STI 2018 – It’s Coming!

Hello Friends,

The second floor of the St. Viator Gymnasium is undergoing its annual transformation:

All these creepy things signify it is time for the haunted house! That’s right, the Stairway to Insanity is under construction again! I think I have noted before how I don’t love this name, but this year I learned the origin. The organizers used to carry all the props and all the walls up the stairs to set up. One of them thought, this is insanity,” and poof.

I will post another update as the decorations go up, and of course the flier when we get it. Here’s the quick info: $10 a ticket, running 7PM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday for the next three weekends. If you’re looking for a creepy/scary (but not horrifying) time, consider this amateur, “value” haunt. They have an event page on Facebook, so check ’em out. Come Halloween!

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Gutcheck 10/2/18

Hello Friends,

Like many of you, and most of the country, I have been chomping on the Supreme Court Nomination hearings and subsequent testimonies for the past couple of weeks. I use the vague term “chomping” because some people are picking apart every detail while others are collecting a quick summary from a passing news feed. All over the spectrum. I don’t want to launch into anything political right now, but I will say that when I listened to Dr. Ford’s testimony in light of my experiences growing up in the Chicago Suburbs, I felt an awful familiarity with the scenario she described. Local pools, summer hang outs, parties, and entitled boys – yep, we had those here too. And looking at my girls now makes me feel that one could make any defensive claims one wants but I probably won’t lend a sympathetic ear when it comes to sexual harassment and assault. We’re in an ugly, but very necessary moment right now, friends. And with all this in my mind, I read this op-ed by Monica Hesse from The Washington Post:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/newsfeature/dear-dads-your-daughters-told-me-about-their-assaults-this-is-why-they-never-told-you/ar-BBNPCiK?li=BBnb7Kz

Titled Dear dads: Your daughters told me about their assaults. This is why they never told you, this article is a gut check, a kick in the shin, a rough insight into yet another reality about why sexual harassment and assault are kept secret. And it’s written for us Dads. Now the article is well-written, not overly politicized and even somewhat cathartic, but it is still tough to read. But in my opinion, men and women alike should read it.

The long and short of it: daughters don’t want to disappoint their fathers.

The details unfold around that idea. What struck me is that now is the time for me to show my girls how I can rationally listen to their life stories; good, bad and ugly. Show them while they are young and hopefully we develop some space to talk about the hard life issues. We may be in an ugly moment, but my hope is that Dads are paying attention and thinking “caterpillar stage”, meaning work and live through the ugly in order to make something else. Something that flies higher, goes farther, does better. And I focus on men’s roles here because we are doing the majority of the harassing and assaulting. Blame socialization, evolution, television and popular media, whatever, but that’s the truth. Then move past blame and let’s start figuring this ugly sh*t out.

The politics of this whole nomination is making me angry. Honestly, the past three nominations have frustrated me, made me upset with the people working in our government system. So I guess, like with most things, this change will have to start at home. Let’s start with us, Dads. And Uncles. And Grandfathers. And Brothers. And Cousins. Hell, and neighbors and teachers and every other role where men influence boys and play a part in shaping the norms and mores of society. And in roles where men influence girls. And let’s open up to our female counterparts. Moms, Aunts, Sisters, Grandmothers, teachers, fabricators, engineers. Open an honest conversation, or maybe even shut up and listen. I know this is a bit of a rant, and I’m not typing here because I think I have some answer. But I know I’m not alone in looking for one.

Following a Yellow Brick Road

Hello Friends,

This is another family adventure from our weekend. With such a beautiful late summer day on Saturday, we had to get out. Wife Googled parks in the city and found “Oz Park ” in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Who knew?

The main draw was statues of the main Oz characters. Obviuosly, here the girls are sitting on Dorothy’s pedestal. Arranged around two sides of the park, these statues help set a playful tone.

Nick Chopper, a.k.a the Tin Woodman guards the northeast entrance of the park.

Just inside that entrance stands the scarecrow. He is near the “quiet area”, his gentle nature an appropriate reflection of this calm patch. Filled with flowers and decorative plants, it stands apart from the playground and greenspace of the park.

The Cowardly Lion stands at the southeast corner of the park. He has the bonus of being app-enabled and can call you and talk with you. More importantly, he defends the pickle ball court. And yes, the people who play there too.

The playground at Oz Park is amazing. Shade is abundant and kids climb all over multiple ornate wooden structures. There’s tennis courts, pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, open space, the playground- really something for everyone.

We broke for lunch and headed down the street to Chicago Halal. Not much more than counter tops, this place has some kind of magic to their food prep. The gyro meat was cut small and had a delicious searing on the edges.

The girls ate well on their cheeseburgers too. So overall, our family dug Chicago Halal. I know that’s a weak review, but maybe some of you foodies out there can drop them a visit and do a proper one.

So here’s a weird thing about the afternoon: the lack bathrooms. Despite the beauty and playground amenities, Oz Park does not have any bathroom facilities. Chicago Halal also lacks bathrooms facilities. We tried to pitstop at a Starbucks near the park, but no, no toilet. What?!? Bit of a downer on a our day, but we salvaged it. You know who had a bathroom? Same people who have old-school soft serve. Oh yeah, Dairy Queen.

If you haven’t been to Oz Park yet, just follow Webster east, about to Halsted. Visit with the friends from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, or maybe get in on some wooden paddle and wiffle ball action. Lincoln Park holds plenty of restaurants, both new and fresh as well as tried and true. So food is easy to find around Oz Park. Just be sure you plan your adventure ahead, so you don’t make your own yellow brick road.

Affy Tapples for All!

Hello Friends,

I don’t use this blog to push many products or sell stuff, but this post is an exception. With that clear, I won’t be offended if you back out right now.

The girls sell a lot of stuff as fundraising for St. Viator School and I think you all might be interested in some of these things. For example, around February we will sell Girl Scout Cookies. I had so many, “Why didn’t you tell me” comments last year that I am going to advertise hard this year. Today’s post is about another such tasty item.

Yes friends, it’s Taffy Apple sales time. I feel like you can’t make it through childhood in the Chicagoland area without eating Taffy Apples at some point.

This time the sales benefit the St. Viator Elementary School Halloween Party. This annual event is a fun, costumed, music and food celebration. It’s another chance for the kids to dress up witb plenty of space to run and dance around. I’ll be posting more information about the party and the St. Viator Haunted House as we roll into October.

So that’s the pitch, at least from my end. I think Affy Tapples sell themselves – you either love ’em or not. If you’re interested then contact me directly. Don’t have my number? Drop me an email message at dadsdiaperdetour@gmail.com and we’ll work out an order.

Alright then, friends, think it over and let me know before September 26th. And remember, make it a great day! We’ll see you out there.

Good Time for a Rainbow

Hello Friends,

Summer is winding down, but we are still squeezing in some adventures. This trip to the Southside was Wife’s idea. And it was perfect for…

ice cream from The Original Rainbow Cone! It’s been at least three years since I posted about this Chicago gem. But the multi-scoop ice cream treat is still uniquely delicious.

I say “uniquely” delicious because I would never expect these flavors to taste so good together. Strawberry and pistachio are not my go-to flavors in general, but they fit right into this party.

After a quick discernment I went with a small. Yeah, that’s a small. Isn’t it funny how the ice cream is more of a wedge than a scoop? Pure logistics.

They do have a kid’s size, which was a perfect option for the girls. I still had to help them finish though, good thing for that small!

The Original Rainbown Cone is open until October, so go get one! There’s still time – we may just have to make another trip!

Picture Day! (2018)

Hello Friends,

Today is in fact picture day at St. Viator School. I think this mat be my most favorite day of the year. I love seeing the kids, particularly my own, all dressed up.

Wife picked up outfits for the girls and they were beyond excited. They also loved having Wife fuss over them and style their hair (we’ll see how that held up to a day of school). I got to walk them to school though, so everything is all right.

I hope the day is going well for you all out there. Remember to share those school pics as they come in!

Happy, Hot, Monday!

Hello Friends,

Full disclosure – only half of this title is true. It is hot and humid here, typical Chicago late August weather. I remember sitting in classes at university just sweltering in the historical, not-modernized (read: not air conditioned), classrooms. And speaking of classes…

Yeah, neither girl wanted to get up for school today. It took a solid twenty minutes of rousing to just get them dressed. Things moved along, slowly but surely, until we got to the door. There Cricket flatly announced, “I’m not going to school.”

She did go, but she refused to get in the photo. And Sweetie? Despite the smile, she is not happy. The school recommended gym uniforms for all students due to the heat index. She wanted to wear her usual – polyester jumper over her uniform shirt (with undershirt). This warm weather option was the compromise. And when we rolled up to the sea of navy blue gym uniforms? “I wish we could go home and change into my gym uniform.” Ah heck.

Despite the heat and the sluggish start the girls are good. Wife is out of town unt late Wednesday, and they are not pleased about that. But we all promised to be good to each other the next couple of days, so things should be just fine. And so we roll into school week 2! I hope you are staying cool out there friends. As I tell the girls – make it a good day!