Is Mercury retrograde? (Answer: No.) Something else must explain why I spent the weekend going from one sweaty-head interval to the next, slept badly, felt like I worked the whole damn time and still managed to slip on the sidewalk while walking the dog. The sidewalk in question was coated with a thin layer of mud, thanks to a recent sprinkler installation. No one in my neighborhood drags a sprinkler around the yard anymore; in-ground automatic watering systems are the only thing for a striver to have.
(The Derringers, with their laissez-faire attitude toward lawn care in general, are the Problem House of the ‘hood. Both of us have done too much environmental reporting to give a fat rat’s ass about lawns.)
In my neighbor’s case, the night after the old lawn was peeled off and taken away and before the new one was installed, enough rain fell to wash a fair amount of topsoil onto the sidewalk. I hit it in the murky moments of dawn yesterday and went sprawling. The only good thing to report is a) my injuries were limited to a scrape or two; and b) the string of curses I unleashed woke the family dog, who barked loudly and, I devoutly hope, roused the whole household.
I mean, the lawn went in days ago. Someone should have taken the time to wash away the mud.
And while the weather was unseasonably warm, it was accompanied by a certain Gulf of Mexico-ish humidity. Alan spent the weekend tearing up underbrush for a coming fence installation in the back yard, and looked like he was dredging oysters without waders.
In between these toe-curling episodes of excitement, there was a rotisserie chicken and some fine dishes from my Eastern Market foray. Made Alice Waters’ fresh shell-bean gratin and a shitload of brussels sprouts.
There was also homecoming. After freshman year, when we paid too much for a dress that wouldn’t be worn twice, I got a little smarter about the whole thing. Last year we found a $27 special from Forever 21 that wasn’t quite dressy enough on its own. But I was raised by a seamstress, and thought I could improve it immensely with a black satin sash, which I made myself from the best polyester satin I could find at the fabric store. We saved it, and found this year’s dress on ModCloth for a similarly modest sum. Out came the sash again, and I don’t know about you, but I think it works pretty well (this year’s model is the red one; the blue is year one of Project Sash):
You can see I also skimped on hairdressing this year, but so what? They had a great time, and went to a better restaurant beforehand. Some of the homecoming frocks I saw on my Facebook news feed look like ho gear. At least she looks cute and age-appropriate, and take off the sash, add a regular belt and shoes, and it’s a regular old dress again.
And it didn’t cost me $100.
I don’t really have much bloggage today, but if you missed Cooz’ comment late yesterday, you missed something great. Go read.
Never waste a good crisis, smart leaders say. And if necessary, you can always invent one.
A great week ahead, I hope. Let’s try to stay perpendicular to the pavement, eh?
Jolene said on October 7, 2013 at 2:12 am
Good job with the sash. I like the red dress, especially. I have a niece who is a senior in high school, as well as a grand-niece who’s a bit younger, and several cousins who have kids in that age-range, so I’ve seen lots of those Facebook pictures you mentioned–in general, too much skin and too many sequins.
On a related theme, what’s your take on what’s happening with senior pictures these days? The days of a single, formal, head-shot seem to be long last. The practice now seems to be to compile something like a modeling portfolio. Lots of poses in different outfits, including sports uniforms, or taken with props (e.g., musical instruments) to reveal the kid’s interests. Many of the photos are great, but it also seems to me to smack of good ol’ American over-the-topness.
Dexter said on October 7, 2013 at 3:49 am
I was pulled to the icy sidewalk last March when my Labbie dog and the Jack Russell saw the local giant brindled dog and went nuts. I’m usually OK when they go nuts but on the ice I went down hard but was uninjured, so I have empathy abut nance’s slip on the mud.
The weather felt just like it did in July down in Pensacola with this high humidity. I turned the house AC on high and that made it bearable. Right now it’s 52 F. and the house is finally giving up some of the heat so I shut off the AC.
I live a mile away from where the fancy lawn people’s homes start.I cut my grass but have never treated my lawn with chemicals and only a few times have had to throw down some grass seed.
I used to ride bikes around Ann Arbor when I went to the football and basketball games regularly, and in the older neighborhoods with single family homes in the North Burns Park area between Packard and Washtenaw avenues , many people had very long uncut grass in their yards. Some of the yards looked downright rustic, minus the giant firewood cords stacked against the sheds; I suppose wood-burning is illegal in A2. ( I wish it was here!) You’d understand if you sucked on an Advair diskus twice a day like I do.) I remember a few years ago nance commented on her time in Ann Arbor and the lack of lawn-care-madness there , at least in sections of town.
In the busy-ness of the season, I hope you followers watched or dvr’d the season 2-hour finale of “Low Winter Sun”. Every bit as mesmerizing as last week’s “Breaking Bad” closer.
Deborah said on October 7, 2013 at 6:08 am
Ah, Midwestern humidity, I don’t miss it. I’ll be back in Chicago in a couple weeks, hopefully it will feel like fall then.
Deggjr said on October 7, 2013 at 7:19 am
A little background music for the Cooz comment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh_2yn5mZeg
adrianne said on October 7, 2013 at 9:18 am
The sash ties the whole outfit together, man!
MichaelG said on October 7, 2013 at 9:21 am
I like the red dress and I like this year’s hair better. Kate seems to have gone from big girl to young woman.
I see you also cram books sideways in an overcrowded bookcase.
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 9:55 am
Raphael sounds more and more like a cartoon character…and indeed, given his target audience, I suppose it really is all going according to plan!
According to a CBS News poll released this week, 72% of Americans disapprove of the shutdown, and more Americans blame congressional Republicans than blame Obama. Despite this, Cruz doesn’t think his actions have taken a negative toll on his party’s image.
“Not remotely,” Cruz said. “But I also think far too many people are worried about politics.”
PS – I realize it is stating the obvious (I’m good at that!) – but you have a beautiful daughter. I think I’m going to be one of those older guys, like Boehner, who chokes up every whip-stitch.
Our lovely oldest daughter is 15, and master of the universe (wouldn’t have it any other way); the time goes right by, y’know?
Deborah said on October 7, 2013 at 9:56 am
Kate is a cutie, she looks great in both dresses, Tom and Lorenzo would be proud.
coozledad said on October 7, 2013 at 10:21 am
I wonder what makes the Republicans lean Confederate in all their battlefield analogies? If they’re going to pick hopeless losers to emulate, in this situation it should be said they more closely resemble the French at Dien Bien Phu.
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 10:41 am
Indeed; or, if they insist on Secesh, Vicksburg leaps to mind
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 10:51 am
And come to think of it, at Fort Donnelson and at Vicksburg (not to mention Appomattox) US Grant gained the nickname Unconditional Surrender Grant; then as now, those secesh wanted to hold out for something good, although they didn’t even know what that might be – aside from the clothes on their back and a ticket home….which would be the deal I’d give Raphael and his minions
Charlotte said on October 7, 2013 at 11:13 am
Weather here gorgeous (if windy. We’re known for our wind in Livingston, but it usually doesn’t start until January). Went for a nice walk late yesterday afternoon in one of my favorite drainages — you come back up out of the creek bottom to a lovely meadow with views of the whole Paradise Valley.
Love the red dress on Kate! I have a whole pack of girls I’m aunty to from early 20s down to almost nine, and finding them clothes they like that don’t look slutty is a trial. Great job!
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 11:36 am
I know Raphael is from Harvard (via Neptune), and not a Yale man – but isn’t this almost certainly the work of a future Tea Party faux-intellectual ‘thought-leader’?
Students and officials at Yale University are trying to put a stop to a person or group that has been soiling people’s laundry by putting human excrement in clothes dryers.
alex said on October 7, 2013 at 11:40 am
Fellow Chicagoans: A paean to the Purple Hyatt! I have fond memories of the place from when I worked in Skokie many years ago. Kitschy cool.
Prospero said on October 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm
R. Raygun reaches out from the grave, through his corrupt divorce lawyer AG to continue to fuck up the USA. Why is this incompetent tool still around? He’s a walking around mound of cholesterol.
Both those dresses look great. My daughter just sent me photos of a wedding in which she was a bridesmaid, and the bridesmaid’s dresses were actually attractive and appeared to be rewearable. You and your husband have a beautiful daughter.
I was pretty unhappy when Sonic Youth broke up over Thurston Moore’s inability to keep it in his pants when presented with groupie blandishments. I mean, the guy was married to Kim Gordon, for God’s sake. But if the lesser known player in the band, Lee Ranaldo has a new band that will make songs as gorgeous as this one,I guess it’s not an entirely bad thing. It’s depressing to realize this bogus political hack and bagman to the Ayatollahs is still influencing American politics and government.
Miley Cyrus back in the news, making fun of Sinead O’Connor’s mental health problems. Class act, and she threw in sad Amanda Bynes, too. Miley needs to just go the frack away for a while. Which reminds me, did everybody see that Raiders fan that went to a baseball game by mistake and tried to beat up some cops. Tased, bro. And it was sure funny to watch 53,000 spectators in Chavez Ravine making fun of the Braves’ fans bush-league appropriation of the phony and repuldive Indian chant from FSU football, after said Atlantans directed catcalls toward Yasiel Puig for no reason whatsoever, and a Braves’ pitcher plunked him in the back after he hit a HR.
Julie Robinson said on October 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm
Kate will never regret those outfits, and Deborah, I was thinking the same thing about TLo. Nancy could have a second career as a stylist.
Choking up is a constant parental hazard. Our son was in a play this weekend, and at one point his character had to sell his saddle to pay for his daughter’s medical care, and you can guess that made me weepy all over the place. I wear the tears as a badge of pride/awe/love.
Yesterday was the third consecutive day of rain,but when we stopped to get gas, the sprinklers were going full blast. Half of them were watering the pavement.
Dorothy said on October 7, 2013 at 1:15 pm
Kate is a stunner!
Jolene my daughter is 30, almost 31 and when she had her senior pictures taken, we were told to bring a few changes of outfits for multiple appearances in the pictures. So that practice has been around for awhile now. However we did not leave the premises of the studio. Nowadays pictures seem to be snapped at multiple locations, much like you describe (model shoot).
It was nearly 80 here yesterday, but the rain moved in big time around 7:00 at night, and the high today so far is 50, I think. It’s time. Did anyone else besides me see Gravity this weekend? I LOVED it! Very nerve-wracking but exciting too.
Julie Robinson said on October 7, 2013 at 1:32 pm
Our daughter did a couple of extra poses/outfits at the studio, but our son did several, and had them taken outside. I like them because they really show his personality and interests. The studio shots were ridiculously expensive because the photographer had monopoly rights for the yearbook. They had lost those by the time our son came around, and we used a very talented friend who only charged the sitting fee and then gave us a disc with all the shots. It ended up way cheaper, with better and more natural pictures.
But what do you when you’ve planned outdoor pictures and it rains? It didn’t stop the bridal party we saw yesterday at the park, but they looked pretty miserable, in strapless dresses, muddied hems, and ruined hairdos and shoes. I almost told them to go visit the local indoor Botanical Garden, but I guess the damage had already been done.
Bitter Scribe said on October 7, 2013 at 1:42 pm
I wonder what makes the Republicans lean Confederate in all their battlefield analogies?
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm
We were sitting in the stands at Homestead High School Saturday morning, to see Pam’s niece march with the Royal Center Pioneer High School marching band….
and it rained just about as intensely as it is possible to do; no wind or thunder or lightening really, just a straight-downpour…and they hit their marks and got ‘er done, b’gosh!
Sherri said on October 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm
Dorothy, I saw Gravity this weekend, too, in Imax 3D, and I liked it, too. It’s visually stunning, and definitely worth the price of Imax 3D. I usually avoid 3D, but it’s really well done in Gravity.
On the other hand, I saw the preview for the next Hobbit movie in 3D, and I wasn’t impressed with the 3D effects in that. They just made me feel like I was on an animatronic ride at Disneyland; Gravity made me feel like I was in space.
Prospero said on October 7, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Purple Hotel: I love the color and the design. I always like exposed structural elements. Hyatt Corporation seems always to have been willing make some adventurous design choices. They built a ziggurat on the Charles River in Cambridge, that maximized the number of rooms with river views. The architect’s flat statement that “The public is ignorant.” is hilariously typical of Architect’s of my acquaintance. They say things about colors and materials that are sentences prefaced with the phrase “It wants to be…”.
Judybusy said on October 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm
Very lovely dresses–Kate is fortunate to have parents tuned in.
I also saw Gravity over the weekend, and really enjoyed it. I am not good with heights so it was the ultimate scary movie for me. I loved all the shots of space and earth. We didn’t see it in 3D, and it was still stunning.
Deborah said on October 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm
The Pritzker family that owns Hyatt, funds an architectural prize that gets awarded every year. Big name architects are on the jury. Since 1979 when the first prize was awarded only 2 women have received it and one of those was part of a team of two partners that both won. A Finnish architect friend of ours has been on the jury. The usual suspects win. It’s a big deal among architects. The 2013 winner was Toyo Ito from Japan.
And Prospero, I can guarantee that my architect husband has never said, “it wants to be…”
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm
Well, we haven’t seen Gravity yet, but Chloe (our 9 year old) and her cousin and I went to Science Central this past weekend to see this:
which was very cool, indeed!
Hattie said on October 7, 2013 at 6:58 pm
She looks precious.I’m an old lady,so I can say that. The belt is such a clever way to add style to a simple dress.
Deborah said on October 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm
This is gross, but Little Bird read me something from the intertoobz about the Republicans shutdown fiasco, “People who stir up the shit pot should have to lick the spoon”. Don’t I wish.
Scout said on October 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm
My dear old Dad, an architect, never says any of those things either, Deborah.
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Some interesting Civil War pictures that have been colorized…
And on second thought, I think it besmirches even the treasonous rebels in the third photo, to compare them to Raphael the cowardly Canadian legume
Julie Robinson said on October 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm
Speaking of the s*** pot, Leininger writes on a subject appropriate to his reasoning level: http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131007/NEWS/131009716/1012/LOCAL
alex said on October 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm
Ye gads, a Leininger column that doesn’t have an anti-Obama angle. What remarkable self-restraint he showed here. Or maybe somebody finally slapped the shit out of him for making inapt comparisons of things that are brown.
Danny said on October 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm
Last week my father in the faith passed went to be with his Lord:
Not sure if any of you ever heard of Pastor Chuck, but back in the 70’s he was known for reaching out to a whole generation lost, young hippies who came to be known as the”Jesus People.” He was undoubtedly one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th century.
If you are interested, his sermons can be streamed or downloaded and heard for free if at The Word for Today (twft dot com).
Well done, Pastor Chuck. Love you. See you later!
Danny said on October 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm
Add “and” to first sentence…
Deborah said on October 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm
Sorry for your loss, Danny, but I became less interested when I realized my clicks on your pastor would cost me something. As much as he probably is a great guy, that sends up a red flag for me.
brian stouder said on October 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm
Our condolences to you and yours, Danny.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm
Calvary Chapel gave birth to the Vineyard Movement, which is doing amazing work in Christ’s name around the country. My impression is that Chuck was never quite sure about John Wimber or his flock, but he certainly made an impact on church planting and outreach in spurring the missional emphasis of most Protestant bodies today. Grace and peace to you, Chuck . . . and Danny!
Danny said on October 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm
Deborah, I see what you are referring to at the Products page (and note that this is the website for the radio ministry, not the church website), but his sermons are available for free there too at:
You know, it is odd that you mentioned the money thing because perhaps one of the main things that attracted me to Calvary Chapel churches years ago was that they never asked for money… and I mean never. Chuck’s philosophy was simple in that regard. He believed that if God ordained a ministry, the financial support would appear because people would get behind it being led of the Spirit and not by being browbeat and cajoled by some red-faced preacher.
It always throws up red flags for me too when ministries beg for money.
Danny said on October 7, 2013 at 11:57 pm
Jeff, so true about Wimber and the Vineyard movement. Many in Calvary Chapel circles make a very hard distinction between charismatic churches, ones that believe that the gifts of the Spirit are still active, but not necessary, and “charismania” or churches that way-over-emphasize experiential based faith that practically demands everyone speak in tongues, etc..