May 12, 2018

I met Tricia a very short time ago: August 2017

Cliff arrived in my Chicago for a conference. He texted me at almost 10pm, which is about 3 hours past my bedtime. He asked for restaurant recommendations for himself and one of his staffers. Everything was closed, so I responded in my usual rude way.

But since Cliff is special to me, I resisted the urge to go back to sleep and discovered Chinatown restaurants stay open until 2am. 14 years in Chicago, and I didn’t know this. The prospect of seeing Cliff and eating dim sum woke me right up.

I rolled my old bones out of bed and drove to meet my friend.

And I met Tricia.

Now, I don’t warm to people right away very often. But Tricia radiated kindness and light. I liked her instantly. She cautiously surveyed the curried cuttlefish we ordered and tried most things, open to adventure, but warned of her sensitive constitution.


She told us about the work she did for Cliff but she was quiet, and I gathered she didn’t warm to people quickly either. We parted that evening with plans to see each other again while they were in town, over burgers and BBQ. We talked about my hometown of Birmingham and how fun it might be to work together.

In January 2018, I came home to see my family for the holidays and was eager to see my new friend. Tricia didn’t know that I had decided to move home when we agreed to meet for lunch, but she had already arranged to help me consider it by introducing me to a potential job.

Within a week, we had a deal and within a month, I was driving cross-country to my new old home.

My new office was dark and isolated and lonely, so I would visit Tricia’s office often. It is as warm and bright as her smile, and she always had 80s music playing. And giant photos of her husband, of whom she spoke as lovingly as if he were right next to her, finishing her sentences.

Here we are at Iron City listening to The Molly Ringwalds and reveling in 80s nostalgia.


We lost our dear Tricia this morning.

I knew her for only a handful of months. I cannot imagine the pain of those who loved her for her entire life.

Thank you Tricia for bringing me home. I will miss your easy smile, your eagerness and ability to sense the needs of everyone around you, how much you love your husband, your dry humor, #TunaGate, and your notes on our dry-erase boards that read, “I love Tricia, she’s the best!”

Yes. Yes she is.

Call Spoofing

August 24, 2016

My phone number fell victim to the dreaded Caller ID Spoofing, which is when your number is used to mask the caller’s number, hiding the scammer’s identity or perhaps increasing the probability of a telemarketer getting through.

Consumers have some recourse in reporting the relentless, annoying onslaught, but little can be done by me, the owner of the phone number spoofed. Most end up changing their number altogether. We’ll see if I’m driven to that level of madness.

I immediately changed my voicemail to this:

“Please be aware, this number was highjacked by scammers or telemarketers. I did not call you, and I am sorry you have been inconvenienced too. If you are trying to reach Felicia, please text me.”

For three days, hundreds of people have been calling me. Even after hearing my sympatico voicemail, they scream demands to cease, remind of their Do Not Call status, insult for calling and hanging up.

Others have been quite polite. And thorough:

“Hi! It looks like a missed your call, and I’m not sure what it’s regarding so I wanted to follow up. My name is ….. and you can reach me at … … …. at your convenience. Thank you!”

It has been a fascinating exercise in phone etiquette, which I abandoned years ago.

  • I almost never talk on the phone unless at work
  • I pay no attention to missed calls. If I missed your call, I figure you’ll call back.
  • My usual voicemail message begs callers not to leave a voicemail, because I will never listen to it
  • Text me
  • I believe it should cost $1000 to leave a voicemail or to send a group text
  • If you get mad at me for not returning your call, our friendship is probably over because I’ll never even know you got mad. Especially if you leave me a voicemail about how mad you are.

Again, fascinating because of how much time, energy, and sometimes emotion each person invested in a missed call.

I prefer to invest in more important things, but I broke protocol and listened to a few. These are my favorites:

Angry Man #NSFW
Who gets this angry about anything, much less a missed call?

Who, indeed?

Bless You

Because random, fly-on-the-wall vicarious voicemail is best.

The calls are waning today, so I may not have to change my number. Call me in a few days to know for sure.

But please don’t leave a voicemail.


How to Fall Back in Love

October 19, 2015

It’s easy to do. We all take for granted the one we love.

Year after year, we look at the same ol’ face and forget all the things that once mesmerized. Our enthusiasm seems reserved more for the “new” than for the more-deserving tried-and-true. Where did the heat go? Where’s the excitement? We forget that it’s our responsibility to keep looking past the known. How presumptuous we are, to believe there are no more surprises to be had; to believe we know everything there is to know.

Then, something comes along to give us a kick in the pants to remind us how lucky we are blah blah blah grateful blah blah. That will last for about a day. We are flawed and selfish and doomed. But I digress.

Over the weekend, Open House Chicago 2015 gave me such a kick.

200 sites. Hidden gems. Behind-the-scenes access. Free. All motivating words.

I had forgotten how much I love my love: Chicago. Too many long days at work, too many trips, and too much of the “busy” had driven me indoors during my free time. To recharge, I told myself. All the while, neglecting my love.

My friend Anne and I decided to make a day of it. Starting with:

Lakeside Development, South Shore

Rainbow Beach
OK, not necessarily part of the Open House Chicago site list, but since we were nearby, we explored.

Windsor Beach Co-Op Apartments

South Shore Cultural Center

Stony Island Arts Bank

Then, after a hearty hearth-to-table lunch at Promontory in Hyde Park…

New Regal Theater (Avalon Theater)

2015-10-18 14.54.59

I didn’t take any pics inside this gorgeous structure because it was dark and a flash is just obnoxious.

Meyers Ace Hardware (Sunset Jazz Cafe)

Not much to see here in terms of its legacy, save for a box of old menus, sheet music, and partially visible original murals on the wall. More satisfying to read about the history of the building, but I’m glad we went. Also, I love a hardware store and scored a cast iron skillet for $20.

Illinois Institute of Technology, S.R. Crown Hall

I would have missed this one were it not for Anne and her love of Mies van der Rohe. But I went straight for the models.

Swift Mansion, now Inner City Youth & Adult Foundation
I didn’t take any pics here to respect the privacy of the Foundation. The tour was less about Swift Mansion and more about the current occupants and their inspiring initiatives.

And finally, we ended in Bridgeport to introduce Anne to my beloved Bernice’s Tavern and to Mr. Stingo himself. While there, a local chap stopped by with Mira, and falling madly in love with her was the perfect way to end the day.

2015-10-18 17.38.31

I have no idea how long the OHC links will be live, so I linked to the site URLs whenever possible. Obviously, I have barely scratched the surface of the 200 sites offered by #OHC2015, and the thousands of other sights available to us every day. I promise to do better.

That’s all it took for me to remember my love, and my duty to her.

So, thank you, Chicago Architecture Foundation for reminding me how much I love this city. The next time I forget, I promise to remember that she gives me plenty. The rest is up to me.

1 week

6 days

9 hours

34 minutes


The Rhino Principle

February 4, 2014

I did not write this.

But I read it often, reminding myself to shut my trap, put my head down, and get done what needs to get done. Highly recommend you give it a gander.

“There’s a certain rule in life that I’ve found worth considering. It particularly applies if you’re confronted by a crisis. I call it the Rhino Principle.

Now, the rhino is not a particularly subtle or clever animal. It’s the last of the antediluvian quadrupeds to carry a great weight of body armor. And by all the rules of progressive design and the process of natural selection the rhino ought to have been eliminated. But it hasn’t been. Why not? Because the rhino is single-minded. When it perceives an object, it makes a decision–to charge. And it puts everything it’s got into that charge. When the charge is over, the object is either flattened or has gone a long way into cover, whereupon the rhino instantly resumes browsing.

Few people think of learning from a rhino. But I have. And when I hear of an author who cannot finish or get started on a book, I send him (or her) a rhino card. I paint a watercolor of a rhinoceros on the front of a postcard–something I do well, as I’ve practiced it a great many times. And in the space next to the address I write: “Stop fussing about that book. Just charge it. Keep on charging it until it is finished. That’s what the rhino does. Put this card over your desk and remember the Rhino Principle.””

The author continues by applying the principle to politics and business, if you are so inclined. You’re welcome.

By the way, I’ve missed you, gentle reader.

In the Blink of a Year

March 7, 2011

Remember when a year sounded like a lifetime?


I recall being a child lamenting the eternity I had to endure until summer vacation. The teacher laughed and said, “Just wait until you’re grown and a whole year passes in a flash.”

Since I’ve understood her sentiment for a while now, I thought I had a better handle on the disappearance of time.

And then I saw this:

Hi Dorothy!

Ah #HaimUp.

For those of you not versed in the language of Twitter, the # is a hashtag and the “Up” is a play on the word TweetUp.

The Haim is for the one and only Corey Haim, whose death brought together a ragtag group of friends for a very unusual evening.

Corey Haim died on March 10, 2010.

On March 11th, this happened:

Justine and I had decided that tribute needed to be paid.

In the span of less than a day, we wrangled a venue, delicious eats from the one and only Ramon De Leon, and the bevy of everyone’s favorite Chicago Twitter personalities.

What we didn’t plan was the traveling Roshambo tournament, which sauntered into the pub and hypnotized us all.

Who knew there existed traveling roshambo tournaments?

Who knew that Rock/Paper/Scissors was called roshambo? Of course you did. Congratulations. Know-it-all.

I shall never forget the sight of Laser Fists, Danimal, and the Blazin Asian competing with fury or the sound of the roaring crowd chanting “One-Two-Three-THROW!”

Sami took this and should've been in it.

Laser Fists!

I think it tipped the event from fun and silly to legendary. To me, anyway.

And that’s what I was doing a year ago.

I had no idea that in the blink of a year, I would move away from my beloved Andersonville, commit to launching Push m3dia full-time, buy a house in the suburbs, gain a bunch of weight (pffft), and be ten weeks away from the most meaningful accomplishment of my life. So far.

I’m eager to see what the next year will bring.

I’ve made a lot of plans, but the unexpected is the stuff of legends.

I’m ready for it.


The Mood Queue

February 15, 2011

Favorite movie lists are meaningless.

Sure, we all have favorites. Cool Hand Luke is near the top of my ever-changing list, but today I am just not in the mood.

Lately, I crave comfort and familiarity so I’m not watching anything new. My reruns are on in the background as I write for clients or for pleasure, to activate the part of my brain that operates best when I’m safe and warm and fed. I’m pretty sure it’s called the Hippocamygdala.

It’s not slacking because I’m not really watching.

I know these films by heart. They do not ask for my undivided attention. They hum in the air around me like a space heater at my feet or the crackle of bacon frying in a cast-iron skillet. They massage my skin like cashmere pajamas.

They seep into me.

I’m not procrastinating, writing this blog post.

I’m simply acknowledging what Mame Dennis just elicited from my brain: “Live! Live! Live!”

It’s just a break. I needed a break.

Wait a sec. Was I in the mood for Auntie Mame or did it create my mood?

I propose an experiment. I’ll list movies I’d love to watch, off the top of my head, to determine which mood is a’comin.

Mood Queue:

Arthur, Camelot, Poolhall Junkies, All About Eve, The Graduate, Ladyhawke, The Descent, Imitation of Life, Twice Upon a Yesterday, Serenity, Lovelife, The Princess Bride, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Two For the Road, Barefoot in the Park, Butterflies are Free.



Nope. No idea.

OK yes, I am procrastinating. That’s enough for now. Besides, Arthur is starting.


What’s in your mood queue?

Am I Racist?

January 20, 2011

To preface, no one has called me a racist.

I was involved in a benign discussion on Twitter that got me thinking about the ever expanding usage and application of the word. To reiterate, I was not called a racist and no one was wrong or right in this scenario, in my opinion.

It was simply a conversation that I wish to share here.


Me – Ordinary joe. A nobody with an overdeveloped sense of justice, a wicked love jones for the power of words, and a big mouth.

Guy entitled to his opinion – A smart, civically-engaged man.

Innocent – Poor guy whose tweet I found amusing and retweeted. Related: from Alabama, as am I. NOT to imply that anyone is guilty, only that Innocent did not engage further.

It begins with me giggling at Innocent’s tweet:

Guy responds with this:

I prickle, but attempt to diffuse:

Yes, I could have simply ignored it, potentially avoiding more Twitter Fatigue. But I didn’t. Neither did Guy:

I find the generalization of generalizations a bit unnerving. I believe that context should always be considered. So I push, as I am wont to do:

Now, of course I don’t believe Guy hates Alabamians and I’m 100% sure he had no idea that Innocent and I are from Alabama. I offered this unfair accusation to equate with his. And to be funny. Guy does not seem amused:

Guy is absolutely correct. Unfounded claims add nothing to discourse.

But the other part of this really gets to me. No one chooses to believe anything? They just believe? Um.

Our beliefs are informed by experience, education, cultural and environmental influences, and myriad other outside forces.

One isn’t born believing in or doubting God or rooting for the Detroit Lions. Our parents, friends, teachers, clergy, or even strangers serve to form our beliefs until we, hopefully, choose to research and explore the foundation of those beliefs in order to strengthen them or to create new ones.

All by choice.

But by now it’s late, it’s bedtime for me as well, and I’m trying to embrace the notion that I initially ascribed to him in my mind: “Dude, lighten up.”  So I attempt to diffuse again:

Guy kindly tolerated my silliness:

To Guy’s credit, he hasn’t yet blocked me, which I greatly appreciate because I hope this leads to the discourse he referred to and surely values as much as I.

Racism is evil. Identifying and ending racism is everybody’s job.

First, I get it.  Generalizing about any race as superior or inferior is, at the basest level, just plain incorrect.   Generalizing about any demographic as any one charactistic is probably incorrect.  Case in point, an earlier tweet by Guy:

Should someone reprimand him for generalizing about vegetarian girls? Of course not.  Also, blind people do go to movies. But whatever word might be used to connote discrimination about vegetarian girls and blind people probably does not have the immense power of the word racism.

The accusation of racism can destroy careers and reputations in an instant. To bandy about this term is to diminish its meaning. Paul Wachtel posits that “for some people it has lost its impact, lost its power to shock, to evoke guilt or revulsion. A term that once referred to the most deplorable and shameful of traits and actions has been extended to include virtually universal human characteristics and to include within its purview practically everyone in our society.”

I believe it is prudent to apply the term carefully and responsibly.

Second, it was a fucking joke. On Twitter. Jokes can absolutely reflect racism and be hurtful. This one seems pretty harmless to me.

I hope Guy will see this and not be offended. Perhaps he will choose to weigh in. I welcome his feedback and yours.

And yes, I clearly have way too much time on my hands.


December 12, 2010

I was the giddy recipient of an invitation to enjoy a chef’s tasting at Avenues, the renowned Peninsula Hotel restaurant extraordinaire featuring the culinary stylings of Chef Curtis Duffy.

Now, I am not a “foodie” per se.

My taste is utilitarian with a pinch of adventure and a healthy handful of curiosity, informed by immigrant sensibilities.  That is not to say that my palate is anything short of acute.  I will soon host a soiree that features a blind taste test of varied ingredients and spices made popular by myriad cooking shows.

I will ask my guests to bring five ingredients for the competition and I will confidently compete.  Perhaps against you.

But I digress.

The thing is, I would rather cook than eat.  Gasp!

I love the experimental nature of combining flavors to create anew.  And I derive intense pleasure from feeding people as my bio adequately conveys.  This, coupled with limited resources and a disdain for style-over-substance hot spots has prevented me from truly exploring the rich Chicago culinary landscape.

Thankfully, and inexplicably, the real deal came to me.

Twitter has once again brought me much more than I deserve.  I can only assume that Avenues wanted an average joe to balance out the “Twitterati” I joined for dinner one recent snowy evening.

Tatiana, who I am fortunate to count as a dear friend in real life, is known across Chicago for her impeccable taste and restaurant savvy and who I take this opportunity to challenge in the aforementioned palate test.  I won’t mind losing to her.

Kara, Candyce, Mike, and Chao are Twitter idols whose acquaintance I had not made until this night.  Each hosts delectable food blogs boasting mouth-watering content and dedicated followings.

And then there was me.

But enough about me.

Let’s get to the food.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I cannot begin to author a sufficient description of each dish so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  Ask Tati for the particulars since she took copious notes, as a good foodie should.  I just ate and savored, for a change, a feast of such robust yet delicate alchemy made sweeter by perfect pairing.

Thanks to Susan Ellefson and Katie for the photos and for making this evening happen, and to Chef Duffy for choosing Chicago.

I won’t be able to replicate these dishes.  But I will have fun trying.

Christmas 2008 049

Originally uploaded by FeliciaCago

So I’m testing this nifty Flickr to WordPress functionality and came across photos I forgot I loved.

This silly bridge crosses a tiny creek (pronounced crik by its neighbors) and joins a giant park to a baseball field.

Imagine growing up around this bridge which took you all the way from Little League at one end to wide open space on the other, and ultimately, home.

I can’t imagine it, but I’ll bet it was wonderful.

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