32 Candles

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Every year, I stare at the flames as they dance like tender leaves in the wind. “Make a wish!” my family and friends instruct. I stare again at the candles. A Tesla seems like the right wish, but what are the odds the birthday fairy gets it equipped like I want?

At the robust age of 32 I wanted something a bit different for this year’s celebration. I am done with the bar parties that produced their unique set of fuzzy memories. Last year’s fête was a backyard BBQ with picture-perfect weather. This year I aimed for less of a celebration of me and the ceaseless wheels of time and more an acknowledgement of the important people in my life. Continue reading 32 Candles

The Lazy Gardener – Week 2 (Video)

If you were asking yourself “what happened to week one?” that’s valid. Juggling multiple social platforms and a blog to grow a cult following as strong as last year’s kale presents unique challenges.


Each week I will live stream a garden update on Facebook. Eventually it will make its way here.

Im trying a new gardening strategy this year: moderate laziness. I commute downtown every week day and don’t have a lot of time to prune. Most days I have just enough time to ogle and water my sprouting plants. This year I’ll share tips I learn along the way to be efficient with your gardening time. 

If you’re a gardener, please share your tips in the comments and share this with the plant growers and plant killers. 

Looking forward to the growing year ahead!

Apologies the video is in portrait. I’m working on it.

Saying Farewell

We shared many memories. Some easy times and some struggles. In its last days, it stood tall despite knowing the end was near.

Gone, but never forgotten. RIP. 

Fight Off Scurvy with Delicious Halos Mandarins – Giveaway

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Through the magic of the Internet I receive offers for some random food items to sample for my loyal readers. Every so often, I am emailed about things I really like. Halos mandarins reached out about their seedless treat earlier this month with a giveaway offer.

In a given work day I eat at least two Halos. My office also happens to keep them stocked in our fridge for those mid-afternoon hunger pangs. Continue reading Fight Off Scurvy with Delicious Halos Mandarins – Giveaway

2016: A Year of Advice

When my high school counselor first told me “It’s not where you start, but where you finish,” I was disgruntled. He shared that dictum in response to where I wanted to go to college and, at the time, I expected more encouragement than pragmatism. Unfortunately for me (at the time), he was right. I didn’t get into Northwestern out of high school. Instead, I went to community college, applied again and was accepted as one of two transfers to the School of Communication at Northwestern.

His phrase, which may be a twisted epitaph, was likely born out of his role as the coach of the cross country team. As I mature and only run to catch trains, his advice has proven to be a life truth. But its utility is when looking in the past. In the moment it’s easy to lose sight of what could be.

It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

-Søren Kierkegaard

There was a TED talk that explored how resilient we are when facing the extremes of life. People experience traumatic events and survive. They don’t return to life as they previously knew it, but they adapt, they grow, they persevere. It isn’t about where you start, but where you finish.

With a new year freshly in front of me, I set aside some time to reflect on 2016. It was a full year; full of challenges, new experiences, important life lessons. Let’s take a look back! Continue reading 2016: A Year of Advice

A Night at the Staatsoper

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In a city known for its music, an evening trip to the opera is a must. Prior to Vienna, I’d only been to one sampling of the operatic arts for a preview show at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. That program was 90 minutes and featured selected works from all of their upcoming operas.

On our first night in Vienna, after a flight full of aspiring baby opera hopefuls, we decided to go big and see Macbeth performed by one of the preeminent opera companies in the world. 

Looking at available tickets a few weeks ago wasn’t encouraging. Opera is expensive, especially when going to see one of the best in an opulent setting. There are tickets for 20€, but those were long gone. The available tickets were in the 60-300€ range. A bit more than we intended to spend.

Have no fear; Rick Steves is here! For tourists, or those who just want a sample, there are standing room tickets known as Stehplatz. Turn up to the theater 90 minutes before curtain, wait in line and then grab standing room tickets for 3€ each. Rick’s book on Vienna has full details on where to go to get your stehplatz ticket.

Once inside, we followed the custom and roped off two spots with our scarves. The scarves serve as placeholders so you can wander around the opera house before showtime. When I travel, I often wonder if certain customs would work in the US. I can almost guarantee this polite claiming of space would result in a Macbethian death match in the US. You’d lose your scarf, space or both. For a moment, I considered swapping my scarf with someone else’s for a more advantageous view.The opera was beautiful. Alas, after a long flight, a disco nap and wandering the streets of Vienna, my ability to remain awake was tested. Without shame, I admit I fell asleep to some of the most luscious sounds. At intermission some of the tourists cleared out so Leann and I moved up a row. After my opera nap, I was ready for Act II. We lasted a bit longer before calling it a night. Upon looking at our phones for the time, we discovered we’d only been at the Staatsoper for about an hour. There were two more hours of Macbeth.

Thankfully for me, Leann’s knowledge of Shakespeare meant I could be filled in on the ending on our stroll to find dinner.