Saturday, November 23, 2013

Last Week in Illinois' Landscape: Marriage Equality and Tornadoes

Two impressive events occurred in Illinois last week. I can only say that it took long enough for our Legislature to pass Marriage Equality, but I am glad it finally happened. The law takes effect in June 2014 and I believe I will be attending several weddings. At long last, my LGBT friends will receive wedding gifts from me instead of visa-versa! 
Here I have only photos related to our tragic weather story: we were one of the last flights to leave O'Hare airport Sunday morning before it was shut down for tornadoes. Ironic how what speaks of tragedy can look so beautiful. For those who don't live here, I can only say that tornadoes are normally a Springtime event and it's not lost on me that they occurred in Illinois during the week of the shameful Warsaw Climate Change Conference and in the week following Typhoon Haiyan's horror. As usual, you can find good coverage on Democracy Now (11/22/13, another day steeped in national tragedy, 50th anniversary of JFK's murder). 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Botanical Joy: Merz Apothecary

For more than three decades I have been shopping at Merz's Apothecary (the Lincoln location). It used to be one of the very few places in Chicago to get homeopathic remedies...
Last night, their botanical window installation delighted me; it includes lavender, loofah sponges, eucalyptus and peacock feathers. My favorite products include YuBe Moisturizing Skin Cream (great for gardener's dry hands) and Kneipp's Bath Oils, especially Orange and Linden Blossom for Harmonizing. Om...I will be indulging the latter after Thanksgiving when we finish our outdoor work. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Few Fall Plants Before The First Snow

Photos by K. Bergson...a client whose urban garden we did (under this established Mulberry) many years ago and which, she tells me, still gives her joy every morning when she walks down the stairs. Ah!
We had snow two days ago and almost all the leaves are down.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chicago Botanic Garden Glorious Autumn 11.8.13

Above: Nature vs. man-made Nature.
Below: Landscape as Metaphor.

Mesmerized by the scent of Katsura:
Burnt Sugar!

Couldn't resist playing with different photo effects...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Landscape of Gender Bias: Sweden and Guatemala

This morning's Guardian contained an interesting article on a new Swedish rating for films that addresses gender bias. Called the Bechdel, it reminded me of the opposite feelings stirred up about the position of women when my travel includes Sweden and Guatemala. I imagine life as a girl and then woman, will be very different for a Swedish friend's daughter (above) as opposed to these girls I saw with their mother during my most recent SSG site-visit to Guatemala (below). Working with gender issues is always a part of any program we support in Guatemala, but frankly, the US has a long way to go in terms of women's rights. All you need to do to get a fix on the current backwards pulse here is to look at Hollywood and Texas. This makes me miss my years as a high school teacher, an educational period when it is so vital to introduce teenagers to both external and internal reality, good tools and empowerment.