the MOTH

i’ve been following the path of the MOTH for a few months after my sister introduced me to it.

The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.

Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.

it’s like crack for people in my profession, people who turn brands into stories and do it by listening to how people see themselves and the worlds around them.

this event needed some volunteers, and i have a habit of hand-raising, so here we are at the natural history museum in chicago after i worked at the front door checking people in from willcall.
MOTH Chicago

peter gallagher hosted and MC’ed
MOTH Chicago

judy gold is a famous stand-up comic; we hung out for a minute after the show and she was extremely gracious. she told a story about her kids’ coming of age in a jewish household with two mothers (which ended up being four mothers after she and her partner split and the kids had their respective bar mitzvahs)
MOTH Chicago

walter mosley writes fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, political satire, and young adult novels, he talked about changes he’s witnessed in racism and manhood.
MOTH Chicago

cindy chupack writes for “sex and the city” and talked about an ex-boyfriend and his coming out while they were living together as a couple
MOTH Chicago

joey kemmerling is a 16 year old who talked about his journey being openly gay in high school and going on to found The Equality Project
MOTH Chicago

and lastly, tim king is the founder of Urban Prep Academy. he talked about attaining a 100% acceptance rate for every young african-american male that attends Urban Prep schools around chicago he’s been hailed by bill clinton and oprah, and has been named Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine.
MOTH Chicago

afterwards we had a cocktail reception in the upstairs of the museum
MOTH Chicago

and i stalked peter gallagher a little. nothing embarrassing. just one photo and about three minutes trying to think of something to strike up a conversation over – couldn’t think of anything but he made sure to say goodnight to all the volunteers! total class act.
MOTH Chicago


à votre santé

two weeks ago, i had a rough day. i was at the hospital, i had an allergic reaction to some bloodwork, and i could. not. stop. crying.

i cried to the nurses. big fat pitiful tears that wouldn’t quit. i cried to the chair.  i cried to the needles in my arms. i cried to everything in the room like i was doing a guest appearance in Goodnight Moon and then i cried to my internist, who thankfully was two floors below the hematologist’s office. i couldn’t take the thought anymore that i don’t remember a time of equilibrium in my health – never a day where i’m not thinking, oh is this normal? is this okay? how was it yesterday? what’s the trade-off if i see one doctor over another? which calcium supplement do i need? am i getting enough copper in my system?

my internist helped me deal in the moment, i was so shocked that this was the thing that did me in. i was unhinged, like the couple of panic attacks i had before my duodenal switch surgery in 2008 – only then i felt like i needed to pause and take a breath, whereas this time i was drowning. i said, i can’t believe an iron infusion – just an hour with an IV needle – is throwing me off. i’ve faced much more bigger shit than this.

my doctor looked at me, shook her head, and said honey, this is about the fifth thing you’ve faced in the last two years. and she was right – two years ago was the big surgery, and since then i’ve dealt with a kidney stone, the anemia, a few funerals, and a demanding job. while trying to have a life, while getting some relief work done in brazil, while just getting up in the morning and going about my day.

on one hand, this is the deal with chronic conditions. they never die, they only shift and mutate. if it’s not one thing, it’s another; such is life.

on the OTHER HAND, there’s a punch line…

i found out a week after my crying episode that the thing that was wrong with my blood in the first place can cause mental instability. you think either my hematologist or internist might have wanted to mention it.

so now. three iron infusion treatments later (with a kind i’m not allergic to), the thing that was literally driving me crazy is taken care of. i’m not overwhelmed anymore, i’m back to my old self. still a little tired but i have my old focus and strength of character back. feeling good about the future, and realizing now more than ever that my health and my future are in my hands.

and please indulge me this soapbox for a moment, i hate the word “should” because i believe in people finding their path – but no matter what your health looks like,  YOU SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING:

start a binder for yourself.
start a binder especially for your kids.
keep track of your health with the following components:
– contact list of all doctors and specialists
– chronological medical history of all significant events, across all doctors
– copies of all medical records and labs
– list of abnormalities, or even things you want to keep an eye on

NO ONE is looking at the entire picture of your health but you, and it’s on you to make yourself healthy.


sometimes when i say her name i keep saying it my head.
she was captain of her high school volleyball team.

when i was in high school she tried to convince me she was the inspiration for THE rosie the riveter.

i can totally see it.

seriously, you aren’t seeing her from 15 years ago, when i was 15 years old and she taught me about hospitality, how to cook, how to say go f**k yourself in italian. she’s where i get my sailor mouth and ferocity. and when she falls asleep while i’m talking to her
nana napping

i work on this amazing book i’m reading
visiting tabor hills


went to go see annie at her work – this girl is such a badass

mom, dad, and i grabbed some coffee at a local cafe

then we went to watch, you know, just the state senate

where anne hangs with the speaker of the house

so cool to see it in action! it’s one of those things you absolutely take for granted. we got to see bills argued, cases made, and later on got to meet our state representative where i discussed with him, of all things in the universe, my stance on COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act) LOL

dinner with dad

i tried to shut off for a few days after this bloodwork fiasco. my dad called and basically said “i’ll give you whatever space you need, but you still need to eat.”

wednesday night he dropped off dinner, just stopped by, handed me a bag of groceries, stayed for a glass of water, gave me a huge hug, and let me chill. i’m peculiar in that i’ve always felt strongest on my own, and when i need to hibernate, i tend to just turn inward – the last thing i want are people around. and it’s counter-intuitive, ESPECIALLY to my family, who all congregate. it’s weird, i’m weird, i don’t know where it comes from, but that’s me.

anyway, this morning i had relaxed enough try another iron treatment, which worked out, thank God. afterwards, i left the hospital and met dad at his office

and we went to whole foods where we played Top Chef and made a meal as we walked up and down the aisles, how about this? and do we have cumin? and we could make it this way…

dad had a recipe in mind that was pretty beautiful. it starts with garlic, vegetables, and sea bass

we also had potatoes with rosemary, salt and pepper

but the real star of the show was the sea bass; they were stuffed with lemon, caper, onion, and a few other things, then dad covered them with a mixture of egg, salt, and pepper

andy checked them while i stirred veggies on the stove

and assembled caprese salads

the fish came out in a crispy egg casing

which then had to be cracked open the fish were taken out

finally the meat was taken off the skin and dressed on the plate!

such a beautiful mess :)

dad, andy, and i sat down and shared a meal and some wine

love my dadders. we put on some french music and talked and drank for hours. it was an extremely peaceful night. just what the doctor ordered, literally :)