I think most of us forget the importance of noise in our lives. It is omnipresent, always surrounding us. Sometimes it is pleasant and reminds us of things we love. At other times, it is annoying and might even keep us awake.

I thought of this on Friday evening when I sat down to relax and watch some television. The clothes dryer was running and it was affecting my enjoyment of the program.

In the early morning, when walking Stewie, I enjoy hearing the wind rustling through the trees and the other day, I enjoyed the little sparrows chirping in a set of bushes we passed by. The squirrels make noises as well although I don’t readily recognize them as squirrel noises. It seems like it has been a while since I have heard the pleasant chirping of the cardinals and the robins and it has even been a while since I have seen them.

When the wind is moving in the right direction, I hear the train from the east in Highland Park or from the west in Deerfield.

The highway noise at the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe is less than pleasant and about the only downside of the garden.

The summer cicadas unbelievably, jungle-like cacophony has ceased for the season. It can almost be overwhelming when it occurs.

Then there is the sound of the drums, a hobby of Mike’s that resonates throughout the house when he is practicing or jamming with his friend, Jason. As mentioned before, some sounds are soothing and enjoyable and yet others can cause us to literally be driven crazy.

Despite its sometimes being unpleasant, losing your hearing is even worse than putting up with sounds that are unpleasant. Our good friend, Ann Alonzi suffered greatly with hearing difficulties. Mary Kay’s parents had their hearing issues and struggled with hearing aid devices.

A blessing and sometimes a curse, I will go with keeping it.

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The stomach flu is not humorous


Wednesday morning was spent at Oakton where I had Tutoring, Conversation Hour, and Office Hours. I returned home and attended to some things that need doing. Frankly, I cannot believe I am saying this, but I do not remember what. Partzheimer’s or perhaps I did something so boring and mundane that I do not want to remember. I do know that I was not idle, though.

We had planned that MK would join me for my unofficial French class which was going to be held on the Oakton campus. As it turned out, that did not happen as the stomach flu decided to drop in on the Glencoe Koerners and MK ended up making a soup and doing a light provision run and help out with Kelsey, who had not been attacked. This plan in effect had a disastrous effect on the culinary production that evening, I ended up stopping at SuperDawg for dinner.

Thursday morning was busy with baby care and then I went up on the roof to blow off the leaves. It was really bad and it appears that the locusts have pretty much done their stuff. The mini-twigs connecting the leaves have fallen, the trees are pretty much done, and the mess is sitting on the gutters, seemingly unwilling to drop to the ground. The blower helped out with that and then I had the domino effect mess on the ground, on the patio, on the stoop, and pretty much everywhere. The lawn mower was pulled out and I mulched up the tree droppings.

Then off to Glencoe to help out since it was felt that Samantha should stay home from school although she was well enough by the afternoon to take a quick gymnastics’ class.

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It is humerus!


I do not know why, but the humerus bone has played an important part in our lives for so many years. Unfortunately, it has not been a humorous situation. The humerus bone is the bone that travels from the shoulder to the elbow and as we found out early on, very difficult to deal with if it breaks.

I remember that summer day when I received a call that Mary Kay had taken a major fall off the back stoop. Richie, who was quite young at the time (and if I were Mary Kay, I would remember his exact age) called 911 for her. This was no small break. Apparently she somehow tripped while wearing flip-flops and took a plunge off the stoop. Instinctively, as we determined later, she turned so that her head would not be the main recipient of the impact. He arm was. The bone was so well hit that there was nothing large enough to even put pins in, it had pretty much shattered. There were several different options for recovery but the first thing was that she was forced to wear a sling and even had to sleep on an armchair with her arm hanging down. A cast was not even a consideration. Once it started healing and growing back together, decisions had to be made. Despite an early prognosis of losing much mobility, MK kind of blew the physical therapist’s mind as she was able to relearn to do so much of what she had lost (after not doing an activity involving muscles for a certain amount of time, the brain has to make re-connections to do it again). The issue was the shape of the arm itself, which had morphed some. The funny thing is that unless you were looking for something, it really was not very noticeable. The orthopedic surgeon had maintained that you could choose between appearance and mobility. Obviously a mother of three boys needed mobility. Luckily, she did beautifully and even managed to go on our annual summer trip to Eagle River (and I cannot, to this day, figure out how she did it).

Yesterday, MK’s mom apparently fell out of her wheelchair. By the end of the day, they figured she had done more damage than originally thought and she was taken to the ER. She is no stranger to that room or to taking an ambulance and once there the prognosis was a fracture of the humerus. The next question is how to treat it. They opted for little and the usage of painkillers. We are hoping that she will be easily treated, as that has not always been the case, and at ninety-five, she will not suffer a great deal.

Once again, the humerus brought about a less than humorous situation.

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Three girls and a Papi


Vacuuming the floors has been interminable this season and seemingly even more than normal. Since we have our grandchildren daycare situation, we especially try to keep our living room carpet and the carpet in the family room nice and clean. Between the dog and the infamous locust trees, it is very easy to have to vacuum more than once a day.

Today was one of several days each week where it is three girls and a Papi. Okay, there is a Grandma as well, and even an Uncle Mikey from time to time, but first there is the vacuuming and then there are the kids.

Today went really well, we are getting a good mojo for all of this. It is a juggling act at times, and at the end of the day, you are really tired. It is a good tired.

The weather was cool and it is decidedly fall.

Stewie had spent from about 10:00 to 3:00 PM at the doggie salon; the house seemed so strange without him and Samantha. He came back all fluffed up.

Right around dinnertime we got a call from the nursing home that MK’s mom had fallen. They had called earlier and we knew that she had fallen out of the wheelchair. Now they wanted to take her to the hospital as my mother-in-law was still in pain. We have to be careful that they do not do ridiculous procedures to her that might end up being more torture than anything. As it turns out, MK’s mom has a slight fracture of the humerus bone in her arm. There is not much they can do other than give pain killers.

Thus ends a day of three girls and Papi.

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Oh, Chicago!


Downtown on a beautiful fall Monday after an early morning shower and storm that made me rethink my clothing, wondering what I should be wearing to avoid looking as if I had been outside in a shower. As it turned out, my early morning, sleep-infused, storm-time rethinking was meaningless as the day turned out beautifully and I needed not even think about it.

The reason for the downtown meeting is that MK and I are now members of the Board of the Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival, a group that supports the continued involvement of the Chicago Community in the theatre events that go on up north. We have attended a benefit for this group for several years now and one of the reasons for the benefit is to support scholarship and internship opportunities for actors.

We left around ten for a noon meeting, not sure where the roads were going to take us as traffic to and from downtown Chicago is pretty unpredictable. It used to be that you knew with certainty of times that were good for travel, now it always seems to be up for grabs. As it happened, we were in an Intelligentsia Café well before 11:00 AM.

We went to the meeting, which lasted an hour and then went to lunch with several of the members.

The trip home was relatively smooth although it looked as if we were going to get into a bottleneck situation. I headed to Winnetka to do some tutoring before returning home.

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