Sunday, July 27, 2008

Christmas in July

I hardly ever mention that I offer some of my designs on CafePress, but it struck me odd that someone would be buying this yard sign in July. Maybe she is like my mom was--always thinking ahead. Mom would scout out bargains all year long so that by the time Thanksgiving rolled around she was done with her shopping. While I am my mother's daughter, I never caught the shopping bug. Just give me the ease of online shopping and I am one happy camper.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Little Pleasures

New grandmas are apt to go overboard. How can you walk into a department store without seeing something just too cute to pass up? I steadfastly assert that I am not yet one of THOSE new grandmas.

My latest purchase was only $5 and it was for a good cause too. The other day while paying for some socks, I noticed the Kohl’s Cares for Kids books and plush animals near the checkout registers. Kohl’s says it donates all of the net profits to organizations working with health and education programs for children. Eric Carle’s “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” caught my eye. Carle, illustrator of the classic, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” creates wonderfully bright and charming tissue paper collages.

Depending on your age, you probably grew up with Carle’s books or bought them for your children or grandchildren or as baby gifts. My son still has his tattered copy, which has now been passed along to the newest family member, Nicolas.

So, this little hardback became the latest addition to Nic’s blossoming library. You would imagine a family of writers would love books, wouldn’t you? I don’t know if Nicolas will be a writer or set out on his own course, but so far, this little guy has had one incredible journey. For now, his parents are telling his story on their new blog, Illinois Preemie. Later, Nic, Grandma Sheila expects to hear from you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For a while I fell off the face of the earth

I landed in Batavia, Illinois, a far-far western suburb of Chicago. Long-time readers might be curious about this journey, but for now, I intend to be discrete and mysterious about my detour along life’s pathways.

My new home, a quaint little town clustered along the Fox River, captured my eye immediately when I first drove into the downtown central business district. Yes, there is still a thriving downtown here, not yet lost to the strip-shopping centers which populate west Batavia along Randal Road where every manner of chain store or restaurant is at your beck and call. The mayor wrote this about his town, “Batavia in some ways looks like a town that time has left alone.” This part of the Fox River Valley is lovely, and I am no stranger to the river having once lived in a Craftsman-style house overlooking the Fox for a short time in Appleton, Wisconsin.

While Batavia is doing a fine job of straddling old and new, I found her charm immediately apparent with tree-lined streets of homes ranging from Victorian painted ladies to one classic Frank Lloyd Wright home. I can walk to my insurance agent, bank, pharmacy, coffee shop, and library.

The library features a mural of the art accompanying this post--John Philip Falter's "Fox River Ice-Skating," which was the Saturday Evening Post cover for Jan. 11, 1958. In the upper right corner, you can see the Challenge Windmill Factory, another Batavia landmark. Batavia dubs itself “The City of Energy,” a right fine tagline since it served as home to five windmill factories during its early years, and it has been the home of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) for more than 40 years.

Well, that’s a short introduction to my new hometown. More later but don't expect me to write about ice-skating on the Fox River or anywhere for that matter.