Archive for February, 2008

Thumbs up for Peapod

It’s 8:15 a.m., and I just had groceries delivered for the very first time.

Where have I been? Hiding under a rock? Why didn’t I do this before????

Instead of schlepping nearly a half mile to the store and then carrying (or carting) home 6-8 bags looped around my wrists and having to stop at park benches to rest on the way home, I am sitting in my warm house during a blizzard — and a man carried all those heavy things (including Diet Pepsi and a 24-pack of water) up the stairs to my kitchen.

Hooray for Peapod!

Granted, I did spend a half hour selecting my items online on Sunday evening. But overall the time and energy saved is amazing.

And I do have to say, I was impressed with the delivery guy. He followed all the “customer service” rules. He asked if I had any questions, because he saw that I was a first-time customer. He pointed out that there was a coupon in the bag for $5 off my next order. And he did it with a smile. In the middle of a blizzard.


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It’s been a couple years since I traipsed around the River North gallery district, and every time I go, I wonder why I stayed away so long.

Last time I was there, the objects of my fascination were by Jorge Simes. He paints historical landscapes or buildings, the lays an “blueprint” over the top that relates to the topic at hand. The clever part is how he creates that blueprint — it’s with words.

Take for example his work “Gettysburg”:


The landscape is the Gettysburg battlefield. The white blueprint of the Lincoln memorial is the Gettysburg address, written in tiny white script.

I actually liked several of his other concepts better, but you get the idea. You can pass a good chunk of time staring at it.

So yesterday we visited a few galleries. The very last piece of work we saw kept us mesmerized literally for 10 minutes. We squatted. We shuffled from side to side. We jumped up. And leaned over. Because at every angle the work looked different. And I wish I could do it justice in 2-D!

The artist is Patrick Hughes. Here is the $65,000 piece we saw:


It caught me so off guard that as I approached it to get a closer look, I nearly bonked my head on it. I didn’t realize it was 3-D.

If I were to lay the piece on the floor, you would see three pyramids about 10 inches tall, with the tops being the three small lighter-colored rectangles in that run across the piece. The illusion happens because the corners of the buildings that look closest to us are actually in the valleys of the pyramids. So as you move from side to side (or up or down), you’re seeing more or less of the side planes of the pyramids. And this makes it appear that the picture is moving.

I’ve seen one of his works before, in the lobby of one of our partner agencies. I passed it several times before I realized what it was.

Now I just need to figure out how to create one of these myself.

(See more of his works here.)

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4-H Friends

Poor Nelly hasn’t been galloping very quickly these days when it comes to keeping up with the blog. So here’s a “backblog” from January.

Andrea and Ann, my 4-H agent friends, braved the Chicago winter to visit over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.


I scooped them up from O’Hare in my trusty Zipcar, we headed for lunch at Big Bowl in Schaumburg, and then we made the trek to Naperville, where I went to a meeting and they shopped the cutesy downtown (aka Michigan Avenue West). We then stopped at Target, where I grocery-shopped for the first time in months. Our last stop of the night was the Signature Lounge at the Hancock Building. (Always a favorite.) The view from the women’s restroom is tops.


I had a massive kink in my neck at the time, so the next morning I roused myself out of a painful sleep and went to the chiropractor for some relief while the girls got ready to go to the aquarium. Once I got back, we attempted to start our reserved Zipcar — a Prius — but the anti-theft device thought we were the thieves. Ultimately we traded for a Mini and parked at Soldier Field.


I’d never been to the Shedd Aquarium, and it was far more interesting than I expected.


Ann caught 40 winks in the rainforest.


I had to go back to the chiropractor that afternoon, and I sent my guests shopping in the neighborhood. They found Gaymart to be quite entertaining.


That night we made Pioneer Woman’s YUMMY potroast. (Highly recommended.)

The next day I was still in pain, so I stayed home from work. By early afternoon, we needed some food. So we headed to Michigan Avenue and had lunch at the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus. Mmmmm. Popovers. Strawberry Butter. Chicken broth. Delightful.


Ann had some tea.


Andrea had some tangerine.


And I had a raisin and strawberry plaid. Which I ultimately purchased and wore to the benefit that I went to last Friday.


We headed back to my house as the lights came up on the Watertower.


The next day they spent 7 hours in the airport because they missed their flight due to my poor advice of taking the blue line. Whoops.

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Guest Blogger: Gossip Girl

Greetings, Upper Midwesterners. Gossip Girl here, with the latest on the high fashion wanna-bes visiting New York from Chicago.

Spotted: Kansas Farm Girl posing as NY socialite on Wednesday in the entrance to the Palace hotel. Word on the street was that she’d been meeting with the big wigs in the NY office of her fashionable ad agency across the street. But what’s a girl who forgot to bring a purse along to do when she’s heading out for dinner at fab-o restaurant Craftsteak in the meatpacking district? Sources say she skulked to Fifth Avenue for an emergency purchase. But upon seeing price tags of $1,000+ in the line of bag mini-boutiques lining the first floor of Saks, she darted for Kenneth Cole across the street. Our friend the greeter said she headed first to the white patent one on sale.  Looks like status is a hard thing to buy.

Overheard: The story didn’t end for our dear little Farm Girl. Sources on American flight 317 to Chicago said Farm Girl about vomited when she reached her seat on the plane from the “dirty diaper” stench. She was soon at the center of three rows of chatter about the smell before the group called over the flight attendant for help. Pretty soon the airplane tech was there too in his orange vest. Just as the two officials left the row, the woman behind Farm Girl (sporting a very tacky full-length fake mink and Valerie Bertinelli hair from the 80s), darted to the bathroom carrying her toy-poodle-show-dog in a little black bag. After another 15 minutes of waiting for her to come back, the flight attendant kicked the smelly dog lady off the plane. Unfortunately she’d left her poo-covered paper towels in the bathroom trash. Farm Girl wondered which one was the bitch – the dog, or the lady who sat there for 10 minutes keeping mum about her poo-spewing poodle.

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Bustin’ A Move on the Bunny Hill

Yesterday I went skiing. Yes, there are several “ski resorts” within a couple hours of Chicago, if you can believe it.

Though we considered going to Alpine Valley, we opted for Wilmot. It is a massive mountain:


It takes about 2 minutes to go up any of the 6 or so lifts, and about 20 seconds to ski down.

Nevertheless, we had a great time! It really did feel like we were in ski country. Complete with a fireplace at the lodge and everything. (It’s $40 for a lift ticket, which is pretty steep considering that resorts in Colorado aren’t much more.) We got there around 1 and stayed until about 3:30 when the visibility got bad due to snow.

Don’t we look official?


Good thing we went yesterday instead of today — the windchill is currently -20.

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The last 18 months of my life…

…have all come down to the unveiling of this product, today at the Chicago Auto Show.

Go buy one immediately. And tell them Nelly sent you. I hear it makes a very nice car for a family of six.

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Between Barack and a Hard Place

Last night, as I was schlepping myself home in a cab, I saw many satellite vans on the street next to my office building.

Hmmm, what could it be? Last time they were filming Batman. But this time they didn’t have as many big fat lights.

Apparently Barack was having his Super Tuesday party in the hotel connected to my office building. Which would normally be quite entertaining, except when it’s raining and you’re trying to get a cab. Which was the case this evening, when there were police lines everywhere and I was late to the bone cracker.

And for the record, I did not vote. Shame on me.

And for the record again, I didn’t come up with the clever title of this post — it’s the name of a show at Second City. But it sure is funny!

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