Category Archives: Forest Park

Madison Street Art Stroll

This weekend, I’ll be participating (from a distance!) in the Madison Street Art Stroll here in Forest Park. Because of Covid, Garage Galleries was canceled and the wonderful organizers decided to try this instead. Several local businesses opened their windows to artists who will be displaying their work over the next week. My work is in the window of Local Yoga at 7234 Madison, a yoga studio right down the block from us.

Saturday, Naoto and I will be walking along Madison (wearing our masks!) to see the art and to wave to some friends we haven’t seen all summer. It’s funny how “normal” it feels to make some plans, even though it won’t be normal.

I’ve been working on setting up an online shop for my cards, something that is long overdue… It’s been a slow project listing everything…it’s fun work though! And I’ve made some new cards that I’ll be sharing on Instagram (@adamihasegawa) over the weekend and all next week.

I’ll share my window set-up next week, too. It was fun to put some of my window display skills to work again…though my display is much simpler than some of the concoctions I had to hang at my old job!

I hope you have a good weekend! Take care!

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Plot 6 Mid-Season Report

Naoto and I went to the garden on Sunday to fix a broken hose splitter and to check on our tomatoes’ progress. We had a good rain right before we went so it made pulling weeds easy and the temperatures cooled down a lot, which was a nice break from the heat we had been having.

On the north end of our plot, the Bells of Ireland are taking over! I can’t believe how out of control it’s gotten! It’s kind of crowding out the chamomile, but I’m all about the strongest surviving this summer in the garden.

Naoto’s edamame is coming along nicely…there are tons of little pods that need a little bit more time before they are ready to be picked.

On the south side of the plot, our herbs are flourishing and yes, we need to cut some parsley and rosemary. The tomatoes are all a jungle in the middle of the plot (one of these days I will plan this better!) I can’t find any white flies on our tomato plants this year (hurray!) but our tomatoes so far aren’t looking great. We picked four, but they definitely aren’t picturesque. We’ll have to wait and taste them to see…

In other news, NOW is the time to plant some radishes or some kale or something to fill in that bare hole of wasted dirt. I’ll report back soon with what we decide to plant from our seed tin.

Our basil is still going strong…we’ve had quite a few harvests from it so far this summer…just waiting on the tomatoes to catch up…

I told him to smile three times before he yelled, “I am smiling!” #maskproblems

How’s your garden growing?

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Plot 6 in 2020

plot 6, forest park community garden, forest park, community gardenI am a little scared to talk about Plot 6 today because we’ve had torrential rains this weekend and there’s a ton of flooding around town…I can only imagine what our plot looks like right now. Certainly any seeds we planted on Friday have not stayed in their tidy rows! This is the “before” picture. We were surprised to find that we didn’t have many weeds creeping in. Other plots, as you can see in the background, are COVERED…ugh. We pulled weeds and then topped off our plot with some fresh compost before we planted. So far we have:

  • rosemary
  • lavender
  • Black Krim tomato
  • 2 Brandywines
  • Mortgage Lifter tomato

And we planted seeds for:

  • parsley
  • chives
  • mizuna (Japanese mustard greens)
  • onions
  • nasturtium
  • zinnias

We still need to plant:

  • edamame
  • basil
  • another tomato (I said four was plenty but I lied…)

I thought I had some back-up edamame and basil seeds but it looks like we need to go shopping for some which is easier said than done right now. I wish I’d ordered some seeds online before this whole thing started. Sigh. So many lessons learned for the next pandemic.

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Dispatches From Home Part 5

zoom dinner How’s everyone doing? I know some places in the US and beyond are opening up a little bit. I can’t imagine how nervous I’m going to feel when that starts happening here. Right now, we’re still staying home with no end in sight. I’m sure a slow opening is coming sometime in May…probably towards the end of May, but hey, what do I know? zoom dinnerLast week was kind of a week of treats. We haven’t been dining out much because we’re more than content cooking at home and eating our Trader Joe’s food since groceries are aplenty around here. But on Friday, one of our favorite places, Goldyburgers, re-opened for carry-out and a group of friends decided we should all order from Goldy’s and dine on Zoom together. You guys, it was so fun. I miss dining out so much. Not really because of the food, but because we usually bump into people we know and then the night takes us to unexpected places. Happenstance is really missing from life right now. goldyburgers at homeBut a planned dinner together was great, and my homemade Manhattan was delicious and it was good to catch up with everyone. Spilt MilkAnother treat from last week–we ordered cookies, breakfast sandwiches, and pie from Spilt Milk, our favorite local pie place. Their snickerdoodles are the best I’ve ever had and seriously, just to be able to get a couple familiar treats makes you almost forget about this current situation. I don’t think we need to go out for treats every day, but it felt like such a delicacy to have take-out and cookies after being away from them for so long. Kimberly at the office Presley and the computerI had to go into the office for a bit last week too. I don’t mind going into the office. Some things are impossible to do from home, so it’s good to get caught up when I can. When I work from home, it’s usually from bed (or from the living room) and Presley is monitoring my progress. (She’s such a demanding manager!) I am going to miss sleeping in until 9, but I am looking forward to going back to the office someday…april calendarI can’t believe April is two-thirds over. I am so bummed that we won’t get to experience the cherry blossoms again this year. (Last year the cold spring kept them from blooming and we’ve been planning a Chicago hanami ever since!) It’s quite depressing that the weather is finally warming up and our time outside will be limited. I’m trying to make the most of it by planning our garden plot and shopping for plants online, but it’s not the same as visiting the garden shops in person and picking out the perfect plants. I don’t want to end on such a depressing note, so I will say that I’ve been enjoying letter writing and reading again. And I just started season six of 30 Rock and I’m so glad I’m finally watching it! It makes me laugh right before I go to bed and honestly, my dreams have been slightly less weird since I started it. (Have you been having weird dreams, too? Apparently it’s a thing.) 

I hope you are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how things are going in your state or country! It’s been so fascinating writing so many pen pals and learning about their stay-at-home standards. 

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Spritzers with Pritzker

Last month, I heard this story on NPR about “Beers with Beshear,” a happy hour centered around Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s daily Covid-19 briefings. So I decided to modify it for my own governor’s briefings and call it “Spritzers with Pritzker” or since it’s Twitter #spritzerswithPritzker.

On March 26, at 2:30pm, I whipped up a Campari Spritz for the Governor’s briefing. Every day since then, I’ve made some sort of Spritz cocktail (both alcoholic and spirit-free.) It’s given me something light to do every day, something to look forward to. It’s been nice to have a little routine that is forcing me to look at recipes and make something every day. Spritzes are perfect afternoon drinks because they typically have a low alcohol content and are apertifs, before-meal drinks that stimulate the appetite.

Yesterday, much to my shock, the governor gave me a shout-out at the beginning of his briefing! I couldn’t believe it! Because of a mix-up last summer where a local politician thought I was Adam (because my handle is @adamihasegawa,) I had my bio name written out as Adam I. Hasegawa, so the governor and everyone else thought I was a guy. (Since then, I’ve changed my name to #spritzerswithPritzker to stop the confusion.) But I came clean to WTTW when they interviewed me for this article. It’s been a fun couple of days chatting about cocktails and laughing a lot. 

So the pressure is on to keep up my project! I decided to create a page here on the site where I can share all the recipes all in one place and for those who aren’t on Twitter or Instagram and may want to join in. (The intro part is pretty much just this post repeated.) I highly recommend a little afternoon break, whether it’s a cup of tea, or a cocktail, or some fancy water. These are trying times and we need to take care of ourselves and of each other.

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Forest Park Public Library’s Grand Re-Opening

Forest Park Public library, Forest Park, library, grand reopeningFor the past several months, our library has been under construction and finally, last month, it was officially re-opened. There was a huge celebration with food and activities and Shelly the Library Turtle. Forest Park Public Library grand reopening, Kettlestrings bandThe library, in its current form, had been around since 1995 so some changes were due. They moved offices downstairs and opened the main floor up so the patrons could enjoy the light and they built study rooms for patrons who need a quiet space to work and community rooms for programming. They also gave the carpeting and furniture a face lift. We were clearly there to see Shelly the Library Turtle. Oh, and the cupcakes.

Almost 600 people came to the library re-opening party, which is pretty amazing in a town of 15,000. I’m super excited that regular programming is back at the library. I’ve gone to small business planning workshops, cooking demos, a yogurt making workshop, screen and block printing workshops, letter writing meet-ups, and so many other great programs there.

Does your library have great programming? I always love to hear what other libraries are doing. If you don’t go to events at your library, goooo! It’s a fun, free way to get out into the community and to support your local library so they can continue providing great services and events. And really, how many things are free these days? (I know, I know…we pay for it with our taxes, which is all the more reason to use the library!)

P.S. I still have quite a few Japan posts in the works so we’ll return to those soon!

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The Last Plot 6 Post of the Decade

This is it…the final Plot 6 post of the decade…

Our plot went out with a whimper this year…what is it about September that makes me lose interest in gardening? Well, this year, I think it was because we had kind of a mediocre tomato harvest (and you know I’m really just all about the tomatoes.) Plus, job searching and starting took up a lot of my free time. Anyway…we let the garden die……but not before we harvested a nice little batch of teeny carrots. These guys made it through several freezes and the first couple of snows, so I was just glad to have something to pick! The carrots are designed to be sort of stumpy, but I think maybe these are small for even the stumpy size. They’re pretty tasty though! I planted them among the tomatoes and then never thinned them as directed, so that could explain things. Here’s our plot all put to bed for the season. See you next spring, buddy!

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It Feels Like Fall

I took this picture of Naoto last week when temperatures were still warm. It has been so cold ever since! We haven’t turned our heat on yet, but nights are cold and I’m wearing a jacket every time I leave the house. It’s amazing you can go from skirts and sandals to socks and jackets almost overnight. We had a light frost this past week, so I assume our garden is done…we need to go and clear off our dead plants, pick the last of the carrots, and plant our garlic so we can have a fresh start next year. I brought in all of the balcony plants I want to overwinter, so now I have to figure out where they’re going to live.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. Tonight, I’m going to a marujuana forum for Forest Park. Recreational marujuana is going to be legal in Illinois starting on January 1st so a lot of communities are deciding right now if having a dispensary or growing facility is right for them. It’s all been an interesting learning experience! Last time I live-tweeted it because it was so entertaining. And tomorrow is book club and live music at Goldyburgers! I can hardly wait!

Have a good weekend!

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In My Mailbox: Vintage & Current

Happy October! (Obligatory can-you-believe-it’s-already-October comment here…) It has been so hot and humid here this week, it’s hard to believe it’s pumpkin weather. But, I know that’ll change soon enough. I’ve been super busy the past couple weeks preparing for Brookfield Fine Arts Festival and Music, Art, & Wine at Empowering Gardens, and applying to more shows this fall and winter…this month is going to be busy with preparations for that and some other changes I’ll talk about soon. For now, let’s talk about mail!

Recently in my mailbox, I was delighted with a surprise package from Robyn. She found this vintage Forest Park, ILL stamp at a flea market. Isn’t it fun? I’ve already used it on some mail. I made me curious to know when the post office changed to 2-letter abbreviations for states. It turns out it happened in October 1963 and it was because of the zip code! Apparently, in June 1963, the post office came up with a list of abbreviated state names, but it was too long for the 23-character limit of addressing equipment. So, they had to change it again in October. Weirdly enough, Illinois was Il. in 1831, and for some reason, they added an extra L from 1874-1963 and removed it again for the final 2-letter abbreviations we know today. And we are both fans of Schitt’s Creek and we convinced Katie to try it again when we all got together for gel plate printing, so the keychain is fitting. If you haven’t watched, I can’t recommend it enough. I was not crazy about the first part of Season 1, but I stuck with it and it’s totally worth it…it’s just so fabulous.

Also, how cute is the package Robyn sent?! It just made my day. Thanks, Robyn, for the treats and for prompting a little postal history lesson, too!

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The Garden is Still Growing

I haven’t been to the garden as much as I’d like lately. Naoto has been running down to harvest tomatoes and basil and herbs on an as-needed basis, but yesterday, we were both home and free to go together. As usual, our plot is a jungle of tomato vines, but this year, it’s also a jungle of overgrown herbs and nasturtium! Look at that nasturtium!! I just can’t believe how the plant took off. It seemed like it wasn’t going to do much but now it’s huge and it has lots of flowers inside the big poof a leaves. I just found a recipe for nasturtium pesto, so I think we might experiment with that soon…which is good timing because our basil is done. Some of our tomatoes were slow to produce this summer thanks to the white fly infestation that plagued the garden. But we’ve gotten a decent harvest from our Juliet and a few other heirlooms. We haven’t been overloaded with tomatoes like we have in the past, but it’s definitely enough for us to feel good about plot 6 this summer. I picked a bunch of zinnias, nasturtiums, and marigolds to make a little bouquet for my desk. The zinnias are as tall as me and still going strong. And in other happy garden news, my tiny carrots are coming in! I planted them kind of late in the spring and they were quickly overshadowed by the tomato plants, so I didn’t have very much hope for a harvest, but I think it’s going to be decent! I’m not quite ready to pick them all, but I wanted to do a little test. This variety is supposed to be only 2-3 inches big. We’ve never had luck with root vegetables, so I decided to try a tiny kind and I think it worked!

How is your garden growing? Any other ideas for my nasturtium bounty?

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