Monthly Archives: August 2016

A RECAP: ONE YEAR OF THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME!

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It was exactly one year on August 15, 2015 that I launched This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM)! It has been a year of tremendous growth, creativity, meeting fascinating people, traveling to places that I thought I’d never visit and stepping out with the belief that I could carry TIDFM off into the world for the benefit of women who are 50 years of age and older!

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I am most proud of the business’s website thisidoforme.com; this is the pipeline for posting information for our clients and readers in the areas of Art/Literature, Theater/Dance, Music/Concerts, Food/Restaurants, For the Soul, and Travel. I chose to focus on these areas for the website, as well as the blog thisidoforme.wordpress.com because activities, outings and excursions would serve as the focal point to encourage our target population to immerse and treat themselves, particularly since they have spent countless years caring for others.

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Here are some of the fun things that I, along with my adventurous clients explored this past year:

TRAVEL

In September 2015 – It was 11 cities in France – Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, St. Balme Maxime, Nice, Lyon and St. Tropez! I left feeling like France was my home.

In November 2015 – It was magnificent Sydney, Australia! I have a trip planned for eight people planned in November 2017!

In January 2016 – It was the beautiful shores of Orange County and Los Angeles, California!  Shopping and sheer relaxation was the order of day for a solid week.

In June 2016 – I had the honor of traveling to Madrid, Salamanca and La Alberca, Spain! It was here that I fell in love with the culture, the magnificent food and the warm and loving people. I even had the chance to take a short side trip to Dublin, Ireland! I must go back there if for no other reason than I must spend more time in some of neighborhood pubs that are full of life, laughter and good food to accompany that fun environment.

ON THE TRAVEL RADAR FOR 2017:

It’s looking like Atlanta, Georgia in January, Cuba in February and back to Sydney, Australia in November 2017! Life is Good!

THEATER AND DANCE

Some of the theater outings that TIDFM clients participated in included Byhalia, Mississippi at The Steppenwolf Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at The Goodman Theater, the musical 42nd Street at The Cadillac Palace Theater, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Oriental Theater and Satchmo at the Waldorf at Hyde Park’s Court Theater.

ON THE THEATER AND DANCE RADAR FOR 2017:

The critically acclaimed Hamilton (hopefully my group’s name will move up the wait list)! If I see nothing else except Hamilton in 2017, it will have been a good year.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS

Yes, I and my clients love to eat! I, along with food critic Eleni Murphy reviewed some interesting restaurants. Eleni even shared some of her London, England favs. Oftentimes, these restaurants were sampled following a theater performance. What a way to top off a great production!

Here are some of the restaurants visited and reviewed during TIDFM’s first year of operation:

1. Café Ba Ba Reeba (Chicago, Illinois)
2. Sobrino de Botin (Madrid, Spain)
3. NAC (London, England)
4. Kappacasein Dairy (London, England)
5. Granger and Co (London, England)
6. Berners Tavern (London, England)
7. Sweet Mandy B’s (Chicago, Illinois)
8. Del Seoul (Chicago, Illinois)
9. Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Dove’s Luncheonette (Chicago, Illinois)
11. Cemetia’s Puebla (Chicago, Illinois)
12. Nini’s Deli (Chicago, Illinois)
13. Podhalanka (Chicago, Illinois)
14. Mercado San Miguel (Madrid, Spain)

ON THE FOOD AND RESTAURANT RADAR IN 2017

1. Army Thai on Damen
2. La Palapa on 34th Street

ART AND LITERATURE

I and a client attended the “Portraits of Motherhood” Exhibit, which highlighted the artistic talent of Antonia Ruppert. I found a gem on the south side of Chicago – The Creative Room located in the heart of the Park Manor community. This design studio’s mission is to provide a space for people to create their own DIY (do it yourself) interior design projects.  Clemenstien Love is the mastermind behind this hidden treasure.

I provided overview of books that I’ve read over the past year – including a few children’s books. There were a mixture of travel, music, autobiography/memoirs, short stories and social justice commentaries.  They ranged from biographies of culinary icon Marcus Samuelsson to children’s classics like “Corduroy” by Don Freeman.  For reviews of the other selections, please check out the art and literature link on thisidoforme.com

ON THE ART AND LITERATURE RADAR IN 2017

I plan in conjunction with another entity to include my clients on a few Famous House Tours during the holidays. Please stay tuned.

FOR THE SOUL

One of my favorite things to do in conjunction with the business is learning about the myriad ways in which women care for themselves even in the midst of dealing with life’s stressors. This section of the website spotlights a diversity of women who share with TIDFM’s audience how they care for their souls, especially as they are taking care of other people, their jobs/businesses.  Please check it out as you might find some helpful hints on self-care and the exploration of new things.

My first year has been loaded with fun, doubt, new experiences and places, great people and a true excitement about TIDFM’s future growth.

The growth of TIDFM has manifested through the creation of a logo, connecting with Mighty Mongoose Tours to write a blog post of an upcoming helicopter excursion, participation in The Diverbo program in Spain, serving as a guest on the radio program “Living it Up After 50,” hired two freelance writers for the website, ran two TIDFM contests, announced TIDFM’s first international excursion to Sydney, Australia, and I was asked to review a self-empowerment book by a coaching expert.

I am grateful to our readers, those who traveled with me and those who joined us on a number of outings. In the coming year, I plan to broaden TIDFM’s reach, and I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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PHOTO ABOVE:  Me enjoying Indoor Skydiving!

 

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VOLUNTEER IN SPAIN!

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Photo:  Some of the Volunteers and Spainards — Class #1056.  I’m on the far left

NEW BLOG POST!

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO GET TO SPAIN!

Everyone thinks that the primary way to travel is by taking a traditional vacation replete with great hotels, tour guides, super expensive airfares and meals. I’m here to tell you that another fantastic way to get your travel jones satisfied is through participation in the Diverbo Program!

What is Diverbo, you ask? It is a language immersion program (means diversity and language) designed for Spanish speaking adults (there is also a children’s and youth program). Many of the program’s participants are employees of companies where gaining a greater command of the English language is becoming increasingly important. As a result, these employers are willing to invest in their employees so that transacting business with English speaking clients becomes easier.

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Photo:   Volunteers and Spainards hanging out in La Alberca, Spain

The Spanish speaking participants during my time with the program ranged from 18 to mid 50s. They were from Barcelona, Malaga, Almeria, Madrid, Bilbao and Marbella. Additionally, the English speaking volunteers were from various parts of the United States, England, New Zealand and Canada and were of varying ages.
Here’s how it works.

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Photo:  Improving their English, Diverbo is a week of immersion

You must complete an application that gives you an opportunity to share why the Diverbo Program is of interest to you. By the way, the program prefers people who speak no Spanish so that you are not tempted to speak the language with participants who really need the immersion in English during your eight (8) days in La Alberca (Salamanca Region), Spain.

You will have the sheer pleasure of working with the Spainards individually and in group settings to improve their English through FUN activities and activities. More importantly, you will walk away from the experience with a boatload of new friends – both from Spain and around the globe.

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Photo:  Volunteers and Spainards getting familiar with the town of La Alberca, Spain

You must be willing to talk, talk, talk and talk some more! The activities are led by a Master of Ceremonies and a Diverbo Program Director. Some days, I laughed so hard that I cried – that is how fun the exercises are. Needless to say, although I was a volunteer, I ended my week with Diverbo having received more than I gave. Eternal Bonds are created.

Diverbo covers the cost of your accommodations (lovely villas) and all meals (extremely delicious). Even two glasses of wine were included with every lunch and every dinner!

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Photo:  My Villa while during my eight days volunteering with Diverbo

This volunteer experience has left an indelible impression on my entire life.  Travel had always been a vechicle for my growth and development, and it has allowed me to really push to get the most out if life.  However, a volunteer travel experience really forces you to see that it’s not always about you, but how you make a difference in another’s life.  Would I do Diverbo/Pueblo Ingles, again?  I’ll just say,”Viva la Espana!”

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Photo:    Can someone tell me where all the fun is?

For more information, visit Diverbo.come

A REVIEW OF THE STEPPENWOLF THEATER’S BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI

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NEW BLOG POST!

“Byhalia, Mississippi!” The title, alone, makes you curious and ready to purchase a ticket to The Steppenwolf’s (Chicago, Illinois) latest production. Written by Evan Linder and directed by the phenomenally talented Tyrone Phillips, the production “Byhalia, Mississippi” highlights the story of a young couple embedded with themes of race, class, gender and even sexuality. Self-determination is also a key theme that resonated for me while viewing the play.

Madly in love with each other, the characters Laurel and Jim are poor but rich in dreaming and dream making. What is the big deal, you might ask? Well, given all of the issues surrounding the aforementioned themes and their relevance in today’s America, this story is a timely one.

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As the lights go down, we see a Laurel who is pregnant, and her husband who is extremely excited about the impending arrival of his child. It seems that everything Jim wished for himself is transferred to his unborn child. He connects so strongly with the child while still in the womb that it is easy to understand why he is virtually devastated once it revealed during the delivery of the child that the father is black.

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With the story line being as simple as that, it’s the underlying themes, the hidden messages and age-old nuances around race and gender that stand out. The following is a listing of the five  characters played by five outstanding actors and a description of what that character represents.

1. Laurel – A young white woman who has a history of making decisions based on her own selfish needs. Her mom, Celeste,  delivers a scathing soliloquy on Laurel’s history of this behavior and wants her to “get rid” of the black child. Of course, getting rid of the child speaks to Celeste’s irresponsibility. The fruit seems to fall not too far from the tree.

2. Jim – A young white man who seems to bond with the child so deeply prior to the delivery that his world come crashing down when he finds out the child is black. The underlying theme here is that he is more in love with the idea of fatherhood than the actual carrying out of the role – the child being black seems to destroy this.

3. Karl – a young black man who is Jim’s best friend and immediately assumed to be the father of the black child. He is so loyal to Jim, that it takes him a while to realize that Jim has some deep seated issues around his black maleness. Additionally, it’s Karl’s later (prompted by Ayesha’s pain) inner revelation that “wakes” him up to a world of racism and invisibility (even though Jim doesn’t have a clue as to why Karl now sees their relationship differently).

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4. Celeste – Laurel’s mother who is exceptionally concerned about the hardships that Laurel will have raising a black child and the equally troublesome time the child will have. She feels that Jim is a great husband, and she doesn’t want to her daughter to lose him over something that reeks of misery.

6.  Paul- the husband of Ayesha and educator who fathers Laurels baby.  We never see Paul in the production, but he is characterized through Ayesha’s eyes as selfish, irresponsible and self-indulgent.

5  Ayesha – a young, black woman married to Paul who has invested a lot into the image of an upstanding woman.

However, she needs to maintain her family’s respectable image even if it means major self-sacrificing.  It doesn’t go unnoticed that Laurel seems to have very little interest in Paul — she is too interested in getting Jim to forgive her so they can move on with their lives (even with a biracial child).

Ayesha, in my estimation, has the deepest character representation in the entire production. She has placed a lot of time, energy and value into being the quintessential wife and mother , an upstanding citizen and credit to her race. These traits, along with her self-sacrificing nature, has been created and built over the years, and for what purpose?

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Ayesha is betrayed by Laurel despite their numerous years of being friendship; she is still disrespected by her husband Paul who could care less about how his actions hurt others, and the whole town knows about Paul’s history, making Ayesha’s sacrifices really worthless.

The scenes between Laurel and Ayesha highlight longstanding tensions between white and black women around men, status and stature. Ayesha even writes Laurel a check to high tail it out of town – anything so that she can maintain her dignity and save face.

The remainder of the play is spent allowing the characters to move into their own truth. For Laurel and Jim, that truth translates into forgiveness.

It doesn’t get past me that this well written and directed play, along with its superb acting (by ALL of the actors) was conjured out of the genius of Evan Linder (who also portrays Jim).  For a white writer to understand these complex racial themes and all of the underlying nuances, is nothing short of miraculous!  Linder truly has a high state of consciousness and an understanding of the power of forgiveness

Trust me — you can’t afford to miss this outstanding play.  It has to be one of the best plays that I’ve ever seen!