Wednesday, December 31, 2008


is a store that I have passed 100 times during my lunch walks without ever stepping inside to investigate. In my mind it was an antique/collectible kind of store mistakenly opened in the River North District, just blocks off our Mag Mile.

That was until yesterday when my eyes got a glimpse of this sign on their door....

and I got sucked in by the sale.

And what a great sale it was, so good in fact that I purchased a couple of couldn't-live-without-Christmas items at half price....

and I fell in love with their store. (Liz from Mabel's House - you would adore the little birdie wreath that I picked up for a song!)

P.O.S.H. is located at 613 North State Street and contains an eclectic mix of new and vintage merchandise (more new than vintage); the employees were cheerful, the store's logo is whimsically cute and your purchase is wrapped in tissue and placed inside a cute logo-embossed handled bag.

If you stop by P.O.S.H.....tell them that you read about their store on Susan's Snippets.

To which they will reply "where???"

just thought i would share

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Quiet City Week

Yesterday morning while walking thru the Merchandise Mart the halls were eerily vacant.

It appears that a lot of people took this time off, so speaking on behalf of us commuters who HAVE to work this week.....

it is quiet and uncrowded...which isn't such a bad thing.

let the 2009 bells ring

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Rewind…

For the first 42 years of my life Christmas Eve was spent at Gran and Howard’s house (my Momma’s parents) with extended family, filled with traditions, such as oyster stew, date nut pudding, the quietest kid got the first present to open, playing pool in the always-odd-smelling basement and a metallic Christmas tree with color wheel, just to name a few.

So when Gran and Howard both passed away some years ago we didn’t know what to do with ourselves on Christmas Eve. Gran had said “When we are gone you can make your own traditions!” But, we aren’t ones to accept change very for years we have floundered.

Until last year when my brother and sister-in-law had us all over to their home in Wheaton on Christmas Eve for food, fun and family!

And again this year, being followed by a re-gathering late Christmas morning at my sister’s house in Geneva, where you will be surprised to hear that we ate and hung out amid my sister’s lovely decorated-with-vintage-Christmas-decor home.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of her holiday decor:

....her angel tree; and

...her miniature glass ornament tree; and....

a metal Christmas card list box that held handwritten index cards long before computers and labels; and....

these two vintage bobble headed guys that are kind of cute.

So outside of an early (6 a.m.) Christmas morning startle-to-end-all-startles courtesy of my 20-year-old son, who unbeknownst to me had gotten up to see what all the racket was (it was me!) and then screamed upon seeing my back view in only a cami and underwear at the kitchen sink preparing the ham to put into the oven so that it would be thoroughly heated to take to my sister’s by 11 a.m......

it was all grand.

im a big (getting even bigger, just ask my son!) Christmas fan

Monday, December 22, 2008

“We are currently running…..

50 minutes late due to equipment failure.”

was our recorded message this morning on this sub-zero-actual-temperature Chicago day.

After arriving at Union Station approximately an hour overdue, I was met with an Arctic blast that just about knocked me off my booted feet.

So during my long, cold walk into the office, I composed a list of items that I will be purchasing after I receive (hopefully) my year-end bonus....and the list, in no particular order, goes like this:

1. WARM boots bought from somewhere a little more high-end than Payless;

2. Long underwear of the thin variety to put on under my pants - so that the only exposed panted-area of my legs....which today consisted of about 5 inches, do not freeze, thus once reaching the office start to itch and burn;

3. Gloves/mittens that actually keep my fingers toasty warm; and lastly....

4. Due to my breath condensing thru the "extra-long-two-toned-because-my-auntie-alberta-ran-out-of-one-color-while-she-was-crocheting-it" scarf and wafting up onto my face....waterproof mascara might also be nice.

it’s ice, baby, ice

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Food…Glorious Food!

Today’s local paper contained an article entitled “How to Avoid Excess Weight Gain Over the Holidays!” wherein it asked this question:

“Are the holidays for spending time with family and friends or for overeating?”

My answer is "BOTH!”

I was very hungry this morning....quite possibly due to the impending snow/ice storm that is looming on Chicago’s horizon, which puts me into the gorging mode like just prior to hibernation...

if only I was a bear!

This might be the same instinct that sends people flocking to the grocery stores just before a forecasted big snow storm to STOCK UP on food as if we live in the middle of nowhere and won’t be able to get supplies for weeks due to impassable roads.

But back to my hungry bear belly....while walking to the office I was thinking of the best, easily available, quick breakfast food in Chicago’s Loop area that I have ever eaten and I came up with the winner....

Maxim's Restaurant at 20 North Clark Street, Clark and Madison, just across the street from the First National Bank Building, is a fine Greek-owned restaurant with a menu as thick as a book and a walk-up carry out counter where you can watch your food being prepared on the open grill.

I worked in that building for years and at times would order for breakfast this fabulous fried egg sandwich:

Two sausage links, sliced lengthwise and re-heated on the grill;

An egg over medium and just about when the yolk was perfectly set, the cook would slap on a piece of American cheese;

Two slices of soft white bread (the pic above is on toasted bread...but you get the idea) onto which the cook would place the newly-grilled-just-to-reheat sausage links, then the perfectly-cooked-egg with cheese, place the top slice on it, cut it in half and put it onto a piece of foil on one side and white papery material on the other and wrap it up.

By the time I would get upstairs to my office, grab something to drink and unwrap this was a sheer-now-slightly-steamy-melted-cheesy-breakfast-sandwich-delight.

soon my feet will be out of sight

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Paid Off

I sat inside the Edible Arrangements store on Dearborn this morning, none-too-happily waiting for the office’s holiday party breakfast fruit basket, which I had requested be ready by 8:30 and was assured it would be.

“We need about 10 minutes to finish it up.” said the young woman behind the counter, before disappearing into a back area, where I could hear hushed tones and scurrying. After about 15 minutes of waiting she re-appeared, without the basket, so I said to her “You can be honest...was it not ready at all?”

“No, they were supposed to call you and let you know that it wouldn’t be ready until 9. It should only be about 10 more minutes.” she responded and then disappeared into the back again.

So much for on-line ordering and then following up with a call to the store to confirm.

As I waited I was already mentally composing my email to corporate....”Why do you even have a comment section on your on-line ordering form....if nobody reads it? This is my first time ordering with your company and it wasn’t a pleasant experience! In these economic times, I would think customer service should be first and foremost, etc., etc., etc.”

You get the picture...Sally (that’s me) was not happy!

After a total of about 25 minutes, the employee appeared with my order and said just three words:

“I’m sorry” followed by “here” and she handed me this....

Suddenly all the negativity surrounding this experience was gone and I was once again filled with the Holiday Spirit.

It’s amazing how chocolate can make a frown...

turn upside down

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


was the name of the game last night and it was wonderful, non-electronic, simple fun!

Anna had two of her girlfriends over to bake cookies and after getting bored with the task at hand, thus leaving them for me to finish.....

she brought out the $7-WalMart-Made-in-China Bingo game that I purchased for my “hoping-to-make-it something-more-than-boring” office conference room holiday party tomorrow.

After chiding her brother into playing and me throwing out my standard line of “There will be a BIG prize for the winner!"....the bingoing began and although this group of 18 and 20 year-olds might never admit it to it – they had fun.

With the BIG prize, guessed correctly in advance by my son “it is probably just food”....going to the winner....

- yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms, still warm from the oven!

with motherly lovin’

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Economic Hardships

In our current economic downward “dip” I have seen where it has affected Chicago in small ways...for instance after an overnight snowfall this week – the sidewalks and bridges that in the past years would have been shoveled and salted, were snow packed and icy...

for me it was a nuisance, a slight bother, with my only adjustment having to be stepping a little more carefully.

But what if due to the long-running picture of U.S. economics, which started hitting the manufacturing community very hard years ago, it caused you to lose your 20+-years-of-commitment to a manufacturing company job, bringing you and your family much financial hardship, then you land an "eventually-will-make-really-good-money" job working for the railroad – with just one caveat –– for the first several years of working for them - your life is not your own – you are on call 24/7, with a rotating schedule – which means you never plan a family outing in advance, or count on seeing your only child play varsity soccer during his senior year of high school....missing out on so much of the life that you work hard to be able to enjoy?

With all of that just being part of the sacrifice you endure because you were raised by right-off-the-boat parents who never took for granted what America offered them...parents that instilled in you a God-fearing work ethic that is beyond reproach.

What if you are all that and you get laid off a time when your family hasn’t yet recovered from the loss of your manufacturing job?

I am not sure.

But one thing I do know...

family unity will show

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your Time is UP!!

The contest is officially over and a winner has been selected!

With a BIG THANKS to EVERYONE that participated...and boy-oh-boy...I now know how to get people to read my blog - just post a cookie giveaway!!

The response was overwhelming with my top 5 picks as follows:

Snowdrops (thanks Rooney!);

Popped Buttons (a play on what happens if you eat too
many - thanks Janet in TN!);

Snow Buttons (from Cindiloo - part of my train posse!);

Frost Bites (my sissy Vicki in KY!); and

Snow Flurries (from my creative writer friend - Lisa!)

and the winner is....

drum roll please....


cookies are coming to you

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Contest Continues.....

with the winner to be announced tomorrow at Noon CST.

So, please keep posting your name suggestions on today's or yesterday's blog.

In keeping with a cookie theme on this rainy-soon-to-be-very-snowy Chicago are snippets of cookies also created last Saturday....

Wendy's always awesome Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Kelly's first ever attempt at toffee put into one of my red was delicious - way to go, Kell!

Linda, our Hostess, worked tirelessly to create piles and piles and PILES of sugar cookies - yummy!!

Anna was then let loose with her creative decorating talent and turned a sugar cookie shaped like a present and one shaped like a star into these two now-a-holiday-tradition cookies....

I guess that would mean that from somewhere deep under the sea, you are wished....a Merry Ho, Ho, Ho!!

i gotta go

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Butter Buttons?"

On Saturday I gathered with my daughter, my sister Wendy and several other women for the third year in a row to bake Christmas cookies - one of my newly treasured holiday season events.

My cookie is pictured above - a rich-buttery-not-too-sweet base, topped off with a high quality chocolate non-pareil (straight from Chicago's Blommer's Chocolate Factory). I package 2 dozen of them in little red bags, add a sticker that says something along the lines of "Happy Holidays with thanks and love, Susan" and hand them out to friends and acquaintances.

At one point during the bake-a-thon, the discussion turned to what to call these cookies....I have never had an official name for them, so we round-tabled it and decided upon "Suzie-Q's"....but now post-decision...a Suzie-Q should only be two dark chocolate cake parts slapped together with a white-unidentifiable-but-still-tasty-filling.

Which leaves me in need of a name for these one-bite-wonders. My only slightly creative name to throw into the ring on this Monday morning is "Butter Buttons"....

but I am relying on my blogger friends to be more creative and witty...any thoughts?

And for the first time ever...there will be a PRIZE for the selected name...a little red bag filled with delight to be delivered either in person or via postal service for the winner!

Start those creative minds a rolling....and as a footnote FYI to Moe...the name "Nipple Cookies" has already been dismissed.

keep it clean...its christmas

Friday, December 5, 2008

“You're going the wrong way!”

is a line from one of the best scenes in my favorite forever-funny movie....
but it also describes my commute into Chicago this morning, as the train backed up all the way thru Hinsdale in order to clear their downtown area for auto traffic until we could move forward.

“Switching problems” is what the automated voice shouted at us from the speakers, followed up with “This train is currently operating 10 minutes late.” Which as it turns out was a hilarious joke – we arrived at Union Station 58 minutes late.

If in early December we are already dealing with the never-have-been-properly-fixed-in-all-my-years-of-riding-the-rails “switching problems” due to the cold...

it is definitely going to be a long, late-arriving-into-work winter season.

they can’t fix this problem – for what reason

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rule Breaker!

Yup, that’s me.

I broke one of my hard, fast rules last night while walking to the train.

In the midst of the wind-driven sleet I had put my hood up, my head down, when I remembered that I had forgotten to make a phone call, so I dialed up the number on my cell.

At Wacker and Lake Street, under the el tracks, a tour bus barely stopped at the red light – ending up well over the pedestrian crosswalk, forcing me out into the intersection in order to get around the front end of the behemoth, then sharply turning right to get back to the sidewalk.

So head down, hood up and talking on my cell phone I rounded the front of the bus and WHAM! - I got cold-cocked upside the right half of my head.

I had hit the giant, hard black plastic mirror on the side of the bus.

My first reaction was just a slight guttural sound of surprise.

Then my brain tried to make sense of what had just happened and the pain set in.

My friend on the phone voiced her concern and when I was able to speak, I told her I was okay but that I really, really need to go.

Today I am sporting a nice little knot on my forehead, which hopefully will be a visual reminder to not break my rules again any time soon.

i feel like a maroon

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Original Leatherheads...

with a Susan Snippets' family connection......

in the second row, third from the left is my father's Uncle...Otto May.

My grandfather's older brother was an original Leatherhead, a member of the 1920 Staley team that eventually morphed into the Chicago Bears.

And here is how they did it....

"In 1920, Woodrow Wilson was president. Women had just gained the right to vote, prohibition was in full swing, and the average household income for Americans was $1236.00 per year. Imagine attending Bears games in 2004 with that annual income. Or try to get through a game without drinking...

According to the Kingwood College Library website, it took 13 days to cross the United States from New York to California in 1920. That year, a man named George Stanley Halas was helping lessen the length of that trip by working as a bridge engineer for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Not that Halas had had a dull life up to that point. By 1920, he had already played college football at Illinois, participated in the military during World War I and played professional baseball for the New York Yankees. In 1919, however, Halas had decided to settle down, move closer to his family in Chicago, and concentrate on earning a decent living in a "real" job. Until one day in March 1920, when his phone rang unexpectedly.

On the other end of that phone call was George Chamberlain of the A.E. Staley Company from Decatur, IL, which is around 200 miles southwest of Chicago. The company had fielded a club football team the previous season, and Chamberlain wondered if Halas would be interested in taking a job with his company. Halas would be a starch-maker by day, and on the side would re-organize the football team, as well as found baseball and basketball teams. Chamberlain learned of Halas due to his college football days, as well as his achievements in coaching and playing for his Great Lakes Naval team during The Great War. Halas jumped at the opportunity and relocated to the Central Illinois town.

Halas traveled the midwest that summer, in what he called the "first professional football recruiting trip", signing the 1920 Staley team. Included in that charter roster of players were Dutch Sternaman, Hugh Blacklock, George Trafton and Guy Chamberlain.

Halas scheduled games against other club teams from Illinois that fall, and in September traveled to Canton, OH, for a legendary meeting with other professional team owners. From that informal meeting came the American Professional Football Association, which would be renamed the National Football League several years later. Each organization scrounged and came up with $100 each to join. Imagine the capital gains taxes the McCaskey family will pay when they sell the Bears for close to $1 billion!

The Decatur Staley football club played 13 games in 1920, finishing 10-1-2. No champion of the loosely organized 1920 AFPA was named. Prior to the 1921 season, A.E. Staley himself called Halas to his office. Business was down and he could no longer afford to subsidize the team. He gave Halas his blessing, and encouragement, to move the operation to Chicago, a much larger city. Staley provided Halas the team's uniforms, seed money, and asked that he keep the Staley name for the 1921 season. Halas also agreed to provide free advertising in game programs for the Staley Company.

Halas and Sternaman, partners in the new venture, secured an agreement with Bill Veeck, owner of the Chicago Cubs, to play in Cubs Park. The two parties agreed on a mutually beneficial lease, with the Cub owners drawing a percentage off of Bears ticket sales, and the Chicago Staleys were in business for 1921. The same lease terms would remain in effect until the Bears moved to a larger venue, Soldier Field, in 1971. Wrigley Field to this day remains the site of more professional football games than any other stadium.

In 1921, the Green Bay Packers joined the AFPA, while the Chicago Staleys finished with a record of 9-1-1 and were named league champions for the first time. In 1922 they decided to change the name of the team, and first considered the Cubs in gratitude to the benevolent Veeck. But Halas, surmising that football players were generally bigger than their baseball counterparts, decided to name them the Bears. That year Halas also acquired Hall of Fame tackle Ed Healy from the Rock Island Independents.

The 1923-1924 seasons were largely a battle to draw spectators to the new game of professional football. Many purists of the sport looked at it as tarnishing the the reputation and ideals of the collegiate sport, where the game was played for the thrill of battle rather than for money. Soon the two competing ideologies would begin to meld.

Harold "Red" Grange, from Wheaton, IL, was a football phenom at the University of Illinois in the early part of the decade. An enterprising owner of a moviehouse in Champaign, IL named C.C. Pyle met with the "Wheaton Iceman" during the fall of 1925 and proposed he join the ranks of the professional. Shortly after this meeting, Pyle began negotiating with Halas and Sternaman, proposing a coast-to-coast football tour that would pit the Bears against any local team willing to play. The Bears signed Grange under the noses of other professional teams, and Grange joined Chicago for their final two games of the '25 season.

After the 1925 regular season was complete, the Bears embarked on the historic "Barnstorming Tour", which took them across the country from the Northeast, to Florida, then to the Pacific Northwest. The Bears played 16 games in 45 days, bringing the sport of professional football to hundreds of thousands of new fans. Grange and his agent made over $100,000 from the tour, but at its conclusion asked for an ownership stake in the team for him to continue with the Bears in 1926. Halas and Sternaman refused, and Grange was done as a Bear, for the time being.

From 1926-1928 the NFL fought a successful battle against a rival league founded by Pyle, and in 1929 Grange re-signed with Chicago. Halas and Sternaman retired from coaching to focus on running the business end of the club, and hired a new head coach, Ralph Jones. After helping give birth to a new league and American pastime, the Bears would soon innovate a new style of play, as they continued to do so many other times in their history.

Head Coaches 1920-1929: George Halas and Dutch Sternaman, 1920-1929

Championships: 1921

Records: Best 12-1-3, 1926; Worst 4-9-2, 1929"

In preparation for my Mom’s 70th birthday bash, my brother Paul went thru albums, bins and boxes of old photos, which is where the above photo was found. He then spent countless hours (THANK YOU!) scanning those precious family pictures and prior to departing for home on the east coast, he burned cd’s for all of us, each containing over 700 images.

I have uploaded these photos to my computer and during that process I was amazed to see how many connections my far-west-suburban family has to Chicago proper.

Those stories and photos will be forthcoming – with some guaranteed to be funny, some guaranteed to be sad....

some about my mother and some about my dad

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"I have gone all day with a sticker on!"

was this morning's snippet - brought to you by a guy walking along with a couple of woman.

It made me smile.

C'mon who HASN'T walked around with a sticker, tag, stains that you were unaware of all day and nobody - not a coworker, good friend, commuting buddy, NO ONE has said a word to you?

Probably most everyone has, unless you are anywhere near Susan Snippets.

I have a long history of telling friends/family and complete strangers....

"Excuse me, your tag is sticking up."

"Your zipper is down."

or one of my more recent encounters this past summer, while waiting for friends to arrive at our local farm team's ball field, a woman walked past - a short, round woman with quite-obviously-new jeans on, bearing a sticker displaying "Size 16 SHORT" running down the back of her right leg. How could I NOT tell her?

And years ago, on the train home, a good friend sat down across from me and started talking...she had poppy seeds stuck into the gaps on both sides of her front teeth - I just started laughing - which agitated her and made her say "What the hell is so funny?"....and unfortunately, the more agitated she got, the more I laughed, until tears were streaming down my face. I finally was able to tell her to get out a mirror and look at her front teeth. She had eaten a hot dog on a poppy seed bun for lunch and then spent the rest of her work day meeting with clients, attorneys, etc. and no one told her.

After calling me an "a**hole" for laughing so hard, she thanked me.

So I do tell people about stickers, zippers, poppy seeds and such.

but try not to laugh too much

Monday, December 1, 2008

5, 4, 3, 2, 1.......

BLAST OFF and it is back to work!


Tuesday, the 25th, my last day of work prior to Thanksgiving, left me looking at 5 days in a row off....a vacation of sorts, just HOW was I going to fill up all that time?

Time then played a cruel trick on went into FAST FORWARD...

and the next thing I knew I was trudging, and at other times walking gingerly to avoid the ice on my journey into the office this Monday morning – fighting the wind-whipped snow against my face and the frozen sidewalks along the river that hadn’t been tended to yet.

But in-between it fast as it sped by, I enjoyed family (nary a fight big enough to write about!), friends and food.

Three of the “f’s” of life that I cherish…

with the FOOD "F" being cherished way, way too much.

stuffing, taters, pumpkin cookies and such