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Archive for 2012

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The pianos at the Harold Washington Library remind me greatly of the old piano I grew up playing.


When I was four or five, my parents acquired a piano out of sheer misfortune. Someone owed them some money, and instead of paying, gave them an old, untunable piano that had sat in a church somewhere for the past half-century. It had misshapen legs that didn’t touch the ground, and the ivory on the [...]

I blame a lot of lateness on public transit's unpredictability, but when I drove everywhere, my being on time was more an artifact of perpetually breaking the speed limit, rather than any actual punctuality.

Deadline in five minutes? That leaves four minutes to drink coffee.

I am continually running late, to my own dismay and that of the people around me. No, that’s inaccurate. I am continually just in the nick of time for things. I’ll get to work two minutes before our morning meeting starts (at 9:30). I will underestimate my commute, though I have been making it for [...]

Thanks to Elizabeth for capturing visually something to which a thousand words can't do justice.

Trib Apps in tiaras

I looked at my boss, sitting next to me in a hanging acrylic bubble chair, and then at my project manager, enthusiastically showing off her astoundingly large tiara collection, and back at my boss. “Sometimes,” I began, and shook my head. “Sometimes I’m pretty sure my life is actually a sitcom in another universe.” He [...]

At AT&T Park, watching the game after the Giants secured a playoff spot. Anticlimactic, but a great excuse to be together.

Together, we’re family

Had you told me five years ago that my mom would become a baseball junkie, I’d have assumed that you confused her with someone else. My growing-up years heard her disparage professional sports — all sports — as pointless wastes of effort and money; glorification of an unsustainable lifestyle riddled with the seediest of human [...]

I'm pretty sure this time last year, I was wearing long underwear. Either I've toughened up or Chicago gave me a little bit of California today.

Shopping for the silly

He’d had way too much coffee; he admitted that much. So as he hugged me, kind of swaying to his own internal beat, I grabbed his hand as if we were dancing. “What is this? Are we doing this?” I asked, grinning. He twirled me in the frozen food section. A cart-pushing lady nearby laughed: [...]

He looks terrified, right?

Hulk goes ninja

I’d expected to eat too many sweets, sing an off-key “Happy Birthday,” and stand around awkwardly at the party. I hadn’t anticipated to be furtively asked to “meet us outside,” and then to be coaxed, amongst many giggles, to strike a wacky pose with a wooden samurai sword. I still don’t know the story behind [...]

The Return of Facebook

I quit Facebook on Jan. 1. I signed back up on Oct. 1. It wasn’t because I missed Facebook. It wasn’t because I felt disconnected from my friends. Yes, there were one or two people I regretted losing touch with, but Facebook didn’t really connect us in any meaningful way, anyway. It just served as [...]

Mr. Wrigley and Mr. Trump stand across Michigan Avenue from Tribune Tower. They were part of my first exposure to the incredible architecture of Chicago.

Happy anniversary, Chicago <3

On Sept. 11, 2011, Mom and I took a redeye to Chicago. I started work Sept. 12. Today, I felt the fall chill in the air for the first time this season. I stood out, waiting for the bus, nearly too cold in my fleece jacket. The man in the T-shirt in front of me [...]

Mom thinks we ordered too much food at Heaven on Seven.


It’s been so great having Mom here for the last couple of weeks. When a visit lasts a weekend, or even the better part of a week, the urge is always to cram as much as humanly possible into the time you’ve got. Maybe that’s not a bad thing, but it’s not a sustainable thing. [...]

View of Chicago Botanic Garden's Evening Island, a five-acre island that is home to a carillion (bell tower of 23 bells), lots of geese, and endless bushes of Russian sage.

“Growing” up

When you grow up in a family that owns a plant-based business, you spend a lot of time rolling your eyes as your parents discuss things like what kind of lavender is growing in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. You also live in constant fear of family vacations becoming outings to local nurseries and [...]