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Monday, January 30, 2012

Updated: I love riding public transportation!

And now that the days are longer, I get a little sunset action on my ride home.

Editor's (Lisa's) note @ 9:15 p.m.

Sorry for the inconsequential blog post about loving public transportation but I was testing my new Blogger App on my Android to see if I could blog while commuting. Looks I can and thank you for understanding.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My dudes just wanna dance and other thoughts on apartment living and greelighting the Wii

Our family didn’t have a television for several years and the only thing we missed was the Olympics and I tell you this because much like we kept television at bay, we had kept video games at bay until recently. Also we used to live in a house in El Paso, TX, that was more than 1600 sq ft and now we live in a 1300 sq ft apartment in Evanston, IL. 2012 is going to be very different from 2011 on all kinds of levels, back to the topic at hand.

My parents offered the Wii as Christmas presents to both my sister’s family and my family as holiday gifts for our children (mine are 10 and 6) and my husband and I set about debating whether we would we accept the gift. We polled lots of friends and got mixed reviews;

Response: “The Wii accounts for 90% of the arguments in our house, I would say ‘no thanks’!”
My Point of View: My children aren’t allowed to argue about anything for more than :45 seconds so we wouldn’t have to worry about that.

Response: “We love it, especially on freezing winter days when it’s too cold to walk to the library.”
My POV: If we moved to a place where it’s actually is too cold to walk six blocks in the winter, we should leave immediately.

Response: “Hell no, don’t do it! My kids don’t watch TV and are never allowed to have video games in the house!”
My POV: Like the Spanish introduce wine to children, we want to introduce video games and wine to our children responsibly, set limits so they don’t turn into drunken video game junkies in college when they finally move out of our house. (I’ll expand on the wine part in a later post.)

We finally said yes to the Wii and my parents were thrilled to gift it. My parents live in California and are very worried for our boys living in an apartment during a Chicago winter and thought the Wii would be a fantastic physical outlet. Of course the boys were crazy excited to open a gift they had put on their Christmas list for more than two years in a row!

Here are the Wii rules we set;
1. No Wii Monday thru Thursday, really no electronics on school nights.
2. 30 minutes of Wii on Friday, Saturday and Sunday if playing sports or Mario Bros.
3. Unlimited “Just Dance” Wii access Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

When I mentioned rule #3 my boys were so excited they couldn’t believe it, but I didn’t think they’d take me up on it more than once or twice because they are boys, why would they want to dance all weekend? Oh how happy I was to be wrong about this one.

Dancing has become a major weekend activity in our house. You can make the argument that the Wii promotes poor dance moves and bad music like Katie Perry (sic) and a number of other legitimate gripes, but I’ve got two boys who love to dance now and that brings our home and my heart great joy.

I remember growing up around boys who would rather eat glass than dance don’t you? And even though my boys were spending time dancing in our apartment, I didn’t think they’d dance in front of girls. Awesome surprise #2! Our boys love dancing so much the older one chose to host a dance party for his 10th birthday and on a recent Friday night we spent the night dancing in the Duffy’s apartment (our upstairs neighbors and new friends) with their three daughters ages 6, 9 and 12.

Maybe we’ll expand pizza movie night into Pizza Dance Party Night as long as we have an apartment building full of children willing to dance the night away!

As I post this I fully realize that we are five years late to this party and that most of the planet has been dancing to the Wii for years. Thanks for the memo.


Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events, summer camps that you can recommend? Send me an email at and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happiness Project Rule #1: Schedule Time for Play

One day while sitting on the lawn at Dewey waiting to pick up my children from school, I overheard a very tall mom talking to a friend about an upcoming basketball game. If there is one thing that makes me listen up, besides discussions about food, it's discussions about pick-up basketball. Lori, the very tall mom I mentioned, was kind enough to answer my barrage of questions and invite me to play bball with the ladies on the third Thursday of every month.

This development in my life so early into my Evanston experience was a major victory in that it covered several of my glaring needs all at once; the need to make new friends, the need to exercise even if just once a month and the need to play with others!

Pictured here are just some of the ladies I meet with once a month to play at a church gym on Chicago Ave. There is a huge range in our abilities both as basketball players and athletes. For instance my face is purple by the end of the game (which is only 45 minutes) because my cardio situation sucks, but I'm a really strong ball handler so it evens least I think so. Our games are always fast, fair and fun and we play to 10 points, two games in a row.

If you want to start playing with us, send an email to and I'll put you in touch with our team captain Kathy who runs the show.


Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events, summer camps that you can recommend? Send me an email at and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mom, I've lived in 5 houses and I'm only 10. Isn't that a bit much? -Older Son

One of the most complex issues that has surfaced surrounding our move from El Paso, TX, to Evanston, IL, was how to justify the move to our children. We didn't need to move, we wanted to move. In fact I wanted to move, just like when I wanted to move from San Diego, CA, to New York, NY, and from Brooklyn, NY, to Durango, CO. Telling children that you want to walk away from comfort, a good job, awesome friends, a lovely home, etc., is illogical.

My good friend Maura tells me to talk to the boys about the move, explain to them the benefits but both boys look at me with blank faces when I wax poetic about public transportation and many different languages being spoken on a city block.

What my children want and what my husband and I want is rarely the same thing and this move was not something they wanted, but they went along with it and only now, six months later, do I hear grumbling like in the title of this post.

But as always, and their therapist can hear all about it later, this move was about my marriage, my future and ME and I had a hunch it would benefit all that plus my children. Six months into it, I feel incredibly vindicated as both my husband and I are working at jobs we love, our children are attending one of the best public schools in Illinois (Go Dewey!) and lots of friends and neighbors have opened their hearts and homes to us without doing a background check. (Phew)

So as I look at my son as he awaits a good response to "Mom, I've lived in 5 houses and I'm only 10. Isn't that a bit much?" I can't help but just stare back at him in silence, pondering how well this will prepare him as he moves to a new middle school and moves to a far away university and moves to a far away country to follow his love after college. He'll be ready and happy to move and change because his parents taught him at the young age of 10 that moving is growing and like William Butler Yeats said “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”


Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Free Concert: Brotherhood Chorale

Sunday, January 15 at 5 pm
Nichols Concert Hall
1490 Chicago Avenue | Evanston, IL
Tickets: Admission is free!
All contributions benefit the William Warfield Endowed Scholarship Fund
Questions? Contact the box office at 847.905.1500, ext. 108
This concert is generously sponsored by Schaefer's Wines, Foods and Spirits.

The Music Institute of Chicago honors the extraordinary legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. at its eighth annual celebration of the legendary civic leader, featuring the renowned Brotherhood Chorale of the Apostolic Church of God. The 180-member male choral group, led by conductor Brian C. Rice, will again perform an electrifying program of repertoire offering traditional and contemporary gospel and jazz arrangements.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Evanston Events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From Bill Geiger at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston:

Dear McGaw YMCA Members and Friends,

This Monday, we honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Evanston Community is organizing a variety of events over the coming days, and in I would like to issue a personal invitation to two events in particular that will be taking place at the McGaw YMCA.

On Monday, January 16th, from 8:00am-9:00am, facilitators from the YWCA of Evanston will conduct a discussion around the topic "What Do MLK's Words Say to Us Today?" here at the McGaw YMCA in the Chinnock Lounge. We very much hope you will be able to join us. Light refreshments will be provided.

Later that day, Y.O.U.'s 6th Annual Diverse Evanston Walks United event will kick off at 11:00am, at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., with a variety of performances, and remarks by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. At 1:00pm, there will be a march from there to the McGaw YMCA for a panel discussion, 1:30pm-3:00pm on the topic of healthy relationships in our community. Again, I hope you will be able to participate.

Please click here for a full list of all the events taking place to honor Dr. King, and I look foward to seeing you at these events.


Bill Geiger
President / CEO

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best Birthday Present EVER? The Evanston Wallet.

Our oldest child recently turned 10 and for weeks we wracked our brains trying to come up with a unique, special and awesome gift. We set our budget at $100 to match the significance of turning 10 and thought and thought and thought...

Then my husband suggested we do an Evanston-themed birthday gift. No he does not consult for this blog and no I'm not pretending it was his idea when it was really mine. As many of my friends know, I am the first person to take credit for an idea that is not mine, but that's not the case this time.

We made a list of 10 stores and restaurants in Evanston that our son A. had been to before, B. showed an interest in and C. that he could walk to. Then my husband spent several weeks going to each store and purchasing a $10 gift certificate. To wrap all the different-sized and shaped certificates we made a huge wallet out of a manila envelope, put each certificate in a numbered envelope and voila!

In the lead up to his birthday our son asked for all kinds of clues about his present. Tips on clues; the present starts as one thing but turns into many other things like Legos, it's a gift that keeps on giving, you'll have to work to really use the present. Basically we tortured him with clues that led him nowhere.

I'll be sure to post some images of the purchases that get made with the gift certificates to help you out when creating your Evanston wallet for that special someone.

Some of the stores that made the list for our son; Dave's Rock Shop, Toys Ectera, Cinemark, Andy's Custard, Red Mango, SeaRanch Sushi.


Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni