not the end, a love story
Amid the haunting tremors of this national moment, and the bone-chilling worry that something awful could erupt, the dreadful sense that we are teetering at the precipice of something precious being lost, I interrupt the breathlessness, the imploring for peace, mercy, justice and truth, to turn ever so briefly to one of the countless personal narratives that unfurls against this shadowed backdrop. Someone with whom I’ve carved a life is turning the page on one of his most consequential chapters, and, as the family historian and archivist, it must be duly marked.
This is a love story.
It begins long, long ago, inside a vaulted cacophonous chamber inside a gray stone Gothic tower, one that hugs a river’s edge as it courses toward one great lake, in the crosshairs of the American metropolis that rose defiantly from the endless prairie.
A tall bespectacled gentleman, cloaked in appropriately puddle-splashed and newsprint-stained London Fog trench coat and holey-bottomed penny loafers, strides with his signature mix of certainty + humility down the newsroom’s center aisle, past desk after factory-assembled desk, each one equipped with typewriter, ancient desktop computer, and, chances are, one of the big-city news hustlers straight out of central casting (half-drained whiskey bottles hide in file drawers, stashed behind the extra pair of brogans down where dustballs grow; ashtrays brim with stubbed-out cigarettes; expletives punctuate the rumble, a slurry mix of ringing phones, clackety-clacking teletype machines, and the endless bark of irascible editors and the copy kids who dart and dodge at every bark before it turns to bite).
Our protagonist, the bespectacled one, is noticed by a young Irish-American nurse-turned-scribe, one whose presence in that very newsroom is as unlikely as anything in her curiously-scripted life. She especially perks her ears when newsroom talk spreads word that this new fellow — this 6-foot-3 Ivy Leaguer who’s arrived by way of Des Moines, and is reputed to write “like nothing you’ve never seen” — boldly exits the newsroom on Friday evenings at six o’clock sharp (akin to walking out of surgery just before the scalpels dig deep into flesh, as Friday night is when the big bulging Sunday paper is “put to bed,” and all hands usually on deck). Word is that the reason for his unnewsroomly departure is to sprint to synagogue for Friday night service. This unorthodox (for a newsroom) orthodoxy is a.) impossible to miss, and b.) highly impressive to the religiously-intrigued Irish-Catholic ecumenical one.
(Turns out, don’t you know, he was dashing out to the door not only to bow his head and pray, but also to keep a sideways glance on any nice Jewish girl who might wander into the synagogue’s so-named Singles Shabbat, a mix-and-mingle for the 20-something minyan set. Our unreliable narrator here obviously mistook urge to mate — or at least to J-date — for religious fealty.)
It’s not long into this newsroom tale till she — our narrator — falls for him. It is longer, markedly longer, till he returns the favor. But this is not that love story.
This is her ode to his third-of-a-century dedication, devotion, middle-of-the-night perseverations to the journalistic craft, to his unswerving eye toward excellence, toward equity and justice for all in the urban grid, from the greenswards to the cloud-poking steel-and-glass arisings.
Back in the beginning of this Chicago story, he worked the city desk, just like the legions of fresh-faced cub reporters who started out eager and naive to the wily ways of Second City aldermen and crooks (sometimes one in the same), ears trained to the police scanner, ready to leap with hat, coat, and scribbler pad to the scene of the nearest atrocity, disaster, or ambulance chase.
First time the Irish-Catholic and the new-to-the-newsroom Shabbat devotee found themselves dispatched to the same breaking news was the night ol’ Eddie Vrdolyak, an aldermanic stalwart of Chicago’s famed Democratic Machine, broke loose and turned Republican, stunning his Southeast Side constituents who filed into the Serbian Orthodox church hall with their bundt cakes and their murmured words of world-is-upside-down consternation and congratulations. She soaked up color, ambiance, mood; he stuck with the facts. (A telling distinction, one that in some ways would never really fade.)
From there, the hard core of the city desk, the one who’d studied hard the intricacies of balustrades and board-and-batten, casement windows and Corinthian columns, who’d versed himself in architectural volumes from primitivism to Postmodernism, dutifully bid his time pounding Chicago pavement, but he never took his eye off that glittering ever-shifting skyline.
In the fall of 1992, a mere five years after slipping on his Chicago Tribune ID badge, he was crowned the title he had long, long yearned for: architecture critic of America’s First City of built masterpieces and no little plans. (Note: For all my wanting to, and with all my years cobbling sentences and spinning yarns, I cannot do justice to his 28 years “on the beat,” as newsroom parlance would put it. Oh, but I shall try.)
He’s sized up the likes of Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, Santiago Calatrava, Robert A.M. Stern, Jeanne Gang, and the iconoclastic-in-every-way Stanley Tigerman, among the many, many.
He’s marched into architectural battle with no less than Mayor Richie Daley (e.g., the infamous Meigs Field midnight raid, bulldozing Xs through the runway, among his many go-arounds with Da Mare), Mike McCaskey and the Chicago Bears (Soldier Field brouhaha, or in our critic’s inimitable description, “Starship Enterprise crash-landed on the Parthenon”), the Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field, and specifically the Toyota sign planted in the bleachers, a “wart on the face of baseball’s grande dame”), Star Wars director and Hollywood legend George Lucas (a “cartoonish mountain” of a proposed lakefront museum the critic likened the “giant lump” to a “bloated Jabba”), and, of course, the Developer in Chief, Donald John Trump, who first courted then skewered our friend the critic.
Our critic’s story began long before the summer of 1987 when he loped into the Tribune Tower. He’d grown up in a newsroom, starting out at 13 on the night shift — writing obits by night, body surfing on the Jersey Shore by day — in his father’s newsroom, a classic PK, or publisher’s kid, in Red Bank, NJ. He’d interned in newsrooms in Newark, Pittsburgh, Miami, and Houston. And paused long enough for a masters in environmental design at Yale. This curious chemistry of take-no-guff news hound + aesthete and well-trained critic’s eye proved a formidable match for the rough-and-tumble of Chicago, where not even the arts are shielded from shenanigans and shysters.
This explosive combo, well, exploded. Often. In shouting matches with City Hall, delivered at full throttle and no words minced. The leitmotif (toned down for tender eyes or ears) went something like this: “Don’t give me that [baloney]! Tell me the truth!” It is reported that as these shouting matches unfurled for quarter-hour chunks of time, the heads of young reporters would pop up from behind their screens around the newsroom, “like gophers from their gopher holes,” to ogle the sight and sound of a scribe at top bellow.
Truth, most often, won out. Which might explain how, along the way, the critic’s sharp eye and voluminous and tireless reporting on the inequities of the city’s bejeweled lakefront — well-appointed and abundant on the North Side, decrepit and inaccessible from poor Black neighborhoods on the South Side — would in time reshape the city map. Bulldozers literally shoved parkland to where before there had been none. And millions once unjustly cut off from the great Lake Michigan shoreline now romp on beach and trail, “forever open, clear and free,” in accord with the 1909 edict of the Illinois Supreme Court that has become the rallying cry for decades of lakefront protection. Hands down, the opening up of the entire swath of lakefront is the critic’s proudest moment. That redrawing of the lakefront came in the wake of his 1998 series, “Reinventing the Lakefront,” six parts in all, that won him what a young friend of ours once and indelibly declared, “the Polish Surprise” (sound it out swiftly, and you’ll know what I mean, especially to the tender ears of a 5-year-old child).
Together, after all those decades in the same newsroom, the Irish scribe and the tireless critic (one of the rare perpetual newsroom bondings, wed in 1991) paired their names on only three double-bylines. One, named Will (now 27, and a brand-new lawyer — just yesterday sworn in virtually to the Illinois Bar from a Portland, OR, courthouse), and another, Teddy (19, and trudging through college). And yet a third: The mother of those double-bylines was asked by the critic to tag along when the new Prentice Women’s Hospital was opened and ready for architectural critique, since after all, the critic pointed out, she was the one who’d pushed out the double-bylined babies in the original hallowed Prentice hospital.
And now, for some undetermined chunk of time, the indefatigable and as-yet-unnamed-here critic (long ago, I made a vow that I would not write of him or our marriage, except for occasional sidekick insertions, as he was something of a public figure who deserved full control over his private life), is hanging up his London Fog, and kicking off those holey loafers. He announced his leave-taking on Twitter the other night (see tweets down below). And with lump in my throat, and tears not only in my eyes but running down my cheeks, I partake of the great newsroom tradition of clapping him out as he exits the building and the beat.
As he wrote in his own last column in the Tribune, which ran practically hidden in the inside pages of the Business section on Thursday:
When I became the Tribune’s architecture critic in the fall of 1992, there was no Millennium Park, no Museum Campus, no downtown Riverwalk, no Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and no St. Regis Chicago. There were no planter boxes in the middle of Michigan Avenue and few bike paths other than those on the lakefront trail.
Hulking public housing high-rises still stood at Cabrini-Green, the Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens. State Street was an ugly transit mall. Little planes still landed at Meigs Field. Sears Tower was still Sears Tower and the tallest building in the world.
I am chest-burstingly proud of the brilliant work he’s written under his byline, of the countless midnights when he slunk out of bed to fix a sentence or deepen some particular thought. His devotion must rank among the rarest in the business. His love for his city and his readers kept him writing long after counterforce made quitting the easier option. We’ve seen him trailed by TSA agents at O’Hare who wanted to keep up some architectural conversation, straight to the boarding gate; stood by as he was tapped on the shoulder as far away as London or DC by a reader who recognized him and didn’t want to miss a chance to say thank you, ask an architectural question. It’s that devotion — and infinite unsung kindnesses extended to readers and would-be someday critics — that is perhaps his shiningest prize, the one that comes with no crystal paperweight, and no plaque to hang in a back corner of his book-lined office.
He’s our beloved Blair Kamin, of whom we are soo soo proud. And who has left an indelible and breathtaking mark on the city he loved, the newspaper for which he wrote for 33 rollercoaster years, and who has written his best and most lasting lines in the narrative that is our blessed little double-bylined family.
But that’s the not end of this love story. Only this latest chapter.
Here’s how he broke the news on Twitter last Friday night:
After 33 years at Chicago Tribune, 28 as architecture critic, I’m taking a buyout + leaving the newspaper. It’s been an honor to cover + critique designs in the first city of American architecture + to continue the tradition begun by Paul Gapp, my Pulitzer-winning predecessor.
During these 28 years, I have chronicled an astonishing time of change, both in Chicago and around the world. From the horrors of 9/11 to the joy of Millennium Park, and from Frank Gehry to Jeanne Gang, I have never lacked for gripping subject matter.
Whether or not you agreed with what I wrote was never the point. My aim was to open your eyes to, and raise your expectations for, the inescapable art of architecture, which does more than any other art to shape how we live.
So I treated buildings not simply as architectural objects or technological marvels, but also as vessels of human possibility. Above all, my role was to serve as a watchdog, unafraid to bark and, if necessary, bite, before developers and architects wreaked havoc on the city.
I am deeply grateful to my newspaper, which has never asked me to pull punches. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with talented editors, reporters, photographers and graphic designers. They have been a huge help. Journalism, like architecture, is a team enterprise.
What will I do next? I have no idea. After decades of stressful deadlines and rewriting paragraphs in my head at midnight, I’m ready for an extended break — and many long bike rides along Chicago’s lakefront.
It’s essential that a new critic, with a fresh set of ideas, take up where Paul Gapp and I left off. Imagine Chicago without a full-time architecture critic. Schlock developers and hack architects would welcome the lack of scrutiny. -30-
you’ll note i put aside for this one time my disinclination to hit the shift key and write with capital letters (writing here in lower case is for me something akin to kicking off my shoes and shuffling around in slippers), but for the upstanding critic, i decided to pull out my big-girl keys and give him ups and downs on the keyboard scale. i’ll return to slippers, no doubt, though i do note it makes for easier reading when you can spy the peaks and valleys in each and any sentence.
in the tweets above, you might notice mention of Jon Stewart, the late-night genius, who once saw fit to enter the Chicago architectural fray, a little back-and-forth, you might say, between our hero here, the critic, and the comb-over developer who would go on to rule the Oval Office…watch here the clip of Signfeud, from the Daily Show…
i have now overflowed this space with a kitchen sink of Kamin esoterica and folderol. it is with all the love in the world, and bursting giant heart, that i thank the Chicago Tribune (where, combined, we toiled for 63 years) for bringing me the other half of our double byline. it’s been some rocket ride, and i’ll hold on tight for wherever this takes us next.
much love, BK. i am — in the great Tribune tradition of “clapping out” your final exit from the newsroom — standing and applauding. xoxox
and here’s a final twist for this week’s chair: how bout this, you ask the question this week, and i will try to answer….the annals of the newsroom are now open for the curious…..
Bravo, bravo! and may there be many beautiful adventures and books in both of your futures!
xoxox (sorry for going a little long here this morning. so much to squeeze in!) you be safe, sweetheart, in the heart of the capital…..saying prayers upon prayers.
I echo the Bravos above! Congratulations to Blair on his distinguished career and blessings on the future chapters!
thank you, dear HH! the snow falling out my window right now is making it feel like the storybook close to a movie, with the film credits now rolling…..xox
Beautiful tribute to the love of your life on behalf of all of us in his unofficial Fan Club. ❤️❤️❤️ Given what is happening at the Tribune, I am not surprised – but I am profoundly verklempt. 😭 I will truly miss Blair’s astute analyses, his observations, and his challenges to the city and developers to take the high road. And after a “fallow” time – well deserved – I am confident that he will find new and creatively satisfying ways to channel his brilliant mind. And, hey, he gets to spend more time with you. 🎉
bless you, dear PK (hey, it’s another! (see PK mention above)). the sweetest most glorious thing in these last few days has been the avalanche of Tribune readers who’ve sent letters from their own kitchen tables, after all these years telling him how they’ve kept watch for his byline, been schooled in architecture under his tutelage, and cheered when he pushed back against shlock developers or out-of-control egos that dared to leave a pox on the city beautiful. i am almost certain something really fascinating will come along, and you here at the chair will certainly be among the first to know……
I can hear the clapping in Deerfield. Can you hear the clapping *from* Deerfield?
Thanks, Blair, and thanks, bam.
ahhhhhh! dear O! i will definitely point my ears to the north and slightly toward the west at the appointed hour. thank YOU for being among the ones who not only brought him to sweet chicago, but who whispered in my ear that his writing was “like nothing you’ve seen before.” how true that turned out to be. giant hug from our double byline! xoxo
What a joy it was to read this short history of your brilliant Blair! He has autographed his work with excellence and underscored it with love. Many congratulations to him on a job well done, and all best wishes for his future endeavors! xoxoxo
xoxoxoxo a hundred thousand thank yous, beautiful amy. to be continued, indeed…..xox
❤ What everyone said above, for sure.
When I saw it on Twitter, my heart twisted … knowing how hard and valiantly BK fought for the heart of the paper; how much this must be twisting in both your guts; what a difficult, difficult decision it must have been. I loved every word of this. My favorite photo is him in the elevator, riding up (or down) with the guys … the look on his face, sheer joy at whatever discussion he was having, notebook in hand.
May the best of good blessings be upon both of you as you charter this new ride through the wilderness. All the love and good karma to you. xoxoxoxoxo
ohhhh, sweetheart, so many twists and turns in this tale, and bless blair so much for trying so so hard for trying to save the paper along with his cohorts in the newsroom, and then trying valiantly to be sure the architecture critic shoes in this town are filled, perhaps the noblest of his efforts, and a story that’s not yet ready for print.
i just feel blessed beyond words that i got to take the ride along with him. who ever would have thought?!?!?!?!
“sheer joy,” encapsulates him, and even now, he is so full of joy for having run this race and crossed this finish line.
bless you for being such a glorious tribune reader and champion all these years. xoxox love, bam
Congratulations to both of you and best wishes as the next chapter of your life together begins! I heard this on the news the other night, and I’ve been thinking about both of you ever since. I am sad because the Trib has lost yet another of its most brilliant journalists, but I’ve read several reports of the struggles there over the last several years. You both deserve the extended break.
yes, yes, this round is REALLY a sad one, with the legendary classical music and jazz critic, howard reich (whom i ADORE) leaving, along with restaurant and food critic phil vettel (funniest person at the tribune, according to my teddy, who is quite a fine judge of such things), gary marx, our BELOVED friend and brilliant investigative reporter, and photographer zbigniew bzdak. the place is still plenty rich with national treasures, mary schmich, eric zorn, heidi stevens, michael phillips, chris jones, among them.
bless you and thank you for thinking of us. and for so blessedly pulling up your friday morning chair. xoxo
Well goodness!!! What a story!! One of your finest!! Your writing is incredible, and I love how you attacked this and was mesmerized by every new sentence!! Congratulations to Blair and to you!! I’ll be listening to the clapping up here in British Columbia later today!! Wink!! I’ve also forwarded this piece to a dearest of friend, in Australia, whose son is an architect there and a big fan of Blair’s!! Barbie your coverage of Chicago here in this piece so colorful, you might also think about a mystery story! Other genres would give other audiences the joy of knowing your writing!!! Just wow!!! You are incredible, Blair is as well and I can’t get enough!!! I live for these Friday post!!! Setting my alarm so I don’t forget to “clap” later today!! Hugs and kisses, Mary xoxo
Sent from my iPhone
oh, my mary, mary. oh, my sweetheart. love love love you. my heart is so full i can’t even get out more words. i love you, that is everything. xoxox
Barbara, this is a love letter indeed. I am humbled by the trust you have so generously assigned to all of us to carry this tribute in our hearts and imaginations. This is a beautiful testimonial and so well deserved. No one could do it more justice. Thank you!
In response to your suggestion for a question, I’ve thrown my thoughts onto the pile for consideration. I base them on this beautiful line in Blair’s tweet;
“So I treated buildings not simply as architectural objects or technological marvels, but also as vessels of human possibility”. I love that!! Sooo…..
How does architecture define our place; that space where we are rooted, where we come from, that place we hold onto and call “home”?
How do the qualities of form and beauty within this “vessel of human possibility” nurture us, protect us, help foment our development, hold us? What can we trust to its care?
And finally, what other vessels hold space for our human possibilities?
Blessings to you and your dear Blair. I hope the days to come are filled with laughter, love, good health and adventures you will thrill to discover together.
oh, cynthia, these are GLORIOUS questions, and i am going to mull them over here…..(there is a newsroom zoom for BK in nine minutes and i am going to curl up in the corner and listen in….)
these questions are just magnificent. i’ll be back, and others might chime in.
other vessels? whatever space allows your soul to breathe and the starlight to flicker in. it might be under heaven’s dome on a star-stitched midnight, or tucked against the trunk of your favorite tree, or in a chapel where there is no sound except for the faintest crackle from a candle flame or the hissing of some ancient radiator, or the chiming of the bells…..
and why do those vessels nurture and protect us? because we feel safe, enwrapped, blessed to take our fullest breath and launch our wildest dreams. or to simply bend our knees, bow our heads, and whisper, thank you, or, dear God, have mercy……
thank you so much for stirring such fine thought here at the old table. more soon. would love to hear your thoughts too…..xoxoxox
it’s a couple hours later and i am still letting these percolate around. i think i might put the questions to the critic himself and will record his thoughts here. soon as he catches his breath. his thoughts will be far wiser and more expansive than mine…..
I have a few trusted vessels where I know I can surrender all that I am and can trust it will be cared for, nurtured, celebrated and held in tenderness. One is a garden attached to a Catholic Church in my neighborhood; “Mary’s Garden”. it is surrounded by 4 brick walls and entrance to the garden is through an iron gate and up some concrete stairs. The space is so simple with benches, a fountain in the shaded corner, roses and other perennials under the open sky. It seems like a secret place because I’ve never had to share the space with anyone else when I’ve visited. I know I can trust any thought, prayer, emotion or worry to this place, this vessel of my human possibility. It has held so many tears, so many questions, so may doubts and always the possibility of becoming more of who I am. And then there is always the beach on Lake Michigan – my one true cathedral.
I guess another obvious vessel is my own heart. It is literally a vessel that somehow, mysteriously cradles all that I hold dear. It is the center of my love, my compassion for others, my prayers and hopes and dreams, my desires and understanding. It’s beating rhythm is synchronized with my breath in fundamental aliveness. It beats out my gratitude for all that is life.
Thanks for taking time on such a momentous day in the life of your family to be so thoughtful. I’ll be carrying you thoughts with me in my journaling and saunterings about this week.
love your ode to the human heart as vessel for all that matters most. and your garden sounds heavenly. there has always been something about a secret garden, especially one that takes some searching to find, and whose entrance compresses before the release once you’re in (a famous Frank Lloyd Wright move, i’ve learned over the years, as he decidedly tightened the entrance into a space so that once in you would feel the expansiveness of the release into wide-open space.) so much of architecture is tracing the human spirit, subtly and not-so-subtly evoking response….(still planning to ask the critic about “vessels,” soon as he catches his breath….)
and, finally, Mr. BK exhaled enough to have room for architectural thoughts this weekend, and here is his reply to the question about buildings “as vessels for human possibility.” he said this:
“a well-designed building can open possibilities for all sorts of meaningful activities, private contemplation, interaction among co-workers or family members, moments that raise your spirits, serendipitous meetings with people you might not ordinarily run across, comfort for the sick, release of grief. the key is that buildings are not deterministic. good buildings will not make good people, but good buildings can open the door to more fruitful human existence and relationships.”
A huge thank you to BK for such lovely insight. I so agree! “Buildings are not deterministic”. I love that.
Dearest Barbie –
Kudos to Blair on a splendid career at the Tribune and many thanks for service to our beloved city! Kudos as well to both of you on personal and professional lives to be proud of.
Love and cheers……
oh, dear diane, thank YOU! i can see your adorable smile in my mind’s eye, perhaps one of the times ol’ blair found himself in the front yards of brierhill. perhaps at our wedding, when you and the girls beamed our way. i know you and BK have long shared a love of great design (and by the way, that red-checked arm chair is my very favorite, my station in life most nights these days….) love to you and all those you love. xoxoxo
Magnificent bam!! Mazel tov on the new lawyer and much much love to u and Blair ❤️
thank you, dear gorgeous! melts my heart to find you here. xoxoxox
Addendum to first comment: LOOOOOOVE the bridge tie that Blair is wearing in the photos!
GREAT EYE, PJT!!! he’s got a few mighty fine archi-ties!
I saw the news about Blair leaving the Tribune on facebook this morning.
I knew there would be a grand gesture of words spilling out of your heart, while you filled us in on your “Pull up a chair.org today.
So, I am reading your tribute to him right now and I am enjoying the beautiful words that you so ably send to him.
I hope that one day, when I am in Wilmette, I will have the pleasure of meeting Blair.
oh, dear katherine, i hope that too. so sweet that you had that inkling that i wouldn’t be able to keep myself from telling a little love story here. sending a hug across the snowy plains this morning. xoxox
I loved! “Don’t give me that ‘baloney!’” and
—started out at 13
—interned in Newark, Pittsburg, Miami and Houston
—paused long enough for a master’s in environmental design.
— take no-guff news hound
These are fabulous nuggets I just learned about Blair
having lived in Arizona all of his 33 years at the Trib!
Congratulations Blair HATS OFF & blessings on your re—tire—ment whatever that means—up to you!!
Thanks Barbie beautifully told! ☘️
Love and gratitude ~ M
ah, sweet M, can’t believe you were off in the high desert for all those years. fortuitous that your return coincides with BK’s taking time to breathe deeply, take bike rides, and consider the possibilities ahead. love you, b.
yes, this is a love story. but, with you tapping away at the keys, it is really a love song — an ode to blair’s approach (signature mix of certainty + humility — gah!) to his craft and to his talent that posed a threat to those tallest of towers he explored. it could only be sung by you, dear bam, who has witnessed, championed, and collaborated with your beloved BK (co-producer of your finest works). clapping over here in brooklyn for you, blair — thank you for challenging me (and all your readers) to push beyond the fine facades of the city we love and take a closer look. xo, laura
I love you with all my heart, sweetheart. As only a sister with roots to the heart might love….
I truly don’t know what my mornings will be without Blair Kamin, and also Howard Reich and Phil Vettel. Of course I hardly knew what I was going to do when I could no longer read your words in the trib, and somehow I soldiered on. (You have made it easier by giving us more words in other places. 🙂 ) Thanks for a beautiful story.
oh dear JCV, who came to me in the first place because you are such a devoted tribune reader, and wrote a letter that knocked my socks off, and well, the rest is history. fine history. it is sad that the tribune has been drained of the likes of kamin, reich, and vettel. but there is still mary schmich, and rick kogan, and the brilliant investigative watchdogs. and of course, heidi s. my old across-the-alley newsroom accomplice and soulmate….she who wrote of YOU! and your famous south side pie hootenanny……
long as you occasionally pull up a chair, all will be well in my little heart. xoxo