Monday, December 28, 2009

Thanks for the memories

Sorry for being quiet the last week or so. I went back home to Nebraska to celebrate the Holidays. Yeah ten LONG days in Nebraska. Did you know there is zero wi-fi in the entire state! Okay, not really, I did score some internet at Panera bread. I spent most of my time at my parents home that is across the street from a pasture and devoid of internet connections. We were snowed in for several days so I spent a lot of time watching movies and going through old photos. Believe me, the snow days and finding ways to entertain myself is a whole other blog post. Before I get into that saga, I figured I would share some awesome photos of me and my sisters when we were kids (I'm the middle child if you can't pick me out...although I look exactly the same now...somewhat). I have a slew of pictures that I may distribute in short bursts in order to prolong the embarassment.
Ah, the mullet picture. Okay it was totally cool to have a mullet in the late 1980's...especially if all of your family has one.

Here is a better shot of my little sister's mullet. Awesome with a capital NASCAR.

My little sister was deathly afraid of Santa. I saw a half dozen pictures where she is giving Santa the look, but this is the only one where she is being physically restrained.

Spring of 1987. Who says global warming is a new thing.

I LOVE this picture of the three of us. It is so awful. My mom told me it was a package deal thing through Sears where they took three shots and you got a 5x7 of each regardless of how the shot turned out. Truely a gem.

I don't know why I decided to smirk around the age of 4. I many of the pictures around this age I am doing this silly little half smile. I can only guess is that is when I fell and broke off my two front teeth (which were permanent...and therefore never grew next time you see me, check out my two front teeth because they are totally fake but look fantastic...thank you Dr. Patel).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Zoo know who

Every year the Lincoln Park Zoo hosts the "zoo lights" event. Well actually it was the "oo ghts" event since a strand of lights in the sign shorted out. Anyway, they deck the zoo out in thousands of lights that I am sure keep the animals up way past their bedtimes. They dedicate a whole lawn to musical lights that flash to the beat of some terrible holiday tune. I admit, I hated the songs but the light show was mesmorizing. In addition to viewing the lights, you could visit the animals too (although it felt creepy stalker like watching them sleep in their precious). The most exciting thing was in the ape house. Apparently they were introducing a new male gorilla to an exhibit that already had three females and a HUGE silverback. They put up sheets to block our view, but after hearing the screams and commotion, everyone soon found holes to peek through. Man was that violent. The silverback would toss the new male across the pen and then run over and sit on him while he screamed bloody mary. Eventually they quieted down when the male hid himself in the uppermost corner away from the pack.

2009 Chrsitmas Letter

I wrote the family Christmas letter again this year. It is not my best work, but gets the point across. Enjoy.

I should start by saying no one died, no one was born, and no one got married or divorced this year. The xxx family is healthy, happy, and still the same as last year. That recap is for the people who normally only read the first one or two sentences of the holiday letter before tossing it in the trash. If you have made it this far, then I may as well tell you the juicy details (and by juicy, I mean mild) about our antics over the last year. Speaking of the past year, why is it we only write letters around Christmas? Why not July 4th? Is it because it is so cold outside that we need a polite way to say “we still care about you…but your friendship is not worth the frost bite”?
Dad (Lynn) is enjoying his 2nd year of retirement where his full time job is holding down the couch and making sure NETV has at least one viewer. He works part time at a local lawn care company office to keep himself busy. Our lawn has reaped the rewards of his new job and he is proud to report that it has never been greener (although now it is all white but I am sure it looks fantastic under the snow). He likes to spend time at the local Library because it is full of free newspapers, free magazines, and free internet (now if they served free food too, we would never see Dad again).
Mom (Sue) has one more year of teaching to go till retirement. Tiffany and Mom both agree the batch kids seem to get worse each year. At least she will get the last laugh when those kids are working to pay for her social security. She continues to travel with visits to Chicago, Washington DC, Phoenix, and Peoria Illinois. While in Chicago, we caught the Musical ‘Cats’ on a whim. Halfway through the show we realized why there were so many tickets available…friends don’t let friends watch ‘Cats’.
Angela and Brad are enjoying their finished basement / game room. It has come in handy for hosting football watch parties, supper parties, and the occasional hide out when the parents want to drop by. Angela has been busy performing new recipes she learned from watching the food network (and Brad is the guinea pig). She curses Rachel Ray for making it look so darn easy.
Tiffany and Aaron are finishing their basement which should be done by Christmas. You could call it a home investment, but really they just needed a way to corral little Ava. Ava celebrated her first birthday with half a dozen cakes (first grandchild on both sides, did you really expect any less). She is walking and using that mobility to empty every cabinet or drawer within her reach. Boston, the dog, is still her favorite plaything, and she enjoys “feeding” him during meal times and letting him lick her face clean.
I (Lindsay) still babysit adults at work and live where it is cold 6 months of the year (I’m getting thermal curtains for Christmas). I dabbled in trapeze lessons (yes the circus kind) for a couple of months but had to stop when I developed lumberjack palms. In September, I took some time off and traveled around the Mediterranean visiting Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. I learned some important facts like Italian’s don’t believe in customer service, never get on a camel in Cairo, and Jerusalem is not built for wheelchairs. Okay all of those have a long story behind them, so ask me when we see each other again.
That is just about all that can fit into one page for the xxx families. Tune in next year when we celebrate the holidays by getting matching tattoos.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Want a little more German in you?

Here are a couple of pictures from my recent trip to the Christkindlemarket in downtown Chicago. I walk by it all the time since it is on the way to and from work. The plaza is filled with little kiosks that are supposed to resemble a German village...inside a mall. I find it hilarious what German's consider traditional holiday items. Okay, I am almost 75% German and I've NEVER seen this stuff.
First, you hide the pickle. Yeah, I totally giggled about that one too. You hide a pickle Christmas ornament in the tree, and the kid that finds it gets a prize. I browsed an ornament store and they had dozens of different pickles (long, fat, skinny, green, clear, etc.) and I originally thought "hey those Germans sure like their pickles...insert sexual innuendo here".
They also have good luck pigs...yes pigs! Is the delious taste of bacon so overpowering that they must worship the swine? My favorite is a good luck pig with a chimney sweeper riding astride it. I have no idea what bonkers trandition that stemmed from, but I am willing to guess it involves lots of acid.
Holiday food is known to cause weight gain. At least this cake, Butter Stollen, is up front about it. Made with a lot of where is that pig.

Who you calling a Ho Ho Ho

With the holidays approaching, I am finding less and less time to write up my adventures. Don’t fret, I am still having plenty of ridiculous events in my life, I am just too busy to write about it. I am currently in the middle of composing my family’s Christmas letter. Yes, we STILL do that. I am half tempted to just write three sentences announcing no one is dead, no one got married, no one was born because who really reads these things anymore. I guess I could go the passive aggressive route and talk about how we have to write our year in summary because that is how long it has been since we’ve received a phone call or lunch date invitation from you.

In the mean time, please enjoy these pictures taken of the CTA Santa Train. Yes, the Santa Train. Every year, the CTA (aka, the “L” or subway) transforms one line of passenger cars into a winter wonderland. It is truly a sight to see. In the middle on a flat bed is a real Santa with his team of reindeers and all sorts of other crap that would make yard art jealous. The inside of the train cars are decorated with tinsel streamers, holiday seat covers, and “ads” from the North Pole (Prancer’s car dealership…although corny beyond belief, it was a nice change from the “divorce, immigration, bankruptcy problems, then call the lawyers at blah and blah” or “paternity questions, do your own DNA test right at home”). A worker greats you with a candy cane and a cheerful “Happy Holidays”. Actually thinking about it, you would think they would say “Merry Christmas” since there wasn’t a damn thing resembling Hanukah or Kwanza on that train. The loud speakers play Christmas music (which is different in every car…I checked).

The best thing about riding the Santa train is seeing the faces of people as the train approached the platform. See we picked up the schedule and actually planned on catching the train (okay, you can now call me a dork). Those who didn’t anticipate it had a surprised joyous reaction, and quickly whipped out their cell phone cameras or called up friends and family. Although it has been cold here in Chicago since, well September, Santa remained cheerful as he braved the cold weather (and wicked wind chill) out on his “sleigh”.