More thoughts on being Santa

We arrived too early at the Casa Central – La Posada in Humboldt Park. The bad news is that we were at the wrong location; we were supposed to be at Kedzie and Evergreen in Humboldt Park but were actually at California and Evergreen instead. We talked to the person in charge and rectified our mistake. Even though I had been there last year, I hadn’t paid attention, being in my Zen-Santa prep mode, I think. When I went online, I came up with the California address and not the Kedzie one. The same thing happened to the rest of us. Nonetheless, we were only a few minutes away.

We arrived and unloaded the huge amount of gifts (we had sixteen plus kids to take care of) and extra clothing for the shelter. There were six of us and it took several trips to actually empty the Oakton van.

Once in, we saw the venue, all decorated for the event, and spoke to the person in charge. She said that the kids were in another basement room and were preparing for us. She started setting up the ‘buffet’ of chicken wings and barbecued beef. She had coffee for us and water or apple cider for the kids.

Once they came in, after some seriously hysterical ‘ho ho hos’ on my part, things commenced. When the kids walked in, one of them immediately ran up to me and gave me a hug. That set the mood. I walked around and talked to the kids who told me that I was too thin, and had no comment for my beard. I told them that Mrs. Claus had set me up on a fitness kick, since I was overweight. Regarding my beard, they never touched it; it was one of the adult helpers who asked if she could, lol. The kids had three songs to sing for us, one of them being Feliz Navidad. They did a great job with them.

We then had them eat while I walked around and spoke to pretty much each and every kid. It seemed that no one was older than eleven or so. Many of them were very shy and needless to say, they were very excited. There were a few kids who were not able to come and their gifts were set aside. There were a few additions and we were prepared for that scenario and took care of them.

Then I sat by the tree while their names were read and each child came up and received the gifts passed to me by the Oakton helpers, all decked out in Santa and Elf hats. We paused and had a photo taken, all of the kids being reminded that they could stand next to me or sit on my lap, if they so desired. Most of them were so excited with the gifts (which are personalized since they had ‘written Santa’ with their wants and needs which were then taken care of by Oakton people) that they could not even think about the photos, they had to be reminded.

After that, we pretty much shut down the event and I went to turn myself back into what some have called ‘my biker look.’

It was an amazing event and we all had a great time.

Posted in Life in general, Oakton, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

On playing Santa

I was reminded the other day that there are other people wanting to play Santa for Oakton. Evelia told me of the guy who keeps asking her if he can do it. He tells her that he has a really great beard to put on. She keeps reminding him that she has someone who has the real thing, me.

Today is the day.

I am writing this from the kids’ home, waiting for everyone to get up so I can whisk them to our house in this sixteen-degree weather. It was very cold on our trip here and I am thinking of running out and warming up the car a bit more. I don’t know when, however, number two is getting up.

My hands and feet were freezing. I took Stewie for a short walk and then got in the car to come over. Murphy helped me out by sitting on my stocking feet, warming them a bit before I went upstairs to retrieve charge #1. We got him cleaned up and in fresh clothes and came down to play with the Brio train.

It is very quiet here.

Luckily, last night, I tried on my Santa outfit, figured out how to position the two little pillows, and found a bag to stuff it all into. I got some white acrylic paint for my eyebrows that are way too dark for the job. Right before lunch, I head to Oakton to prepare for the event, having lunch there and then setting off for the Casa Central, la Posada. I think I am ready, having been in beard training all year.

I need some coffee. I won’t get that until I go home with the kids. Wait, I think I hear feet upstairs. It may be happening sooner than I thought!

Posted in Holidays, Oakton Community College, Thoughts and philosophy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As the bile rises and thoughts about sealing…

I am sure that this has not happened to anyone else. I had a plan for this post and proceeded to forget it. I am guessing that it will come to me as I am writing.

The semester is over for me and I have turned in my grades. I had my second last day at Oakton for the year and tomorrow I will go in and then go to the Casa Central and do my performance as Santa Claus. All of that work growing and maintaining my beard has to work for something.

Today started with me sealing the new grout on the work we recently had done. Yesterday, when the kids went down (or we at least tried with the youngest – he did not sleep at all despite putting him down for a nap twice), I pulled out the paint brush and touched up the main bathroom and painted the area surrounding the grouting as well as touched up the woodwork around the door frame and the molding by the floor.

I had a busy day, what with French and ESL conversation hours and my last office hour of the season. I went to the gym, came home, and finished sealing. I am not sure whether it will only be one coat.

In other news, I am so thankful that there is a God. Alabama did not choose that vile excuse for a human being who was running for the Senate. Another democratic senator will make it more difficult for the current régime to continue its program of eradicating progress from the history books. In my life, I have never experienced the political bile like this, I see them on television or in newspapers or magazines and I feel it rise, making me very angry.

I never did figure out what I was going to write about…

Posted in Life in general, The Scandal of the 2016 Presidential Elections, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Snow and ice!

It is seventeen degrees out, not what I deem to be the perfect dog-walking day.

Walking was complicated by two things, the ice and the lack of sidewalk cleaning. In some ways, it is better when the sidewalks are cleaned because when cleaned, the snow that is left often melts a bit before freezing, creating a slick surface.

I found myself walking on the lawns much of the time, which is safer than attempting to deal with the iciness of the sidewalks. The sidewalks by our house are difficult since they are so narrow and I am always happy, on garbage days, to hit the next block since their sidewalks are normal.

Stewie was unaffected by the walk, my hands, despite the leather gloves, were starting to feel the cold and I was glad to get back.

Taking the garbage and recycling out last night was annoying as the small amount of wet snow that had just fallen made it next to impossible to pull out the receptacles. I was quite surprised, as I was driving home, about the snow. It started snowing as I left my tutoring gig and got successively worse as I drove. By the time I got off the highway, we were traveling at about 40 mph. I was afraid to go faster. At the beginning, the snow was not sticking but very quickly that changed. I ended up pushing the thirty-three degree snow off of the driveway since I moved the cars and didn’t want to drive over the snow. I knew it was going to get colder and I visualized days and days of icy ridges formed all over the driveway making walking very difficult.

Luckily, during the night, no more snow fell. That, on top of the slightly wet, then frozen snow, would have been awful.

This is a good day for a book by the fire with a good book but that is not to happen.

Posted in Border Collie, Life in general, Meteorology, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Wicked 2017!

‘Elphaba’ without her green face.


There are not a lot of plays I have seen multiple times, at least not three times. Wicked is one of them and this was the third time.

I must confess that the first time I really didn’t understand or really love it. Our seats were high up in a balcony and I should have done some homework. The second time sealed the deal.

The third time was perfection. I don’t know if it was just me, but I thought that this production was extraordinary. We were sitting way back on the main level, but the visual was excellent and unobstructed and the sound quality top notch. The acting, in my estimate, was wonderful; I didn’t see the need for improvement for any of the characters. The set was superb and worked beautifully for the performance. It just all came together. Apparently, Chris Jones, of the Trib, agrees.

The group was composed of Mary Kay, three daughters-in-law, Samantha, our oldest grandchild, and me. Needless to say, all were excited about this event and it went flawlessly from start to finish. We had purchased ParkWhiz or SpotHero, parked across the street from the Goodman Theatre, and walked around the corner to the Oriental Theatre.

I have to say that the best part of it all was after the play. Samantha loves theatre, has done some acting herself at the age of 8, and even recently played Miss Hannigan in Annie. She was very interested in going to the Stage Door and waiting to see the actors to get an autograph. We were lucky to have spoken to the Wizard of Oz (Tom McGowan), Elphaba (Mary Kate Morrissey), and Glinda (Ginna Claire Mason). These three theatre reps truly sealed the deal for me.

They were more than willing to take time to talk to a young person (and to me and Samantha’s mom), respond to questions, offer advice, and just be nice human beings. Ginna Claire Mason even took the time to say that her first time seeing Wicked was at the same theatre, she was 13, and she said she was going to play Glinda. She talked of the importance of getting a liberal arts college degree, of going to a school (like her alma mater of Elon) where one could avail oneself of things like Study Abroad, and spoke of her parents, one of whom was originally from Chicago (she is from Nashville). Her parents were there, looking proudly on, and more than patient. My heart was truly warmed by the congeniality of the actors who were more than willing to give of themselves, even after a heavy-duty performance.

This was a great day and event for the Koerner family.

Posted in Grandkids, Life in general, Oriental Theatre, Theatre, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment