Thursday, February 28, 2008

A day in Chicago

I often get the chance to volunteer at non-profits, but I like it more when it is a surprise. Brian and I arrived at a soup kitchen today and surprise! they needed some help. So we dried dishes for about 1 hour. It is amazing how much I like doing tasks when they aren’t at my home!

I was getting off the Blue Line today, when I over heard people saying they needed to get to Union Station. Now, the stop for Union Station is not far and yet confusing so as I walked by I said – you can follow me I am headed that way. We chatted as we walked, they were coming from a funeral in India and headed to Iowa. It just so happens they were also in need of a place to eat and we found an Indian place right across from Union Station and Jim’s office. When I offer to provide directional services to people I get weird responses. These folks thought it was way normal that someone would just get them to Union station – like I had been waiting for them all day, specifically for them. Most of the time I get weird looks, like I am going to try to steal from them.

I happened then to land myself in front of Jim’s office and he came and met me for lunch. I was happy to get to spend time with him in the middle of the day (does that make us still newlyweds or what?)

I had a meeting downtown at the Cultural Center – a great place to have a meeting!

Then in my desire to work hard at knowing my city better, I planned two museum visits. I first stopped at the Museum of Photography which I really liked and it is free. Then I headed to the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies which I wrote the following as soon as I finished the museum in their library:

I wanted to write down some thoughts right away, luckily this museum also has a library that I could boot my computer up. I admire the Jewish culture. I like tradition (insert your own Fiddler on the Roof version of the word here) – and the traditions and rituals of Judism fascinate me. I find myself more at home in the stories of the old testament as us Christians call it, than in the new testament (see true meaning of at home in previous post about Whole Foods vs. Pete’s Market). However, being here at Spertus Musuem of Jewish Studies has set my head spinning. For instance, no matter if a reference to Israel is made or not, I find myself trying to separate the injustice that Israel is participating in the middle east – and that is not easy. I have studied Hebrew, I think it expresses thoughts and theology well. I love rituals and yet it is dang hard for me to separate good from the evil I have seen. Two thoughts have come from this: 1. No wonder other countries hate the US, and can’t stand anything from US (pun intended). If I have a hard time seeing the good in a culture and tradition that is over 3,000 years old based on the last say 50 years of the instutionalized culture turned government. How is anyone supposed to give the US a chance with a much shorter history and probably longer list of wrong doings to the world and its own people. 2. I wish I didn’t know as much. I know, I know….I wouldn’t be Krista if I didn’t care about the world and injustice it is just who I am, and yet…I am almost sure I would have an easier life if I was just out there living a life of apathy and not knowing about the injustice that seem so clear to me now. On my first trip to Palestine in 1999, I asked my professor, why do I have to be so passionate? He told me something that I always think about whenever this sort of stuff comes up – God gave it to you for a reason, who knows why, but God did so go do something with it. Dang – it would be just easier if I could forget some of the stuff I know.

It was a good day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chicago 10

I love Chicago, everyone knows that. Let me explain this certain circumstance. Yesterday, I saw a blog posting about a preview of a movie about the demonstrations surrounding the 1968 Democratic convention. So, having a "free night" I rounded up the husband and headed to the preview at Columbia College with a discussion afterwards for FREE.

If you would like a formal rundown of the movie, click here. Here is mine: Basically 8 folks were charged in the role of hosting several protests of the Vietnam war during the convention. This movie is based on real tape of the protests and the convention, and the trial of the 8 folks. In fact, the manuscript of the court preceedings was used and then animated. It was powerful. The use of real news footage appealed to the real emotion while the animated sequences allowed me to focus on the words, the crazy words, being said.

I highly recommend it – it is coming out in limited release this weekend.

Scott Simons, an NPR correspondent, who I knew I wouldn’t have a clue until he talked – and I indeed I knew his voice – the wonders of radio, hosted the discussion.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Petes vs. Whole Food and Toy Bizarre

Last week, I went to Whole Foods for our groceries - I really stick to my list generally there, I worry about cost there - so when the planned meals are done there is no food in the fridge. Yesterday, I went to my regular Pete's. When Jim got home, opened the fridge and said - Did you go grocery shopping hungry? Nope, but if it is on sale and I might use it - I buy it, especially fresh produce which I buy very little of at Whole Foods. The funny thing is that I love Whole Foods - I get excited to go still, but I feel at home at Pete's and I like that feeling more. Yes, I know I analyze grocery shopping way too much.

After being on a computer high with my dad over the weekend, Jim brought up commodore 64 games again (they are coming out for the Wii soon). I asked if he could find Toy Bizarre. Well, that put it in my mind and yesterday I googled it. I found it! Jim downloaded this crazy C64 that I was playing when our commodore crashed for the final time in the summer of 1997 - I have a good memory for stupid things. I have already played it for about 3 hours. Jim is concerned he won't have access to his computer anymore....

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Enjoy I especially like the last one

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Interesting article

Here is an interesting article (Click here) on how people get recipes, as they used to ask family now they are turning to the web. I admit, I do that more often than not now too.

Speaking of which,

I made this cake tonight, from recipe file.

1 spice cake mix
1 can of pumpkin
1 cup of water

Mix and bake according to box. Moist and good! Jim doesn't like pumpkin and liked it.

Update and more

So the Thin Mints that I reported on last night - taste just like Thin Mints. They are so good! However, at 80 cents a piece I will stop at just one. I also bought a homemade Twinkie because I thought Jim liked them. He doesn't and neither do I. However, this was really good - more angel food cake with filling.

I also need to admit another family trait coming out in me. This is a grandma Beam thing, while it has been sited in my mom as well. So, I like a certain style of underwear, which apparently has gone out of style as no one is carrying it regularly (Victoria Secret said they weren't making them anymore). So everytime I see a pack in clearance at Target - I pick it up. It is pretty much a kick back to my grandmother's Dawn episode. I have so many pairs now - but soon I won't be able to buy them at all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

the foodie come again and others thoughts

Stuff I have thought about today:

I have the good problem or bad problem of having decide what to wear each day. I am somewhat envious of Jim for having an uniform of khakis and polo shirt (unless it is this cold, then they declare jeans week). This morning, I took notice of where I was going; then having decide what to wear. Today, I was going to be spending time going to several learning about Chicago northside places. I needed to look preppie and hip - I have very little in that department. But hey, tomorrow, I may not have to leave the house and then my outfit may be flannel pjs!


Yesterday afternoon I was looking forward to making soup but then after spending time cleaning the house, I wasn't into messing up the kitchen. So, I called Lou's our local pizza joint. We are lucky they bring it right to us - the wonderful Chicago deep dish. The other really cool thing is that the proceeds of the store go to the community. It is a "tithe" of the company. I learned about it back in 1998 when I came with Bluffton; and I still love it and get to share in the community organization about once a week between work lunches and the occassional take out or bring it to the door for home.

However, this isn't the only helpful to the community place I like to eat. Cafe Too is amazing place as well. Gourmet food at Cafe Too rocks and helps train homeless folks to be chefs downtown. I even have a T-shirt.

And one more that I have experienced their catering at a conference (not conference food at all) and I just went to their cafe today - First Slice. There motto is "What if we gave the first slice to those who are used to getting the crumbs." They work against hunger by providing healthy food to those who cannot afford it. They have a meal service that I am looking into - sort of personal chef type of stuff.

I can't wait to find more!


I was also near a bakery that I recently read a review about. Angel Food Bakery specializes in making old favorites - today I saw homemade Ho Hos, Thin Mints, and Whoopi Pies. Jim and I will let you know how stuff is as I bought several things for dessert tonight.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Recipes and ponderings

Since Jim wasn't feeling well and I declare any ailment can be a bit soothed by soup. Here are two soups I made in the last 5 days:

Leeky, Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Stoup (a highly modified Rachael Ray recipe)

1 tablespoon cooking wine
2 leeks, chopped and cleaned
5 celery ribs - even the leaves - chopped
salt and pepper
4 c. chicken broth
2 cups skim milk
1 lb of ground turkey breast
16 oz of gnocchi

In soup pot, heat the wine over medium heat, add leeks, celery, salt and pepper. Cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in milk and simmer until the soup bubbles at the edges. Add the chicken and the gnocchi and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Tex Mex Corn Chip Chili (again a highly modified RR recipe)

1 tablespoon of cooking wine
1 lb lean ground beef
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs. chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15 oz. can of black beans
1 15 oz can of pinto beans
1 15 oz can of tomatoes with green chilies
1 c. cheddar cheese

In soup pot, heat wine. Add the beef and cook for 7 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, chili powder, and cumin cook over med low for 5 minutes. Add the beans and their liquid and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick about 15 minutes. Stir in cheese and cover about 5 more minutes. Serve with corn chips.

Things are good here - Brian and I had a weekend group and Jim recovered from his stomach issues.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day at the Dutt Parker house

When Jim and I came home last night from the airport (Jim picked me up), there was a clean house (yippee) and also a vase of flowers and a card. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer for Valentine's. However, I have never, ever gotten flowers nor a card from my main man. It was quite a surprise. They even came from Whole Foods.

I was planning to get up early and make him pancakes (one of his favorites) for breakfast before work. However, early this morning say 2:30 - Jim started losing his supper, so I got flowers for Valentine's and Jim got to throw up - not exactly an equal trade.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Perfect Dating...

This article is so Krista and Me. If you didn't know I'm the socially inept one(duh) and the article states that people who are more socially inept are better life partners than people who are high self-monitoring types or in other words more social beings.

Read the article for more info


I often have moments of becoming my mother, but the other day I had a dad moment. I was at church at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, which happens to have camera crews often because of the location. Anyways, the first service was all about the huge mega pipe organ. I was doing the dad jive - dancing without moving to music. Then, the second service was all about praise and worship music, and enjoying that a bit too - just like dad. While my church is more into say, Spirituals and I love that - I can appreciate the other stuff, just like him.

We had a huge praise of thanks for the strike being called off; as many people in this congregation are effected....This morning I went for a walk before we started meeting for the day. I walked along the stars of hollywood and right by the Dr. Phil in hollywood.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

February ponderings

Several things I am pondering....

Lately, in the last week or so I have been wondering about what a normal job would look like for me. What would I do if I left DOOR? Wouldn't it be nice to have a 9-5? I probably would hate it, but I have been thinking about it...anyways I was reading a favorite blog of mine Bridget Jones goes to Seminary, and this paragraph made me think:

I remember a more conservative time in my life when I assumed that women preachers were all New-Age goddess-worshippers who cut up Scripture to their own liking. That's another story I'm timidly struggling against. But, within the past week, I've had professors, collegues and long-ago friends remind me that resisting the church's dominent narrative is still a hand-slappable offense. Somedays I have the gumption to keep on keeping on. Other days, I'm just tired.
And on those days,I secretly suspect God just made me wrong.
And on those days, being the person God has called me to be, following hard after God's will seem like so much work compared to the tidy little story God's people want to cram me into.
And on those days, I just wish I was one of those lucky few women who naturally fit into the story of the Christian feminine mystique.

I think this is how I am - sometimes it would just be easier to fit the normal woman stereotype, a normal just go to church Christian, don't care about social justice as radically as I do, have the weird commitments I do - maybe that is why I crave being normal, even though I would hate it.


This morning Nadia and I went to the Chocolate Festival got lots of free chocolate and ice cream and learned about chocolate. Then we went to Whole Foods, and I fell in love with their recycled bags, they are fun and huge - take a look here. I also got a cool Whole Foods reusable water bottle.


I am leaving for LA in several hours for work - and I have never been to California so I am quite excited.


We received in the mail today our valentine T shirts - see them here. We will post a picture of us with them after Valentine's Day. They are Jim's idea - geek love, gotta love it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wall E

I'm a geek...duh but there are all facets of my geekness and one of them is animation which includes all kinds of varieties of animation but one I'm really geek for is Pixar. I found the full preview for Wall-E on the web


Actually this coming Monday I'll be showing The Incredibles to a church full of tweens at the church.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My husband really loves me, as he sat with me through a lecture this evening at the Chicago History Museum entitled, "Gentrification: The Good, the bad, and the Ugly". I really liked it as it explored the ties of the Chicago Housing Authority and the changing neighborhoods. However, it was quite dry and we all know I like studying Gentrification a bit too much....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tourists in Chicago

That is what we were this weekend, tourists with a twist. I, and sometimes we, are a huge fan of a local show called Check Please. It is a PBS show that has three normal people, not celebrities talking about their favorite local place to eat. The other two go check out each favorite and reports on how it was. I am really impressed that people aren't all nice, but rather give fairly truthful reviews of places. Anyway, several weeks ago we were watching and Tank Noodle caught Jim's eye. On Friday night, we headed there for some Vietnamese food. Then we went to Pete's to get groceries.

Jim is soon going to hate that he got me Time Out Chicago. As now, I am going to keep us more busy with cool Chicago happenings.
Saturday we headed downtown to the Loop, to check out the Peace Museum's Mural Competition. I am excited that the Peace Museum is starting to work with other places to get their collection to a wider audience (their home is near our house, actually). Then we headed to the CAF for their Map It exhibit. Then we headed to the park to see an ice exhibit. It is nothing what I expected, there are some great pictures on the website. And if this was not enough, it was all free!!!

We also were planning on heading back into downtown to see the show Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street. But when the time came to catch the train, we were just too comfy at home. I still hope to catch it sometime.

I hope this inspires you all to be tourists in your own city!