Gut Decisions

An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.
An assortment of pickled vegetables for making Bloody Marys.

Much like good bacteria lying dormant in my gastrointestinal system for lack of food to revive it, I believe the fermentation bug has always been with me, passed down through the mists of time from one person to another, waiting for a reason to revive.

Having been raised in Europe, where naturally fermented foods like yogurt and cheese were not just staples but everyday delights, I grew up with a taste for strongly flavored, potent and sour things.

The bluer the cheese, the better. The more sour the yogurt, the better.

My mom was making kombucha in the 80s and 90s, long before it became a household name. My grandmothers made pickles and sauerkraut that sat in jars on shelves for us to consume throughout the long winters.

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A failure of words

journal_txI’m generally a pretty open person.

I like to live my life out loud.

There is a lot of freedom in sharing yourself and your experiences with other people. In fact, it’s highly recommended as a type of therapy.

Sometimes, though, we go through these particular cycles in life where you have to draw back into yourself because of social mores, laws, the balance of risks and rewards for a particular action.  Continue reading A failure of words

10 Flooding Photos from Houston that look like the apocalypse

Continue reading 10 Flooding Photos from Houston that look like the apocalypse

Getting off auto pilot

I love that feeling of turning onto a road I’ve never driven before. That moment when the familiar gives way to the unknown.
When your eyes fill up with brand-new views, and you have to work harder for every moment.
There is no auto pilot here.
When pulling off Highway 90 onto 18 in Madison, you can feel the transition more than just the four and five lines giving way to two lanes. You can feel it in the increasing number of pickup trucks, combines, clotheslines, Chevy Caprice police cruisers and supper clubs.

Continue reading Getting off auto pilot

The Tin Man seeks a heart

Tin Man
Tin Man

I read a story this week about a woman who moved to Portland, Oregon from New York city and found herself incredibly lonely. Like dangerously lonely.

The better part of my life has been spent pursuing the opposite of loneliness. One of the reasons I moved to Chicago was because I believed that a city with eight million people would be the antidote to loneliness.

At first it is.

You’re surrounded by the cacophony of this human hive. It fairly roars with the constant sound of movement. You can’t look around and not see humans walking somewhere quickly. Nobody meanders in Chicago.

Continue reading The Tin Man seeks a heart

An alternate universe in each of my sons

The 303 train from Chicago to Blue Island broke down last night, leaving me stranded in Chicago waiting for a later train.

Unfortunately, that meant I’d miss my son’s track meet.

He sent me this text just as my train pulled up to the Vermont Street stop where I park my car.

Carson RunsWhat’s unique about this text, is that it stems from a conversation we had last night while sitting around a small table at Chipotle.

It’s been a long two-weeks of sickness around our house, with everyone dealing with a combination of allergies and head colds, with a little strep throat thrown in for good measure. We needed to buy Carson a pair of running shoes for his track meet on Friday, so I made an executive decision to eat out, which is rare for us.

Continue reading An alternate universe in each of my sons

Narcissism and Hubris in the Status Update

the-animal-gladiators-of-hubris-02

The forward-most car on the 5:30 p.m. 303 train from LaSalle Street station in Chicago to Vermont Street in suburban Blue Island is ungodly noisy.

It has a screech not unlike a large dying animal when the car shifts from left to right as it slowly leaves the station.

But it doesn’t impede the conversation that occurs between the long-time commuters of the forward-most car on train 303.

They all know each other and have for a long time.

They greet each other with hugs and ask after loved ones they know by name.

When I found my way to the forward-most car on train 303, I was lonely and growing bitter commuting in from the Chicago suburbs every weekday.

Continue reading Narcissism and Hubris in the Status Update

Allegory of the (Easter) Cave

mara_cave

The incessant babbling is wearing on my mind
as we stand here chained to the walls of this cave

The shadows dancing on the walls around us give rise
to all the speculation that a mind ensnared is capable of

And we pick and choose our favorite lies from puppet masters
and the Old Witness in our midst, clutched tightly to our chest

But if I stretch my neck far enough, I can see by the blackness within
that the stone was long ago rolled away, and you’re gone so long

The shroud is on our face, in our eyes, a sacred relic’s profane
turn as we covered ourselves in it in your absence

We’ll kill the next sun-blind fool who enters the cave
without realizing the stone was rolled away

We have nothing but dogma, but we clutch it close
to our breasts until it smothers us in righteous fervor

The few remaining shrubs that provide us oxygen are cut down
and made into brilliant execution devices

To further cull the wheat from the chaff, because
when we find that door, we’ll find it very narrow

And we wait for a sign, as described by a madman
on an island of loneliness in a sea of regret

These are not chains that bind us to these walls
they’re fears that grip us tighter than any alloy

And the greatest irony  of all isn’t that you came back
to the cave to show us the way out of the darkness

It’s that the cave is the first place we went to look for you
when all hope was lost and despair fell on us like rain

There is irony in the fact the stone was rolled away
we walked inside and killed the messenger

And chained ourselves to these walls to wait
for god knows what in ignorance and grief

And all this while, over centuries and millennia
the fact remains, the stone was rolled away

By Timothy Alex Akimoff
4.5.15

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Kind of Pain

A_baseball_and_gloveLast night I had a catch with my middle boy.

He’s 13 now, and we’ve had catches in the spring most years that he’s been able to hold a baseball in one hand. Well, maybe with the exception of those two years we lived in Alaska. I think maybe the weather kept us from having a real catch until technical summer.

We lined up with my back to the grill, where I could sneak over and turn the chops in between throws. He was out toward the southern fence.

The first throw hit my glove right in the palm, where the leather is thin, and your palm can really feel the contours of the ball.

It popped, loudly, with that pleasurable sound of leather on leather that sound equivalent of  the smell of fresh-cut-grass or peanuts or cheap beer and hot dogs.

The sound of baseball.

Continue reading A Good Kind of Pain

Here You Are

Orland Park, Illinois
Orland Park, Illinois

I like to write on Saturday mornings before two thirds of the kids are awake.

It’s quiet, and I love the solitude minus the occasional interruption from the 9-year-old daughter who likes to ask me complicated questions about life when I’m trying to concentrate.

Last weekend I curbed my imbibing into a manageable martini and a couple of beers and woke at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, a good two hours later than my weekday schedule.

I settled into my comfortable writing spot on the couch, curled my legs under my body and hoisted my laptop atop my thigh to begin to work on a writing project that is currently in the creative stages but about to enter the dreaded editing and second re-write stage.

My phone rang around 8:30 a.m., about the time I was due for a short green tea break.

I didn’t recognize the local number, so I let it go to voicemail.

I picked up the phone a few minutes later and saw that the person had indeed left a message.

“Hello, my name is redacted, and I’m here with your son. He got lost from his running group, and he’s shivering and cold.”

Continue reading Here You Are

"THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE, AND AFTERWARD, SOME ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES." – HEMINGWAY