Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good Bye 2014 and Flowers

It is the last hour of the last day of 2014.  I've had a very hard time keeping up with these two blogs and in fact would have had trouble keeping up with one.

I completely failed to learn Greek in the last three months.  This is what's kept me from writing.  I have been studying at least a half hour a day the last three months and have learned some, but I did not study the 90 minutes to two hours a day and most importantly I did not practice live with someone.

The need is still there.  I still need to learn Greek, and fast.  I do have other responsibilities and goals, so now what I'm going to do is let this blog stop right here.  I will no longer post on this blog at all.  I will make any posts on Illini6 only.  I will push up my Greek studies to a minimum of one hour a day and I must find someone to practice with at least once a week.  I can't do anything until that's done.

Goals for 2015 include getting a different job, loosing 20 lbs (in order to keep healthy and in my current size pants), enrolling in grad school and finishing the "Hate to Say I Told You So" story on Illini6.  I'm not yet sure how these goals will all fit together, but those are what I have.

We had a few exciting things happen in 2014.

  • EHL turned 18 and got her first tattoo.
  • We went to our first Brazilian steak house
  • EHL graduated from high school and started college.
  • SEL went to two week Girl Scout camp for high ropes
  • SEL applied for and made it into Extension Arts
  • SEL helped me take CML back to school in Boston and 
    • got to see Boston for the first time
    • saw the ocean for the first time
    • flew in a plane for the first time
  • CML started her final year of college as an RA
  • CML started playing Rugby
  • I played my first Rugby game with GJL
  • We saw the All Blacks vs USA Eagles in Soldier Field
  • MAL and I went to a Wolves game
  • MAL continued to get awards at work
  • MAL traveled to many foreign countries:  UK, Italy, and Kansas
  • CML saw her first ballet
  • We all visited a pet shelter to view the dogs
  • GAK family visited from AZ for Christmas

Monday, December 1, 2014

Καλό Μηνά Christmas Season

Everybody is back at school.  We all had a lovely week of visiting for Thanksgiving.  We went to Oak Lawn on the day itself, and Chicago on Saturday for brunch.

On Wednesday we went down to Da Loop to look at lights and take pictures for our Christmas card.  I don't know if we got any that were good enough, but we'll try to make do.

Tuesday was the Mrs.'s 50th and she got a lot of nice greetings.  She got some lovely cards, a nice dinner at Morgan's, a fruit bouquet, a cupcake cake, a promise of cleaning ladies, and tickets to a Wolves game in December.

I grew a mustache for November, but as far as I can tell no one donated money in my name.  I'm going to keep it until the end of the week.  I'm still hoping for it to really come in.

I'm afraid I'm not nearly as far along in my Greek as I had hoped to be.  I think a lot of that has to do with my not having found a daily language partner.  What I need (what is recommended) is someone who will treat me like a parent treats a two year old.  We all know two year olds who talk but no one can understand them besides their parents.  Instead of correcting a child who calls a theater a, "peuter" they say, "Yes, we can go to the theater and see Frozen again" (turns out that child thought that movie screens were giant computer monitors and was trying to say "computer" but we knew what she meant).

I am much further along than I've ever been, and I still have a month.  I'm going to have to redouble my efforts, and the Mrs has promised to help (though her patience wears thin quickly).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Justice, The Universe and Cheese

The Doctor, Superboy,
and a Bears fan
making the ultimate sacrifice for charity
They outlawed costumes for Halloween at work.  Three rebels bucked the system to fight for justice, the universe and cheese!

I'm going to participate in Movember this Movember by growing a mustache.  The lovely Mrs. doesn't like me in a mustache so you know she is making a supreme sacrifice.

She does like the rugged scruffy look so I'm going to mix the two.

I'm going to use the above picture for my before and hopefully my after will look like this:

However, I should take heed of Borimir's words:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cthulhu Can't Play Rugby Either

In the waning minutes before the witching hour of Halloween I'm going to make one final Cthulhu post here on Flowers.

Next year I'm going to keep the Cthulhu in Illini6, but for now, here you go:

And for the warm and cuddly readers who want to know why I'm going back to Illini6:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Problems With Knowledge

I had a problem with posting what I wanted to in my last post.  It was most likely most confusing, however, that is only to be expected.

The human mind was not meant to know, to understand everything.  That is the only way we can survive.

I'm going to make another attempt to fix that image.  If I can't it will be because of something H.P. Lovecraft wrote a very long time ago.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Still Studying

I'm still studying Greek frantically.  I haven't yet gotten a language partner, but every day I do my studying and I'm getting better inch by inch.

Somebody please reassure me that this is not - knowledge that must not be known.

Monday, October 20, 2014


There is such a thing as plush Cthulhu.  I know it is strange, it is madness, but hey, that's what Cthulhu is all about.

I think EHL could have used on because she isn't feeling well.  We brought her home this weekend and she spent most of Sunday getting some much needed sleep.

I don't think she would have slept as well if she had seen this, sort of bed time story.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Have You Been to Papa Stories Lately?

Today's Cthulhu post reminded me of all the cool stories over at Papa Stories.  There are some great campfire stories over there as well.

I'm going to be posting a horsey story and a story without an end.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Travel, Goal and Answer!

MAL went to Europe last week.  Don't worry, she didn't go by boat.
Still from HPLHS's "Call of Cthulhu" off the site: Oh No Cthulhu
The answer to the last post is the fourth pen.  Lovecraft chose the most plain.  I guess he figured the more men know the worse it would be, and the more you see the worse off you are.

Anywho, I've been doing fairly well with my Greek studies.  I asked MAL how I was doing and if she noticed a difference between my efforts before and my efforts now.  She hadn't even noticed earlier efforts (except of course, when I was actually taking classes).

I've even gotten myself a Greek pen pal and a Greek facebook friend who want to help.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dizzy and Nauseous

I haven't been feeling well the last two days.  I woke up dizzy and stayed nauseous all day.  Normally this might be fodder for writing horror, but I've got to be over it before I can use it.

Here's something Lovecraftian for you today.

Since I'm into fountain pens now I wondered what pen Mr. Lovecraft would have used circa 1900 - 1930s.

I found some information that indicates it might be one of these below.  I'll let you know which one tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2014

You Are Cthulhu's Play Thing!

Do you remember when Woody tried to explain that he wasn't a REAL Space Ranger?

This is a quote from H.P. Lovecraft's story, "Call of Cthulhu."

Look it up and read it.  It's free.

Or is it?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Not Nice to Fool Cthulhu

This one reminds me of a story I wrote that involves Global Climate Change:  "Northern Faerie Ring".

If you want to hear a cool British guy read the story go here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Αργά Aλλά Kαλό Mήνα - Better Late than Never?

I have a dilemma.
I don't even like fishing, but what is cutting bait?
I have things that I would have shared on Illini6 before, things like pens and hobbies and Rugby and pen pals and philosophy, especially thoughts and philosophies.  Originally this site was to share the goings on of the actual Flowers of Mundelein.

Should I share thoughts, theories and philosophies here?  Will that overshadow the intent of sharing family highlights?

While I think things like my writing thoughts and ideas belong on Illini6, they sort of break up the flow I've established of providing story parts.  For the past several years I've posted an image a day related to H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu.  Should I post them on Illini6?  They seem wildly inappropriate for this blog.

I think I have decided.  And I thank you for helping me.

I'm going to put all that stuff here.  Illini6 is only going to be for writing things: stories, story ideas, submissions, acceptances etc.

In honor of that here is your first ever, Flowers of Mundelein Cthulhu Month image:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Goal - Eνα Υκολ!

Clear the Decks!

I have decided that I have but one goal this year.  There is one thing I must do and in order to do it I must forsake all other goals.  There really is no other way around it.  The only way I can make the time is to drop every other goal and mostly the other things I'm doing.

Writing will have to take a back seat.

I have to keep up my exercise program because of health needs, but it is really not that time consuming and in a way it helps.  The exercise program is 90 days and I'm going to make my One Goal - Ενα Υκολ for 90 days.

In the past I've done NaNoWriMo in November.  This requires me to write for two hours a day, every day in November.  I'm going to take that (and I know I can do it because I have) and spend two hours everyday in the last three months of this year only speaking/writing Greek.

I've got a lot to do so I'd better get steaming!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Kαλό Μήνα - Goals Bad, Pens Good

Baoer courtesy of
I'm not doing well with my goals at all.  I've been terribly busy and overwhelmed by events.

To recap, my goals are to learn Greek and to get my NaNoWriMo novel published.  I have done nothing with my novel, The Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods.

I have been practicing my Greek, but nothing formal.

On the plus side, everybody is healthy.

I finally committed and bought ink for the fountain pen I bought at Christmas time.  I've been using my Lamy Al-Star, but that takes cartridges.  I've been wanting to try samples of bottled ink.  I got a six pack sampler of bright blue from Goulet Pens and one called 54th Massachusetts.  The ink is very nice and they came with a lovely handwritten note from the staff.

We are going to be very busy this month.  CHL and EHL will be starting school on the same day in Boston and Chicago (two cities that need no state to introduce them).  SEL is starting school the very same week.  It is going to be a fantastic juggling trick.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 14 Review

Here's a quick recap of what's been happening since last post.

CML has been home and taking two classes in UIC so that she can graduate BU at the end of next year.

SEL, CML and I went with the CS troop to downtown Chicago on a Chocolate Tour that was very yummy.

SEL finished 7th grade.

Last week for three days MAL took CML and SEL downtown.  While MAL was at a work conference the children had the run of the Magnificent Mile.

As far as my goals.  I've been studying my Greek, but making little progress.  I have not had a lick of time to work on my book.

I'm going to try to at least make this sort of post at least once a week here, just to keep up to date.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Respectful Memorial Day

I don't want to wish a, "happy" Memorial Day since it is intended to be a day of respect, remembrance and honor for those fallen in our nation's defense as members of the armed forces.

It's been a a long time since I've posted here, and even longer since I've posted my goal progress or family matters.

CML is home from Boston.  EHL graduated from High School.  I mention these in chronological order.

MAL and I flew to Boston and drove back with our eldest on the weekend of the 10th.  It was fairly uneventful except that we had to stay overnight in her dorm and discovered a mattress that is even more painful than our own.  As an aside, MAL and I went on a sort of date to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 (least of several evils) and a dinner at the Bull and Finch (the "Cheers") pub. CML has been working there as a receptionist.

EHL graduated last weekend.  It was a grand affair in the Sears Center Arena in Hoffman Estates. Brazil Express Churrasco Grill in Schaumburg.  It was a small place in a strip mall but very good, and the service was excellent.  I would recommend it as just as good as Fogo de Chao in Chicago.  The Brazil Express will tell you it's cheaper, but I don't think by much.  Apparently now the restaurants of choice for Mundelein birthdays and events are Brazilian steakhouses.  I don't think we will completely abandon our old standbys of Bob Chin's Crab House or Tsukasa in Vernon Hills.
 Afterwards we had dinner at

As far as goals go, I've been behind in my writing because of lack of time.  It is a real lack of time and not a lack of priorities as I do not have enough actual, real time to do everything my family needs, exercise, work and get more than about 4 hours of sleep a night.  I'm really not sure how I'm going to get everything done, but something is going to have to suffer.  It is just a matter of what and how badly.

I have been studying Greek nearly every day, but it's not the kind of study that will get me forward very quickly.  I'm going to have to bite the bullet here and make some very big sacrifices as this is absolutely the highest priority.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Played Rugby Again

Last Saturday the Chicago Griffins Old Boys played the Chicago Lions Old Boys in a little match (I heard 30 minute halves, it could have been shorter).  I went out with EHL and met Mike, Garrett, Patrick and Amy there.

There was supposed to be unlimited substitutions, but we had no substitutes to sub in.  Garrett and I played the two Lock spots while Mike played at Prop.  We all played the whole game.

I had hurt my right calf on Thursday while helping coach the High School Rugby club so I was a bit slow.  I told them I couldn't sprint and they all laughed.  They wondered why this game would be any different.

We lost 5- 0, but this was the first time I got to play with Garrett.  It was a bunch of fun.
EHL's wearing my hoodie, off camera

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Are a Rugger Again!

Ready for a line-out (ask me about it)
With Mike in the number one position
Thanks to Mike McCormick and the Chicago Blue Rugby Club I got in a little more than a half of Rugby match last Saturday.

I was fairly sure I would be dragging around the pitch, barely able to keep up.  I thought I ran pretty well, though I shied away from some of the more reckless hits.

Lovely venue
I had at least one big tackle that was quite satisfying.  I carried the ball several times and provide good ball in the rucks every time.  I know at least one time, if not two or more I actually stole the ball in the tackle (legally).

I missed one big tackle, but that guy was really really big and fast.  I also should have fallen on the ball once and was too slow.  A back kicked it away.

I was fair in the scrums and lifted in the line-outs to some affect.  I think when I was in there was no drop in quality of our play.  I actually thought I got around the pitch very well and quickly.  We lost in the end, quite handily, but we did have a forward try while I was in.  Mike scored right in front of me.  Congrats to him.

I had a good time.  MAL and SEL came with me to Milwaukee, we saw Amy and I was invited to come back.  I am a very happy Rugger.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Polls, Princesses and Polyglots!

Princess Aniela Radziwill
Our last poll was about Disney Princesses.  Voting was split evenly between Cinderella, Merida and Elsa (with one each).  I think I forgot to vote.  I vote, Jasmine.

I hope this next poll gets a bit more action than the princesses did, so to speak.  I'm taking a different tack entirely.  How many of you out there speak any languages besides English?

If you are capable of having a light conversation with someone or at least ordering food entirely in that language it counts.  You don't have to be a UN translator, but just taking it in high school for two years probably doesn't count.

FYI, the photo is from a Princess Poll (or rather a Pole Princess as in Polish).  According to Arrayed in Gold, Princess Aniela Radziwill was born on 3 October 1781 in Vienna, the eldest daughter of prominent Polish-Lithuanian nobleman Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł and Helena Przeździecka.  I'll bet she was a polyglot.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Goal, Finally!

On the first of February this year I promised I would share my 2014 goals with you here.  I said they would be leaner and meaner, then I never came back and told you what they would be.

I'm going to rectify that right now.  I've decided that I have two goals this year.  The first is a writing goal and is being covered on Illini6.  I will get my latest novel, Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods published.

My only other goal will be to learn Greek.  I have to make all my leisure thoughts (I have no real leisure time) revolve around this and my writing goal.  This has to be my priority.

I have other things I want to get done; I have other things I have to get done; but these are my only two goals this year.

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Recorded / Reported and Time Restricted.

  • Specific:  I will be at the ILR Level 3 (Professional Working Proficiency – Can discuss a variety of topics with ease and almost completely understand what others are saying) in Modern Greek.
  • Measurable:  I will take a test (TBD) and pass
  • Achievable:  I can do this, other people have.  In fact I've being trying to follow the advice of several advocates who say you can become fluent in three months.
  • Recorded / Reported:  That's one of the reasons for the blog.
  • Time Restricted:  By the end of 2014.
One of the things that concerns me is I find it difficult to imagine it.  I can't really picture what it would be like to be fluent in any other language.  Maybe that's exactly the thing that is hanging me up.  Maybe whatever I picture is not my idea of fluent, so I fail even as I'm getting closer.

I feel if I make it a game I'll do better also.  I always feel like it's a test, a challenge, something to overcome, a destination to reach through a painful journey.  I need to learn to enjoy the journey.

This goal has been simmering for far too long.  I think it is a good indication of how crazy this year has been so far, that I haven't even been able to post my goal yet.  This is not my first time doing this, but this has been the least set in my mind.  I'm losing patients with myself.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kαλό Μήνα - There Is a Cow in Your Backyard

Quick, go look!  Seriously, it's by the barbecue.  Quick, quick!

That was my mom's favorite April Fools joke.  She played it on us a couple of times if I remember correctly.

What I didn't mean as an April Fools joke was making you all wait a whole month for a new post.

EHL is back from her Florida trip for spring break.  SEL stayed home and watched movies all the time.  She enjoyed her, "Sophie time" but she got bored by the end and missed her sister.  CML stopped by for a weekend on the end of her spring break and we had a nice, if short visit.

I'm at what I hope is an all time low for my fitness.  My weight is up, my cardio is down, my BP is slightly up, my triglycerides are up and my right elbow has a mysterious pain.  The good news is, I'm aware of it and I am in the very initial stages of an exercise regime.  Also, I know how to get back into shape.  Now it's just a matter of doing it.  I'm going to keep track of that here on this blog.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I also have most of a post finished with my goals for 2014.  I will post it this week.

Oh, later we will discuss the last poll and I'll put up a new one.  What would you guys like to vote on?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Καλό Μήνα, Λιοντάρι

Not Simba nor Nala
Happy new month, lion.

March is in like a lamb, out like a lion.  I've also heard, in like a lion, our like a lamb.  This is the lionest March 1st that I can remember.

Our last poll was what kind of Christmas tree do you have.  3 respondents said inorganic (aka artificial), 1 said organic (sometimes known as live even though it is cut down and dead) and 1 said other.  Since I also had a "None" choice I'm guessing the "Other" was a holy-gram or something else virtual.

My new post is based on something that one of my daughters pointed out to me, a video about the Disney Princesses.  I posted my opinion about the video, but here I thought I'd ask, in the name of my three Mundelein Princesses, who is your favorite Disney Princess?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!

I'm having a good Valentine's Day so far.  I bought Mrs. Prop a shrubbery.

Actually it was more of a potted plant, to show that our love is a living thing.

I also got her candy and made a card all in Greek that I left on the bed for her to wake to.

She suggested we get a Chicago Style Pizza and spend a romantic evening snuggling and watching a movie.

I don't know what movie yet (go to Illini6 for my discussion on manly romantic movies).

Hope you all have a very romantic or at least nice holiday.
Don't fight it

As you wish

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kαλό Μήνα, Gopher!

Okay, so it wasn't a gopher, it was a groundhog (at least the Bill Murray part was right), and I totally missed the first, and the second (which was actual Groundhog's Day).  Can you blame me though, I mean this weather, and the gopher, er groundhog says we have to have six more weeks, ugh!

I want to share with you a wrap up of my goals for 2013.  It is very late, but I've been having trouble getting my thoughts together about it, and I'm switching things up from Illini6.  Up until this year I always did my goals and New Year's Resolutions in Illini6, but this year if it isn't about writing and professional stuff it doesn't go there.

My goals for last year were discussed on Illini6 as I went along.  I went round and round, but I finalized them here.

Here is a recap, and how I did:

  1. P90X - I completed this.
  2. Learn Greek to level S2 or B1 - I failed
  3. Quarterly Dates - I failed utterly
  4. Get a New Job - Failed, but I am still employed at my current job
  5. Get Girl Scout Training - done
  6. Get Journey to Excellence Gold level for the Aptakisic District for which I'm District Commissioner - Silver
  7. Fortnightly Chicago History podcast - canceled
  8. Learn the Trees in my Neighborhood - canceled
  9. Participate in an Archaeology Activity - postponed
  10. Join a Club - canceled
I had realized I had bitten off more than I could or should chew about half way through the year so I canceled some things.  That was also about the time I learned that I would be going to Tanzania for a month.

You can see that I only actually accomplished two things on the list.  Of those, the P90X exercise program was a bitter win.  I often would have to take days off or heavily modify the exercises because of injuries (my joints are no longer capable of doing plyometric exercises at all).  In the end my right elbow still bothers me, and I feel like I'm less fit at this time than I was when I started the program last year.

On the plus side, I did get accepted to go to Tanzania and I spent a once in a life time month working there.  Also, I completed a novel in November.  I think Hidden Temple to the Lost Gods is my best effort so far.

So, that was 2013.  I feel in general it was a big disappointment.

I'll be back with 2014's goals.  They will be leaner, if not meaner; and I'll be wanting help from all of you to get them done.

Thanks ahead of time.

Monday, January 20, 2014

(Possibly) First Ever Flowers of Mundelein Poll!

Kicked to the curb
I don't remember ever doing a poll here before so this may be the very first.

We are struggling to get Christmas packed up here at our house (in fact that's what I should be doing rather than writing this blog post).

It got me to thinking, what kind of trees do ya'll use (I think, "Ya'll" is a perfectly good word to use that helps distinguish between you (singular) and you (plural) and I support its use, even north of the Mason Dixon line)?

You can answer in the poll over on the right column.  If you want to talk about it, you can add a comment to this lil' ole post (grr, I gots to talkin' in Southern n' I jus' kent stop muself).


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Χρόνα Πόλλα καί Καλό Μένα!

Happy New Year Everybody!  Happy First of the Month too!

I wanted to write about my goals for 2014.  I shared them in general on Illini6 but I want to keep that blog for professional items, writing in other words.  In this blog I want to keep the more personal stuff.

I think my goals for 2014 will be (in this order):

  1. Learn Greek
  2. Archaeology
  3. Writing - this belongs squarely in Illini6 and will be covered there.
  4. New Job
  5. Commissioner
These aren't written as goals, but I want to go over them and write them up as legitimate goals for the year.

In general learning Greek is pretty straightforward, but I'm going to set steps, milestones and specific measurable results that will define is more precisely.

What I mean about Archaeology is I have been wanting to keep Archaeology fresh in my mind.  My BA is in Anthropology and eventually I want to go back to school and get my PhD.  Archaeology is a discipline of Anthropology.  I had originally wanted to get my degree in Marine Archaeology, with a big dive watch, awesome tan, diving on sites off the Greek islands.

I think I may have to modify that just a little bit, but I do want to stay involved and informed on the subject.

New Job is a pretty clear goal, or so it would seem so.  Again I need to set up steps, milestones and specify exactly what I mean by it (different vs new).

Commissioner really doesn't have a meaning by itself.  I am currently the District Commissioner for our local Boy Scout District (Aptakisic District of Northeastern Illinois Council).  Last year I had a goal to have our District earn a Gold level in Journey to Excellence.  We didn't make it.  I need to set goals for myself in this role of my life.  Should I carry forward my goal from last year or make a new goal?

I'm going to take the next couple of days to review and chew of these until I get my goals for 2014.

I'm also going to review what I did with my 2013 goals.  My initial feeling is that it wasn't a successful year, but I may need to take a closer look to see what positive things I have from last year, and if they outweigh the negative.