Renewed Faith in Humankind

Every now and then, people do gracious gestures for people they don’t know. Good Samaritan or Mensch moments are magical. It’s so appreciated when people step up and make someone else’s life better with a little effort and consideration. While it’s nothing as dramatic as donating an organ; it is kindness and it matters. Who doesn’t like a feel-good moment?

The "El" Does Well

The “El” Does Well

This blurb below is written by my mom.  Read the rest of this entry

Roomba Always on My Mind

One thing I noticed about this time of year is how a week ago, I was staring at the beautiful treasure at The Chicago Botanic Garden and now I see people tossing out their trees. Life keeps rolling on.  But I digress.

Splendid calm at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Splendid calm at the Chicago Botanic Garden

I was pretty quiet in 2015 and it was for a good reason because I was making many positive changes – the most impressive being that I am now employed at a place I love and have wanted to work for years.  I really enjoy my job and delight in my 1 mile and 1/2 jaunt to work! Not only do I get to wear purple – it is encouraged!  My quality of life in the last year has increased beyond my wildest expectations.

One of my favorite distractions has been learning how to play the guitar at my weekly guitar lesson down the street. It is quite the joy to be able to leave at 1:57 for a 2:00 lesson.  Over the past year, I have almost lost my prized purple pick more than a few times to which my teacher, Dan, can confirm.  Something happens when I leave my lesson and I think I am putting the pick in my pocket and I can never find it; but then I get home and it somehow finds it way on the floor of my walk-in closet.  While there are many more purple picks that can be purchased to replace that one, I have to have THAT one.  One week, my pick didn’t reappear before my next lesson and I showed up, dejected.  I walked in to see my smiling teacher holding my purple pick!   You would think he had given me a million dollars; it was a relief to be reunited with my pick!

My musical world kept in tune with my purple pick, tuner, and guitar, of course.

My musical world kept in tune with my purple pick, tuner, and guitar, of course.

We have worked on many songs and although I have been partial to Elvis Presley and Patsy Cline,  I am exploring other artists now because I like to do mash-ups of various songs and improvise some melody mixed in within the chords. Per Dan’s observation, a break-through moment was working on “Always On My Mind“.  It just flows for me, and I can easily connect with the song and not think when I play it. It gives me peace.

When I went to visit my brother and his family for Thanksgiving, I noticed a whirling circular object floating on the floor.  It was the robot-like vacuum cleaner Roomba.  While I had heard of it, I never thought I could afford one.  Sure enough, it was on sale at Costco so I bought it as soon as I got home.  My world has changed with Roomba!  I guess you are supposed to name it, but I haven’t gotten around to it and I digress, once again. Read the rest of this entry

Charming Christmas Lights 2015

It’s that time of year again!  The time to capture those delightful lights. The weather in the center of the US has been incredibly mild so I have yet to see the lights in snow, but I can’t say I am complaining since it has given me the opportunity to take long walks on many nights to take in the sights.

When I was a kid, I celebrated Christmas week in the rural midwest with my maternal grandparents and family. Christmas Eve was spent diving in gifts and wrapping paper in my grandparents’ living room. Afterwards, I had the option of doing the dishes or going to church.

On Christmas Day, my family and I would drive three blocks (still kind of crazy that we took the car) to see my eccentric great-aunt and gentle great-uncle, “the engineer” with a hard g. He was from Sweden and had really pretty eyes but when he spoke, it sounded like svenska gibberish, and I had no idea what he was saying most of the time.

When we arrived to the house, cousin Muggsy, an obnoxious Boston Terrier, would eagerly greet us by slobbering all over our legs, biting holes in nylons and causing overall chaos until he was gently directed to the basement. Muggsy morphed into Muggsy 2 and the trilogy ended with naming her last dog Hercules. Hercules made the previous Boston Terriers look like stuffed animals.

There were tons of homemade cookies in the back of the house and my other great-aunt would squeal, “Would you like to have a coooookie?” and her sister would back it up with, “Have one of eaaaaaach!”  But I digress.

I saw many wreaths with lights this year, but this one is my favorite.

I saw many wreaths with lights this year, but this one is my favorite.

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Lake Michigan Tour

These last 12 months have been one of many changes.  All of them, positive; although I may not have known it at the time.  One of them is that I can walk or ride my bike along Lake Michigan to get to work and start my day with a  stunning view such as the one below.

Good Morning!

Good Morning!

Last week, my old chum from high school, Rich Cohen, sent me his latest article in the New York Times.  It’s a fun read that makes you feel like you are in the car with him as he visits Read the rest of this entry

Flower Power or Garden Grace

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Muse.” This is a deviation as to how I would normally begin a post but I digress.

For the past several years, gardens have dazzled me. To that end, this isn’t the first time I have written about flowers and gardens, but I think this is my first photo challenge.  Since I didn’t have my coveted guitar lesson today, I went to the local rose garden and took in some beautiful sights allowing me to decompress and embrace some peace!  Flowers are colorful and resilient, yet delicate and dear. Enjoy :)

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You Should Totally Write a Blog About That…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take It From Me.”  What’s the best piece of advice you’ve given someone that you failed to take yourself? This one is so simple. You just start a blog and write about….” I find myself saying that to so many people in my life.

Yet, It has been weeks, if not months, where I have gotten back on track with my own blog.  I keep giving myself an out with a cornucopia of vacuous excuses. I have the time NOW to do it and I haven’t.

Which leads me to the second bit of advice I give to everyone and abuse it chronically.  Do not squander time….”   

Instead of directing someone to write about the topics on my mind, it’s time to step it up and get it done myself.
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Eat the Watermelon and Sing

 

The Month of Lauren had some amazing moments and I thank everyone who thought of me on the big day. I am very lucky! The month also had two notable losses. 

One of them was the untimely demise of a 53-year-old former colleague of mine. He was always very supportive of me, good-natured and funny. I haven’t seen him in four years but it seems like yesterday. “I’m on Team Lauren,” he would say as he greeted me with a big smile and exuded positivity.

The other loss was my guitar teacher’s 82-year-old mom who was in the hospital for quite a few weeks before dying a few days after Mother’s Day.  I had never met her but opted to show support by attending her memorial and get a mental snapshot of the person who had brought this encouraging and witty wordsmith, my guitar teacher, into the world.

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The 11th of Lauren

How can it be the 11th of Lauren, already? Birthday month is here!

Flashback: When my parents took me home from the hospital. They brought a fire truck, balloon, and a  baby.  That is the order of preference that my brother welcomed the gifts…

Despite early hesitation, my brother became one of my biggest fans.

Despite early hesitation about his little sister arriving on the scene, my brother  has become one of my biggest fans. I constantly make him laugh. I’m glad I can help, Bro.

Imagine having a month dedicated just to you. Our expectations are way too low. This one day nonsense for your birthday isn’t enough. Each year we have more things we want to do and run out of time. So it only makes sense that this homage to ourselves get expanded. In my case, the month formerly known as May is Lauren. Today is Lauren the 11th.

How does one partake in the Celebration of the Month of Lauren? Here are some easy ways to be successful that are inexpensive on the pocket-book but rich in thought:

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Mom to the Rescue

It’s Mother’s Day 2015 and here are some developments since my original post that is below this one.

Flashback to last June on Friday the 13th when I was moving out of my condo.

  • Things are going well as I plot my new adventure at my new home, yet to be discovered. As I float down the stairs of my condo hallway and hear the jingling of keys in my pocket, I am at peace.  Delight turn to fright as I discover that my car keys are in my pocket and my condo keys are in my condo and I am on the wrong side of the door. Cell phone in hand, tears build, as I anxiously await to hear my mom’s calming voice. “Mom, I need you now!”  Normally, my mom wouldn’t be home at the hour, but I caught her and she rushed over with the extra set of keys that she hadn’t returned to me yet! Morale: Mom came to the rescue, movers arrived and the rest of the day was seamless. Sigh.

  • After all these years, we still play tennis and if top spin was a spice, hers would be extra hot.

  • I have been taking guitar lessons since last fall. It can be frustrating learning how to play but, thankfully, I now have a really cool teacher who has turbo boosted my muscle memory that allows me to play all sorts of songs. However, I wouldn’t be playing the guitar if my mom didn’t buy it for me.

  • She grew up playing croquet and a group of us still play during the summer – thanks to the Croquet Hostess.  She continues to channel her hometown roots and destroy the competition on the course, despite her routinely asking which wicket she is supposed to be shooting the ball through.

  • Last year, she introduced me to the Puzzle Island section of the Chicago Tribune. Since then, every Sunday, I go to her place and remove the coveted wordplay section and head over to the coffee shop to exercise my brain.

  • In the winter, we take walks and look at lights.  In the warmer weather, we study the gardens and architecture of the homes.  At night, we walk over to the lake and gaze at the Chicago Skyline, tranquil lake, and twinkling stars over our heads. If the timing is right, the fireflies come along for the ride.

  • I got her a memory rock from the rock store down the street, a couple of week ago. Whenever she forgets something now, she says it’s because she doesn’t have her memory rock – because she forgot to take it with her.

May her warmth, generosity, and amusing witticisms continue to impress all of the people who are lucky enough to encounter her.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, thanks for creating memories with me!

A Rocky Selfie with Mom :)

A Rocky Selfie with Mom :)

5-12-13 It’s Mommy Time

This weekend, many Facebook profile and cover photos are composed of mothers, be it a flashback or a recent photo. This is done, obviously, as an homage to Mother’s Day. That’s one of the pros of Facebook. I’m fortunate that I get to hang out with my mom frequently. Here are some things that everyone loves about my mom, including me.

  • She has voluminous hair and she passed that on to me. When I was younger, I used to call her mane “Bozo hair” and she hated that. It wasn’t THAT red but it was full of curls and actually quite pretty. When she grew her “natural” hair color out, to the bedevilment of our hair stylist, I commented that it looked like an “upside-down banana split”. She also didn’t like that too much, either.

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4 Years of Ranting and Raving

Four years ago, the death of a close family friend, propelled me to take on this blog. Jeff  is a constant reminder NOT to squander time.

Yet, this past year, I have been somewhat inattentive to my blog. I shall put blogging back on my to-do list.  Because when I feel better, we all feel better.

Before I forget, quick guitar update. Totally nailed the most boring song ever, with the book closed and Teacher Man, formerly known as Fan Man (but that was lame), advanced me to my coveted “Are You Lonesome Tonight.” Giddy with gratitude! Any time spent with Elvis is time well spent. But I digress.

Per the site stats, here are the posts that had the most traction over the past year.

1. In the “You’ve got to be kidding me, it’s connected to my brother” category – a 30 second “Girl I Want to Skate Backwards with You” video featuring Read the rest of this entry

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