Thursday, November 29, 2007

Chicago slang

This came through on an email this morning. Sorry I don't have original material...will be back soon!

1. Grachki (grach'-key): Chicagoese for 'garage key' as in, 'Yo, Theresa, waja do wit da grachki? How my supposta cut da grass if I don't git intada grach?'

2. Sammich: Chicagoese for sandwich. When made with sausage, it's a sassage sammich; when made with shredded beef, it's an Italian Beef sammich, a local delicacy consisting of piles of spicy meat in a perilously soggy bun.

3. Da: This article is a key part of Chicago speech, as in 'Da Bears' or 'Da Mare' -- the latter denoting Richard M. Daley, or Richie, as he's often called.

4. Jewels: Not family heirlooms or a tender body region, but a popular name for one of the region's dominant grocery store chains. 'I'm goin' to the Jewels to pick up some sassage.'

5. Field's: Marshall Field, a prominent Chicago department store. Also Carson Pirie Scott, another major department store chain, is simply called ' Carson 's.'

6. Tree: The number between two and four. 'We were lucky dat we only got tree inches of snow da udder night.'

7. Over by dere: Translates to 'over by there,' a way of emphasizing a site presumed familiar to the listener. As in, 'I got the sassage at the Jewels down on Kedzie, over by dere.'

8. Kaminski Park : The mispronounced name of the ballpark where the Chicago White Sox (da Sox) play baseball. Comiskey Park was renamed U.S. Cellular Field (da Cell)

9. Frunchroom: As in, 'Get outta da frunchroom wit dose muddy shoes.' It's not the 'parlor.' It's not the 'living room.' In the land of the bungalow, it's the 'frunchroom,' a named derived, linguists believe, from 'front room.'

10. Use: Not the verb, but the plural pronoun 'you!' 'Where use goin'?'

11. Downtown: Anywhere near The Lake, south of The Zoo (Lincoln Park Zoo) and north of Soldier Field.

12. The Lake : Lake Michigan . (What other lake is there?) It's often used by local weathermen, 'cooler by The Lake.'

14. Braht: Short for Bratwurst. 'Gimme a braht wit kraut.'

15. Goes: Past or present tense of the verb 'say.' For example, 'Den he goes, 'I like this place'!'

16. Guys: Used when addressing two or more people, regardless of each individual's gender.

17. Pop: A soft drink. Don't say 'soda' in this town. 'Do ya wanna canna pop?'

18. Sliders: Nickname for hamburgers from White Castle , a popular Midwestern burger chain. 'Dose sliders I had last night gave me da runs.'

19. The Taste: The Taste of Chicago Festival, a huge extravaganza in Grant Park featuring samples of Chicagoland cuisine which takes place each year around the Fourth of July holiday.

20. 'Jeetyet?': Translates to, 'Did you eat yet?'

21. Winter and Construction: Punch line to the joke, 'What are the two seasons in Chicago ?'

22. Cuppa Too-Tree: is Chicagoese for 'a couple, two, three' which really means 'a few.' For example, 'Hey Mike, dere any beerz left in da cooler over by dere?' 'Yeh, a cuppa too-tree.'

23. 588-2300: Everyone in Chicago knows this commercial jingle and the carpet company you'll get if you call that number -- Empire!

24. Junk Dror: You will usually find the 'junk drawer' in the kitchen filled to the brim with miscellaneous, but very important, junk.

25. Southern Illinois : Anything south of I-80. This is where Smothers' is from....

26. Expressways: The Interstates in the immediate Chicagoland area are usually known just by their 'name' and not their Interstate number: the Dan Ryan ('da Ryan'), the Stevenson, the Kennedy (da 'Kennedy'), the Eisenhower (da 'Ike'), and the Edens (just 'Edens' but Da Edens' is acceptable).

27. Gym Shoes: The rest of the country may refer to them as sneakers or running shoes but Chicagoans will always call them gym shoes!

This is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Chicago...

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you live in Chicago .

If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Chicago .

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in Chicago .

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in Chicago . AUGIE!!!!

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of I-80 for the weekend, you live in Chicago .

If you measure distance in hours, you live in Chicago ..

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you live in Chicago .

If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Chicago .

If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in Chicago .

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in Chicago .

If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in Chicago .

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in Chicago ..

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in Chicago .

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in Chicago .

If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly', you live in Chicago ..

If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your Chicago friends & others, you live or have lived in Chicago.

Monday, November 26, 2007

things so far

Not quite finished with Christmas decorating yet, though I did finish my tree last night. Here's my new tree topper. I've been looking for something for the last couple of years. This gem was less than $15 - and it wasn't from Target! The store that I found it in had it tucked down into a corner behind some shelves. What is it with tree toppers? You don't see them featured often...and when they are, their price is $$. For example, I absolutely loved a glass one that I saw here the other day. But it was over $100. For a tree topper - no!

In other decorating news, my husband just returned from Home Depot with a big box of blue lights for outside. Oops. He thought he was buying white. Typical Christmas, wouldn't you say? One step forward, one step back (no, not two.) Or maybe it's more appropriate to say - one trip out, one trip back. And back again until you get it right...

Good night!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Tonight I am decorating our Christmas tree. These are the new ornaments I have for it this year. I bought some of these last year after Christmas. The little blue star I saw this past week in a stationery shop near my parents' house. The old fashioned looking one with the two little boys I found a few weeks ago in Geneva. The little boys reminded me of my own.

With each new year comes a new ornament...or two or three... I've been collecting them since I was a child. Of course I didn't start collecting them myself, my parents and grandparents did that for me. They would give new ornaments each year to my brothers and I, and now that we're grown we have our own collections going back to way back's a nice tradition. When I said the other day that my decor is going in a new direction this year, that unless I love it it's not coming out of the box...well, that doesn't apply to what's on the tree. On the contrary! It just wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't using the same ornaments today that I proudly hung up when I was 10.

When I'm all decorated around here, I'll snap some pictures. So far things are looking good...if I do say so myself!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

One of our guests tonight was my dad's Aunt Elaine, his father's youngest sister, who is 83. She is a Roman Catholic nun, of the Sisters of Notre Dame order. She's had significant leadership responsibilities within the order, including a 10 year assignment in Rome immediately following Vatican II. She has traveled extensively in her post and has friends all over the world. Tonight she brought mementos from her most recent excursion abroad, which was a trip to Ireland to visit her older brother Dave and his wife, Mae (my dad's aunt and uncle.)

Elaine is a great guest, as you can imagine. She is not one to sit quietly, but rather holds all of our attention with her fascinating stories and descriptions of life far away from home. She is intelligent, witty, and sharp. She is also very thoughtful. Tonight she brought with her a Thanksgiving prayer that she wrote for us to read as a group before we ate our feast. I would like to share it with you.

Thanksgiving 2007

Whereas: The first settlers to arrive on our land, December 4, 1619, at the Berkeley Plantation on the James River, made it a Day of Thanksgiving to God according to their charter, and observed it annually thereafter, and

Whereas: Governor William Bradford arranged an early autumn harvest festival in 1621 for the Pilgrim colonists, to give thanks to God for the progress they had made and invited Indians to join them, and

Whereas: President George Washington issued a proclamation in 1789 naming November 26th a national day of thanksgiving to God to be observed in all the states, and

Whereas: President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 with the intent of uniting the nation, four months after the end of the Civil War proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the annual national day of Thanksgiving to God, and

Whereas: Americans continue this observance and gather each year in their homes and churches with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks to God for the freedoms we have and the many blessings we enjoy, and

Whereas: Thanksgiving Day is now a time not only to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, but also to take the opportunity to serve others and share our blessings with the poor, and

Whereas: We express our deep appreciation for the sacrifices our honorable men and women in uniform are making as they work to advance the cause for freedom. We keep them in our thoughts and pray for their safe return home, and

Whereas: [my grandparents] were married 65 years ago on Thanksgiving Day in 1942, at Holy Name Church. We pause to honor their memory with deep gratitude for all they bequeathed to us, and

Whereas: [my parents] have graciously invited us to come together in their beautiful home to celebrate the blessedness of Thanksgiving Day, 2007, we thank them and we pray

God, our Father, on this national day of giving thanks to you, we are deeply
grateful for the inspiration of the brave founders of our country and the valiant
men and women who fought and died for freedom and unity. We thank you for
the beauty of our land, the abundance of our natural resources and harvests
and the inheritance of being a generous and compassionate people. Grace our
table with Your Presence. Bless us and bless our food. Grant that after our
earthly journeys, we may all be reunited again around the Heavenly Table of
your Eternal Banquet. We ask through Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit.

When we were finished eating - coffee and dessert long since finished - there was a knock at the door. Sister Theresa had come to pick up Elaine for the return trip. Sister Theresa, we learned, is the head of the order in the United States. But Elaine said her real claim to fame is her beautiful singing voice. Once we heard that, my mom and dad asked her if she'd like to sing for us...and do you know? She said she would be delighted. So we sat down in my parents' living room, all 15 of us (actually 16, since one of my dad's brothers stopped by to say hi), and she sang "Amazing Grace" - a cappella. It was beautiful and moving, and the perfect way to end our gathering.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

happy turkey day

Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house - we are here! And tomorrow there will be 15 of us gathered 'round. Do you recognize the pilgrim pair from above...they made the trip with me as a little token of our appreciation for being the guest on the big feast day.

We've been here a few days and have stayed quite busy. On Sunday we did this:
...which was really fun and festive. I'd never decorated a gingerbread house before, but now that I have done it, I think I want to do it every year!

Before I left home I took this picture. Thanksgiving is so sweet, isn't it? It's my favorite. How can you beat its simplicity and the sincerity of the message. There's just no overdoing it.

I hope your holiday is a very good one, spent with the people you care about most. Looking forward to catching up with you after the week is through.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

new look

I did a little Christmas shopping earlier this week and found this cute holiday pair. I thought they looked like 'me'. So here they are, waiting to take their place when all the decorations go up. I'm looking forward to taking my holiday look in a new direction this year. I'm not putting out the same things I've put out every year...I've found that some of those things I don't even like, I just put them out because I've always put them out. This year I'm going to be really strict about it. If I don't love it, it stays in the box. I'm a way that I haven't been about Christmas decorating in a while. I can't wait to see where I end up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Anyone seen those adorable pale blue paper Christmas trees on display at Starbucks?

I was in one yesterday and fell instantly in love...and then picked it up to see no price on the bottom. What, just holiday decor? Not for sale? waaaa!!!

A nice guy behind the counter told me I might be able to pick one or two up after Christmas if I get there early.


I'll be on a mission. December 26th. You'll know where to find first Starbucks...waiting in line with an empty shopping bag...ready to take my goodies home. Hopefully!

Monday, November 12, 2007

monday morning musings

* I'm on a new job. It started yesterday and ends tomorrow. A 3 day job - how can you beat it. This one has me driving around all over Chicagoland, along with a videographer. We are interviewing women in their homes. The interviews are 90 minutes each.

* The interviews are not close together. So yesterday as I'm driving along (88E, 55N, 294W, 90W, 94E, 290E, 290W, 55S, 355S) I got to thinking about how I used to get so nervous about driving around Chicago. The first few years that I lived here I didn't have a car and I became accustomed to always being the passenger, never the driver. And when I started to drive it was like, WOW! Sweaty hands and increased heart rate navigating the heavy traffic on the always busy expressways around here. Thankfully that phase is long gone. I'm a pro now.

*One of the women we met yesterday had a lot of pets. 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 cockatoo named Iggy. Iggy was sitting at the top of a curtain rod when we walked in the door. As soon as the interview got started he flew down and landed on the woman's shoulder. He stayed there for the rest of the time. The woman had to keep petting him, otherwise he would squawk. She said he rules the roost, and even chases the dogs around. Her boyfriend put a video of it here.

*On my way home I turned on the radio and caught the last half of The Cure's recorded concert on XRT. I love the Cure! Wait...a few songs later...I love a lot of songs by the Cure! I think 5 songs! Maybe 6! Does this make me a fan? What if I don't like the rest of the songs? What if I really don't like them? To become a collector of something - jewelry, pottery, handbags - it takes 3 pieces. 3 pieces is what qualifies as a collection. But what about music? What's the qualification for being a fan of a band? Would 5 songs do?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mary's gift

My mom stopped by this week for a short visit this week, and her timing couldn't have been better. For Christmas this year she had my much admired friend Mary paint a table and wall mirror for me. And Mary dropped the pieces off this week. I am so excited to share them with you.

First, the wall mirror, which I had requested that Mary paint with a black & white check border. Quite sharp looking, wouldn't you agree? (sorry about the blurriness of my photo... I was hurrying to get the daylight and my rushing around is reflected in the blurry edges of the picture.)

A close up shot so you can see Mary's attention to detail. I wish I would have taken a 'before' picture. The wood on the mirror was dark and shiny. It was not bad...but this is so much better. I don't know how Mary keeps such a steady hand to paint all of those little squares. I had an opportunity to watch her once, and it really is amazing. She just steadies herself, and then - paint paint paint - out come the little checks from the end of her paint brush. What a gift she has for creating beautiful art!

Next, the round table - the 'fish table'. Previously this was a dark wood piece as well. I have it stationed in a nook at the top of my stairs and since the sun was starting to set, I picked it up and brought it into my bedroom for you to see in the sunlight. Can you see all the detail? Please click to enlarge - it's worth it!

The table's base...more defined now with the gold running vertically down the pedestal. The blue and yellow check was inspired by one of my favorite pieces...this is how they look on the inside of my butter dish. And they look so friendly and right at home on this beautiful table.

A close up of the blue & yellow going around the edge. Can you tell in the photo...the wood is uneven between the top and bottom row. Don't you think what Mary did looks fantastic!

I actually stole this last shot from Mary's own blog. She did a better job of photographing the table in its entirety. I think it looks very pretty in her home as well.

Thank you for sharing in my joy by looking at these pictures. You know me and you know my obsession. So you can imagine that I am in seventh heaven right now!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 02, 2007

sorting through stories

Yesterday I did something that I've been meaning to do for weeks - no, months - I started sorting through the kids' clothes, figuring out what should be saved, donated, or sold on ebay. I've saved everything - EVERYTHING - going all the way back to 0-3 months. I have bins going up to 4T, and soon it will be time to buy one for the 5T items. Our storage space is pretty good, but there comes a time when you realize that your stuff is getting to be too much. Do you know what I mean?

The first bin that I opened was 0-3 months. And, as soon as the lid came off - voila! - I was transported back in time. There's my little one, tiny and precious and sleeping most of the day, in his little onesie, his soft cotton 'bag'. I can see him in the bassinet in our room, snuggled up and cozy. I see little fists, barely popping out of the sleeves. I see his tiny feet, legs, arms, hands. I swear I can even smell his soft, newborn skin. All the little outfits have such strong memories associated with them. I remember them - new, freshly washed and hanging in the closet, waiting for the baby's arrival. I remember them piling up in the clothes hamper, because we'd go through 2-3 outfits each day those first few weeks. Each memory is so vivid, so sharp. Thinking about it all makes me happy, but a little sad, too. Can I go back for one day? No? How about one hour? I'd take 5 minutes if you'd give it to me.

I decided that this bin was too much. I closed it up and looked for a different one.

Here we are - 18 months. Definitely toddler clothes. These didn't have to be changed as often, but they took their fair share of abuse, what with all the walking and crawling and climbing and toddling and exploring inside and outside. Wait a minute, some of these outfits are too recent to be here. What about this one - this one piece Polo rugby/longall? Didn't we just give this to Thomas for Christmas last year? Oh, wait. That was 2 years ago. How about this little jacket - there it is in the picture above. This is darling and in great condition. This could easily sell. But...gosh, it's cute. I remember my mom and I looking at it together in the store near her house. I remember when it was so big on Bobby that I had to roll the sleeves up three or four times before I'd see his dimpled fingers appear. I remember Thomas posing in it on the sidewalk in front of our house.

Hmmm. The 18 month bin is just as tricky to maneuver through as the newborn bin. Maybe harder, actually, because there are little voices are connected to these clothes. Tiny little voices saying, Mommy? Mawk an cheez? Mommy? Go for wok?

Ok. Well. Hmm. Enough of that. I closed this one, too.

You can see that I struggled a bit. After dipping into these 2 bins I decided to call it a day. Where did I end up? Well, so far I've decided to save everything and donate nothing. Actually, I did take a few pictures for ebay. I wonder if I'll get the nerve to follow through.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

don't tell the dentist

Some of us here (Ok, me) have been eating candy nonstop now for about 24 hours (maybe 36 hours...Ok, maybe since I bought it on Sunday.) Luckily, I got an email last night - "donate your leftover candy" - apparently there's need for it here in town. This is fortunate! But letting it go, seeing it leave the house...that will be a little sad.

I hope your Halloween was festive and fun. It was really fun reading everyone's post yesterday, especially this one.

Have a great day!