Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Presents and Book List, I love lists!!

Okay, I love my latest lists are great small food gifts to give people, I have to say I love giving presents and then I am a starting a book list.....

1. Olive oil and vinegars from The Olive Tap
2. Spices from the Spice House
3. Cheese, olives, bread, wine from Pastoral Artisan
4. Bottle of wine from LUSH wine and spirits
5. Bottle of Maple syrup, who does not love pancakes and it is really hard to find good maple syrup, from Burton's Maplewood Farm, they can be found at the Green City Market
6. Going to a dinner party? Bring some artisan ice cream from Nicecream
7. Pate de fruits, which are soft sugar candies flavored from local fruits, I consider it healthy candy, handmade
8. On the run, need to pickup something, any of Nicole's Crackers will be favorites. I personally like "Oh, for the love of Herb" and for a dessert cracker, "Heaven is Lavender".
9. And of course, salsas, salsas can be used on eggs, to cook with vegetables, as a snack on their own and they are really low in calorie so a food bonus, Tomato Mountain Salsas are my favorite...
10. Want a unique spirit for a conversation starter and a tasty cocktail, try Adam Seger's Hum Spirits, Hibiscus, Cardomom and Ginger

Other ideas:
11. Seedling Fruit incredibly delectable, yummy fruit jams, I would buy every flavor, they are great as a healthy sugar pickmeup, available at my favorite Green City Market!
12. Just found out about Swedish Microfiber cloths that you can use for cleaning with just water, you can throw out all your chemicals...Not a food but something that will help save the earth, available at Colori Eco Boutique of paints and household products that are earth friendly
13. Koval Distillery, any one of their products, Ginger liqueur, Rose hips liqueur, Pear Brandy, the list goes on....


My book list is shorter but will grow over time...

1. Paul Theroux "Ghost Train to the Eastern Star" which I have been told is a nonfiction account of his travel by trains through Central Asia, the "Stans" which for me is an incredibly fascinating, picturesque part of the world

2. Greg Mortenson's new book, "Stones into Schools" about his efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

3. "Miracle in the Andes" by Nando Parredo. Nando was the Uruguayan, who after 3 months of being stranded in the Andes, after a plane crash and eating the dead to survive, walked out of the mountains and found help. I was fortunate to meet him, he was a customer at the store and I helped him and he told me about his book. I have always been fascinated by the book, "Alive", it is one of the most incredible survival stories I have ever read. The thing I get drawn to is the inner strength and belief in themselves and their pulling together as a team. Having played on teams for many years, I can tell people who just don't understand the meaning of a team. The thing I love about the mountains is that it is really all about team work, whether you are roped on a glacier or trekking with porters, it is all about working as a member of a group. This story is not a story it really happened and I guess the amazing thing about it is the human spirit and humaness which is what this story is about. Of all the people I have encountered at the store, I have to say, meeting Nando for me was probably the most memorable.

That is my book list so far and my trip list is to go on the Afghan trip with Wild Frontiers.....I really believe in promoting peace through tourism and grassroots dipolmacy. These challenged countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan have peaceful and incredibly historic, and beautiful areas, coincentally, some of the largest mountain ranges in the world run through them. And, the foods you come across are all organic and local because the people have no other choice the world ofpackaged goods hasn't really hit them. Here is my friend Ade's video on his trip to Afghanistan and here is my slide show of my trip to Pakistan, Just have to figure out how to fund it and how to get back on a sustainable financial footing to do this, want to go to Libya, Iran and Afghanistan to name a few.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting the New Year's List Ready

Okay, it is that time to get my To Do list for 2010, which I can't believe!!!

The trip I would love to go on, peace exists in this video abut my friend Ade's trip last summer to Afghanistan...The book that is a must read, Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson which I have not read but I am going out and buying today. I read Three Cups of Tea which takes place in and around the Baltoro Glacier but is all about the hospitality of the Pakistani people. But the video and the book is what adventure is really about but adventure in a grass roots diplomacy type of way, changing the world through peaceful means.
At the store we mostly sell coats so people will be warm living in Chicago but what I really love is encouraging people to travel and see the world. Traveling, trekking and climbing I think changes the way people think for the better. And it shows you what little some people have in parts of the world and what little it takes to make them happy and how much we have here in the United States to be thankful for!!!!

1) Finish 2 ultras at least, get my mileage up to at least 40 week

2)Ski again

3)Hike again

4)Make mysore part of my regular weekly schedule, I really feel a difference if I am not practicing yoga.

5)A job where I work with bright, friendly, energetic people and in an environment where I thrive and am stimulated and a company that encourages the best out of people.

6) I am avoiding or ignoring people who are surly, sullen, dramatic, controlling, negative, fault finding and insecure,bullies, drama queens, mean is too short to get trapped in their view of things and it is not healthy, you know who you are!!!!

7) Put a plan in place to move to the mountains, enough already......

8)Continue to streamline my food, make an effort to juice ideally daily, spinach or arugula daily, I just realize I feel much better and don't get sick when I am eating green things and beets, carrots regularly...

9)Work on drinking more water...this is very hard for me to do

10)Tea before I go to bed...I really need to get in the tea habit

11)ideally become an age group runner speed work once a week, really start training, run with the Chicago Ultrarunners

12)Complete short story on Jagged Edge..

13)Continue through the magazine and other venues to promote healthy foods, and local restaurants and businesses that have great products and use local don't have to be less active as you age...

14)Have a lot more fun(which means avoiding the negative people) and focus on the humane people

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cook Now

Okay, if I am not running, working, practicing yoga, then I am cooking, eating or drinking among other things. I created a new bookmark on my Bookmarks Bar Called COOKNOW.

The 2 recipes on my hit list 1)Silver Palate Sausage and Cornbread stuffing
2) Brussel Sprouts with Black Bean Sauce and Bacon

Addition:The CookNow bookmark list continues to grow, Mushroom Risotto does not sound that hard to make and sounds really yummy, and of course I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mushrooms!!!Just read a recipe for Ricotta Pancakes where you separate the eggs and whip the whites. I totally forgot about the whipping of the whites, it makes the pancakes even fluffier. And for me, the excellent cook in my head and the erratic cook in reality, pancakes are so forgiving and easy, anyone can make pancakes they are that easy and they taste so good and they are great fuel. My friend Joe M., Mr. Amazing Runner used to always eat these to fuel up for long races....T

I thought the Brussel Sprouts(for me, I need a good veggie) and the stuffing(for them, who does not like stuffing?) might be good "bring" dishes for an Potluck Thanksgiving meal I am going to, I am not a fan of traditional thanksgiving fare or really of the whole thing of a huge, meal of turkey, potatoes, etc....But I am testing them out this weekend....

In the old days, my Thanksgiving schedule was, run the Turkey Trot, then fly to Salt Lake and ski at Snowbird for the weekend...I do miss those days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I firmly believe those days will come again!!!

Finally, I have encountered some very cool people and I have come across sullen and surly people what I have to remember is that although it is really unpleasant to be around the sullen and surly people my best bet is to just ignore them and accept that that is the way they are, if they choose to throw off that energy that is their business and my business is to just ignore it and them.....My best bet is to focus on the people that are pretty amazing like Nicole Bergere who is running a cracker company at the age of 84, and growing the company, I find that really motivating, and all my yoga friends who are such positive forces and my bosses at EC who go into the pretty amazing camp!!!!!! So the people I encounter who are into the aggressive, negative reinforcement, "I'm just playing with you" meanness, the sullenness and surliness, I just have to have very strong boundaries, ignore it and focus on the cool people like Nicole......she is definitely a steel magnolia....

And I have to be thankful for the people who reach out and do nice things, like organizing a T-giving potluck and being inclusive rather than exclusive, there are nice, great people out there and to come full circle great foods!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So for T-giving I have to remember it is my choice to seek out wheat grass, vegetables, healthy things so I have to remember to focus on the cool, amazing people and just ignore the negative people and not let negative reinforcement, attitudes get me down!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just Train, Just Run, Confidence

I forgot about this gadget on the web, made this wordle a year ago but it still holds true....

None of which I did today..............ugh......

But tomorrow is another day to try again.


Monday, October 26, 2009

WHen Worlds Collide

I always loved the Seinfeld episode that had George lamenting about his worlds colliding. He didn't want his girlfriend who knew "girlfriend George" to meet "baseball George and his friends", i have the names wrong, but basically George was freaking out that his girlfriend was learning to much about the "other Georges". George said something to Jerry along the lines of "Jerry, She can't meet XXXX, that would be like worlds colliding".

I love it when my worlds collide. The latest write-up on Serious Eats on the preview to Baconfest that was held last weekend (I stupidly did not sign up for it)...Explained how the guys that founded Baconfest got the idea supposedly after seeing a play by the Neofuturists. I love it when plays and food collide. Now all I need is for trail running, traveling, food, writing, plays and money to collide!!!!!!! I really was stupid not signing up to go to the Baconfest event, it sounds like it was a very cool thing and I love my wheat grass, arugula, beets and goat cheese but who does not love pork belly???? It is all portions and appreciation of what is in front of you......

Ciao(no food pun intended or intended)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pho to Go....

I've been to Hanoi and went hiking in the Sapa Region and kayaking on Halong bay. I loved Vietnam, it's cuisine is unbelievable yummy, a marriage of everything French and everything Vietnamese, lemon grass, dumplings, beef broth, bean sprouts and butter what a combination. My favorite countries to travel in are ones with great cuisine histories and great places to climb, trek and generally have fun in the outdoors like Morocco, all the wild mint in the mountains and great oranges and tomatoes, central China/Asia all the great noodle, egg plant and lamb dishes, I lived on noodles in Xinjiang province and I lived on saki, beer,gyoza and yasai itame in Niigata prefecture when I went to IUJ, of course biking through Burgundy, the Dordogne and all the great condiments I bought along the way, all the oils, vinegars and salts and of course foie gras.

So..given my lack of traveling and depression from all the lack of in my life, lack of mountains, skiing, hiking, I am going to start adding and make a list of local restaurants I want to check out. Chicago has a great Vietnamese community in the Argyle area so I am going to try either Tank Noodles or Pho777 for their Pho. I haven't quiet decided which one but Pho is one of those absolutely, amazing comfort foods. When I went to business school at NYU in NYC, I used to walk through China town with my friend Lili who is now married, twin boys and living in Hong Kong. We used to stop at a tiny little shop for $3 Pho, along with the cheap designer bag place, Fulton Street felt like Hong Kong and they would throw tons of bean sprouts on top of the bowl.

So my 2 things I am going to do, get up at 5am and run for an hour and I am going to try one of the cheap Pho places. It is really easy to bike around Chicago, since I have no money to ski or travel I might as well get as thin and fit as I can and eat, great, cheap food!!! Mysore is going to get in the lineup soon to.

I may be incredibly depressed but I still have to do things!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Depression sucks, people who don't get it are so lucky!!!!!!! I am going to focus on enjoying the tiny, cool, cheap things that you can do in Chi-town and biking and running all over the place which is free too!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

40 something....

I have decided when you turn 40 you can go 1 in 2 directions, getting less fit or getting really fit. I have decided there is no in between for some reason. Well. I have made the mental and spiritual commitment to get fitter. I am the first one, to love to get really drunk, go crazy. lose oneself. However, there comes a point where I have to place my priorities. Too much of the world. wants to take the easy route, the blue pill world, the comforting one as we age. but you know, I SAY NO TO THAT!!! I LOVE BEING PHYSICAL, I love participating, I am totally in the wrong place, enough with working in a store that sells the dream of skiing and adventure. I have to figure out how to ski every day, trail run in the summers, travel to NYC and Paris and financially sustain myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life is too short to live any other way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am determined to be strong, fit and independent and live in the mountains but have culture around me and great chefs, I believe it is possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!bu

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Food Beliefs

Michael Pollan outlined his Rules to Eat By in the NYT, then he asked for reader input on their food rules to which I responded as well. He posted his top 20 favorite food rules. Well, in my comment I stated that I don't really believe in rules, I am one of those rules need to be applied not obeyed and rules can always be broken kind of person, don't get me going on Cheney and Bush and their application of that belief...

SO instead of my top 20 food rules, I thought I would make a list since I love lists, of my top 20 food beliefs...

1. Butter is not bad for you. There is a reason French Techniques were the basis of American cooking for a long time and the reason French food tastes good. (Thank you Peter Kump wherever you are up there!) I really love Farmer's summer butter from the GCM.

2. I don't believe in "Supermarkets" but I believe in "Super Farmers".

3. A triple shot of Tinygreens wheat grass every week is one of the best things I can do to keep myself healthy, I truly think WG is a miracle substance(but yes, the taste takes getting used to!!!!!) For first timers, a cider chaser helps!!!

4. I always try to buy as high quality ingredients as my pocketbook allows and mostly from the GCM or MCA markets. Then I don't have to be a good cook, the ingredients will speak for themselves.

5. I stay on an even keel mentally if I have a daily helping of spinach or arugula, I just feel so much better, I notice a difference the next day.

6. I avoid rice at all costs, except Carrie Nahabedian's risotto. I am just not a rice person.

7. I avoid thick slabs of red meat, and most steak houses although who doesn't love Gibson's and the people who run it?

8. However, I accept that I need to eat meat every now and then, when I do I try to know where it came from.

9. I would rather spend $40 at a restaurant that I know sources from local farmers and is focused on sustainable ingredients than pay $30 because it is cheaper. Usually, it is the reverse, "the restaurant that is convenient or easy or the place of the moment" ends up being more than the restaurant that is sourcing sustainably.

10.I try to avoid all large grocery stores, how can things be fresh if they are so large? And I wish the Green Grocer was closer to where I live.

11. I truly believe that if people ate more fresh, local produce including meats, they would think differently and feel better and Obama would definitely get re-elected!!!

12. I truly believe that if more of the population supported local community gardens and ate from those gardens, and people stayed away from packaged goods, the nation's healthcare bill would be reduced.

13. I truly believe that the American healthcare system is based on fixing things rather than prevention. If people did little things, like drink more water, buy one vegetable from a local farmers market, and cooked and ate it, did a little Pilates or Yoga even once a week, the healthcare bill would go down.

14. It truly pays to look at where the chef is sourcing their produce from and support chefs that care about quality, that support farmers and that support sustainable seafood and artisanal meat products.

15. There is a reason that food at quality restaurants costs what it does. If people realized all the prep work, little techniques that you wouldn't think much of sometimes but as a whole adds up to a really tasty product and if they realized what the staff gets paid, maybe people would go out to restaurants more because they would realize it really is a bargain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Farmers and chefs cannot charge enough to make up for all the time and effort that goes into their end product.

16. If everyone picked up one piece of trash from the ground that wasn't theirs the world would be a cleaner place.

17.A commenter to Pollan's rules said it perfectly, stop OBSESSING and EAT the damn cupcake, obsessing over food is a waste of energy.

18. There is nothing wrong with desserts or bread, just don't eat the entire cake at one sitting.

19. I am truly lucky to live in Chicago with access to one very amazing farmer's market, the Green City Market, which is a wonder of Chicago and to all the farmers that surround us from Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana!

20.I am lucky to live in a city with so many amazing and talented chefs who can source pretty cool produce, I just wish I had the funding to eat more often and support all those chefs by dining at their restaurants!!!!!!!!

21. Sorry I had to add this one, when you are 5' 2" it helps to focus on running ultramarathons when you love great food and are a serious eater like me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

22.Sorry one more just came to me, people who buy food because it is cheap and make decisions on price, look at the big picture, look at healthcare and the healthcare crisis and the nation's health as a whole, the population saved money in the short term by buying cheap packaged goods items from large supermarkets and look where we are now!!!!! Kind of like robbing Peter to pay Paul, we saved money in the short term and look at the nations' health in the long term....And then all people do is want to be fixed!!!!!!!! Which is one reason contributing to most (not all)of American medical care's focus on fixing and alleviating symptoms rather than a focus on preventing the problem to begin with and healing and sending the patient on a different health path.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Birthday Come and Gone...

It was my birthday on Thursday, September 17th. I have had some pretty cool birthdays, like having porters make me a cake at base camp at 17,000 ft, in Ladakh, Kashmir, India or having a birthday cake with candles near Mazar China in an oasis town in Xinjiang Province in Northwestern China, or I celebrated in Tokyo listening to one of the Beatles tribute bands in Roppongi and in the Dordogne one year I stayed at a medieval castle on a bike tour, great wine and foie gras is always a great to celebrate birthdays!!! And when I lived in New York, I celebrated at the original Daniel, and Le Bernardin as well. SO I can't complain, I have had some cool birthdays, this was definitely not one of them but I heard from some of my fantastic, supportive friends and that means a lot!!!!!!! However, I did go to an amazing dinner in the Hague this past June for my old college roommate's birthday that her husband threw for her, and that dinner party was pretty amazing,and Veuve Cliquot and a Nuits St Georges Premier Cru certainly helped as well.

I have just decided that my goal now is to get as fit this year as I possibly can! I am disappointed that I am not ready to run an ultra right this minute and my hamstring tendon injury has hampered yoga lately. But of all things, people cannot take away health and fitness from you, you take it away from yourself. My friend Sue is varies between a size 2 and a size 4, and most of the skinny yogini women are between size 2 and size 4's. I am completely at peace that I just will never be one. But if I can stay a size 6 then I feel that is a reasonable goal. SO this year I am trying to make reasonable and attainable goals. In ashtanga, I would love to finally break through my shoulders and be able to actually clasp my hands in some of the Marich binds, I think that is reasonable, I was born with squirrel arms not swan arms, what can I say, so it means getting a little leaner to get that extra little inch in order to clasp my hands. And I want to some how put together a sustainable financial life that I am at peace with and a plan to move to Aspen and finally put to rest some of the remaining family issues.

I guess what it boils down to is life is short and you have to go out and live it!!!!! Birthdays are always a reminder of that and a reminder of how lucky I am to have so many great friends in my life and my brother Jin gave me a singing Mr. Wolf doll. To keep us out of the attic and potentially falling through holes in it, my mother told us that a wolf lived in the attic, so I believed up and until I was about 8 or 9 that Mr. Wolf lived in the attic and I was Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween for many years, so my brother gave me a singing Wolf doll. He sings "Hey Little Red Riding Hood, You sure are looking good, your everything a big bad wolf could want. by Sam the Sham and the Pharouhs. So that definitely made me laugh!!!!....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mistakes Were Made Red Orchid Theater Review and the Badwater Race

I saw an amazingly well written play last night that I loved because it is full of satire and is a play on plays and theater, Mistakes Were Made, that is basically a one man play starring Michael Shannon. with Mierka Girten as the voice behind the curtain and the counterpoint to Felix(Shannon). I love Red Orchid theater because of the space. I LOVE this space!!!!! It is such a huge luxury to watch such a high quality production in such an intimate space!!!!!!!!!! The play is all about a guy on a telephone for 90 minutes, sounds very boring, right?? Well, my attention was captivated the entire time. Michael Shannon just gives his all in the performance. He has harnessed a mixture of Estelle, Joey's agent in Seinfeld, every used car salesman you have ever met and every jeweler in the Diamond district in New York. Shannon and Craig Wright, the playwright, must have had fun creating this character based on some of their experiences with producers in Hollywood and the compromises they have seen made and deals made with the devil. Now, having been in sales for so many years, and having lived in New York, the dialogue made me laugh, it was corny and true at the same time!!! But his performance was like running a half marathon but instead of a race a month, he will be performing this 3-4 times a he remembers all those lines, how he keeps a boundary between himself and the character while the play is running, all that is pretty mentally, spiritually and physically intense!!! But as his character makes mention of in the play, I think it is Michael Shannon's ode and gift to Red Orchid to bring attention and money to a very cool theater group that goes at the art in a very authentic and joyful way!!! But I think a playing a part like Felix Artifax takes a digging deep and persevering and focus the way an endurance race does. I will say the play touched on some themes that I have been exploring in the story I have been writing, The Jagged Edge, How people layer their personalities in life. And the ability of the observer to distinguish what is genuine sentiment and what is schlock. How people protect themselves with layers of different personas. You could take the character of Artifax and put him on a bond trading desk and it would be the same thing, to me that was what was funny about watching the play, I have seen the same things played out already. Shannon takes the character of Artifax, and moves from one layer to the next ultimately into the inner layers of Artifax's personality and what it is like when you go that deep which is why I think the role is a very intense, demanding one to play.

And I just came back from a great jog to Olive park and the thought occurred to me, only at Red Orchid and the intimacy of the set can a pet fish be a co-star of the play. The fish is both schlocky and effective. I think most people find pets are the ones we can be most honest to and speak from our innermost layer, pets represent unconditional love and we reciprocate to them. I think ideally we would like this to happen in human relationships but 99.99999% of the time it doesn't. So the fish and I am probably reading too many metaphors into it, but the fish rises to the surface of the aquarium and draws out the innermost Felix. I thought the fish was a very clever and entertaining role but as I said, only at Red Orchid, I just think it would not work on a bigger set.

Okay, the other thought I had, running, the sun and yoga always fills me with thoughts, what can I say, and a sunny day in Chicago can be such a rare thing it always make me happy! The other thought I had about MWM is that it had a few awkward silences. Now for me, not being educated or trained as an actor, and with all the underlying insecurity I have, my first thought was, "What cohonas this guy has" to hold a silence for so long on the stage when it is only you. I think many actors would start talking too soon to fill the silence. And there is a very fine line between not long enough and too long and I think as the play progresses they will fiddle with these. But the silences are the first indication that there is more too Felix than just a used car salesman, there are conversations going on in his head. This is another theme I have been playing around with in the Jagged Edge, the internal conversations we have with ourselves, so I think these silences are a tool to make us realize there IS MORE going on that just what we hear and see. It shows Felix's depth of character. The final touch I really liked was the set, I always love sets because good sets give hints of the characters and the narratives that are going to happen. It just takes paying attention to detail and the detail I liked in this set was the child's drawings because seeing the drawings and paying attention to the dialogue you realize Felix made mistakes that resulted in his child's death that he has still not quite forgiven himself for and that he is seeking forgiveness from his wife so that he can forgive himself.
So, my To DO today is mailing off the 25 pages of the Introduction and Chapter 1 of the Jagged Edge with an outline of the rest of the Chapters to an agent who had sent me a nice letter of rejection when I sent out the stories in my first idea, The Middle of the Stans.

Okay, here is CNN's footage of the Badwater race, I don't really have a very strong desire to do this particular race, I would rather focus, think of the Hardrock or the Trans Rockies, but the thing I love about the internet and web is that I can see people who are actually accomplishing these things and doing these things as compared to so many people I encounter in my day to day life in Chicago and at the store, who just don't have the spiritual connection to want to do these things and are just very sedentary, I just can't stand sedentary. I am so appreciated each and every day that I have the Lake out my front door and that I can run, even though my ankle and hamstring hurt at the moment, so many people I encounter on a day to day basis in Chicago think they are too old or it is their knees or their back or tis hurts or it is too dangerous to bike or this or that. I LOVE the web to show me people who say I CAN!!!!!!!!!! I agree with the Brazilian guy who is quoted in the film, for me so much of my love of trekking and remote places and the aspiration to finish the Hardrock race is the sense of a very deep spiritual connection to the earth.

On my run yesterday I decided, that rather than get depressed over how I have these aspirations but have not achieved them I should be happy that I have them.THere are so many people that don't know what to do with themselves and get bored over life and maybe I haven't run the Hardrock or published a book or written a play, half the battle is the will to want to!!!! I have to be happy that I have that will!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dreaming and Healing

Okay, I have been totally dreaming about skiing, hiking, trekking, and mountain biking again. A friend from the store took this pic awhile ago, yes, there have been times where I have actually had fun there although this friend just moved to New York, so the nice people there are fewer and fewer and it is getting to be just the entrenched mean people. SO this is me playing make-believe I am in the Wakkhan which looks like a totally cool place, my friend Ades took all these great pics!!!!! So Wakkhan is I think on the top of my list now for if I ever have money again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the slide show from Mongolia with my summiting Mt. Huiten still exists, yes that is me with the White Helmet on, and I am at the front of the table with a Jackson Hole headband on and on the rocks with blue pants on and my Pakistan movie is still on YouTube, but will I ever be able to go to the Wakkhan or Uganda and climb the Mountains of the Moon and see the gorillas....there is so much to see in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I am still healing from my hamstring tendon injury. I am used to sore, but(no pun intended if u get what I mean..) this was REALLY sore, so I am going out for a 45 minute easy jog but I have stayed away from ashtanga which completely affects how I feel and think. But there is not much to do sometimes but let your body heal and I have to just respect that no matter how hard it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I am beginning to wonder if we have ever had a summer here in Chicago although what I suspect is that we are going to have some beautiful days in September and October. Remember the Chicago marathon of a few years ago and people dying of heat exhaustion??

And I went to a great event this week that Slow Food sponsored at the Daley Plaza, an Eat-In to support the Child Nutrition Act, then coincidentally they were running an interview on TV by Charlie Rose of Ferran Adria and Joses Andres and Adria was talking about the importance of the quality of food children eat. But I am always in awe of a lot of the people who were there because they are dedicated to the cause not to the money that they made or the publicity. And I am in awe of them because I love money, not 100%, but I do like some of the creature comforts, and the money to go skiing, and traveling and eating at great restaurants!!!!!!

And I just always am so appreciative of blue skies in Chicago, this is another grey, yucky day.....I am dreaming of blue skies as well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aspiring and Doing

After having watched this video, and having watched this video, and read Olga's recap of her finish, . I aspire and would love to finish the Hardrock 100. It is a 100 mile race through the San Juan mountains. I love Telluride, one of my favorite hikes in the universe so far is the Sneffels Highline trail at the height of wild flower season, which is usually late July and early August where the flowers grow taller than me, (5ft.2"). I have climbed Wilson Peak and Mount Sneffels and mountain biked from Telluride to Moab. I just love the mountains out there and for some reason I just really aspire to finishing this race but I am SO FAR from even attempting it. I am signed up to run a 50 mile race in mid-Octber and right now I have a sore upper hamstring tendon in my left leg which is driving me buggy and even if I was perfectly healthy I have not been putting much mileage in. I find it hard to get out and even get an hour run done because I have gotten really bored running on the Lakefront, I would love to figure out somehow how to move myself and my life to Aspen or Telluride but I just cannot figure out how.

I aspire to finishing my story on the Jagged Edge which I have about 20 pages written right now of an essay rather than a story, I have the story mapped out somewhat but no ending.

I aspire to making it to Mysore at 7 in the morning 2 days a week but right now my hamstring makes forward bends a bit painful which stinks!!!!

But aspiring and doing are 2 completely different things. I so admire the farmers I come into contact with, the chefs, the activists who are so focused and completely immersed in their passion for a specific thing!!! I came across this great video on Carrie from Naha and Sarah from Prairie Grass, on their trip to Alaska. They are totally focused on their businesses, the authenticity of what they do and making a difference and inspiring change. Here is one on activist Debbie Hillman of Evanston.

I just dream of running through the mountains and traveling more to hike over remote mountain passes in other parts of the world, ike the Pamirs, like the Tien Shan, like the remote valleys in Nepal. I once did actually climb, although hard for me to believe at the moment, click here, to see a slide show of my trip to Mongolia and I am the one in blue with the white helmet on who is summiting and then sitting at the summit. I actually once did do things!!!!

I have been trying to ice my hamstring, layoff running and yoga for a few days but it stinks, because no yoga and no running puts me in a very bad mood, I think I was some kind of goat in a previous life and I am so much happier outside all the time and I am happier doing cartwheels and backbends and backward rolls....WIth the airshow this weekend the lake water is not great for swimming because there are a lot of boats in the water which means more gasoline, trash, etc and so far the noise has not been too bad but the air show only reminds me of war, destruction and death.

Thank goodness for the webs and blogs, they are comforting to me because when I feel I am a fish out of water living in the city rather than the mountains and feeling so unconventional when I live in a rather conventional, conservative city, I can read about people that are DOING the things that I want to do and I can get inspired by the people around me like the chefs and farmers and activists who are doing what THEY want to do.

I used to finish my poetry with a line, "I wish someone had the answer" and I guess I still kind of wish that......

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Got It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally have the Primary Series memorized. I totally spaced out in my Mysore class last Thursday morning and messed up on the sequence. I did not bring my cheat sheet and I got tired and just forgot. But sometimes when we mess up we learn and I think I now know the Series, yeah!!!!!! At least the beginner version of the Series, I don't pretend to KNOW it but I at least know what I am suppose to be attempting at my level. THis is a MAJOR yoga breakthrough for me. The other break through occurred when I basically had a private lesson with Bill last week because I was the only one who showed up for class. I got so many insights into the poses and practice, it was great!!!! And I initially felt bad for Bill that he was stuck with only me but he was very patient and encouraging and like Paul Weitz maintains a sense of humor about it.
I continue to take Bill Shapleigh's lead class at Yogaview on Tuesday night and I am trying to get to 1 or 2 mysore classes a week or take Daylene Christensen's class at Moksha. As with most activities that require skill, the more I know the more I realize what I don't know. But that is okay, it just adds dimension to the practice and even though I am repeating the same postures over and over, they are different every time I attempt them. SO anyone who says they get bored doing the same sequence of postures just does not get IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I am getting close to getting a new Iphone, in the old days I would just have gotten one no problem because I had the dollars but in this time of little cash I just can't go out and spend $200, so I am continuing to try to carve our a financially sustainable life but one where I don't have to go into too corporatey a job. That is just not me anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I had a quick trip to Holland to celebrate a surprise birthday party for an old college roommate. It was sooooooooo great to see such a loving family, a beautiful house, tons of flowers, although I did not wear a tulip skirt to the party!!! I forgot how much I love Europe, traveling, how I am much more comfortable outside of the US than in the US. That one of the things I actually like about working at the retail store that I do, is that I meet people from all over the world!!!! I love attempting to speak different languages. I find traveling so easy. The wines that my friend's husband chose were wonderful, a great Nuits Saint Georges, I have bicycled through Burgundy and have tasted some amazing grand crus, and after drinking my great value less than 10$ a bottle every day wine, it was luxurious to drink the Burgundy. Lots of cheese, herring and strawberries. The entire trip was very affirming and I have to say I loved traveling business on KLM on the way over.....

I have not been very inspired to blog much lately, just trying to keep my head above water financially and just mad about the world. Why do so many jobs that don't do much to help society pay so much and the jobs that actually help people pay so little??????????????? I am just having a very hard time coming to terms with the two. Take health, if people actually paid attention to what they eat, didn't rush around so much, actually took time to do yoga, pilates, anything where you learn how to breath correctly and reset your spine, walked and bicycled more rather than drive and sit in cars, everyone's health would be a lot better. But the justification is that they are too busy, that they are trying to earn a living and that they just don't have time or the money to do the things that would actually help them feel better. Everyone has a choice and so much of American society is work, work, rush, rush and quite frankly, everyone has a choice not to rush. When friends tell me that they are too busy, I just think it is a bunch of baloney, everyone is as busy as they allow themselves to be, you prioritize what you prioritize that is it..........................Maybe I have been eating too many green things..................

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are Morning People Born or Made?

       Are morning people born or made? That is the question. I finally had my future self voice win out over my waking up voice today and I got out of the house by 6:15, on to the bike path by 6:25 and I even stopped to pet a German Short Hair Pointer that was being walked on Fullerton by the Lakefront and then to my second mysore class of my life by 7:05am. I was done with the Primary Series by 8:30, stopped at Vanille Patisserie for an almond croissant and coffee as my reward and got to a meeting at 9:30. 
       But as I biked along the Lakefront I looked at all the people jogging and they were all thin and fit. There were none of my people there.  My usual battle in the morning is that my waking self changes my mind for me and decides that being ensconced in my comfortable bed is far gentler than getting up any earlier than 8:15. My waking self likes to wake up leisurely and gently because I had so many years of literally, rolling out of bed, barely getting out of the house and barely getting to my desk by 7:30 and feeling horrible and feeling tired and feeling fat and feeling not fit and being unhappy that I was there so I would load up on lattes to get myself going and the whole day was about comforting myself with food.
On a trek, I found it much easier to rise early because usually the porters were up and their voices waked me up, they would bring coffee to my tent and the sun would be out and it was a nice way to get up. Getting up at 3 or 4 on summit days was a pain in the butt, however, once I was out I almost felt like I was sleep walking until about 7:30 or 8 when my whole self would finally wake up. Is it coded into our DNA what time we wake up.
                                                      I had a great yoga class, Bill gave me some great adjustments and yet again I found my body slowly inching into positions it had not been in before. And I have to say I was really happy practicing yoga with the sun streaming in on me. I was joyful and happy!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                      As I biked on my way to yoga, I decided I am going to be much more compassionate when I see people jogging/running late morning or middle of the day on a Saturday. That was me a lot of the time, I had the record for being the fittest for how unfit I looked.
                                                    SO today the sun shined and I was able to do it and I decided that on the whole it is coded into our DNA in terms of how we arise in the morning but as I learned from my dog Sophie, an old dog can learn new tricks. And since I am not that old yet, I have no excuse, so I can learn new things and at least once a week get myslef in gear and out of the house early.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Asparagus Galore

Well, I have been having a mini asparagus fest......I have found that the fresh, thin asparagus I buy at the farmer's market doesn't need to be cooked.  Once I peel it and take off the "warts", it is juicy enough to be served as is. So I have been having asparagus salad, snacking on asparagus, it is amazing how fresh asparagus has such flavor and particularly the thin stalks are so tender, they are totally different from the thick stalks that I find at the supermarkets and which I never buy. HOWEVER, I experienced a  phenomenon from eating asparagus and that is, it sounds disgusting, but after mother nature's call in the bathroom there was a horrible smell. I had just cleaned my tub and the bathroom with comet, etc, so I thought there must be something rotten in the tub drain. The smell was like rotten eggs. Then of course, I let my fingers do the walking and googled asparagus and found out that this smell is common and is an indicator that I have an enzyme that breaks down asparagus and causes this horrible smell. At least it is a sign that my kidneys are working!!! Then I found that it was referenced in an Austin Powers movie, where he eats asparagus, pees and scares the villain away. Anyways, I thought I was going crazy and when I found so many references on the web to this phenomenon about asparagus it made me laugh!!!! But I have to say, I had a green fest yesterday, a triple dose of wheat grass at the Green City Market,  raw asparagus salad when I got home and then sauteed spinach for dinner and I feel great is amazing how green things make me feel so much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I thought it was my getting to ashtanga class the other night or maybe it was both.....
Yeah Spring, yeah summer.............


Saturday, May 23, 2009

TIme Flies

Wow, already Saturday May 23.....have not been terribly inspired to blog, since my Iphone passed have not been taking any pics, will return to blogging when my creative energies recharge(no pun intended)......The job situation has had me very all my energy has been going to keeping my spirits up....and I can't believe it is Memorial Day!!!!!!

I will say, I am committing to writing 1 page a day of the Jagged Edge, not 2 or 3, just one. I have to get on auto pilot in some areas, writing, running and biking to yoga. 3 very simple things that are for some reason for me incredibly hard to execute. My friend Ades has pictures up on Facebook of all his recent trips he has lead. I am very downcast over no treks for me, I could keep going on all the things I am upset about.....

Hopefully I will figure out how to get a new Iphone, I can't rob a bank, etc.....I am just caught up in ennui, how screwed up the world is, Wall Street and what a sham it is. how pay is totally screwed up and mad at myself that I like money and what it brings....I like green things, wheat grass, asparagus, money, spinach, arugula, money, trees, flowers, money...I just have to put my energies in a productive, functional, direction to continue to create abundance in my the moment though I feel like I am caught in a rip tide....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mysore, SUCCESS!!!

I completed my first Mysore class today. I have intended to go to a class for years. Class is somewhat of an oxymoron, because it isn't a class, you/I practice on my own, at my own speed without any instruction. The biggest reason I had not gone to a Mysore class is that I was worried I would not remember all of the Primary Series poses, being the obsessive type, I did not want to go to class unless I completed the WHOLE thing!!!  Friends from my weekly class at Yoga view had encouraged me to go Suddha Weixler's class at 8am at Chicago Yoga Center. The next excuse I created is that Suddha is a very high level, senior teacher who has been taught directly by Sri Pattabhi Jois, who introduced ashtanga yoga to the world outside India, so I am such a beginner at the Primary series that I thought I would embarrass myself, and feel foolish there.
In yoga classes it is very easy to get caught up in body image issues but at the same time it is great because it is a perfect environment to work on those issues. But for me, to go to a new place brings back all the thoughts that I have worked so hard to get rid of and I totally forget about self acceptance.
But I am so happy, I did it!!!!!!!!!!!  I created a few poses along the way and I decided there is a reason the Hindus did not create a squirrel god because squirrels are not very graceful creatures doing yoga. I think I invented a pose though, squirrel pose. I was born with squirrel arms. Great for climbing and scrambling up mountains and hillsides but not great for graceful yoga poses or binds. Why is it that sometimes the most knowledgeable or experienced people are sometimes the most humble. Suddha was really helpful, and encouraging. I sometimes feel like an ashtanga yoga flunkie but he was very accepting and very unassuming but I could tell off the bat, very wise..............

Went to the Green City Market, have asparagus galore which is my VOTW(vegetable of the week)!!!!!! Learned about a new mushroom, a morel, that is my new SOTW(Shroom of the week). But feels like Fall in Chicago today and for a final random thought, I am really considering replacing my Iphone because I just really totally miss it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Made asparagus soup last night, and also blanched some asparagus for asparagus, arugula, mushroom and parmesan salad that I'll dress with a vinaigrette.....yeah!!!!!!!!!! green things...These will be my lunch and dinner that maybe I'll make a popover to have with.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Skiing, Mysore and Asparagus

I have still been in mourning over my Iphone, life has definitely not been the same. Also, most people have fantasies about............,I have been dreaming about skiing in Alaska or I'll take Snowbird or Aspen and climbing the Ramdung and Parchemo peaks in Nepal with Ade Summers as my guide, or going to Africa again and this time to Ethiopia or Uganda. I would so love to be going on a mountain trek somewhere..TOMMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, I have decided that I am finally committing to Mysore practice with Bill Shapleigh at Yogaview....given my tendency towards perfectionism, I have been intimidated to go because I still don't have every posture memorized. However, I FEEL so much better after ashtanga that I realize I HAVE to go. So I am now going to practice the full series 3x a week and in the morning which breaks all slacker barriers for me. At least for the month of May!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And today is a great day because it is Green Market foraging and time for asparagus, which after I finally caught on, in a class by Roger Herring of Socca, that if you peel the asparagus, you don't have to cook it much and it tastes soooooooo great, May will be asparagus month!!!!!!!!! I have a great simple recipe from Roger's class,  of chicken, asparagus and arugula salad with a very basic balsamic vinaigrette that I can eat 24/7,  a great puree from Michael Ruhlman's blog, and I'll see what idea's Heidi offers.

I am focusing on green things, asparagus, money, I'll check if peas are up yet, money, and will be grateful all the time that I can bike around everywhere and run!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yet another random meandering from JB........

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Miss My Iphone!!!!

My Iphone got wet accidentally and it died. RIP I really miss it, I used it for an alarm clock, I had it set to waking up to a barking dog, I took ad hoc pictures with it, I of course checked my email and it made phone calls so easy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $400 to replace it which I don't have......until I get more sustainable employment.... ugggghhhhhhhhh

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Someday, Soon.....

Mountains, Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, skiing, Chugach, hiking, wild flowers, 10,000+ feet, Nepal, Kazakhstan, gorillas, Uganda, Ethiopia, Paris, El Bulli, Julien Farel Hair Salon, botox, new clothes...all the things I would love to do, some sooner than others if I had the funding, some contradictory relative to my value of sustainability, but I did live in Manhattan on the upper east side for years what can I say?? I say my prayers, keep trying to ferret my way into a new job that allows me to be sustainable financially.....The End...

P.S. I REALLY, REALLY miss my Iphone, it died due to water(not a very much either)....Apple is a brand, niche, marketing, technology wizard....................

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter..........

Well, I am procrastinating again before I go out for a long may still be cold but the sun is out..yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I decided I have to appreciate the things I am happy about.....I am happy that I went and plonged(washed the dishes) at the Peter Kump Cooking School on the upper East side of New York, where I took Tech 1 and Tech 2, and Tech 1 I took over and over.....I appreciate learning to care  about sharp knives, quality ingredients and the history and story behind dishes, learning about France, learning about proportions(I still have to buy Michael Ruhlman's new book Ratio). I was lucky to have known Peter and taken classes taught by him and the other memorable teacher I had was Gaynor Grant
And I appreciate that I have traveled, trekked and skied so much, not as much as some but ALOT more than others. I totally, totally miss skiing, trekking and traveling, the only thing I can do is get really fit so when the opportunity arises I can jump on it!!!!!!!!!!!! I am really appreciative of the food, yoga and twelve step community in Chicago and I am appreciative that I am healthy and that I enjoy life no matter what the situation, there is something programmed in me that no matter what the circumstances I find joy in things.........
This week has been a week of loss for me, my Iphone died(not covered by its warranty, so I went for a cheap replacement and I am so at a loss without my Iphone, it totally sucks), I lost my bike key so I have to find the right tool to saw the Kryptonite lock off of my bike, and I am still looking for financially sustainable employment(is this too much to ask???)
        SO with that said I am going to feel the joy of feeling free and enjoying the lake and the air and the joy of being able to run and get the endomorphins cooking and after that I am going to cook and make Ruhlman's corn bread and make more red cabbage and honey and will probably throw some sweet potatoes in the oven as well....
                                      .................Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Made the corn bread but may mix up the ingredients next time, may add more types of peppers, some sour cream and/or brown sugar and will broil at end with butter on top to get the top crusty. Did not make the cabbage, ran out of apple juice and forgot to buy apples.  The Les Dames d'Escoffier Sustainable Seafood event is on my agenda for next week....I may live in the "Midwest" currently(mountains, mountains pull me in) but there are still a lot of restaurants that serve fish and the question is, where do they get their fish, what is the supply/demand equation of fish, fish populations, the use of Lake Michigan to sustain fish...As I eat less and less meat, and more vegetables, fish is still a healthy alternative for protein and fatty I am kind of curious.........

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Have to Find My Place

Went to an amazing party Friday night, Rampfest, sponsored by the LandConnection at the Garfield Park Conservatory. It was my first time inside and it is a gem of Chicago. I felt like I had taken a trip to the Amazon and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many green things!!!!!! And the event supported a great organization that is trying to secure land for farmers so more local food can be grown in and around Chicago. Not only was the conservatory incredible but all the chefs that supported the event produced outstanding dishes utilizing ramps. So I was very, very, lucky to be able to participate. Thank you Ann and Becky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I continue to watch some video of Shane McConkey and also the late Doug Coombs who both died doing what they loved in the mountains although years apart. I had been aware of Doug Coomb's operation for years, he was involved with the Exum Guides in jackson for a long time. It is one thing to be aware and it is another to do. As I kept sitting in front of the computers and phone turrets with all the angry old and young men, I kept getting farther and farther removed from being fit and able to ski and hike in the big mountains (in a mellow way not extreme) which was always my love and dreams. I really miss skiing, and I miss trekking in the mountains. I never quite got to the point where I could ski down a chute or couloir easily, that was always one of my ski goals and being fit enough to heli ski (mellow skiing) in Canada(CMH) or Alaska(Valdez Heli Skiing) was always one of my goals. It is sad that both are gone but seeing the videos of the mountains, hearing from my friend Ades of all his great adventures in Nepal has me sad that I am so far removed from the mountains right now and they LIVED their lives while they were alive and Ades continues to do that. Deep down I am a mountain chick at heart. I feel so alive when I am at the top of a ski slope or in the middle of a powder run or crossing a pass when it is snowing. Even though I am far from and don't figure on doing back flips off of a cliff, the joy of skiing in powder surrounded by big mountains(for me the mountains were the Wasatch primarily or the San Miguels) is indescribable unless you have been there and your inner compass is tuned to that frequency, the same with crossing a high mountain pass covered in snow. When I had 2 passes to cross in one day on the Tso Morari trek in the Ladakh region, I was so unfit and so slow and the local guide was so cheerful and so cold waiting for me and so patient, but at the same time I was really happy being frozen and tired, I was happy breathing in the air at 16,000 ft and being in such an open, quiet, beautiful place with snow falling all around me, so although it was hard to finish that day and I had to dig deep within myself to keep going, I was really, really happy and lucky to have such a kind guide who laughed along with me. And on so many of the treks I have been on, the porters and local guides have been such role models of how little it takes to be happy and how to be grateful for the simple things and such amazing work ethics be it Pakistan, India, Bolivia, Chile, China or Mongolia. I am so lucky to have had so many experiences but I am just sad that I am not there right now. I realize that all I can do is say prayers and try to do things that will put me in the right place and that wallowing does not work and is a waste and I am so great at wallowing!!!!!!!! I have been lucky, I have BEEN THERE and have been too MANY THERES!!!!!!!...but I still hope to heli-ski in the Chugach someday or do the Ramdung and Parchemo trek in Nepal or ski to the North Pole or climb and hike in Kamchatka. At the same time I feel guilty that I want to do these things, so many people have no chance ever to do it. And it is funny, working at the retail store, none of the employees except for 1 or 2 really know and I think really love the mountains. And most of the customers who come in, buy a piece of the dream, they will never ski, or trek but by buying a piece of the clothing, they feel cool, they feel like they are one of the mountain people. For me it is just sad, I am so far removed from it right now, all I can do is run and stay really fit that when the opportunity presents itself I can make the most of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So by immersing myself in issues to do with nature and food and land in Chicago helps me to channel some of that mountain energy in the short term and there are so many people that I admire because they are really dedicated to these issues.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, Michael Ruhlman has a great entry this week on food writing and writing period. His point is write for the reader not for yourself. Most of this blog breaks his rule, but it is nice to get my thoughts out onto the universe of the web because although no one really reads this, it is satisfying to my soul to know they are out there......
I said to a friend I believe enabling people in traveling and she said to say support and encourage. But I guess I just have to be grateful for all that I have done and been able to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On another note, in the midst of making the Serious Eats Red Cabbage with Apples and Honey, it smells great, was pretty easy and I am excited to taste it when it is done. I was lazy and did not let the sauce reduce down enough but I think it will still taste bueno!!!!!!!!! Made it and it is really good..............

And it is snowing and cold yet again in Chicago and I am going to go out for a short run I need to feel the elements and run to Mind's Eye by Wolfmother.

Friday, February 27, 2009

TIme to Buck Up and I Heart Ashtanga

Well, after reading this entry by the AWG ( Angry White Guy, Saturday Feb. 21)  where he writes that a real job contains three important elements: a sense of personal autonomy/accountability, a degree of complexity, and a solid connection between effort and reward. It does not contain: a paper hat or a cash register that has food symbols on it instead of numbers. Take the job that you want. Find a job that seems like it will be challenging, fulfilling and pays you some kind of wage and then work hard to do it well. If you take a job because it gives you benefits(and that is the main reason to take the job) then all you will have at the end of the day is benefits.

My original goal was to have a change of employment by the end of February. As I have said in the past, I kind of like parts of my retail job, I like the product, I get along with the people but the pay is completely ridiculously low, not just a little low, stupid low. So I HAVE to change. The magazine I have been working on, Edible Chicago, I love working on but it is a labor of love and soul not money. So I have to change strategy and change jobs ASAP and I just have to buck up and do it. I would love to take a job where they will give me some room to get up to speed in Powerpoint among other programs. I like working at a computer and I like designing things so I think I would like working on presentations and making them snappy. 

Meanwhile, I LOVE ashtanga and the Primary Series, it is better than going to a therapist, having a glass of wine, eating great food, it sounds very corny but ashtanga is food for the soul, incredibly trite but true. At the end of the day what do we have but our bodies and the Primary Series connects me with myself, physically and mentally and empties my cache(brain) of all the stuff that has accumulated during the day and maybe it is because I have some great teachers, Bill Shapleigh, Tom Quinn and I just took Daylene Christensen's class, and of course, Paul Weiss ( who leads the class from a real loving but humorous place). And I am seeing improvements, I was born with squirrel arms so I will never have the long fluid look but my legs are slowly but surely getting to a place where I can do a full lotus pose, my backbends are getting much better that I think soon I will be able to stand up by myself, my handstands are getting better and even there is hope now that I might be able to do a bind, like Marichyasana A, my hands still don't reach each other but each time I get closer and it is a metaphor for how things are going in my life, even though I have major job and economic issues, I feel like I am get closer to a positive resolution. At least for today, I feel the universe is a benevolent place and compassionate place.

I still work on the Jagged Edge bit by bit as well. I have a lot of scenarios I need to elaborate on but I still haven't come to any idea of what the plot will be. My latest idea is that the heroine/main character of the story, checks out(in more ways than one) people at the register and is able to visualize their dirty laundry, like an asian woman who comes in wearing a black fur coat,  pointy boots with spiked metal heels, and a black eye disguised with makeup and the man with her , who has a completely bald head with scabs on it, tall and big wearing a trench coat and small, tortoise shell glasses is actually a sadist or a nondescript, thin, soft spoken man with a pock marked face buying a jacket who uses a credit card from a computer company and she can see through him that he actually loves little boys or a father that comes in shopping with his very attractive daughter and at the checkout counter caresses her face and our character realizes the father is actually molesting the daughter and our character looks at the father and he looks at her and they both know she knows and he scowls, pays and walks away.  My output is so low at the moment, Joe Janes continues to write a sketch a day at 365sketches, Meghan is just about done her thesis, at least I can write a few sentences a day, a paragraph maybe, I guess when I get home my mind gets preoccupied and is not in a place to write. I am just great at EXCUSES......My point for writing it, is to show people how active the human mind can be and that people are not alone in their own thoughts and anxieties, that it is part of the human condition. And to show how we all have so many layers to our personalities, some more than others and how much courage it takes for some to let people into those deeper layers. I think that is why I feel so comfortable selling outerwear and wearing outerwear, it is protective and comforting and how the people who seem most confident sometimes hide awful things about themselves behind these layers and the people who think the worst about themselves sometimes have the most to be proud of and they just don't know it. 

Well, this post has tons of contradictions, bucking up on one hand and on the other working inward, but that is me, full of contradictions. One of my new or renewed actions of late is to support my friends and acquaintances, I helped a friend leave the hospital after a test because he was required to have someone take him home and I am going to start tutoring disadvantaged kids once a week for 1 and 1/2 hours, and I like to support fellow(what is the female version of fellow??)bloggers in their writing efforts.  And my running, has been very minimal of late, today is a grey sky but I hope to get out and at least breath a little outside air, I don't know how fresh it is considering I live in a city. I continue to feel like I am on the edge of the ledge but I have confidence that I can maintain my BALANCE for now!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

My oldest friend, Nancy,tagged me on Facebook with the chain letter "25 Random Things About Me".  I have never fully embraced Facebook, I joined a long time ago to get access to a friends profile and I did not want my personal information out there, so I joined under a different name, Julie Brown. Then I tried to change the name to my real name and never heard back from the Facebook people,(maybe Facebook is actually run by aliens so that is why you never can reach a person). Since then, I use it occasionally, to keep up with my friend Ivan who I met on a trekking trip, to somewhat stay in touch with my retail college student friends who really use it and to stay aware of how it works. So I just didn't feel comfortable and I don't like to feel pressured to respond to chain letters, any kind of chain letter drives me bonkers!!!!! But then in Salon I read an article by Robert Lanham on the 25 things phenomenon and I decided this blog was as good a place to post my 25 things as any place. I already have my list of 43things. I am definitely a list person which is why I am finally succumbing to this 25 Random Things.
1. This picture is of my old dog who I loved, loved, loved, Sophie, a german short hair pointer, in the car as I drove to Moab Utah to drop her off to live with my friend Kirstin, who owns and runs the mountain bike company, Rim Tours. Sophie eventually died out there and is buried in Kirstin's backyard. Kirstin earned a zillion mitzvahs for adopting her. See this entry for the full story.
2. I was a plongeur(dishwasher)at the Peter Kump Cooking School in New York while he was alive, So I took his French Techniques classes for free in 1988 while I was going to business school. I went through Tech 1 about 4x and went through Tech 2 about 3 times but he taught me a love of great ingredients and appreciation for sharp knives and a love of everything French!!!! He was James Beard's protege and the founder of the James Beard House. 
3. I am not a morning person but I would love to be and it drives me crazy that I am not.
4. I had the idea of starting a dog wear company for large, urban, dogs called Drippy Dog. I still have the URL. The first product was going to be a simple, plastic rain poncho. And I own the URL and
5. I believe in always having fun in everything that you do, life is too short otherwise, but feel guilty about that belief because it isn't a "responsible, adult attitude, a corporate attitude"(vestige from growing up with my family) but I am feeling less guilty about it over time.
6. I  feel most at home and the healthiest at 10.000 feet.
7.  If I had unlimited funds and didn't have to work I would consider getting my Phd. in religion/philosophy, get an MFA and/or go to cooking school in Paris.
8. I always loved to do handstands and walk on my hands everywhere and all the time when I was 12 and 13.
9. I never wear the color, yellow, orange or red, you can never go wrong with black in a city.
10. I completed my first marathon in 1984 in 4:41 hrs and Rod Dixon won, since then I have finished 12 marathons, once I finished New York and Chicago back to back. My best finish is a 3:52 hours in the Boston marathon but I ran as a bandit so it is not official but I KNOW I did it! But marathons for me are too corporate now and have lost their appeal(call me old school, triathlons the same way, people have gotten too teched out in terms of gear), I would really love to have the time and be fit enough to finish one of the long trail runs out west and even the very short Imogene Pass run in Telluride.
11. I think Telluride is one of the most beautiful places in the universe, I would love to live there but it is a little too isolated unless you have a gizillion dollars so you can leave every now and then. Maybe that is why most of the people who live there now have a gizillion dollars.
12. I have 2 younger brothers who are fraternal twins. One lives at home in Connecticut with my mother in the house we grew up in, and before that lived in Chicago/Pittsburgh/Minneapolis for 10 years, the other brother lived at home with my mother for 12+ years and then got married and moved into his wife's apartment 15 minutes from my mother's house.
11. I was Captain of the Green Team at Convent of the Sacred Heart and was always a Green at Sacred Heart where I went to school for 13 years, kindergarten through 12th grade, except Sophomore year when I went to "Green"wich High School. And I went to Dartmouth whose colors were green and white and called "The Big Green". Maybe that was a bit of foreshadowing of my true interests????
12. I am not being random enough in this list and am getting too serious but I do like to invent new words. The latest word is baggle, when pants do not fit well, they baggle(the saggy part of the pant, particularly on women, right below the bum, NOT a good thing). I use the non-word exactamundo a lot, it is just a great sounding word in my book and can be said in a gizillion different ways, and I really like the word, gizillion in case you did not notice but I do not claim to have invented it.
13. I played Dr. Quack in the operetta The Pink Siamese when I was 6/7 years old. Dr. Quack is another foreshadowing of my true personality. I was dressed completely in a duck outfit, traumatized me for life.
14. I was in China, over 9/11 right near the Afghan border coming back from K2 base camp and the day before we heard the news over a short wave radio about 9/11, one of the porters was severely injured and almost killed, it felt like a funeral at our camp and the next day we heard about the WTC. One of those weird coincidences in life.(My friend Ivan and his Dad were on that trip)And that is one of the core episodes in the story/book I started to write, "The Middle of the Stans"
15. I have 2 bikes and no car, I like to bike everywhere and I really do not believe in cars.
16. I am in love with the ashtanga primary series, it just hits the spot, doing backward rolls, headstands and backbends makes me happy.
17. My mother had an low impact, aerobics exercise business for 30 years but smoked the entire time(in secret) and still smokes but has dementia now so we get along pretty well.
18. During job interviews in college, Mobil Oil flew me out to Chicago to interview with their office here, I wanted to stay back east, Chicago was way too midwest. During business school, Morgan Stanley flew me out to interview with their office here, I wanted to work in New York where the action and hip people were. Now I am here.
19. I love beautiful things(vases), textiles(cashmere, silk, pretty shirts, pretty shoes), art(abstracts), flowers(peonies, roses, star gazer lilies), men(what can I say I am shallow), places(Telluride, the mountains in Pakistan, wild places).
20. I really like to laugh and have an absurd, weird sense of humor that I am comfortable with now.(Go back to #5) I have had this weird sense of humor since I was 6 or 7, it had to have been the Dr. Quack experience....(See #13)
21. I love dramatic, well written plays in small venues about family/work dysfunction and I would love to write one or more some day about the dysfunction of a trading desk and Wall Street and/or the dysfunction of growing up in Greenwich, CT around all the wealth because I think in watching actions unfold on a stage it sparks recognition and healing and awareness in people about themselves and is a good thing and I love words and layering with themes and foreshadowing and recognizing patterns. But I am a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better writer in my head than I am on paper which I am coming to terms with. Eugene O'Neil and Tennessee William's plays I LOVED analyzing in college. Tracy Lett's plays amazing, David Mamet, Tom Stoppard and AR Gurney, just love their work.
22. I want to finish a marathon when I am 70 and when I am 80. Over the last years, my pace has been consistent with the 80 year old men, so maybe there is hope.
23. My father died when I was 13 of a heart attack at 48 at home in Connecticut and my mother kept asking me to wake him up although I knew deep down he was dead and I just wanted to go back to sleep, but my mother kind of put me in situations like this before my father died, when he died and after he died.
24. We had to eat calves liver once a week as a kid and my mother cooked it so it looked and tasted like leather, I was an expert at figuring how to eat it and spit it out, stash it in my napkin, excuse myself from the table a gizillion times, stick it under the radiator, anything not to eat it and my father would not allow us to leave the table unless it was finished, one of the life experiences that drove me to cooking school. We also had to eat tongue(boiled), and kidneys.
25. If I could have anybody's jobs, I would love to be Maureen Dowd and write snarky columns like hers, have my friend Ade's job and lead people on mountain climbs all over the world and live in Sydney on my down time, be an up and coming playwright, be a foreign correspondent like Christiane Amanpour, live in Aspen, but work for the Jane Goodall institute and take trips to Africa to save the gorillas, run my own restaurant in Aspen or live in a mountain town and work with college students(I applied for this one and would love to do it) 
                     Good thing that I did not post this on Facebook, I wonder what Julie Brown would post??????????? At the retail store they kid and call me Uptown Julie Brown............I kind of like the alter ego.............


Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's Back....

Well, we are back to Arctic Chicago but at least the sun is out. I have made progress on the cooking front. I now love squash and sweet potatoes. They both last a long time, being the slacker I am, I don't always cook things when I originally plan to and they end up sitting. Secondly, all you have to do is slice them in half, scoop out the seeds in the case of butternut squash, pour some olive oil and a little salt and pepper and then just let them cook in the oven for 45 minutes. I still had honey from Prairie Fruit Farms and I had left over candied ginger, so once the squash finished and a round of laundry as well, I poured a little honey over them and put some cut up ginger on top then I microwaved it. I have to say, it was very tasty and very filling and I got a dose of vitamins and nutrients at the same time. So cooking the squash is a total win/win food. I originally was put off by all the squashes because they are big and cumbersome but once I got over that, they are probably one of the easiest foods to cook. So my latest must have a lot of food, is the squash and I will add on the side some sauteed spinach in butter and soy sauce and my tummy is very happy!!!
 And this week I volunteered at the Lincoln Park Conservatory as part of my retail job.  I ran up there, volunteered and ran back. I had never been in the conservatory before and it is very cool. It is very, very green and I got my total green fix and breathed in all the oxygen given off by the plants. We helped to rake leaves away from the bottoms of the plants because they decay and give off lethal gases for the plants and attract all the bottom feeder insects like cockroaches. This was another win/win situation for me, I was really happy to discover all the nooks and cranny's of the conservatory like the fern room which felt very prehistoric. I got a great run in, not a 2 hour run, that is on the agenda for tomorrow,( it has not been a week yet since I made that commitment),but I was running all over Lincoln Park trying to figure out where the Conservatory was, I got it mixed up with the Peggy Norbert Nature Museum,  which I guess happens often. But I think the Conservatory is another hidden gem of Chicago. AN since I was there on a Friday morning, it was deserted.
   Finally, I have fallen for marketing and love the movie store in Itunes. I got my fix in again of the Big Lebowski and then saw the newest Coen brothers movie, Burn After Reading which was very funny!!!!!!!!!!  Being a "slacker", who is not to love, a guy named Dude???? And Burn After Reading has a great cast, but it is just very funny because it has big name stars but they are all in roles that are parodies of themselves and the Coen brothers make fun of so many conventional things that is a part of the media and society that we live in but in subtle ways and they get you to think at the same time.
So my running has been going, my leg is still achy in the hamstring area which stinks for yoga, I am going to a brief writing workshop right after I end this and I cooked a little and my job situations is still in the air!!!!!!! But between now and Tuesday which will be a week since my other post, I will get a Chapter/Scene done for the Jagged Edge and I will get in a 2 hour run in terms of a job that sustains me financially but that I am really interested in doing, that is an ongoing project!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
                  Ciao.........  JB

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Miss.....

My aunt Betty died last week and I went to the memorial service her son, my cousin David, had for her, at her house where she lived for 50+ years in Berkeley. She lived to 94, with a wonderful, loving caretaker, Maurra, and her son, David, my cousin,  and his wife, Tangela nearby. But I still miss her. My father died when I was 13 and Betty was his sister and the only relative other than her son (and his sons) on that side of the family. My grandmother who I never met had her husband leave her when she was very young, so my father, himself, grew up without a father. So Betty was my window into my father's life since I never really knew him from an adult perspective. And Betty had a great wit and loved words and had an opinion on almost everything, I think loving the New York Times could be genetic. Dying comes along with living and I think Steve Ilg at Wholistic Fitness  who I et spiritual inspiration from, puts it in perspective for me when he talks about the bardo as he sees it.  It is just sad to see things on this earth end. But as Coach Ilg/Steve is constantly reminding me on his blog, Direct Lines, each day we are constantly beginning again. With my Aunt's death, it got me to thinking of other things I miss, some of which I will see again, some I won't. I miss my old dog, Sophie, the German short hair pointer. The picture above, is of Sophie with an acute headache, actually not, it is of Sophie after being outside in the heat of summer and my nervousness that she might die of heat exposure. I miss seeing the clouds around mountains. I am kind of a cloud addict, they just fascinate me, and when I am in the mountains at a decent altitude clouds become so vivid and take on such cool textures, I just think clouds are cool. Finally, I love snow, I love ice but I really miss flowers, I LOVE FLOWERS!!!!!!!!!!!!! In Berkeley this past weekend everyone has plants and flowers around their houses and the flowers attract all these happy warm weather birds and I miss the beauty of flowers and the happy chirp of warm weather birds which is different then the defiant sounds of cold weather birds.
I have been a complete slacker, hence the name of the blog, about running. It has just been too cold and grey and the life issues that have arisen from my aunt's death, though nothing to do with her directly, have been overwhelming at times, and my striving to work on the magazine, we are near deadline for the winter issue has taken my focus off of running. But I am getting back on track, and part of the reason for this blog, was to keep myself on track, so I am back to ashtanga yoga later today, and running before work tomorrow, because I really am so much happier a person when I get out and run. I go back and forth between thinking I was either a polar bear in another life because I love the cold but when it is hot I like to just wallow in the lake and sit in the sun and a mountain goat or lion because I love the feeling of freedom running in nature gives me, I just feel a lot more alive.
    Finally, I have my daily blog reads which include, Angry White Guy (AWG), Direct Lines, Salon, New York Times, Huffington Post Chicago, Prosperity Circle (not every day), I always click on the Animal Rescue Site, Digg (Just to see what random stuff is out there), Meghan's Blaaaah when she posts, My Inner World, Olga's when she posts, for running motivation, and Heidi's , Serious Eats and Smitten Kitchen (SK) for cooking motivation, with a host of others that I rotate through depending on how much time I have which fit into the general categories of food and motivational blogs for running. Well, I have added a new daily blog to the line up, for motivation in writing, 365 Sketches by Joe Janes under his blog title, Bite and Smile. He is now writing a brief sketch a day, which for me, the ultimate slacker means I can at least write a brief sketch/dialogue scene once a week. So I am starting the 52 sketches project. I am not committing to any particular length and I am not going to print it on this blog but I will share the idea I have come up with. So for me, the ultimate slacker, I am committing to the 52 sketches project as well as the 52 2-3 hour run project which means at least once a week I am going to complete a 2-3 hour run. I will see if this ups itself to a 4 hour run a week project but I am starting out on a 2 hour run a week project and I will track my progress.
After reading everyone's interesting blogs I have come to admit to myself that this blog is somewhat of a snooze fest. Well, it may be a snooze fest but if anyone, and it is a miracle if anyone is, reading this, you may get a good idea from one of these OTHER blogs I have referenced!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do miss my Aunt, but if only I can end my life as old as she was and as surrounded by love as she. She and my dog ,Sophie, who died in the care and is buried in the backyard of my friend Kirstin, of Rim Tours, lived under lucky stars to be taken care by such great people and to die surrounded by so much love and caring. At least in my mind, I picture their stars overhead watching and protecting and supporting me now in spirit. But I miss them both!!!!!!!!!