Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 185 (4/27): Is this normal?

Today on the way home from picking up Colton from school, he started reading me a recipe for Donut White Frosting. The conversation went something like this:
Mom:   Do you want me to make donuts or frosting?
Colton: No
Mom:   Why are you reading me a recipe?
Colton:  Kylie gave it to me.
Mom:    Does she want me to bring donuts with white frosting to school?
Colton:  I don't know - she just gave this recipe to me.

So of course I've been pondering what the heck this is all about?  I have heard that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.  So did Kylie think that was the way to get to my kiddos heart - write him a recipe?  I don't think it works like that kids seem to get things a little mixed up.  What would prompt a girl to write a recipe for a boy?  Does she want something in return?  Is this normal behavior for 9 year old girls? 

It's weird.  Just plain weird.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 184 (4/24): Chicago Architecture

I took so many pictures of Chicago Architecture. I can't wait to start editing them to black and white and pulling out the parts that I loved so much and make an architecture collage.  I fell in love with the buildings - the character, uniqueness, and structure. They were beautiful and it made me think that I could live in Chicago and walk around that city everyday. I have to keep reminding myself it is way windier there than in Kansas and it probably gets a lot colder!
Bloomingdale's was the building on the right.  Weird and mosque-like building filled with designer purses and clothing.  The top of the building on the left was the Chicago Water Tower.  It was one of the few buildings that survived the great chicago fire in the late 1800s and is the second oldest water tower in the US.  White Castle restaurants were designed after the castle-like structure and it was featured in one of the seasons of The Amazing Race.  This was the first time that I did not feel that safe as there were tons of rowdy looking kids and homeless that were loitering around the structure.

Even the Lego place had Chicago architecture built out of legos. Colton would have loved the place. They had a life-size Darth Vadar, a tyrannasaurus rex, Woody from Toy Story and tons of other structures built. I bought Colton a lego replica of the Sears Tower to build.  He now wants all of the different lego buildings so if anyone is vacationing and they see a lego monument, pick one up for me.

Each building had unique characteristics.  Some were modern and others had the stained glass and roman carvings. I was surprised that I didn't bump into more people as I was always looking up at all the architecture. And yes I did have a few bumps.

I've decided the next trip back to Chicago would be dedicated to churches.  When I was riding back in the cab to the airport, I saw some incredible churches that were just begging to be photographed.  The gargoyles and angels decorating the buildings were just so interesting.  We don't have buildings like that in Manhattan, USA.

I tried to find the building to the left the next day but got lost.  It was an antique store that I'm sure had some beautiful expensive treasures.  It had this really cool blue lighting at night. The building on the right reminded me of one of the batman movies.

Chicago - can't wait to go back!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 183 (4/23): Kenny and Kracker

You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
Sing like bird, dizzy in my head
Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night
You make me dance like a fool, forget how to breathe
Shine like gold, buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

I absolutely love Uncle Kracker!  So when I found out he was going to be in Wichita with Kenny Chesney, I really wanted to go coastal!  Uncle Kracker started the show and he was good.  Time has not been as good to him as the others that were performing that night but he sang his hit songs and put on a good show.

Up next was Billy Currington.  To be quite honest I had forgotten how many hit songs he has had until I heard him up there on stage.  And...Holy Hotness Batman, he is a good looking man. I would love to see him again in a smaller venue (so he can meet me and fall madly in love with  He sang People are Crazy, Pretty Good at Drinkin Beer, Good Direction and Turnip Greens, Must Be Doin Somethin Right, Let Me Down Easy, just to name a few.  He was sweaty goodness!

Finally Kenny came on and played for nearly 2 hours! He played all of his big songs and his part of the concert was nonstop fun and excitement.  There were women in the crowd waving their panties around for him. I tried to put a circle around this woman with her panties and she was not the only one!
If you ever get a chance to see him in concert, he is definitely worth the money.  He really got the crowd involved by singing a variety of his hits and told some great stories. He had the tiniest legs or his pants were extremely tight and sucked the legs right out of him!

My favorite part was the encores.  He brought Billy Currington back out and they sang "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" with him and of course he brought back Uncle Kracker.  They really laughed and were enjoying themselves up there closing out the show.

My camera took a great video of them singing You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin. I had such a great time with Mark at the concert. Thanks Mom for the tickets! One of the best birthday gifts ever!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 182 (4/22): Who's the Sucker?

I'm not sure how I get suckered into these things but somehow I was chosen to plan activities for a group of 3rd graders.  My neighbor called and asked if I would help plan a party for the 3rd graders to celebrate taking all of their state assessments.  I was thinking I could make some brownies and call it a day.  But that was not the case.

My neighbor called me the week before and said that she needed me to come up with several games to play with the kids.  How hard could it be to create some games for 3rd graders?  Well it was hard!  Imagine 75 hyperactive kids all wearing about 20 mardi gras beads around their necks ready to be entertained.  I can entertain adults but 3rd graders are a whole other breed of animals.  And I do not say that lightly -  they are animals!
Little did I know that the party was on a Friday afternoon after a fieldtrip.  So how hard do YOU think it is to contain, or entertain, kids late Friday afternoon after a fieldtrip?  I was not sure my games would entertain the little monsters.
We created 3 rooms  - a food room (like they needed any more sugar for the day) and 2 different game rooms.  One of the games I came up with involved cutting wrapping paper rolls in half to make troughs and then they would roll marbles from person to person.  This was the funnest room in my opinion and I would definitely suggest doing this in a classroom again.  It is a great team activity and you can make it competitive by splitting them up in a couple of groups and the first group to get it all the way around the circle wins.
The second game room involved moving beads from person to person using chopsticks.  Fortunately I grabbed some tongue depressers just in case the students started using the chopsticks as weapons.  Well what I found out was that chopsticks are hard as heck to use so it was a great substitute.  We split them up in groups of 4 or 5 and then had them try to create another necklace from transferring the beads with the sticks.

This game was difficult and I lost the kids after about 20 minutes.  If the teacher decided to leave the room, the kids went nuts and didn't want to do anything. think...Friday afternoon after a fieldtrip and they wouldn't cooperate?  Who would have guessed it?  Plus they had just been in the sugar (oh I mean snack) room and were bouncing off the walls.

I did get a very nice Thank You card.  Not sure if it was worth it but I did my civic duty and am very thankful I just have one child and not 30 at a time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 181 (4/19): ze Happy Birthday Hotel

Birthdays are like boogers, the more you have the harder it is to breathe.  Not sure who said that and not sure that I want to succomb to the getting older bit but it is a necessary evil of living - birthdays.  My birthday was celebrated in Chicago with some work colleagues and if it wasn't for facebook they wouldn't have known it was my birthday.

I know it sounds crazy but I sometimes relish being alone. I like quiet solitude after hearing kids in the yard playing, the slumber party rowdiness my kiddo likes to have or the whineness of "adults" that want to be handed a grade in their math class. This birthday it was just going to be me, a hotel bed in Chicago and quiet...sounds perfect. And after I saw the hotel room I knew it was going to be a great birthday...until facebook....more on that later.

The piece de resistance in the room is the wall of windows.  It overlooked the river and the Magnificent Mile.  It was AhhhhhhMazing!  Happy Birthday to Me compliments of Barton.

And for a little slice of home....the toilet was named Toto.  So many things that I want to say right now...the Tornado Toilet Tank Toto as in Wizard of Oz. Did the manufacturers think of living in Kansas as like living in a toilet as my students do? I guess if you would like to figure that out you could go to the manufacturers site: Toto Toilets

It is a big bathroom for a hotel room with a really cool backlit mirror.What more could a birthday girl ask for?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 180 (4/18): Stain Glass Beauties

I met Mark's sister on Saturday in Chicago and we walked down to Navy Pier.  One of my favorite days on the trip as it was relaxing to just walk around and check out the sights. My legs hurt like crazy from all the walking but it was well worth it.  There is a FREE (and we know how I like FREE) Stained Glass museum.  We discovered it by accident because it is tucked away inside so if you are headed up that way, make sure you take the time to find it.
We entered at the far end of the pier and entered into this small room with Tiffany stained glass.  They were absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking. I guess I remember my mom taking an art class and learning how to do stained glass.  She would have chunks of solid glass and then put the leading in it.  The Tiffany glass was marbled in color not solid.  It gave so much more depth to the pieces.

One of the coolest pieces in the Tiffany room was the following:

This piece had lights that were rigged so you could view it as someone would view it with differently throughout the day with changing light.  When the light is turned off you see only the milky white and the colors start to emerge as the light is turned on in intensity.  It really makes you appreciate the art of stained glass.

But cool as it is, the Tiffany gallery is fairly small, so we came out thinking, "Is that it?" That's a pretty small museum.  Oh no my friend, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Down the hall is the rest of the museum. With more stained glass than you could ever want to see....well I could probably see more since it was so interesting.

There are over 150 pieces in this museum and since most are from Chicago architecture, they give you a nice history of the city, in stained glass. Some of these pieces are enormous. There are stained glass door panels that would barely fit in my living room. The piece below consisted of tiny pieces of glass - each one about 1/4 - 1/2 inch triangular pieces. Someone had a lot of time on their hands but it is truly magnificent.

For me, it was surprising to note how recent some of these pieces were. Oh, there are some that are truly contemporary -- more on that in a minute -- but I'm talking about pieces from the mid-20th century. You think of stained glass as being something from the Renaissance, or maybe as late as the 19th century, but here are plenty of examples from the recent past.  The museum was organized in a timeline - Renaissance to Medieval to Gothic and many more periods are represented in glass.

I thought this was the 20th century and Marge from the Simpsons but it was not.  Probably time for me to quit writing and think about more intellectual things if I've got the Simpsons on my mind.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 179 (4/17): Neglected but not forgotten

Yes I've neglected my blog like Charlie Sheen has neglected numerous women and dogs, like the hair on my legs during the winter months, like the lint and spare change under my couch cushions, like...   I could go on but I won't. I just got out of the habit of writing (and shaving). I would like to say that I've done these grandiose things and haven't been able to write but that is not the case. I have taken pictures and thought about the things that I would blog about but it just didn't happen. So for the next few weeks, you will have to bear with me as I play catch-up and show you some of the things that we have been up to.

Last week I went to Chicago to the Higher Learning Commision conference.  I was excited yet very nervous because I had to ride on a small plane from Manhattan to Chicago.  Planes and I just don't mix.  I remember the last time I went to Chicago, I was sick the entire way and then sick until the plane ride home so I was especially nervous thinking about the last trip.

But I made it and I was so glad I was healthy the entire trip!  The meetings were a bore but Chicago was wonderful.  The buildings were gorgeous and Chicago was surprisingly clean.

Look at the sidewalks.  They have these wonderful flower gardens full of tulips, pansies and other shrubbery.  It gave the big city life a homey feel.  I asked one shop owner how much tax was and he stated 9.77%.  Manhattan is at 9.55% so not that much difference for such a beautiful upkeep.

This parking garage reminded me of my kids Hot Wheels garage. The cars were also right on the edge. No damage done to matchbox cars when the get too close to the edge but I know my driving skills. I would have to use public transportation and not risk a perilous death driving off a parking garage.

One building that I first noticed when riding in the crazy cab driver from the airport was this round one below that had the parking on the bottom floors. I knew that I would have to pick another building to live in if I was there.  Notice how they are backed into the stalls almost to the edge. It was a couple block walk from my hotel but I had to check it out and there was a steel line that the cars could back up to but definitely not a place for kids (or me).

I did also walk around Chicago's Vietnam memorial.  It was by the river and very surreal.  You had the sounds of the water from the river and then the plaque under where it says Chicago Remembers had flowing water that fed into a sidewalk that you walked over.  I, of course, had to find a bathroom after listening to all of that running water.
The building on the left is the Trump building.  It was humongous. For a low rate of $410 you could stay in the middle section hotel area of the building.  The upper half of the building is reserved for residential dwellings.  I had to find out how much it would cost to own some of that real estate.  You could have a 3 bedroom for $3.5 million or a 2 bedroom for about $2 million. 
The building with the clock tower on the right was one that really captured my eye.  I took tons of pictures of that building from a variety of angles.  It is the Wrigley Building, as in Wrigley chewing gum.  There were several movies filmed at or near the building - The Fugitive and Transformers 3 just to name a few.  It is an iconic building and full of fascinating history and architecture.

This last picture is for Mark since I'm sure that is the architecture that he would enjoy - the Blackhawk hockey team girls.  Men were falling all over these girls getting their pictures taken with them with these big cheesy grins.  I think they must rank up there with Hooters girls but I'm not an expert in that so you would need to ask a guy.