Skip to content


Good morning Roscoe!

….. when the ‘stuff’ is oh so old…


My Mother was a saver…. a saver of silly things like string and bread bags, but also the saver of the family history..

Her grandparents arrived in Minnesota from Norway around 1860 with all that they owned in this trunk.  They went to work making a life and making memories, recording weddings and funerals alike.

Mom’ parents, Norwegian on both sides, stayed in small town Minnesota living their lives and recording moments big and small.

Likely, ‘the way it happened was’, Grandpa sold his home and moved in with our little family bringing all the family treasures… including this chest, another plain wooden chest and a wonderful old bookcase filled with books from the late 1800’s in English and Norwegian.

You can tell what happened next… When it was time for my family home to be cleared… much of the ‘treasure’ came to Illinois and took up residence in our home, our basement and our garage.

Hmmmm, time for us to downsize and move to the city…. time for us to give away, get rid.. of, let go of and move … on as well as out!

Already I wish I had at least taken a picture of the 1950 era Betty Crocker iron in the original factory box..  It had been nestled in the garage for decades… forgotten.  When found I briefly thought of displaying it … and of selling it on EBay.  Searching Ebay I discovered what I already knew…

Americans have been collecting and there is a plethora of stuff already out there!  There were at least 50 of my Betty Crocker iron, ranging in price from $5 to $35… How would I know if mine was a $35 version or a mere $5 version… and did I have the time, desire to discover which value belonged to my iron?  NO!

Thus, hopefully, a lovely kind collector found my iron at the Goodwill and is enjoying displaying it in her home… More likely a crabby mean old collector with more time than I grabbed it and it now resides on Ebay with the rest of the irons.

But, as usual, I digress.  Today is not about the iron, or even the trunk pictured above… of which there is one on EBay listed at $300 and one offer for $50 with 2 days to go…  which validates my point that there is too much stuff in the world already…

…and leaves me with the problem of what to do with the trunks, there are two!  And even more critically what to do with the stuff inside the trunks.

Yesterday I opened one, deciding to dig in, dismantle and discard the stuff inside.  You just can’t keep it all… Hours later, I was 1/4 into the trunk with somewhat organized piles of treasure all around and the clear knowledge that I was not ready to part with the memories of my life, my parents lives and their siblings and parents lives…

I mean how do you give away the owners manual for my parents first car, circa 1948… a used jeep willy’s wagon… even if there is one on EBay for $64!

Or my senior award ceremonies program, mimeographed and noting my Betty Crocker Homemaker of the year award!

What I did realize was that I have the greater family history here… In short summary, my mom was one of the youngest of 10… married late, and thus my cousins, mainly male, are much older than I, scattered across the nation… and generally unknown to me..

So, on a whim and with a laptop… I found a cousin… 81 years old, and after just a bit of hesitation, uncertainty… would he talk to me?  We had never met.  I called him!

We had a lovely conversation, he is not interested in my treasures, but thinks his sister would be… I have been given her number and left a message on her cell phone…. I wonder if she will call me back.

Buoyed by my success, I found another cousin, the only one younger than I… and left him a message as well.

The issue of what to do with these memories, remains… along with a bit of excitement at the possibility of finding family… as well as the sadness of wondering why I didn’t do it decades ago.

….. FEAR …. and yoga


yup, woozie dowzies… that is ME… on top of the world!!!

Pretty actually on top of the world… 103rd Floor of the Willis (used to be Sears) Tower… standing in the sky box…. OMG, standing in the SKY BOX….

Triple OMG, OMG, OMG… I am STANDING in the sky box on top of the world… in tree pose no less!

SO… DD teaches at Yoga 6 in Chi town.. and they periodically have a special early morning class featuring an amazing yoga class, mimosas… and an opportunity to enjoy the 103rd floor.

For my entire life… and a fairly long life already… I have been terrified, petrified, unable to handle a totally unreasonable sensation that I will tumble to the earth if I am not on a solid floor.

I have been to the observation deck multiple times, Willis and Hancock… FEAR has always kept me back from the windows and certainly no where near the sky box.  I could not even lie with most of my body on the floor and reach into the box, or look down..

SO… here we are, 7am on a gorgeous Saturday morning… me hanging out with the adorable young yogis, mesmerized by the views… from a distance and terrified of the sky box..

DD and her yogis are on their heads, upside down, dashing from box to box with incredible yoga poses in each space…

And… I said no… NO, and then I said…. Seriously self, you can see that these boxes are safe… you can understand that you will be safe… and YOU CAN DO THIS…

AND I DID!  I DID!  There was definitely a calm fatalistic moment of ‘ya but the box could fall off the moment you enter’.  And then peace, trust, open heart…. and I was IN THE SKY BOX overlooking Chicago and miles of suburbs all around… I even looked down… that was tough… at the street below… and I stayed where I was!

Thank you YOGA 6, DD, and the magic of yoga!


….oh where or where has chubby cheetah been?



… Chubby Cheetah (me) is getting ready to retire, working less, traveling more and not spending much energy capital on the facts of a chubby life.

I am walking, sometimes, eating salads, sometimes, thinking about sugar and alcohol intake, sometimes…. OH Just Fuffy… truth is required in blogging…  hrrrrmph


I walk when it fits in with my social/travel/city schedule.  I eat salads… actually I don’t eat salads…. and my only thoughts about sugar and wine are when is the next sugar/wine event.

With those truths being told, my Chubby life is not a disaster… I am down about 3# this summer, although any one weekend could easily change that number…. I am listening more to my hunger/need levels… and I do still have an awareness of activity..

However, I am Chubby….

right away now, the season is changing again.  I truly just moved into summer clothes and here comes fall…. (I do hear that life really races by as you age? I think that may be true!)

So, here comes fall… and likely the last fall/winter in this house… I digress.. have I blogged about moving to the city… if not, I should.

Thus, I will need/want to be very serious about the decades of clothing I own, what will stay and what will go.  Those dear readers who might also have an extra pound or two, will understand the dilemma…Is this my forever size?  Up cannot be even a consideration, but will down EVER happen?  Do I keep that maybe outfit for another year?

Am I doomed to be Chubby?  What will it take to be less Chubby?  Can I do that?  Will I?

As part of the getting out of the suburbs plan, we are clearing out…. yesterday I found a basket with old photos… which allowed me to see the size progression of this Chubby Cheetah… up/down/up/down.  Down was definitely cuter!!!!

But is it obtainable/maintainable?

Balance!  I hate balance, I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it… Hmmm, sounds like a toddler!  Such growth and maturity Chubby Cheetah!

OK, I want to lose 15#.. What will it take to do that?  What will it take to lose the next #?

….. I feel GRUMPY!

with a glimmer of interest…. a small glimmer of interest… but since there has been no glimmer all summer long, I will take the glimmer and run with it…

Exercise… I commit to walk for exercise at least 5 times a week for the month of September.  I can do this!  I will do this!

What is your plan?  Do you even need a plan?!


…… I am going to be a grandmother….

OH MY!  Soon, I am going to be a grandmother…. November!

Everyone who is already a grandparent says it is amazing, just wait, you can’t imagine, it will change your life!

I believe them!

But I can’t know, because I am not there yet… I have to wait, be patient, and wait some more!  sigh.

I am observing the preparations, the conversations, the changes already happening…. and waiting.

Sometimes I try to remember what is was like while I was waiting to be a Mom.  Honestly, there was too much to do to spend too much time thinking about it!  Just like moms to be today, I commuted far, worked long days, managed a home, shared time and life with a husband.  I don’t think I had many moments to wonder about the future, the today was absorbing and there was no frame of reference for what was to come.

The magical and profound changes of becoming a family had to be experienced, they could not be felt before they happened!

But once we became a family…. nothing would ever be the same, there was no going back… and life became 3 and then 4.  Wonderfully, delightfully, excitingly and forever a family.

The bond was instantaneous and irrevocable.  Those memories will never be forgotten.  Meeting our son and daughter at the moment of their birth, they entered our hearts and filled us with more love than we could ever have possibly imagined.  We became parents in that moment.

Hmmm, I think I am getting a sense of this new experience… and I like it!!!


….life lived along route 80


route 80

Growing up in the middle of America, I lived through the excitement of the arrival of Interstate 80 and 35!  ..And now getting ready to retire in the middle of America, I have decades of travel experience on these roads with much more to come.

… for truth in blogging, I should reveal that I also have more than a passing knowledge of Interstate 95 and the Florida turnpike as well!

We generally travel East, this summer we headed West.. West to Denver and Breckinridge… West to visit the Colorado family.

DH plans our trips… though honestly get on Route 80 and drive for two days does not sound like it needs much planning!  Apparently the knowledge of truck stops, rest areas and the correct overnight location are integral to successfully navigating Route 80!

West on Route 80 was a uniquely pleasant experience.  We started with our short overnight trip to Davenport Iowa, see post on Iowa River Bandits, retreated home and then headed out for 10 days in the West.

Let me be very clear… Route 80 in Iowa and Nebraska is a well maintained, wide road through a flat vista with a speed limit of  75 miles an hour, meaning that traffic rolled along at 85 miles per hour… AND no tolls… Take that 80 East!  OH, and did I mention little traffic as well on 80 West…

Well, again for truth in blogging … it is pretty flat, actually very flat, with absolutely nothing to look at.  .. Hmmm, well at first glance nothing to look at.

Maybe it was the miles and miles and miles (can you hear me singing?) of sameness, but something began to bubble up.. the view is not the same from Chicago to Denver..

Ya start with corn… lots of corn, throw in a few soy beans, cross a couple of rivers, move into some large herds of cattle grazing on vast vistas of land, add more crops, these with sprinkler systems in the fields, mow through Eastern Nebraska… and head into tumbleweed, scratchy fields and vast views of nothing but fluffy clouds and blue skies…

We needed to slide down route 76 into Denver… finally reaching small foothills and a view of mountains on the horizon.

So much for 80, as we settled into Denver for a few days and then trekked up the mountain to ‘Breck’ as the natives call it.  Thankfully we took Route 70, lovely, wide and through the tunnel, as opposed to last years climb over the continental divide on a narrow road with no railings and the mountain ending way to close to the side of our car.

I am sure we all have our ‘things’, falling off a mountain is one of my unreasonable queasy causing events. I cannot look out the window, look up or look down… I am frozen, sick to my stomach, not even attempting to join the banter in the car…

So this year we took Route 70… Thank you dear cousins!!!

But I digress.. the prerogative of the small indy blogger!

Days fly by when having fun!  And fun with family flies even faster… Too quickly it was time to head home.  We took two days sharing the drive time out and made it back in one day.  The perfect match of weather, roads, and energy.  Reaching Des Moines on the return trip, we told ourselves we could stop at any time…  and then found ourselves on our driveway!

The drive was easy, however I think we just needed to be home for a moment!  We spent the first 11 days of August in the city with the dog… left the next day for Denver and by driving home in one day, gave ourselves two full days before heading back to the city to watch the cat! … there will be a post on that!!!




…..loving summer travel

20170817_134446…. well this almost being retired has produced an amazing summer…  my work voicemail apparently states in a most cheerful manner, that I am away for the month of August… I of course recorded the ‘away’ message… didn’t realize how pleased I sounded to not be working!

Of course ‘away’ included 10 days in Chicago watching Roscoe, the dog… our summer city staycation.  We provide an amazing experience for the dog… and have fun ourselves.  This year Roscoe spend two days in daycare, which he adores… one with his best friend Gracie…

On doggie day care days, we took our old age ventra passes, spent $1 per bus ride, and off we went to discover new neighborhoods… one of which we might live in.. Arthur has been researching homes online, our mission was to walk the neighborhoods… Such fun..!  Perhaps by next summer vaca we will be living in Chicago….  On our next day, we bussed to Navy Pier.. enjoyed walking and eating, took the water taxi to Union Station and found our bus back to our vacation home…

Every other day brought walks, fun food and lazy times on the deck with Roscoe as he ‘managed’ the comings and goings of the neighbors, receiving love from all..

Possibly we overbooked, as we finished in the city on Sunday and left Monday morning to drive to Denver for our next adventure… We took two days stopping in Nebraska overnight, and timing our trip to meet my dear SIL at the Denver airport!  Grabbed DSIL and immediately began our amazing week with the Denver cousins…  and their most adorable and loving parents.. the P’s will be married 75 years soon… and at nearly 99 and 95 they model a life well lived!

This trip we added 3 nights in Breckinridge to our trip.. staying with our cousins and finding laughter all day all night, between walking, shopping and eating… more laughing.

Somehow we lost track of the day of the week, apparently here every day is Friday…. OH, today is actually IS Friday!  I guess it is part of being retired, we can have the day of the week be whatever we want it to be…. I can tell I am going to love full out retirement once I get there!

When we get back to Denver, we visit more cousins, celebrate more time with the P’s and then head back to Chicago…

We need to get back because my next assignment… watching Cooper the cat starts right away…the last weekend of the month… Cooper is needy… cute, sometimes sweet and always needy, but he can be left alone for the day… so my DF (Dear Friend) is flying in from NYC for the weekend…. ummmm…. wake up Chi town, here we come… the schedule is not yet firm, but it will be full, exhausting and fun!

And then… OMG, I am going to have to work 3 days in August…. sheesh, how did that happen?  Poor scheduling!

Next year, I’ll plan better.  Fortunately the next weekend if Labor Day and Jazz Fest in Chicago… more fun times!


…. living in the city



….. temporarily.  sigh.20170702_132105

Life in the city is exhilarating, exciting, convenient, engaging and exhausting!  I know we think we are going to be living in the city within a year…. however……

We are going to need to consider pacing ourselves!

For example…. yesterday… one day…. an ordinary regular type of day…

I start each day releasing Roscoe from his crate… followed by the full scratch plan, when Roscoe wiggles and sighs as he awakes with a full out rub.

We head outside, sometimes for a short walk, but often for a walk and then the dog park. The dog park requires supplies, toys, treats, and water…. lots of water…

Off we go to see who is out to play!  There are the two poodles, one a tuxedo, the chulupa, whatever that is… and assorted dogs of all sizes, running chasing, finding friends, making new friends… while the adults in the ‘room’ do the same!

After the dog park it is time for brekkie and some play time, followed by a nap… Roscoe gets the nap, sometimes at our feet, sometimes in his crate.  Yesterday was crate as we walked north to Lincoln Square to meet DD…

(and there the post stopped, stopped for 3 days, while adventures occurred)

…. for coffee and a cookie, a stop at the meet market and the grocer and back to DD’s for lunch… ‘home’ again, we got ready for a wedding in Pilsen… a most beautiful sweet wedding at the secret garden… truly a wonder hidden behind a wooden wall, an old rectory and nunnery.. a wedding on a gorgeous perfect night…

I started this page to talk about one day…. parts of each are the same… Roscoe dominated!  But each day has its own rhythm… Sunday we relaxed on the back deck for hours.. even Roscoe enjoying the quiet time… and then headed to our friends and Roscoe’s best friends for a visit…

Ah, city visits!  We visited, the dogs played, we relaxed outside… and oh so fast hours had gone by and we were ordering Italian from… lots of Italian… variety of Italian… and we feasted.  Feasting seems to be a major component of city life.. We like it!

Home again… Monday was a ‘normal’ city day… walk Roscoe to the doggie groomer, meet a client for some work, pick up Roscoe and walk him over for a play date with his bestie… Walk home….

… and then head out again for dinner followed by Scooter’s frozen Custard… Oh just yum!  And oh just how fun to be out walking…

You are up to date… Tuesday… Roscoe and I have been to the dog park, met new friends, and it is back to the resting portion before setting out for a walk…  and likely some crate time for Roscoe as we replenish supplies… Apparently they don’t let large dogs in grocery stores!  Makes sense!

Dinner tonight looks to be here with whatever anybody has to share!  … And a bottle of good wine….

The city life!  Less ‘rules’, more ‘ease’, simple!  … And I have not even gotten into Yoga at OneKey and Yoga6… a potential Barre class, OY… and adventures in the Loop, Navy Pier, and the Museum Campus.

On we go… adventure to come!



….yoga in the city

_storage_emulated_0_Android_data_com.sec.imsservice_files_received_files_20170802_203724_1501726500200Well now here is the true situation of my life…..

I love yoga.. I practice yoga with my entire heart…

Apparently, looking clearly at this photo, I am not very good at yoga!!!!! But then if I agree to that statement, I undermine YOGA!

My yoga is my yoga alone! So maybe I am AMAZING at yoga!

Looking at this photo, that seems obvious!

Overall I am pretty pleased with this expression of my pose. well until I look up close at my face!  It is a study in really hard ass tough concentration.  There is not one drop of ease in my facial expression.  I WILL achieve this pose!  Thus some learning yet to achieve relative to the meaning and purpose of yoga!

Let’s back up…. Wednesday night yoga in the city is taught by DD!  She is AMAZING!  DD studied to teach pediatric yoga in conjunction with her pediatric career.  She then decided to take the 200 hour adult yoga teacher training.  For herself, as more information for her pediatric groups, and possibly to teach…. I do just have to say that while she was learning, she was teaching the anatomy portion to the entire training class and continues to teach anatomy to the newer trainings as well.

So, she trained, she certified, she practiced and she began to open herself to teaching opportunities.  Currently she teaches in the yoga studio across the street from her home and in a multi location Chicago studio.  SHE IS AMAZING!  (OH, I said that before…. still true!)

However, let’s get back to last night… Usually I drive in, yoga, dinner, sleep over and drive home in the early morning…  last night and for next WED…. wait for it … I LIVE in the city!  OK, so I don’t actually LIVE in the city… DH and I are staying at the home of DS while they travel.  So it is our summer city staycation… it comes with a dog… I do digress, so we have some responsibility!

But back to yoga… DD told us up front we were going to work toward a challenging pose, a very challenging pose… and that however we managed it was terrific… so we started, we moved, we used our bodies, we opened our joints.. and then it was time.

The photo caps our journey… our journey of balance, of strength and of trust.  We began with one leg on the floor and the other in the air behind us… we pulled our back leg through to the front without touching the ground… and only then began to stretch the front leg forward and reach out to hold our foot with one arm, then twist open with the other.

WOW!  So while I am not ‘straight’… I DID IT!

I did it with the support of the class and the belief and encouragement of the strong teacher (DD!)

DD often asks us to set an intention for our practice.  Last night my intention was to be comfortable always being authentic me.  HMMM, I guess I lived my intention… the picture of that pose is pretty authentic me.

Do you yoga?  How do you feel about your practice?


….when the ‘old’ ladies go out to eat

Ladies night out has become an American tradition!  Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I don’t think the ladies went out at night… I am not sure anyone went out at night, other than to the local football game, other sporting event, or parent/teacher conferences.

Life seemed to be about survival, survival and getting the ‘kids’ to a better life.  Now maybe in the cities things were different.  I have certainly heard colorful stories about the ladies of Skokie in the 60’s.  At 4pm the martinis came out, and if backyard friends were not available, driving your caddy a few blocks with a martini in hand was normal.  I want to say ‘and a cigarette in the other hand’, but I guess that would not have worked so well when driving!

As a single lady in NYC during the 70’s, ladies nights out were constant!  … but not so much about the eating!  The weekend started on Thursday night and careened relentlessly to a painful, often drunken, end in the wee hours of Sunday morning.. Sunday afternoons were silent events for individual recovery.

Possibly ladies went out in the 80’s, but I had kids… two of them… and although rarely intoxicated, (me rarely, the kids never) the entire decade was spent teetering on the edges of exhaustion and mental health.

By the 90’s (yowsers, these decades just keep going by, I wonder how I am still 39?)  ladies played cards or mahj one night a week.  YES, a night out with ladies, these days the ladies to go a restaurant, but back in the day, we rotated homes… ate enormous amounts of popcorn and chocolate, laughed just to laugh, and sometimes even played the game.  A favorite memory from this time features Aunt Pearl from Colorado, coming to visit, sitting down to play… and clearing the table of all available money in a straight run.  As we sat there with our mouths open, (in part waiting for the next handful of popcorn) she remarked… you ladies do not take this game seriously!

And then came the freedom of a new century… kids grown, a disposable dollar or two… freedom … freedom to spend time with lady friends, to stay out late on a weeknight… late being anytime after 9!

The issue now is scheduling.. finding an evening that the same 4 ladies at available.  I dinner with a group that has discovered Tuesday works..  We dinner/dine… laugh and tell stories… It is an irregular schedule, someone initiates the discussion, a Tuesday is determined, a venue selected and we gather…

Mostly we behave ourselves, although last night I wondered if we were becoming two ‘old’ to dine in company.  Here me out.  We chose a tasty moderately upscale local restaurant central to all.

Our server was inattentive, not actively rude, but dismissive, slow to respond and lacking interpersonal skills.  I asked him if he was having a bad night, and he said he had only just arrived for his shift…. service became marginally better… however this aided our memory that we had enjoyed our food the last time we were at this establishment, but our server had been actively awful.


OK, generations weigh in on this experience… The table next to us was a bit loud, not obnoxiously or rudely, just a group of 6 or so enjoying their evening.  But of course, there was a toddler… and the hour was getting later, perhaps the toddler was bored of adult talk.  So, the cell phone came out and was tuned to a cartoon or a game, loudly tuned, annoyingly tuned, aggressively tuned.  Tuned to a level interfering with our conversation.

Respectfully, and kindly, (really, yes, respectfully and kindly.. ask my tablemates!) I turned around and asked if the volume could be lowered.  The pushback was immediate and rude, with the adult holding the child wanting to refuse to lower the volume and telling me he couldn’t even hear it..  a bit of back and forth and the volume was reduced.  How is that possible.. Since when did the 30 somethings start to talk back to their elders?  Since when is it acceptable to watch cartoons, etc, at the dinner table?  Since when are children who have been seated too long not taken out of the venue or home to bed?

We still enjoyed our evening… and THEN the waiter shows up with two of the most delicious gift desserts as an apology that we thought him less than interested in our dining experience…


We were a bit embarrassed, but oh not even a bit too embarrassed to clean those plates. ( I have a great picture, will add later, when I figure out my download.)

Bottom line, have we become too old and crochety to be out in public?  Or have the norms of behavior and service eroded so far that our experience is to be accepted as normal?

What do you think?