Friday, January 28, 2011

favorite things

Part of Susannah Conway's Unravelling class included an activity with our favorite things.

Here is one of my treasured things that I've had for 25 years, at least.
Favorite things: hair ribbon
During high school, this is the bow I wore in my hair when I was in a bad mood; if someone or something pissed me off.  If I wore my hair in a ponytail, I would wear my ‘bullshit’ ribbon in a bow around the ponytail. If my hair was down, I would wear the ribbon around my head, and tie it on top of my head in a bow. What a rebel I was. Every time I wore that ribbon, I was a little scared that a teacher would read it and figure it out, and I would get in some sort of trouble. But really, the ribbon is so pretty. It’s quite deceiving. Most people might think I’m a bit prissy with a multi-colored ribbon in hair when in reality; I was flipping off ‘the man’, and it felt good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

my healthy secret

I almost hate to write about how healthy I've been in fear of jinxing myself, but I feel like I should share what I consider to be my secret.  I am (or hopefully, was) the type of person who would get at least 3 good colds a year.  The type of cold where I would inevitably lose my sense of smell and taste, and there is nothing worse than losing my sense of taste; I love food too much.
The last six months or so, I have been religiously taking Emergen-C first thing every morning, and then before bed, I've been taking Homefirst's Maintenance Program for Women which includes vitamin D, a multi-vitamin, and an omega 3.  I've also added in an 'emotional well-being' supplement to chase away the blues and the blahs.  I was taking Dr. Weil's Mood Support Formula, but on my last trip to Whole Foods they didn't have it, so I found a replacement:  Gaia Herbs' Phyto-Proz Supreme (which I think I may like better). 
A couple months ago, Ignacio got pretty sick which he rarely does and I thought for sure I would get sick as well, but I didn't.  I can only credit my supplements and my dedication in taking them.
If I feel a tickle in my throat or a bit of the sniffles, I will take an extra dose of Emergen-C and and extra vitamin D.  So far, so very good.

Now I am crossing my fingers the Universe doesn't punish me by admitting that I haven't been sick in quite awhile. 
What are your secrets to staying healthy?

Monday, January 24, 2011

january girls dinner: Piece


Heather chose Piece for January's dinner.  Piece is one of those popular places in Wicker Park, so we had to wait an hour to be seated.  I was just about at the end of my rope, when we were called for our table.  It was a really close call.  I almost snapped as I am known to do when I get hungry.

It was wonderful to welcome Aimee back after her short hiatus due to childbirth.  Here she is enjoying a beer (it was a long, hard, dry nine months for her).

There were five of us so we ordered a big salad and two pizzas.  We had one 'red' pizza with tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and artichoke and one 'plain' pizza with sausage and olives.  The difference between a red pizza and a plain pizza is the red pizza is a traditional pizza with red sauce and mozzarella cheese, and a plain pizza has red sauce and parmesan cheese.  Both pizzas were well received and devoured. 

We also ordered the chocolate hazelnut pizza which tasted like Nutella.  Why in the hell haven't I ever thought of making a Nutella pizza?  Genius, pure genius.

My only complaint (besides a long wait) at Piece, is the volume of the joint.  It is one of those places that is very loud and it makes it difficult to have a conversation.  Unfortunately, I think the last few dinners we have had have been at loud restaurants.  We are in need of a more laid back place where we can really talk and not have to strain to hear one another.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

conspiracy theory

My dog, Camel, had an appointment with the groomer (which is also a pet store) yesterday. While I was there, I picked up a new bag of healthy treats for Camel as well as supplies for the cats (Piccolo and Sweetness).

(Camel is named after my dad. His nickname was Camel because he ran so slowly. The cats are both named for Chicago Bears players: Walter Payton aka Sweetness and Brian Piccolo aka James Caan from the tear-jerker of a movie, Brian’s Song. GO BEARS!!!)

I left Camel’s treats on the kitchen counter which should have been no big deal. But Piccolo and Camel hatched a plan in the early hours. We get up mighty early in our palace on State Street, and when I was lying in bed, I noticed that Camel wasn’t in my sights. Camel is usually always near me, she follows me everywhere I go. Very often, I will have all 3 furbabies follow me to the bathroom, and if the door is closed, I’ll find this when I open it:
Camel and Sweetness

Like I said, Camel wasn’t in my sights, which can only mean one thing: Camel is up to no good. I walked to the kitchen, and found that Camel’s buddy/nemesis/bully Piccolo had knocked the treats onto the floor. Needless to say, Camel received no breakfast this morning after finishing off an entire bag of Stella and Chewy raw treats.

Camel caught in the act

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

simply hanging on

Tiffany Dome at the Chicago Cultural Center

This poem hit me today.

the climbing gym

The mats below the wall are three inches thick, at least.

I could fall if I had to and nothing would break. Still, I dig fingertips

into the handholds, trying to fight gravity. I'm at my freest

letting go, but surrender is never casual. My heart flops and slips

each time, bruised and shaken. Even here, with such ample cushioning below,

I resist the drop. And it takes everything as each tendon and muscle strains,

the skin of my hands rubbing raw, the ascension slow

and shaky, my toes at the slimmest ledges, and blood hammering my veins.

This is what is being asked: move up or come down.

There’s no reward for simply hanging on.

It’s written by Maya Stein, a woman I met in Mondo Beyondo. Maya writes a 10-lined poem every Tuesday, and this is the one I received today. The last line just kills me. “There’s no reward for simply hanging on.”

That is what I feel like I’ve been doing since my father died; hanging on. I’ve not moved forward. I’ve felt paralyzed.

There is so much I want to do. Currently, I’m taking Susannah Conway’s Unravelling course, and today in one of my writing assignments, I wrote down what I wanted to be:

dancer/photographer/interpreter(sign language)/Francophile

Well, guess what else I discovered? All four of these require a lifetime of learning and devotion. Which leads me back to Maya’s poem: “…move up or come down. There’s no reward for simply hanging on.”

I’ve just been hanging on. I’ve been imprisoned by the grief; felt safer in my home than going after the things I desire.

Last week, I had dinner at Girl and The Goat (trip #3!) with Laura (another friend from Mondo Beyondo), and she made 2010 her best year ever, and I’m pretty sure every year after will just get better and better. She has a fantastic plan for 2012, and I want to do it too. But that means I’ll have to leave my safe home, and go out into the world.

I’ve been excited about 2011; I wake up every morning looking forward to making some things happen. But inevitably, I don’t accomplish much. It’s like there is so much to do, I don’t know where to start. It’s kind of like the same feeling I get with decluttering my home or office, there’s just so much to do, that I don’t know where to begin.

All four of the things I want to become require a lot of work, but they are things I enjoy doing. I just need a plan and a schedule (and to follow that sucker). They require me to ‘move up or come down’. Because there is no doubt “there’s no reward for simply hanging on.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

bitter Taste

The City of Chicago plans to privatize The Taste of Chicago (a 10 day music and food festival on Chicago’s lakefront). That means that the 30-year-old FREE admission festival will now cost $20 to enter (or that is what one group is proposing). That sucks donkey balls, man.

My parents were always good about bringing us downtown from our suburban Dolton home; it was only a 30 minute trip downtown, so we did some cool things. I remember going to the Taste of Chicago when it was ChicagoFest. That was when ChicagoFest was on Navy Pier before it became the huge tourist attraction it is today (and ironically, where I work).

ChicagoFest on Navy Pier was amazing. We came to see the band Ambrosia, and ended up falling in love with the opening band, Pure Prairie League. My brother, Tiger, and I made some awesome macaroni art in the huge kid’s section. My dad bought me a gold bracelet at one of the booths. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, and I just remember the festival being huge with restaurants all over the place as well as shops all over the place. Every year, I got a pickle on a stick. My mom always got a frozen chocolate covered banana.

Another year (if I am remembering correctly), the music portion of the fest was held at Soldier Field, and we saw the band Alabama.

Tiger (my bro), my dad, Ron (my cousin), and me
For the last 12 years, I’ve lived walking distance to the Taste of Chicago. People may complain of the crowds and what a pain in the ass it is to get downtown, but I love the Taste of Chicago. Ignacio and I buy $100 worth of food and drink tickets on the first day, and then we walk to the Taste for dinner after work at least five other times. Every time we go, we get pierogis and Rainbow ice-cream, at least. On good days, we’ll add fried ravioli, beer battered artichokes, pizza, and whatever else we can find at one of the 70 food booths.

I can’t even name all the bands I’ve seen during the Taste of Chicago. The ones I can recall are: Los Lonely Boys, Sheryl Crow, Santana, Rob Thomas, Dennis DeYoung, and Stevie Wonder. Who knows how many others I can’t recall. But the point is that it is was perfect for me to walk to the band shelter and watch a different performer everyday…for free. Now, they want to charge $20! I’m sure I won’t be stopping by for dinner and a concert everyday anymore.

One of my best memories is when I walked to the Taste by myself to see the Indigo Girls. I got a spot on the lawn and prepared to enjoy the show. Nearby, a drunken girl threw up on the lawn, and her group hastily packed up their blanket and left. For the rest of the afternoon, I laughed every time someone walked through that puke. I laughed really loud if they slipped as they walked through it.

Now that, I probably would pay $20 to see.