Nayeli Garcia xoco Chicago restaurant 3rdarm seasonal menu patio

I have had a lot of good things happen these days, and I’m grateful. Tom Ashbrook’s podcast On Point has introduced to me to a couple really interesting books that deal with the future. The Collapse of Western Civilization by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway takes a pessimistic view. A Chinese historian looks back hundreds of years to the end of this century, when the West Antarctic Ice Sheet turned into water, and billions of humans migrated inland. This short work is rooted in science; the authors project what coastlines become from current models, and imagine how different nations react based on today’s politics. It’s not a pretty picture.

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Ruth DeFries, MacArthur genius, just published, “The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis.” She looks backward, at our species path from wild to farmers. We pushed to the Americas and Australia, developed agriculture, created cities: with each step forward, or what Ruth DeFries calls a ratchet up, we have faced challenges, or hatchets, and our creativity and willingness to work together to solve problems has carried us through. When farming stripped the land of nutrients, we ground up bison bones and spread them over the land. In the current era, we have increased our food production to its highest peak, and now have more of us living than ever before. Climate change is a big hatchet, but in the pattern of our species development, Ruth sees reason to believe that we will find our way.

I watched a movie about time travel: Boyhood. It was so good I emailed Aunt Judy.

Also, I have some bitchin’ classic rock in my life, thanks to the 24/7 radio stream from Nick Michaels. I listen to his show, The Deep End, while I ride my bike to and from work. (It’s safe, on bike path, straight all the way.) The Deep End is all about deep cuts, bringing up gems from the depths. It reminds me of Sanctuary, by Allan Stagg, which I used to listen to while on the Blue Line, coming home late at night from my dishwashing job, ten years ago. I try to remember my favorite songs and look them up when I get home. Then I slowly make a mix, and give it to somebody at work. I have given mixes to Katy, Shane and today, my road dog DT. David’s mix features the Little Feat, a song called, “Willin'”.

Black Corn

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I have been loving the photo book Contrasto, by Flor Garduño, with its magical images of women, animals and Mexico. The photos are like dreamscapes that are always forgotten: when I wake up I only remember the feeling.

Flor Garduno photo contrasto 3rdarm

In my dreams, I have been visiting my grandma Happy’s house often. This week I dreamed that Happy was dating somebody new!


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Etta doesn’t always understand why I am so lazy on my 2 days off, but it’s simply because I’m tired. I love my job, and I also love not moving. The cat likes this part of me more.

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The neighbor took pity on my sneakers: black Nikes, a few years old, pretty banged up. He asked if I was size 11, and I said yes. The next day he put out a garbage bag of size 11 Nikes, gently used.

Post White Sox

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Etta and I walked to Logan Square to meet up with Meghan, her boyfriend, friends and family. They were coming from a White Sox game on the South Side and we were coming from a lazy Sunday hang in West Town.

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Her sister Liz and her partner Ivar, both Chicago restaurant professionals, convinced me to smell the batting hat they’d been served nachos in.

Weird Late Summer Sunset

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The summer has been unusual, so it came as no surprise when the sun itself barely came up for two days. I was off, on the computer, in the internet, and barely noticed.

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When the pall finally departed, to the East, and the back edge revealed the sunset, it was like an eye looking at the city in silhouette.

Clam Rolls On

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The short vacation back home lead to a shortened work week, which I loved. The clam roll at Lenny and Joe’s, where we ate dinner our last night in Connecticut, lead to heart burn for Etta, which she did not like.

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My chefs welcomed me back to Chicago with a taste of delicious caldo de res, a traditional beef stew from Mexico, which will be featured on our upcoming seasonal menu at Xoco. I ate the whole thing.

Grass Island Sunset

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Our last day in Connecticut, Etta and I tackled a list of chores for Yaunter. We moved rugs, cleaned windows (I made her promise not to climb any ladders!) and repaired technology.

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I love her so much, and am so lucky to have her love in my life. Aunt Judy is my East rock.

Fishing with Glenn, part 2

glass terrarium 3rdarm glenn kostick winchendon massachusetts

Going home makes me realize how much I love my elders. I wish it was possible to visit Glenn and his world more often.

glass terrarium 3rdarm glenn kostick winchendon massachusetts

Glenn graciously gave us a green terrarium and small plant to bring back for Aunty.

Ham Shack

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Glenn has the antennae and control room to operate a ham radio, a skill he has mastered over years of practice.

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He said, “Believe it or not, I get nine on air tv channels with this old antenna. No cable bill here. Note the mast mounted preamp on the right. Channels 2,4,5,7,25,38,44,56,and 68.”

Up on the Roof

winchendon august sunset arthur mullen etta kostick 3rdarm

Etta and I climbed to the widow’s watch above the third floor of Glenn’s house, to watch the August sun set.

winchendon august sunset arthur mullen etta kostick 3rdarm

She offered me her chicken bone but I was full.


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