Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

I have a ton of books on my night table, I don't know how it happened. They aren't necessarily literary masterpieces, but they are all on topics that capture my interest. My night table was empty for a long time. If I go to a reading and like the topic I will buy the book to be supportive of the writer. Caitlin Kelly, beat me to a book about North Face, her book is called Malled and although very eerily we had some of the very same sentiments and even experiences, her time was spent in a mall, where I don't think I could have lasted very long. Michigan Avenue is its own unique experience, it is a world shopping district which is the cool thing about it, but Caitlin Kelly is also an amazing writer and she wrote a great, well researched book which I could not have done.

So the books on my table that are started not finished are, in no order of importance:

1) "World Without Fish" by Mark Kurlansky. I bought this at a signing that he did at the Nature Museum a few weeks ago, Dirk's Fish was there, along with the great ladies from the Shedd Aquarium. Although the book is written for kid's 9 years and up, it actually makes it easier to understand a very complicated subject and I have not finished the book yet but I hope that it ends on a happy note because it really is bringing home the subject of sustainable fishing. It is quirky and interesting..It makes me appreciate the time that I camped in Hokianga Harbor in the Bay of Islands in the north of New Zealand and we foraged for mussels and cooked them on the beach or the time that I went to local cafe in Puntos Arenas and had a heaping bowl of steamed shellfish of crustaceans that we will never ever see in the U.S. I highly, highly recommend this book to everyone who cares even a tiny iota about the environment.

2)"Forget Me Not" by Jennifer Lowe-Anker and is about her life and life after the death of her husband Alex Lowe one of the top climbers of all time. I met her at the North Face store on Michigan Avenue and she told me about the book and I have started it. If you are interested in what being a climber(rock,wall, bouldering) then you should really read this book because she really gets into the characteristics and the details of having the rock wall, climbing bug and all the cool places in the world that there are to climb.

3)"The Tenth Muse", by Judith Jones. Judith Jones was Julia Child's editor and the book is full of great detail of how her life shaped her interest in food and how she developed her point of view. This is one that I read, put down and go back to, since at some point I would love to publish some essays on food.

4) "Apartment Gardening" by Amy Pennington. This book caught my eye from Gwyneth Paltrow's email letter Goop. It is a great book as a resource with little rules of thumb, no garden pun intended, and with some really great, simple, seasonal recipes.

5)"Cinderella of Wall Street" by Lydia Fisher. I met Lydia at a get together she held at her apartment through the 85Broads group of Chicago. Lydia is one of the most gracious people I have met and eerily again we were in New York in the bond business some years apart but I completely know the world that she worked in. What is amazing to me because I worked in it, is that to succeed in that business took a lot of presence, energy and really steely determination because it is a really rough business. I have to finish her book because I think she just had complete confidence in herself which is what I really admire and she had a specific goal and knew where she wanted to go.

6)"Relentless Forward Progress" by Bryon Powell. Finally and I almost forgot this one and no, I have not run an ultra yet, but perhaps the title of this book is my new mantra, "relentless forward progress"...

I will admit, apartment gardening is more a resource I flip open, relentless just sits in front of me reminding me to do one thing, run......


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time Flies, Training TIme and Tolerance

I think what the world needs now is a little more love and tolerance and a little less fighting and anger. I commited to the Common Threads marathon training team this year and training starts now. The CT mission is a really positive one that I can rally behind, it is about peace and learning tolerance about others through food. What the world needs now is more tolerance of one another, less anger and sitting down and sharing meals with one another.

I for one have had negative and positive relationships with food, and I think some of the over eating support groups out there deal with eating in a negative way, "don't eat that", "I was good", "I was bad". It is not about being good or being bad, it is learning healthful enjoyment about food and the enjoyment of cooking something that tastes good that people enjoy.

If you have read my Linkedin summary, I am all about spreading and sowing positive seeds of change. What better way to sow positive seeds then through children. So this is why I love the Common Threads mission so much. I also think there isn't enough laughter and plain fun in life. In a lot of jobs it is a sign of weakness to show that you are having fun, or to share a joke with a colleague. There is a lot of fun as well as hard work in cooking and learning the techniques of cooking. But it is all about learning positive fun things not negative fun things.

So as Dr. Wayne Dyer said in his affirmation today, unbending intent. So my intent is to raise $600 plus dollars for Common Threads, to train effectively so I have a lot of fun running the marathon and maybe have some left before or after the marathon to complete a 50K race this year. As people who know me, I firmly believe that eating healthful, thoughtfully grown or raised vegetables or animals affects how we think. So the more positive seeds that are sown in the world, of awareness of how to cook, of what types of foods to look for, to request, to grow, to eat,the better.

All this said, it isn't going to be easy, I inherited my grand mother's good skin but also her pudginess so I break the laws of physics everytime I run. I do think I was meant to be a sherpa because I can certainly keep going. But I am going to practice unbending intent on raising money for CT, on training, and experiencing the joyfulness that comes from training(okay....I will admit there are also times where you have to dig deep but that is where the intent comes in).....

I think the the CT website for raising money will be up at the end of April so look for it!!!! If you do anything, get outside for one, and cook something for yourself or others for two. These are little things but it is the little things that ultimately will create change!!!!!!!!!!



Friday, February 11, 2011

To Travel Again and Some GREAT IDEAS

I really want to get on the travel and trek bus again but I have to work on the economics of it!!!! But I have had some great ideas this week. Fortunately, when you look at the source of some of the foods and beverages that we import because they just are not going to be grown in Chicago are grown in some amazing places. So my ideas for trekking and tasting trips are:
1)Ethiopia - To trek in the Simien mountains, to check out Lalibela and the churches that are built into the ground and then to go to the farm where Ipsento, Coffee Ambassadors source their beans. I think it would be really interesting to meet the farmers, see how they live and see how coffee is picked and harvested.

2)Darjeeling - Darjeeling is to tea, the way Rheims is to Champagne. Kachengjunga is the third highest peak in the world, so it would be great to do a trek to Kachengjunga's basecamp, then to go to Darjeeling and visit the specific farms where Ineeku tea is grown. Little did I realize tea is grown from a specific type of tree, the camellia sinensis.

3)Ecuador - Now I have been to Ecuador, I climbed a volcano Cotacachi that was just a day climb and then flew from Quito to the Galapagos which was an amazing thing to do. But a great trip would be to go the rain forest in Ecuador and visit the Kallari Farming cooperative and see how cacao beans are harvested.

Oh, so many cool places to visit in the world, such little time and so many dollars needed..... Enough procrastinating from doing stairs in my building.....


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow, Slow Food, and Coffee Beans

I just finished a workout and I am filled with gratefulness for the Chicago Parks District availability of places to workout, for $5 I got a great cardio workout in with a good view of the Lake and I had a great jog there in the snow.

In the midst of 45 minutes on the stairmaster I realized that with some of my experiences lately, my growing the tomato plant in my apartment completely indoors, going to the cupping session at Ipsento coffee and my devouring slowly and over 2 meals of the MeatyBalls sandwiches, that I need to start saying a gratefulness prayer before I eat. When I went to a weekend out in Utah with Steve Ilg, when we ate dinner he talked about being grateful for each mouthful and chewing many times to savour that mouthful. After learning last night how coffee is grown from fruit to drying or washing the seed, to roasting the coffee, the time and care and processess in producing quality food items is HUGE, it is g-I-normous and I eat so quickly relative to the G-I-NORMOUS process it took to produce that food and that is what Steve Ilg spoke about at dinner many years ago and it is all coming back. A friend many years ago over cheese and wine, made a dismissive, shaming remark to me, "Oh, Jeannie, it is just food" and she said it in a way implying that I care way too much about food. But you know, that is the reason our food system is so screwed up, people don't think about what they are eating, they take the attitude, it is nourishment whatever it is, IT IS JUST FOOD...well you isn't....Buying things at the Green City Market, take Nordic Creamery's butter, it is just not butter, it is a family business, it tastes different depending on the season, it does not taste like supermarket butter, it is just not "ordinary" butter and you can read about that in the latest issue of Edible Chicago magazine by the way.
So, I am going to continue to workout at the little gym that I never knew about all these years by the lakefront, and say a little thank you before I eat things and eat more slowly and think about what I am eating the way I thought about the coffee that I was sipping and slurping last night at Ipsento and the coffee roasted by Coffee Ambassadors.

Finally I am going to appreciate the snow. Yes, I was a polar bear in another life, but snow is great to run on, it is soft on your bones and knees, it makes the lakefront more interesting and it is really beautiful if you at it closely. Off to one of my day jobs...but get outside, drink some good coffee and enjoy the snow!!!!!!!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Had to Post This, Made Me Laugh

I got Dirks Friday Fish flash and he just completely captured the thought of any Bear's fan with these thoughts and pictures below.....

Dirk's Fish & Gourmet Shop

I'm sending this weekly email to give you a heads up on what is available and especially good for your weekend grill and entertaining. Each week it will highlight a selection of the best fish available in Chicago. Some you may be familiar with and some you won't but they are all worth trying!


Bears logo

Bears eat salmon, it makes them strong, and strong Bears kick butt! Support our Bears by eating lots of salmon this weekend.

Bear eating salmon

Think of these salmon as Green Bay Packers!

Bear claws on salmon


It will be one of THE GAMES due to the teams and the weather........ But of course I had to relate it to food!!!!!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

I walked one of my favorite local dogs, Raffa at 6am this morning for my friend John, then being the slacker that I am went right back to sleep. I am off to bike to the New Year's 5K in Lincoln Park, jog/attempt to run that and then stop by my friends Dave and Rebecca for their New Year's brunch then home and off to the store to work for the rest of the day. It is so easy to be a slacker....and that is okay, I wear the slacker name well, because beneath every slacker there is an anti-slacker who I let emerge every now and then...And that is one of life's questions to slack or not to slack.....but so my slacks will fit I have to get back to seriously exercising and at least today is a step in that direction.....

Can't believe it is 2011............................Happy New Year to everyone and I learned from old dog, Sophie, old dogs can learn new tricks and this year I am going to be up to some old and new tricks....I think it is going to be a great year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!