Friday, March 30, 2012

Sir Lance we like a lot!

I have a guy who does my hair. He's been my go-to hair guy for about 20 years now. I've let others color, cut, and style, but it never comes out quite right.
Too short, too poufy, not exactly what I described. You get the idea.

The only bad thing about visiting my stylist Lance is that he's in the city, as in the Windy City. So I really don't get to see him as often as my hair would like.

I started going to Lance when I attended graduate school at DePaul University two decades ago. At that time, I lived with my older sister in a cool loft-like apartment in Chicago. Now, I live in the far, far western 'burbs so a visit is not very convenient.

My sister goes to Lance (and she lives in London now)
My mom goes to Lance, and so does Miss O.
Even her little bro A got a trim once, and so did my hubby T. But usually it's just us girls.
There is just something about a go-to hair guy that's all good!

2. The cut: It's always good, and for the most part, it stays looking pretty good 'til the next cut. Luckily, Lance does not mind if I wait about 3 months or more between cuts. Hmmm . . . at least, I think he doesn't mind. I may not be a frequent client, but I am loyal.

3. The company: It's just comfortable. We chat, but sometimes we don't. There's not an awkward silence that requires small talk just to fill up the emptiness. We laugh and joke, and we talk about how some people never ever change their hairstyle. On occasion, we do talk about the weather. We're in Chicago after all. Weather is a hot topic around here.

1. The care: Lance knows my medical situation. He will ask me how I'm doing without being too nosy or offering advice. He takes care of three generations of my family. He listens.

My go-to hair guy. He's good.
Now, if we could just convince him to come out to us - even better. Perhaps I should send him a train schedule?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Lowes Down

I just bought a grill.
I love grilling and with all the warm weather - and a fantastic deck where I live, it's time.

I researched and then chose this Weber 22.5" One-Touch Silver Charcoal Grill and some accessories.

I have some preferences when it comes to hardware stores, but I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best experience.

I called a local hardware store to get their prices on my grill and items. They did their best to help me, but didn't make a list and kept putting the phone down to go find individual items and I had to keep a running total of their prices. It was OK, but not the best experience ever. They didn't have exactly what I wanted either, so that wasn't great. After that, I did everything online as you might expect. I used the websites of the following stores in this order of preference.
  • Weber
  • Sears
  • Home Depot
  • Ace
  • True Value
  • Lowes
Imagine my surprise when Lowes got my business! With that, here are three good things about using the Lowes website that the others couldn't touch. One note, the Weber site was pretty good, but the prices were too high and they didn't have everything I wanted.

2) Add to Cart and Continue Shopping The toughest part about all those other stores was trying to find the things I wanted, add them to my cart and then keep going. Home Depot wanted me to create an account every time I added something to my cart and I eventually just stopped using the site. Lowes didn't ask me about an account until I was ready to check out. I still didn't do it, but they were polite.

3) Pick up at my Local Store This was absolutely killer at Lowes. First, their detection software correctly placed me after I gave them my zip code. The other stores were either wrong or did an auto-detect that placed me several towns away where my internet provider's offices are. Once I set my local Lowes store and told them that I was picking things up there, they didn't show me things that were not available at that store. The others were all over the place - showing me things and even letting me add them to my cart before showing me that they were out of stock or only available online.

1) Fast I know it's good to be patient, but I work on these here interwebz all day. The speed of the site is important, and the Lowes site rocked it. Additionally, they offer 20 minute pickup of my order. So, I placed the order and printed my pick-up claim, and within 20 minutes they called me to tell me that my order was waiting for me at the customer service desk.

Lowes - you surprised me! Nice going!

PS - Lowes has guest Wifi. I used it to add this note.

Friday, March 16, 2012

ShamRocking St. Pat's Day

Top O' the Morning to You!

Here at the 3 things blog we like to celebrate all things holiday, and St. Patrick's Day is no exception. Before we share a wee bit o' wisdom about what is good about March 17, let's discuss what we won't talk about:

  • Corned beef and cabbage - one word, BLECH! My apologies to all the corned beef and stinky cabbage lovers out there, and to those who eat reuben sandwiches. Just not my cup of Irish coffee. This opinion is mine and mine alone. Brian can speak for himself.
  • Leprechaun horror flicks - never seen one, never will.
  • Michael Flatley
  • And rainbows. We will not talk about rainbows.
So with that in mind, we offer you a pot of good things about the day to wear green, starting with the man who must have kissed the Blarney Stone many, many times. (Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland, you will have the gift of gab) Therefore, up first is the the one and only . . .

Brian MacAtkinson

3) The Shamrock Shake: Yes, I'm caving-in to commercialism and the partially-gelatinous, semi-dairy, frozen beverages served by our favorite Scottish place on an Irish holiday. I love them. BUT - you must mix the minty-green goodness with the chocolate. Also, do not let them put the whipped cream and cherry on top the way they do now. That's like kissing your sister - just wrong.

2) Wearing of the Green: Some of us look good in green and others do not, but on this day, everyone is allowed. It's also a song, you know. Here's a link to a Celtic-punk band from right around the corner - Kilmaine Saints, on their album The Good, The Plaid, and the Ugly - track 7.

1) More Celtic Music: This year, I get to go to Bethlehem, PA to see Runa at the ArtsQuest Center at Steel Stacks. It's a very cool venue, and I'm not even all that particular about who's playing, but man O'man, can they play!

Sue O'Borowiak

3. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day! As a child with strawberry blonde hair and freckles, many people would mistake me for an Irish lass. However, I am Slovak and Slovenian by birth, and Polish by marriage. There's not a bit of Irish blood in me except on St. Paddy's Day, when we all can be Irish. A favorite memory of my teaching days is construction paper shamrocks hanging in the school office with the names of all the staff Irish-ized, like McOerter or O'Sabadosa. (That's a little shout out to my good friends and former colleagues, Kate and Eva!)

2. You can fool small children into believing that leprechauns are real! Not mean creepy ones, but cute tricky ones like the lad in the Lucky Charms commercials. When my kids were in preschool, the teachers would put tiny green footprints all around the classroom, dye the water of the toilet green, and make messes here and there so the kids would think little mischievous green men paid a visit.

1. You can drink green beverages! My first fav is the aforementioned green minty shake, but not McD's. I've discovered the Leprechaun Shake found at a local frozen custard shop in our area - creamy, minty, and cool with green sprinkles and a cherry on top - yummy! Then, of course, there is green beer, which I have not toasted with in a long, long time, and the infamous Green River soda.

And speaking of rivers, here's a bonus good thing: The Windy City dyes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day. How fun is that?

Timelapse of the river dye-job last year

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One year later

It's been a whole year.

My divorce process started one year ago this week. An event one year ago this past Sunday led to a year ago this coming Saturday, confronting my (now ex) wife with my fears of what had been going on. (And no, I'm not going to get specific here)

That day, I got in the car and drove the 5 hours to see my brother and discovered I was there for his son's 2nd birthday. Even my mom was visiting that day. God took care of me then like he had done many times before. That was also the weekend that I was selected to go audition for the Cubs.
Mind = Blown.

Today, out of the blue, an acquaintance, one of a few that I know of going through a divorce, told me she was really struggling with things coming to a close. I think she hoped that I had some words of wisdom or encouragement. So I wrote back to her:
Of course I hate to hear that your marriage ended in divorce. It's not what God wants for us, but he loves us so much that he understands and keeps right on loving us through it. His plans for you will not be thwarted because this happened.

I went through a church small group curriculum called Divorce Care. I think it's a good curriculum, just make sure you follow the program and not the leaders. (I had some bad leaders when I went through it.) I found it very helpful, but then I'd been in counseling for most of my adult life. so I had kind of a leg-up on understanding my feelings.

Some people go through stages of grieving - commonly known as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Talking, and Acceptance. Most who experience those in one form or another don't get them one at a time or one after the other and they repeat on you in different ways for the time ahead.

I recommend you find a professional woman (since you're a woman) to counsel you - someone with divorce experience who is a Christian. It will take time to feel like participating in church - that's OK. There is financial help out there. Get yourself cared for. Feel free to ask questions if you have them - I've been through this 3 times.
All that led me to the reminder that God uses us when we're broken.
So, here are three good things about going through garbage.

2) God doesn't choose the "together" people
Over and over in the Bible God uses the least of these, the small, the broken and the unlikely to do what he wants done. He works that way because if he used people who were all-that, people might think it was them and not God working. So, God uses me right where I am in my brokenness.

3) God uses bad stuff for good
Was divorce what God wanted for me? No way. It's not part of how he wanted my life to go. That doesn't mean he just gives up on me, no way. Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses. It tells me that God uses whatever happens to us to achieve his ultimate good. That's pretty awesome-good! There's no way I would have been able to help my friends who are going through bad things, unless I'd gone through them too.

1) God is the god of second chances
And third... and fourth... This weekend, I'm repeating that trip to my brother's place, only on purpose - to spend time with my family. It's my nephew's birthday party again, and I have a new nephew being dedicated in church on Sunday. The days do get brighter than they can seem right now and there's a whole lot more happy ahead.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Celebrating Seuss

Today would have been Dr. Seuss' 108th birthday. Born, Theodor Seuss Geisel, he also wrote under the name Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone. Regardless of the name, we miss one of our beloved children's authors, who passed away in September, 1991.

Dr. Seuss authored 46 children's books and there wasn't a dud among them. His simple wisdom rings true today with moments like:
Be who you are and say what you think because those that care don't matter and those that matter don't care. ~ Dr. Seuss

The good Dr. didn't actually coin that phrase, but he did improve on it. It originally appeared when a society columnist asked the financier and statesman, Bernard Baruch (1870-1965), how he arranged seats for the notables attending his dinner parties, Mr. Baruch replied, "I don't bother about who sits where. Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."

Seuss made that sound less-cranky, and less aloof. He made things accessible to people and that may be part of why his works are classics.

In his quirky, sing-song way, Seuss offered up not only Green Eggs and Ham, but a plateful of life lessons as well. Here are three good servings of Seuss' sayings from our table to yours:

2. Be Yourself

3. Follow Your Dreams

1. Care enough to promote change

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

So, all you Lerkim and Snuvs, you Nerds and you Zax with your kwiggers and wisper-ma-phones, gather up your bar-ba-loots, your wumbus, your thnadners and hump-humf-a-dumpfers, put on your midwinter jickers or floob-boober-ba-boober-bubs and have a sensational Seuss-tacular celebration!

With joy,
Thing 1 and Thing 2
You can decide which thing is who . . .

If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good ~ Dr. Seuss