Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Barber

Joe has been going to the same barber for years.

"Barber" is perhaps a bit of a misnomer.

High-end, nationally ranked salon is probably a more accurate description. 

Keep in mind, I still go to Super Cuts.

The nice thing about "Uncle Ralph," is he cuts my kids' hair for free.  So I cut Joe a little slack for dragging us all downtown for haircuts. 

We all know how much I like free. 

Ralph also treats us like family, and constantly begs me to stop going to Super Cuts.

Uncle Ralph & The Parlor.  For those who care about their hair & the salon experience, this is the place for you.

I guess I don't feel as though I deserve such a luxury when you consider how much I spend on online clearance shoes.

Hair vs. Shoes? 

Shoes take all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can I Have an "Amen?"

Read about my conversion tale in today's Chicago Parent Magazine

Hint: there are bobbleheads.

The only men in my life who nod in agreement every time I speak.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rahm Emanuel & My Boyfriend from "House"

So here's how this went down.  I was sadly mourning the end of one of my favorite television shows, House, and bidding farewell to one of my favorite fantasy boyfriends actors, Jesse Spencer.  The adorable little Australian was the main reason I kept watching House even after it jumped the shark several seasons ago with a host of cast changes and far-fetched story lines.

With the help of the internet, I discovered that Jesse was going to be on a new show this fall - Chicago Fire.

My first thought was "oh we go." I would be subjected to hours of my husband complaining about all the technical inaccuracies portrayed in NBC's version of firefighting.

"It's called 'suspension of disbelief,'" I remind Joe each and every time we watch a fire-related movie or show.

"It's called 'a load of crap,'" my husband counters.

In addition to the normal Hollywood attempts to make a fire more exciting than it already is, there is also the Chicago "oops" factor.  This happens when actors are shown driving the wrong direction on Lake Shore Drive when they're supposed to be heading into downtown.  Or when they frantically yell out an address:

"We need to get to 1500 East Monroe NOW!"

My husband just rolls his eyes and mutters:

"Good thing they're driving directly into Lake Michigan.  Should have no problem putting out the fire there.  Plenty of water.  Dumb asses."

Regardless, I had to check out the trailers and was delighted to see Jesse not only looking cute as a button, but talking "American."  No accent.  I can see that Emmy now.

I found several clips of the new series, but then I nearly dropped dead when I spotted Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel:

View more videos at:

It's not every day you see the President's former Chief of Staff and current mayor appearing on network television.

I'll leave the comment section open to discussion about the politics of the situation, but I'm just really happy Jesse Spencer is going to be back on t.v. 

Because I just can't think about that other stuff right now.  Not when I've got all this laundry to do.

Have you ever heard how hard it is to get the smell of smoke out of clothes? 

Totally true.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Fire at The Magic!

The urgent text message came across in ALL CAPS on my friend's phone while we were out with the girls for a birthday dinner. Another group of mutual friends was sharing cocktails across town, but they still got the dispatch to us courtesy of modern technology and iPhones:


The Magic!  One of Joe's favorite restaurants!  The place my kids think of as the place to go for a home-cooked meal (see tab on Joe's Favorite Restaurants).  The horror!

Thankfully, the nearest fire house is about 2 blocks away and nobody was hurt.  I believe firmly that the responding firefighters treated the restaurant with extra care and caution.  The place is an institution here in Beverly. 

I headed over to The Magic with Jack (who wanted to verify with his own two eyes that the place was still standing) today.  I ran into the owner who told me they have every intention of re-opening as soon as all the paperwork and insurance stuff goes through.  Jack smiled, relieved.

In times of such duress, I was forced to embrace my standard method of coping. 

I signed Danny up for cello lessons.

Because we all heal in our own way.  Mine usually involves adding new instruments to the kids' repertoire. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Portrait of An Artist

I never thought I'd live to see the day where my husband would be erecting a mini-Picasso with my son.  Yet it happened.  Read all about it in today's Chicago Parent Magazine.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sticking to My Guns

According to recent media reports, there is an unsettling increase in the number of organized militia groups throughout the U.S.  What this trend reveals about the state of our union is troublesome. 

But then I wondered what exactly constitutes a militia member.  Because if you look at my boys' impressive arsenal of automatic weapons and handguns, I'm fairly certain we would qualify:

There are automatics, semi-automatics, and handguns.  One of our newest additions is the Nerf Vortex Lumitron Blaster which glows in the dark.  Because nothing says family fun like having illuminated Nerf discs smacking you upside the head as you sit in the dark trying to catch up on Smash (great show by the way).  Our vast empire of Super Soakers (currently occupying half the garage) only further confirms our status as militant extremists.  I'm sure the FBI already has a file on us.

The fact is, I never intended to allow my boys to have toy guns.  Even though I come from a long line of law enforcement people, I didn't want to help glamorize violence.  But when Danny got his first Nerf gun a few years ago, I couldn't deny the obvious:

This sh*t is fun.

Our family engages in full-out battles of skill and luck with our Nerf weaponry.  The kids try to hit the moving ceiling fan for target practice.  They have come up with so many creative spins on "cops and robbers" that I don't dare ban the practice now.

It's all just another example of how parents lose some of that rigidity as the kids grow.  Flexibility is so important in raising children.  And it certainly comes in handy when you're diving behind the coffee table as Danny unloads an entire magazine on your jiggly arse.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keeping Abreast of the Mommy Wars

Have we all seen the big Time Magazine cover?

I'm offended.  But not for the reasons you think.

Read more in today's Chicago Parent Magazine.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day - Time to Hit the Tanning Booth?

The thing I love most about Mother's Day is the haul.  I LOVE presents:

The thing about Mother's Day that leaves me a little confounded is my children's depiction of me.  Based on Danny's latest Mother's Day profile, I am some kind of pizza-downing, ping-pong playing wack job who likes to TAN.  Yes. Danny listed my #1 hobby as TANNING. 

For the record, I haven't played ping pong since 1992.  And I've had an aversion to pizza (which is actually Joe's favorite food) since my first pregnancy.  Lastly, I don't tan. 

I'm sensing my oldest child is looking to land a few soft blows as payback for all those extra hours of piano practice I've been inflicting lately.

But he did get a couple things right.

I love him very much.

And my name is Marianne.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Kind of Town

Living on the southside of Chicago, we are only a quick 20 minute drive to the heart of downtown.  Thousands of people each year visit my hometown for its history, architecture and accessibility.

Took this one from the car, shoulda planned better.
Despite all of Chicago's offerings, there are certain little places that are legendary to people in the know.  Bev the hotdog lady used to operate a stand on 38th & Union. My husband would always stop and grab a few dogs on his way to a Sox game, insisting that Bev had the best ones in the entire city. In a unique and charming fashion, Bev would provide change using Kennedy half-dollars.

Sadly, Bev was buried on opening day last year.

Joe was very upset to learn of Bev's passing. She was that old school vendor who always brought a smile to my husband's face. Joe had also hoped to pass on the tradition of Bev's dogs to our sons. Unwilling to let go of that dream, he carefully researched where she had bought her dogs and located this tiny little operation on south Archer called Veteran Tamale Foods:

I bought my husband a silly little barking dog steamer for Christmas last year (it barks when the dogs are ready) because he insists that steam is the only way to make a decent dog. 

So once a week, my husband makes hotdogs for the boys while Hero the barking steamer does his job.

Sometimes, new traditions are okay, too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Like the Corners of My Closet

I was sorting through my closet the other day and landed in a strange and unexpected world of travel, career, and high heel shoes.

Also known as The Land Before Children.

Full story in today's Chicago Parent.

No.  My closet doesn't look like this.  Think wire hangers and fuzzies everywhere.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

And With Your Spirit

Well, we just wrapped up Danny's First Communion yesterday and all went well.  The only problem that we faced was our ongoing inability to remember the new church responses.

Joe and I kept inadvertently drawing attention to our sketchy mass attendance record with our use of  "and also with you," instead of the newer "and with your spirit."  When it came time to head for Communion, I was suddenly overcome with a feeling of terror and questioned Joe:

The response for THAT is still 'amen'...RIGHT??

Joe just shrugged his shoulders. 

Big help, that guy. 

Joe and I secretly hope that by each of our fathers' attending seminary school, we will somehow secure a slightly cooler spot in the fiery hereafter.

I did promise Father Frank I'd start trying to go to mass a little more often.  As Dan pointed out, "I've got the suit mom.   Now we can go to mass every Sunday."

Quite the optimist, that Daniel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wind Beneath My Chins

Be sure to check out today's Chicago Parent essay on my history of friendship and why mom friends trump all.

Sorry.  Clip Art didn't have any realistic portrayals of mom friends.  Let's just pretend that this is what we all look like, eh?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

He Must Have Gotten That From Joe's Side

Came across this while cleaning today:

Today is Friday, April 27th, 2012.

By Jack

Telling the truth means that you are telling people what you did wrong.

If you tell the truth, people might be nice to you.

I'll be sure to keep Jack away from House.

Everybody lies.

'Cept me, that is.