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Showing posts from August, 2016

My weird American family history story

We're big fans of genealogy television. And there are several shows we watch regularly. I know quite a bit about the basic history of one side of my family. A little less about the other. But when I heard that Genealogy Roadshow is taking casting applications, I decided to submit my information a few weeks back. Some of you may remember seeing a brief post on social media about it. (I even called my mom to ask if I could put her name on the form to bring her to a potential taping...since it's her side of the family.) I have no clue what the chances of being selected for the program are. I do, however, feel like a few stories from my family history are uniquely compelling and shed some light on American history. To really unearth more would require special expertise and access that I do not possess.

My great-great-great...5th?...7th?...grandfather may have come to this country against his will. That's the start of what I want to know. A white German named Casper Berger, he…

Why I'm voting Yes on the OPRFHS District 200 referendum

Why are there so many stop signs?

One of the questions I had at our commission meeting on Monday was: "have any residents ever petitioned to have stop signs removed from their block?" I was guessing the answer is no. And, although village staff was going off the top of their heads without extensive research, my guess was accurate. Stop sign requests are--pardon the pun--one way.

Monday evening yet another petition by residents was before us. This time the neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Grove and Berkshire was asking that two-way stop signs on Berkshire be changed to an all-way stop so that traffic on Grove would be required to stop. Their reasoning was speeding, a recent crash, and the presence of many more children in the area.

The problem, however, is that the installation of stop signs doesn't help with speeding. It slows traffic for about 150 feet near the intersection, but it doesn't help with mid-block speeds. Drivers, in fact, become frustrated with having to stop...especially wh…

Lessons from Rio

As this year's Olympics in Rio comes to a close, my kids are disappointed. It's been a lot of explaining about the 2 year interval until the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. And then the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Games haven't been a constant in the background, but very nearly as each day we watch on either the television or the tablet. It's become a welcome friend and teaching aid to us. They eagerly await results and watch with enthusiasm. They'll miss it.

For grownups, Rio 2016 has come to serve as a lens for viewing all the socio-political problems of our world. The (mostly overhyped) Zika threat, the poverty (any city will have poverty), the wisdom of spending money on rotating Olympic hosts...especially in nations who may be struggling financially like Brazil. We've had racism on display from criticism of African-American gymnast hair to a debate over bikini vs hijab. But we've also seen black athletes thrive where they never have before.…

My friend, Coxsackievirus

Everybody in the house is currently asleep. They're all either in fever or rash mode. Well, all but the little girl who we can't quite figure out. The Mama is the last of us to come down with it yesterday evening complete with chills and shivering and being knocked out nearly-unconscious for hours at a time.

Me? I'm at the rash stage. It's no picnic either. My son is there with me as well and we took turns tonight trying to soak our feet in cool tubs of water to ease the weird itchy/prickly feeling. We're all a little more irritable than normal existing in a place that isn't quite ourselves while we take turns passed out with heat radiating off our heads. I'd like to thank my children for everything they've brought to my life...except this.

If it sounds like a rare tropical disease, it's not. It's Coxsackievirus! The name is ridiculous, but it's from the same lovely enterovirus family that gives us polio, echovirus, aseptic meningitis, and i…

Should I take my kids to the new Navy Pier Centennial Wheel?

With family in town--again--we chose to go "up" once more. My daughter has been asking to go on the new Ferris wheel at Navy Pier since it opened at the beginning of the summer. In the past, we've been to the pier for another reason...boat ride, Children's Museum...so that spending more money on rides isn't in the budget for the day. Especially true since they also tend to beg for lunch when we visit. This time, the wheel would be the primary reason for the visit.

My son doesn't enjoy rides (should make Disney World interesting, eh?) so my daughter actually got to go twice. Once with me. Once with grandpa after her brother waited with grandpa the first round. Side note: my son actually became ill on the train to downtown. So his day was miserable. I noticed he wasn't saying much on the L like he usually does but he wouldn't tell me what was wrong. I thought maybe he was just scared we'd make him ride the Ferris wheel or it wasn't what he wante…