Friday, October 28, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Smell my feet, give me something good to eat!

Since Halloween is just around the corner, today's post features good things about this spooktacular fall holiday!

Candy that I would steal out of a child's trick or treat bag when they are not looking:

Slightly Scary Sue

2. Hershey's bars
3. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
1. Twix

Barely Batty Brian

2) Snickers (but seriously, what's so much fun about "fun size"?)
3) Mr. Goodbar
1) Sweet Tarts

Fantabulous movies or TV shows that are fun to watch around Halloween time:

Screeching Sue

2. Beetlejuice
3. Halloween
1. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Braaaaiiinnnssss... Brian (I agree with Sue's choices completely)

2) Shaun of the Dead
3) Fright Night (1985)
1) So I Married an Axe Murderer (but then... it's always a good time to watch this one)

Memories from past Halloween Happenings:


2. Dressing the kids up as a monkey and a turtle when they were just tots, and visiting "Boo at the Zoo!" at Brookfield Zoo.
3. Turning my classroom into "Camp Boo-rowiak," complete with a "flashlight" campfire, sleeping bags, and spooky ghost stories. I even dressed up as Viola Swamp, a character from the children's book, "Miss Nelson is Missing."
1. Winning first place in a costume contest as a child by dressing up as the Pillsbury Dough Boy, hee hee hee.

I want my Mummy - Brian

2) Simpsons Halloween Episode Marathon
3) Costume contest winner: Mr. Potato Head (complete with movable face-parts)
1) Costume contest winner: Head on a Table (I sat motionless for a hour before someone lifted up the cover on the hors d'oeuvre table to find me hiding under there)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

That's what she said

Sue's take-2-on-friendship post was spot-on about friendship!

When Harry Met Sally
It takes a very special pair of friends to be able to handle friendship and keep it out of the realm of potential romance. If you remember the movie, "When Harry Met Sally", the movie is centered on the idea that men and women either can or cannot be friends. Sally contends that they can, Harry contends that they cannot, they do eventually become friends, and then not, and then they fell in love. See - even that movie doesn't think friendship across the boundaries of gender can work. However, always the optimist, I believe.

I have a preponderance of female friends. They live all around the country, from many walks of life and many ways of thinking. Their input into my life is incredibly valuable and I hope that I'm able to help them.

Here are three good things about having female friends.

2)  Men need help dressing themselves. I've spent years under the tutelage of women and I think I've improved over time. But without their initial opinions and advice, I wouldn't have figured out any of it.

3) Women talk. I've seen different statistics, but it basically works out to men (in general) speaking about 1/5 as many words in any given day as women (in general) do. Men need to up-the-ante on words and women can help draw them out of us. That doesn't come from a woman saying "what are you thinking?" because we're not thinking anything, I promise you. It does come from women starting an engaging conversation and helping to keep it going.

1)  Women are pretty. Yes, all of them. They are nice to look at, they smell good and remind us that we are gentlemen. When faced with a woman we remember to hold doors, offer chairs, throw our coats on puddles, and generally become nice creatures again. That doesn't mean we don't make bodily noises and laugh, but it helps.

Besides, who would laugh at us otherwise?
“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” Bruce Almighty

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Take 2 on Friendship - what she (that's me Sue) says about . . .

The age old question ~ Can men and women just be friends?

I say YES, but culture, society, books, movies, TV, magazine articles, and curious nosy people tend to disagree. While T is my very best guy friend, I do believe there are good things about having male friends to whom I am not married to, like my former carpool buddy Rog, the wisecrackin' gang at pulmonary rehab, or you know who - the one and only Mr. A.

2. Insight: Having a good friend of the opposite sex offers me the opportunity to see how the other side sees a situation in an objective way (without trying to read the mind of my hubby.)

3. Advice: Depending on the friend, I can solicit advice on a variety of topics such as home repair, tech issues, travel, relationships, food, and even fashion. In most cases, men will offer practical ways to fix a problem. I might not always take their advice, but it’s good to know it’s there.

1. Comic relief: Let’s be honest, men are funny beings. Sometimes funny in a make you laugh so hard you’re crying sort of way, or sometimes funny in a shake your head sort of way. Either way, it’s all good because they keep me smiling (most of the time!)

Insight, advice, and comic relief – my three good things about male/female friendships. What are yours?

** 100th post reminder! We are s-l-o-w-l-y inching are way to collecting 100 good things for our 100th post. Please share ONE good thing with us at twothreeeoneblog-good at yahoo dot com. It’s easy! Just do it!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Today I'm cheating!

Instead of sharing three good things with you, I'm sharing a little piece of writing I submitted to a blogging contest a few months back. The theme of the contest was to write about an unexpected, surprising friendship. Sadly, I didn't win the contest (boo!) But I did enjoy writing the piece, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Like Apples and Oranges

Me and my friend Brian.

We are different in many ways.

I am married with two children. He is single, divorced three times, and not yet a dad.
I am a stay-at-home mom and sometime freelance writer. He is a web communications professional, public speaker, and voice actor.
I have a rare, chronic autoimmune disease called scleroderma. He’s in good health.
I live in the Midwest in a far western suburb of Chicago. He lives in the East, just outside of Philadelphia.
I’m Catholic. He’s Protestant.
I will eat lemon cake and orange scones. He dislikes cooked citrus.
I am short. He is tall.

But we are alike in many ways, too.

We attended the same high school in the early 1980s.
We love all kinds of music.
We offer each other words of encouragement and support.
We like to make people laugh including each other.
We pray.
We like to eat pizza, guacamole, pie, Chicago-style hot dogs, and a good cup of coffee.
We have hazel eyes.

I am surprised by this unlikely friendship because we lost touch many years ago when he moved away after our sophomore year. We reunited last fall at our 25th high school reunion, and now we frequently chat, email, or text. Sometimes, we discuss serious life issues like relationships, health, or religion. Other times, we talk about the weather, weekend plans, or what we ate for lunch that day.

Both of us face difficult challenges in our daily lives. These challenges have led us to create the 2 friends 3 things 1 blog a few months ago. The goal of our blog is two-fold: to help each other look at the positive side of life, and to inspire others to do the same.

**Which leads me to this reminder . . . our 100th blog post is coming soon! We want your help! Please send one good thing to us at the following email address: twothreeoneblog-good at yahoo dot com. Be sure to include your name, and where you are from with your email. We want to post 100 good things from our friends and fans, so email your ideas lickety-split, on the double, or just as fast as you can! You can do it! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Today, the newest version of the Three Musketeers comes out. It apparently has nothing to do with the Alexandre Dumas novel, with the exception of a few character names and that it's in France. Here's the trailer:

I don't know if it's going to be good or not, but it looks good to me. Regardless of adherence to the written word, I still love these kinds of movies. The sword fighting, acrobatics (even the clear Matrix-style effects in this one), the adventure, rescues, and true love.

With that, here is your Friday list of good Swashbucklers! or... Buckle Squashers... oh heck - just call them MAN MOVIES! With my apologies to Sue.

Geesh, he always does this to me. I'll play along, but I won't follow the rules!

Any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies: I have seen several, not in order, and I don't know the names of all of them. Just a few weeks ago, I believe we watched the first one, The Curse of the Black Pearl, but no matter, because there's just one good thing, no great thing, about the Pirates series . . .

1. Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow (Who's with me, ladies?)

2) Highlander (It won the academy award for best movie ever)
3) The Three Musketeers (Gene Kelly version)
1) Captain Blood (Errol Flynn)

COMING SOON!!! Our 100th good things blog post. Help us celebrate! We want to get one good thing each from 100 of our friends, fans, loyal readers, strangers on the street, etc. - you get the idea. So, start thinking about good things, and good things only. Soon we'll let you know what you need to do to join in the fun! Stay tuned . . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Auntie

"We do not remember days; we remember moments." ~ Cesare Pavese

My Aunt Eleanor passed away last week at the age of 85. She was a wife, mother, sister, grandma, great grandma, great aunt, cousin, neighbor, and friend, but simply "Auntie" to me and my sisters.

It's sad when someone dear passes away, but memories of that special person can be a source of comfort for those left behind. With that in mind, I share with you three good memories of Auntie, who is on the left in the photo with my mom in 1995.

2. Haircuts: When we were kids, my mom took me and my sisters over to our auntie's house for haircuts. She had a small salon set up in her basement complete with a shampoo bowl. She would give us really, really short cuts, which I guess at that time were quite the fashion!?! Now when we look at photos of us with those hairdos, we crack up with laughter (and shake our heads!) But back in the day, it was always fun to visit Auntie's basement salon.

3. The Christmas Tree: One Christmas, many years ago, Auntie did not want to put up her Christmas tree. I can't remember why she did not want to deck the halls that year, but me and my sisters would not stand for it. We went to her house, pulled out the decorations, and helped her trim the tree. We were happy to help, and I believe she was happy we did!

1. Ceramics: At one point in time, Auntie took ceramic classes. She made many things including a covered mashed potato dish shaped like a potato for my mom. She also made small Christmas gift boxes for me and my sisters. Every year during the holidays, I put out my small ceramic box with a bright red bow on top. It's a special gift that I will always treasure.

My Uncle Lee, me, and Auntie Eleanor on my high school graduation day in 1985.

Rest in Peace, dear Auntie. We will miss you.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Moving - it can completely tucker you out.

Your hands hurt from taking apart and putting together. They get chapped from all the tape and cardboard. Your arms and elbows hurt from the carrying and lifting. At the end of the day, you really want to just be done with everything, but it seems like there's always something more to do. Relationships with dear friends falter. There's not enough time for sleeping, let alone doing things you enjoy. Never forget, however, the joy of a fresh-start in a new place... a little life-reboot if you will.

I've rented a new pad and moved in. The boxes are all unpacked, the furniture is in it's final resting places, and I've got pictures on the walls. I've got one day of vacation left in this process to get the cardboard off to recycling and pick up a few things I need - then I'm going to crash. My list of good things about moving:

2) Out with the old.
Whether it's old stuff or old memories, it can be good to clean out the cobwebs and get rid of the things that vex you - or things you just don't need or want anymore. I've donated a monstrous garbage bag of old clothes, a giant box of clothes hangers, and a few other items. I've thrown away things that I had held onto - thinking that someday I'd use them. It's also leaving behind some things that need to be left behind. I'm taking steps in my emotional state that need to happen and the new surroundings help.

3) In with the new.
Little things like a new rug or a new duvet cover (I'm not gay just because I know what a duvet cover is and have one) or some plants can make a tremendous feel of a fresh start. The new place of course is a major part of that, but go ahead - splurge on that shower curtain, or something to brighten a room.

1) A new community.
In this case, I moved about 15 minutes down the road. I can still go back to my old stomping grounds anytime I like, but I'm looking forward to all that the new are has to offer. There's the new faces at the bank, the grocery store, the people at the hardware store are waving at me when I come in now, and there's a great little general store/restaurant just up the street owned and run by Mr. and Mrs. Pakel. I need to find a new church and I hope I'll build some new friendships.

Now I just need to circle back and see where I left everything and everyone in my life before two weeks ago when the move started to consume me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

H U S K I E S! Gooooooo Huskies!


It's Homecoming at my alma mater Northern Illinois University this weekend. In honor of this annual event, I've invited my NIU friends to share three good memories from our college days back in the mid/late 80's to the early 90's. They didn't disappoint!

So without further fanfare, not in any particular order, and mostly in their own words, I share these happy memories with you. Of course, I chimed in here and there as well!

2. Hanging out with friends in the Plaza eating beer nuggets.
3. Going to Ollie's for frozen custard.
1. Developing my own photos in the darkroom ~ Mark G. (Ohhh, I loved that, too. Hallie H. was one of my favorite journalism professors!)

2. The marching band with all the trips and football games.
3. Loving those beer nuggets.
1. The parties we had in our triple dorm room. ~ Kathy A. O. (Wasn't it amazing how many people we could stuff in a dorm room?)

2. Playing football on the field before Thursday night marching band practices with the KAB - Kick Ass Brass. (Thursday night practices at the stadium were my favorites!)
3. Stand cheers from tuba player Andy R.
1. Any weekend get-together with friends. ~ Todd M.

2. On the second day of my NIU career . . . I had not intended to join the marching band at all, but my high school classmate Steve U. convinced me to come to the first band meeting, so I went back home and got my clarinet. I realized it would be something much bigger than I could have ever imagined. Best decision ever . . .
3. The band trip to West Virginia . . . all of it, having to get out of the bus because it was too heavy to make it up the hill to the stadium, the halftime show, partying in the hotel parking lot at night (dancing on the buses), and convincing the Pizza Hut delivery guy to pick up some kegs for us . . . (Wow, I was on this trip and I don't remember half those things! I must have been in my hotel room studying . . .)
1. The trips to Disney . . . all of them have a story!
And so many more memories . . . ~ Ed H.

2. Marching band with all the wonderful trips and football games. What a great way to make so many instant friends. Go Huskies!
3. Late night beer nuggets after parties. I wish I had the metabolism I had back then. I can't imagine drinking beer and eating beer nuggets then going to bed now. (or late night cheese fries from Lukulo's)
1. Joining a sorority and having amazing times on Greek Row.

I think college was the absolute funnest (is that a word?!?) time of my life. So many friends and parties. It was a great campus ~ Kelly M. G.
(I wholeheartedly agree - FUNNEST times ever!)

2. Going to Ollie's for frozen custard.
3. Beer nuggets (Do I see a recurrent theme here?)
1. My roomies (lifetime friends) ~ Paula S. (Yes, building lifetime friendships is a very good thing!)

2. University Band and playing euchre with Eddie and Sue V.
3. McCabes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights (Don't forget growler night, too! Wednesdays I believe.)
1. Meeting some awesome and wonderful people! ~ Robin W. H.

And because there are so many good college memories, I'll add three more of my own:

2. Honing my writing and editing skills in the lovely, er, very old, sorta run-down, Campbell Hall - home of The Northern Star, and winning the Roy G. Campbell Award aka "The Best Damn Reporter Award" sometime in the late 80's.
3. Living "off-campus" in the blue-ish gray, or the grayish-blue townhouses, with the greatest bunch of roommates ever, and eating the famous "tuna noodle s*&%", and sugared-popcorn.
1. Doing the band dance to Al Jarreau's "Boogie Down" at various marching band festivities such as road rallies, Halloween parties, Lake Lawn Lodge band banquets, and whatnot:

FYI: What is a beer nugget? A tasty late-night treat or party food essentially made of chunks of deep-fried pizza dough invented in DeKalb, IL mostly for broke students from Northern Illinois University. It's usually served with a dipping side of marinara or pizza sauce, but can also be served with a cheese or garlic butter sauce or sprinkled with or dipped in cinnamon-sugar. ~ Urban Dictionary (We loved to dip them in ranch dressing. Oh, my mouth is watering just writing about them!)

Thanks to all my NIU friends who helped out with this post. Very good times indeed!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yummy Fall Goodness

This past long weekend offered up some sunny skies and warm temps. The perfect weather to visit an apple/pumpkin farm for some fall fun, and of course, good food and drink!

Three tasty treats from our fabulous fall weekend:

2. Homemade pumpkin muffins: Freshly baked by T Saturday morning - YUMMY!

3. Freshly picked apples: When they were not eating the apples right from the trees, T and the kids picked this bounty on Sunday afternoon. I see at least one apple pie and some caramel apples in our future.

1. Freshly pressed apple cider: Delicious! We've tried it cold, but I'm thinking warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks. That's if we don't run out soon!

And a bonus good treat: We picked up our third package of 12-count Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts for the season. Not healthy, nor freshly picked or baked, just simple bad-for-you goodness!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Our house in the middle of our street

I've not been feeling well during the past two weeks, so I've spent a LOT of time lounging around the house resting, watching daytime TV, and other exciting activities such as coughing, taking antibiotics, coughing, napping, drinking fluids, coughing, and whatnot.

I'm feeling better now - thank goodness, but when I spend so much time in the house I tend to go a little stir cRaZy! I also tend to contemplate my surroundings, and dream about all the changes we could make to our humble abode especially after being inspired by Nate Berkus on NBC, and other home improvement gurus a la HGTV.

We've lived in our house for nearly eight years now, so of course, there are big changes we would love to make like remodeling the yucky blucky basement, installing hardwood floors, or creating a backyard oasis with and an inground swimming pool and a cabana, and . . . Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Despite my big dreams for our little house, there are many things I do like about it.

Here are three of my favorites:

2. The porch: It's great for sitting, holiday displays, and photo ops. So homey - it was a must-have feature when we built our house years ago.

3. The island: The hub of our kitchen! Great for cookie baking, meal prep, storing stuff, plopping down groceries, mail collecting, and more!

1. The laundry area: It's not really a room, but a nook off the kitchen. For six years, our washer and dryer was located in said yucky blucky basement. I'm NOT a fan of the basement, and lugging laundry up and down two flights of stairs had started to become increasingly difficult for me due to the limitations from my illness. Cue the laundry room make-over by Mike the carpenter, and his buddy Joe the plumber - not THE Joe the plumber, but just a plumber named Joe. Those guys made all my laundry dreams come true! Not really, but the relocation/remodel has made doing this household task much easier for all of us, and I think it looks pretty cool, too!

A porch, an island, and a main-floor laundry area - three good things in our house in the middle of our street. What are yours?