Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sky Zone Trampoline Park Hi-Jinks!

Since Aiden spends 90% of his time jumping on the couch
I thought we'd make a trip to Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

It appears all that living room training paid off!

Chicago's "The New Bryn Mawr" Theatre. Moviegoing in the 80s!

In 1980, my sister Annie and I moved to the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago at 3123 N. Lakewood (the house is now an historical landmark of course), and just a few blocks away under the Bryn Mawr El was our weekly ‘go-to’, the New Bryn Mawr Theatre. It opened in 1912 as the Bryn Mawr, and in the 60s added the ‘New’ to it’s monicker. Every Friday we’d deeply inhale with anticipation for the marque to announce the newest double feature of 2nd (or 3rd and 4th) run movies. And the best part? Just 90 cents admission! So Saturday or Sunday, we’d stroll over, plunk down our change and enjoyably kill a few hours. This was so ‘back in the day’ that they’d even program short subjects to go with the features. I wish I had taken more pictures back then (I have a few of the outside and a couple of the lobby) or even gotten a part time job as an excuse to document everything of this slice of Chicago movie history. While googling, I came across a comment from ‘Kellylo’ at
, “I worked at the Bryn Mawr theater from 1975 until 1980. Mr. Praught was the manager, and the projectionist was named Maurey. It was owned by the Balaban Brothers. The AMAZING thing about this theater was behind the curtain. Back in the day, it was an old vaudeville theater. There were all kinds of old props in the caverns behind the screen. Thousands of old posters rolled up and in little cubbies. We used to go back there all the time.”
Arrggh! I’m still kicking myself! 
While you’re in the middle of it you don’t often think that something will one day be gone, and you’ll look back with fond nostalgia over what was.
But we did do the most important part, taking it all in while we were there.
A few years later it briefly became the ‘Gar Wah Theatre’ after we had stopped going, and then closed in ’88 to become a Dunkin' Donuts.
What can you do?
On a side note, speaking of food, two doors down from the theatre was “Hellas Gyros’ where we’d often stop before or after for a delicious meal. The gentleman who made our sandwiches (pictured in the photos below- really) was obviously sweet on my sister as he made doe eyes at her whenever we entered, and her gyros always seemed to be 50% larger and the fries stacked twice as high as my order. But Annie broke yet another heart and married a New Yorker. I guess Chicagoans aren’t good enough for some people!
Going to the movies has never been as sweet as it was in the 80s.
Maybe it was the company. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Pizza Night!

The birthday week celebration continues for Anne O'Connell Polini
with 'Pizza Night', a dinner that includes one of the happiest days of my life.
A tradition from when Annie and I were wee teens was homemade pizza night with Mom. We’d gather together Saturday night, put all the ingredients together perfectly (or close enough), smell it cooking, set out the plates then race in front of our portable 18” color television to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show (except when I insisted on “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park’ one night). We’d also have a bowl as big as a medium sized above ground pool of Mom made salad to keep us “healthy’.
Maybe I should start thinking of that ‘healthy’ thing for my kids too.
Annie and I continued the fun when we moved to Chicago in ’79/’80 to stay with Dad, she to attend high school and me off to the The School of the Art Institute. This time, instead of TV, we’d trek in the afternoon to the local video store, painstakingly going through all the giant clamshell ‘be kind please rewind’ rentals to make sure we had the perfect double feature (that night it was a thriller ’The Eyes of Laura Mars' and a comedy whose name escapes me). Back at home it was time to roll out the dough, slice the mozzarella, cut the pepperoni and start baking. A half hour later, everything was cooked to perfection and ready for another blissful pizza night.
That is, until I put the tape in the VCR and ...NOTHING!
Static filled the screen. Frantic moans and hair pulling ensued. After pushing at every button on the front and back of the tv, I finally stumbled upon changing the channel from 3 to 4 which was the one that got the VCR feed. The 'FBI Warning', as if by God’s hand, appeared! Unbridled joy burst throughout the room. Annie and I jumped up and down for 10 minutes. Well, at least I jumped up and down for 10 minutes, and since I had a good grip on my sisters arms, she was was stuck doing the celebratory dance too.
I was a little surprised about how happy I was. I think after the birth of my 3 children, this has a pretty good hold on 4th place.
I guess I like Pizza Night!
And I want you to be just as happy too, so here’s the recipe, hand written by my little sister!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Weight Loss Made Easy! Top 10 Strange Vintage Ads!

Workout Fun!
After Aiden came into the world (my now 3 year old), I found all that my activities beyond watching him and earning a living fell by the wayside. TV, reading, playing drums (poorly), staring off in space and today’s topic, exercising, ended. So after a couple years of that inactivity I had become a big doughy mess. All my clothes bought at my lean and mean days now just hung unworn in the closet. My go-to fashion were Elvis stretchy sweats. I added a ‘do not resuscitate’ addendum in my will if any medical procedure involved taking off my shirt.
So last winter I waddled over to Planet Fitness. After I drop Aiden off at school (day care) at 10am, I zip over and put in an hour, 5 days a week (mostly) just working my way through all the equipment. I’ve heard that for best body sculpting results, you should also curtail my three favorite food groups, wine, cheese and bread, but that’s WAY too much effort.
Planet Fitness is for anyone, be you an average shlep, or even a sexy internationally famous artist.  It sometimes resembles the waiting benches of a Greyhound bus stop full of sleepy ticket holders or as if all the chairs at Starbucks were full and the equipment seats are set up for business. This is not the place for models in spandex jumping around in unison checking their heart rate. This is folks sweating through business suits, completely covered in a Hijab or actually getting around in wheelchairs. Highlights include one woman who is as tall as she is wide whose clothing all ends in beaded tassels dancing to a funk filled song in her head from equipment to equipment, yet never actually using them. Just lands, gyrates, and flutters like a butterfly to the next one.
Another gentlemen has a jar of urine (it could be a beverage), n
otebook and his lunch. Like a praying Mantis he positions himself on top of equipment in ways you never imagined, then flays about as if an alien mating with what he believes are our species. After climaxing (or simply finished) rolls over exhausted to write copious notes.
There’s even some guy who carries on as if he’s giving birth to a 30lb turkey every-time he lifts a weight.
Oh, that’s me.
The non-moving ones are possibly resting between reps, or sleeping, or dead (I’ll let the staff figure it out).
And God Bless all of them! At least they made the effort to get there.
After an hour I feel so pumped up that I’m sure I have Popeye arms, but I avoid looking in the mirror to see the reality of Olive Oyl muscles.
This hasn’t resulted in a Charles Atlas physique, it’s more of a ’think how much worse it could be'. I never really want to drag my ass there, but it’s worth the effort to be happy the rest of the day.
If it goes well, maybe next December I’ll post another nude selfie by the Christmas tree.
Keep your finger’s crossed!

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Visit to the Barbershop!

His first real haircut.
I’ve been enjoying my almost year long hair experiment with Aiden. His locks have remained untouched to see if that ‘li feller hairstyle would evolve into a Richard Simmons, a George Harrison or a Cousin It. Instead, it kinda became a tousled tumbleweed of confusion that generated responses from, “She’s so adorable” to the head shakes that seemed to express that a male parent just dosen't understand how to groom a child. In addition, my much wiser sister started to helpfully email lists of ‘fun’ local places for kid’s styling.
So just to fine tune the mop of mayhem, we went to the only Barber Shop I personally would be going to if God hadn’t taken back my beautiful strawberry blonde curls,
Pete’s Barber Shop.
Knowing that my youngest son likes to shriek at every step of the process of hair washing, drying and combing, I promised a Happy Meal if he behaved. And he was a little gentleman the whole time. It helps that Pete’s is an arrested development feast for the eyes with colorful toys, posters and knick-knacks overflowing from every corner, so Aiden felt right at home. Many ‘thank-you’s” followed by polite “I’m done now”
began as soon as he sat in the chair.
Scissor Superstar Johnny Lopez didn’t get to go too artistic since I was only going for a ‘clean-up’ (the Elvis ducktail and sideburns will have to wait ’til next time) but at least now I won’t have concerned neighbors alerting the DCFS.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's Sexy Time! Naughty NSFW Watches from the Past!

As I was looking for the 70s novelty “It’s Time to Fuck” watch on ebay (from that bygone era when you could be risqué and humorously offensive without jail time), I came across these naughty automation timekeepers from the 1800s.
As they’re over $200ea, I’ll just stick to looking at my phone (or in a pinch, the sun, and winging it), but they’re very amusing in a Tijuana Bible 8-Pager kinda way.
And, along with the full color making whoopee scene, when fully wound, that pesky penis moves up and down with each tick tock the watch makes. So it’s seems Wee Willy is good for more than just getting it’s owner in trouble.
It might make you late for a very important date, but take a second and enjoy this glimpse from a forgotten non-PC world.