ASNE? FYI?

When I first came to Mexico City, I was just returning from an amazing adventure, and institute called the ASNE  Reynolds Institute, thanks to the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.  It changed my life forever.  Literally.  I always knew as I clamored my way major after major in college, I lived for new experiences, a chance to dip into education, social media, loved the outdoors, but wanted new challenges each day.  I get bored easily with the same pattern day in and day out, and didn’t have the patience to not experience peoples’ stories and I wanted to be involved with them on a daily basis.  I found my home at Kent State that summer.

Thanks to being accepted to this Institute, I was whisked away on a flight to Kent State, picked up in a limo, and housed in the dorm at Kent State University, surrounded by technological and journalism experts, and educators from Hawaii to New York.  It was a utopia of learning how to go out and find a story, report, it, and dig into people’s lives and find out THEIR story, and report it to the interest of those around you.  It was about ethics, decisions on making journalism work in the 21st Century, using professional and personal skills alongside each other, taking what has been deemed a nowhere major such as Communication and making it something outstanding in Journalism.

Up to this point I had been baptized in advising the amazing Aloha yearbook at Seaford High, and looking back now as the advisor or the Repentino. magazine, a brilliant continuation of talented individuals that are challenged alongside me daily, I never could have been part of a more crucial Institute than this that changed the direction of how I wanted to be involved with publications and the immediate community.  This blog has slowly evolved to meet the diverse needs of people around the world, and still is evolving, just as I am int he field of journalism I learned at the ASNE Institute.

It makes sense, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea that connects to something I researched or published before and realize, there is no set schedule for discovery, creativity, and implementation in journalism, it flows and ebbs in nocturnal, and odd hours , all hours of the day (and night).  What better field to be such a diverse person in than in journalism and journalism that doesn’t fit into the stereotype of the reporter in an office, on the street, and back to the office, but evoking to the 21st Century…evolving to the blog, the iPhone, the iPad, the QR code, the coffee shop, the theatre, and so much more.

I look back at the Institutes I have been lucky to be a part of,  the Holocaust Educator’s Workshop in the Kristol Center at the University of Delaware (age 23 of the pamphlet), the Delaware Naturalist Certification Program, the Clarice Smith Art Education Institute in D.C, The first National Writing Project in Mansfield, PA,The National Youth Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, the numerous Jostens’ yearbook camps I attended at Gettysburg College, the AP Institutes in Lewes, Delaware, and of course ASNE in Kent State, they all jelled together with this basic ultimatum – Use this experience to reach others otherwise it is just a list of “things” you went to on your professional record and nothing else.  I had enough “things” and wanted to jumpstart what I did with all my experiences in my life, and ASNE put those together and ignited a passion for finding unique ways to reach people, to constantly create methods to reach people and bring them together, and to inform.  

I am finding that I am growing more creative as I get older as one as I utilize my experiences and not just them soak in, but then turn around and “wring out” those experiences and put them to use.  I have learned so much since that ASNE experience, I feel it was a central stopping station to take all the experiences I had worked through and refining them to be used in the most optimal way possible.  Yes, looking back on those mornings walks I took with H.L. taught me an important lesson, making time for yourself to grow in areas you are strong in is vital, reflection is necessary.  During that process you will create a position that you best fit into, that utilizes your talents to the optimum, and necessarily doesn’t fit into an current neat, existing job description, often it becomes created on your own  - if you allow opportunities to grow and morph into something else.  I found being a Media Specialist Librarian and an advocate for journalism allowed this to happen.  I have never been the same ever since.

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Open the Pages of…

The London Review of Books     April 17, 2014

In looking at the periodical The London Review of Books, the same large size, fold in half size periodical follows the ooh of The New York Review of Books.  Even when you turn inside, the Table of Contents follows the same pattern, with contributors detailed below the actual pages the articles appear on.  I like that the preview for the contents of the next issue is also listed on this page.  No apparent online access version is listed, yet there is one and can be found here.

The very first article delves you into the UK directly, the controversy of Hs2.  I had no idea that Hs2 meant the High Speed two, the plan for a 330 mile railway that will link parts of traveling north and south in the U.K. and controversial due to the fact that individuals are being asked to move since the rail itself will be taking over particular parts where homes are located.  Obviously, one of the largest concerns is that of the ability to bring the U.K. even more to the modern era. All sorts of issues that involve the environment an the land, as well as dispossessing homes are contained, as well as the overall plan and justification for such a mammoth project, and as you can see, there is alot of opposition as well.  There is much attention to the mammoth issue since this article actually goes on for about 4- pages.

The Letters section of course has correspondence that relates to articles of the past from within UK, yet, also writers from Virginia, Toronto, and Bolivia add to the diversity of writers that respond to past articles.  It’s nice to see the variety of readers and issues being represented.

It’s ironic how we discussed the books in The New York Review of books that have to do with China, as the next article chooses Pamela Crossley’s Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China.  The biggest takeaway her was that Cixi rose up through the ranks of a surviving wife of the Xianfeng emperor, and when the emperor passed away, continued to influence many factors that China has implemented today in the modern era of China.  It is hinted that that Cixi was referred to as more honorable and heroic than she was in real life, yet the contributions she left behind as a woman in a strict China dynasty seem to be very apparent.  This further emphasize the power of a woman in a time where women did not have the chance to be influential when it came to men being the main object of ruling and contributions to a country to the public eye.

I was intrigued with the new article which focused on the artist Kate Bush.  I never truly listened to anything by Kate Bush, but always knew in the 80′s -90′s she stood on the verge of being different and being able to stand apart from the mainstream music stream. Ian Penman makes the point that due to the fact that Kate Bush always managed to be quite popular from choosing to not be in the public light alot, and the fact that she works exclusively with her family and a studio at her home, the risks in music she seemed to take before are behind her.  The urge to want Kate Bush to go back and be challenged and take risks in her music is apparent in this author’s writing and he ends hoping this is a sue for Kate Bush to reemerge with the same style she appeared with in the 90s full of daring, challenge, and breaking from the standard mold of artists out there now.  Listening to her song Hounds of Love and Waking the Witch, (a little freaky to say the least) one hears a Cyndi Lauper style voice only much more mature, which takes risks, experiments and performs outside of the parameters of the standard music that was in the 80′s.

In the next article, you could tell this was very hard core politics in the UK, and Colin Kidd goes head on into the strategies to repair the House of Commons, but was way above my ability to follow due to the various names and conventions I am quite unfamiliar with in the govern of the U.K..  Yet, it is  important to see how relevant the London Review of Books keeps with the current concerns of the country.

The first in detailed article on a book would be that one examining Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t.  The author Adams Mars-Jones dissects the sections of this novel and interprets the various sections as they appear to the reader.  While most seem autobiographical, they do appeal to the author due to the quirkiness and creativity she brings to observing events she goes on to describe.

I went on to read the next article focusing on artists Ben Nicholson and Winifred Roberts (Nicholson), as well as Alfred Wallis, who both artists came across and seemed to help promote.  What I found amazing was learning that Alfred Wallis really had just painted on cardboard and pieces of whatever he could find in his fishing shack, using paint he had on hand from the boats.  I think it is quite amazing to read about individuals I never kew existed, and have them brought forefront through the London Review of Books, showing the diversity of topics that are revealed in this periodical.  The gallery Kettle’s Yard is references constantly where many of these works were displayed, which in itself looks amazing.

In looking at Marina Warner’s Story-Bearers, the Moroccan author Abdelfattah Kilito is focused on, with the focus on how he saw languages, (Arabic and French) as well as  how he worked through them and how his works are being translated currently. and a video demonstrates his ability as an author comes through however this is not in English, but Arabic, so might be difficult for some.

Another political article follows that examines the role of the United States with Syria and potential attacks, and Obama’s decision to follow through or not in she of the cases.  The tone of the article is somewhat critical or more puzzles by why certain moments were not followed through to attack Syria when that seemed to be the intention, and the scary aspect of chemical weapon use, and which country is supplying to which country, and then the involvement of Turkey among this as well.  The additional scary aspect is the level that the U.S. has been providing arms to groups that actually might be more a threat than beneficial to the fighting occurring in Syria.

In the heading titled Short Cuts, a brief look at the conflict is brought to the reader’s attention, that involves Crimea, Romania, Germany,  Russia, and the Ukraine, a back and forth struggle involving aspects of religion, the Tartars, and the risk of freed that now exists.

In an article that focuses on Francois Mitterand, it is interesting to found out the loves of foreign dignitaries and how their lives are as scandalous as those we heard about in the United States.  From affair to the critical moves made toward various decisions, in reading the views of European views, this periodical is able to delve you into a different vocabulary of lives instantly from the variety of European-centered articles.  I had not idea how involved in the resistance Mitterand was and was unaware of the timeframe of his live and involvement, so this article also became a history lesson to me of his influence and involvement after being a Prisoner of War.

I was intrigued with an article that focused on how little was know about Jonathan Swift, due to his elusive references which often were coded to mean something else.  The emphasis on Jonathan Swift is in fact interesting.  The while article talks about how the word “Coffee” standing for sexual relations with a woman.  Yet this encrypting occurred frequently in his life, which adds the mystery to finding out details and information about his life.  The phrase “patterns of contradiction” appear everywhere in relation to studying Jonathan Swift.

Richard Hoggart is examined next as a prominent representative of cultural and media literature.  Additionally, he is discussed serving on a trial as a witness to determine if the novel Lady Chatterly’s Lover was obscene.  Ironically, the fit that someone of Puritan character was behind this story also comes up in this discussion hat involved him as a key witness.  One of his most influential works was The Uses of Literacy of what he is best known for.

Under the Diary column, a particularly interesting article dealt with the feelings of the areas of Odessa, Crimea, and the Ukraine.  The conflicts that interact with Russia helped bring some sense of the various feelings among factions in this area, and this column seems to allow writers to in fact write in a personal/diary format to bring out meaning of issues a little more clearly, especially issues that seems to be confusing due to the multitude of sides involved.  After reading this I realized the individuals in these areas that due feel change is about to happen, changes a million worlds away, and those that do not want to be involved.

The three pages of the Classifieds section covers everything from announcements for Write-Ins, Universities of Study, to many offers to travel to European destinations for accredited writing sessions and writing retreats.

In between the diverse articles that cover so many ranges of topics, publishing companies like Princeton University Press, films by Film Forever, Cambridge University Press, Harvard, Uniform Books, and Authorhouse (self publishing) just to name a few, are represented.

I was interested in the London Review Bookshop’s coverage of 10 texts that covered the breadth of Samuel Beckett, and the chance to visit the bookshop that focuses on so many contributions Beckett made.

I walked away exhausted working my way through so many political, social, and other articles from so many topics – I had NO IDEA the London Book Review of Books would take me there, and it will take you too, but be ready, this is the BBC, NPR, and more wrapped up in each periodical, and you will walk away more than informed!

 

 

 

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Empowering…

Overall, I like the word Empowering, and to truly take on the meaning of this word, there needs to be action behind this – I found this word in several examples as of late worth sharing.

Luckily, and inspiringly, I have seen every year, since I became an educator, the combination of a student who knows they have something to give, those that have no idea that they could be something or do something that would change them and others, and those that are told they have “something” but need a push to realize it and be able to motivate themselves.  With each of these very different three combinations, I always found myself energized to go the next day and be refreshed again, all who have gone on to to be simply, empowering.

So you can imagine how intense and inspired I was when I came across Lee Smith’s book, Guests on Earth.  The review I wrote is below:

Controversy behind a curtain of intrigue. Highland Hospital, Zelda, Asheville North Carolina, Dr. Robert S. Carroll, also mentioned are a few of the true facts that Lee Smith brings out to draw you as the reader in. In high school I was sucked into Charlotte Bronte’s tale of Jane Eyre, who represented all of what the period pushed its characters to embody (and unusual as this is usually a female-oriented story with the characters affected). Here, Lee Smith represents all that many did not know about Zelda, a strong, fulfilling, artistic, and VERY talented individual who Scott Fitzgerald needed as inspiration. Many do not realize how much of his writing came from Zelda’s or how repressed she was, yet, Lee Smith has the ability to represent a true side of Zelda, and not the stereotypical crazy persona that is often attributed to her.

This link here…

is only one example that emphasizes how underrated and underestimated a woman Zelda was. This art of storytelling by Lee Smith will suck you in and enlighten you to all that Zelda might have been. and even more if not for this tragic end, and shows how she was often overshadowed by her husband; we find out that it seemed alot of his success came from Zelda. A brilliant read!

I found it refreshing  Lee Smith highlighted the persona of Zelda as brave and fighting against the stereotypes that were placed on her not only then, but also now in the areas of being “crazy”, “insane” and an “outsider.”  I feel alot of those stereotypes came from her being in the shadow of her husband Scott Fitzgerald, in a time where it was fashionable to be shocked by women outside the norm, but not looking up to them, that supposedly was the male role of the time.  What I now envision is a slideshow of items that are just the opposite.  Zelda’s influence on her husband’s writing and not being acknowledged, coming across the amazing influence of architect Linda Bo Bardi among a”man’s world” of architecture, 2:08 spot of Lele Pon’s video (go ahead, watch it, lol), and just seeing the young ladies in my history as an educator rising up and leading, creating, and being amazing role models, all are empowering in their own way.  Women are so under estimated due to egos of men n a society trained that way, and no better place is this shown than in Lee Smith’s book focusing on not only Zelda Fitzgerald, but other young women that sought to overcome difficult situations.

The extensions to this as a teacher, in teaching The Great Gatsby?  Amazing.  It would be great to discuss the irony of The Great Gatsby, as a feminine novel instead of a male dominated novel. The art pieces that Zelda produced as well during her periods of treatment, to the idea that Zelda was really the best she was when she was empowered in her talents apart from Scott Fitzgerald, there are many exciting leads that could be followed to bring a truer sense of who Zelda was as a person and not as a stereotype.

Aside from the discoveries made in Lee Smith’s novel, and wandering through Chapultepec and finding areas I did not know existed while living in Mexico, I found one more on Thursday.  Being asked to go and explore the outdoor grounds of Dangu, an interesting chance to see a place where cats and dogs can be kept when you leave for a jaunt, I couldn’t resist.  I was lucky enough to come across someone that mentioned Dangu to me, and I thought, why not, let’s see what happens behind the scenes.

After bring picked up and taken towards Toluca, about a 35 minute drive, through some pretty rural and basic outskirts of the DF,  I found myself at the front of a wall and gate that looked like a hacienda.  As we went in, I was astounded.  Fancy iron gates, open to the air, and tons of them containing well maintained sheltered houses, as well as small yards, numbering at least 40, in front of the hillside.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.24.21 AMHere was a clean, healthy, and open-aired retreat where dogs and cats, could be separated yet have a piece of their own walking, running, and playing environment outside, as well as protected from the elements if needed.  The view was amazing, and then learning that pets are taken on a wooded trail, they also given a time called “kinder” during the day with other dogs if they want or can be, as well as being able to take in this amazing cared for environment, I was taken in immediately.  On top of that, before being returned, pets are cleaned and groomed before being delivered back to their owner?  LOVED LOVED this opportunity to have my dogs treated better sometimes than I could for them during the week.

Sitting in the main wooded house with light and windows everywhere viewing the area of DanguScreen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.24.27 AM

we talked nutrition and services that included helping dogs with acupuncture for the pets that were injured and had dysplasia, with amazing recovery results afterwards; moving onto healthier diets for dogs, to a variety of topics, it was refreshing to meeting individuals that take the time to care for canines, and go the extra mile and then some for others pets.  Learning of their past opportunities to find homes for animals, as well as the methodical steps they take to provide an amazing environment for animals, Dangu is top on my list for the meticulous and careful attention many pets do not get.  This was worth every amount to have at least my canines looked after in the best possible manner outside the city.  The video and website did not do this area justice, and the special made areas for smaller dogs since they are more fragile, they have thought of everything.  It was GREAT knowing that specialist trainers made up every staff member here, and helped finish off what is an amazing experience for all pets and their owners.

Finally, while occurring first for the day, but discussing last, I am finding that looking for something new in Mexico, every day, is not difficult.  Stumbling across the Korean Gardens off of Reforma today was an amazing discovery, and peaceful.  From the architecture, to the amazing landscaping that a friend with me remarked looked German due to the very organized and methodical way things were being implemented,  (a high testament to the quality the Mexican employees were doing with this area), this was the perfect start to a great Thursday.  If each of us set out to find something new that was right in our countries’ backyard everyday, I have a feeling we’d all be different people.

If you take a look at the amazing services for animals from Lucky Dog, to Dangu, to Walking Dog, you see the spirit of giving back in so many forms, we are lucky to be surrounded with so many individuals filled with that sense of empowering others, it is worth passing it on to another!

 

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A love Letter to Mexico City

So worth checking out…to see how this country will probably be the leading country and city in 5 years.

The Interior Circuit

and Mexico in 24 hours!

 

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Opening up the Pages of…

The New York Review of Books  May 22, 2014

I just assume we have periodicals that contain pages and pages and pages, and…well you get the idea, of reviews. Period. WRONG! I realized how much more content is in The New York Review of Books than I ever imagined as you will see too.

It is nice as you open the page to see the contributors and bios of the right underneath the table of contents. Also, the blog for The New York Review of Books is listed and is here as well. The sidebar on this initial and many consequent pages are used just as I thought the whole periodical was devoted to reviews but this is shared with…

…a book titled, A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren. What I like is here, you are not just given a few short paragraphs on the book, but a comprehensive write up, over 4-5 pages, on the specific topics surround the book being suggested is written. Simply through this article I found out Elizabeth Warren’s stance on the economy as well as her position among many male leaders in the government under Obama’s administration. This was in-depth and well, once I started, VERY interesting!

I love, LOVE this next article focuses on a library world where digital journal prices are soaring and normal subscribers are eliminating their subscriptions, therefore putting a demand on more and more resource driving the cost down, or alternatives for making them free for the public. Several sources exist for individuals to find free online sources, one being the PubMed Central list of Medical Journals online. This menu gives you a directory of possibilities for research as well for various medically-PubMed articles.

Also, the FASTR act was a motion to allow more documents to be available to the public for free. One example is the Congress.gov site, if you scroll down to the bottom of the Congress site,  you see a link for House and Senate activity that is useful for research in those areas of the government.

One of the least known resources, I feel, is the Digital Public Library of America. You will see. Thousands of contributing libraries and books and periodicals, all available, a crazy crazy voluminated source (my new word). I love how this article made many beneficial links to information being more free and accessible than costly to the public.

The next article dealt with architecture, wow. I learned so much about architecture through the books being featured ON architecture, architects and women in architecture such as the below:

Linda Bo BardiSan Paulo Museum of Art, The Glass House and the SESC Pompeii and I walked away NEVER realizing how much women architects can be overshadowed by male architects. Also, her ability to take structures that are to be torn down, and renovate them to be exciting centers of community – I LOVE. She was a genius I never even knew before this article.

Sergei Dovlatov – and although I never really studied Russian literature, I was pulled in by this focus on his writing release titled Pushkin Hills. You discover a history of Russian through the existence of Dovlatov, as well as the people he wrote, associated, and was influenced by. I was beginning to realize how little I know of other countries’ histories just from reading these articles found in The New York Review!

Which leads us to the many conflicts between Japan and China, with an extensive look at the leaders Xi Jinping, Chiang Kai-shek, Prince Konoe Fumimaro, Matsuoka Yosuke, Shinzo Abe, (don’t worry, if it seems overwhelming, Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta gets into this. I was just amazed at how much I did learn from the outset from the articles presented here by Hotta.

These articles that are reviews yes, are of specific texts, yes, but the information I was informed on in this next article,  and the extensive information you are given, lets you forget this periodical is just about books, and I delved into the information I did not know about, Memory, learning about Elizabeth Spencer and her newest book, discovering the latest controversies through books and  films on the occupation of Palestine and Israel, the Sahara terror due to border conflicts, what seems to be a phony standoff in the Ukraine and Russia and now escalating, and to be honest, I am not including all the other reviews and articles, (one of new historical fictions involving women protagonists and the other about French Society examination based compared to American contrasts,  crammed between the many many sidebars and inserts of new books that have come out, and this is in MAY!)

In the Classified section you find the random ads for hideaways to rent to write, as well as offers from publishing houses, and then the occasional classifieds for a call for papers, but nice that the classified section exists to grab an overview of what is available and opportunities available.

Literally, you would not need to pull up any newspaper to see what is happening in the world, AND you are getting reviews of books that coincide with the events through this periodical.  The New York Review of Books will reshape how you see reviews as well as how you see the world, not a bad thing to consider in one sit-down of one periodical.

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Maruchan and Cambio!

Yes.  I finally did it.  My VERY first cup of Maruchan Instant Lunch,  Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 8.49.36 AM I mean yes!!!

I overdid the Ramen noodles in college while at Edinboro University, but I ventured to try what I never had and oh yeaaaaaah – Delicious!  :)  So there are always “firsts” no matter what stage you are in life  :)

I forgot to mention the best part about this past weekend!  While I was bopping around on Saturday, and walking the dogs, I found a 20 peso bill on the sidewalk!   (Seriously, this is like the fourth time I have found money lying on the sidewalk!) and I was thinking – I need to write the dates DOWN that I find money! So knowing that 20 pesos would come and go, I remembered a  guy who was really afflicted with a condition the made him shake alot, and he was always on the street asking for money.  I ventured around and did not see him (figures) so as I passed Sobrino’s, I spied a man playing the cello and he was looking like he was not making out so well, the whole, wiping face, tired, and it had been kind of a rain just recently, so not sure he was getting much luck – and there were a whole 3-4 people there so I thought, “Why not?!”

I stopped dropped the 20 pesos to him as I walked by with the dogs, and he looked grateful to say the least.  I hope the people that WERE in the restaurant that WERE listing to him started a chain reaction and gave him more, lol.  I thought that was a better use that I would eventually find  :)

It’s funny finding money so frequently on the sidewalks, as I did when I desperately needed it in the states (once or twice) and alot more people here need it then, I, and I have found money on the sidewalk ALOT – weird…

 

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So, after 130 restaurants, WHAT is it that makes a Restaurant a Second Home??

Heart.  There are a thousand restaurants, new ideas, and new spaces every day,  Yet, few go the extra mile and treat customers like you are the only one even when you are surrounded.  Also, when you leave a restaurant, you should carry a piece of that restaurant away with you as well, (I am actually not talking food here for once!)

The most unexpected aspect of visiting so many eateries is learning a piece of the culture of the country you are in, as well as the conversation that you can become involved in, if you are lucky to be in such an establishment.  So the makes the choice of best restaurants actually rather easy!

In the states, hands down, The Over Grinder.  I remember the personal touch, the attention to me as a customer, and I waited 2 hours to get in, and still, this was an amazing amazing experience due to the people, the food the climate, the conversation, the attention to you, and if you can do that after 2 1/2 hours – absolutely no contest.  See my writeup below:

#76 Oven Grinder 2121 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614 773-248-2570

GET HERE EARLY, like 3:00- 4:00 if possible! I arrived, 7:00 PM – Okay, I did get here a little before 5:00 PM and I waited and came in at 6:45 PM, with a long wait visible but I know this was worth the wait based on the recommendation Sharon gave me. I mentioned Geno’s was the place to eat and she took me by surprise and said, “Harry! Ohmygosh, you need to try OvenGrinder!” I laughed at the sound but then decided that okay, I am game! Finally, on a Saturday where none of my conference workshops worked out, I tried OvenGrinders – and as I am sitting here, I ordered the Pot Pie pizza, as well as the Mediterranean Brad and Chef’s salad. I was told to mix the Poppyseed and Garlic dressings, and the waiter, Brandon, WAAAY cool waiter, friendly and just very welcoming. Although that my feet, even with the new insoles I bought (lol) are exhausted and worn, with the awesome the smell when I walked in, I immediately knew THIS was worth the wait. When I sat down in the wooded interior, I almost felt like I was within a small pub in Baltimore, it had the same feel. Then a super cool waiter came and I began to tell him where I was from, and we struck up how I knew to get the type of dressing mixed, the bread and the pot pie pizza lol.

The Mediterranean bread came, ohmy GOSH! The smell filled the whole table, covered the whole plate, well look! The ripping off and adding seasoning only exemplified this meal, oh my gosh. But when the salad came, this towering inferno, with the garlic and the Poppyseed,  it was a party in my mouth, MAJOR. Brandon, my waiter, was EXCELLENT. I honestly could not consider him my ‘waiter’, he was an instant friend and amazing with his recommendations and info about the area as well as the tradition behind all of this. But no, the main feature, the main meal, came and the Pizza Pot pie, well look first and then with the mixing of the smells of Pot Pie, the Mediterranean Bread, and the Poppyseed and Garlic dressing, I know I had died and gone to heaven, seriously…

The atmosphere, the AMAZING Italian-style portions, the AMAZING experience, hands down, I have to say this might be, no, it was my BEST dining experience in the states and in Mexico I can ever remember, ever. My stomach was bulging, and the portions I took with me, back, were enough for two more meals, and for $30.00 – this as a MAJOR steal, MAJOR. Add to it the amazing friendliness and awesome service of Brandon, and this is a priceless experience.

My Chicago experience was already a success after this experience, and so will yours after coming here. The parting advice of places to visit involved Rick Bayless – famous – Mexican food, Frontera Fresca at Ohare. I am looking forward to see what these experiences will have, but I know they will not hold a light against the Oven grinder. Sharon – you are a genius!

~

In Mexico – I have to be on the same category – and overall I remember walking into Delirio and Monica Petino’s daughter, behind the counter, without asking, called me forward and told me she’d explain all I was seeing in front of me, the precedes they like to follow to serve me as the customer and overall, was AMAZING.  All without being asked.  A second restaurant was Gringo Pinche, (also here) and Wok This Way.  Both did the same, they welcomed me while heartedly and that also added believe it or not, to the taste of the food itself.  At Gringo Pinche, the BBQ made me instantly remember the taste and experiences of selling and eating BBQ homestyle, along the roadside with that delicious amazing filling flavor.  Wok This way always welcomes me like I am family, so these three certainly top my list and I found I could pay 500 pesos as the fanciest, well to do restaurant as a status symbol, and still not walk away feeling the way I do from these locations.  :)  Excited to break 200 restaurants visited by the end of the year – and I learn so much from it aside form discovering new friends.

#104 Gringo Pinche BBQ and here! Cumbres de Maltrata No. 360, Benito Juárez, Narvarte, 03020 Ciudad de México, D.F. 01 55 6389 1129

I can dream of the days and flavors I experienced in Delaware with BBQ pulled pork and BBQ chicken – then there is the unique and welcoming demeanor as well. Overall, this is a place you will literally crawl way from from being so full. Add the service, the ability to see the World Cup and other events, and overall, just turning the corner and seeing this open, unexpected eatery – it is awesome, delicious, and you will become addicted. I think this is the best BBQ in Mexico, and with good reason. Time Out agrees as well.

#57 Wok This Way   Cordoba y Alavaro Obregon

(I love the possible play you can have with WOK, this is one of many!)
Being 4 buildings away from this restaurant, I honestly didn’t know what I was missing! With Julienne hungry for Asian food, and as a guest at my place, we were in search of good Asian food, and yes, we found it. With outside seating, as well as accommodating roughly 8 people inside, the comfy interior and simple arrangement works perfectly with the deliciousness, yet filling nature of the noodles, vegetables, of whatever you would like to choose.

There is a nice display of natural grass along the front, which seems to go with the nature of this restaurant, everything does taste all natural, watching the staff prepare and cook your selection, and the taste fills that empty spot perfectly. Every day I walk past the staff is always friendly and welcoming.  Definitely a great place to get your fill! :)

I can’t emphasize enough, they way I feel as a person when I walk in, and walk out, makes the difference.  These restaurants above do an excellent and amazing job at making sure, your  money is not the only defining factor in your experience!

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Revelations that become inspirational…

“Things always happen for a reason”, “This was in the cards”, “It was fate”. We have heard these phrases all along the way, and it is like getting used to something you forget to pay attention to the first moment, of what made it so special, we all do that and often take very valuable things for granted, yet, it is so important to allow room in our lives to go back and remember what was so important and value those beginnings.

Saturday, what a beautiful day.  I mean, in the middle of Mexico’s rainy season and I am having a difficult time remembering a day as beautiful as Saturday was and – no rain – loved.  Being able to walk the dogs early, and taking in the freshness of the morning amid beautiful sunshine – it was amazing.  I was able to make it to a fabulous restaurant Crepes & Waffles, to see off a legendary friend in Mexico City heading back to the states.  The waffles with Fresa – superb.IMG_6712

The morning was just superb with being able to see such a good friend and share this last morning, and having such a day be as amazing in its weather.  It’s so strange saying goodbye, because again, you get so used to individuals always being there, that the really early good friends, when they leave, it doesn’t feel they have gone anywhere, that’s how good of friends you can tell they were.  After saying goodbye to Dean and his easy-to-get-attached-to canines, I headed bad to take MY canines to one more walk before striking out to see – well just anything I wanted!

In going to Parque Rio, I realized how well-behaved the dog have become and them being able to be taken off the leash, and being able to know enough to stay within the confines of the park has become so much better.  But there is one enemy still lurking.

Water.

By and far, they stay way from it as they do not know quite what to make of it, but when they do get in, and Wriggley found out.  Chasing another “friend” he took the leap right into the fountain, and Afghan hair, even though this is not especially to the ground length, let’s say it is “interesting” to maintain when wet.  At this point, Amaya jumped in too with Kinah just shaking her head.  I just made up in my head that yes, grooming time for Wriggley MIGHT be today, while Amaya wasn’t nearly as tangled as Wriggley.  As I was watching this all play out, I walked literally into someone who owns a company called Dangu that takes care of canines.  It was interesting, because we exchanged information, and I feel excited to visit her place next week, and to maybe find a better situation than I did with Happy Dogs,  :)  However, it was just amazing to see, meet and talk canines and well something quite expected happened..she informed me of a park that I had NO IDEA what she was talking about, and it looked HUGE other map on the iPhone, but I couldn’t believe I had issued a park this size?  IMG_6718 What the heck?

On the way walking down Orizaba, I contemplated how I could have missed a whole area of Mexico City so close to my own home, I, on a hunch, with Wriggley dripping wet, stopped by Dr. Pedro Pablo Soto on Chiapas to see what we could do with Wriggley’s hair.  It looked like not much, between the already existing knots and the now existent wetness, it was going to have to be cut close, and shaved.  I had no idea what this would be like like but knew it had to be done.

I left Wriggley behind to get groomed and Kinah, Amaya, and I headed to the end of Orizaba, and no kidding, this huge looming park – Jardin Ramon Lopez Velarde, I was thinking, WHAT IS THIS?  Beginning on Antonio Anza and Orizaba, I was enveloped in trees, paths and childen in all kinds of play areas – areas being brought back with trees and plants thanks to the Boy Scouts and as I walked the other side of the park, there was Centro Medico stop!  I stopped and was just amazed at how closely connected thing are and yet are totally different lines of the metro, and still telling asI had never KNEW THIS WAS HERE!

I realized as I walked out of the park 30-40 minutes later, how amazing Mexico City is to be able to have these realizations.  I was lucky.  The houses, streets, and awesome pictures I was seeing that I had never seen before on the way back was just – it made my summer.

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I thought this was an awesome side effect of staying here over the summer, making discoveries the I did not know existed, while also meeting new people to send me in those directions, and it did seem this worked out this way for a reason.

Since it was only after 2:00, and Wriggley would not be ready until 4:30, on a spontaneous feeling, I stopped with Kinah and Amaya at the new El Ocho off of Plaza Cabrera. It was advertised as Dog Friendly…

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.21.02 AMIMG_6738and wow, it was and then some!

Wow.

IMG_6739They brought out specific grass carpets for both Kinah and Amaya, as well as specific dog dishes for their water, and thenI ordered from the Perro menu and they brought specific meals made by Cynthia Kaplan’s Lucky Dog for them as well – it was AWESOME!  I realized looking in that the same game table, and alot of games were will in stock, as well as a Wii set up for patrons to play.  The meal was VERY awesome, the dessert blew me off my feet, and I still can’t get over how well treated and catered to the canines were – I left with a smile on my face due to the service, as well as I am sue did Kinah and Amaya.  IMG_6740

Finally getting home after a long day already, I napped a bit and then set out for Wriggley.  I couldn’t believe it!  He was shaved but looked like a totally different canine!  WHOA!  Feeling bad, I took Wriggley on the same rounds Amaya and Kinah took, and then we pit-stopped back at El Ocho and the service was just as great the second time and yes, Wriggley could have eaten what seems like 5 more of what he did thanks to the amazing healthy and good tasting food of Lucky Dog.  While still El Ocho, this certainly was the dog service El Ocho in Condesa was not!

The weather was amazing, and seeing sites that were clear and blue sky are rare in the rainy season of Mexico City, so taking pictures was a must.  The view turned out to be anything but disappointing.

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Just realizing this was the weekend, and seeing everyone around the house realize the same thing helps emphasize how lucky we were to be able to enjoy it in Mexico City.

Finally.  Sunday – World Cup 2014!  Yesssss.  While I went into it knowing very little and even participated in a bracket I never did (26th out of 79th, I’ll take it!) – I have to say many amazing things came out of this.  One, I started and almost finished a Panini football album. 2 – I have a totally new addiction and realization for for the game of futball,  and thanks to John Powell who in the process, within three years, has helped  me learn so much about sports outside of baseball that I truly would have never been emphasized to participate – I have to admit, I see football opposed to football in a total different light!  3) Despite Argentina being second to Germany, I have noticed one thing – Leonel Messi - WHOA.

For one it seems Futball really did save his life, based on that moving to Spain helped provide medicine he could not afford when he desperately needed it.  Desperately.  This makes sense, as when he plays, truly, if you watch enough, (including his 50 best goals), he literally does make this sport an art form, he dances between defenders, he makes the ball do things that I could only think of.  I noticed he bounces over his opponents and distances a shot so it seems destined to make it to the exact spot he has planned way before he arrives there, this is astounding to watch.  Yet, it makes sense.  His heart is in it because this area came through for him, when he desperately needed it.  Despite the hardships he had, and not always pretty on the field, he has his personal and professional air, and conviction, that I believe leads him on to great things.  He often is compared to others, yet he never boasts, he does not take advantage of chances to degrade others, let alone boat about how far he has come.  The difficulty he had to watch Germany receive the World Cup was pretty trying, yet, he did so with a professional air, that many take for cockiness, and not at all.

It is more and more difficult to find true starts to look up to as role models, yet, his straightforwardness about the game of Futball, his dedication, his intensity, his conviction to be true to his origin of Argentina and not sell out to play for Spain but for his home country, and just his all around conviction to be true to a sport that has supported him personally, and the crazy amount he gives back to children’s organizations – I am astounded.  No matter who won the World Cup, he is an amazing winner and athlete that has justified why I have a Barcelona jersey from many many years back.

In examining Germany, whoa. I noticed in their match against Brazil, their preciseness, exactness intensity.  True to Messi-style, during the world cup, Bastian Schweinsteiger kept going the distance, despite blood, desire penalties, despite being roughed up over and over, he kept going the distance needed.  Very impressive to say the least.

In a world of futball where fake dives and feigned injuries border drama, it is refreshing to see heroes like Messi and Schweinsteiger standout from others by playing a straight game, and turning it into an opportunity of using it to teach a lesson – Play hard, be more giving to others whether it being willing to share the glory, of playing, and be gentle with others instead of critical, and finally, do not be afraid to put 100% into something you believe in, despite the criticism and despite the speculation around you, your heart will show your true intentions in the end.

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Check out a new column/page..

..and let me know what you think!  It is helpful?  Does it help interest you or know what is between the pages of new magazines? I’d be interested to get your feedback!  Thanks!

Opening the Pages of…

Welcome to a new column/new page many asked for, and I apologize for the delay, but here it is. This page gives you a peek onto what particular magazines are popular for, what they entail, and what is inside. With so many periodicals available (hence, they come out PERIODICALLY, so sometimes referred to as periodicals!) – this will serve as a brief guide about why you should be interested… so without further ado. Let’s take a look at the first onto kick this column off, Opening the pages of…

The New Yorker May 5, 2014

I never actually opened a New Yorker. I have been aware of the cover illustrations and the cartoons being of political and social interest and popularity, but there is much more than I was aware of. In simply looking at this issues’ Table of contents, you see writers from various ethnicities and background just in the names, Stuart, Shattacharjee, Lipsyte, Bersberian contributing the cover, then you also notice many of the advertisements on the first page are guides to the latest Broadway show, sometimes off broadway, as well as the recommended books. It seems you do not have to stray outside of these pages to see what is happening in New York at the time.

Despite being a guide to the heartbeat of the New York streets, you see a bio on the contributing writers, as you delve deeper, information on the electronic version of The New Yorker, containing podcasts, slideshows, videos, infographics, and more.

Also a section titled Goings on About Town, provides a handy text version of the app you can download, this in the magazine in the form of a calendar, letting you know what is happening yes, About the town…

I think the letters to the magazine, a section titled The Mail, are really more interesting than most, the first in this issue actually being from Cesar Chavez’s son and addressing the reality of his life based on an article that have been written previously to the New Yorker. Whoa. I think that is pretty powerful in itself. These can be submitted via

themail@newyorker.com

I like the directories that give you what is happening in New York, from Classical Music, to Art, dance, movies, theatre, food & Drink, Night life, (in this case Nigerian figure/artist William Onyeabor) it is detailed and informative.

The Talk of the Town heads and directs your attention to specific issues of the time, in this case religious freedom, and discussing the controversial topics of same-sex marriage. It’s funny for the next several pages, topics of discussion that stemmed from what the people are looking for in food around town (the latest craze and trends) to films, to style that has been seen and heard around New York.

I have to tell you, this copy sat around for a few weeks, seeing the copy (the word copy in magazines and yearbooks usually refers to the actual print in the magazine) is intimidating because there is so much of it. Yet – once I finally sat down and delved in, WHOA. These are the topics I came across that I honestly never knew, Details on the capture and escapades of El Chapo, (Hey! That relates to the area I am in now!), discovering a musician by the name of Sharon Van Etten, realizing what a revolutionary designer, rebel, and tragic designer artist Charles James was, discovering new biographies of John Quincy Adams and finding out what a oxymoron his life was, and this is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

The reviews of more bestsellers coming on, shows, humorous stories that are similar to yes, what you’d see in Reader’s Digest, and even info on new apps are represented.

Eclectic, busy and diverse, sinceI dived in, I realized how involved you feel when you put The New Yorker down, and all this time…I got the feel of high society without ever stepping out into the streets that make up Broadway and more like I have done before. I always said I wanted that feel when I walked into a “good” movie, and you feel this New York spirit between the very pages of The New Yorker.

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Experience experiences…

I am sure it is in the genes.  I am not sure how else to explain it, but the aspects of life that mean the most to me, are the dramatic.  Be it the World Cup – (HOLY COW MESSI and Argentina!) a movie that will never leave my memory (Meet Joe Black, The Fault in Our Stars, countless others), or that lasting memory of a friend leaving and boarding a plane until next time you are not sure when, drama is what I seek out to find meaning in life.  So it comes to no surprise when Julio posted this general statement abut reading, it stuck permanent:

“Yesterday I came to the realization that I have quite the love/hate relationship with literature. Those who know me well will realize that I collect books like a hoarder and read almost every day, and yet I’ve slowly found myself hating the experiencing of reading literature. My problem is that I find myself living vicariously through literature. I experience and understand lives and worlds that having to do with my own. And when I examine my life afterwards, I’m left with this somewhat hollow feeling of meaningless as I cannot achieve that which I aspire to.

The actual sensation of reading is wonderful and has me enjoying every second of it. It fulfills the primordial desire of adventure, but when all is said and done it leaves me with something else…the pain that what I want to experience most exists only on words printed on a page. Whether it be a life of a vagabond or the adventures of a demigod, literature teases me with this experiences as I read and then once the book ends so does the vision of that life. Reading has become the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. I know that I will never stop for I love books too much, but it still shocks me how much joy and pain these simple stories can cause me.”

I could not have said it any better.  I live for reading literature younger than my age and level to see what is new out there bunching amount our teens, as well as those younger.  Sorry, I want to stay involved in all aspects, not just one, or two.  When you take anything, be it reading, horse riding, designing, creating, expressing, visiting, viewing, anything and you make it personal, and then make sure you share a little of that with someone else, you changed something in life.  You didn’t reman passive, you didn’t stand by and let lie pass you on by because it is anyway, you attempted to make a bump that other will notice, and sometimes that is all that is needed.

I will end this celebration of summer for today, with the champions of Argentina and Germany meeting this Sunday, with the promise of many books and films for us to discover, and even the promise of an exciting new year, showing you that stories on Google even can have a little touch of personal feeling with their 2014 Valentine stories, that touch aspects of personal to each one.  (I did not even become aware of something called Google Doodles, thank you Veronica!)

Google Doodle stories from February 14, 2014.

 “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have a say in who hurts you.”  - Love this.  Again.  Drama.  I need it in little doses to guide me  :)

 

 

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