On the grid again

August 30th, 2007 § 0

Early during last week o’ storms, our condo building was hit by lightning. In addition to some minor (but costly) building damage, we suffered a surge in our power and/or cable lines that knocked out our cable modem, our wireless router, the network card in our main computer, possibly a printer, and potentially Andrew’s baby, his Slingbox. After much troubleshooting and a few hundred dollars in replacement parts, we got internet back up and stumbling, only to be hit by a day (and night)-long power outage due to another set of storms with high winds.

Much is left to be restored (including our main computer — thanks be for laptops), and including my mood and sanity (a much longer story I’ll leave for a later time). In the meanwhile, we managed to escape for a last-minute family outing to the Garfield Park Conservatory this weekend on a much-welcomed fair-weather day. It was our first visit there, and probably not our last — it was really stunning, with a nice section for kids. At the height of summer blooms on the grounds, it really felt like standing amidst a Monet. Currently a series of large sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle were placed throughout the conservatory and grounds, many of which were “kid climbing around on”-friendly. Alli enjoyed the blooms and the climbing, and brought her little camera, so she and I were both quite photo-occupied — pics from both of us below. It’s cool to see the quality of her work improve so much, even on a pretty junky digital camera. Pics of fingers and feet are a thing of the past.

Some of my pics:

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and, for the first time, introducing Alli’s pics:
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Only slightly hyperbolic Zoo visit

August 18th, 2007 § 0


Upon waking to one of the first reasonably-temperate days in awhile and feeling mega-guilty about a week spent nursing the dumps, I decided rather last-minute on a day trip to the Brookfield Zoo.

Apparently 6 million other people had the same idea.

After the 1.5 hour (NOT an exaggeration) commute through Chicago traffic there, the 3.6 miles (ok, maybe a teeny bit less) jaunt from the place we had to park in the grass in the boonies because all parking lots were full, and navigating the 5 million acres (at least!) the zoo covers amidst the 6 million people who decided to do the same… well, we survived.

Alli actually had a decent time, despite the fact that special exhibits, crowds, lines, and the sheer size of the grounds prevented us from visiting at least half of the animals during our 7-hour stay. I was very quickly reminded of the value of the 2-parent tag team (for instance, when standing in a loud, claustrophobic crowd to order 2 sandwiches for lunch, then migrating through another loud, claustrophobic crowd to pick up the order, followed by a third of the same to get drinks, then a fourth to find a place to sit — carrying the entire load while hanging onto a child who is fighting back tears while covering her ears).

I… well, for maybe 10 minutes at a time on 2 occasions, I felt almost Zen-like. And maybe my legs and back will still function tomorrow.

The lack of tag-teaming, combined with the massive crowds at most places, also had an effect on my ability to take pics, with the single exception of the more tame, seated crowd at the dolphin show. I did manage a shot of one of Alli’s favorite adventures — following a wild chipmunk on the grounds right down into his hole. I only got a quick chipmunk shot, but you can imagine the rest. I did not get any great shots at the hit “Stingray Bay” exhibit, where children had to balance on their stomachs on an 8-inch-wide wall and lean into a large pool of water in order to even have a chance to touch a ray. I also did not get a chance to photo-document my child throwing a fit because I wanted to hold onto a small piece of her body or clothing during the precarious balance, upon which an empathetic fellow mother laughingly advised me to just let her fall in and feel the consequences.

Btw, when Alli posed for the picture riding the lion statue, she instructed me to make sure to print it in black and white, “so people wouldn’t know what color the lion was and would think she was riding a real lion.”

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More photos

August 14th, 2007 § 0

A few photos taken in Ohio. With the few Alli exceptions, most are flower/macro stuff from either my Mother’s backyard (some of which had long ago been transplanted from my grandmother’s garden) plus a few of the flowers we kept from my grandmother’s service.

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View this set (larger) on Flickr


August 13th, 2007 § 0

Much to write, but still decompressing. Meanwhile, our tootling around the Ohio countryside and reminiscing (along with a few requests over the years by Alli to try fishing) inspired our first trial of a local park’s youth fishing pond on Saturday. It takes a strong-stomached Mommy to attempt this with a vegetarian husband and a child who runs at the first sight of anything slimy or flopping, but Alli claims to have had a blast. Note to self: ‘free equipment’ means the rod and worms, and doesn’t include the pliers required to get a hook out of the deep innards of a small catfish that adult fingers cannot pry out. Fortunately the small catfish survived and was released by virtue of the Mommy running around the park with a slimy, flopping fish in her hands to locate a man with pliers. Sorry, no pics of that portion of the day.

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Great Gran

August 1st, 2007 § 2

Great Gran

Adaline Barger Hartman
“Great” Gran
November 1, 1912 – August 1, 2007

My grandmother was the quintessential matriarch of the Hartman family, through ups and downs (and there were many of both). It is from her above all that I know the meaning of family. She was a pioneer in many ways, and her spirit rang more loudly and resonated more deeply on this earth than most. She was smart and witty, and the most educated, elegant “country folk” I have ever known. She told it like it was, all the time, every time, and she lived her life with a faith and strength of will that I can only aspire to. As a grandmother she was firm but loving. She accepted Andrew as one of her own when he joined the family, and was always up for the challenge of exchanging witty banter with him. She was also a truly doting great grandmother to Alli, who I hope will one day realize how lucky she was to have a few years with her “Great” Gran.

I feel relief that she is at peace and did not suffer too greatly, but am very sad and will miss her deeply. It has been a hard year of loss for us.

Where am I?

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