Red arrows point to the kale, which was quite tall in the fall, but still has green on the end. Is it dead or alive?

It has been anything but a boring winter.

We are pretty much ready for winter to be over, but I am guessing that our wishes shall not be granted. Winter is anything but through with us.

Yesterday, Mikey went into the back yard to scope things out. I have not been behind the garage in some time.

Mike said that the kale seems to still be alive. I don’t know how that is possible, but I need to check it out. It was over four feet tall when I last checked and apparently it seems to be growing from the top. Mike and I agreed that I should cut it down and we should see if it will grow from the bottom.

This weekend is a warm up time and we shall perhaps see more of the snow mountains in a melting mode. I wonder how much of that will disappear.

When I walked Stewie this morning, I was quite wary since the temps were just on the edge of freezing and there was what looked like a thin layer of ice in certain areas. For whatever reason, they were not overly slippery.

Today is a family birthday and we are all excited as our youngest turns three. It is the actual party on the actual birthday, something that does not happen all that frequently.

The in-house plants are all doing very well, with the exception of one orchid. Most all of the other orchids are preparing to bloom. That always brightens the winter days immensely.

Tonight, we are changing the clocks. I continue to rant about time change as it is so very disconcerting and so very stupid, in my opinion. For what we gain, I don’t believe it is worth it. I just wish we would settle in on one time or another and not do a time change. Our internal clocks seem to function whether we like it or not.

Okay, off to the gym!

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Griffing Avenue

From left to right: my mom, Grandpa Bori, me, and Grandma Bori, around 1961.

Some things are ingrained in your memory forever.

12702 Griffing Avenue is up there, the two flat that my grandparents owned when I was growing up. I visited it often. It had a spacious porch in the front with a glider on it. There was a small porch on the back. The second floor was a total copy of the first. They lived on the first floor, tenants on the upper floor. There was a huge, old basement without a sump pump (I didn’t know what one even was until I came to the Chicago area).

The kitchen was a good size with several windows facing the driveway. Off of it was a bathroom with a clawfoot tub and a small bedroom, where my grandfather slept.

The living room was not huge and it was between the kitchen and the front porch. Off of it, separated by several wooden pillars, was another room, maybe originally a parlor, which my grandmother used as her bedroom. It had a nice closet and a window.

My grandfather was a great gardener, taking great care of his concord grapes that hung and grew on a wooden trellis structure that was somewhat like a pergola. You would walk under it as you went to the far back yard. Grass was well taken care of and it was always creeping bent, short and very green. My grandfather never comprehended that there were other types of grass as all of them were cut extremely short like his grass on Griffing.

The driveway was made of fine, white gravel.

Despite my grandfather’s basic talents with anything that grew, he had an annoying habit of pulling out many plants that were not weeds. I think he picked up that habit to annoy my grandmother. He maintained that habit forever, sometimes driving my mom crazy when he pulled out a favorite plant when working at our house.

Despite the small size of the house, we had many a Sunday family dinner and holidays there and somehow, we all fit in and frankly ate like kings.

The home was in the Hungarian, Buckeye Road, area of Cleveland and a very short distance from Shaker Square.

The photo is of me, my mom, and my mother’s parents, people who despite their faults, were very good to me and equally dear. I think of them all the time.

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Ice and falling

So we had a little warm up over the weekend that included lots of warm rain. Is the ice and snow all gone? Far from it, there are still ice mountains left from a major snow over a month ago.

We had a family birthday this weekend and the Chicago dwellers who came in were shocked to see that there was still snow on the North Shore. I am not.

Because of the temps and the state of our sidewalks and streets, I am very wary as I walk Stewie. I have fallen three times this winter and luckily, I am still intact. I don’t want to risk that.

Sidewalks are impassable for the most part and as I look at them from afar, I see numerous patches of ice that frankly scare me.

Outside, I see glimmers of the spring, daffodils that have attempted, during a time of warmth, to push forth to display their blooms. Before they get very far, the cold returns and paralyzes them back into their winter hibernation. I am anxious to see the fruit of my plantings as each fall I plant some more bulbs. I have not made it into a massive planting, but instead one that I can do without going crazy. We all know that I am capable of being very crazy so I am trying to hold myself in check.

I am anxious to calibrate my Apple Watch for my walk. I am not sure that the number of steps that it displays on a daily basis are accurate. I need to do that outside, apparently, and I need to have weather and sidewalks that are ready for a ‘normal walk,’ not one in which I walk like a Grandpa.

It will come soon!

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The Producers

Years ago, I was absolutely spellbound by Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder in The Producers. It was written and directed by Mel Brooks.

I loved it.

Since then, I am pretty sure I have seen it again, and again loved it.

As a play, it is really on when it comes to the current times. It is all about meeting one’s own personal needs, going so far as to attempt to produce a failure of a play in order to do a scam on everyone possible. Scamming people? How is that relevant to life today? Need I explain?

It is about lies and using lies to make money. It is about fascism and using it as a base for your play. Lies are in fashion? Fascism? Oh my God, how relevant this play really is!

When you see the play, you wonder how they ever got away with it, given all the objectionable material contained within. Wearing swastikas, saying “Heil, Hitler!” Yet, it is done in such a way as to make a total mockery of it all. With Mel Brooks, nothing is sacred and because he mocks everything, he is forgiven and his transgressions are allowed.

Chris Jones loved it. We are in total agreement. This is what he said about it, “What I liked best about (Jim) Corti’s production can be summed up in two sentences. His show is fearless, often doubling down where others would demur. And it is brimming with original ideas.”

We laughed from start to finish. A projection of ‘Aurora Strong’ was on the curtain and a collection for families of those killed in the recent massacre was taken. It was a fabulous night of great theatre in a place that is not giving in to the sadness that it has every right to feel. They are moving on. Hopefully, our country shall do the same.

This is not to be missed.


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The Paramount

Last week we were supposed to go see The Producers in Aurora, Illinois. Now Aurora is famous for the massacre that took place a bit ago.

Anyway, we canceled our theatre moment since our son and his wife were both in the throes of a nasty virus and childcare was, well, kind of difficult. Both kids are under the age of four. Mary Kay had taken the kids to the babysitter (where they normally go on that day of the week) and then in the afternoon, since they were truly still under the weather, we picked them up and brought them to our house. They stayed overnight and then the next day was our usual day with them.

So, today we are off to Aurora. We have been to this theatre before, the Paramount and it, all by itself, is worth seeing. Lately, the plays they have been having have been getting great reviews as well.
It takes about an hour to get there, depending on the traffic.

We intend to go a little earlier, valet the car (because it is cheaper than parking elsewhere), and then having a drink. That is a win/win.

Today I had Oakton tutoring, two conversation hours, and then I went to the gym.

The weather has warmed up. The last time I looked it was close to thirty degrees. This morning it was in the twenties. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. The weather is taking a turn for the better? Wait, this is Chicago, after all.

Who can ask for more?

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