Monday, December 12, 2016

Chilling at King Spa

I go to King Spa almost monthly. It feels like a vacation, because it's such an uncommon-to-me atmosphere and I leave feeling good, body and soul.

By uncommon-to-me, I mean that it is a Korean-style spa. Most of the staff seems to be Korean. The televisions are tuned into Korean programs. Most of reading materials are in Korean. I’m not Korean. That said, it feels as common-to-me as going to my neighborhood pool. Little kids try to swim in the hot tubs (to the annoyance of some). There are signs telling us the rules and minders, a combination of lifeguards and librarians, making sure we observe them, rules like no water in the hot rooms and only whispers in the hot tubs. There are lockers, towels, showers, and what I call a concession stand, but with tasty, healthy Korean/Asian food. No hot dogs here.

If you’ve never been there, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go.
Here’s some tips.

* Entry costs $35. Discounts are available via coupon sites and on their website, but I think the best deal is found next door at Super H Mart. Their customer service desk staff sell passes for $20 each, if you give them cash. Note that while the spa is open 24 hours, the customer service desk closes at 9 p.m., last I checked.

* The locker key issued to you includes a fob that allows spa staff to track your purchases — food, slippers, facial masks, plus facials, massages, scrubs and other services. You’ll pay for those items on your way out.

* Hot tubs are not co-ed. They’re accessible only through locker rooms and include lots of nakedness. If one is not used to this, this can be challenging at first. To me, the scene by the hot tubs is like an impressionist's painting. This I believe: a) If any of the other women in and around the hot tubs looks at you at all, it won't be for too long. No one there cares much about your looks. b) You won't have the most unusual, noteworthy body in the place. One more tip: Before going into the cool tub, spend as much time as you can in the hottest tub. If you do that, the cool tub will feel refreshing, not freezing.

* Hot rooms are co-ed. You’ll be issued blousy shorts and a top. No one looks good in them, but no one looks bad either.  No dust or dirt on the floors, but in the hottest rooms, those floors get very hot, so wearing socks is a good idea.

I hope you’ll go and enjoy it.

[ Photos courtesy King Spa's website ]

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Peace: What can YOU do? :: September 23

Yes, there will be pizza and beer, but also really nice people.  
If you can't be there the whole time, no worries. If peace floats your boat, just come.

One of those nice--plus intelligent and tenacious--people coming includes Susan Garcia Trieschmann,  
founder of Curt's Cafe and an expert on restorative justice. She plans to share her perspective on 
encouraging peace locally. You can learn more about her now via her 2015 TEDxWinnetkaWomen talk.

Organized by Evanston Young Professionals and the Rotary Club of Evanston, this discussion
about peace initiatives locally and abroad kicks off the club's first annual Evanston Peace Fest weekend.
Learn more about this Friday event and the rest of the weekend on Evanston Rotary's website. 

>> Disclosure <<
I'm a member of the Evanston Rotary Club,
the club that eats lunch together on Thursday's at noon.
If you'd like to come to lunch with me or
hear more from me about my Rotary experience,
let me know via Twitter

Monday, September 12, 2016

Seven Minutes of Science this week in Chicago and Evanston

There’s so so so* much I loved about working at IIT…Illinois Institute of Technology…Illinois Tech, if you like.

One of my responsibilities was to not just inform the general public about what was going on on the campuses, but why our groundbreaking researchers’ work was important…and so cool. I geek out on design, architecture, engineering, science and the rest, so this was so so so right for me. This was fun for me, but not easy. I had to translate what the brainiacs shared into some language that the rest of us—people who really do care, but cannot understand enough when too much jargon or too many acronyms are used—could fathom.

This is important work for lots of reasons, but my reasons included my belief that if our society is to make sound decisions regarding self-governing and caring for itself, it needs to be well-informed. Also, if important work is to be supported, those writing the checks and rallying support need to “get it”, even if they don’t immediately remember what NSF, STEAM, or NOAA mean.

Imagine my delight when I’d discovered NU’s RSG program. ;-)
RSG stand for Ready, Set, Go!

Founded in 2012 by Michelle Paulsen and Alex Adler, RSG coaches teach graduate and post doc researchers to improve their presentation skills.

I feel so much smarter after listening to their presentations. Love when that happens.

You too can enjoy that feeling.
Prepare to be wowed at .

To be wowed in person, consider going to this week’s presentations: Seven Minutes of Science.
Tuesday presentations start at 3 p.m. at Lurie Medical Research Center in downtown Chicago.
Wednesday presentations also start at 3 p.m., but on NU’s Evanston campus.

* Yes. I like the word "so"....and I like ellipses. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Teach our children well :: Evanston Peace Fest 1

Thank you, Amy Beth Gardner for this excellent example of
how to explain the power of words and kindness to young ones.

In related news...

Rotary Club of Evanston invites friends and neighbors far and wide to its first ever Evanston Peace Festival going down September 23-25. We'll be talking about peace, kindness and what we can do to instigate peace within ourselves, in our neighborhoods and throughout the world. More about the fest is up on Evanston Rotary's website.

On Friday, September 23, we'll be at Rotary International headquarters talking about peace and peace effort locally and globally. 

On Saturday, September 24, there are tours of RI's headquarters and tailgating before heading to NU for football.

On Sunday, September 25, noon-4 p.m. Peace Fest action will be at the International Friendship Garden on McCormick Blvd, south of Bridge St. My friend, Evanstonian and Sun-Times reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika will do a reading from her book "Escape from Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War."  New friends Pastor Elizabeth Jones and WCGO's Daniel French will each do a "peace talk".

More details to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Never Mute: Ted Glasoe's Lake

Ted Glasoe lives in Evanston five blocks from Lake Michigan. The only better place for him to live would be one block from the lake.

 Almost Sunrise

Almost Sunrise
Says Ted...

Breakwater Split

I'm driven to capture the lake’s power and beauty at every opportunity—in any weather, season or time of day. Standing on the shore and looking out over its
vast surface, I feel both the enormity of the lake and an intimacy with it. I marvel at how the colors, textures and sounds blend together to communicate the lake’s mood.

Sometimes calm and serene, other times roiling and violent—but never mute.

Through my work, I aim to share these moods with viewers, evoking in them a deeper appreciation of the priceless natural resource we have in Lake Michigan and all of our Great Lakes. From this appreciation, I hope to inspire a sense of stewardship. The lakes are ours to enjoy today, but also ours to protect and sustain for generations to come. 

To further his stewardship, Ted donates a portion of each sale his work to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Not shown here are examples of Ted's time-lapse photography, which are wonderful too.

More of Ted's work can be viewed and purchased online and at Perspective Gallery until July 31 and usually at Creative Coworking.

Revetment Splash

Sky, Lake and Prairie
Late fall day looking East over the prairie at Fort Sheridan, IL

Sunrise with Geese

Friday, July 8, 2016

Maudlyne Ihejirika: My mom is my hero

We go along.
We live our lives, day to day.
We know our stories and often take them for granted.
We tend to focus on the here and now and prepare for the future.
We often put in the back of our minds what is so incredible about our experiences, our history, where we’ve come from.

Maudlyne Ihejirika does not take her history--nor her life--for granted.

Maudlyne, with her mother Angelina Ihejirika, has just published their family memoir, Escape from Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War.

Seems my journalism colleague, neighbor and friend—whose name I’ve only recently learned to pronounce correctly, E-hedge-eh-ricka—is a refugee of the Nigerian-Biafran War.

The war broke out in July 1967. It cut communication between Angelina and Maudlyne’s father, Christopher, who was studying abroad first in Sierra Leone and then in Evanston at Northwestern and Kellogg School of Management. For more than two years Angelina and Christopher didn’t know if the other was alive or dead.

In Biafra, an Irish missionary nun set off a chain of miracles for Angelina to locate her husband. In Evanston, an instructor at Kellogg, and his wife, with four other North Shore couples, performed their own miracles for Christopher to find Angelina and his six kids amidst the raging war.

Ordinary and extraordinary people, two U.S. congressmen, the leader of Biafra itself, churches and synagogues got involved in the Ihejirikas' plight. Funds were raised to pay for exit visas and seats on a rare missionary flight, the last out of Biafra before the airport was bombed.

The Nigerian-Biafran War is considered the first time starvation was used as a tool of war. Before the surrender of the short-lived Biafran nation in January 1970, blockades led to mass starvation and deaths of at least 2 million Biafrans, primarily Igbos. This genocide ranks fifth on the list of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th century, behind the Nazi's atrocities during the WWII holocaust in Europe, the Ukrainian famine in the Soviet Union, the slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, and the Khmer Rouge massacre of the Cambodians.

From this horror, the Ihejirikas emerged. On June 9, 1969, Angelina and 5-year-old Maudlyne with her 5 siblings landed at O'Hare with only the clothes on their backs.

Currently living in Evanston, Maudlyne works for the Chicago Sun-Times as its urban affairs reporter.

The Ihejirika's memoir is available at Bookends and Beginnings and online.

I appreciate how this labor of love helps me know more about my friend and her family and a slice of history I'd known nothing about. This book puts into valuable perspective the current global refugee crisis triggered by the largest number of forcibly displaced people worldwide since World War II, as well as the current anti-immigrant/anti-refugee sentiments in the United States and other countries.

Stand by. I plan to share some Q & A with Maudlyne here soon.


If you'd like to meet Maudlyne and have her sign a book for you this weekend, she'll be at the Author's Tent on Sunday, July 10, at DuSable Museum of African American History's Arts & Crafts Festival.

The first public reception and book reading/signing to include Angelina will be Wednesday, July 13, 6-9 p.m. at the M Lounge in Angelina's current neighborhood, the South Loop.

In May, the Ihejirikas hosted a private party for the Nigerian community at the
DuSable Museum of African American History to celebrate Angelina's life and the publication of their
family's memoir. Lucky me captured some lovely moments at this heartfelt event.
If you peek at the other image I made and wonder why Angelina
was showered with money, don't ask me. I'm guessing it is like
other customs that are meant to wish a loved one prosperity.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Could Flint happen in Chicago? :: June 16

WBEZ reporter Monica Eng will lead a conversation about the water, what happened in Flint and what Chicago is doing to address concerns about our own water safety at Rotary International's headquarters on Thursday, June 16.

Joining her to discuss--aside from you, should you come--are community leaders representing Michigan, Illinois and the Great Lakes region including:

Dr. Lawrence Reynolds: Flint pediatrician and member of the Governor’s Water Advisory Task Force
Jamie Gaskin: CEO, United Way of Genesee County, MI
Joel Brammeier: President/CEO, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Dave Stoneback, Director of the Evanston Public Works Agency
Amy Krug: President, Rotary Club of Flint

When: 6 - 8 p.m., Thursday, June 16, 2015

Where: 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

Cost: FREE to you, but do get a ticket.


A few news outlets' and social media's reports on the Flint’s water crisis…

Here's how Flint's water crisis happened - CNN video

10 Michael Moore

How Flint’s water crisis unfolded - Detroit Free Press

#JusticeforFlint videos

Flint water crisis - Wikipedia

It's ironic a city in the Great Lakes State would supply its residents with unsafe drinking water, huh? - Unworthy

Follow-up: June 22, 2016

Really interesting conversation and not as dry or as anger-inspiring as one might expect. It was gratifying to hear how many entities worldwide have already helped Flint and how many communities are taking action in light of Flint's disaster to ensure safe water quality for their residents.

The panel came from diverse backgrounds and agencies charged with addressing fixing Flint and delivering healthy water in the future. Numerous elements contributed to Flint's big fail. Two thing were made clear: A) The solutions will be more expensive and complex than steps to prevent this disaster would have been. B) Those people with the least capacity and resources are most effected by this disaster.

The audience asked some good questions. Letting your tap run for about 8 or more minutes in the morning before ingesting any of it is one simple prevention suggested. It allows you to get to the water that has not been sitting in your pipes overnight, possibly letting lead leach into it. (I'm paraphrasing Dave Stoneback, so I'm possibly not expressing that as precisely has he would.) 

The Evanston Water Treatment Plant supplies water to the residents of Evanston, Skokie, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine and Wheeling.

To learn more about lead and how our water is delivered, see

Nice to see so many of my Rotary friends there, plus some other friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Dave Stoneback takes a turn at the mic. He was join by Joel Brammeier, Monica Eng,
Jamie Gaskin, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds and Amy Krug at Rotary International
headquarters auditorium in Evanston on Thursday, June 16, 2016.

[Photo by Karen Kring]

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Megan Oteri and the spirit of Evanston women

Megan Oteri and Karen Kring

From Wyoming, now living outside of Raleigh, NC, my new/old friend Megan Oteri said to me that Evanston feels like home to her as we ate sweets on Monday. Maybe it is because ‪#‎Evanston‬ is where her grandmother and other of her women folk lived, worked and volunteered. Maybe their spirits are alive here and keeping her company. 

Yes, we took a selfie in front of Frances Willard's house, but this one is in front of Patisserie Coralie, at 600 Davis St., where the community kitchen those women folk created and worked in was.

Megan is working on some articles, and eventually a book, about this slice of women's and Evanston's history. And of course, the Woman's Club of Evanston plays prominent in that story.

Who wants to join me next time she's in town and take her our for coffee or margaritas? 

Megan and I met via our Twitter accounts. She's at @MemoMuse1 and @600DavisSt. I'm still at @EvanstonLive.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On The Table 2016 dinner May 10 in Evanston

Updated May 6, 2016

THIS I BELIEVE: When we come together, as a community, to listen and learn, we have the power to enhance neighborhoods and lives. I also believe that all of us--I say ALL OF US--have stories and perspectives to share that others would benefit hearing about. Can I get an AMEN?!

What do you believe? I'd like to know.

Think you'd enjoy sharing a meal with a handful of friends, neighbors, strangers and family members and discussing our "ideal community”, what a “united Chicago” might look like, and how we might get closer to achieving that?

I'm hosting an On The Table dinner which will be all about that.

When: Tuesday, May 10, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Peckish Pig
623 Howard St., Evanston
Cost: $33/person*

Get in touch soon.
Seating is limited.


This On The Table dinner will be one of many happening on May 10 throughout the Chicago area. Now in its third year, this Chicago Community Trust initiative includes participants from every ZIP code in the region. Last year more than 20,000 folks gathered to swap stories and perspectives over a meal one evening in May.

The Trust is again organizing this massive happening, because its leaders look forward to hearing the new ideas and feedback that will arise. For participants, it is a chance to connect with new and old friends over a good meal and hopefully gain fresh insights.

I work in media. One of the questions I'd like to get some feedback on is how you are informed about what is going on in your geographic community and what kinds of information or sharing you think we need more of.

I picked Peckish Pig for our gathering, because their food is yummy, the vibe is encouraging, Chef Deb is fun and because it's on the border of Chicago and Evanston, says a map. What does that line on a map mean?

I hope you'll come and leave feeling inspired, enlightened, maybe more connected. If next steps/action items come from the conversation, lovely. If not, that's just fine. But if we do, we could possibly get $1000 to pull off something via the Acting Up Award.

If you can't make it to one of the many dinners happening on May 10, you can follow the action via #onthetable2016 on Twitter and elsewhere online.

*Cost will cover a three-course meal which will probably include Goat Cheese & Honeycomb with Toast Points, Charcuterie, Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash Crème, Roasted Vegetables Skewers with Cilantro Lime Butter, and for dessert, Mini Brownies with Salted Carmel Drizzle and Fresh Fruit with Balsalmic Reduction and Crème Fraîche served family style. Menu will be firmed up after May 1. Tax and tip for the meal is included. Not included are drinks, so unless you are fine with water served in Peckish Pig's signature blue mason jars, you'll want to bring extra dinero with you.


Other #OnTheTable2016 dinners

My dinner will not be free, but WTTW and WFMT will be picking up the tab on the dinners they are hosting. You can sign up now for their dinners at .

The City of Evanston is organizing some dinners, too. Beth Emet's Andrea London is hosting a pot luck.

Loyola University is sponsoring two gatherings in Rogers Park.

Want to hang out with some teenagers? Teens will lead a discussion about violence, justice, peace and community at IMPACT Family Center.

Equal Pay Day Chicago will offer Girl Scout cookies at their lunch in downtown Chicago.

Center for Changing Lives is hosting a gathering at St. Augustine College in Chicago.

The Executive Service Corps of Chicago is hosting a lunch in Chicago's Loop.

The African American Legacy Initiative is hosting a breakfast in The Walnut Room at Field's, oh, I mean Macy's.

Chicago Park District's Humboldt Park Advisory Council is hosting a gathering at Humboldt Park.

Halle Levy and Healthcare Alternative Systems are hosting a discussion in Chicago's Logan Square about youth violence in school.

Operation Warm Chicago is hosting their gathering mid-day in downtown Chicago.

Amanda Neely and Overflow Coffee Bar in Chicago's South Loop is hosting a conversation, as well.

May is Mental Health month. Kennedy Forum Illinois is putting mental health and addiction on the table. If you'd like in on one of open-to-the-public dinners to discuss that, contact James Burns at or 312-479-2636 . You can follow what they are talking about online via #BreakTheSilence.

The City Club of Chicago is hosting a breakfast. Sounds nice.

South Austin Neighborhood Association is hosting a gathering with Alderman Chris Taliaferro at MacArther's Resturant starting at 6 p.m.

Compa is hosting a 4:30 p.m. and a 6 p.m. gathering at BeSpeak Studio in Chicago's Lincoln Park.

Michael Carpanzano is hosting an evening gathering in Bollingbrook.

Destiny Watson is hosting a gathering in the Homewood-Flossmoor neighborhood

On May 8, Alison Stanton is hosting a potluck at the Blue 1647 Tech Innovation Center: Building The Diversity in Tech Chicago Community Agenda.

Who wants to bowl? People's Resource Center is hosting their gathering on Wednesday, May 11 at Pinstrips in Oakbrook.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thanking and Thinking

I invite you to embrace two ideas in your mind at the same time:
There's lots that sucks right now. 
There's lots that is very good right now.

We humans are designed to quickly recognize what sucks, what is wrong, what is dangerous--and then react to that. That's how we've been able to survive over millennia.

To thrive, we're challenged to recognize what is going right, what is working, what is worthy of your time...and who lights us up.

Now is the time to recognize all of the above. I invite you to think about it and actively engage it.

People LOVE to be acknowledged for their wonderfulness and positive contributions. Start there. Write a note, send an email, make a call, send flowers, whatever. If you're concerned about seeming to be sappy, risk it. Dare to use some flowery words. Dare to use some words you don't use commonly.
Live it up.
Carpe Diem, baby.
Let it all hang out.

Hmm. What to do about suckiness? How does one actively acknowledge or engage that in a thoughtful, worthwhile way?

If Mahatma Gandhi were here, he might suggest being the change you wish to see.
That's good.

I suggest starting where you're at with whatever you've got. What you've got is your energy, savvy, compassion and surely more. I also suggest if you don't know enough about the particular suckiness you're focused on, find a way to learn more and dive in in some way that works for you. This might take you out of your comfort zone, but what I suspect is that you'll find it less scary than you thought it would be. I also suspect you'll learn something and gain new perspective.
Don't worry about "making a difference". You will.

I invite your thoughts about this.

~ * ~
In case the weather and other suckiness is getting on your nerves, here's Peggy Lee singing a song she wrote, It's a Good Day, which I dedicate to my sister-in-law Pam...and here's Darlene Love singing It's a Marshmellow World, for you.

I published a version of this piece previously elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Summer on Evanston's West Side, 1952.

It will be warm again in Evanston, like it was in 1952.

Rose Eichberger with her granddaughter, then Gladys Swarthout.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Harvest Food Pantry receives donation from Valli's

This in from Valli's publicists...

To round out the 2015 holiday season, Evanston's Valli Produce International Fresh Market, recently dropped off a donation of more than 1,500 nonperishable items to Evanston’s The Harvest Food Pantry. The items were donated during the first annual Valli Produce Evanston Holiday Food Drive in partnership with area schools.

For collecting the most donations, Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies in Skokie, will receive the winning prize of $1,000 from Valli's.

Other participating schools include Dewey, Oakton, Lincoln and Thomas Edison elementary schools, St. Joan of Arc School and Lincoln Jr. High.

These donations will help The Harvest Food Pantry meet the needs of the more than 225 families it serves each week.