Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Stare-Down with a Chubby Gull

Hi, readers:

My much-loved laptop has finally crashed, making it rather difficult for me to keep up with freelance work, let alone blog for awhile. Please bear with me. To tide you over, here's a little anecdote I wrote up on the airplane to D.C. last week...

A couple of weeks ago, I’d been running around downtown after work chasing a long list of errands, when I decided to slow down and enjoy the weather. I ran into Borders to grab a sandwich and pick out a new novel, then headed to Millennium Park. Finding one of few empty benches in Wrigley Square, I sat down with my sandwich and opened my book.

Minding my own business, out of the corner of my eye I realized that I was being stared at--hard. Soon, the pit-pat of webbed feet inched just a little bit closer to where my own toes were relaxing on the sidewalk. As I glanced over, my gaze was greeted by a very bulbous gull, intently eying not me, but my sandwich.

As I sat there munching, trying to ignore my fat new friend, and assuming he’d fly off after bit, I quickly realized that he was enraptured by my sandwich and firmly rooted to the spot. I stopped reading and returned his stare-down. “Okay, bird. What’s your next move?” I thought. His response? Nothing but the occasional birdy twitch of the head. I laughed out loud at his persistence. He still didn’t budge.

Yet, for all his stubbornness, I did not feed him. After all, I could see that he was already quite over-stuffed with tourists' crumbs. He remained virtually immobile until the very last bite had entered my mouth. As I crumpled my wrapper into a ball and nonchalantly returned my attention to my novel, he honked at me disapprovingly. After waiting for my acknowledgment, he honked again, turned, and waddled away. As I watched his fat little backside trailing away, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.

Friday, June 4, 2010

From Ethereal Grace to Crimson Passion, HDSC's Summer Series Impresses

After viewing Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Summer Series, which opened last night, June 3, 2010 at Harris Theater, I can't help but feel a lingering sense of enchantment. HSDC showcased the remarkable range of its dancers with the comic yet ethereal "Bitter Suite," the intoxicating world premiere of "Untouched," and the athletically-demanding "Bordo"... Continue reading at

A scene from "Untouched." Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Even more cupcakes!

In the midst of all this moving and learning about my new place, I have continued to win free cupcakes from more, and go out of my way to pick them up each week. I will have to stop now, as I simply don't have enough hours in a day to run off all the excess calories (and, well, I really should share the wealth). But they have been positively amazing. The red velvet is the best, followed closely by the white velvet (which is topped with the most decadent white chocolate shavings). Here are some pictures of my weekly cupcakes. An homage, if you will, as I force myself to stop dropping into more (for awhile, anyhow).

Red Velvet

Um, I don't know which kind this one was.

White Velvet!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Familiarizing the Footsteps

I’ve been in my new apartment for just under one week now, and, although I love it, there are always certain adjustments that have to be made when becoming accustomed to a new home. New noises, in particular, can feel quite cacophonous until you adapt to them. I remember this one time when my mom was in town staying with me at my old place, for instance...

As I was trying to drift off to sleep, she asked, “What’s that sound!?”

“What sound?” I asked, puzzled and groggy.

“That sound!” she responded. I had to work hard to hear what she was hearing and it took me a minute to realize it was the refrigerator making the same sounds it always made, on about a 15-minute cycle.

She didn’t even believe me when I explained that it was only the fridge, certain that it had to be something more serious than that. It took me a little while to assure her that it was, in fact, a normal sound from my kitchen.

So anyway, the building I’ve moved into was built in the fifties (I presume), and the floors aren’t as thick as those in my last apartment. You can definitely hear the person above you walking around. You can even hear yourself as you move through your apartment. The first night I stayed in the new place, it became painfully apparent that I was living beneath a lumberer. A lumberer who’s up at odd hours of the night. Each of his(her?)heavy step vibrates my body, heavy with sleep, as I attempt to pass out each night (a small vibration, really, exacerbated by my strong desire to go to sleep and my annoyance that some people don’t know how to carry their weight). I’m sure I will get used to the lumbering steps (after all, there was a time when I could block out even CTA trains right outside the window at night), but I’m still in the adjustment period.

So, as I write this, I can barely even keep my eyes open. It’s been night after night of dwindling hours of sleep. At least the heavy-footed dweller above me has made me overtly conscious of my own footsteps through my apartment, but I honestly didn’t need to be reminded of this annoyance to tread lightly. I can’t help but feel that the person living below me is lucky to be living under a former dancer. Oh, well. Another week or so, and the heavy steps will be as commonplace to me as the sounds of my fridge in the old apartment.

Room to Grow

When the movers came I was in a bit of a funk. It’s always a strange sensation to have all of your belongings forcibly removed from their homes in various cupboards, closets, and crannies and stuffed amidst wrinkled newspaper and bubble wrap into foreign cardboard boxes that are then stacked up in every inch of movable space in your apartment. But, more than any of that, I just felt sad to be moving. I asked the movers what exactly they wanted me to do—could I hold doors or help them with some of the boxes or something? When they told me I could do as much or as little as I wanted, I opted to simply stay out of their way. Instead, I gazed longingly out the window at my downtown view, drinking it in as my belongings gradually made their way from my old home and into the moving truck. Once my things were gone, I rushed out before the stark emptiness of the shell could fully creep into my consciousness.

The day before I’d felt similarly, as I turned over my Ohio driver’s license for an Illinois I.D. and then stripped the Ohio plates from my little red car, to exchange them for unattractive Illinois plates. It was high time for me to do this—the man at the DMV scolded me for having lived in the state for well over the 30-day grace period you legally have to make all of these changes after moving to the state (about which I had had no idea). But I have never legally belonged anyplace but Ohio. And, in all my sentimentality, it felt strange to erase the Ohio identifications from both my wallet and my car. So, I did it quickly, and didn’t think about it, just as I did when I walked out of the place that will always have been my first apartment in the big city.

Anyway, after rushing out of the old place at 1260 N. Dearborn, it wasn’t long before I arrived at my new apartment to await the movers. I easily found a parking spot (haha, yes, really!), and then headed upstairs to wait. In another hour’s time the movers had come and gone, everything was in, and I could finally see my new apartment for what it was—-huge! And as I listened to Coletrane, and Miles, and Ella, and Madeline Peyroux, while unpacking my things and re-washing my dishes, I couldn’t imagine why I’d ever felt so glum just hours before.

For the first time since moving to Chicago, I felt like I was home. I am crazy about my new place (not to mention my new neighborhood!). It’s a real apartment. Yes, it’s still a studio, but unlike the previous one, it’s not a shoebox. I have room to move and breathe and have guests. Everything inside is new—the appliances, the counter tops, the bathtub, the bathroom vanity, the carpet and the paint. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not fancy—but it’s perfect for me. And the plethora of closets, well, heaven!

So, as I tried out various furniture configurations, and organized the clothes in my closet by color, and stowed all the linens away in the linen closet, I realized that all this time when I worried that I was taking a step back by moving out of downtown, I was actually making a step up. In all my exhaustion at the end of the day, I took a look around and breathed in all the space. I smiled to myself, realizing that here I have room to grow. And, like the hermit crab, that’s really all I needed.

New Gig:

Blogging will continue as soon as Comcast makes it out to my new apartment and hooks up my Internet. In the meantime, I've started writing for the arts section of, a website devoted to--wait for it--Chicago! Very excited to be reviewing dance performances and other arts events around the city for the site. So far, my posts have been short and sweet, along the lines of this preview for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Reviews forthcoming, however.

Please don't laugh at my bio photo. Definitely regretting the pic I chose. I swear everyone's pics seemed so serious, so I tried to choose a not-smiling photo, and now it seems like everyone's smiling except me. I look like I'm trying to be all emo or something. Oops.

By the way, GapersBlock has an extensive calendar of events happening around the city to which all of its writers contribute. It's a rich resource for those looking for something to do in Chicago. If you've got something going on that you want me to add to our calendar, don't hesitate to let me know!