Today’s thank you – for our beautiful summer

P.S. Wrote this last year and forgot to publish. Since we had mostly a beautiful summer this year, too. herewith my thank you for lovely weather.

View of Lincoln Park’s Nature Path from Brauer Cafe

Lying in bed this morning, I randomly thought about how many lovely days we’ve had this summer in Chicago. Far more often than usual we’ve had days with relatively low humidity, sunshine and gentle breezes. Compared with our usual several-week-runs of 90+ temps, and/or rain and clouds, and/or gale-force winds, this has been a joyfully easy summer. I can’t believe the number of times I’ve pushed out from between the handicap-switch-operated front doors of my apartment building and found myself smiling as I hit the sidewalk towards, on the one hand, to the west, the grocery store of the UPS pickup point, or on the other hand, to the east, the bus stop north to the gym or the hairdresser, or south to Lincoln Park and locations downtown. The beautiful weather is such a gift.

I am, at best, only a fair-weather fan of the outdoors, especially in the summer. My philosophy is always that it’s easy to put on more clothes and scarves and muffs and socks when it’s cold. But when it’s hot, there’s only so much you can take off. And walking around with a sheen of sweat all over my body – unless I’m dancing up a storm in my aerobics class or having sex (ah, memories!) – is one of the worst feelings, ever. Having to live with your hair sticking to your neck and your shirt sticking to your back is a fate I would wish on no one. My heart really goes out to the hard-working guys and gals in the construction crews that toil away in hard hats amid the choking dust and almost-unbearable noise, doing their jobs no matter how high the humidity or how searing the sun. Thank you to all the strong and dedicated men and women in every profession who labor outside under all conditions.

Rooftop at the WIT Hotel

I’m grateful to the many restaurants and bars in Chicago that operate umbrella-ed patios and decks and rooftop bars so that we denizens of the city can soak up the outdoors on demand. Is there anything to beat sipping the cold drink in your hand while enjoying a view of this great city? Even if it’s just folks on the sidewalk moving down the street, there’s something special about watching the world go by as you eat and drink outside, more or less sheltered from the flow.

Cheers to more of this beautiful summer. Hope yours is a happy one this year.

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Never quit adventuring

Seattle, Washington, USA.
Image via Wikipedia

By manleyaudio (originally posted to Flickr as Sunset in Seattle) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Guess between going and recovering from the vacation in Seattle and the new heart issues I’m up against, I’ve been directing my attention more inward lately. But today I want to talk about living life as an adventure. My trip to Seattle was to visit someone I met and bonded with almost instantly more than 15 years ago—my dear ever-single, adventuring friend Barbara.

Seattle is set in the middle of the mountains, is very near the ocean, close to the desert, and loaded with rivers, lakes and other random bodies of water. It’s on the side of the mountains that gets all the moisture (read: fog, mist, rain), so there are tons of green plants everywhere. It’s a great place for a person with a sense of adventure to live—you can visit a cosmopolitan city in the morning and be in the mountains by afternoon.  It seems like a perfect place for my friend to live.

Something so soothing about spending quality, unhurried time with a soul sister. I hadn’t seen Barbara in 13 years, and we don’t correspond much by email or otherwise. But I knew—based on how delightful our last visit was when we spent several days driving up and down the magnificent California coastline—we’d have a great time. And indeed we did.

Barbara not only has the same first name as me, but she’s read and studied many of the same books and ideas in her life as I have. She also holds similar positions on many social and political issues. Plus, we’re very close in age, and our birthdays are only a day apart—both Aquarians. How often do you meet a friend like that—and click completely with?

Barbara was very close with her mom, who just died about 3 years ago. She essentially has no family left and is looking at retiring soon, but she’s not the least daunted. She’s approaching the last segments of her time on earth with the same sense of adventure she’s always had about life. She’s put a downpayment on a regular-car-parking-space-sized RV that she plans to travel the country with when she retires.  She’s checking out all the informational and support groups—thank God for the Internet for us single women!—like WomenRV. And look, I found this one for single RV women!

All I can say is, we single women have been living the adventure of navigating life on our own for however many years. It only makes sense that we’ll find something challenging and exciting to do in our later years. I’m looking for adventures close to home—like finding the forest preserves in the Chicago area so I can take a walk in the woods even though I live in a huge city. I’m trying to get my brother to bring his tent and camping equipment and go with us on a weekend camping adventure.

A photo I took of a lion at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Image via Wikipedia

Spent the afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday—they’ve really fixed that place up since I last saw it 40 years ago. What a treasure to have only 5 bus stops away from my apartment.

I’m sorry; I know I’m rambling. But you get the point. Don’t quit having adventures, no matter how old or tired you get. They don’t have to be far. Just make sure they’re somewhere outside your everyday routine.

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Single women at Christmas

300px-JChristmas_painting

Here's to hearing angels on high all year long

Single women have pretty much the same array of choices for spending Christmas day as non-singles. Some will spend it with family, some with friends, some alone (e.g., the non-single woman who is estranged or separated from her mate—or wishes she was). Some will get Chinese food and see a movie, some will rest and read, some will clean or perform other chores.  Some will volunteer at soup kitchens. Some will exercise their creativity—cook, write, paint, play music.

Some, like me, will hang out with their grandchildren and see Christmas again through the eyes of the child. Some of us have spent hours planning, shopping, and wrapping. Some have foregone this practice and decided just to share themselves in some way.

Some of us, like me, who are moving, may be practicing the art of letting go—there’s a joy in releasing stuff to do good elsewhere in the universe. I’m pleased that I can give some of my treasured things to my family members this year. This Christmas I decided to do a little of each: “shopping” from my own possessions, wrapping, and writing about my move within Chicago.

Whatever you’re doing this year, try spending a few minutes every hour just stopping and feeling your feelings. Regard them with respect and tenderness. Send love and appreciation to yourself for all that you do, for all that you share with others, and for all you contribute to the world around you. And while you’re doing that, be sure to express your love to people and send appreciation out to all those who touch your  life.

Merry, merry Christmas to all the wonderful single women in the world. Extra good wishes to all the single mothers who work so hard to make Christmas special for their kids.

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Uninsured have medical care options in Chicago

Was casting about looking for facilities in Chicago that serve uninsured patients and found a nice little collection (list is below). Meanwhile, I ran across this item, too:

AstraZeneca, one of the giants of the pharmaceutical world, recently instituted a program to help low-income individuals and families get free or low-cost medicine. They will supply the medicines to healthcare facilities run by “non-profit organizations that have a licensed outpatient pharmacy or dispensary on site,” among other requirements. Patients should have no prescription drug coverage and have a household income of $30,000 or less for an individual, or $60,000 for a family of four.

This is a small piece of good news for some of the millions of people in the U.S. who are without healthcare coverage—which includes a good percentage of us single working women, some of them moms.

Happy 2008, folks. I hope you had an enjoyable beginning to your year and are fired up for good things to happen all 12 months coming up.

Here’s a list of some of the medical care facilities for the uninsured in Chicago:

Erie West Town Health Center
1701 W. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 666-3494

Erie Humboldt Park Health Center
2750 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647
(312) 666-3494

Community Health Clinic – UIC / Northwestern med students volunteer
2611 W. Chicago, 60622
773/395-9808

Pacific Garden Mission Clinic
647 S. State St., 60605
312/922-1462

Pilsen Homeless Health Services
731 West 17th Street, 60616
(312) 243-5226

Rush Community Service Initiatives
1725 W. Harrison, 60612
312/942-8116

St. Basil’s Free People’s Clinic
1850 W. Garfield Blvd., 60609
773/436-4870

Cook County Bureau of Health Services (312) 864-6004
offers guidance on finding medical care

Midwest College of Oriental Medicine – have been known to offer free acupuncture
4334 North Hazel Suite 206
Chicago, Illinois 60613
Telephone: 773-975-1295




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