Sunday, March 30, 2014

I finally watched Cloud Atlas. I have been wanting to see it for some time for multiple reasons:

  • It was co-directed by Tom Tykwer (along with Lana and Andy Wachowski). I've always loved Tom Tykwer. Run Lola Run is the film that inspired me to go to film school back when I thought making movies was what I wanted to do. His film Winter Sleepers is one of my very favorites.                                  
  • I've always been a Tom Hanks fan and he is in it, playing many characters.                                                    
  • One of my fondest themes for any piece of art is the idea that we are all connected to each other. This film centers on that. It takes us through many tales in the far past, present, and future with actors playing many roles and the stories all hinting at each other.                                                                        
  • A dear friend of mine worked on this film.     

I have to say, I loved it. It was full of action and heart, all about the impact we each make on the world and each other. I really want to read the book now. 

Here's a line from the novel Cloud Atlas that was repeated throughout the film:  

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
-David Mitchell

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I am so glad I have gotten the chance to live here. It's a beautiful city.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I think I'm going to do The Artist's Way with a friend, starting this week. I don't know if I have the time or if it's a good idea, but the little voice saying to do it is very persistent. The Artist's Way is a book by Julia Cameron (with Mark Bryan)- it's a course, really. It's a 12-week program to help unlock your creativity. It's quite spiritual and inspiring. I've done it before, years ago. It will be much different now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

There is something I find so beautiful about this poem:

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me - not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

-Henry Van Dyke

Niall and I have been cleaning out what I call our "shed" (aka storage unit). In the process, I came across many old photos and letters. One such item was a a photo of a plaque bearing this poem, taken in Austin on a visit years ago. I know this piece is about death, but I also think of it as just the way time flows, with people coming in and out of our lives full of the inspiration and wonder of a moment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I love the little things. It was so nice to have an iced coffee with cinnamon in it today. 

I appreciate the big things too- like admiring Cassius as the sunlight hits him just so.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Niall takes staged photos of himself with each member of the cast and crew of all his shows. The poses always reference the show or person he is with in some way. They are always well-done, humorous, smart pictures that give you a window into the experience of the players.
I am a big fan of traditions and this is one of the best ones that I get to encounter. Here are a couple of my favorite shots from Golden Boy:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

We went to visit Evanston's Lighthouse the other day. It was cold outside and we found the spot such a  beautiful oasis. There was an art center with two old men sweeping and working in the studio next door, there was the always brilliant lake, there were bare magnificent trees, along with the grand beacon of the lighthouse.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I like to think about the relationships we have to items we use everyday. This is my beloved stool, painted precisely with butterflies and flowers by my talented late grandmother. She gave it to me when I was a child (I have this vague memory that she had been painting stools for my younger cousins and thought I was a little old for it, but my dad thought otherwise and asked her to paint one for me). This stool lived at my dad's house for awhile and I was so excited when I got to take it to my first adult home. A stool is much needed for someone of my stature. I love that I get the chance to appreciate my grandma when I use it. Wayra (in case you need reminding, that's my friend's 4 year-old daughter and my honorary niece) loves to pull it over to wash dishes or brush her teeth when she stays over. 

Cassius also loves my stool- especially when he discovers treats waiting for him on it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

I went to Karyn's Raw Cafe tonight with my dear friend Hiu. It was wonderful. I want to go back already! I only had some really green juice that gave me some much-needed energy and some of Hiu's spicy, yummy enchilada. We got a tour of the fancy, calming spa and browsed the healthy store/cafe next door too. Next time I'm trying the raw ravioli. It made me want to make some healthy choices.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy first day of spring!

I'm dreaming of the honeybee. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I just got a new phone, so I went through my old phone and pulled off photos to hold onto. 
Here's a walk down memory lane...
One of the great loves in my life is the open road.
There are simply so many possibilities out there. Since we have been in Chicago, Niall and I have enjoyed taking mini trips around the Midwest. It has been a way for us to appreciate life and connect with where we are in the world, as well as with each other. We celebrated Niall's birthday in 2012 by visiting Dubuque, Iowa and Galena, Illinois. It was lovely. I had a lot of pictures on my old phone from this trip - I was in love with Instagram during that time.
This is an incredible little grocery and café full of organic and local food in Dubuque. We had so much fun there - this shop and a bookstore around the corner were fantastic places to spend an afternoon. 
We had a picnic and wandered around Eagle Point Park.
We saw eagles soaring! (See Niall's excellent photograph with better camera below.)

Galena's parks and streets were beautiful as well, and full of wondrous little discoveries.
Little trips like these are so rejuvenating. I'm glad we've had the chance to take so many of them. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Photos surely don't do the moon justice. I'm glad I spotted its glowing splendor peeking behind some buildings when I was waiting for the train tonight.  
One of my favorite pastimes has always been sky-gazing. I find it the perfect way to connect with the beauty, vastness and wonder of it all. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I made Hamantaschen! I didn't even realize these lemony, buttery cookies with fruity filling are traditionally made to celebrate Purim, a Jewish holiday celebrated today and yesterday. I just had the ingredients around and wanted to use them. They are delicious and were so very fun to make!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I went to the Young Chicago Authors' Louder Than a Bomb youth poetry festival tonight. It was extremely inspiring. That's all I can say. I am so full of words and energy right now- in love with this festival and wanting to get to my notebook to jot some thoughts down. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

I found this video about  making things on the website of one of my favorite radio programs, "On Being" 
It has given inspiration to my entire day. 

I spent the day on domestic chores indoors and then eagerly burst out to enjoy the spring air. 

Observations on my run just now: 
fat cheeks of babies peeking out of carrying cases strapped to their mothers' chests, round oranges piled on the other side of mini grocery glass, couple singing and guitar playing in the park while little ones play on swingset, game of soccer going strong in the schoolyard, hand-holding man and woman crossing street - in love, highschoolers making fun of each other, leather jacket wearing woman sitting on rocks on beach - writing fiercely, friends with to-go coffee cups busy chatting, man intently reading on lakefront facing away from wind with bike leaning against the park bench, plastic bags and leaves intermingling in a dance, the sky and water so blue,
the longing,
my hands and heart wanting something to do, 
a bit of remembering what they like doing. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I love this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: 

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

And I love coming home to these paws scampering to greet me after a long day:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We went to the wonderful Ethopian restaurant Ras Dashen today for a late lunch. They have great spiced chai. It was Niall's first time there. I love taking him to new places. 
Perhaps the final snow storm was last night. The wind blew the snow on the side of everything. Bright white everywhere. I had to go to the south side this morning, driving along the lake was a beautiful sight.
Niall took some breathtaking photographs tonight - during the "magic hour" where the light is just right for pictures - while I took a glorious nap. Here's one of the photos - I love the distant moon...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I had a day filled with good people and food. Celebrated a birthday at vegan comfort food favorite The Chicago Diner

Later, I had a delightful dinner with friends Suzanne and Wayra. Amazing homemade red Thai coconut soup - Suzie's a great cook! Wayra has been on a great art kick lately and I got to take home one of her wonderful pieces.

Mama and daughter showing off original artwork and modern "paper" dolls. 
I have some wonderful people in my life - so much love.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It was brought to my attention earlier today that I haven't posted for two days. Unacceptable! I started this project on the first of the year, hoping to post every single day. I believe have missed three days altogether now, in this third month. Perhaps that would be a good goal, to not miss more than one day a month. I am back, hopefully to stay for awhile on the daily routine.

It was a lot warmer today - the sun was out in the most beautiful, bright way. Lovely. I went out running yesterday and today. It was good to be back in my running shoes. I haven't been getting much exercise lately - using my tiredness, my busy life, and winter cold as excuses.

I had a friend tell me once that running is total freedom for her. I remember not relating to that at all, but I think I got a hint of that a bit these past couple of days. Running gave me the real sense that my worries about work, fear about the future, and chatter in my head just could just drift away as all that energy got extended through my movements. It was just me and the birds chirping, a tease of spring air on my cheeks, and my steady breath.

I used to hate running. Ever since I can remember, my dad has been a runner. He would encourage me to get out there with him (or without) when I was growing up. I would resist.

Now running with my dad is something I treasure. We make sure to go for a run together every time we visit each other.
My dad is much more of an avid runner than I am. He inspires me to continue running even when we are apart. 
I have found a friend to run with here and I find it so helpful to have a running partner, though over the past couple of days, my jogs have been a nice solo activity to help me clear my head.
I love that all you need is a pair of running shoes and you can go. Get some fresh air, get some exercise, get some energy out there. It can be meditative, it can be really hard, it can be just what you need. I do it in such small doses, but I love that it's in my life nevertheless.

Today I ran through lots of  puddles as all the snow was melting away.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Chicago Cultural Center is a standby date for Niall and me. I always think I don't want to go because we have been so many times and I want new, new, new all the time, but every time we go there I am glad we did. It's free, there's always new art, and the building is lovely. This time we even got a big Metropolis coffee to share and my grumbles about getting out the door and the day wasting away soon melted away.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How do we fall in love?
You don't fall in love like you fall in a hole.
You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump
off your own private planet to visit someone else’s
planet. And when you get there it all looks different:
the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It
is a big surprise falling in love because you thought
you had everything just right on your own planet,
and that was true, in a way, but then somebody
signalled to you across space and the only way you
could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go,
falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while
you might decide to pull your two planets together
and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or
your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of
stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost,
including the holes, are on the new planet you
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read
your favourite stories to each other. And the falling
was really the big jump that you had to make to be
with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s
PS You have to be brave.
-Jeanette Winterson

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Last week, part of the conference took place at the SPCA of Texas in Dallas. I loved all of the light.


I really wanted to take this lovely, longing nine year old girl named Roscoe home-

Monday, March 3, 2014

Last night I had fun watching the Oscars with friends from work. Like usual, we had some great vegan food.  A platter from Native Foods, an above-and-beyond ice cream bar our host prepared, and this homemade lovely blueberry pie a friend made-

It has been an exhausting week in so many ways. It was really nice to be surrounded by these good people, watching warm Ellen DeGeneres on television lead us through this fancy, fun event. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My aunt Madeline passed away just after Thursday turned into Friday. It's hard to fathom this strong, loving,vibrant woman no longer being here. I will remember her singing. I will remember her blue mascaraed eyes, always with a twinkle in them. I will remember her sense of adventure, her seeking, and her hugs. Such a big part of processing this is looking at photos, sharing stories, and remembering.  

Such a beautiful lady-

This was at my uncle Jon's memorial in Cincinnati this past summer. My dad on far right with his siblings - his  deceased brothers Jon and Pat there in spirit.  

Here's Mad on Lake Michigan during my wedding weekend. 

Right now, I can't stand that I can't find a photo of just us together. I suppose that's not entirely true- I did find this one from my cousin Allison's wedding- 
I'll hold onto that right now.

UPDATE: Niall cropped this photo for me - how sweet...
Madeline was such a wonderful aunt. I'm so grateful she was mine.