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Chicago 121a

The dome of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Memorial in the north wing of the Chicago Cultural Center. Stained glass by Healy and Millet.
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16May2011 009

An American Robin pair has been nesting out front in one of the decorative pine trees next to my office since before we moved in. This year, heavy April storms knocked the nest right out of the tree, and I felt so sad for them. And then the male of the pair spent almost three weeks banging against his reflection on two back windows, to the point where it drove us mental and I thought he might be brain-damaged. But no, they've been busy. This weekend Mick mentioned seeing a nest built under the deck, and this morning I went out to look at it. It's a marvelously sturdy thing, built of grasses, mud and strips of birch bark. Of course, my favorite part is the little sprig of greenery at the front:

16May2011 008

I'm sure they'll be very happy to have us (and the dogs) away for a few days this week.

Here it is from the outside:

16May2011 016
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Actually, this is not the first thing I think of when I think of 'my world', but I don't have a photo of that. This is close.


May. 8th, 2011 01:12 pm
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“I had no progeny, I transmitted to no one the legacy of our misery.”

--Machado de Assis, Epitaph of a Small Winner
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Walking around the side of the house and discovering that the daffodils had come up.

They're a little later this year. Last year I noticed them on April 7th:


I'm hoping this means we won't have quite as hot a summer this year.
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Unveiled today (pun intended), the 2012 FDNY Pinup Calendar is now available! I've already reserved mine (of course), and you can get yours at the FDNY Foundation website. It's for a good cause, and oh so easy on the eyes. ;)


Apr. 20th, 2011 05:12 pm
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Arlington, Virginia, USA.


Apr. 19th, 2011 12:55 pm
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I think I may have finally reached my Royal Wedding saturation point. 'Twas the jellybean what did it:

Jelly bean resembling Kate Middleton to fetch £500
A jelly bean resembling Kate Middleton's face is set to fetch £500 at auction.

The Telegraph
14 April 2011

Wesley Hosie, 25, found the yellow and red sweet by chance as he and his girlfriend tucked into a 700g jar from The Jelly Bean Factory.

The trainee accountant said the moment he opened the pot, he was struck by the red pattern on its surface, illustrating Prince William's bride-to-be's strong facial features, long hair and smile.

Mr Hosie and girlfriend Jessica White, 24, from Taunton, Somerset, kept the mango-flavoured bean and now plan to sell it on eBay for £500.

Mr Hosie said: "As Jessica opened the jar, I saw her immediately. She was literally lying there staring back at me.

"Given that the royal wedding is only a few weeks away, we hope to make a few pounds out of it by selling it on the internet to a collector."

Richard Cullen, Joint Managing Director for The Jelly Bean Factory in Dublin, who is yet to see the bean said: "This sounds truly incredible, I would have to see the bean myself to believe it.

"All of our beans are handmade and this looks like one of our red speckled Mango beans, the natural speckles are unique to each and every jelly bean due to the handmade process."


Apparently there are whole hordes of people out there who "see things in things", like the Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, Elvis in a potato chip...probably enough for a convention, with matching t-shirts printed up. There's even a name for it: pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing shapes or patterns in everyday stuff. This world is one big freak show, if you ask me.
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"Framing women's desire for various things — usually, things that are imposed on them by society in the first place — in terms of what they'd sacrifice in order to achieve them just reinforces the idea that a woman's life is all about self-denial and various forms of starvation.

As a way of resisting this whole narrative, I recommend bettering your life by adding something to it. It's Lent right now, traditionally a time for renunciation — but also, perhaps a time to renounce renouncing. Instead of (or in addition to) giving something up this season, try starting something up instead. Read every night. Learn a language. Try kale (it's delicious!). Eat chocolate while wearing makeup. I think I'm going to add doing real pushups (not from the knee) to my daily routine. But it doesn't matter what you add — the point is to embrace and endorse a full life, not one where you're always giving up your joys to live up to other people's standards."

--Anna North from Jezebel


Apr. 9th, 2011 09:18 pm
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The strange week continues:

Thursday found me at the medical center with Mick, who was flopped on a gurney getting some IV fluids. He came down with a truly awful stomach flu/GI bug late Wednesday night and spent the entire night hugging the toilet. He looked baaaaaaaad the next morning, like gray, so I hauled him in. They didn't like how low his blood pressure was, and put him on a bag of IV fluids. The nurse took three tries to get the IV started (I didn't watch). So he's been off work since Thursday (unheard of) and is only starting to feel better today.

And I'm sick, sick, sick too. The cold I started a few days ago turned nasty, and is hanging around in my head and chest and generally making things miserable. I've lost my highly-prized sense of taste, which is really weird. I can sense the temperature of the food, and I could slightly tell that the sorbet I had a little while ago was tart, but that's it. It might as well be cotton balls or ceiling tiles. The thought of getting on a plane horrifies me, but I don't have to do it until Thursday and surely I'll be better by then, right? I don't think we've ever both been sick at the same time. I don't recommend it.

One cool thing: While at the medical center, I got to meet Russ Dorr, Stephen King's go-to guy for medical and other research stuff since The Stand in 1974. He was the model for the character of Rusty in Under the Dome. He's quite cool, and I hope to talk with him at length sometime when I don't have the world's worst cold.
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