Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Coffee is a love-hate relationship for me, and for most of the health world too. Some people can’t live without it and some studies seem to indicate it could have health benefits. Others preach against it as if it is a killer, suffer withdrawal and there is always some addict who painfully demonstrates to coworkers daily what happens when you drink too much coffee.

I know at least one arguably mature adult who wet his pants after drinking too much of the stuff.

As for me, I had to switch to green tea for my daily mug, keeping coffee as something that I only have occasionally when I’m out of the house. An unfortunate past of minor and disruptive health issues has left me with enough caution to regularly avoid caffeine.

Yet, I’m easily seduced into a good mood by the smell of coffee. I give in while at late night cafes, and lose count of how many times the waiter refills my bottomless cup. As the conversations buzz around a place like lively Kafein or dimly lit Pick Me Up I get distracted reading, writing or talking. I probably won’t pause to put in cream or sugar.

I may be shaking and unable to sleep immediately after, but at the moment the warm mug in my hand feels so perfect that it would be hard to give it up.


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It’s snowing outside my window, and now it is even snowing on my blog. You are not going crazy, there really are tiny white things falling down the screen.

I always hear mixed things about snow, some people love it and some people vehemently hate it. I’m a snow lover. I’m sorry if you are a hater, but maybe I can help you think of something good about it.

1. I love making snow angels.

2. I love trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue.

3. I love that new snow looks so clean.

4. I love that snow helps soften the harshness of all Chicago’s concrete.

5. I love sitting inside watching the snow fall.

6. I love waking up and being surprised by the white blanket that appeared while I slept.

7. I love getting snowed in.

8. I love skiing.

9. I love sledding.

10. I love eating snow.

11. I love making slushies with fresh snow.

12. I love making snow forts.

13. I love throwing snowballs.

14. I love wrestling in the snow.

15. I love playing in the snow for so long that you feel frozen and then going inside to enjoy the warmth.

16. I love that drinking hot chocolate and reading a book feels special when in snows.

17. I love that schools take a spontaneous day off and kids can play outside.

18. I love the cold sting of snow on my face.

19. I love when snow drifts lightly down.

20. I love when the snow falls so thick and fast that you can’t see anything outside.

21. I love that it is silent.

22. I love how excited I feel the first time it snows for the winter.

23. I love trying to look at the tiny flakes and see the intricate designs.

24. I love when it really snows for a moment it feels like the world is frozen in place.

25. I love that it always feels magical.

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I have this fish.

I think he will be a famous fish someday; Deerslayer even has a band named after him that my roommate and some friends started in the last month. They have a couple songs written already.

Somehow I developed this talent for relating him to any conversational topic that is dying. There are a lot of people who know I have a fish because of this habit.

Deerslayer is a well-traveled fish too, having lived in Massachusetts, moved to Chicago, and visited Indiana and Wisconsin. I don’t know where he lived before I saved him from Wal-Mart. He doesn’t like traveling; he gives me angry looks and starts turning yellowish when he is upset for a long period of time. I don’t think he would ever want to go on a music tour though.

He doesn’t like when I change his water either. He jumped out of his bowl and nearly gave me a heart attack twice.

He lived in a big glass pitcher when I first moved to Chicago, because I couldn’t find a place with fish bowls. He liked to swim laps from the top to the bottom.

I found ‘Slayer a respectable fish bowl to live in now. He lives next to my games and puzzles, with a framed picture of Bob Dylan looking over him. I think he is a very happy fish. He gets a lot of attention.

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I found a wishing tree in the park yesterday.

My roommate and I stumbled upon this tree across the bridge from Millennium Park in Chicago, after a little picnic to appreciate the lovely weather. Tied to the branches of this beautiful flowering tree were these white tags fluttering in the wind. After reading a few of them, I realized they were all wishes.

A few wished for fame and riches, and several had the grammar and spelling that suggested a child had written them. One read, “I wish I was more decisive.” Some were in Spanish. On another man had written a wish that a particular woman would love him and “have my babies.”


I took a few pictures I dug a pen out of my purse and handed it to my roommate and told her to make a wish, there was space on some of the cards. As I was taking some pictures, she finished writing her wish and handed me the pen.

Wait. I had to make a wish now?!?

Here’s the thing. I’m a bad wisher. I love throwing pennies in fountains, watching for shooting stars, and blowing out birthday candles. But once the penny is in my hand, the star is passing, or the cake is in front of me, I can’t think of a sinlge thing I want to wish for.park-031

I can normally make up my mind quite easily, I’m generally know what I want. Finally, I decided not to over-think this one. I wrote a wish, born out of my longing for the quiet and forests where I grew up in Massachusetts.

“I wish there were more trees in Chicago.”

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Chicago residents were not playing when they brought out their signs to protest Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Gathering in Federal Plaza on April 2, their signs asked for better schools, trains, housing, clinics- and no games.

The night before, just a few blocks from where the rally would be, I found an empty room in Roosevelt University littered with signs and the air filled with the smell of permanent markers as members of the group that organized the rally, No Games Chicago, sat on the floor making signs for the protest.

One of the sign-makers was Patrick O’Hara, a first generation American and native of Chicago. O’Hara said it is an issue of human rights because plans for the Olympics “tend to bus out the poor… It’s an elitist event that tends to stomp on the rights of the non-elite.”

While Patricia Yeray sat on the ground making a sign, she told me the plans for the Olympics would threaten the parks in Chicago, including in her own neighborhood. Yeray said the parks were a “resting place” for people in the city.

Yeray, a retired flight attendant, said the plans would reduce the small amount of green space, the number of birds and other creatures. She said the plans would “tear down old growth trees. You can’t replace those.”

Check it out for yourself, and make up your mind. Do you think Chicago win the bid, and why?

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