Monday, December 3, 2012

Grandpa and Thanksgiving

Papa, Nana, Great-Grandma, Me, Grandma, Grandpa - at my baptism 
(I think this photo was taken at Nana and Papa's residence in Chicago)

I only have a handful of memories of Grandpa, my paternal grandfather.  His birthday was recently.  It's almost hard to extricate a memory of him solo, not entwined with one of Grandma.  In many ways they seemed the balance of one another.  Not opposite, more so the requisite pair, like salt and pepper.  Grandpa was tall and sturdy, Grandma short and petite.  Grandpa seated and steady, Grandma fluttering and always in motion.  Grandpa was certain and definitive, Grandma demure and soft spoken.   

Grandpa / Uncle Don, Grandpa, Papa / Grandpa and Uncle Don

I remember breakfast in their kitchen on Wenonah Avenue, Grandpa seated in his spot at the head of the metal and Formica table, below the cuckoo clock (as a child I found the clock fascinating).  Coffee percolating on the stove top, my sisters and I drinking sticky sweet apricot nectar juice, Grandpa having "poop juice" (prune juice).  Toast spread with whipped butter, real butter, not margarine as at our house.  Grandpa demonstrating how to scrape the butter knife at an angle around the container just so to get a thin sheet of butter, easier to spread and melt, leaving a smooth cone of butter (no jabbing leaving it all gouged!)   

The "rec room" at our house in Crystal Lake.  Background - Uncle John, Uncle Don, cousin Don, cousin Rick.  Foreground in the big brown chairs - Aunt Cheryl and Aunt Mary Ann. 

I remember Grandpa and Papa seated in the big brown chairs at our house flanking the fireplace.  The old lions holding court, mayhem all around, a flurry of kids, dogs, chatting adults, mingling, laughter, festivities.  The room stuffy-hot from the fire and all the bodies.  Everyone over-fed, the kids over-sugared and over-stimulated.  Why don't you kids go and play in the basement???     

 Grandpa and Grandma's basement.  Foreground - Mum, me, cousin Rick, Grandpa.  
Background - Great-Grandma, Dad, Grandma 

I remember Grandpa in the basement of their house.  The Manhattan was his drink.  As he would get to the bottom, he would give us kids the maraschino cherries.  We would swing by, "Are you done yet?"  He would make us our own Shirley Temples with extra cherries, but it somehow seemed more fun to get the cherries from Grandpa's glass.  

I remember Grandpa carving the golden turkey at Thanksgiving.  Tables lined end to end, a jumble of chairs, everyone squeezed in.  All the traditional foods, plus we always had sauerkraut and dumplings, a nod to their Polish and Czech ancestries.  


I probably spent more Thanksgivings at Grandma and Grandpa's than anywhere else so far in my life.  Grandpa died of a heart attack when I was thirteen.  I think Grandma hosted a few more years, and then the celebration migrated to Aunt Cheryl's house.  I think some at my parents' as well, those years are not as etched in my memory.  Grandma contributing less to the meal each year as her dementia increased.  Her desire to help never decreased though, she seemed uneasy relaxing and letting others do the work.   

Some recent Thanksgivings-past - Niece Anna at the only Thanksgiving in the 
condo on Claremont / Adam and Genevieve at the first Thanksgiving at our current 
house /  Anna, Michael, Jim / Maggie and the table Adam made for our feasts!

Into my twenties a few Thanksgivings were spent away from family.  The first was in Southeast Asia.  Thanksgiving night found my travel companion and I on a sleeper car in Vietnam, as we laid on the hard plank "beds" (and best not to mention the train's "bathroom" at all), he said from across the dark aisle, "Well, Happy Thanksgiving!"  The next year was in Aberdare National Park, Kenya, where they did a good job putting out a full traditional American thanksgiving meal for dinner.  Both Thanksgivings were good experiences.  I learned much about how truly blessed my life is.  I tried to drop the word "need" from my vocabulary in regards to material possessions.  And more than that, just the stability of our lives here in the U.S.  No recent bloody wars, no government coups.

Thanksgiving in Austin (and San Antonio) - Dad and I visit 
my sister, Kim, and brother-in-law, Garet.  

Later, there was the year my thoughtful Aunt Cheryl and family brought the entire Thanksgiving meal to my parents' house, my mother too ill to travel to their home in another suburb.  And the following year my father and I spent the holiday in Austin, visiting my sister and brother-in-law.  The change of scenery was helpful.  

Scenes from Thanksgiving 2012 

The next spring I would meet Adam, and since then we've hosted.  It's hard to believe "my generation" is now the one preparing the holiday meals!  Now on the other side, I have much admiration for my grandmother and all those who have done the cooking.  Whew!  I have many fond memories of those Thanksgivings past.  There may not be sauerkraut and dumplings, or even maraschino cherries, but I hope that the gatherings we hold are creating good memories and a sense of tradition for our nieces and nephews, the next generation. 

Wishing you many fond holiday memories!


Grandma's Czechoslovakian Fruit Squares 

Grandma's Czechoslovakian Fruit Squares 


1 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons milk
2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 can apricot preserves


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light.  Add yolks, blend thoroughly.  Add milk.  
  2. Sift dry ingredients and add to sugar mixture by hand.  Add nuts and blend by hand.  
  3. Spread half of mixture into a greased 8-inch square pan by patting with hands.  Cover with preserves to 1/4 inch of edge.  Carefully cover preserves with remaining dough, a piece at a time on floured palms of your hands.  
  4. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour.  
  5. Cut into squares.  Makes 25-30 squares.  

Apricot filling / the dough / first layer with apricot / topping / all baked

Notes from Tara:
  • I made these gluten free by substituting 350 grams of all-purpose gluten free flour mix and 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum.  Next time I might add a little more xanthan gum, or be sure the squares are entirely cool before trying to remove from the pan.  The top was a little crumbly.  
  • Canned fruit preserves can be found in the baking aisle of the grocery store.  You could probably use fruit jam if you can't find it.  
  • See below for an easy way to get bars out of a baking pan!

Cut two pieces of foil / size and fold / put first piece in place / 
size, fold, and place second piece the other way / grease as usual

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mai Bpen Rai! (It's All Good!) - Thai Bodywork Weekend Two

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small
contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced
and coordinated as birds' wings.” ~ Rumi

Sawadee ka! (Hello!)  In the previous entry on Thai Bodywork, I gave an overview of what Thai Bodywork is.  This time, I thought I’d take a look at the structure of each weekend, the program overall, and a few of the insights I’ve gleaned so far.  

The program overall is comprised of six weekends.  Each weekend meets Thursday evening from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., and Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.  It’s a full schedule for sure.  On Thursday I come right from work, and on Monday it’s right back to work.  I use a vacation day for Friday.  The evenings after training are spent trying to fit in the usual weekend chores, prepare for the next day, and see Adam and the pets a bit!

The Question Box, artwork by local artist and musician Frank Orrall.  The Tibetan Singing bowl doubles as an actual bowl, holding the Thai phrases we pick to partner up for practice.  Shhhhh!

Thursday evening begins with sharing.  We sit in a circle, and each person has uninterrupted time to say a few words on how she is doing (I am going to use “she” instead of “he / she,” as the group is predominantly female), anything significant that has occurred in her life during the past month, and things learned in doing the practice or homework.  After that, we set up the room.  Blue Lotus shares space at Moksha Yoga (Bucktown / Logan Square location), so the room is used for yoga at other times.  With the remaining time, we review.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have a similar structure.  Each day begins with movement.
Friday and Sunday is mostly Qi Gong led by Paul, and Saturday is Yoga with Aurora.  Wai Khru follows.  Wai Khru is a Thai ritual in which students pay respects to their teachers in order to express their gratitude and formalize the student–teacher relationship.  In Wai Khru we honor:  

1)  The Buddha - The symbol of enlightenment, and that we all have the potential to overcome obstacles and awaken.

2)  The Triple Jewel - Taking refuge in:  Buddha, the ideal or highest spiritual potential that exists within all beings; the Dhamma, or Dharma, the teachings; and Sangha, community, that we are supported and not alone in our endeavors.  We don’t have to do it ourselves!  

3)  Jivaka - The “godfather” of healers.  May we all be healed.  

Scenes on and around the altar.

And then the morning break, which is spent silently.  It takes a little getting used to being around others and not saying anything.  Even if I’m alone at home with the pets I talk to them, and I’m not a very chatty person.  It’s all habit though, much of what needs to be communicated in those 20 minutes can be accomplished with a smile, a nod, and maybe a few hand gestures.  If we have a snack, we should observe mindful eating (more on meditation and mindfulness practices another time).  I sometimes text Adam during the break, which I suspect is not in accordance with the spirit of the silent break.  

Following the break we have a lecture or demonstration.  Practice fills the rest of the morning, and a late lunch at 1 p.m.  Immediately after lunch there is walking meditation.  I can very highly recommend walking meditation after lunch.  For one, it helps with any post-lunch sluggishness.  Secondly, it is a nice transition between the more dynamic lunch break and the more contemplative Thai massage work.  The rest of the day is a mix of demonstration and practice.  

Teaching is a joy, but it is nice to go to class too!  Although it is a pleasure, for me, teaching is an “energy out” situation.  Being in Thai training is fills me back up, I find it nourishing.  I’ve always loved being a student, I am very much a class-learner, I absorb best in the company of others (Sangha!).  I am grateful to Paul and the assistants for their time and commitment (Wai Khru!).  There are a total of six assistants, not all are with the group the entire time, but between them and Paul there is a lot of individual instruction and feedback.  

Assistant Monica demonstrates on Julie as Cathie observes.

We also learn about Thai culture, and throughout the weekend are encouraged to use the Thai words we have learned so far.  If there is time, we will work on a Bonus Pose, have Pose Break Down (in depth analysis of a movement), or answer questions from the Question Box.  Anatomy lessons and a quiz are on Sundays.  We conclude with a shorter Wai Khru.  On Sunday evening, we clean up and put all the mats away.  :-(

In between weekends we are expected to:

* Meditate 20 minutes daily.

* Implement self-care practices (e.g. yoga, Qi Gong, self-massage, aerobic exercise and / or strength training, etc. - whatever we feel will help us be healthier and better equipped to manage the physical demands of giving Thai massage)

* Note three things daily in a gratitude journal.

* Do four 90-minute practice sessions on friends and family, including documentation.

* Complete readings from the three text books - one each on meditation, anatomy, and Thai bodywork.

* Write two reflections on the meditation readings.  

* Prepare for anatomy quiz!

The weekends are very enjoyable, and pass very quickly. By Sunday evening it seems difficult to believe we won’t be coming back the next morning for another day of training.  Toni, one of the assistants, said the weekends are like a retreat.  Although I’m still in Chicago, I do feel as though I have been away.  During Thursday evening sharing, many people said they were excited to be back for weekend two.  Classmate Katrina said the process of the gratitude journal unfolded for her over the course of the month.  At first it was a review of the day, noting afterward three good things that had happened.  As time went on, she began to notice things to be grateful for as they occurred.  The process of being grateful drew her into being present for the moment.  Hearing this strengthened my gratitude journal practice, which had been sporadic.  Like minded folks, sharing and inspiring.  More Sangha!

    Gin practices on Niki. Paul demonstrates on assistant Tammy, Cam and Katrina watching. During break Isaac shares some Acro Yoga with Niki.

One of the takeaways from the first weekend, for me, was how a small amount of intentional healing touch can be deeply relaxing.  Even from a person that is at the beginning of the learning process, working over and over in a small area of the body.  In between weekends, as I did my practice sessions, reminders to be gentle with myself were repeated.  I have just started learning this new skill, and like anything, it takes time.  A friend I practiced on said how much she enjoyed this style of massage.  It’s like giving the muscles a suggestion to relax, instead of forcing them to release.    

The second weekend brought two insights.  The first, when receiving massage, I am not fully letting go. I think I am relaxed, but a small part is hanging on.  When my body is being moved, I try and help the giver a little bit.  Of course, being a helper and a giver is a beautiful thing.  However, I’m really doing a disservice to both myself, not fully accepting the massage and its healing properties, and to the bodyworker, not allowing them to fully give their massage.  This is also an opportunity to see things from the client’s perspective.  When I feel a receiver holding and not fully trusting, I’ve been there, I’ve walked in their shoes.     

The second insight would seem the opposite of the first.  When giving massage, my pressure could be greater.  Some of this stems from being new and just not knowing.  Part is fear of hurting the receiver.  But, and here’s the juicy part, the last piece is related to the first insight.  I’m holding.  I’m not all in.  Thai massage is definitely an active endeavor, but, like yoga, really getting somewhere comes from softening, using breath, and allowing.   Going deeper doesn’t come muscling and force, it is born in letting go.        

And that, as they say, is my work.  Finding joy in small moments of recognition and learning.  Taking what comes up, and observing.  Equanimity - a state of stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.  In this moment of cognition, I realize I’m clenched.  To find balance, I must trust, breathe, release, and expand.  

See you on the mat.

Tara :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Afternoon (gluten-free) Bread

I had intended my next post to be on the second Thai Bodywork training weekend, but
since I got distracted baking bread, I thought why not share it with y'all?  I will still get to the Thai bodywork training, look for that update soon.  

Saturday afternoon.... it was brisk but sunny, I had just finished doing some yard work, and stock was simmering on the stove top.  It was cozy in the kitchen, and I was feeling a bit peckish.  What I wanted was some fresh warm bread smeared with butter.  In regards to snacks, homemade bread is about the worst for immediate satisfaction.  But it had been ages since I baked bread, and with the fall weather plus the aroma of the stock, quite soon I had all the ingredients assembled for gluten-free bread.    

As I've mention previously, I try to mostly have a gluten-free diet.  More on that another time.  (I will eventually get back to all these "another times.")  Gluten-free bread baking is quite similar to regular bread baking, maybe easier.  Certainly a little faster.  Of course the flours are different, but otherwise the ingredients are mostly the same.  

One addition in gluten-free bread is a binder such as xanthan gum to provide thickening in lieu of gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, and some other grains, that give baked goods structure and contribute to the chewy texture.  I've also found that many gluten-free bread recipes include a small amount of vinegar.  From what I've read, this helps give the rising dough a little more "oomp," provides a small amount of the sour flavor of wheat, and contributes to the dough elasticity.  

Technique-wise, there are a few differences for gluten-free bread baking.  Instead of kneading the dough to develop the gluten, the initial phase is basically to combine all the ingredients and to incorporate air into the dough.  Gluten-free dough is much wetter, more like a batter than a dough.  I find a dough scraper the best tool to get the mixture from bowl to pan.  There is only one rising, and then into the oven.  

Top-left, going clockwise - The dough is quite tacky, use lightly dampened fingers to spread.  Once the dough is relatively flat, sprinkle a little bit of oil on the surface, and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top.  Dough after it has risen.  Score the dough before baking.

It turned out the bread wasn't ready until dinnertime.  So much for my snack!  But it  made a delicious addition to our dinner, and I'll have it for weekday lunches.  Give this recipe a try.  It's pretty easy and straightforward, way better than the store-bought gluten-free breads (not even in the same league!), and less expensive than a box mix.  

Have a great week!


Our Daily Bread
from The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook by Mary Capone

Makes one 9"x5" loaf, 12 large dinner rolls, 8 panino (sub) rolls, or 2 boules

It took me years to create this recipe to honor the memory of the great Italian breads of my youth.  Like a loaf of Italian white bread, the texture is wonderful.  It's spongy, moist, and elastic, holding together nicely when toasted or even when dipped in sauce.  Adding a variety of ingredients to the basic loaf will allow you to keep this brand new.  Since this bread is without any preservatives, refrigerate any unused portion.  Freeze unused portions or turn them into Mary's Gluten-Free Bread crumbs.  

2 teaspoons sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
2-1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup potato starch
4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs plus 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water


1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease one loaf pan with olive oil or cooking spray.  For dinner rolls, lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.  For panino rolls, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  For boule, lightly grease two 4" cake rounds.

2)  In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar and yeast.  Stir just until dissolved. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in warm area for 10 minutes.  Mixture will form a foam head about an inch.  If mixture does not foam, your yeast is not viable or your water was too hot or too cold.  At that point throw out your yeast mixture, and start again with fresh yeast.

3)  If using a food processor, add all dry ingredients:  flours, xanthan gum, and salt, directly to the processor bowl.  Blend in processor to mix flours together, about 3 minutes.  If using a heavy-duty stand mixer, add to the mixer bowl, and mix with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes until flours are well blended.  If using a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together until well combined.

4)  In another small bowl, whisk olive oil, eggs, and vinegar until blended.  Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix.  Add yeast mixture to dough and mix.

5)  The kneading or mixing process takes different amounts of time depending on the machine you use.  For mixing by hand, this process will take about 10 minutes.  For heavy-duty stand mixer, 5 minutes.  For those who use the food processor, it take s about 2-3 minutes for the dough to form.

6)  When is the dough formed?  When using a food processor dough will begin to mound up in the center around the blade.  When using a heavy-duty stand mixer it will build up in the paddle.  In either case, the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl in ribbons or thick strands (almost like cotton candy threads) when ready.  Dough will be sticky and soft.

7)  Transfer dough into prepared baking pan or muffin tin.  For panino, shape batter into 3"x4" football-shaped rolls.  Smooth the top of the dough into desired shape with a spoon dipped in oil.  Place in warm area to rise for 40 minutes.  Dough will almost double in size.  If using a warming oven, place baking pan inside uncovered, making sure temperature is not greater than 80 degrees.  When finished rising, score and varnish top if desired.

8)  For bread loaves bake for 40-45 minutes, or 20-25 minutes for panino rolls, until a crust is a golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Note from Tara:  Since I had already brushed the top of the dough with olive oil, I did not brush the risen dough with anything else prior to baking.  If you prefer, brush with the one egg combined with the one tablespoon of water.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some things were meant to be.

Love does not consist in gazing at 
each other, but in looking outward 
together in the same direction. 
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Candid photo of us chatting 
out the window to our neighbor

My niece Anna was born the day Adam and I had our first date.  I got the call from my sister on the way home from work.  It was raining lightly that spring evening, I took a taxi to the restaurant.  I saw him standing outside the entrance, I waved from across the street.  In such situations the usual thing would be to shake hands, but for some reason I gave him a hug.  It turned out Adam also had a niece named Anna, as we ate we discovered other coincidences.  I thought he was funny, he liked my laugh.  It seemed an auspicious beginning.  

It wasn’t long before we were spending six nights a week together, three at his place, three at my place, the seventh a Sandwich Night, spent separately.  Living together followed that fall.  Fast forward, this week we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary!

Holiday 20?? with our friend Christina at a bar / restaurant on Lincoln near Trader Joe's (before TJ's). She called us "The Charnlowski's"

It seems longer than six years. It seems hard to remember a time before Adam.
In some regards, I count that meeting almost ten years ago as the Beginning of Us.  By the time of the wedding, we had already combined our lives, purchased a house together, had shared pets.  The wedding was a formality.  I don’t mean to discount the significance of marriage,  or the impact of the wedding itself.  I value the weight of marriage, the all-in commitment.  Although neither of us are really wedding people, we had a church wedding with reception following, and we didn't dash off to City Hall.  I wasn't the sort of little girl that dreams of her wedding day, but as a grown woman I understood the value of honoring tradition.  It was wonderful to see everyone, but, in my opinion, it’s better to attend someone else’s wedding.  All the fun, less hectic!  In the following year people would ask, “So, how is married life?”  We weren't sure how to answer, pre- and post-married life looked and felt much the same, the main difference was my last name.  

While I’m not in any rush to get older myself, like the kid wanting to be an adult, I want us to be celebrating a higher year anniversary.  My middle sister and husband just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.  My youngest sister and Adam’s sister both met their husbands in college.  So much shared history, a lot of overlapping life.  There is warmth and familiarity in the quantity of shared experiences.  A friend once said she thought there is added respectability once a marriage reaches the seven year mark.  

Any yet....  I know there are things I wouldn’t have done if Adam was in my life earlier.  Things I love, and wouldn’t trade.  The life I lived on my own made me the person I am.  The universe has a plan, and it all happened in due time.   

February 2010, Anna Maria Island, FL - one of our very favorite 
places at one of our favorite restaurants.  

I’ve been pondering what makes a successful marriage, what makes it go the distance.  As birthdays are a natural time to reflect upon your life, anniversaries are a good time to review the State of the Marriage Union.  Additionally this year, a few weeks ago we learned a dear loved one is getting divorced from his wife.  We were completely shocked.  Floored!  From the outside, they were a couple completely in love.  I always described them as “smitten.”  They spent time working on their relationship, going to couple’s retreats, leading a couples’ group, etc.  Both older and previously married, it was a thoughtful undertaking.  Married only a few months less that us, what went wrong?  How can we avoid similar?  

Marriage is looking forward, together.  Two whole people, content with themselves, having a shared vision and dream, holding similar values and expectations.  Day by day, building a life.   Not losing sight of the individuals, not being cloistered or love-blind, each partner bolstering, supporting, and cheerleading for the other.  Adam has always supported me in my endeavors, and there have been many in the course of our relationship!  I knew Adam was “the one” because he fully accepted me as I was.   As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Committed:

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”

Marriage, like life, is a work in progress.  It’s continuously calibrating the balance between independence and connectedness.  What makes our marriage successful and happy today may be different in the coming years.  Whatever that looks like, I am joyful to be traveling along this path with Adam.  I have faith we will find the answers as we need them.  As Ms. Gilbert also says in Committed, “Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone.”

Christmas 2011, Lake Geneva, WI

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inside Studio Gang and Museum Visitors!

Looking from inside the exhibition out to Griffin Court

"Why couldn't you make me an architect? You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect."  
~ George Costanza, Seinfeld, episode"The Marine Biologist"

Early last week I made it to the "Building: Inside Studio Gang Architects" exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago. As you may recall from previous exhibition visits, I sometimes procrastinate and catch the show just before it closes. I actually made it to this one fairly early in the run. I was curious about the "rope rooms" I had heard about from my colleagues.

First, a little about Studio Gang.  Founded by Jeanne Gang in 1997, "Studio Gang is an international practice whose work confronts pressing contemporary issues. Conceived as a collective of architects, designers, and thinkers, the studio acts as a lab for testing ideas on varying scales: from cities to environments to individual buildings’ unique material properties."  Studio Gang is based here in Chicago.  They work both locally and internationally.  One of their recent buildings, Aqua Tower, is a fun addition to the Chicago skyline.  And, if I may speak frankly, Jeanne Gang is younger than you might think (according to Wikipedia she was born in 1964).    

Aqua Tower is the "shorter" building (it's 86 stories) to the right 
behind Pritzker Pavilion (by architect Frank Gehry).
This photo doesn't capture the building's fluidity. 

This exhibition was not in the "big" "main" Regenstein exhibition hall in the Rice Building, but the rotating galleries the Architecture and Design department gained for this purpose upon the opening of the Modern Wing.  

The exhibition has two main areas.  The first is devoted to some of the recent projects of the firm.  Projects were further divided into four categories:

  • Nature | Northerly Island, Chicago
  • Density | Aqua Tower, Chicago
  • Community | Hyderabad Tellapur 02, Hyderabad, India
  • Performance | Kaohsiung Maritime Museum and Popular Music Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A whole city of models from their projects!  

In between the two areas was a brief display on Studio Gang solutions for problems created by architecture.  

The second area of the exhibition focused on the how - methods the studio uses to realize their projects.

Looking back at the exhibition from the staircase in Griffin Court

A benefit of being employed at a city landmark is that now and then friends and family come and see you at work!  In the later part the week my sister-in-law brought her kids to visit on a day off school.

Kevin's favorite part of visiting Aunt Tara at work - the model of the museum
and Millennium Park.  Kevin demonstrates where "The Bean" 
would be, if the model had a Bean.

The view from the conference room.

More view.

Looking at more models.

Michael goes Godzilla on the museum.

Genevieve is a natural teacher!

Obligatory pose on the Grand Staircase.

So much museum!

Michael checks out the newest paperweight addition,
Honey Bee Swarm with Flowers and Fruit, by Paul Stankard

I wasn't able to stay with Genevieve and kids the entire visit, but suggested they check out the Studio Gang exhibit, based on how much the boys liked the architectural models.  It was a big hit, kid approved!  The boys can't wait to build their own models.

I will leave you with a short time lapse video of the Studio Gang installation, with an audio segment by Jeanne Gang.   

"Architecture defines who we are."  

How are you defining the environment?

Until next time!