Monthly Archives: September 2011


Teach your children well

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How do you know, when you’re 4 or 19 or 25 – or even 50 for that matter – what you want to do with the rest of your life? When I was a kid, thanks to Mike Nelson and … Continue reading


It’s sweater weather, Eme!

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Can I get an “awwww….”? Isn’t this the sweetest face? This is Eme, new to the world and wrapped in love. When Robin told me she and Peter were going to be grandparents my heart soared. Robin, Garnet and I met … Continue reading

This is more than I can (love) handle

Ohmygosh, I’ve died and gone to heavy. I meant heaven. That was a legitimate typo and perhaps a Freudian slip because today is …

… International Chocolate Day!

Now, I know people who don’t like chocolate. Are you one of them? What’s not to like? Too sweet? Gooey? To trendy for you? You had a bad encounter with Snickers bar when you were a kid?

What a shame.

One of the little pleasures in life is a little bit of really good chocolate every now and then. I’m not talking about the World’s Most Expensive Chocolate. Although there was a fun article on the Forbes website hershey-expensive-chocolate-cx_sy_0208feat_ls.html about Chocopologie priced at $2,600 a pound. (For that price I would expect calories to jump back into the wrapper and destroy themselves.) Nah, I’m talking about good chocolate from Walgreen’s!  Continue reading

Real life lessons from school

Glenwood School for Boys and Girls is hosting its annual Cornerstone Luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 15. While I’ve opted out of this week’s event, Glenwood has a very special place in my heart and just thinking about it reminds me of some of the lessons I learned from the students. 

In November 2005, I was on Glenwood’s South Campus (please click here to learn more)  finalizing the script for the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon when my colleague Mark came in and took a seat. Among his many Glenwood roles, Mark was camp director and I asked if he found a job for me at camp the next summer, something like nature lady or song leader.

“We need a nurse. Can you do that?”

I bet I had a better time than all the kids put together.

Remember Harrison Ford in the first Raider’s movie? “Snakes? Why did it have to be snakes?” I felt the same way about being a nurse.

We worked together for several years and – I thought – knew each other’s strengths. He was skilled at working with disadvantaged kids from throughout the Chicago area and I was good at writing about them. But camp nurse? I work with words and keyboards and reporters, not with kids and cuts and ticks. Oh my. Continue reading

Senseless events, striking memories

You know where you were, and so do I.

Sister Marie Gregory’s 4th grade class. The world stopped when Mr. Gazda’s voice over the loud speaker interrupted our afternoon class. President Kennedy had been shot. We knelt by our desks for prayer and were dismissed for the day, for several days. For a child, there was no way to make sense of a senseless event. Watching with the rest of the nation over the next several days – police investigations, grieving family and friends, Oswald shot before our very eyes – we were stunned, glued to televisions. What else could we do? We prayed, mourned and went on with our lives.

You know where you were. So do I.

After school practice for our annual Spring Sing in the Clark High School auditorium. We were called off the stage to gather in the back of the theater where we learned Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot. Violent street marchers were supposedly heading to Chicago by way of our peaceful hometown, Whiting, Indiana. All of it scared me. As a 15 year old, I didn’t know this man, his significance in the world, what this loss meant. I remember being afraid of the marchers. There was no way to make sense of this senseless event. We prayed, watched the news, went on with our lives.

Certainly there were other stunning events after that April day.

I missed the Democratic Convention riots the summer I worked in Chicago. I remember telling Arlene, a high school friend who also worked downtown, that I probably should go home rather than hopping off the bus to attend the Sly and the Family Stone concert in Grant Park. Do you remember the rest of the Grant Park story from that night?

Years later, working in Sears Tower, we were called into a conference room to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger explode after take off. We watched it over and over, trying to make sense of a senseless event.

September 11, 2001, you know where you were and so do I.

Walking down Michigan Avenue on a beautiful morning, my friend John called to tell me a plane struck the World Trade Center. I walked as we talked, heading to the Hilton for a conference on nonprofit fundraising. He had to jump off the phone to take another call and said he would call me back. He didn’t call back and only later did I learn why. As a senior officer for a shopping center development company, he was called into action to help his company protect their regional malls across the country.

I went to the conference but it was interrupted close to noon as the seminar leaders, hotel security and the City of Chicago joined with the rest of the country. Stunned, trying to make sense of senseless events. That night and for many days and nights after that, we watched and read the news, learned of friends and family who lost loved ones, saw the World Trade Center and so many lives completely decimated. Once during a business trip to New York, I visited the observation desk at the World Trade Center and stood looking down on one of the world’s greatest city. Now, I’m watching children, husbands, wives and others recite the names of those they love – lost in a senseless tragedy. We continue to pray, mourn our losses, but most importantly, love our family and friends more than ever.