Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 miles Purple Swingset

No, the title is NOT the name of the hottest rockband or lost memories of a bad drug trip. Although having recently found a band call "Don't Wake Aislin" I should research before I articulate. I digress.

Phew! What a busy Memorial Day weekend it was for me! I met my goal of running in the Soldier Field 10 miler. My goal was to run the race under 1:40:00 (10 minute miles) and not to stop. I ran it in 1:35:00 (9 1/2 minute miles). Woo hoo! It was a looooooong run. But the weather was gorgeous that day in Chicago and made it that much more enjoyable.

Observationally, I'll have to say that every woman in that race was pretty fit. There were no fatties. I mention this because sometimes I really feel like a fatty (I have inherited a genetically big bootay and large calves) - a pear shaped lower body. I'd make a good tight end if I were a guy. At any rate, I notice socially degerate things like what people look like in a 10 mile race. So sue me.

I came away from the deal with two huge, quarter-sized blisters on my arches and some sore leg muscles. So what did I do? Hobbled and rode my new electric razor scooter all over the neighborhood! That scooter saved the day - and did I have a BLAST! It's pretty zippy! Just don't try to carry a latte and a bag and operate the brake and throttle. Backpack required! I am installing a cup holder! :-)

As my kids napped, I hit Home Depot (why? ugh - it was a zoo) and bought some dark puple paint for Indi's room. We (Indi and I) painted one wall very dark purple. She and Aislin both LOVE it! My plan is to stencil something fun on it like graffitie or cartoon characters they like.

There's more folks! Thanks to Gramma B for buying the girls a swingset for their upcoming birhtdays. The excitement level in those kids was thru the roof! It was so sweet to witness. Here is a video of Indi riding her swing for the first time. Of course putting the thing together wasn't finished until dark - but it all got done before bedtime! The video is bad - very dark, but the audio is enough to raise the dead. Unadulteratled blissful joy. Sounds like a good Memorial Day to me!

Oddities and Incomplete Polydactyly

My college Genetics course is really paying off these days. Recently, I went to a local hand car wash. One of the car washers, a Mexican young man named Jorge, rang up the charges. As I handed him my credit card, I noticed he had not one, but TWO, thumb tips. I did a double take. I've seen typical presentations of polydactyly (more than 10 toes or fingers) as well as "corrected" ones. They too cause one to do a double-take; rub your eyes and silently ask "did I just see 6 fingers on that hand - something is awry". That wasn't the case this time, there was no doubting it - Jorge had a double thumb tip on one hand. His other thumb appeared normal.

I happened to have my camera in my new Ghetto-fabuolous silver wristlet purse. When do I 1) every carry a purse WITH my camera in it?(weddings and funerals) and 2) how often do you meet someone with two thumbs? I had to get a photo of this!

I am a curious person but didn't want to make him feel odd. As I waited in the lobby for the car to get washed I rationalized how I could approach this issue with Jorge. I worked over many justifications: "hey, that's how God made him, God don't make junk", "I could lie and tell him I'm a doctor and am interested in it medically", I'm looking pretty cute today, maybe I don't need a reason". Personally after mercilessly suffering the persecution of my sisters over acne, freckles, leg fat I thought Jorge may have had it rough in his life because of that double thumb! Maybe not, but he seemed very shy and my heart went out to him. I didn't think he was a freak - just unique. Very interesting.

When Jorge returned to the office area, I simply asked him if I could look at his thumb (aren't you proud that I took the direct approach?). He was shy about it. His English was poor. But he let me look at it and even touch it! (looking back, I think I should've shaken his hand as a offer of acceptance, introduction)! It felt like a normal thumb. It's as if the bones above the top knuckle thought they were tree branches and split into two.
My brief interview with Jorge revealed that he had feeling in both tips and was born with it. I don't know about you, but I think having inherited bad facial acne is far more humiliating than a double thumb. Jorge was nice but very reserved about the whole thing. And because he wasn't a day over 18 and feeling so vulnerable, I felt bad. I thanked him with a big smile and put an extra buck in the tip box. When my car was finished Jorge told me I could take more photos outside. He asked why I was interested. I didn't know the Spanish word for curiosity, so I said "por la ninas. Es muy, muy interesante". OK<>

See for yourself. If you're squeemish or plan to be hatin' on my friend Jorge, don't look. If anyone visits Norwood Car Wash on North Foster Ave in Chicago, keep an eye out. Maybe he'll let you play thumb war.
This sign was posted at the Car Wash. I found the graphics hilarious! They should change the caption and put the signs up in Charismatic churches! "CAUTION" and people figure out the rest.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Big Thrills

I got a great deal on an electric razor scooter ($10) at a yard sale - very thrilling! The battery only holds a charge for - literally - 5 minutes but it was a fun 5 minute ride! My oldest daughter (Indi, 5) geared up with her bike helmet and I took her for a ride. She thought it was OK and wanted to get off. I think Ais (2 yrs) was roaring to go. Sorry Ais - like Maria in Sound of Music sang to Gretel: "wait a year or two."

So what does a curious person such as myself do when their awesome yard sale purchase isn't quite up to snuff? Fix it! Of course, I opened her up. There were two screws that weren't budging despite using penetrating oil (how cool am I to remember to use that!). I got lucky and was able to access the batteries under the footplate without removing the screws. For all you haters out there, yes I did get bitten -but just a small jolt. I touched the reset button from the charged side, unwittingly. Luckily removing the batteries was easy although I'm perplexed about how to separate the connectors without breaking the plastic receptor. ?? It's like something they only teach in the boys room.

Fortunately for me there is an old battery place just down the street: Illinois Battery. It's a shabby old building I've driven past a thousand times. I didn't even realize it is still in business. I didn't think I'd ever need a place like that! But the Razor Corporation was OUT OF STOCK on these rechargable batteries. Crazy. Good ol' Google to the rescue!

OK, so my $10 yard sale find is now a $60 investment. A new electric scooter retails for $350 - so I feel I'm still ahead of the game financially. And I feel like I'm fulfilling part of my destiny or at least playing to my strengths: courage and hard work.

All this open air cruising makes me hanker for a motorcycle again. I have the worst luck buying bikes tho. They always need so much expensive work!

Anyone got a decent bike they want to sell me? I've got the cash and am ready for the open road! Until then, I'm on a "thrill diet" - I'll have to survive with my low-power electric scooter until I get my own hog (or Japanese hog)! Woof!

*no duct tape was harmed in the course of this repair

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What do Stay-at-Home-Moms Do Anyways

Instead of flat out bragging about my kids. I'll just display them here. I feel very blessed to live in such a charming and neat urban neighborhood.

I recently found out that there is a rock band out of Dallas, TX named "Don't Wake Aislin". I thought I made up the spelling of Aislin - albeit not that creatively. Crazy! Anyone heard of this band?

Aislin's turn with Mom while Indi was at school. Aislin loves to run and be free!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kid's Semiotic

I had the great pleasure of teaching art to kids this past Saturday. The Children and Families Ministries director, Melissa Bareford, put together a great morning of Art for kids Pre-K thru 7th grade. The photo has cups of crushed wax crayons in them. It was a melted crayon art project. My friend, super Mom, Dr. Melissa Bareford (she's gonna roll her eyes that I included Dr.) crushed all the crayons using her husbands coffee grinder! Needless to say, it's now dedicated to "crayons only". Her husband was cool about it tho. But I'd be careful he knows how to sword fight for real (so cool).

We had less numbers than we had hoped but all was not lost. Many kids from the church, including my own, attended and made numerous art projects! I began with a simple lesson in color theory. The kids made their own color wheels out of vanilla wafers and colored icing. Mixing their own secondary colors - of course! (Colors are related!) Because the turnout was less than expected, the little kids got to do this exercise with the "big kids". After our "experiment", everyone got to create a painting with acrylics. Snaps again to my friend David at the Palette & Chisel. We used more of the acrylic paints he gave to my girls. He's influencing children's art all over the place! Thanks Dave! More pics to come next week when we have the "Kid's Semiotic Gallery".

Kid's Semiotic Gallery will be free to the viewing public at:

First Evangelical Free Church

5255 N Ashland AveChicago, IL 60640

Sat., May 17, 2008


Beverages and kid-friendly appetizers will be served. Drop on by!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Filming with Chicago Tonight

If you've never checked out the Plein Air Painters of Chicago's artwork, geesh, you must only be looking at the pictures on this blog.

Great news, Chicago Tonight is doing a little story on us! It airs on Tuesday, May 20th at 7pm. It will be during an art segment somewhere in the show. They did interview me but there's no guarantee they will use the footage.

The founder of the PAPC, Scott Tallman-Powers (that's us in the photo) even took time from his busy jet-set artsy lifestyle to come out and join us once again. This is the first time I met him in the 9 months I've been painting with the PAPC. He's a great guy and kick butt painter. He had some great critique info. I wish he was around more often. I know many do. Check out his stuff, it's phenomenal! Wow.

OK, back to being on TV. I'd like to brag that I worked my booty off trying to get CT to come out to film us. I got extremely lucky. My friend, Stephanie Zimmerman, aka The SunTimes' columnist "The fixer" gave me the number of a producer at the show that she knew and I took it from there. Five snaps up Steph! You rock. I put together some slick marketing info from some of the 50+ artists in our group and pitched my best fastball. It went before a committee at CT and we were accepted. I thought that would be the hardest part of all this. The hard part was trying to accommodate so many moving parts -- being the artist's schedules. We set dates and times, got canceled last minute once and rescheduled another (on our end) and finally hit a grand slam by filming yesterday in the blazing, glorious day!

Chicago Tonight correspondent, Eddie Arruza, and cameraman, Roy, joined us on a special paint out at Wicker Park on Tues, May 6. What a gorgeous summer day it turned out to be. I even got a little sunburned. We had plenty of our "painting rockstars" come out on a school day - many took off from work or just plain ol' called in sick. Gotta love artists. Nothing like giving your boss the hi-ho (I was going to say "the finger") and spending a summery, sunny day in the park. Trees and flowers were in full bloom and the water fountain was fountaining.

I got caught up in some administrative tasks but did get to paint a little. I had to calm myself down. Things can go wrong really fast with so many people and civic organizations.

Overall this was a momentous occasion for our humble group of painters. I hope you will tune in to see the segment! Better yet, be sure to buy up some paintings while you can still afford them! Chicago Tonight on WTTW (PBS) May 20, 2008 7pm. I'm the hot blonde who isn't painting.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Art at any age

Indi holding Ais's artwork.

My kids have the great opportunity of participating in a Kids-only art show at The Gring Cafe in Lincoln Square. We had a fab time making our collages. Both girls started by cutting up old slick newspapers into squares. Sketched out a real shape and then glued the paper to white cardstock paper along the shape they just drew. They then colored in the space around the subject using oil pastels. Finally, they covered the entire painting in gel gloss. Indi was fascinated that the gel gloss went on white but dried clear!

We hit the road to check out the display at Grind Cafe. Indigo was so excited when she walked in proclaiming "there it is!". We also saw some art from some of our other friends. I'm so proud.