A feat thought by some to be unachievable became a reality a couple days ago when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. I never get tired of writing that or saying that or thinking about that because that makes it more real.


Finally, the men in blue put together 11 wins in October. Cub fans, especially older Cub fans know what it’s like to endure  not only losing but also constant ridicule from everyone from White Sox fans, co-workers even the national media. Every year they made the playoffs ESPN would rebroadcast the 84 or 03 NLCS. Finally they have to bury that shit.


Thanks to a team of young studs that don’t know or care anything about those teams, the north siders are set up for a possible dynasty. Even when fans lost hope,(myself included) they come charging back. Down 2-1 to the Dodgers, 3-1 to the Indians and after losing a 5-1 lead late in game 7 when your horse of a closer gets lit up for a tying homer, these boys still come back in the 10th inning of the greatest game 7 ever and score 2 runs to win their first championship since the dead ball era.


I know a lot of you don’t care about sports but this is bigger than grown men playing a boys game. I can’t count the times I have been mocked or even at times bullied when I was a kid simply for being a Cub fan. Those who stand by their team especially in rough times (108 futile years) to me shows something about that person’s character. Anybody can be a fan of whoever the current champion is. That just means you’re a front runner, a coattail rider, a brown noser even. If I knew a job applicant for my company was a front runner I would never hire them. I could never count on their loyalty.


This World Series win is like the payoff for putting dollars into a slot machine for over a century. That payoff came in tears and the release of energy that could be felt worldwide. Everyone has a story about a family member or friend or partner that was no longer alive that was a lifelong fan. For those of us still in the body, we had the weight of 50 giant gorillas lifted of our backs on Wednesday November 3rd 2016. This was the last great American sports story. I’m trying to think who should play Joe Maddon in the movie…

My White Sox Adventure

I have been a Cubs fan since the days of Banks, Santo & Williams but I was born on the south side. That means a lot of abuse has been sent my way from south siders as well as anyone that thought me a dope for rooting for a bunch of perennial losers.

But all the while I have never hated the White Sox. In fact the pale hose have a special place in my heart. The first ballgame I ever attended was a Sox double header that my uncle brought me to. I still remember being awed by the red pinstripe uniforms because we only had a B&W TV.

It wasn’t until years later I discovered that the Negro League All-Star Game was often held at old Comisky Park, and for years they commemorated that by giving away Chicago American Giants caps as a promotion every year.


The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.
The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.

So even though I bleed cubbie blue I think baseball fans are lucky to have two major league franchises in this city and I still enjoy catching an AL game every now and then.

Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.
Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.

After scoring a seat in section 520, sixth row even with first base for $5, I settle  back with my Lagunitas IPA and a much anticipated Bill Melton Brat. The brat was disappointment. It was pretty dry, overcooked and burnt in some spots. Since it was covered in onions there was no way I could tell until it was too late. Should have gotten the Beggar’s pizza instead.

This brat was not worth the heartburn that it gave me later.

Halfway through the top of the second inning a group of teenagers came in. Then another group. Then, I swear to God about 150 of them just swarmed in. Of all the empty sections in a pretty damn empty park this group of youngsters had been assigned section 520. I’ve got nothing against teenagers but I was kind of hoping to just enjoy the game and all of it’s nuances which you don’t really do if you go with a group because then it becomes more of a social event. A few years ago I was at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and was attempting to return to my seat after buying food. The usher stopped me and said ” Sir, please wait until the batter is finished” after which myself and all the other patrons waited until between innings to return to our seats so we wouldn’t obstruct the vision of the seated fans. Americans have no problem putting an ass in your face at any point in the game even if something crucial is happening. Hey, I need my third hot dog, you got a problem with that? With the kids constantly getting up and parading back & forth to the snack bar, by the third inning it was time to move.

The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.
The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.

Luckily for me since the park was so empty sitting in another section wasn’t hard to do. After moving to the first base side I was able to focus on the game which was 1-0 Astros. From then the game took a turn for better for the Sox as well. My guy Geo Soto (ex-cub) hit a home run to put them ahead and Jose Abreu, who was one of the reasons I wanted to see a Sox game in the first place hits a two run shot to give them a cushion and the Sox end up winning 4-1.

The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu's insurance home run.
The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu’s insurance home run.

Being at the park is fun if you have crazy good seats with parking included, but for me personally, the best seat in the house in in front of your HD TV with a clean restroom just steps away and unlimited food & drink at your fingertips.


Get out your wallet

Yesterday we received a love note from the City of Chicago Finance department. It was a safety speed zone warning notification. While I thought it was mighty big of them to only send us a warning this time, it’s a grim harbinger of things to come.

Seems ol’ leadfoot Lorenzo was laying down rubber on our beloved streets at the blistering speed of wait for it… 36 mph. This heinous act was committed around 2700 west Irving Park rd. Those of you in Chicago may be familiar with that area and I’ve attached the video that shows me( the green Honda on the right) approaching the hill that crosses the river neck & neck with another silver car. We’re both going about the same speed and with the flow of traffic.

Long story short this is gonna turn into a gold mine for the city. Along with the red light cameras and the parking meter debacle this could be their biggest cash cow yet. If you’re caught going 6 miles over the limit fines will be $35. 11 miles will cost you $100. You know who goes 6 miles over the limit? Everybody. And the limit is usually 30 mph and in some stretches 20 mph. Around schools I get it but “areas surrounding parks” makes this just sound like another part of the money grubbing revenue machine that this city has become.

Hey, at least we got the best pizza here right?  Right? Anybody?

Meet our new family member Odie the beagle/basset hound

photo of beagle/bassett hound Odie w/new dad Lorenzo
Father & Son Photo: Lorenzo w/our new canine son Odie

Lorenzo and I have been soul searching about adding a canine son or daughter to our family.  Our old dog Barney is with us in spirit, but not body, since he passed away under doctor’s care 12/1/10 at almost 14 years of age.  We wanted a mid size or small rescue dog.   Above all we wanted a dog whose spirit was very kind and gentle and agreeable towards all living things, a buddha dog.  🙂  Yesterday we found our buddha dog, and he is now our son, peacefully dozing on our floor as I type this.  His name had been Otis, but we have renamed him to Odie, after cartoon Garfield’s doggie friend.  It’s only right, since Lorenzo is a cartoonist.

Odie was in a shelter in Kenosha, WI.  We learned about this shelter through Petfinder.com, which is a website where most rescues and shelters nationwide list their pets available for adoption.  I also searched several area rescue’s websites that I know personally through my animal welfare volunteering in years past, and present day donations here and there.  I showed my husband a photo of one shelter dog whose photo and description moved me who was in Kenosha, WI.  We then noticed that Kenosha, WI was only 55 miles from us and that they had three dogs on their site that we liked.  We felt it was a sign, and that we were meant to go there.  I cleared my schedule for that next day, we filled out the online application, and off we went to Kenosha, WI yesterday, arriving just as they opened their doors at 1pm.

beagle/basset hound on grass with Janet
Mom & new son: Me with our new buddha-dog Odie

Fate did all the rest.  The original dog I’d noticed had already been adopted, the third dog we liked was not good with other dogs, and the second dog, now our son, we learned had been waiting for the right forever home for SIX MONTHS.  He did have one brief adoption but they were not fully committed and/or knowledgeable, and brought him back.  Right away I got teary thinking of all the “long timers” I had known or heard about at Chicago Animal Care & Control during my 3+ years volunteering there.  It was just not fair that such a kind spirited dog had to go through so much, so he had to become our son.  Then to further validate our decision that this was meant to be, the shelter said they had recently decided to fix his cherry eye condition by surgery for free next Monday 7/11/11, and would also waive his adoption fee since he was overweight.  We had been prepared to pay any fees for our buddha dog, but it was a fun hug from the universe to receive such discounts.  We have already spent a little of the leftover money on a very handsome harness for his walks, and he is very earnestly learning what is expected of him as we do positive reinforcement training.

You can look forward to lots of videos on www.BarneysHomeDogBoarding.com and blog entries here about him.  Even though he’s only one day out of the shelter, it’s clear that the shelter told the truth, and that he really is great with all dogs and our cats and all people.   All the shelter volunteers came out to greet us and celebrate that their beloved long timer was finally going home for good.  I have already sent them an update with photos, and will keep sending them updates, to thank them for their faithful care of him.  We know he will be a kind and welcoming host to my reading clients that come to the house, and a wonderful friend and gentle companion to the peaceful big-hearted dogs that we board with www.BarneysHomeDogBoarding.com.  This six year old buddha dog is home at last.

Galos Cave Spa- Relaxing & Unique

Me at the end of a Galos Salt Cave session, after the lights came back up

Both Lorenzo and I love going to Galos Cave Spa in Chicago and we went there again today.  $15 per person for 45 minutes of total relaxation.  Here’s a link to the Galos Cave Spa yelp page.  Lorenzo and I have gotten pretty lucky and get the salt cave to ourselves.  They probably have around ten chairs in there, I have been once with other people, which is fine too.  We always make sure to request a child-free hour.  Appointments begin every hour, and basically you can walk around in the salt cave in the beginning if you want, then you recline in relatively comfy chairs with blankets, and meditate and/or sleep.  They play pretty relaxing music with wave sounds, but I think next time we’ll use our iPhones & ear phones for music.

photo of inside of Galos Cave Spa in Chicago
Love the sea horses!

With this photo you get a sense of the overall look inside the room which has man-made salt formations everywhere.  I say if you need to relax, and/or enjoy meditating in new environments give it a try.  The photo also shows that you need to bring clean white socks.

Does the salt in the environment give health benefits?  I say probably.  Plus going there relaxes me in a way that surely carries health benefits.

Have you been there?  Are you planning to go?  Let’s hear your salty comments!

What I learned at tonight’s Town Hall Meeting plus a free gift

Tonight I went to a Town Hall Meeting for the 17th Police District of Chicago, where we live.   I confess I figured I would be bored to tears, but fortunately I was wrong!  We heard about crime statistics, saw PowerPoint slides with writing way too small, and heard from the new Police Commander who seemed capable.  The CAPS guy definitely made an effort at humor, and everything moved along pretty well.

car anti-theft device
Free steering wheel anti-theft device, plus free candy

So we were offered free anti-theft devices for our car steering wheels which I thought was neat.  Who knew you would get a free gift at the meeting?   Mine is in this photo, along with some peppermint candies that were in a Streets & Sanitation handout about rat control.  No really!  😉

I think my one take-away was that car theft is up 40% nationwide and locally.  I didn’t realize that.  Also to my surprise, they said the Honda Civic and Accord are the number one stolen cars, years 1994-1998, both nationwide, in Chicago, and in our 17th district.  These cars are stolen for the parts.  They were discussing how people can break into your garage doors too.  Delightful.  I am entertaining the idea that ignorance is not actually bliss.  I will go to some CAPS meetings now, to see what else I learn.  Hopefully I will meet some nice neighbors too.