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Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar;
Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore.
What future bliss He gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be, blest.
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.


Essay on Man by Alexander Pope



Living in Chicago teaches you that even though there seems to be no end to the miserable winter, spring will arrive eventually. And when it comes it is the most glorious, blissful sight.

It teaches you to appreciate spring when it finally arrives overnight, without warning, because it soon disappears as stealthily and as suddenly as when it comes.

It teaches you to be grateful to the wonders that are unfathomable yet are within your reach.

It teaches you the strength of human spirits and will, part of which depends on our ability to forget the physical pains and sufferings that we went through even while we have vivid memories of the ordeals. Of which, child birth is a prime example: if we could remember the pain physically, we would have all stopped at one child.



What we love: Toy Maker at Museum of Science and Industry

October 19, 2009

in random


Honestly the best $5 you can spend at a museum: watch your toy being made along the conveyor belt and have your name laser etched into the toy.


This beats all the crap toys your kids whine about at the gift shop everywhere you go…

p.s. Those are my boys’ heads in the video…

p.p.s. I also love the song “Computer Song” by Jim Noir


Fall in Chicago. It is back!

October 18, 2009

in a picture is worth a thousand words


Fall arrived in our neck of the woods towards the end of September.  That was when I realized our maple tree was the first one on the block to start turning red.

Fall is always short in Chicago

Living in Chicago for over a decade has taught us to appreciate a sunny mild day with a blue sky dotted with big fluffy clouds when we are blessed enough to witness it.   The day is always treated as The Perfect Day.

We have learned to treat the weekends with 50-degree temperature during the long winter with reverence.  All of the sudden the neighborhood comes back alive, people venture outside without their jackets as if it were summer already.

Carpe diem.  We are the experts here.

The first week of October, despite the ominous clouds at the edge of the dome, we decided to go on our annual Pumpkin Farm trip because my husband would soon be away for a 3-week business trip.  It paid off because the temperature immediately dropped down to the unseasonably cold and stayed this way until this weekend.

Maybe the Corn Angels the kids made that day brought Fall back to us…

Apple picking may still be in the stars for us.


Got Summer? Or, On the Agonizing Ritual of Closet Reorg

October 3, 2009 random

Tweet Apparently not this year. Despite its severe winters and famous 3-foot snow, Chicago has always delivered hot and humid summers.  These two things are not mutually exclusive, I am sure, according to a meteorologist, but in my mind I always wonder, while either dying from motion sickness from all the shivering or from dehydration […]

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“We will not become what we mean to you”

August 29, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet This is yet another picture I took of the art works that resonated with me when we went through the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. “We will not become what we mean to you.” I think about that sentence often ever since… “I’m interested in how identities are constructed, how […]

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Valiant Struggle No. 11

August 28, 2009 a picture is worth a thousand words

Tweet Valiant Struggle No 11, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives. This piece is part of the Public Art exhibit in Chicago: “A Conversation with Chicago: Contemporary Sculptures from China“. Valiant Struggle No. 11 by Chen Wenlin I like “Protest Art”, or art with a message, as much as the next socially conscious and […]


Bring your swimming trunks when you visit the Crown Fountain in Chicago…

May 27, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet This is one place that we keep on going back in downtown Chicago, the Crown Fountain at the Chicago Millennium Park, lovingly nicknamed the Face Fountain. Public art pieces based on water features are known to draw people together, inviting people to participate in shared activities and to create an ad-hoc community. Here is […]


In honor of the Bard’s birthday, prithee, we should channel Katharina from The Taming of the Shrew…

April 23, 2009 random

Tweet Today (April 23) is William Shakespeare’s 445th birthday, and Chicago Mayor Richard Daly had proclaimed last week that today would be Talk Like Shakespeare Day in Chicago, since you know, the Second City is known for its high culture and all… Of course today is the day I wish I had ordered “Shakespeare’s Insults“ […]


Enos @ Intercontinental Chicago

March 7, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet Wine with chocolate. Need I say more? Sent from my iPhone Posted via email from The Absence of Alternatives


Mankind’s reach for the sky – The Tower of Babel apparently did not teach us anything…

February 17, 2009 random

Tweet Instead, we seem to pride ourselves on it. Free will. The power to accomplish the unthinkable. The art of one-upmanship. Many did not realize that the 2300-foot tall Burj Dubai is “only” the world’s Tallest Structure, and not the Tallest Building yet. Until Burj Dubai is completed and occupied, the honor of “The World’s […]