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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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Life with a Gator

15 years ago, I bought a third floor, triple exposure, walk-up condo in the heart of a college town.  It offered a daily workout with the stairs and amazing treetop views but there was no outside space, among other things.

Flashback to the night before the move to the condo:

My brother is a Mensch. He flew into “help me move”.  When he offered his services, he thought he was helping me “settle in” my new condo. He was wrong.

The afternoon before, he arrived at my apartment to survey the situation.  I assured him that I was in good shape.

Bro: “Where are the boxes?”

Sis: “Huh?”

Bro gets on phone: “Dad, she hasn’t packed anything, there are no boxes!”

My dad, his then-girlfriend and my brother scoured the neighboring towns for crates and packing vessels to enable safe transport of my belongings. I just pointed and they packed. Really!

A few days after getting organized in the second bedroom of my new place, I saw a massive object on the floor. I thought it was a mangled car tire.  It wasn’t.  It was a condo warming present from my brother and the perfect gift for one without an outside space. Read the rest of this entry

Symphonic Sounds of Summertime

I grew up on a bustling block in the north shore of Chicago.  The location offered many conveniences such as being within three blocks of all of my schools until I entered high school (but I still walked there, too).  Very few footsteps led me to a plethora of tennis courts, a massive playfield, lagoon and bike path that ended at a floral paradise and I was within blocks of the many offerings of downtown.

However, what I remember most of my childhood on that convenient street was the cocoon of camaraderie, fun, and safety.  One could hear the symphonic sounds of summertime and see a string of smiles!

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

My brother always had my back, on our block, when we were growing up

There were tons of kids on that street. We would play “Kick the Can” until the parents would start calling our names to go in, sibling by sibling.  We’d have block parties.  We’d jump in swimming pools made of plastic that were less than a foot deep and thought we had it made.

We could hear the bouncing of a basketball before it took aim and swooshed through the net. The woosh of the wiffle ball as it soared across a yard. Neighbors would just play in one’s yard even if the homeowner wasn’t there.  We could hear the smacking sound of the tennis ball hitting the garages and the groan as another tennis ball made its way into the gutter, resulting from an overeager groundstroke.

Getting Read the rest of this entry

The Wind Up Is…

Last week, I lost one of my favorite people, GREAT Uncle Joe. He was like my third grandpa. For 99 years, he disarmed people with his charm, engaged people with his animated storytelling and had the most wonderful laugh! At times, he knew more about me than I did. “The Wind Up Is” that we were spoiled for a very long time. I’ll miss our weekly bonding sessions but am so thankful for our time together.

Always a good time with Uncle Joe, even when I was giving him a check up as a kid.

Joe was not only passionate about sports all of his life, but was a very successful editor at the Chicago Daily News, with but a 10th grade education. There was a really nice article in the Chicago Sun-Times about him last Tuesday afternoon and I read it frequently. He always impressed me with how he worked his way up and had an amazing work ethic but also had time to know everything about everyone in the family. The Chicago Sun-Times referred to him as a Read the rest of this entry

The Adventures of Self Impressed

My office is shutting down. For those who have followed my blog, you may be thinking this is Ground Hog Day because I wrote the same thing just about a year ago after I was just getting used to my 68th floor view of Lake Michigan but I digress. I’m pretty sure I have the office move process down pat by now.  

As I toss old items and stumble upon old mementos, it reminds me of all of the charming and witty characters that have filled my days with laughter at this place.  One that comes to mind is that of the amusing stylings of SELF IMPRESSED. Just by his name, you know he is smitten with himself.  The King of Quips did have a great singing voice and was in good shape as many were reminded during various muscle flexing sessions. 

We’d be working on a project and he couldn’t remember his password, so he would pause and look at me with complete sincerity and ask, Read the rest of this entry

A Year Ago Today…

A year ago at this time, I found out  shocking and sad news that a family friend, Jeff Berger, died in a small plane crash.  He was on his way to ski with business partners for a few days.

Jeff  was a good person who had a great sense of humor. He was a genuinely nice person who I knew for over 25 years.  He was my dad’s student at Northwestern University and my brother’s friend.

Jeff took my brother to a party one night and that is where he was introduced to his future wife. Without Jeff, I wouldn’t have my sister-in-law or my niece and nephew. Talk about being full of gratitude, Jeff’s impact was huge and is appreciated every day.

This is me and Jeff at a wedding that happened because he introduced the bride and groom!

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My Homage to My Blog Mentor: The Good Greatsby

Facebook family and blog readers, thank you for helping me achieve my goal of blasting past 4,000 clicks yesterday!  My Facebook family put me over the top when I implored upon them late yesterday afternoon and I am thrilled.  I hope they READ some of the posts, too, but the fact that I know they clicked to help me out really impresses me. My blog followers and subscribers keep me going. 

I have placed a reach goal of 5,000 reads by my 1 year anniversary on March 19.  I’ve considered putting my blog mantra on the elevated trains in Chicago to increase traffic flow, but I don’t have that kind of marketing budget. I’m going to have to make a plethora of magic words with my fingers as they tickle the keyboard to make that happen, but believe and you will achieve!  

It’s not really the number of clicks that fascinate me. It’s the ability to reach people and make them laugh or think a bit.  

I was floored when I realized one of my favorite bloggers had me on her blog roll a couple of days ago. I wrote her to thank her and she commented  that she had it on there awhile because she likes my blog. That was so cool!  Thank you to Kate of Views and Mews by Coffee Kat. She is a really fun read and has taught me a great deal since our paths crossed in the blogging community last fall.

I don’t get to blog (well, I have four now) full-time so my ability get traffic is a challenge.  It wasn’t until I introduced my cute niece and nephew last fall that the respected blogging community started paying attention to this blog. That, and writing about my former downstairs neighbor who used to take a broom and smack the ceiling to get the people BELOW her to shut up. I never understood that.  Read the rest of this entry

Pumpkinized

Liz, Lynne & Lauren

Last weekend was probably one of the best weekends of my life. Not to sound all mushy  but other than a typical life changing event like a wedding, or something, it was pretty spectacular.  My state of giddy was ever-present and it was wonderful. Liz and Lynne, my two friends from school planned this event, with me, from the ground up. There were obstacles along the way and a myriad of emails over the past year but it all came together really well. 

A couple of memorable exchanges between the three of us at our last lunch a couple of weeks before the event.  Liz slapped me on the leg and said, “It will be okay!” I just kept worrying about the head count and would we have enough food?! I knew we were in capable hands with Jason at the Club but I was overwhelmed. Later, Lynne followed up with “If you don’t quit talking, I’m going to chloroform you!”   Read the rest of this entry

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