Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Can you do 90 pounds?!"

My daughter Anna asked me this past Monday night as we worked out on the leg press machine at our local, inexpensive, no-frills health club.

I had just given her grief for wimping out and only pressing 70 lbs.

“That’s ALL I can do!” she whined.

“No, you can do heavier weight than that! Women have very strong leg muscles, let me sit down!” I stated while helping her off the machine and placing myself in the seat.

“How about 100 lbs., 110 lbs, 120 lbs., l30 lbs., l40 lbs. and finally 150 LBS.?” Anna continued to ask.

“Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and YES!” I told her as I reset the weight to 150.

I started pressing, one rep of 10, two reps of 10, and then the third rep of 10.

Anna also successfully pressed 150 lbs., but not 30 times like knuckle headed me!

Needless to say...

by Tuesday afternoon/evening...I could barely walk, my thighs and booty muscles were on FIRE!!

Climbing up and down stairs was tortuous and to sit down on the potty...

oh, the pain!!

i honestly question if i am sane

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Susan, what are you going to ask him?"

Patti said with that look on her face.

"You sound like Keith! I am just going to ask if there is a website where we can see a video or a picture of the fruits of our labors, that's all." I reassured her, as I asked a volunteer to have him stop by our table number 30.

The “him” we were discussing, unbeknown to us at the time, was Rick McNary, founder of Numana, Inc. I had spoken briefly to him earlier as we assembled meals for Haiti this past Sunday with over 5,000 other volunteers, and recognized that with his wearing of a white button down shirt embroidered with “Numana” he would be a person to ask.

Within minutes Mr. McNary was standing at our packing table, introducing himself and telling us “I have a great story about how this started.”

He went on to tell us that he is a Pastor and 10 years ago he was traveling in Nicaragua when a malnourished, 5 year-old girl named Maria, crawled onto his lap and asked him for food.

“It broke my heart.” He said.

He has since fed and supported Maria, who is now a healthy, thriving, educated 15 year old.

But, he wanted to do more than just help her. So four years ago Rick founded Numana, Inc. (named after the biblical “manna” that fell from the sky and fed the Israelites in the old testament).

They researched and developed a recipe, that was easy to assemble and sealed in plastic for a long shelf life and cost-effective shipping. Each of these meals contain enough food for 6 people - consisting of rice, vegetable protein, freeze-dried vegetables and chicken flavored soy protein that is fortified with vitamins and minerals.

This past December, the charitable people in Rick's small town of El Dorado, Kansas, packaged and filled a shipping container with the meals, and he approached the Salvation Army...

"Where might there be the greatest need?" he asked.

Haiti was suggested, well before the earthquake hit, because it already was one of the poorest countries in the world.

That very first shipment left El Dorado bound for Haiti on December 29, 2009, and promptly got stuck in Iowa during a mean Midwestern snowstorm.

And there it sat.

That delay turned out to be divine, because when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on January 12th, the Salvation Army immediately contacted Numana, knowing it had these ready-to-go-right-now meals.

They work out the logistics of getting the shipping container and Numana's meals were part of the first wave of food dropped onto Haiti.


dropped from the sky...

via parachute.

Raining down on those starving people, just like the biblical manna the company was named for.

By the time Rick finished his story, Patti and I were both standing there - speechless, tears in our eyes, and chills running up and down our spines.

As he left to get back to the running of the massive operation at hand, we thanked him.

And I turned to Patti and said “THAT is why I ask questions! What an awesome story!”

of Gods glory

Needless to say I just had to get a picture of Mr. McNary and me...

for you to see

Friday, February 19, 2010

I spent a couple of minutes...

today emptying out one of the drawers of my work desk.

After removing and piling high its contents...look what I discovered at the very bottom...

at least I think of trying to de-clutter.

that word is so hard for me to udder

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yesterday, a street artist…

took a new approach with his/her tagging...

that I found to be eco-friendly (non-permanent- so not "really" vandalizing) and very, very clever!!

yarn not just for a knitting endeavor

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Patrick Stiff

Dr. Stiff;

Sometimes even lovingly referred to by my family and friends as…


But always to be known as the oncologist that saved my life in 2002.

I visited him yesterday for a yearly check up at Loyola Medical Center.

He is quite the character - tall and lanky, looking like he could be Ed Begley, Jr.'s brother (and as he would say "younger and better looking" brother)...

but amazingly devoted and intensely brilliant!

After much self-imposed angst and nervous sweating, Stiffy told me that I am doing very well!!

so i thought to you i would tell

i might have also let out a thankful celebratory yell

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sunshine brings danger...

is what I thought this morning as I walked around this City I love!

We have been experiencing typical February weather this past week – freezing temperatures and snow, snow snow!

But yesterday and today we have been kissed with rich, warm sunshine...

So what might be so dangerous about that?

Well, that wonderful sun melts the ice on buildings around the Loop and melting means...falling...

chunks of ice!

Hopefully, no GIANT ones will land on a person's head!

possibly they would be dead

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Hey, Lady! ...Hey Lady!"

Kristen could hear someone shouting from behind her – but thought whoever it was certainly was not directing it to her.

We were at a local roller rink this past Saturday night for a friend's 36th birthday party.

Kristen was skating when she nearly collided with a young (maybe 15), pretty, dark haired girl. So to avoid injury to either party, she grabbed the girl’s waist, gently pushed off and continued skating around the rink.

It was after that she started hearing the “Hey, Lady!”

She looked back to see who was yelling and sure enough it was the young girl that she nearly hit.

Kristen slowed down allowing her to catch up, at which point the youngster says:

“If you EVER touch me again, I am going to kick your ass!!

being raised with a lot of class

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


on the Richter scale.

With the epicenter in Virgil, IL just northwest of my sleepy little river town.

At 4:00 a.m. this morning I was awoken from my slumber by the low tones of a rumbling...then my bed started shaking violently in the attic bedroom of my 1899 farmhouse.

I met my daughter Anna in the hallway, where she was looking outside - we both assumed that a gust of wind had hit us - hard.

But the winter themed decorative flag hanging from the front of the house was barely moving, which led her to ask...

"Mom, WHAT was that?"

"That, my dear, was an earthquake!"

shake shake shake

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"You sure are brave!"

I said this morning to the woman who ran across this intersection...

against the light - darting out in front of traffic and making it safely (just barely) to my side of the street.

She looked at me, smiled, shrugged her shoulders and headed down the sidewalk.

Then I added to my remark "and pretty dumb!"

what if a bus was to come

Friday, February 5, 2010



This week's snow left a cute little heart in one of the new controversial Chicago Parking meter's coin slot...

selling Chicago's parking out - good idea Mayor Daley? Not!

Litter in a design from people who smoke...

for not cleaning up we should be able to poke!

High chairs in the lobby of the Merchandise Mart...

possibly for those that are short at the start.

And lastly one of my week's favs...

for whimsy this artist should receive raves!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

“Your car looks brand new!”

Clare exclaimed on the train last night after I told her that my VW Golf “Red Rocket” had 115,000 miles on it and was 10 years old.

That was not the first time I have heard that from someone.

And every time I do...I laugh my head off!

I am not a "wash the car on a regular basis" type of gal.

I wash mine probably twice a year - sometimes only once.

And because I have strictly adhered to that standard, I believe the almost-always-present thin coating of dirt has protected the paint and the body of my car - keeping it nearly pristine!!

still has a rust free sheen

when it is clean

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

“It has been over six months or so...

since I have seen her.”

“What is her name again?”

My friend Chuck pops into my head.

Chuck was married to Carol.

“Carol! That is her name.”

was the self talk I had two weeks ago.

The petite woman with stylish short gray hair commuted on my train car for years.

She climbed aboard in Naperville.

Usually with a fabulous pin attached to her coat/blazer/sweater, etc.

Very chic.

Last summer while in the coolness of the Civic Opera House portico...

I found myself walking alongside her.

Being the shy person that I am (insert laugh track here) I mustered up some gumption and startled her by saying out of the blue “I admire the pins that you wear!”

We talked until we reached her building.

She too works at a law firm, lives in the same town my brother lives in and has a very soft, kind spirit.

I was hooked!

After that first meeting we met up on our walk just a few more times and then she disappeared.

Until today.

Two weeks after she popped into my head I saw a petite woman walking ahead of me this morning with beautiful short gray hair!


“Chuck was married to...


“Carol!” I said and she turned toward me and delivered her big beautiful smile.

We caught each other up as much as we could in the brief 5 minutes or so that had until we reached her office building.

I told her that I had just thought about her within the last two weeks and she said that she also thought about me, wondering with the current economic crisis if possibly I had lost my job.

How often does that happen to you?

You think of someone that you haven’t seen in a very long time...and within a short period you run into that person.

I love it!

If you have a “Carol” story...

please share!

i double dog dare

Monday, February 1, 2010

I vowed that...

I would not be one of “those” people that come back to the harsh winter of Chicago from a tropical destination – all tanned and well rested and on their first work day post-vacation show up wearing white...

and possibly accessorizing with “summerish” jewelry purchased at one of the many small, colorful boutiques that dotted the main road as they headed to the best ice cream shop in the state.

nope those people I hate