Friday, December 31, 2010

Fiction friday

The pity in my high school counselor's eyes was almost laughable. Not because it was insincere, but because he felt sorry for the girl on paper, not the girl sitting in front of him. Could he not see through the bullshit either?

Granted, my school is colossal and underfunded, and overall just another shitty urban American high school. Which means that this guy, this Mr. Sherman, doesn't know me from Adam. And probably doesn't know Adam either.

It's true that some of my graduating class will somehow still get admitted to Stanford, or MIT, or one of those other shiny beacons of academia, but it will the tiny minority. Some others will go to a close-by state school, or maybe even  to a UC. But the majority? They're like me, they'll be trying to crash the intro courses at the local community colleges come fall.

So why is it that my mother, and this Mr. Sherman, are so distraught? What's the difference? Does their generation seriously think a degree from some big name school is going to get you anywhere? If you're lucky you'll meet the right people at said big name school, and they might be able to get you somewhere. But the diploma itself? I don't think so.

Yes, my mother is going to have to come to terms with the fact that her pleading with the pediatricians and various specialists over the years, her insistence on my having me secure a "diagnosis" and therefore access to an "individual education plan" was all for naught. (Although I did love how it allowed me to take my tests in a quiet room apart from the rest of the class. I did not miss watching Kevin Colberg pick his nose or Rebbecca Jennings sport cleavage for answers. And the one time my moderator got called away from the testing room I was even able to take a hit from my dugout.)

That's an angle my mother didn't plan on, I'm sure. I have my very own medical marijuana card  (surprise, mom!), all because she insisted that my introverted nature and ability to intensely focus on things was somehow a disadvantage....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bean

There was, apparently, a big blizzard in the northeast last weekend. We experienced none of it; we were in the midwest, where we got 6 inches or 12 inches or who knows, really? Out there they handle the winter with such ease and such aplomb and such quiet efficiency that it doesn't even matter how much it snows.

Except it does make everything look quite fabulous.

Our gracious and illustrious hosts' home, for example . . .

. . . and their lovely 'hood . . .

We woke up to snow every day and oohed and aahed at it . . .

. . . and got on with our snow-covered lives.

And on Monday, that meant heading into Chicago propah.

Chicago's a beautiful city, and although I'm a summertime girl, through and through, I appreciate that Chicago holds its own in its wintertime glory.

I appreciate it and admire it.

Eighteen of us went into the city together that day . . .

. . . and although we look like we're part of a parade or a general mass of humanity in Millennium Park heading toward that gigantic, um, kidney bean, it's just us.

And of course it's not a real kidney bean, it's Cloud Gate, nicknamed The Bean:

Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor's first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city's famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12-foot-high arch provides a "gate" to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives.

Oh, we could see our image all right . . .

. . . and, frankly, when you have 18 people all together, all about to separate into groups to do separate and distinct Chicago-related activities . . .

. . . well, The Bean is a good place to start.

It's a good place to gather and marvel and touch its mirror-like surface and shiver and then diverge and say, "See you for a drinkie-poo later."

And just look at The Bean from underneath:

This is the underside, the omphalos (Greek for "navel"). It's awesomely awesome, as my niece would say.

Speaking of whom . . .

Jacquie's girl and her Uncle Schleckah are great pals . . .

. . . and always have been.

And, wait just one minute, are those ice skates hanging off my shoulder?? Why, yes, I think they are.

And look! It's the ice rink at Millennium Park! Oh, I hope someone has photos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So much

By the time you read this, I'll be on a plane back to the land of single layers of clothing and ground level weather. I've got so much to talk about... too much! I don't even know how to begin to find a starting and ending point for one measly Wednesday post. So, well, I'll just jump on in there, k? k.

Looking through my photos,  I can't help but love all of the group shot attempts; and I find that the discards are often more amusing than the keepers.

Case in point, Grammy and all of  her grandkids:

And then Grammy with her favorite grandkids (shameless attempt to coerce Julie and/or Jane into commenting):

My opinion about the above photo was that my girl was holding her eyes at half mast, so I directed: "Open your eyes!" to these results:

On Christmas morning, those of us fortunate enough to be in positions of power based solely on our age and inclination made much of our right and caused the mere mortals to suffer, perhaps just slightly longer than strictly necessary, until we would agree to let them descend the proverbial (albeit literal) stairway to heaven.

There were older cousins clearly meant to sleep longer staking claim to the head of the stair...


While other,  younger types brought up the hallway passage:

Finally, we relented. It was Christmas, after all. The glory of torturing our young children started to lose its luster, and we let the wild rumpus begin:

Little Miss clothes? Check.

Mustaches? But of course.
Many of us so-called grown ups played the role of spectator rather than that of, ummm, gift opener.

Getting gifts is over rated????

The little boys had themselves an entire arsenal to assemble and enjoy:

The big boys had jungle pants to show off, straight from the jungles of Ecuador (thanks, Quito Grammy!)

We women had beautiful gifts from Ecuador as well, although it was perhaps the first of many roads not taken in terms of your  basic kodak moment, but the thing I keep reminding myself of is that living the moment is, without exception, more rewarding than photographing it.

SO MUCH more to come, so much.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas love

Well we did not have a houseful of peeps on Christmas morning. We had only one beloved guest, none other than nonnie/mom/pat.

We also did not have a yard full of snow.
Gorgeous houses! Looks like you're living in some ritzy northside neighborhood, Jane!
It was in the 60s, and when not actually sunny, still not overly cloudy.

So what do you do when you don't have a lot of peeps to feed and the weather outside is anything but frightful?

You grab your Nonnie and head to the beach to eat dinner oceanside.

All the while indulging in lots of Christmas love.

Hope every one's Christmas wishes came true!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Houseful of Peeps

This is what it looks like with a house full of peeps on Christmas morning:

First, the obligatory snow . . .

. . . and then, the obligatory squeaks of delight upon the unwrapping of the piles of loot . . .

But the best thing of all? Remember how your mom always told you to never throw a ball in the house?

In this house it's sanctioned.