Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Moms Demand Gun Sense Action

Niles Village board votes on gun shop and gun range near schools
This post is not affiliated in any direct way with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. However, if you are concerned about the amount of gun violence in our society, school safety as it relates to gun violence, or the number of people walking around with weapons, concealed or otherwise, it's an excellent organization to join or at least follow on Facebook

Last night I attended a village board meeting in Niles at which they planned to discuss a potential gun shop and gun range in an industrial area, an industrial area that also houses family-friendly attractions including one of those trampoline spots, a volleyball facility that hosts youth teams, and an alternative school. In fact, the proposed facility would be just 1,000 feet from the school, which serves kids 11-21 years old who "withdraw socially and emotionally, have difficulty with social skills, and have difficulty fitting in."

The proposed facility would also be within "walking distance" of three other schools.

Any red flags for you or is it just me?

The room was packed with folks on both sides of the issue, but before anybody got a word in. The village trustees voted to send the issue back to the zoning board for further discussion. Apparently when the issue came up at the previous zoning meeting few, if any, citizens showed up to share their concerns. (Related note: few, if any, citizens were aware of the zoning commission meetings.)

Once the discussion was tabled, the trustees allowed a few minutes for the room to empty out and I left with a friend. My friends who stayed reported that those who remained were allowed to air their concerns at the end of the meeting.

Although the discussion is just getting started, I want to share a few observations. Observations, not interpretations, which means I'm sticking to the facts.

It's very difficult to have a constructive dialogue about gun control. Emotions run high on both sides of the discussion. When I saw a notice posted about last night's meeting on Facebook, one person asked if there was data to validate safety concerns about having a gun shop/range within a certain distance of the high school. That person was then verbally attacked. (Note: this is a problem relating to other sensitive topics, too. When did looking to science and data become a bad thing?) People on both sides of the issue have a tendency to abandon arguments of logic and resort to naming-calling. They look at people on the opposite side of the issue as "others" rather attempt to understand them or find common ground. (Which is one of the reasons I'm game to going to a shooting range one day.)

Moms really do demand gun sense action. Based on the people who expressed a clear opinion without using their voices--like those holding "vote yes" signs or those wearing green ribbons (a nod to Sandy Hook and the need for gun control), the moms/women want gun sense and men want their local gun shop/range. This is not to say there was a strict gender line, but there was an apparent one. I've observed this before.

Smokers in this group favor the gun shop. As people left the non-meeting, small crowds gathered outside the building. To reach the parking lot, I had to pass next to the group of smokers at the bottom of the stairs outside the building, "vote yes" signs tucked under their arms as toxic secondhand smoke lingered in the air around them.

The traditional news media was out in full force last night and imagine in the coming weeks this issue will blow up on both sides. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and I mentioned above that there are 4 schools within walking distance of the proposed shop, including that one just 1,000 feet away. I also have regional concerns. According to Tracing the Guns: The Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago, four gun shops in the Chicago suburbs account for 20% of the guns used in crimes in the city. All of these suburbs are adjacent to Chicago, as is Niles.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Join Me This Morning at the Farmer's Market!

Join me this morning at the Morton Grove Farmer's Market for STEM fun with The Maker Mom and friends. Click for details--there will be giveaways!

Next week is the big pie contest, so if you're a pie maker or pie eater, you'll want to come by. Last year I entered my first contest ever. It was fun. I made my first pie sometime in my late 30s and have only made a handful since.

The market requires entrants to make two piece- one for the judges to view and taste and another that will be sliced up and sold to benefit the local food pantry. I planned to buy my whole pie to bring home for dessert, but much to my surprise a man purchased it before I had the chance to. I was a bit miffed, but also quite flattered.

Not only did I learn that I make an attractive and tasty pie, but I can now offer up the following #ProTip. Use disposable pie tins when entering a pie contest.


I doubt my pie will win this year. Indeed, I'm going to make a "cricket crust." Yeah, that's what it sounds like. If we're connected on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen pics of my "chocolate chirp" cookies featuring cricket flour. The thing is, you only substitute about 1/6 or so of the wheat flour for cricket flour, so it's no biggie. You don't even taste it, really.

In other local news, my niece and I collected tadpoles last week in the spirit of the 1970s summers that everyone seems to be raving about online. Of the four we brought home, one developed into a cute little frog (toad?), but the other three are showing developmental abnormalities. That's a nice way of saying each has a missing or incomplete limb. Disconcerting, no? I'm going to post about this on The Maker Mom blog next week, so stay tuned.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Capannari's: One of Chicago's Top Ice Cream Shops

Late last year I walked away from a Chicagonista blogger event with truly sweet swag that included a $20 gift card to Mount Prospect's famed Capannari's ice cream. Back then the ice cream shop was closed for the season, which was a good call on management's part. Who wants ice cream during one of Chicago's worst winters ever?

This past hot and sunny weekend when sifting through my stash of gift cards and (expired) coupons. I came across the Capannari's card. And then I found another one!

Yesterday around brunchtime, I quickly emailed a hyperlocal group of friends inviting them for a spontaneous mom's night out, my treat.

Lessons learned:

  • Not all of my friends check their email often enough to respond to an event that is just hours away from occurring.
  • My friends are generally not a spontaneous lot.
In the end only three of us went for ice cream, so I treated everyone to a take-home pint as well as a scoop. Had I known just how sweet, creamy, and desirable Capannari's ice cream is, I might have been a bit less generous.

Kidding. I was glad to share my bounty. Plus Capannari's is far enough away that a return trip would only happen with some thought. Our typical ice cream splurge brings us to the nearby Chocolate Shoppe (or maybe Village Creamery or Oberweiss). 

Capannari's makes excellent ice cream. They had several unique flavors like a cherry-goat cheese and a spicy chocolate  in addition to the basics like chocolate chip and mint chip.

The shop offers an ice cream flight that allows patrons to sample several flavors in one dish. You may have seen this done with wine or beer. I'd never seen a ice cream flight before; I think it's a brilliant concept.

The flight allowed for four flavors and was served in an elongated banana split holder instead of a typical cups. If you eat your ice cream fast enough, the flavors don't melt together. I've always been slow when it comes to ice cream, but the mixing and melding toward the end of my treat didn't diminish the experience.

My flight consisted of cherry-goat cheese, chocolate peanut butter, java chip, and brownie batter. I was expecting baby-size scoops, but instead it seemed like I was given four child-sized scoops, which frankly was a bit more ice cream than I needed. But oh, so good. So decadent.

This weekend they're hosting a Brain Freeze speed-eating contest. Their ice cream is too good for devouring IMO, but they do like to have fun. Check their website for special events. Capannari's may be out of the way for you, too, but it's worth a trip. Their ice cream is some of Chicago's best.