Thursday, August 28, 2008

“My birthday was great!”

was my response to a train friend’s inquiry about yesterday.

I passed into my 50’s with some of life's favorite things:

Family, Friends, Food and Fun!

i definitely won

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Do you know who Brad Paisley is?"

I asked the elderly man sitting outside my suburban train station this morning.

He replied that the name sounded “familiar.”

I went on to tell this WWII-cane-wielding gentleman that Brad Paisley was a country singer who has a song out called "Waiting on a Woman." The video of which co-stars Andy Griffith sitting on a park bench talking with Brad about waiting his whole life on a woman....and that he, this old guy, reminded me of that song.

It was then he remembered why Brad Paisley sounded familiar...a neighbor of his drives one of the big rigs that hauls Brad’s band equipment from show-to-show around the United States.

We chatted a couple of minutes more about where he was from (the middle of Illinois) and then I had to head inside the station to get my paper before departing for downtown.

I know...I know - ”Susan Snippet you will talk to anyone!”

Yes....most of the time – you are right, I will – but especially, most definitely, if they remind me of a country song.

now sing along

Thursday, August 21, 2008

“It’s my Hippo form.”

my daughter responded to her girlfriend’s inquiry about the piece of paper in her hand.

Due to a snafu by the administration at Anna’s high school...the nursing program that she had been assured she was in senior year, that was on her schedule given to her at the end of her junior year; and, again, on her schedule that we picked up during registration two weeks ago....she was never registered for.

After an anxious week and a half, many tears and several we-will-get-this-fixed phone calls, she moved up the “wait list” and was accepted into the program.

That acceptance started a flurry of check writing and appointment making.

One of those appointments was at the local health department, where she would be given a drug screening and the first of a two-step TB test.

It was after checking in for the appointment that she was given this form.

“What did you call that?” I had to ask.

“My Hippo form.”

“It is not a HIPPO is a HIPAA form...Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” I explained.

Hopefully, learning and understanding the proper terminology will be one of the first things this nursing program makes her do.

otherwise....a career at the zoo?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"I’d say he is a borderline….


Is this morning’s snippet...I overheard while passing two women talking at the corner of Wacker and Washington.

Ironically, this has been a recent topic of discussion on my good friend Hedy’s blog and it touched a cord within a lot of people.

I have alcoholism on both sides of my family as far back as I can see and I have witnessed the devastating effects it can have on generation-after-generation.

I have gone through the family programs and I know the signs of trouble...way before it becomes an issue.

But I still drink.

Cautiously and responsibly...well most of the time...

there was the incident when I had to learn the hard way that THREE martinis are way too much; and several times I have re-learned that my limit of beers should be four; and the whole giving out my checking deposit slip to a complete stranger at a bar...

Okay-okay...but those incidents are in the past, let's move on.

I try to keep the knowledge and lived-out-experience that it might become a problem in the forefront of my mind and I never, ever drink and drive.

So to hear this woman say “he might be a borderline alcoholic”...made me think that some people still don’t know how to define an alcoholic. Here are just two basic questions that might be asked:

Is drinking negatively impacting relationships with family and friends?

Is there an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to drinking?

As I commented in Hedy’s father got sober and stayed sober until his last breath, giving our family 14 alcohol-free years...he soberly welcomed my son, Phillip, into this world just months after treatment; three years later, my daughter, was born and he lovingly grandfathered my children – something that would have been impossible had his drinking continued.

“Borderline”...when it comes to drinking...

what are you thinking?

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Look the Blue Angels!"

The guy in front of me said while pointing skyward.

They would have been pretty hard to miss...the Blue Angels' jets are loud and fierce as they buzz our city during practice maneuvers for the 50th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show that starts today.

With perfect weather forecasted and the celebration of it's 50th - this show should be incredible!

I am happy to report that today, I will only be working a half day (I know like that is anything new; especially after last Friday's jump on the bandwagon/parade up to Wrigley and not returning to work!).....instead I will be spending the afternoon/evening at North Avenue Beach watching the show, soaking up the Chicago sunshine...

and drinking wine

Thursday, August 14, 2008

“I will be turning 50 and having...

a party with or without you!”

was my early morning angry snippet.

I was talking on the phone to Keith and I was not too happy.

He responded with “I will be there.”

“With a date?” I yelled back.

We rarely least not out loud.

So last night came out of the blue and I will say that it was like the perfect storm…everything was lined up just right and it hit with a vengeance.

Those of you that don’t know, my boyfriend Keith is 11 years younger than me and looks even younger than that.

I could write blog after blog about all the times he has been carded and I have been “waived” thru.

Yesterday, early in the evening, when things started heading south - I was home alone and going to be alone until the daughter showed up after work, so I hit the road and did what any other red-blooded, middle-aged cougar with limited funds would do....

I went to Target.

Where I found myself in the little girls’ department fondling the perfect make-me-feel-younger-than-I-really-am red t-shirt, that I wore today, coupled with my teenage daughter's matching rhinestone necklace...those two items, along with my booty jeans, black/silver high heeled sandals and my favorite belt – watch out!

And it certainly doesn’t matter that it took me an extra 10 minutes to walk to the office because I was afraid of falling off these heels and turning my ankle, possibly resulting in a brittle-bone-fracture; and so what if I was constantly pulling the back of my shirt down to make sure that my smaller-than-what-they-were-but-still-there muffin tops weren’t exposed; and the white of my, you-had-to-know-I wore-it, padded cami wasn’t showing....all the while trying to look cool and young.

But Susan you aren’t young.

Yeah, I know and as I wrote this I recognized the ridiculousness of it all.

So when I get home tonight, I will be giving my daughter her necklace and the Hello Kitty! t-shirt, that she can choose to wear herself or pass along to one of her friends’ younger sisters....a girl that is 6 to 12 years old...the actual target age group the designer was seeking.

the jeans, heels and padded cami...those i'm keeping

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

“Attention passengers…

we have hit a pedestrian.”

The conductor’s announcement over the train’s PA system was short, to the point and seemingly nonchalant.

Although with riding these trains for years, I recognized the impact of his statement, not only on us, the commuters, but on the train crew, especially the engineer, who witness it and have to deal with the aftermath.

There was no warning whistle blown or emergency braking applied, which lends me to think that the person jumped. But, as of this moment, I don’t know for sure.

The only things I know for sure are:

My 55 minute train commute into Chicago took 3 ½ hours;

Someone made a decision, either purposefully or accidentally, that cost them their life; and

A family received a horrific, life-altering call that will forever take a huge toll.

bless his/her soul

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“Was she pregnant?”

I heard one of the women behind me say to her friend this morning.

I knew exactly who they were talking about…the woman that had just walked past had a shirt on with a high waistband that fell right below her boobs and tied in the back. It was hard to tell if she was pregnant or just “round.”

During my two pregnancies I wore many of these shirts – back then they were called maternity shirts/tops and you only wore them when you were pregnant. Now fast forward 18 years and it is stylish to wear these shirts even when you aren’t pregnant....which, if you are a middle-aged woman whose “middle” has aged right along with the rest of you and needs a little camouflaging, is grand.

they expand

Monday, August 11, 2008


Last Friday, 8-8-08, a kick-off parade for the resurrected West Side Rooter's Social Club that was disbanded in 1908, departed from Harry Caray's Steakhouse in the River North neighborhood that I work in.

Several of my co-workers and their family members are, like me, lifelong Chicago Cubs' fans....but one, Kathy, has treasured Cubbie fan family history.

Her momma, a fan since the early 1950's, has fascinating stories of being a teenager going with her girlfriends via bus or el to Wrigley Field, getting in free on Ladies' Day, showing up early for batting practice and getting autographs of some of baseball's legends.

So when Kath read of this old school rooter's club being resurrected and the parade that was leaving Harry Carey's from our neighborhood....we (Kath, her mom and I) had to go!

We tried earnestly to get ourselves onto one of the two double-decker buses that were parading from River North to Wrigley Field, to rub elbows with the likes of Ernie Banks, Dutchie Caray and local legend, Ronny Woo Woo...but, as we expected, all 120 seats had been gobbled up immediately.

We settled for our free fan club button....pinned it to ourselves and went to join the throngs of Cubs' fans we envisioned lining the sidewalks to send this rooter club parade off in style!

After the send off we had 12:15 reservations for lunch at Harry Caray's.

Upon arriving at the restaurant we were surprised to be three of only FOUR fans that stood on the sidewalk waving up at the likes of Ernie, Dutchie, Ronnie and other rabid fans who were up top of the buses in their Cubbie blue with noisemakers and signs, all being photographed and filmed by local media.

Only four Cub fans sending them off?

How pathetic!

As the buses got ready to depart we were approached by a member of the rooters club who told us that they had some no-shows for the second bus and asked if we would like to be in the parade.

What? here we are on the top of the second bus,

with our Fan Club goodie bags which included a Ryne Sandberg autographed baseball, Rooters T-Shirt, Rooters Pint Glass, Rooters Pin and Kazoo, heading to Harry Caray's Tavern in Wrigleyville to eat for free (there was drinking involved - Dutchie Caray bought us all our first one..after that we were on our own) and watch the Cubs' beat our arch enemies - the St. Louis Cardinals, on multiple flat screen tv's, while perched in the second story front open window on a beautiful Chicago sunny day, overlooking Wrigley Field and hearing the crowd's live reaction to what we were going to witness via tv in seconds.

Needless to say....

Friday re: work - I took a half day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Favorite Camp Ladybug Pic (so far!)

Today has been a I will just post one of my favorite pics from Camp Ladybug a few weeks back with my three nieces.....

i love them to pieces

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

“Today is a padded cami day!”

I reported to Bruce when I walked into the office this morning – like if I didn’t announce it – he wouldn’t be able to tell.

Several years ago I was introduced to padded cami’s via my then 14-year-old daughter - a friend of hers wore one over her regular bra everyday to school…..making the normally flat-chested freshman girl look very well-endowed (which worked until she went on the annual band trip and had to wear a swimsuit – suddenly the boys were wondering what happened to her boobs!)

And they were on sale at our local Kohl’s store for $10.00.


I could look like I had big boobs, without the expense and pain of implants, for only 10 bucks at Kohl’s?


I bought two white ones and a brown one (they didn't have any black).

So for the last couple of years....I have been able to decide each morning if I want to be a very full C cup or my normal small B.

And outside of the whole “false advertisement” issue....which when you are in a relationship already - doesn’t really matter, I can see no drawbacks to a middle aged woman finally (and very cheaply) allowing herself when she feels like it, to have the boobs that God meant to give her....but had forgotten.

stuffs with cotton

Monday, August 4, 2008

“What do YOU want to do?”

Was a suburban weekend snippet.

The conversation was about my upcoming 50th.

Now I had been thinking about this milestone for at least a year and as it was drawing closer - I decided I wanted to joyfully and thankfully celebrate it!

At first a big bash was being planned and I was off and running with a theme, prizes, a sound system, dancing, etc. - you get the picture – Woowie!!

A party-to-end-all-parties.

But as things were starting to be put down on paper - it fell apart.

And because I had allowed myself to be so wrapped around the GIANT theme party, I couldn’t think of doing anything else.

I was not going to celebrate.


Take that.

And for the record - Yes, I am my father’s stubborn daughter.

Fortunately my stubbornness wore off within a short time and I started doing some soul searching as to what is really important.

So when the question was posed to me this past weekend I knew exactly what to say....

On Sunday, August 31st at 7:00 p.m. – I am having my family and friends, whom I don’t always remember to tell how much I cherish, over to my house to treat them to some great homemade appetizers, desserts, wine, beer, bubbly and my favorite birthday cake.

Because at the end of the day it is about faith, family, friends and life - that is what we will celebrate.

i can't wait

Friday, August 1, 2008

"Union Row Townhomes from $530,000"

I read on the large sign as the train started its bend into Union Station this morning. I have watched this project over the past year transform a very tiny sliver of garbage/weed-laden land into townhomes.

Union Row is one of many, many projects under development in our city. But this is the only one that I have closely watched and wondered about.

These pricey townhomes are being built in an industrial area, bound on two sides by the Dan Ryan expressway and the Metra tracks and at the east end of the development, next to the electric transformer station, is a small clump of bushes that contain the remnants of a homeless guy's temporary shelter.

With the existing homes for sale and vacant buildings in that area that I see from my perch on the train – I can’t fathom why they would build here.

And, of course, they would NEVER sell!

Or would they?

As of today, Union Row is almost completely sold out.

Which is why I am not a real estate developer – that would be a career I would completely fumble.

trains/cars/trucks don't rumble?