Saturday, October 31, 2009

What would a visit to Chicago be without....

When you are expecting a granddaughter, thoughts turn to all things pink. After a splendid introduction to the "American Girl Place" in New York, we vowed to see all three of these amazing stores.

The day we were in the neighborhood it was pouring with rain, so this exterior photo is borrowed. All the rest of the photos are my own, so you can click on them to enlarge. In the above photo you can see the second floor tea room of this facility where Girls and their Dolls can have tea.

LaMonica had better watch out...she's yanking that doll's hair!

Not to worry, if anyone gets hurt you can always check into the doll hospital on site. That baby looks like it needs attention!

These little girls are especially proud because they have had their ears pierced, and now their dolls are getting their ears pierced today.

If you need to nip into the washroom, you'll find this delightful counter. Who wouldn't want to visit here!!?? It may be the cleanest washroom in all of Illinois.

If you are rushing and you have your doll in hand, don't worry, the stalls come complete with a handy doll holder. Whew!

When Zoe gets old enough, she might choose this doll complete with ponies!! These are amazingly well equipped dolls, and if her parents are smart they will start saving now! The Professor can rarely be lured into shops like this except when it has to do with Zoe. All I have to say now is..."Don't you want to see what I'm thinking of getting the baby???" He loved the dolls as much as I did and we can't wait to take the real little girl back to Chicago with her own dolly. Fun.

AGP Photo Credit:

Lanterns in the Olden Days

This picture titled "Making Lanterns" by Edward Docker (1880-99) seemed very timely for today. This little lad is amazingly "shod"...those look like horse shoes on the soles of his boots, one of which is bound with some sort of tape. His little knee socks are held up by a piece of twine.

When you don't have pumpkins, use turnips!

This is certainly an example of a picture telling a story of the times.

Try this at home

In a darling, warm bakery on the side of the river, we came across this seasonal delight. The "Whoopie Pie", when made correctly is wonderful. I think the recipe that I have found mimics the taste we experienced in Chicago. Well worth the easy preparation for this taste of fall.

If you can stand a few minutes of bossy Martha Stewart who continually interupts her guests and tries to best them vis a vis her baking techniques, this is a great idea on how to make these tasty morsels.

Martha Stewart Whoopie Pie Recipe and Video

photo credit: Annie

Friday, October 30, 2009

In Chicago, when not looking at the food, you are generally looking UP. Waaaay UP, just like in the Friendly Giant. One of the most interesting things we did was to take the Architectural Boat tour. This is a fantastic way to see the skyline of downtown Chicago and learn about the city. The perspective from the water is totally amazing.

Aside from all the amazing things we did, I don't think I have ever used my big camera as much as I did in this city. It's a pain to lug around, but I now have an arsenal of photos that I can play with. It's one thing to manipulate and play with photos, but for now, I'm just doing the straight up stuff.

This structure and it's twin are dubbed "the corn cobs" by the locals. My question is, who parks those cars???????? Would you like to back into your space and come that close to the river. I'm guessing valet parking which is a huge industry in this town.

It was cold and windy on the tour, but not to be missed. The added bonus was starting in the evening light and ending up in the dark with all the buildings up-lit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Art Institute of Chicago

Our first full day in Chicago started with a visit to the Art Institute. Fabulous art gallery and currently featuring the exhibit............

The Art of Victorian Photocollage"

which will appear at the AGO June - September 2010

This is really a splendid Art Gallery with an amazing collection.

I purchased this book as it is the perfect illustration of the Victorian scrapbooking technique. It is a fascinating blend of watercolours done to support the photography.

This is the book which fully covers the art. Much more expensive and really heavy. We're off to the architectural river cruise.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Party's Over

Got in from the road trip to Chicago late last night and am singin' the blues today!

This is my post holiday - pre holiday theme song

As the song says..."It's time to wind up the masquerade, just make your mind up, the piper must be paid"..............It was SO worth it. But now I "must wake up, all dreams must end".


always comes up with the best chubby girls..remember her post back in October? She kindly gave me permission to make this girl my new mascot. I'm not even telling where I'm starting from at this point, just getting back to the Weight Watcher's Points once again. Let it be said that the dressing room lighting in Nordstrom's Chicago is terribly unkind.

The trip stories a.k.a. (eating your way across America) to follow.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"”

Winnie the Pooh

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his ribs the heart of the people, Laughing!
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.

Photo Credit:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where are your keys?

Last week, Irenka and I were scheduled to take a class at the Creative Festival in downtown Toronto. The class started at 9 AM. Needless to say, at any given time of day, if you are coming from Mississauga to "The Big Smoke", you have to leave in plenty of time, but especially so in 'peak times'. In our (actually Irene's) infinite wisdom we decided each to take the train and meet at the class. She would have to venture forth on a different line than I would. The Professor does the trip every day, and this day I would join him for the early morning commute. In an effort to be able to make his schedule more flexible, he has recently decided to rent a permanent spot at the Clarkson GO station. This way, he is assured of a parking place, and doesn't have to arrive before 7 a.m.

All is going well, the class, the trade show, the lunch meeting up with other friends. Time to return home. Manage to get the train and arrive in front of the van to realize that I had neglected to bring my own keys. Just reflex. The Professor drove, and my keys WITH the house key are where they always are inside the house.

In the almost 30 years of living here, I have rarely taken a bus in Mississauga . The routes are not like city routes. They are getting better, but rarely go where you need them, when you need them and are very spread out. We live in the suburbs and "in the day" public transit was not really planned was assumed we would all use cars, after all, it was the suburbs. Nowadays, things have changed.

Having spent the little cash that I do carry these days, I didn't have enough to take a taxi home, which is another thing we don't usually do in the suburbs - take taxis that is.

After an embarrassing scout around the GO Station lobby I ferreted out a route map and had many people jump to my rescue. I didn't even know what the correct fare was. It's $3.00 exact change. With the help of the good citizens, and one overly-eager-to-help woman, I got on a bus going my way. Crumpled transfer in hand, had to be told that the other bus I needed was on the other side of the tracks. About an hour and a half later, I was home.

It wasn't altogether an unpleasant experience and I felt I was paying penance for the oversight in not having my keys with me at all times. I was also impressed by how many citizens use the bus, in large part students, since the route wends it's way through UofT Mississauga. Yet another life experience.

Irenka always takes the bus, unless I'm driving. She is highly organized and motivated. I'll pay more attention next time to where my keys are.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Halloween....a bit early

Just couldn't resist this. Happy Halloween family! In case you are wondering about the "other" weird one, that would be my little brother who will now be more careful about the faces he makes when having photos taken!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Don't miss this one

Had an impromptu visit to the ROM yesterday. If you love photography and Vanity Fair, you should not miss this one, or it's compatriot at the AGO. I have memberships to both these museums, and I do enjoy the smaller exhibits.

Monday, October 19, 2009

If only.......

Today, as I whipped through the drive through bank machine, I was reminded of one of the neatest things that the US has that we don't. Drive through mailboxes.
These are the "snorkel" boxes that I first saw in Washington, DC.

I happen to love the drive through. I love drive through coffee shops, banks, McDonald's, and there is even a dry cleaner in my area. I don't dry clean, but maybe I should...just for the drive.

I have a pile of snail-mail to post that is sitting on the front seat of my car. Even regular post boxes are few and far between in my neck of the woods. This would be so convenient.

Photo Credit: www.imbringingbloggingback

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One of my Favourite Authors

"Too Close To The Falls" is one of my all-time favourite books. In this book, I found many of the eccentric things she did as a child were things that I too experienced. I really resonated with her. The sequel is now out. The teenage years. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. My next read.

"After The Falls" Reviewed

Catherine Gildiner's Blog

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to see the Wizard

Irenka and I are off to the Creative Festival today. Another adventure no doubt. We are taking a memory quilt class, mostly to learn how to print onto fabric and other techniques.

Have some pretty funky pictures chosen for mine.

Titled "Women with Guns" I hardly think anyone is going to mess with my proposed sewing machine cover now!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I think the worst is over now...........

Sometimes when tunes come on the Sirius Radio I'm amazed at who actually sang them. You can program in the artist to show on the dashboard screen...or whatever that thingy is called. This is one of them.

Do you remember "The Cyrkle"???

Here's what they sang

If you don't remember this you probably don't remember 45's either. Gotta love the way they used tambourines in the 60's!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ever felt like this?

"Here comes Edward Bear now, down the stairs behind Christopher Robin. Bump! Bump! Bump! on the back of his head. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down stairs. He is sure that there must be a better way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment to think of it.“ – A.A.Milne

I need to stop bumping so that I can think!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tapping resumes

Despite all my better instincts, I returned to my tap dance class tonight after my second of three root canal interventions. Today was putting the post in place and a temporary crown. I thought, that since there were no roots, or pulp, or nerves left, it would be a cake walk compared to last week's reaming. HA HA HA

Trying once again to convince myself to pick up my socks and sally forth, I went to class. DEVON WHERE WERE YOU!!!! I hope you are there in the morning, because I really have to come to Wednesday's class.

For these reasons, I got the last piece of apple pie left-over from Thanksgiving dinner.

Hat Tip for the dancing sheep Dana

Monday, October 12, 2009


I had a chance to see this movie again this weekend. I just love this line, one of my all-time favourites that can be used in many situations :)

Think I'll use it tomorrow in round two of my root canal process.

Which one would you take?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What a week

It has just been one of those weeks. Someone called to find out if I was okay, since I hadn't blogged in a week or so.

Among other things, all my watches are on the blink. After trying out my vast assortment, I am now reduced to an old wind up from Switzerland. We lived there thirty some odd years ago, the "olden days" when watches were still wound. It amazes me that I now have to think about winding a watch. One only thinks about such things these days when you are positive it is NOT 2:30 p.m., but at least 5:30 p.m., and you blurt out "Oh my gosh! I forgot to wind my watch!" Incredulous stares ensue. There you go...I'm late, I'm late..

It really was a rabbit hole!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Have you ever

Have you ever had an experience where you entered a place and had absolutely no idea of what was going on?

Today, Irenka and I had had a bit of a "Wonderland" adventure. After misunderstanding the start date and showing up a week early, we considered last week's outing a trial run. Today, we arrived on time knowing exactly where to park, which room to seek out etc. etc. Shortly after entering the room, it felt a little like falling down the rabbit hole. Some people were doing this, some that, others just drifting around talking to either someone else or in some cases themselves.[Wonder] Being the first day, one always allows for some sort of chaos in the flow of things, but after a couple of hours of this, we started to roll our eyes, talk under our own breath, and had to remove ourselves to the hall for a collapsible giggle.

Turns out, we are not actually taking a class per se, rather, we are a bit like apprentices.[Mystery] Sort of lurkers who pick up while on the job. There is a lot of free range, imagination is encouraged and everyone has something to say about everything. Many of the women turned out to be Polish, which may or may not have been part of the problem :) [Kidding Irenka], but you'll see how this all figures into the story later.

The class is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring your own lunch. By lunch time, we had only barely gotten around to even remotely figuring out what we should be doing. We'd helped some people tie springs, others tack fabric and toured the facility innumerable times. Finally down to business and we have to change our entire vision. I'm sent off to a local woodworker to have a hole cut in the top of my box. We meander around and finally find the workshop, only to be told that the piece I was wanting to upholster is much to valuable to alter. The wood-man is Polish. He refuses to cut the hole, but will make me exactly what I want with very sassy round legs. He has many great ideas, but now we are onto a completely different tack here! [Danger] Another Polish woman from the class arrives with a chair. We all leave with footstools from the woodpile and a butternut squash from the garden. Seem a little weird? had to be there!

I drank only Diet Coke I swear.

I really want my "Pouff" to be the colours of Johnny Depp!
Some say in order to survive you have to be as mad as a hatter....luckily we are!, MacKenzie-Childs