Monthly Archives: May 2012

New Weight Watchers slogan: “Where old pom pon girls meet”

Last fall I went to a Weight Watchers meeting in Crown Point, IN and within a few months, I’d gained a couple of hundred pounds. It wasn’t water weight. I went to lose 10 and instead reconnected with old girlfriends who are worth their weight in gold.

Waiting for the meeting to start, I looked around the room to see the faces of women like me – give or take a few pounds or years – and glimpsed the profile of a dear friend from high school. “This is why I’ve moved home,” I thought. I walked up next her and said her name. The look on her face was priceless.

“I, I knew you were moving, but you’re here!” She said. We hugged. We had been in pom pons together at George Rogers Clark High School in the late ’60s. We laughed about meeting here, of all places. “Weight Watchers – where old pom pon girls meet, right?!”

How fortunate to share the joy then and now!

I’m happy to report five or six of us have stayed in touch over the years, working on a couple of the class reunions, meeting for lunch or dinner. We’re planning our third “pajama party” for later this year.

Good, lifelong friends keep us grounded. While we’ve changed, grown over the years – most of them are grandmothers now – sitting with the girls at dinner this week reminded me of what is most important.

In fact, my friend Sue in Las Cruces. She is a spry octogenarian. Someone I would “like to be when I grow up.”

“What’s your secret to life, Sue?” I asked her once over a latte at Barnes & Noble.

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The whole world’s watching, even Darth Sidious

Since moving to the corner of Hoosierland ensconced in “Greater Chicago” – I’ve been fascinated by the news reports of plans for the NATO Summit this weekend. Much of the coverage has been about protecting the city from terrorists and activists, ranging from members of Al Queda to pie-throwing clowns. Security forces, business, residents are planning for the worst. Finally, this week I’m hearing about the significance of this particular international assembly. It’s big folks, really big.

In fact, it’s being heralded as the “biggest NATO Summit ever,” according to NATO’s Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, with 60 world leaders – including Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Their agenda includes a long-term partnership with Afghanistan, strengthening NATO partnerships, funding. With a shift in focus from the north Atlantic, perhaps in 2020 NATO will stand for the New Asian Treaty Organization.

Even Senator Palpatine from Naboo is in town. Star Wars fans will remember his underlying character, Darth Sidious. Okay, the Sith Lord is not in town. It’s actor Ian McDiamid, who brought Sidious to the screen, appearing in “Timon of Athens” at Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre.) I wonder about the ” real characters” underlying the faces of our world leaders. Putin’s not coming. Apparently he Continue reading

My friend the Knit Doctor

Sheep would be pleased to know the magic Paula Strietlemeier creates with their wool.

Meet Paula Strietelmeier, aka, the Knit Doctor. The perfect moniker for a woman who, I’m told, can fix any broken knit or crochet project, doing whatever it takes to make mends meet. My guess is this one-time physics major turned humanities scholar is more left-brained than most of us crafters. She recently used something resembling a quadratic formula to adjust a garment pattern to my 4.5 stitches-per-inch knitting gauge. “Thanks for this,” I said. “Someday I’ll have to ask you about that equation you used.” She smiled.

Paula is my first Valparaiso connection. Even before exploring Northwest Indiana for possible new nests, I found Paula’s store  – Sheep’s Clothing – online and was compelled to visit.

“As a young child I was a person who liked to make things,” Paula said during an interview, “but I actively avoided knitting till I was in my 20s.”

Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago, Paula spent summers on a farm in Wisconsin. “Farm ladies were always crocheting … not working with patterns but with formulas in their heads, increasing and decreasing to make things. They Continue reading

Leaving Las Cruces

I’m grieving. And it’s about damn time.

SoNewMex, where the skies are not cloudy all day.

Last May 4, I was readying house and hound for a 1,600-mile drive to visit family in Indiana. I’d made that trip before but last May my house was on the market and I was planning to leave Las Cruces. Now I realize I can’t leave. SoNewMex is a part of me. Thinking about it now makes me cry such that my dog comes over and leans on me. (Awww.)

I miss friends in my kitchen, First Friday Art Rambles, the Organ Mountains – alive with natural wonders, sand in my house, rocks in my yard, the pond, the cactus, goldfinches against a glorious blue sky, the view of the western sky from my kitchen window. The moon rising over the house across the street.

I miss long walks in the desert. When it got too hot, my dog flopped under a creosote bush to cool his belly on the sand. We’d walk to the desert near Memorial Park where Aw’gy would tear through the mesquite chasing jackrabbits. Or through the new Desert Trails Park, past the sign that warned us of snakes. Continue reading