Week in review

Monday was the best of all days at the zoo.

The temperature dropped into the sunny low seventies and all the creatures had renewed spunk and vigor. This was especially noticeable at two of my favorite places: the big cat house and the Regenstein Center for African Apes. It’s a wonderful thing to see big, powerful, smart animals frisking about. The matronly lionesses were chasing each other and wrestling while Adelar looked on. The two African Lowland Gorilla toddlers came within a hair’s breath of getting smacked, racing back and forth and up and down their silver-backed patriarch, JoJo. (I didn’t take this photo of Azizi and JoJo; it’s from an interesting Lincoln Park Zoo article, here.)


I spent part of the morning on “Howdy Duty” (as opposed to Howdy Doody), watching two new Bushy-tailed Bettongs get acquainted. This is behind-the-scenes animal observation where you chart, minute by minute, the activity between newly introduced animals. Think rabbits, and you’ll have some idea of what he had in mind as soon as he saw her. If there was any question of them ‘getting along’- well, those fears were allayed and replaced with anxiety that perhaps they weren’t supposed to be doing that. Was I like a failed chaperon at a middle school dance? The zookeeper returned and reassured me that that was a good thing. With autumn comes school traveling zoo and “strolling safari” guided tours and, all in all, it’s just a nice time of year to be around the animals.a_bettongs_640x2.jpg

Raindrops on Roses

Tuesday was the final “Movies in the Park” event by the Chicago Parks District and we headed down to Grant Park to watch The Sound of Music with about 7,000 other neighbors. This evening proved to be sublimely ridiculous but it was one of those, “you had to be there” experiences. It was one giant sing along and there’s something absolutely nutsy about all those people waving to “so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye.” The audience applauded with every song, booed and hissed at the Nazis, cheered and clapped when Maria married the handsome Captain. Just before they started the movie there was a contest that involved dressing up in lederhosen and pinafores and singing the praises of Chicago to the tune of “My Favorite Things.” The crowd voted via applause and the mayor of Salzburg, Austria was on hand to give out a trip for two. Rich has an all new appreciation for a movie he’d rather choke than watch and even he had to admit it was great fun.

Nuts and Butt Cracker Jacks

Wednesday, Rich called in his marker for the evening before and we bicycled up to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs. We had comped box seats directly behind home plate; they were such good seats there wasn’t even a price on the tickets. You figure this is where the sort of high end part of the crowd sits as opposed to the bleachers, right? (It is, in fact. In the bleachers, everyone wears t-shirts that read: Wrigley Field- Drunk in the Bleachers Again.) Okay, get ready for a rant…

People! People! Your body is a temple! Or at the very least, it’s the vessel that you use during this lifetime. Show it some respect, for pete’s sake! My friend Gene has had an ongoing (and apparently ineffective) campaign against buttcrack. I have never seen so much buttcrack in my life! Young men jump to their feet to cheer and scream obscenities (did I mention that everyone at Wrigley Field shouts obscenities nonstop- often as not at the very team they are rooting for?) and their pants fall down. Really, they do. Then they bend down, grab them with one hand and continue to jump around and cheer while pulling them up. This is not the exception; it’s the rule. And as unsightly as buttcrack is, well, muffin tops are worse. I suppose I wouldn’t be quite so adverse to lo-rider jeans, even “ultra lo-rider jeans” on young women if they weren’t all carrying an extra 50 pounds these days. What is that???? I mean, I know what it is: it’s FAT pinched and slopping over the edge of pants that don’t begin to disguise some piece of brightly colored dental floss that’s cutting off the circulation to reproductive parts. And then there’s the odor that goes along with these all-American visuals: it’s the eau du bright orange nachos piled high with Cheez Whiz running over the sides and literally a pint of pickled jalapenos. And beer- lots o’ lots o’ beer. You all are going to hell in a handbasket.

Carlos Zambrano didn’t pitch very well, despite some ritual tick thing where he crosses himself and then grabs his crotch and shakes himself up and down a few times. This is almost as distracting as the buttcrack and muffin tops; I counted 57 times before they replaced him in the 7th inning- and that was only after it was so noticable that I began counting. That’s a lot of praying and crotch grabbing to no avail: the Cubs lost to Milwaukee. Despite all of this, I had fun. Thunderstorms threatened (you know how I love Big Weather) and then the night sky turned clear and cool. Wrigley Field is in the middle of a neighborhood where the surrounding apartment buildings have built roof-top bleachers so there are far more fans watching live than just those in the park and the walls of the outfield are covered with “Wrigley Field Ivy”- the very same stuff we have growing all over our courtyard walls. It was nice to sit next to Rich, eat blue cotton candy and take in another hometown experience.

A package! For ME???

mailbootybumper.jpgThursday was BOOTY CALL. I love getting mystery mail and this bag came with lots of great stuff- I guess we’re calling it booty now rather than schwag. Pick one: Booty Call or Schwag Whores, I’m passing along the good karma. Kimberly/Momma K sent some wonderful items and although this was originally tied to a surplus of BlogHer paraphenalia, I know she had me in mind with the beautiful nature photographs and note cards. And Rich thanks you for the Jazzercise license plate holder- he’s been wanting one. I love the idea that the package has something to do with you AND the person who sends it to you. Thank you, dear Kimberly.

So, who’s up next? The schwag bag has been partially repacked-because heaven knows, I have schwag- and you need to let me know if you want in so I can fine tune it to you personally. Just leave a note saying, “I’m in!”, send me your address and promise that you will post and then pass it on. You have until next Wednesday, Sept. 5 to sign on. That’s because Thursday is the one day that, for reasons unknown, the mailman comes. Did I mention that Chicago recently got the dubious award of worst mail service in the nation?

I wish I could take a picture for you…Kimberly asked for (compromising) photos, which I only do on my birthday but still. I wish, I wish, I wish my camera was not bollixed. It won’t shoot on auto focus and after calling all around I’ve located the one camera store in the city with good references that will actually do an in-house fix rather than ship it out somewhere. It needs a good cleaning, too, after a couple of years of heavy use (over 10,000 photos). The manual focus works so I’m sort of torn between hanging onto it and making do versus letting go of it for a couple weeks; I guess I’ll drop it off at the shop in the West Loop sometime in the next few days- another mass transportation adventure of sorts.


I’ve been blocking on this one. I’m not sure why. I had a lovely time meeting up with Wende, Bonnie, Margaret, Sparky (aka Shelly Noir) and the other wonderful Kimberly out in Seattle and then I got home from vacation and just sort of shut down on writing about it. All of these clever women are even better live than via their blogs- how amazing is that? Bonnie is a familiar good spirit and I was just happy to be able to give and get a hug and see her light again. Margaret is the funny and fiesty pip she is reported to be; my hunch is that under the right circumstances she is one of those people you can laugh with for hours non-stop. Michelle just grows and grows on a person; every time she says something I either laugh or go huh? or both. Kimberly is an architect and she is absolutely fascinating to listen to. I could have picked her brain about just that subject for days and we never really did get to music or cats. Wende was the baby on board and of the group, I left knowing her the least well and wishing for more one on one time over coffee or tea. Instead, we were a boisterous group in a fanastic restaurant that she chose and it was a generally loud and happy scene. Bonnie was busy writing poetry on the bathroom walls (at least I think that’s what she said), Rich ducked in to say hello and left just as quickly (go figure) and we were all wrapped up in “food sharing” the entire left side of the menu. All of these women, met through blogging, are kind and generous and smart. Emphasis on kind. No, generous. Make that smart. And funny.

So, what happened? I got home and realized anew that I miss my women friends back home in Ann Arbor. I think I probably had something very special, where I could count on daily contact in some form- lunch, dinner, bookclub, knitting, cards, long phone chats and e-mails- with one or more of a group of a half dozen close friends. I miss them so much. In Seattle, looking around that table, I thought these women are like those friends with the same fine qualities that allow for that rare level of companionship and comfort that make life so much better, so much richer- and I won’t seem them very much either. Sigh. So, Wende, I apologize for the lapse. It’s just that it was that good.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana!

Okay, almost. Not quite. But close! This past week, instead of being a good blog neighbor I decided to get serious about getting fit. Monday is always a physically active day for me because I never sit while I’m at the zoo- unless it’s to watch the Bettongs say howdy. I walk to and from the zoo and lots of places are within biking distance, including Wrigley Field, the lakefront, the stores where I food shop. But I think I have finally found a yoga home here in the city and I’m going to continue a serious routine of three classes a week. Tuesday evenings is gentle yoga, Thursday is a great smaller midday class and Saturday mornings kick my butt. alie.jpgThis woman is one of my teachers. This morning I was up into a full handstand with just one (big) toe touching the wall. This is nerve wracking for me; I came home and took two calcium pills and ate a big chunk of cheese. Rich was along for his very first yoga class ever; he keeps wondering aloud how he’ll feel tomorrow. I was really pleased he went and I’m going to try to get him to go Tuesday evenings with the lure of- what? I’ll think of something. We seem to be alternating on our choice of extracurriculars. I’m afraid he gets to choose the next movie we see…

That’s more than enough for now. Be sure and get your name in here for Booty Call by next Wednesday.

Oh. One last thing. Mrs. B, if you happen by to say something nice about my almost handstand we are NOT discussing football. That means neither Michigan versus Appalachian State nor MSU versus UAB. Not a word. Not a verse. Ah, ah! Silence! Nada. I’m going over to visit Big Dave.

21 responses to “Week in review

  1. I love reading your blog. You have such an exciting life!

  2. That last photo … um …

  3. Nuts and Butt Crackers? HA! I am not the only one around here who is emitting piss and vinegar.

    I love hearing what you are up to, Vicki darling.

  4. Wow, what a week! I love all your reports of your doings.

    I was thinking of you as the Penn State crowd was wildly cheering Michigan’s defeat…and then there was Michigan State. That was quite a score!

    So good to hear from you again.

  5. Football… I missed football!
    But made a dent in a garage clean out… that will leave my muscles more twisted than that last picture…. ouch.. that hurts to watch.

    Love the animal love going on there!

  6. No joy here in treeville tonight, Vick. Came up with free tickets too. Should have stayed home. But, no offense meant to your rant, I did spot one young woman with low rider jeans and a Michigan tatoo alongside her lower backside. I thought it looked cute but maybe that’s the testosterone in me talking.

    So tonight I pull up my Yahoo homepage and there is the headline–“Greatest Upset Ever?” NO!!! For there to be an upset, the favored team has to at least play well, or try to. We (Michigan) didn’t. Maybe lousiest performance ever would be a better way to describe it.

    That Ms. B. better not crow about it either. I’ll send a swarm of blog-crawlers her way.

  7. Dave- she’s home contriving poetry even as you post…

    Roxanne- keep on keepin’ on- and soon you’ll be a regular back among us irregulars?

    Beverly! I thought you were my friend! You still owe me shrimp.

    Miz Mary, contrary- it’s fun being feisty, yes?

    FC- I know. Rich can’t decide whether to marvel at it or be dumbfounded- I think he does both.

    Cathy-Thank you but it’s not really that exciting- I’m looking forward to my time coming up in Florida where life feels fuller and my time at the Family Shelter grabs my full attention. But I’m glad you come by!

  8. If you could meet me now, I would not be as feisty. Every muscle in my body hurts after helping Ashley and a friend move into a 4th floor apartment in Seattle. I am sort of shocked that a 51 year old woman could survive it! Our get together that night was a highlight of my year; I was so worried about doing it, and then it went way better than I could have hoped for. Good women friends,whether face to face or blogger, are necessary to existence. (and sanity!) As for the game, that’s why I stopped going to college football games–all the rowdy, bad behavior and nasty clothing. Baseball is, if anything, WORSE. In my high school, we see many muffin tops. There are flattering clothes out there, but some people must not be looking in a mirror!

  9. Hmmmm, well, at least the pickled jalopenos are green, right? Practically a vegetable. Health food!

  10. So hurry back to Ann Arbor already.

  11. Those bettongs are so cute. I’ve never heard of them before. They look like they’re made for each other. Love at first sight.

    You do more in a week than I do in a year. I must admit I haven’t seen a buttcrack in public in a very long time. I obviously don’t get out enough.

    I’m glad you posted, I’ve been missing your world and what’s in it.

  12. I can hardly wait to buy you shrimp because that means you’ll be in Florida. Are you coming any time soon? I’m going to Virginia for the month of October.

  13. “Easy to like, hard to get to know.” I hear that a lot. I tend to hold my cards close to my vest in groups with people I don’t know well. Which, I suppose from reading my blog, most people wouldn’t expect that of me. However, I’m not blogging about the deep stuff either, I just don’t think people really notice.

    But it’s also training from Seminary—we learn quickly in the church that you can’t really trust most people… and that your private life should remain that… private. However, what gets deemed “private” tends to be really odd stuff. My list of “intimate things I would tell a stranger” is long… because you have to appear open and accessible in the work I was trained to do—but the real stuff, the stuff really important to me would surprise most. So, you learn to talk about intimate things that reflect the human condition. This is called being “relate-able” (coughbullshitcough!) And then you hold onto the things that would mark you as weak or ineffective or too personal. In my case, it’s my health. I don’t talk about it, ever, except to say that I don’t. If I do, it means you’re on the inside and have spent a LOT of time tearing down the defenses. (or I have a momentary loss of my senses!) And if a person misses that cue, then I redouble my efforts to be “easy to like” and leave it at that! It’s pathetic really. But it’s a safety measure, I suppose. And if you’re not clergy–I don’t know if that will ever seem sane. I do know this, every clergy person I’ve ever met who didn’t have a safety system in place had HUGE boundary issues that spelled problems in the future.

    ANYHOW… Yoga. Heh, my kiddo started doing yoga this week and is in LOVE. I wrote Ms. B about it, but I think she’s enveloped in her brood–rightly so! I’m sure when she resurfaces, I’ll never hear the end of it.

    And yes, she was writing poetry in the bathroom… maybe just not on the walls. πŸ˜€

    And you… uh, coughoveracheivercough. Ahem. πŸ˜‰

  14. I’m pleased that you were pleased with the gaggle of women with whom you had lunch. Before the event, Margaret was wondering whether she should go (“I’ll feel so out of place.”) I told her she couldn’t miss it on accounta you be so swell. Glad I was right.

    I didn’t know the Appalachians went all the way down to the Carolinas. That’s all I learned because the game was not on my telebishon.

    Nice to see you in the no-buttcrack corner. I swear to Big Ernie it kills my senses.

  15. Mrs. B is too occupied to absorb all of this as she has a baby on one knee and a banjo on the other. She is arranging the SPARTAN fight song with an Appalachian flair.

  16. Such an eclectic post, Ms. Vicki. Buttcrack to Bettongs to Booty! One wonders who g**gle will bring you due to those!!

    My daughter thinks The Sound of Music is terrific and she watches it at least twice a year (along with Grease). She would have loved your night there!

  17. My first yoga class ever is next Monday. I, too, am wondering how I will feel.

    Glad you got the booty, baby πŸ˜‰

  18. Vicki!! Be still, faint heart!! A handstand!! This is wondrous news, indeed!! There is no feeling quite like trying, trying, and finally getting it!! Yoga changes lives!!! Rich won’t need any luring for yoga is its own blessed reward!!! Try partner yoga!!

  19. Was there a game in Ann Arbor Saturday? I didn’t notice.

  20. I’m gonna have to learn more about this “yoga” thing.

  21. I envy your new fitness committment. You’re my hero. At 52, I must admit I noticed the lack of fitness I seem to have acquired. Walking all over the French Quarter last weekend kicked my butt.

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