pretty is as pretty does

Flowers are my church, I’ve decided. Don’t mistake me, I like non-flowering plants a lot, but flowers? Their beauty inspires.

A week ago I mentioned to one of my Chicago friends that the camellia trees in the backyard of my old house in Jackson, Mississippi, should be blooming by now. Yesterday I found these beauties at Garfield Park Conservatory.

Pretty is as pretty does.

grief is like an ocean

Grief, I’ve found, is like an ocean. A cold one. It lashes at your ankles to remind you that it’s painful. Sometimes it feels like waves. You’d like to contain it, but you can’t. It’s a darn ocean.

One of my dearest friends passed away yesterday, and holy bananas, my grief is pretty raw. Her passing wasn’t unexpected and I thought I was prepared, but how can anyone be, really.

As a hospice care professional told me many years ago, dying is an active process. And so is grief.

the reuben sandwich from manny’s cafeteria and delicatessen

Not often that I pay $17 for a Reuben, but I gladly forked over a twenty and change because… Manny’s. Legendarily known for their corned beef (I’m sure the turkey pastrami is also great), Manny’s serves up all sorts of sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides.

It is a true cafeteria experience. Grab a tray and your spot in line.

And then let’s dissect this sandwich. Corned beef piled high on rye bread with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. (Thousand Island dressing is available on the side.)

Many side options but I decided to kick it old school with a perfectly fried latke.

the sweden shop in north center

In Chicago’s North Center neighborhood you’ll find a little bit of Sverige (Sweden). The Sweden Shop on W. Foster is one of my favorite go-tos for gifts and Swedish candies.

The Sweden Shop Chicago Illinois North Center neighborhood

Swedes are pretty serious about fika, as evidenced by this wall of colorful mugs.

The Sweden Shop Chicago Illinois North Center neighborhood Fika

You can also score different Scandinavian fabrics if sewing is your thing. God Jul (merry Christmas) to all.

The Sweden Shop Chicago Illinois North Center neighborhood

gainesville’s harn museum of art

If Florida is home or Gainesville is within drive, I would get to the Harn Museum of Art right quick, as some Southerners say. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited yesterday. What I found was room after room of exceptional art.

Joseph Konopka’s 1986 acrylic on canvas painting, View from 6th Avenue Between 38th and 39th Streets.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art

Deborah Butterfield’s Rory sculpture from 1992. Butterfield fashioned this mare using steel, scrap metal and other industrial materials.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Deborah Butterfield

Patrick Grigsby creates a photo-like image by puncturing cotton paper sheets painted black.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Patrick Grigsby

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Patrick Grigsby

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Patrick Grigsby

Like Maurice Prendergast? The Harn Museum offers this 1914 oil painting, Idyllic Landscape.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Maurice Prendergast

Photography? This museum has that too.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Photography

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Photography

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Photography

A tapestry that unravels, forming fiber-based drawings? The Harn has got you.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art

Pre-WWII art–this 1935 painting is by Francis Criss.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art

Even works by internationally renown artists like Kehinde Wiley.

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Kehinde Wiley

Gainesville Florida Harn Museum of Art Kehinde Wiley

Admission is free (yes, free). Happy museuming, all.