This weekend I took advantage of a free class from the Chicago Parks District on carving spoons and bowls using primitive tools. The class was at the North Park Village Nature Center. The instructor showed us how he carves the shape of the spoon using an axe and we used embers to burn out the bowl of the spoon.
I’ve had a pretty rough weekend. I was doored while riding my bike to the botanical gardens on Friday. My legs are a scraped and bruised mess and my bike is in the shop getting some major repairs. I also woke up this morning to a hefty parking ticket. I felt like I needed to treat myself, so I finally checked out the new pie shop on California, Bang Bang.
Oh. My. God. It is amazing! They have fluffy, handmade biscuits with a variety of house made butters and jams. Trevor and I each got a slice and split them. We tried Banana Toffee Walnut and Plum. Yum!
I may have to start making weekly trips to get my pie fix.
There’s a glorious perk of going to college in Chicago called a UPass. It’s a transit pass that is added on to your tuition for the semester and it saves students a ton on public transit. Since I graduated in June, I have been unable to accept having to pay for a monthly CTA pass, so I’ve bicycled everywhere.
I usually bike as my primary mode of transit in the spring, summer, and fall. This summer has been more serious. I can count the amount of times I’ve taken the train on one hand and no 100° day will force me onto the El.
My bike, Caroline, is a Raleigh Olympian. This morning I stumbled across some amazing vintage Raleigh ads. Clearly, riding a Raleigh makes me a pretty classy lady.
My sister, Rachel, makes the best guacamole ever. This is not an overstatement; everybody who’s ever had it agrees. Yesterday, I taught a friend how to make it and I thought it would be nice to share it here as well. I went to Stanley’s and bought about a military backpack’s worth of produce. I always go crazy there because everything is so affordable.
Part of my haul from Stanley’s
Juice of one lemon or lime
Half of a jalapeno, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
Cumin, to taste
Smoked paprika, to taste
Seasoning salt, to taste
Mash everything together in a bowl using a potato masher or fork and serve.
*We don’t really measure the spices. I usually add a little at a time and taste it to see if I need more.
I just picked my bike, Caroline, up from the shop and she is like a brand new lady. She got a major tune up, some cleaning, a new seat, new handle bar tape, and a new bike rack. I’ll have to post photos soon!
I feel like I need to step up my game to match Caroline’s makeover. I always love photos of people looking fashionable and cycling. I recently discovered Bike Fancy, a bike fashion blog, based in Chicago. I can’t get enough!
I’m also finally in an office with a bike room. No more leaving Caroline out in the rain. The only other cyclist at work is from Denmark. I’ve noticed that Danish people love their bikes. Maybe it’s because motorists are more cautious towards them. Chicago motorists could use a few tips in that department.
Mary came up with the idea for me to do a sort of counter-post to her last and write about new Thanksgiving traditions as an adult, but it occurred to me that my Thanksgivings since about age twenty have been anything but consistent. Having spent two years in San Francisco, two back in Michigan, one in Chicago, and now this will be my second back in Michigan again, it hasn’t allowed for a lot of tradition forming.
I’ve done everything from Thanksgiving with Mary’s family, to just me and her celebrating and eating way too much food on our own, to eating only a bowl of chili with my family. I even spent one year at a friend’s family’s Thanksgiving in Oakland, California, where his parents’ had a “turk-off,” meaning his mom and dad each made their own turkey in a semi-competitive format. His mom used the stove inside and his dad had the grill outside as they battled to see who could roast the best bird. I don’t remember who came out on top, but I do remember their home having a pretty excellent view of the bay and of San Francisco.
The only new Thanksgiving traditions that have taken form, have been me and my brother’s attempt to have Home Alone triumph over Miracle on 34th Street’s position as the regular post-meal Thanksgiving movie, and Mary’s excellent bourbon pecan pie.
November is here, which means an end to most of the outdoor farmers’ markets in Chicago. I am feeling a little blue about not being able to get fresh greens. Here’s some photographs I took at the Logan Square Farmers’ Market this year.