Monday, February 16, 2009

Long overdue post

I meant to post these weeks ago, but life is busy! In honor of the winter storm that's hit the East Coast (and which I narrowly avoided by flying out yesterday) here are photos from an abnormal 60-degree Chicago Saturday in February...

Our home

Our hood

Our buddy Riley who's been absent from his window during the freezing weather

For all the melting snow

In a storefront in Roscoe Village

the Chicago River

Downtown Chicago on the way to Kuma's Corner

Puddles, not poo

The line begins outside Kuma

We got there just in time - the line quickly grew.

Checking out the menu

Inside Kuma's


Yes indeed (in case you can't read it, the sign says "AXEHANDLE: 10 oz burger piled on top of waffle fries with housemade Sausage gravy, fried egg and housemade biscuits)

One of my favorite shirts

The Kuma Burger


The line outside Hot Doug's, on our way back to Lincoln Square

Lincoln Square

Outside the Chopping Block, before our "Knife Skills" class

The fruits of our labor

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Stephanie Elizondo Griest

My brilliant and beautiful friend Stephanie was in Chicago on Friday for a reading of her book "Mexican Enough". She's fantastic and amazing, and this is the third of her books that I now own.

The first was called "Around the Bloc" which documented her travels and adventures through Russia, China, and Cuba. This was also the book that she was touring with when I first met her through my friends Trina and Natalia. It's an incredible memoir that shows you not just what she was learning about herself and life at that time, but also the different cultures, struggles and quirks that you never knew you'd want to know about these countries. It leaves you hungry for more of her writing and inspires you to take some adventures of your own.

After I moved to NZ in February of 2006, Stephanie sent out a call to friends asking for help with her next book. She was going to call it "100 Places Every Woman Should Go" and since the world is wide and she hadn't covered it all yet, she wanted to know if her lady friends had any specific recommendations. I chimed in about - what else - New Zealand, and lo and behold it wound up in her book. It's a wonderful resource for ideas of places to visit, and when you can't do that it's a comfort tojust read about them and know that they exist.

Her most recent book is another memoir, this time a little closer to home (literally and figuratively) for her. She's originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, and is half Mexican. In all her discoveries of other parts of the world, she finally came to the realization that there was a large part of her own culture that she was avoiding. Intent on exploring and understanding that part of herself and the culture, she committed to living in Mexico to be immersed in the language and the country. What she gained from it is more than she imagined. I can't wait to read it.

The most profound feeling that I take away from any interaction with Stephanie (whether through her books, her emails, or in person) is the feeling that anything is possible. Whether to making your life and living as an artist, to going places you think could never happen, she is a motivating and powerful force to the possibility of following your dreams. I highly recommend
any and all of her books, and can't wait to see where she goes and what she writes about next.