 AM or so.

Within a short period of time, I was out the door with the two year old to pick up milk, as we were in short supply. It was a fun outing and she kept telling me that she was having ‘such a good time!’

Today was a ‘Nutcracker’ kind of day. I pulled out several boxes from the crawl space and put up the cast iron stocking holders for the mantel. I also put up the Nutcrackers and strung some lights on the top of the China cabinet. We are thus one step closer to the Christmas season.

Wednesday was very busy as I had Oakton in the morning and then a play at 1:00 PM in Skokie at the Northlight Theatre. The play we saw was pretty much a last minute decision, “Mary Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley.” I was expecting it to be okay, but it was actually quite good, a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice.” The acting was superb as was the set (made by my former colleague and his wife: Rick and Jackie Penrod. A wonderful job was done by Emily Berman, a former New Trier student, and delightful actress. Her portrayal of Mary Bennett was most compelling and worked very well with the rest of the cast.

We had a great time and then, so as not to unbusy our day, we went to pick up the kids that I had deposited with the babysitter before going to Oakton and then taking them home.

Posted in Grandchildcare, Grandkids, Life in general, Northlight Theatre, Theatre, Thoughts and philosophy | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Active Transportation Alliance and Bike Paths

Highland Park / IL / États-Unis - 11/29/16

Highland Park / IL / États-Unis - 11/29/16

Highland Park / IL / États-Unis - 11/29/16

I belong to the ‘Active Transportation Alliance,’ something that I joined toward the end of my high school teaching career. I heard about it from a colleague, Matt Stuczyinski, when we were talking about riding bikes. It is a group promoting safety for bike riders, walkers, and transit takers.

I received information about what I thought was the reason for the meeting, apparently I was misinformed or confused (probably the latter), and went to the ‘meeting’ in the Highland Park Police Station on Tuesday evening.

I have complained for years about the fact that as forward thinking as the Northern suburbs supposedly are, we have some really ridiculous and less than safe things going on regarding access to bike paths. I live in an area with about three major bike paths going north and south and connected to others. My gripe is that I almost have to get myself killed to get from where I live to one of them. Deerfield Road, that was just pretty much redone, is part of the problem as it has little room for bikers and the sidewalks are not great at all. I had thought that they were going to make a change for bicycle riders in this road transformation, but as far as I can see, that has not happened. Add into that, the way they did the construction, bikers are at an even more serious disadvantage than ever before.

Anyway, recently, one of the bike paths was connected, going from the Highland Park/Glencoe area (Robert McClory Bike Path) and its major bike path to the Botanic Garden in Glencoe. When I had heard about a connection like that, I thought it was the north south bike path nearer me, adjacent to Route 41 (Skokie Valley Bike Path), which ends temporarily at Lake Cook Road. I thought they were going to make the connection between the end and the Botanic Garden, traversing a very dangerous Lake Cook Road intersection with Skokie Boulevard. I was wrong.

When I heard about work and a meeting, I thought that this is what they were going to fix, I was wrong, however. They intend to extend the terminating Skokie Valley Bike Path across Lake Cook Road and terminate there, instead. The intent, apparently, is to extend that at some time in the future to join an existing bike path (why this part was left undone is beyond me). Meanwhile, I think that they need to also connect to the Botanic Garden. Why they would add another terminus is beyond me.

Their idea of a meeting was to put up information and have people there who might answer questions from 5:00 PM to 7:00. I went, and instead of giving my thoughts on paper, I sat down with their assisting court reporter and told her my thoughts.

I am very curious what will ensue.

Posted in Bicycling, Life in general, Safety, Thoughts and philosophy | Tagged | Leave a comment

‘Tell the judge I love my wife.’


The other day, MK and I, instead of doing the Black Friday thing, went to the movies. We saw ‘Loving,’ the true story of interracial love from the 50s. It was the story of a man and a woman in love, going from their home in Virginia to DC to get married, returned home to begin their married life and await the birth of their child, and were soon arrested for miscegenation, illegal intercourse between different races. One watches this movie and is pretty much in a state of disbelief regarding the stupidity of the laws and the time period.

I really enjoyed the movie and the acting. The actors were wonderful as they played the roles of two nice people who fell in love and did the natural thing of getting married and having a family. Ruth Negga played Mildred Loving and Joel Edgerton played Richard Loving. I especially loved the character of Richard, so matter of fact, showing the incredulity of the situation all over his very poker face. He was a simple man and so didn’t understand the situation. At one point, having a beer with black friends, they expressed to him that now perhaps he understood what it is like to be black and being arrested for no apparent reason, as he was, and placed in jail. When asked by his ACLU lawyer if he wanted to attend the Supreme Court hearing, he said, “No.” When asked what might want to say to the Supreme Court, he said, “Tell the judge I love my wife.”

The reason I mention this movie is because I was talking to an attendee of the ESL Conversation Hour the other day. She asked me what I did on Black Friday. We discussed shopping and how I hate the crowds of that day so we opted to go to the movies. She asked me what it was about. I told her. She looked at me with a shocked appearance and one that told me that she figured that she just didn’t understand what I was talking about. It took a lot of explanation to tell her that in the 50s, that it was not possible for an interracial couple to legally wed in many areas of the U.S. She was totally shocked.

We should all be shocked. We should all be so ashamed of our past and embrace the progress we have made and continue to move forward. Recent events have made me feel as if we are on the verge of moving backwards. I hope the good American people react and refuse such inappropriate regression.

Posted in Cinema, Elections, ESL, Hatred, Life in general, Stupidity, Thoughts and philosophy, Tolerance, Uncategorized, Unfairness | Leave a comment

Transitioning from Thanksgiving to Christmas

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/19/16

Thanksgiving is just a few days past and my mind goes to the next step, as it always does, in the seasonal process.

Other things are most certainly omnipresent on my mind and my online petition signing has multiplied like breeding rabbits, but we continue to move on.

I am already thinking about changing out the China cabinet, doing a light cleaning as we move the French dishes from Soufflenheim down below and replacing it with the Christmas dishes from Spode. I have it pretty much down to a science now. Then the ceramic Christmas tree will be pulled out and placed in its usual position and the Christmas lights (all white) will be turned on. Battery operated candles will be in the windows.

It all goes like clockwork.

Cookie making is already on my mind.

Being Santa Claus is also on my mind and I am trying to pull it together so that I am the most effective Santa I can be. The beard is a constant challenge as my desire to control is consistently sidelined as my beard does its thing and refuses to relinquish its hold on my face. I now own a costume and have an old pair of Santa-like glasses and my leather boots.

Despite its hold on us, thoughts of the weather have been sidelined.

Another thought I have and one I shall probably act on today, is setting up my French 102 class (the second one of the beginning series) despite the fact that I only currently have one person signed up for it. January is approaching faster than I would like and I would like to have it up and running. That means syllabus changes and all sorts of online prep. I used to be offered the French 101 but since the Arabic professor is having problems keeping students, she gets first dibs (she was educated in French schools).

If only my mind were not a constant slave to what I have going on in my life!

Posted in Academics, Christmas, Elections, Holidays, Household and yard tasks, Life in general, Oakton, Thoughts and philosophy | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Deerfield Road

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/24/16

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/24/16

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/24/16

Deerfield / IL / États-Unis - 11/24/16

It has been three years now since there has been work going on in Deerfield. Work on the main street of Deerfield, bisecting it into northern and southern quadrants. The first year was minor but annoying work here and there that would disturb traffic in this busy thoroughfare. The second year was more of the same, constantly digging up something and working on it. This year has been the worst, and it is not yet over. This year, however, it has been pretty much down to two lanes, one going in each direction, from late spring on.

It had gotten to the point that we never knew how to get out of our neighborhood, as most of our movement out of Deerfield is in a southerly direction and we are three blocks in from Deerfield Road.

For most of the summer, when I would need to go southeast, which was quite often, I would take a side street east in order to escape the neighborhood.

Trucks, noise, and dust were omnipresent. I managed to destroy a tire and mangle my rim in one unseen pothole that I hit during a rainstorm. The good news is that the construction company (A Lamp Road Builders) is truly stellar. After my ‘incident’ I contacted them and the city and they took care of it and even reimbursed my repair expenses.

I have never, ever seen a company that has been as organized or that has dealt as well as they have with whatever weather or circumstances occurred. Everything was smooth and clear and signage always helped us maneuver through it and their crews were efficient and never wasted time.

The only real problem was Illinois, which for a period of time halted the construction midstream, when funding was lacking. If my memory serves me correctly, we lost over two weeks of construction as their momentum stopped completely and it took easily a week to get back going. Shame on Illinois and its government for that one.

It is almost done; all of the infrastructure replaced and Deerfield has a nice, new concrete road. Driving home is like heaven, now!

Posted in Life in general, Repair, Thoughts and philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment