Sunday, October 13, 2019
By ISOsplash

“Wining Artist Flights”

Jaime and her husband, Michael, are the kind of married couple that you just enjoy being around when it comes to creative exploration. As artists, animal lovers, and fellow bonfire festivity seekers, checking in with them every now and then serves as a gentle reminder that life is worth celebrating more than we actually tend to do. I sincerely suppose the suggestion of getting a little spiffed up (attire-wise) to sample a flight of reds (each flight appropriately named after different canine breeds of course) is bound to give birth to ‘far out’ conversations. Not that everything has to be scuba gear deep for discussions... nor does the shallow wade of small talk need to sustain one’s time indefinitely. We all could use a little variety in our mingles and subject matter speak to maintain more of an open mind... especially in this day and age. So here’s a shout out to the duo that I’m grateful to consider friends to no end unless I bend the other way towards whaaaaat?!
Sunday, October 13, 2019
By ISOsplash

“Paired Preferences”

Accomplished and yet compassionate. Full of greatness and yet always grateful. Harmoniously happy and yet brutally honest. Instinctively curious and yet intentionally communicative. Opinion-informed and yet empathetically oriented. This is my auntie and my cousin. How lucky am I to be surrounded by so much more of this love from the world over?! It’s easy to misplace the paired preferences that bring out the best in me, but I’ve found my footing and am back on this beautiful path of what’s possible. Thank you for simply being you, and for gently reminding me of who I’ve always been.

Saturday, October 12, 2019
By ISOsplash

“Walking in Her Shoes”

More hours on the road than the hours spent at a destination must seem to have a different kind of meaning... perhaps it is the intention that seems to matter the most. My drive up to Michigan today was requested from one of my best friends whose mom is a fellow cancer fighter that I adore though and through. I remember visiting her just a couple years back- making the drive up to give some support while making the rounds to see other friends. Tita (Filipino for 'Aunt') Amor was right there to greet me- soft spoken, relatively short, but so kind and nurturing like any token Filipino mom. She of course had a full spread of food waiting when I arrived. “Did you eat?” she asked as she greeted me at the door. It didn’t matter if I had eaten... I wasn’t about to pass up some home cooked nom noms!

I remember her walk to the kitchen from the front door- almost a melodic cadence with her slippers- the kind of pattern that reflects a positive personality that is steady and yet deliberate. Wow there was a lot going on at that stove, but she wasn’t phased... like a world renowned drummer playing the most elaborate set. We had the best time together with her two daughters and her husband. And for the next several months, Tita Amor would send me the most thoughtful cards- encouraging me on my journey while sharing sentiments of her own. It is with solace to remember a special woman so loved by so many who passed this morning...

Just as I have shared in a previous journal entry... it is, at times, through loss that we can gain a little more perspective on a variety of things. What is important and meaningful, who is important and meaningful, and where do we need to be at any given moment may be part of that variety.

And now I am here, so grateful to be considered part of this family. This short visit allowed us celebrate Tita Amor with sharing memories, with what would appear to be an infinite meal, and with me sharing a song I’ve written to express how we loved Tita Amor in our own way.

Friday, October 11, 2019
By ISOsplash

"Synchronized Style Selections"

Today was the dreaded deadline to disclose my style preferences and decide on all things fixtures for the home front version 2.0. It's my first major remodel which would benefit from a rewind of expectations set because you can forget whatever time frame estimates those permits are supposed to take but I digress. And to save the day, in flew in my amazing cousin with not only a fantastic eye for design but someone so perceptive and kind to help me find a style that was more me. She took into careful consideration my creative expression of art pieces to complement my interior. She then suggested that a modern yet clean theme could very well summarize my synchronized style of selections. And then the rest of the experience just got fun :) Looking forward to hosting family and friends as soon as things get finished up next month (phase 1 of 3). I'm so blessed to have such capable and relatable relatives!

Thursday, October 10, 2019
By ISOsplash

“Beyond Backyard Bliss Development”

(and front yard too). It has begun! Unlike the token golf course of “keeping up with the Jones’” suburban lots, the forestry revitalization plan is well underway. We’ve had a crazy rainy season, but over 33 dead/ invasive trees have been brought down to help my Oak Savannah and Shagbark Hickory native woodland begin to truly flourish. Weeds will be undone with the application of non-toxic means, and a Harley Rake (would be even cooler if pulled by a Davidson but you know) will finish the job by smoothing out the bumps for an easy to navigate grade of ‘gentle’ to the bonfire and beyond.

Imagine: New prairie seed will be planted next month followed by the introduction of wood chipped trails, a few more gathering spaces, lighted paths and illuminated trees... and perhaps a controlled burn next season to give way for a beautiful understory. Cat tails will be replaced with something to accommodate floating docks and a clearer view of the pond. Way stations will welcome dragonflies and butterflies and bees and all the biodiversity to allow our preferred habitat to thrive. All of these efforts will essentially equate to something beautiful my father would have been proud to see and experience. And, most importantly, he would have wanted this project shared and showcased- encouraging others to embrace opportunities that protect our native woodlands.

Conservation impact is often assumed to be the responsibility of Park Districts and Forest Preserves. It couldn’t be more to the contrary. Special thanks to our family’s long time landscape contractor spanning over 30 years, to the guidance of The Conservation Foundation, to the initiative drive by the The Morton Arboretum, to the inspiration of gathering space ideas from the Field Museum, and to our local landscape engineering design firm, Engineering Resource Associates, Inc.(ERA), for all the collaboration on a multi-year plan that will start taking root this fall.

More info on the Chicago Regional Tree Initiative Here: