Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Selbstporträt in Grün

It's been a while since we've shared any of Myrna's artwork. Here is my favorite of her recent drawings, a picture of herself that she sketched on Monday. She was very satisfied with it, and I was too, and so we agreed that I should draw a frame around it.

A Weekend in Mt. Morris

Last weekend we made a long, long overdue trip to Mt. Morris, IL. Now that we're in Indiana, that destination could be reached in just a few hours. I think the last time I was in Mt. Morris was around the time I'd finished college. Kelly and Myrna had never been - though of course they'd both met my terrific grandmother.

We were spoiled the moment we arrived. In the week leading up to our visit, Grandma had baked a pie, brownies, and a batch of snickerdoodles. But even before those were on offer, Myrna had warmed up to Grandma pretty well on her own, sometimes calling her "G.G." (as K.K. and Abbie do) and sometimes simply "Grandma." Myrn roped her into reading stories, and had most of the livingroom upended by the end of the day Friday. Grandma had picked out a fine pumpkin for us too and after dinner that night, Myrna carved her very first jack-o-lantern. We named him "Jack," and he's since followed us back to Valparaiso, where he sits in our window.

Saturday we took in some of the local sites. We looked in on Lorado Taft's 125-foot Black Hawk statue, and even forded the river at the White Pines Forest State Park.

Grandma graciously did not kick us out after Saturday's Illinois - Ohio State game (Kelly being something of a Buckeyes fan), and Sunday morning we all attended St. Bride's Episcopal Church, where there were more than a few familiar faces. St. Bride's is also my grandfather's resting place, and it was nice to bring Kelly and Myrna around for a visit.

We had such a fun weekend with Grandma. And Myrna's been talking about her ever since we got back to Valpo. Of course it helped that Grandma loaded us up with cookies and brownies as we headed back Sunday, but I know Myrna's fondness goes much further than that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunny Chicago

We've been enjoying a proper Indian Summer (as I was recently told, you first must have frost (which we had a little over a week ago) and then hit temperatures in 75-80 degree range). We took advantage of the sun, for an action-packed weekend.

Saturday we drove into Chicago, enjoying the beautiful Chicago Skyway toll booths, and headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Myrna was extremely excited to see a wild boar, and I discovered on Friday night that the zoo was lacking in wild boar, and we would have to settle with warthogs and/or pigs. But the animals were kind of the least of her concern. She was much more interested in snacks, running around in the sun, and the "Kid's Zoo" attractions. An 8 foot high system of platforms and mesh siding was the key attraction to all the kids. The problem was, of course, there was no way to "rescue" a stuck kid, and Myrna got stuck in a bottle-neck led by a terrified girl, being cheered on by a crowd of parents.

Myrna then found the zoo splash pad, for some mulching leaf collecting fun.

Even if we didn't see each and every animal, we wore Myrna out so she could nap and we could enjoy lunch at Goose Island Brewery.

She would wake up during a much anticipated Trader Joe's shopping spree. Then we made our way downtown to get coffee at one of the few Intelligentsia cafes. The Chicago Marathon was on Sunday, and the city was filled with runners carrying their grab-bags. Pre-Marathon race days always make me jealous. (Sunday was also the day of the Portland Marathon - and it was 10 years ago that I first ran that - how time flies). Myrna too was in "running mode" as she has adopted the UW football jersey as her "running shirt" and insisted on wearing it.