Monday, December 1, 2008

Interesting wedding video

No, it’s not that kind of a wedding video!

I’m not sure if this is a joke, prank or an accident. Watch as the best man attempts to present the wedding ring!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

‘Turkeys Away’

One of the funniest sitcom episodes ever. This is the classic WKRP In Cincinnati episode from October 30, 1978. Station manager Arthur Carlson dreams up a “brilliant'” Thanksgiving promotion for his station. The promotion involves flying a helicopter over the Pinedale Shopping Mall -- and then releasing twenty live turkeys into the air.

Only one problem…turkeys can’t fly!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

‘24: Redemption’

My favorite TV show is 24. Because of last season’s television writers strike, it’s been nearly two years since it last aired. The drought ends this Sunday with a 2-hour movie called: 24:Redemption.

Instead of the usual show being presented in real time, the movie will be a “normal” show with time compression. Rick Moran has a write-up on his blog.

I can hardly wait!

Update: I watched the show Sunday night. I saw some scenes from the 24 trailer and thought they were going to take place in the movie. Instead, they were scenes from Season 7 which begins in January. There was no time compression and the 2-hour movie took place in…two hours. My bad!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below...

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields...
-- John McCrae (1915)

Funny video!

I heard about this funny squirrel video on YouTube!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Letter to Mrs. Bixby

I am currently reading David Herbert Donald’s biography of Abraham Lincoln and am in the section of the book that briefly discusses a letter Lincoln wrote to Mrs. Lydia Bixby -- a Boston widow who was believed to have lost five sons fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Massachusetts Governor John A. Andrew asked the president to send his condolences to the widow and the letter was also printed in the Boston Evening Transcript.
Executive Mansion, Washington, November 21, 1864.
Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts:
DEAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Abraham Lincoln
Afterwards, it was discovered that Mrs. Bixby had actually lost “only” two sons in battle. One son survived and was honorably discharged. A fourth son was a deserter and the fifth son either deserted or died as a prisoner of war. It was also later revealed that Mrs. Bixby was a Southern sympathizer who hated Lincoln. She later destroyed the original letter.
The authorship of the letter has been debated for years by scholars. Many believe the letter was written by John Hay, one of Lincoln’s secretaries. Whether Hay wrote the letter on his own or was directed to do so by Lincoln does not diminish the beauty and eloquence of the words.
Fans of the movie Saving Private Ryan may recall that, in the early part of the movie, the letter was read aloud by General George Marshall.
Compare Lincoln’s letter to a letter written by the German Kaiser to a mother of nine sons who died fighting for the Fatherland. In the letter, the Kaiser was “gratified” by the sacrifice and was “pleased” to send a framed and signed photograph to the mother. This came from a New York Times article dated July 30, 1918.
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Friday, November 7, 2008

The official website of President-elect Obama is The site invites readers to share ”…your story and your ideas, and be part of bringing positive lasting change to this country.” That’s fine except, according to the blog Polysigh, there are restrictions “governing” the use of a .gov domain. According to Wikipedia, it is “…a sponsored top-level domain restricted for use by government entities in the United States of America. The .gov domain is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency of the federal government.”

The official guidelines also state that:

The Gov domain is for the operation of government, not the political, political party, or campaign environment. No campaigning can be done using Gov Internet domains. The Gov Internet domain websites may not be directly linked to or refer to websites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign entity or committee. No political sites or party names or acronyms can be used. Separate webites [sic] and e-mail on other top-level domains (TLDs), such as .org, will have to be used for political activity.

So, is an official government site or an extension of the Obama campaign site?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sen. McCain appears on SNL

Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin (Tina Fey) appeared on the opening skit of Saturday Night Live. I thought it was pretty funny.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Crescent Mercury

I previously posted some photos of the Planet Mercury taken by MESSENGER. Here’s another cool photo from NASA’s website showing a crescent view of the planet. Click on the photo for an enlargement.

Halloween redux

This is our second Halloween in our new house. Last year we moved in at the beginning of the month and Lisa was able to do some decorating. The holiday itself fell on a Wednesday and the weather did not cooperate. This year's holiday fell on a Friday and the weather here in Elgin could not have been better. It got into the low 70s during the afternoon and into the 60s in the evening. Heck, it's in the 50s now (around 10:30 p.m.).

Unfortunately, we had only one group of kids come to our door.

Part of the reason is that we live on a boulevard and the homes along the boulevard are not close to the main part of the subdivision. The other reason -- and I think it's the main reason -- is that there are not many new homes built near us. We are kind of isolated from everyone. We have a next-door neighbor, but they just closed on their house today and won't move in until the weekend. There are three vacant lots on the other side of our house and there is NO sign that those lots will be developed any time soon.

Guess we had better get used to having little activity at Halloween. It's a shame too as Lisa loves to decorate!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

World Golf Tour

Found a new online golf game. I scored pretty bad for the first time, but that's nothing new. I do bad on the real course too!

“Dear Mr. Obama”

I just saw this video and wasn’t aware until now that it’s the most-watched election-related video on YouTube. It was made by an Iraq war veteran and it’s directed to Sen. Obama and his comments that the Iraq war was “a mistake.” It’s a pretty powerful message, especially as he walks away from the camera.

‘24’ Season 7

The ”official” preview clip of the 7th season of ‘24’ has been released. The producers have taken a new direction and I like what I see.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why does Obama get more positive press coverage?

This is a title of a blog on Apparently research by The Pew Research Center has shown that Obama does indeed receive more favorable coverage than McCain: 36% for Obama vs. 14% for McCain. The simple explanation--according to Pew--is that there is more positive news surrounding Obama's campaign.

I'll leave it to the experts to discuss the press coverage. Regardless who wins this election, the post-mortem will go on forever. I'm sure there will be a number of books written about this campaign.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Governor Palin visits SNL

Governor Sarah Palin appeared on SNL last night and was involved in two sketches -- the opening skit (shown below) and on Weekend Update. I thought the opening skit was clever!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber

I was watching last night's debate on Hulu when the whole "Joe the Plumber" discussion began. For the heck of it, I typed in "" and got this. I bet his web stats rose overnight!!

Can an SNL skit featuring him be far behind?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Comedy Central


Another funny video at the expense of Cubs fans!

Thursday Night Live

Another funny parody of the Obama - McCain debate. Bill Murray appears and asks a question about the Chicago Cubs. I'm sure my wife won't like the answer!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

SNL "bailout" video

Was this video "banned?" The video was originally available on Hulu and NBC's website but then was pulled without explanation. Supposedly, some post-production changes were made to it to make it worthy to be shown.

Update: Here is an article from the Los Angeles Times (via the Chicago Tribune website).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mercury…as seen by MESSENGER

MESSENGER—which flew close to Mercury on October 6th—has sent back some amazing photos from the innermost planet. MESSENGER was launched in August 2004 and will make a total of three passes by Mercury before settling into orbit in 2011. The photo above (click on the photo for an enlargement) was taken about 17,000 miles away. Nine minutes earlier, it took this photo when it was about 1,100 miles above the surface. It looks like a photo of the Moon’s surface!

More information about MESSENGER and its mission is here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My earliest presidential election memory

I’ve always found that the most interesting presidential elections are the ones in which there is no incumbent running.

My earliest election memory goes back to 1960, when John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon squared off. I was eight years old at the time and I remember my father was active locally in the Nixon campaign. I believe he served as a precinct captain or in some similar capacity. I remember having Nixon buttons and bumper stickers all over the house! [I wish I had some of them now!]

The 1960 election was certainly one of the closest elections with Kennedy pulling a narrow victory late in the evening. I stayed up late listening to the election returns on the radio (Fox News was not around!) and I had to go to bed before anything was official. I remember my father waking me up the next morning for school and I asked him who won. I recall how miserable he sounded when he told me that Nixon had lost! Of course, I felt bad if—for no other reason—because my parents supported the losing candidate.

Since then, the 1968, 1988, and 2000 elections have not included an incumbent. [The 1980 election felt like the incumbent wasn’t running, but only because President Carter chose to not actively campaign against Reagan.] We know how close the 2000 election was and it’s hard to know exactly how the 2008 election will turn out.

My dad also worked on the 1962 congressional campaign for Donald Rumsfeld. He actually lived in my neighborhood in Northbrook, Illinois for a little while and I believe my dad got to know him from the neighborhood. Rumsfeld won that race and served in Congress until 1969. A couple of years ago, I was driving my mother through the neighborhood and she showed me where Rumsfeld used to live. This was right about the time he stepped down under heavy criticism as defense secretary. I wonder if the current owners know of the house’s history.

In a few more weeks it will all be over and we’ll see a new chief executive in the White House.

Biden - Palin Debate (as viewed by SNL)

Friday, October 3, 2008

One year later……

Hard to believe that, on October 9th, it will be a year since my beloved Mozart was taken from me. We were in our new house less than two weeks when a coyote snuck into our backyard in the evening and snatched him. I had just put him out on a leash to do his business and stepped inside for a few minutes. I came back out to bring him in for the night and all that was left was his leash and collar. Apparently the coyote was nearby and saw Mozart on the leash and took him from me. I found what was left of him the next afternoon in an empty lot about a half-mile from my house.

What a horrible way to go.

I keep telling myself that he was “only” an animal and animals die everyday…many for the benefit of mankind. But he was also a companion to me and I do keep the memories of him sitting in my lap while I was reading or sitting at the computer. I always felt like I was the Pied Piper. He would follow me all over the house seeing what I was doing and trying to hit me up for a dog treat. He liked to play with our other dogs and he made a funny “chirping” noise when he was chasing Sam, our other Papillon.

There’s been a number of changes in the year. First, we’re more settled in the house (although we have a ways to go to make it feel like a “home”). My mother moved in with us in February…and broke her hip a couple of weeks later! Michael, my stepson, will soon be coming back from Iraq -- much to the relief of his mother! My older stepdaughter, Jessica, got married and now her husband is also in Iraq. My younger stepdaughter, Christine, moved to Louisiana to be with her sister and took Bailey, our oldest dog. Lisa got a puppy named Wrigley. Kevin is growing much too fast for me.

And I still miss Mozart!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sox win!!!

I’m sure glad I didn’t jump! The White Sox beat the Twins this evening in a one-game tiebreaker to advance to the American League Division Series against Tampa Bay!

I’m not sure how much sleep I’m going to get.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Time to find the ledge?

CHICAGO - APRIL 07: Jermaine Dye #23 of the Ch...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

My White Sox are fading fast as the baseball season is in its final month. The Sox still lead the Minnesota Twins by a game in the American League Central, but it seems inevitable that they will fall short when the calendar flips to October.

I’ve strongly been thinking about looking for a ledge to jump from!

Jerry and Bill (Part 2)

The latest Microsoft ad starring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates is out and this one is pretty funny.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nebraska “Rocks!”

I thought it would be fun to post a slideshow of photos taken during my Nebraska trip of Courthouse, Jail, Castle and Chimney Rocks. Flickr has a new slideshow application that I wanted to try.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“Contact Us”

I have a little rant about the “Contact Us” links on some websites. My rant has more to do with them not contacting me than about me contacting them. Over the past couple of weeks, I have completed forms or sent e-mails inquiring about service information. I realize that I could have called a phone number and spoke to a live person, but I preferred the more passive approach. I did not need information right away but I did want information to make an informed decision. My requests were as follows:
  • Contacted an online vendor of wheelchairs and walkers and asked for information about a walker for my mother who broke her hip last February. I completed a form on their website.
  • Contacted a gas contractor about installing and testing my natural gas BBQ grill. I completed a form on their website.
  • Contacted a local coin dealer about the steps to grade and certify a coin. I clicked a link that opened my e-mail client.

To date, none of these companies have contacted me back. The online vendor lost any business as I bought a walked from a local retail store. That was probably better anyway as I got a chance to compare walkers.

The gas contractor bothers me as I do want to get my grill installed. I bought it at Lowe’s right before Father’s Day and I had it hooked up free by someone I know. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and the grill apparently wasn’t installed properly. I’m willing to pay a professional to come out and install it correctly and test it to make sure there isn’t a problem with the grill itself. I [foolishly] thought by completing the form and giving them my problem and my location, I would at least get an estimate to come out for the service work.

The coin dealer is a minor irritant. I’ve been to the dealer’s store before and it’s a pretty good shop. I’m very surprised they did not contact me back. Since I moved last fall, the store is now out of my way and I don’t feel the urgency to go to him. Hopefully I’ll locate another dealer closer to me.

I realize these are all minor rants, but it’s still irritating…especially when they say the “best way” to reach them is by completing a form.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Here’s the newest member of our family. He’s a Yorkshire Terrier – Chihuahua mix puppy named Wrigley. He is Lisa’s dog (hence the name!) and she promises to take care of him. His joining the family was completely unexpected!

For this picture, I held him in my left hand and took the picture with the digital camera in my right hand. He’s so small that I could hold him with one hand. Of course, I had to set my camera to it’s close-up setting. It’s the only way to keep him from moving!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sabbatical almost over

Hard to believe, but tomorrow is the last day of my 4-week sabbatical. All in all, it’s been fun to be off. I’m not saying I want to go back to work,but I did accomplish nearly everything I wanted to do while I was away. I found my 3rd great grandfather’s grave and I took a vacation to the homeland of Nebraska. I still have some vacation days remaining so it’s not like I’m never going to have a day off. In some respects, it will be good to get back into the swing of things.

Lazy-U Motel

I found this old, abandoned motel while driving along Highway 26 in Broadwater, Nebraska.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lightning strike video

Here’s a video from Flickr of a lightning strike! It actually strikes the person while making the video. Apparently she’s okay. It does make you think twice about being outside during a storm!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Henry Profitt Cornelius

I had a fun day today. I fulfilled a long-held desire to take a short trip back in time and visit the gravesite of my third great grandfather. His name was Henry Profitt Cornelius

Henry was born on March 16, 1806 in Christian County, Kentucky and was the oldest of eight children. He was first married to Mary Ann Quisenberry in 1828. They had ten children together with the eighth child being my second great grandfather, Jess Profitt Cornelius. (“Profitt” was Henry’s mother’s maiden name and was used these two times as a middle name.) Mary Ann passed away in 1845 and is buried in the Hittle Grove Cemetery, Tazewell County, Illinois. Henry married Mary Ann’s cousin, Catherine Quisenberry, in 1847 and they had eight more children together. Thus, Henry fathered 18 children!

Henry passed away at the ripe old age of 89 on August 29, 1895. Catherine passed away in 1902. They are buried together in Mt. Hope Cemetery near Foosland, Illinois.

I became aware of Henry’s existence when I read about him in my Uncle Jay’s Roots and Shoots book. It became somewhat of an obsession for me to find Foosland and to find Henry’s grave. In fact, Dad and I talked a number of times about driving down to find the location, but his declining health made the trip unlikely.

I’m on a four-week sabbatical from work and I decided this morning to make the trip. I packed a cooler of water and energy drinks and made the trip to Foosland. Actually, it’s not a bad drive at all and certainly one we should have made years earlier. The town is “off the beaten path” and it took several turns before I found the county road leading to it. It took even more time to locate the cemetery. I had to ask some locals to point me in the right direction.

But I found it!

Foosland is located northwest of Champaign which is home to the University of Illinois. I thought my father’s hometown of Madrid was small, but I believe Foosland is even smaller. It’s accessible by county roads only.

The cemetery is very well maintained. It took me about an hour to find his tombstone. Since they both passed away over 100 years ago, I was fearful of not finding the grave at all or finding a tombstone that was weather-worn or in very poor condition. To my relief and surprise, their tombstone is in excellent condition.

Here are some photos that I took. I thought of Dad today as I was sitting at the tombstone.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Private Theodore Hirsch

Earlier I wrote about the restoration work I am doing at Jewish Graceland Cemetery and the grave of an Union soldier (Simon Bournstine) that I marked with an American flag. About thirty yards from Simon’s grave, is the final resting place of Theodore Hirsch. Theodore was a German Jew who immigrated to this country. In 1864, while in Louisiana, he enlisted in the Confederate army. A few months after enlistment, he was captured in battle and moved to the prison camp at Camp Douglas in the South Side of Chicago. This was a notorious prison camp where it has been estimated that over 6,000 Confederate prisoners died. About two months after arriving at the camp, Theodore became one of the casualties.

Most of the camp dead were either buried on the prison grounds or thrown into Lake Michigan! The local Jewish congregation found out about Theodore and arranged for his burial in the Jewish cemetery…and then forgotten! Private Hirsch’s grave is not marked. When I began assisting with the restoration, I learned about his grave and we were able to determine from the records the exact location of his grave. It has no headstone nor any military marker. His grave is right next to the outer wall almost like it was an afterthought.

With assistance from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I was able to secure a proper Confederate flag (the “First National Flag”) and marked his grave to show the proper respect for a young soldier who died many, many miles from home. I am hoping to obtain a proper headstone from the Veterans Administration.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My sabbatical…at last!

I’m officially on my 4-week sabbatical. My employer (MB Financial Bank) offers a sabbatical to employees who complete seven full years of employment. I actually qualified for my sabbatical last year, but asked to defer it until this year because of the move to our house last year.

I’m planning a couple of day trips to Champaign and Springfield and then plan to take Kevin and my mom out to Nebraska for a week to see our relatives.

I return to work on August 4th.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Simon Bournstine

I am a volunteer helping with the restoration of the Jewish Graceland Cemetery. It is a privately-owned cemetery located near the intersection of Clark Street and Irving Park in Chicago -- just north of Wrigley Field. The cemetery, which was founded in 1851, fell into disrepair over the past 10-15 years and is now under new ownership. The new owner is attempting to restore the cemetery and I have been helping out since fall of 2007.

The cemetery is currently closed during the restoration.

When I was last there in late May, I literally stumbled upon the gravesite of a Union Army veteran of the Civil War. His name was Simon Bournstine and he was an immigrant from Poland. I did some online research and found he was born in Warsaw, Poland  in 1844 and immigrated to the United States in 1855 and became a citizen. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Simon enlisted at the age of 17. He was a private in the 22nd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His unit saw extensive action in the western theater of the Civil War including the Vicksburg campaign. Simon survived the war and was honorably discharged in August 1865.

That’s all we know of him.

Simon somehow made it to Chicago and passed away in 1910.

Anyway, in May I found his military marker as I was cleaning away weeds and tree stumps. Today I came back to the cemetery and brought several American flags with me. I placed a flag at Simon’s gravesite, cleaned off his marker again, gave him my best [former] Boy Scout salute and then took this picture. As the grandson, son, nephew and stepfather of veterans and soldiers, I have too much respect for them to let their deeds go unnoticed. And veterans should always have a flag.

If any of Simon’s descendants happen to read this weblog, he’s doing fine!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cubs vs. Sox

Cubs take Game 1 on Ramirez's homer

It’s that time of year again in Chicago where the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox do battle in what is called the “Crosstown Series.” This year, both teams are in first place in their respective divisions so the games take on a little more importance. The games have always been important to the fans of both teams, but there is a chance – no matter how slight – that this six-game series is a precursor to the Fall Classic.

Around my house, battle lines are clearly drawn. I’m a White Sox fan and Lisa and Kevin are Cubs fans.

They had the last laugh Friday when Aramis Ramirez (above in this Chicago Tribune photo) hit a walk-off home run to beat the Sox 4 – 3. The series concludes with two more games at Wrigley Field and then moves to U.S. Cellular Field next weekend.

Update: The Cubs won Saturday’s game too so I’m really hearing it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Michael Jones

Found a photo of my stepson, Michael Jones, on the Internet today. Michael is currently serving in Iraq and is located “somewhere"" in Baghdad. He's a military policeman and will hopefully be coming home this September. Michael is kneeling on the far right.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Syncing my iPod to iTunes

I need a recommendation for some good syncing software. I had to reinstall Windows and, as a result, I lost my iTunes music. The music is all stored in my iPod, but when I tried to copy my iPod my music back to my computer, iTunes would not let me sync unless I erased all the music from my iPod! For some reason, iTunes thinks I'm trying to sync between multiple computers.

I'm looking for recommendations for some software that will not only transfer my music over to my computer, but will "remember" my iTunes settings such as my Smart Playlists, ratings, the number of times a song has been played and the last date played. The last two are important as several of my Smart Playlists are based upon this information.

Any recommendations or suggestions would be appreciated.

Friday, May 2, 2008

When's spring coming?

Actually, it's warm tonight, but I see there were blizzard conditions in the Dakotas. We had snow flurries here in Chicago a couple of days ago and thunderstorms today. Go figure.

We did get a rainbow out of it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Abraham Lincoln

Kevin and I had a fun day on Friday. I chaperoned his 7th grade field trip to Springfield, Illinois.  We visited a number of Lincoln-related sites including the Abraham Lincoln Museum, his burial site and his home. We didn't get back home until 9:00 p.m. in the evening, but it was a fun day nonetheless.

Here is a photo of his home at 8th and Jackson Streets in Springfield.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another Mom update

Just a brief update for family members who come across this blog. My mother returned home today. She had been in a nursing home for over three weeks rehabilitating her broken hip. She made pretty good progress while in the nursing home and now she needs to build on that progress.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hey, I might be resurrected!

My NCAA brackets went bad on me two weeks ago. I play in two Yahoo! groups and my expectation was that I was going to lose and lose badly. In both groups, I have North Carolina playing in the championship game and winning the whole thing. My competition has UCLA winning.

Earlier this evening, Memphis beat UCLA so the tables have turned! However, as I write this, UNC is losing to Kansas by five points with more than 10 minutes left in the game.

If UNC survives the KU game, then I win one and maybe both groups!

Update: So much for that idea: Kansas 84 - North Carolina 66.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Collecting Depression glass

Lisa and I have been collecting Depression glass for about six years now. It all started with my mother. She has given us several pieces of old glassware that we knew had some family sentimental value, but we had no interest or energy in determining if they had any real monetary value. A couple months after my father passed away, we took my mother to a large antique show at the Arlington Race Course. Our eyes became wide opened as we walked among the dealers and realized that the glass she gave us had some real value. We're not talking about I-can-retire-now value, but some of the pieces were being sold for more than I would have thought.

The main pieces she gave us is called Cambridge Rosepoint. The plates and glasses were given to her as wedding gifts back in 1949. (It turns out that Rosepoint was a very common glassware gift to give to newly-married couples.) From that pattern and from other miscellaneous patterns, our collection grew. We first went to various antique shows in the Chicago area. Then, we discovered that many organizations specialized in Depression glass. And from that we discovered that many shows occurred in the Chicago area.

We attended a show last week in Northlake and Lisa bought herself a nice glass called "Queen Louise." The glass was pricey, but she did negotiate the dealer down a little bit. It's her birthday gift for this year! She also bought two small glasses.

Although our collection is growing, we are nowhere near some of the collections that the uber-serious collectors have. You can tell who they are. They are the ones carrying notebooks with them and spending a lot of time inspecting each piece of glass. We've also noticed that the demographic trends older. I'm sure many retired people take up the hobby. Many, I'm sure, are building on collections they remember from their childhood. Many, like my mother, inherited pieces from their parents.

It's a fun hobby and one that gives us a lot of enjoyment...together.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brackets are toast!

I only have one team (North Carolina) left in the Final Four. That's what I get for hoping for upsets. I believe I heard that this was the first time that all the top seeds advanced.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Like a lot of people, I enjoy putting together brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament. I don't follow college basketball as much as I did when I was younger...and certainly not as closely as college football. I do enjoy seeing how my picks come in. This year I'm participating in two Yahoo! groups -- one at work and one within my family. As of early Thursday evening, I'm 8 for 8 at work and 5 for 8 at home. I went out on a limb for my family bracket, but so far none of the upsets have come in!

I have North Carolina, Georgetown, Texas and UConn in the Final Four at work with North Carolina winning it all. At home, I have Duke instead of UConn with North Carolina still winning it all.

I'll see how good I am in a couple of weeks.

Update: UConn's already gone!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Update on my mom

After 52 years of living in her home in Northbrook, my mother sold her house and moved in with us on February 15. When you consider the brutal market conditions, the sale of the house went pretty smoothly. She put the house on the market in August and immediately received interest from a number of parties. After a bit of negotiation, she accepted an offer around Thanksgiving and began plans to move.

The packing, cleaning and sorting was the most difficult part of the move. Mom's a "pack rack" and when you combine the need to save everything with a 52-year history in the same house, it was a recipe for disaster. After spending many weekends packing boxes and moving them to my house, we finally rented a dumpster and filled it to the top with "stuff." Her really good stuff was moved several years ago and was divided between my sister's house and my house. Thanks to her neighbors and friends, the house was finally cleaned up and the last box was loaded into my van.

Mom then attempted to settle into her new life in Elgin. She gave up her car when she moved out so she relied on me taking her to the store (which also served as her social release!). February was a brutal weather month in Chicago and Mom did not venture out of the house until the third week she lived with us.

Unfortunately, her fourth week was not a good week. On Saturday, March 8th, while she was getting ready to do her weekend shopping, Mom fell in her bedroom. I was in the kitchen and heard her fall, but the sound was very slight. When I ran into the room, she was already on all fours trying to get up. We eventually got her off the floor and had her sit on her bed. She felt no real pain and there was no bruising, swelling or discoloration. She did feel some pain when she tried to walk with our aid, but nothing that caused any alarm. She spent a quiet Saturday, but Sunday morning revealed that she was still having problems walking. I called the paramedics to take her to the hospital where X-rays revealed that she had broken her hip!

On Monday she had surgery where three pins were inserted into her hip. The actual incision was only 2-3 inches in length and the surgery lasted just over an hour. By Tuesday, they had her taking small, measured steps in her hospital room.

Last Wednesday she was moved to a rest home (they refer to it as a "transitional center") for physical therapy. That's where she is right now. She hates it and is itching to get out! Although she wants to be out for Easter, she will probably need to stay there for another week. She's making good progress, but needs to regain her strength and balance in order to move back to the house. With Lisa and me working all day, she will be by herself for several hours and needs to be able to walk to and from the bathroom and to and from the kitchen.

Once Mom does move back, the weather will hopefully be warmer making her feel more "at home" in her new home.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Getting my life in order!

The past few weeks have been difficult with moving my mother out of her home of 52 years and getting her settled in with us. Then, she fell and broke her hip last week and has been hospitalized and is now in a rest home receiving physical therapy.

I'm not sure that I've really recovered from our own move last fall and then I had to move her. I really don't want to touch or lift a box for a long time! At least I've finally gotten around to buying and putting together a new computer desk! Since we moved in, I had to sit on the floor while using the computer. Now, I can actually sit in a comfortable chair and read posts, update my photos and generally surf the Internet again. The weather here in Chicago has been horrible and I'm hoping that the weather will turn warm so I can be outside and can start working on our new lawn.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sprint Ambassador Program discontinued

I have been a participant in Phase Three of Sprint’s Ambassador program. The program puts free Sprint cell phones in the hands of bloggers for six months. The idea is to provide feedback to Sprint about your experience. Although there is no expressed or implied obligation, I’m sure Sprint is hoping that bloggers will act as evangelists and talk up their service and the specific cell phone (mine was a Samsung UpStage).

A couple of days ago I received this e-mail from Sprint:

Greetings Ambassadors,

Thank you for your participation in the Sprint Ambassador program. We appreciate the candid feedback you have provided and are regularly using this information to offer our customers the best products and services available on the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network.

After careful consideration, Sprint has decided to discontinue our Sprint Ambassador program so that we may focus on other key initiatives for gathering customer feedback. As a thank you for your participation, the devices you have received through the program are yours to keep. However, the service on those handsets will be terminated on January 31, 2008.

If you would like to keep the existing phone number on your handset, you have the following options:

  • If you have an existing Sprint account in your name, you can simply go to Sprint retail store or call Sprint Customer Care at (888) 296-8806 to transfer the number over.  You will need your phone number and account password to facilitate the transfer.
  • If you do not have a Sprint account and would like to open a new one, we invite you to visit a Sprint retail store for assistance and select from the many service plans that we offer.
  • If you would like to transfer your Ambassador phone number to another individual’s account, BOTH PARTIES will need to need to visit a Sprint retail store to ensure a smooth transition.
  • If you would like to move your Sprint Ambassador phone number over to another carrier, you will need to have the carrier you select call our Corporate Account team at (866) 657-6843.  Typically, a consumer that wishes to port their number would just need their account number and password. Ambassadors are considered corporate customers and, as such, cannot make changes to their account without going through the Corporate Account team.

For the Sprint Store nearest you please visit

Again, to keep your current Ambassador phone number, you must act by 11:59 PM on January 30, 2008.
Once again, we truly appreciate your participation in the Ambassador program.  If you have any additional questions, please send an email to or you can reach Sprint’s Ambassador CARE team at (888) 296-8806.

Thank you!

I’m not surprised that Sprint is making this move. I’m sure the program was expensive for them to support and, with Sprint’s recently-announced financial troubles, they are under a great deal of pressure to cut back.

I will not be staying with Sprint. I’ve had my account with Verizon for several years. I will try to sell my phone on eBay as I did when I was a participant in Phase One of the program.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Merry Christmas to me

This is what I bought myself for Christmas.

Free Image Hosting at

Now I'm all set to install chair rail!