My Life Out Of Storage

When I slid up   the door to the five by teen foot space,  it contained  the usual suspects: Christmas ornaments, china, kitchen utensils and an Italian desk that we don’t know how to put back together. But the rest of those duct taped boxes in the storage unit? My countless diaries. I’ve been documenting my life since I was eleven, in pink paged diaries with little locks, the margins […]

Daily Dalai Llama

“Nothing will muck up your day more than an escaped llama.” That was my friend’s words of advice when I offered to llama-sit so she could escape with her husband for the weekend. “Ginger,  farm animals might be friendly but they can take you out if you turn around. So always, always always focus.  Shut the gate behind you.  Pat the horse’s butt when […]

The Donut Tree and Donut Dares

This is the first summer in five years I haven’t been at the family cottage in northern Michigan,  treat in a town with more fudge shops than people. The cottage is on one of those back roads that require a few stops at a gas station for directions. One of the landmarks has always been  this big tree with a hole in the […]

Same Same But Different.

In Bangkok,  there is a T-shirt that’s popular with tourists. On the front it reads: SAME SAME,  on the back it reads: BUT DIFFERENT. I found that XXL saying  true this weekend following another shooting in Uptown. Now after living in China, I know what firecrackers sound like. And living in Uptown, I know what bullets sound like. And just like the popular tourist T-shirt, there […]

Walk of Shame: Displacing Uptown’s Homeless

Over the past two days,  I witnessed two walks. First,  was the walk of thousands of music lovers in Chicago’s Uptown to the Mumford and Sons concert. They walked right in front of where I live, lemmings on their way to the concert venue at Montrose Harbor. The Alderman wanted to make sure  the streets were clean for these drive-by visitors […]

Sugar Glazed Justice

“Miss,  could you spare a dollar so I could get something to eat?” I took a good look at his leathery face as he rattled his cup near the Dunkin’ Donuts in Uptown. “Nope.” I didn’t feel guilty at all when I said it. That’s because I was the cook in the building where he lived. “I am so insulted!” I laughed. “Are […]

A Big Awesome Birthday Wish

I remember this birthday like it was yesterday. Debbie Patrujiah made my wish come true. She got me a twist and turn Barbie Doll with real eyelashes and bendable legs. And suddenly,  I forgot all of my troubles and other gifts,  including a modeling clay kit and hot dog machine game. But now, years after Barbie’s limbs  have been broken (though her […]

Broken Faith

Sometimes it isn’t the big things that renew our faith,  it’s the little stuff. The stuff that we should take care of ourselves while the creator of the cosmos mends the holes in our Ozone. Take for instance,  exhibit A: a broken key. Friends of mine gave me the keys to their condo while they were traveling to an exotic island […]

Down and Out in Uptown

Okay,  so for the past six months, I’ve been living as an honorary hippie at a faith based community in Chicago’s Uptown.  If you’re not familiar with the neighborhood, Uptown is  where Chicago’s down and out congregate. There are bullets and  Baptists with pamphlets, flamboyant street walkers and shady street corner pharmacists, immigrants from Africa to Asia, panhandlers and skateboarders. Plus the colorful residents of JPUSA. And […]

Mosquito Theology

I call him skeeter. That’s what Frank* reminds me of. Actually,  with his tweed cap and trimmed beard, Frank reminds me of someone who should be smoking a pipe at an English pub instead of making cornbread at a Jesus Hippie Community.  Anyway, he started telling me his  story while  cracking thirty six eggs. “I was a drug evangelist. I liked them so much, I’d […]