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Here’s The Scoop … Green Is For Grouch ….

April 5, 2010 by Barbara

SEEING “RED” ….

Dear Readers … It is officially spring in Chicago…With that comes something this writer has never faced before… an apartment that is in a building that has a “forced air” system that uses water -warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer  running through pipes that are connected to vents…The brochure the building slid under my front door last weekend explained this is “typical” of systems used in larger residential structures in Chicago….Hmmm…The brochure went on to explain the “process”…as the water is either heated or cooled, fans inside the walls blow the warm or cool air produced over coils and then through vent sin each apartment and all parts of the building…It went on to when heating the temperature of the water is gradually increased …and of course when cooling the temperature must be gradually decreased…The the crux of the brochure comes to light…”The key word is gradually”…Because they say rapid expansion and contraction of the pipes can cause fractures or leaks…and therefore to switch from warmer to colder temperatures must be done slowly… After that the brochure spells out the “pros and cons”…Forced air heating and air conditioning is reliable and results in less expensive utility bills… and they follow the municipal ordinance that requires them to provide heat from Sept. 15 through June 1…So in other words….. Forced air is “green” …… and spring in Chicago…with a few warm Florida -like days…is just like living in Florida with no AC!…..Give me a “G”……

Speaking of “green”… The $$$ kind of “green”…What’s the deal with framing a picture?.. (It’s been a very long time for this writer to have the need to do so) …. Why does it cost so much for putting up some artwork on the wall?… Who would believe the cost for little pieces of “wood” that range in price from $12 a foot to $30 and up ….And the process….is more like having a session….be prepared to spend some time….It entails which wood to choose? …The real stuff or the pressed? …It’s a little like buying Rooms To Go or Crate and Barrel!…..Are you in it for the short or long term?….Then there’s the mat…That too is a process…pick a color that “compliments” the art work…… including the umpteenth shades of white…..the choice of paper… quality …or not….being a few steps below….like that diamond with the clarity and the  cut and a few floating flaws on close inspection….Choose the thickness… Will you be matting it with a single mat or doubled … again it shows the $$$$…. Going for the plain edge or beveled?… (princess cut or round?)…Don’t forget the glass…”skimp” with the regular glaring sun damage prone pane ….. upgrade to UV protection …. or go for broke with the top of the line non-reflective UV …Cha-ching!…. Before you know it as you pile on with the experts “must haves”…the “expert” is piling up on the big bucks!… What to do?…. Economize and tweak it …..take out a loan…. do it “piecemeal” …or bite the bullet?….No wonder so many walls are now bare in America!.. Give me an “R”……

How “green” is it …environmentally and $$$$ -wise….when every baby item…from the mobile that goes on the crib …and the “Angel Care Alert Monitor”…the hand held color camera monitor .. along with the baby swing…… the vibrating and baby bounce seat…and the baby play mat with the moving colored fish…all come with countless batteries required …double A…triple A..C and D….So much for an early induction for this new generation to being “green”… Although, quite frankly it stands to reason ….for those in charge….(pun intended)….that baby being soothed…motivated…and engaged …through constant battery operated stimulation for increasing their brain power and lengthening their sleep time far outweighs any concern of where those batteries ultimately go!…. Stocking up on Duracell…… Give me an “O-U-C-H”……

Yep, …”Forced ” … “Framed”  & “Fully charged”….. “Green” is for “GROUCH”!…..

more to come…..

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Here’s The Scoop … A Different World …

March 31, 2010 by Barbara

THE  TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING….

“A Different World
Bucky Covington

We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead based paint
No child proof lids no seat belts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets and still here we are, still here we are
We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were outside, playin’ outside

Chorus
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world

School always started the same every day
The pledge of allegiance then someone would pray
Not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed and that was all right, we turned out all right

Chorus

Bridge
No bottled water, we drank from a garden hose
And every Sunday, all the stores were closed

Chorus

Chorus

It was a different world

[Thanks to 2step for lyrics]”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AlrFOBmdVI

Dear Readers…. Timing is everything inside  and outside of politics…and it was particularly amusing when the very day this writer strolled into THE mega-baby store aka Babies R’Us located 20+ minutes away in the  western “burbs” to see the plethora of innovative and profitable inventions that cover every aspect of a new baby’s wants…needs and overall protection … which could be “over” protection when it really comes down to it!… Thus, the amusement in the timing of hearing the song  “A Different World” on my FM -HD radio on my new friend Cybex #1…..(prev. posts)…

There is a seat that sits the baby and stops he or she from doing the classic “weeble” moves as they are learning to sit up…No more will the new parent have to sit behind them or surround them with pillows as they invariably go all “wobbly” and end up slow-motion falling to the left…the right or backward like a bowl of jello!… No these youngins will never have to endure the Polaroids of their early mishaps due to large heads and not enough oomph yet to hold it altogether…They’ll be sitting on a chair that stops them from that embarrassment… Perhaps it’s a sign that it’s time to sell your Prozac stock as the lack of early falling over for this generation must surely mean anxiety levels will drop later in life for these lucky chair owners!…Yep, I purchased one in green with the matching tray attachments ….Don’t get me started on “attachments” ….”Attachments” are the bread and butter of baby manufacturers…the more of them the better …it’s like buying a new car!…

They have a “spa” for the baby…no resemblance to a bucket is this invention…On the box it looked like the old commercials that offered to turn your plain pink 50’s era bathtub into a “whirlpool” bath even though the water still only reached halfway up your thighs…and your knees were bent due to lack of length and don’t forget the noise level was set at jackhammer!… On this one “Nana” took a pass…

Swings no longer go only back and forth…they go sideways…and vibrate and …yep attached are toys….Just how many different toys can can one play mat hold?…As many as you want to pay for and in whatever motif …still gender based…which is surprising in to see that is still enforced…….

Baby strollers are also “attachment” crazed… First comes the stroller ….then comes the car seat that “attaches” to the stroller…with the “attached” base that stays in the car(s)……and don’t forget the vibrations…For what is life without feeling good vibrations 24/7?… (Umbrella strollers are relegated to the very end of the aisle sort of like a Yugo in a room full of  BMWs and Volvos)…

Want to carry the baby around hands free?……No slings (baby’s necks and large heads have been in the news of late…tragedy for many who used it before 4 mos.)…But carriers are lined up ….for the front …the back and for the guys… Cribs are no longer just cribs…they turn into beds…junior beds ….twin size beds …even sleigh beds…It only requires buying the “attachments’…. Matching dressers have changing “stations”… You don’t want to show your age by asking about changing “tables”…They do still make them… and they too morph in future years…becoming a desk…that is if you purchase the highchair that later becomes the chair to the “stations” desk!…

Diaper bags…again the choices are aplenty…with familiar names such as “Columbia” …and other adventure gear companies logos prominent on the front……Some smart marketing people realized they can mark up the bag with their name on it …It offers the buyer is a  little less chagrined when “He” walks with it sans his own bag that use to stow his old “adventure ” gear!… Special bottles…with or without insert bags…special nipples…and an assortment for those who want to be “green” and use “green” plastics that have none of  whatever it is that the “green” buyers think will seep into their new baby’s very being if it so much as touches their lips…

Electronics for all this paraphernalia that rivals the top of the line Cuisinart Food Processors sitting on your granite counter top …It’s for sterilizing everything from bottles to nipples to pacifiers….(We all know it’s really for the 1st child only…For child #2…3…and 4 …it’s sufficient to pop in your own mouth…stick it under the faucet or apply the 10 second rule!)…. If you purchase them all……you will end up with a counter full of them…and your food processor won’t be seeing the light of day for quite some time to come……

Monitors are a must!……No such thing as privacy for baby.anymore…..There’s a camera that monitors its every move…it even tells the temperature in the room…and then there’s the Angel Care device that monitors for breathing…and the alarm that goes off after any sort of delay…If the mothers and grandmothers are to be believed it is a must for it went off and saved the baby….real or unreal…it’s scary enough to be a must buy if you ever want to avoid the “Terms of Endearment” re-enactment with Shirley McClain pushing and prodding the baby sure it is breathing…. http://www.angelcare-monitor.com/United-States/en/home

More protection comes with saving the baby’s umbilical cord…purchased online ….if you can afford it…It’s to have in the future for anything that comes this baby or its siblings way…To be used for regenerative medicine that is sure to be standard medical practice in their lifetimes… http://www.cordblood.com/index.asp?fbid=zPGz11Ts5Yn

Babies no longer sleep on their stomachs …that was in the 80’s…(just like no epidurals)…. We were told it was required to keep the baby from choking if it spit up…as the “experts” were sure babies were unable to turn their heads…It was also to keep them from having a flat head…Now that’s a no-no…backs are the way to go… The “experts” now say those same babies who could not turn their head if they spit up cannot move their heads enough and that might have led to the increase in SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)… http://www.sids.org/ndefinition.htm

They have pre-packaged “swaddling”…No need to learn how to do it with a blanket from the knowledgeable maternity nurses…and they have “sleepers” that look like a small size “sleeping bag” with arms instead of blankets…The thinking is these babies that cannot turn their heads can somehow move the blankets up over their heads and suffocate..HUH?… No matter they still seem to make sense…

The mattresses have 2 sides …one for the crib and one for the Junior bed…because the mattress for the crib is like a rock…again to prevent suffocation we are told… Sheets have made a big leap forward they now unzip from the corners and the sides…No need to undo the entire ensemble each time the baby …acts like a baby!…

There are mobiles wind up and battery operated and then there are “learning centers”…to start the baby on its way to that early admission to that private pre-k with the waiting list …Baby Einsteins one and all….no down time…for these little ones once they leave the womb!…

There are CDs…videos …and books …..All of them selling the latest theories of raising up this child…There are lactating experts…and child rearing gurus….and they all have one thing in common…expectant parents …who are ready… willing and able to buy what they are selling…all in an effort to get it right ….and give their children what we all want for them …a childhood worth remembering….

It’s definitely…”A Different World”…One that comes with a lot of love ..a lot of excitement and anticipation…and of course a lot of charges on the credit card!….

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop … Chicago … Shamrock Shakes And Ponytails …

March 30, 2010 by Barbara

RIGHT OF PASSAGE?…

Dear Readers … No more single day “Chicago” posts…as I was neglectful and time pressed with pressing LBTS posts and everyday life to post …So for now time to time updates will have to do…

Continuing on where I left off on day 7 ….Cybex #1 (treadmill #1 out of 5) and I are now old “friends”… We meet everyday…and have moved from a straight out fast paced walk to going at an incline that “mocks” walking up hill…The benefits of that are to increase the momentum for a quick and rapid decline of the “computer seat” that came from more sitting in front of the computer than walking the “hills” of LBTS!… So far so good …Although my new scale (the one that brought the reality of too much baked goods consumption and taking a pass on revving up the endorphins) has a malfunction …A display snafu that shows an incomplete digital number…and you can’t have that when you need to see the numbers go down…(creeping up…that’s another story )…The dreaded call to the company I purchased it from with the expected “call the manufacturer” response…Surprisingly it turned out so well I thought I should go play the lottery…A few simple questions and the Rep. said they will send  out a new one…They don’t want the first one returned (Whew! Since I have not yet found the local post office/UPS )..  I was advised to put it wherever old scales go…Hmmm…Where do old scales go?…

As I faithfully and passionately walk the Cybex”cline” …I am really catching up on country music and new names.who are making it on the radio..It’s akin to the new athletes from figure skating to football  that escape my recognition…I am still stuck way back with names that are (if their lucky) now sports commentators to sports commentators …. or doing commercials…

While the downside to radio (still Ipodless) is usually the commercials …(HD radio still succumbs to them)…. for this writer they are providing some of my best entertainment in going down memory lane..Yes, still!…One was a commercial with Mike Singletary (speaking of old time familiar football players) “hawking” car dealerships in the norther suburbs nearby where I grew up and lived until 16 years ago…The one that really got me smiling though…Shamrock shakes at McDonalds! I had to laugh at this one…as I remembered back to the first year in Florida when St. Patrick’s Day rolled around…My husband found out that in South Florida (at least in our neck of the woods) there were no Shamrock shakes…and no recall of having any knowledge of their very existence…. As much as he tried to describe the “classic” Shamrock green shake to each McDonald employee he came in contact with in the month on March…he made no headway…  just receiving a lot of vacant stares and move along mister “snickers”……But here in Chicago they are still going strong …for a limited time…til next year!…

Observations come often with time at the gym…The “factions” …there’s the yoga crowd…the swimming class groups…the glider aficionados …weight training- spot exercise fanatics…the  obligatory “walkers” who seem to walk back and forth in “preparation” to get on with it but never seem to quite get on to it as they “stroll” the “aisle”as the rest of us sweat…

It’s a time to observe who reads the signs and actually participates and sanitizes the equipment after each use for the next in line who might not want to become so closely related to the prior participants DNA… Watching the overwhelming number of members as they haphazardly walk away thinking perhaps their sweat doesn’t count …Then there’s those “posers” with the pseudo spray of disinfectant from the community spray bottle applying it with swift skimming single wipe in order to have followed through for appearance sake only…As for me, I spray before and I spray after double time and double…triple sprays to keep my sweat to myself and others at bay with a new baby on the way… I figured after I needed to get the H1N1 shot to be around the soon to arrive granddaughter, so this is a no-brainer!…

Prominent in all workout locals…is the ponytail….What is it with “ponytails’?… Are ponytails a woman’s “tree rings”?…Could be …I think maybe you can tell the “circle of life” from where a ponytail is located on the female gender  …You start out in life with one or two way up on your toddler head like antlers…(usually lopsided antlers)…and as you approach your teens and twenties…it slowly starts inching its way down…(2 “pigtails”, in this writer’s opinion need to be left for the toddlers…and no it’s not ok to wear em’ into your 40’s and call it a “southern” thing!….”Daisy Duke” is no ones’s reality!) …Somewhere around 30+ the “tail” is slightly above the neck…and after that, unless you’ve gone the way of  head hugging short…aka “Supercuts #5″….it never ever goes above neck high … Any higher on a senior gal just looks like a flashing neon light of denial ….Botox, lifestyle lift or full out plastic surgery it doesn’t make it right!.. And while we’re on the subject of ponytails…let’s address the subject of accompanying bows……. Ladies, come on….those too need to be left to the Sesame Street contingency! … Bad as it is to see a senior missus with a misplaced ponytail…add a bow, any bow…any size…any color…  and all that comes to mind “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” …Need I say more?…

With my ponytail firmly planted in the age appropriate location…Cybex #1 is awaiting my return … for there are more “hills” to climb and more observations to come….

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop…Lunch And Exploring Chicago…

January 3, 2009 by Barbara

ON THE STREETS OF CHICAGO…..ONCE MORE….

RLs…is a restaurant…Ralph Lauren’s restaurant… http://rlrestaurant.ralphlauren.com/…set up next door to the RL  store on Michigan Ave an E. Chicago …a beauty…set up like Capital Grille…with the same type of  wood- paneled decor …atmosphere…menu and prices..a lovely respite to enjoy some time getting caught up with dear old friends from the North Shore…and non-stop conversation flowing like we just saw each other yesterday….nice…really nice…

Heading out we bundled up…and braved the wind…lack of sun…(remembering why we moved to Florida)…and explored the city….yet again…

Best part of traveling with the BCbytheseahubby…we explore….go into places others miss…and always look up…where most look down…the architecture…the details…the finishing touches outside and in….

Today looking up took on a whole other experience…Trump’s new tower was busy having their spire installed by helicopter…after many weather related delays…we had plenty of company for this one….

Trump spire installation underway

A helicopter lifts parts for the spire installation onto the Trump Tower Saturday. (Tribune/Bonnie Trafelet) More photos >

‘Trump spire topped out’

‘After months of delay, construction workers installed the underpinnings for the spire atop Donald Trump’s Chicago skyscraper, which ranks as America’s second-tallest building after Sears Tower.’

Heading south we saw skaters outside…waiting to rent skates …looked like a 30 minute wait to have a photo -op and an experience…skating on Michigan Ave…reflected in the “bean”…

We observed quickly…..and trekked on…taking a look at how many old buildings added on top…quite a few modern “penthouses”…with what must be incredible views all around for incredible prices…must be nice…

At the end of today’s journey…we entered the the Chicago Hilton……and walked through the lobby…a decadent throwback ….. sneaking in as the  Grand Ballroom was being setup…and it was grand…before making the discovery of their “museum”….with the original name of the hotel…The Stevens…and a room full of photographs…of Presidents…Heads of State…along with facts of what went into the building…the amenities…3000 rooms…a rooftop golf course…ice water built into the bathroom sink…invented by Stevens in the 1920’s……It was something!…http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/CHICHHH-Hilton-Chicago-Illinois/index.do

http://www.chicagomag.com/images/2006/August%202006/0608_Features_HeartbreakHotel02.jpg

Hilton Chicago - Chicago, IL Hotels

Arriving home …..we made a beeline for Google…put in…The Stevens Hotel Chicago….and even more discoveries..to boot…the son of the man who built the hotel….was none other than Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens…with information of the rise and fall of the hotel and his father…and Uncle…… The hotel went under after the Great Depression ….the Army taking it it over for a year…then selling it and eventually it sold to Hilton…….well worth the read…and a look at the incredible hotel…

It was called the “Heartbreak Hotel”in one entry…..http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2006/Heartbreak-Hotel/

Justice Steven’s father and Uncle were indicted for fraud….

‘In the meantime, the state of Illinois indicted Ernest Stevens, his father, James, and his brother, Raymond, for allegedly illegally diverting money from the Illinois Life Insurance Co. to keep up interest payments on Stevens Hotel bonds. James Stevens fell ill and was excused from trial; Raymond committed suicide. Ernest was convicted by a Chicago jury of embezzling $1.3 million.

But his conviction was overturned in October 1934 by the Illinois Supreme Court. The court noted that, although Ernest Stevens may have shown bad business judgment, he did not line his own pockets. In fact, the court noted, the hotel repaid almost half of the amount he purportedly embezzled.

“There is not a scintilla of evidence of any concealment or fraud attempted,” the court’s opinion said. Ernest Stevens “was emotionally wrapped up in the hotel,” says Justice Stevens’s nephew, Michigan lawyer William J. Stevens. “Did that cloud his judgment? Probably. Was it crooked? No.” ‘

BCbythesea…HMMM…….sounds familiar….in today’s “climate”…of Madoff/ Blagojevitch…Ahhh…Chicago…

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/news/article_full.cfm?eventid=1917

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop….Chicago…

January 3, 2009 by Barbara

MICHIGAN & STATE STREET….STROLLING ALONG….

Chicago is bustling with walkers..and tourists…in various stages of warmth…fashion be damned for most…..with a smattering of those who will literally throw caution to the Lake Michigan wind…and suffer for their vanity…

The Macy holiday windows…were a disappointment..seen on this site…Nov.27th…”Macy’s Windows Suck”… http://www.thrillarama.com/2008/11/index.html ….nowhere near the awe remembered from the regular childhood visits when it was Marshall Field & Company...http://www.fieldsfanschicago.org/… in order to find that special ornament for that year’s tree…..although a little rush of that wonderment came after a  quick assent to the 7th floor Walnut room which brought “oohs” and “ahhs”..of delight in the outstanding Christmas tree and the old time festive decorating…

The Palmer House … http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/CHIPHHH-The-Palmer-House-Hilton-Illinois/index.do …was spectacular to see inside…with many happy visitors seated …warmly inside…enjoying afternoon tea each with their own tiers of cakes and cookies…Sorry to say…we looked…and envied….but took a pass on the experience…this time…

Walking was mandatory…for the paper had it wrong…this AM…Obama was in Chicago ….and in the workout room downstairs……so it was Secret Service. all around…..and not available to use…We made a quick run upstairs…to get coats…and brave the elements…  heading out to walk near the lake…amazed that the whole city block all around the building was secured…and would be ….until he was done…. http://www.slate.com/id/2203773/pagenum/all/

After we returned in the late afternoon from downtown…”He’s back”…was the word…with men in black…(not even trying to blend in?) were again standing by the elevators…Looks like tomorrow will be another outdoor experience…for getting our heart rates up….with the likelihood…he is not leaving until Sunday….

It must be nice to be President-elect….

more to come….

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Here’s The Scoop

June 7, 2008 by Barbara

Barack Obama was at the BCbythesea daughter’s apartment building …..

The Democratic Presidential candidate lives nearby….

Word is he comes to hit the gym…. in these swanky digs

WHOA….

why not the local YMCA?……HMMMM…. much less elite….

This night it was to use a private room on the 35th floor….

with Secret Service in tow…. shutting down one elevator….

For those conspiracy theorists out there….

as BCbythesea and daughter spoke on the phone….and said his name…. Obama….

funny “clicking noises ” would occur……

coincidence or that dreaded federal warrant-less wiretapping program …. we always heard about?…..

YIKES……

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