Friday, August 29, 2014

Ice bucket thing

I know there are a few people who read this that don't "know" me on Facebook, so if you ever wondered what I looked like wet, or what my older daughter's most unhinged cackle sounds like, here's your chance.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Beach (a true story, in verse)

The Beach (a true story in verse)

O sun! O pitiliess, idiot sun
Shining, warming everyone
Swimming in Lake Michigan
But only burning me

My beloved, my beautiful daughter
has wet sand with which to scour
the reddened skin of he who’d begot ‘er
Yes, poor peeling me

O sand, o sand, my hair has gotcha
My ears, my mouth, I could use a scotch
There’s even sand in my… hey! watch!
Who just threw water at me?

A little girl, apparently unsupervised
hair the colour of my sand-reddened eyes
A grin at my daughter, promising surprise
And a squirt gun pointed at me

With mud, with guns, we were arranged
From shore it must have looked quite strange
Super soaker in my face at point-blank range
As I sat in the Michigan sea

You red haired devil, where is your Mom?
And Sana, I don’t want sand in my bum!
I hate the beach! This place is dumb!
So to the land I did flee

I grabbed my shoes, picked over the shells
To the facilities to make myself well
Forgetting that if the beach is hell
The men’s room there is Hades.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The long ride home

Per Travis’s comment on my previous post, and stealing an idea from a Facebook friend, I present you, my loyal readers (sic) with a photo-essay. The conceit is to take a photo at ten-minute intervals during a bike ride. I selected the ride home from Amynah’s work/Sana’s pre-school, as I do it all the time and was not, today at least, carrying Inara.

I was hampered in my “every ten minutes” plan, in that I was not wearing my watch. Also, I wasn’t always near that which I wanted to photograph at the appropriate times. So, this doesn’t really follow the conceit at all.

Photo One: I leave Amynah at the Pschiatric Institute where she spends her days. They let her out for weekends, and have been very good at humouring her belief that she’s a professor there.

Photo Two: The Oakley Boulevard overpass over the Eisehower Expressway, looking east. Below me is the Blue Line “L” train that Amynah and Sana take in less clement weather. A gentleman panhandling for change blessed me with the spirit of God right after I took this shot.

Photo Three: This is the portion of the Green Line that runs down Lake Street. There’s a fantastic bike path running down either side. The visual effect of the bridge, plus the shadows makes it a little like biking directly into an M.C. Escher sketch. Last week in this neighborhood Amynah and the girls and I were biking along and came up on two twenty-something gentlemen weaving back and forth across the lanes, projecting an attitude that seemed to welcome whatever trouble society would care to give them. We caught up to them and one of them looked over at Sana: "Hey girl! You look like you're having fun. You guys got the whole family out! That's great!" They blew through a red light and got ahead of us - when we caught up again, one was standing guard while the other urinated unabashedly on an elementary school. I waved and wished them a good day.

Photo Four: This is a railway underpass somewhere in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, where the fishmongers warehouses are surrounded by razor-wire fencing. Initially I wanted to take a picture of a pothole so deep you can see Chicago’s original brick roads, but it didn’t turn out. Instead, I took a shot of this: it’s hard to make out, but this is a fairly elaborate bed. Amynah goes under this bridge a lot, and she told me the guy who made this thing got chased out by some gentlemen who appeared to be gang-affiliated. They’ve since moved on, and this guy’s set up his home again. I’m not sure, but it might be the same guy who blessed me by the Interstate.

Photo Five & Six: This is in the “Ukranian Village” part of Chicago, which is still a magnet for Ukrainian immigrants today. Every time we pass by this church, Inara informs me that she intends to celebrate her birthday here. I don’t have the heart to explain to her the half-dozen reasons why that probably won’t happen.

Photo seven: This church is the next block over. Sana has claimed it as HER birthday church. It’s a lot more elaborate than I could capture from my bike - the things positivily bristling with towers. Right after I took this shot, a trio of ten-year-old boys rode by on BMX bikes, the most twig-chested of which was singing Chamillionaire’s “Riding Dirty” in a surprisingly convincing baritone. 

Photo 8-9: Chicago is “mostly” on a conventional grid pattern, but it does have a few diagonal streets, to which the local architecture has had to adapt (and let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried to turn left on a bike at a five-point interstection).

Photo 10: HOME! (almost): Peaking over treetops of the actual Logan Square from which my neighbourhood takes its name is the Illinois Centennial Monument, steps from my apartment. There’s about a hundred other things on this corner that probably would have made for a better photo, but guess which idiot you know wore his jeans today and was desperate to get home and into a shower so just-take-the-damn-photo-already-and-move-it? Me, that’s who.