Blog Archives

Be in the Moment

Apologies for being gone for much of 2016. September reintroduced me to reading and writing with an academic twist as part of my journey of earning my master’s degree in communication at Northwestern University this coming August. I continue to love my job and I also loyally attend those guitar lessons.

Enjoying my school break, this past Wednesday, I went to the annual food drive and holiday concert at Guitar Works.  This socially responsible store (homage to my strategic communication class) puts together an hour-long performance featuring the talented owner, Terry Straker, and store employees, in conjunction with the guests who donate food for Evanston’s homeless. Ambassadors to Earth, the four-piece instrumental house band, hosts.

I just missed the show in 2014 because I was new to the guitar. As time rolled on and I looked at the photos from that show, I realized I had missed seeing Dan, my guitar teacher of now almost two years, perform “Hava Nagila” on the accordion.  This year, I was so enthralled that I didn’t get to capture EVERYONE who played in photos which bums me out because they are all awesome.

ambassadors-with-steve-smiling

Holiday Levity with store manager, Steve, strumming some strings!

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Do You Divvy?

A few weeks ago, Divvy Bikes landed in Evanston, IL. It’s a great market given that Evanston is home to Northwestern University and neighbors with Chicago. Evanston has ten stations and three of them are located at Northwestern University.

Divy Bike

These bicycles are intended for quick trips (half-hour trips or less) and have risen in popularity among commuters.

The pricing structure includes: Read the rest of this entry

Case of the Whippy Hair Snapper

Voracious Readers:

I have said for years that Weeping Willow mirrors hair….

Hair Flair

Hair Flair

But I digress.

While dining at a restaurant tonight with my mom, I noticed that she was smirking. I challenged her to release the cause of the humor but she assured me I would learn at a later time.

Shortly thereafter, my mom started to titter again. I turned around and a light brown mane, approximately two feet long, was unleashed over the back of the booth toward me as a teenage girl Read the rest of this entry

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

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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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

Don’t Fret over the Guitar

Dear Voracious Readers,

There has been a ridiculous lapse in correspondence for which I profusely apologize. My passion for writing has not dissipated, I assure you.

As you may recall, during a session of many “gone wrong” eyeglass fittings for a reunion back in 2011, the opinionated optician told me to get a hobby. 

So, I did.

The doting aunt that I am discovered that my niece and nephew were taking up the guitar. Last summer, my mom and I strolled into her neighborhood guitar store and she directed me to a plastic guitar which even I knew was a bit beneath me.  The “Guitar Guy” guided me to an adult guitar.

My mom suggested that “I sleep on it”.  Of course she meant the idea of owning a guitar versus sleeping on an actual guitar, and I was all in. I bought the bag, the Mel Bay first-grade class book, some picks, and even a humidifier.  I declared to “Guitar Guy” that I would be playing Elvis because “I have a thing for the King.”

I signed up for guitar lessons and by Thanksgiving I was teaching my nephew how to play “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”  My sister-in-law gushed over the improvement in my nephew’s playing while I was there. We carried our bonding over to the tennis court and I cherish our one-on-one time – after all, he is only 6.

Achieved my goal of playing  an Elvis song for my niece and nephew by Thanksgiving.

Achieved my goal of playing an Elvis song for my niece and nephew by Thanksgiving.

As I left the store one night, “Guitar Guy” looked at me and shook his head. Apparently, I was carrying the coveted guitar bag….upside down. He said, “You are going to snap your neck!” I gushed at this kindness and realized he was referring to my guitar’s neck, versus my well-being but I digress.  As time would move on, “Guitar Guy” graduated to becoming my guitar’s life coach as he cares for everything ranging from aligning my guitar’s neck to attempting to explain proper pick holding technique, how to string it, but I digress, once again.

Fast forward to the beginning of the year and my teacher flew the coop, for understandable reasons. Given that I had just moved down the street from the guitar place, I was committed to taking lessons there.  I had a five-week deviation with another teacher and it just wasn’t a good fit for either of us, so I switched teachers.

Today was my second lesson with Read the rest of this entry

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