Shawna Atteberry

Baker, Writer, Teacher

Dancing in the Park

One of the wonderful things about living in Chicago is all the cool, free activities there are in the summer. One of these is Chicago Summer Dance three blocks from where I live. I have lived here for over two years, and last night was the first time I actually went. I was walking back from yoga and saw the crowd at the Spirit of Music Park in Grant Park, and I decided to cross the street and take part. It was incredible.

The band was Fandanguero, and they play San Jaroco music which orginated from Mexico and is a fusion of Samba, Cuban Son, Afro-Peruvian, and Flamenco. They were great. If you have a chance to go see them go. The music was great, and great music normally leads to lots of dancing.

The dance for the night was Zapateado, and it was a Latin dance you didn’t need to have a partner for (my hubby was in a condo board meeting, poor man). Once the dancing got going there were people like me on their own, couples, and groups of five or six or more dancing. I almost didn’t do it. I love to dance, but I haven’t really danced that much in the last few years. And the Zapateado was a new dance for me, although a very easy one to learn. I almost–almost–let me fear kick in and rob me of one of my favorite things to do since I was kid. But I finally told myself to suck it up. Who was going to notice one person on the dance floor? No one was going to tell me I was doing it wrong (as one other lady told me later on the floor). I was a little stiff the first dance, but into the second dance, I was shaking it. Okay I was doing more stamping than shaking. The dance is basically stamp, stamp, stamp, kick and repeat. My hips loosened up and my arms, my whole body started dancing as I payed less attention to my feet.

More and more people were coming and dancing, and I decided I needed to get pictures. So then the dance went stamp, stamp, stamp, kick, click. And it didn’t really matter if you weren’t partners. We looked at each other and smiled and laughed and even chatted here and there. I felt so free, and oh my how I love to dance and feel the music. It’s been over a year since I last did that. I wasn’t the only having a lot of fun and unwinding after a long day. Here are some of the pictures I took:

This is the dance teacher, Anabel Tapia.


Don’t let the clothes fool you: this guy could dance!

If you’re in downtown Chicago on Thursday, Friday, Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, go dance. It’s good for the soul. And free. Click here for the schedule (PDF format).

How much money do your representatives get from big oil?

At True Majority you can type in your zip code, and see how much your state senators and representative have received from the big 3 oil companies, and how much of the time they have voted for big oil interest instead of their own constituency. Here are how the Illinois senators and one representative are doing:



Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Accepted $40,850 from the oil and gas industry since 2000.
Supported the industry in 44% of selected votes.


Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

Accepted $70,000 from the oil and gas industry since 2000.
Supported the industry in 33% of selected votes.


Representative Danny Davis (D-IL07)

Accepted $13,000 from the oil and gas industry since 2000.
Supported the industry in 18% of selected votes.

Way to go Rep. Davis! Now Senators Biden and Obama: follow suit. Although, I have to say that I am glad Sen. Obama changed his mind on offshore oil drilling (what a joke that is. Even if we were pumping more oil, it would have to be sold to the rest of the world because our refineries are working at capacity, so we wouldn’t get it.). We need other alternative energy sources–not more oil dependence.

Speaking of off-shore drilling, do you know why on June 20, Sen. McCain decided that offshore drilling was okay after being against it? It could have something to do with the $875,000 donation from Chevron. In June the big 3 oil companies contributed over $2 million towards his campaign using loopholes in the “public” election funding.

Here is the letter that you can sign that True Majority is sending out to the Senators and Representatives:

I know the facts about how much you take from oil and gas companies.

It’s time for you to show whose side you’re on: create the energy rebate for American families by making big oil pay it is fair share.

It’s time for big business to stop buying our ELECTED officials. This also includes the big business of health care, but that’s another post.

Prayer Book Irony

The Chicagoland area had a freaking big thunderstorm go through last night (go to ChiTownDaily News for a great picture). Winds were whipping around and gusting up to 70-80 miles per hour, and the lightning was incredible. We had heard that a tornado had set down in Elmhurst (this morning officials say it was just high winds), but that part of the storm was heading for us. Tracy (my husband) and I packed up and went down to the basement to be safe. We weren’t the only ones. We hung out with other residents in the exercise room watching the news. The storm went over us moving around 50 mph, and out over Lake Michigan. We’re fine, and it looks like the South Loop made it through just fine.

Around Chicagoland tree limbs and powerlines are down, and there were several fires from the lightning strikes. Both airports shut down for awhile, and the Cubs game was finally called off after two rain delays. Over 200,000 lost power as of this morning.

When I opened up Celtic Benediction: Morning and Night Prayer to chant compline (last office of prayer at night), this is the prayer for Monday night:

In the infinity of night skies
in the free flashing of lightning
in whirling elemental winds
you are God.
In the impenetrable mists of dark clouds
in the wild gusts of lashing rain
in the ageless rocks of the sea
you are God and I bless you.
You are in all things
and contained by no thing.
You are the Life of all life
and beyond every name.
You are God and in the eternal mystery I praise you.

When I got to whirling elemental winds, Tracy, said, “You’re kidding right?”

I said, “NO! This is the prayer for Monday Night!”

And people think written prayers are never true-to-life or where you’re at now. I beg to differ.

The photo was posted by Doug Siefken.

I Found Palm Trees in Chicago

Yes, you read my title correctly. Yesterday I found palm trees in Chicago. Lainie and I ate lunch together yesterday, and I decided to walk home from Wacker and Monroe. I was walking past Sears Tower when I noticed the building next door to the south had a huge atrium, so I decided to go investigate. The Birthday Cake building (so called because the top of the building looks like a cake) is the building to the left of the Sears Tower:

As I approached the revolving doors, I saw palm trees on the other side of the glass. I thought no way! There’s no way there are palm trees in there! I went through the revolving doors, and there is a way for there to be palm trees in Chicago. You need a really, big glass atrium. Here’s what I saw when I walked in (this is why you always carry a camera!).

The tables are part of Pazzos at 311, an Italian restaurant. The Hubby and I may have to try it out sometime.

And there’s also a fountain, a magnificent fountain:

That is my new Chicago discovery. I’m glad I went for a walk yesterday.