Gene's list

  1. Freddie’s Lawn Service. Yes, I am blessed to have a bunch of guys (actually, two guys) to clean up my lawn every fall and spring.
  2. Naomi and Marilyn (‘s Cleaning Service). Yes, I am blessed to have this team help me (that is, Sandra; I don’t clean much anyway) to help clean our home every 3 weeks.
  3. Liquid soap. (Yes, I suppose there is a theme to this list.) I don’t think the rest of my family shares my attachment to this modern (well, 50 years?) development; I perform a weekly maintenance check and refill regimen; one of my few successful house maintenance tasks. Cheers!

Phyllis' List

  • Friends who love to laugh out loud and appreciate the magic and transcendence in baring our souls to each other
  • Doing work that is challenging, fulfilling, stressful and fun, and getting paid for it!
  • Only 3 more years to retirement
  • Being the caretakers of cats who enjoy being cuddled and hugged.
  • Having an acupuncturist who keeps me healthy and moving without pain.
  • Snow and lots of it for cross country skiing. I never get enough of taking in the colors and shapes of the forest and the beauty of the snow on the trees.
  • Overcoming the fear of riding my new road bike. She is a beautiful teal blue and fits me like a glove. I took her over hill and dale in the Tug Hill plateau this summer. We are so happy together!
  • Finding a new restaurant in Syracuse, Fabio’s, that has decor reminiscent of Buffalo’s Salvatore’s Italian Garden ( more tasteful, I think). Their eggplant parmesan with a light smoky under layer of flavor melts in your mouth.
  • The movie Hidden Figures. Should have gotten an Oscar and Academy Award.
  • The book, The Mind That Changes Itself. It inspires me to avoid saying never.

Elliott's list

  • Fingers, eyes, white-collar brawn and stamina
  • Problem figuring out where to put all the books
  • The local library, worldcat, and inter-library loans
  • The university library, worldcat, and inter-library loans
  • Easy returns for ‘delivery clothes shopping’
  • Soccer boots with removable insoles (actually not easy to find) and the Brazilians who sell them
  • (yes Karima!) Street signs (accurate and readable) — since moving to Boston this has been much more appreciated
  • Art with colors
  • Mattresses
  • In-unit laundry (this may be a repeat)
  • Car sharing services
  • Airlines
  • Autumn gales where the leaves fill the skies like so many murmurations
  • Insurance
  • Professional mentorship
  • Teachers who teach by doing/showing
  • Partner/kid/family who love to cook!


Fiction: Lettres de mon moulin by Alphonse Daudet

Non-fiction: The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt

Best Meal: O’s first foray into pizza-making, with Zia C

Cory’s list for 2017

For starters, I want to second Greg’s Sunday morning laziness. Especially lazy Sunday mornings with this guy. We’ve been calling the weekends ‘Family Days’ and I am so thankful for family days.

I am also thankful for:

  • Gratitude
  • imagination
  • video calling
  • camping
  • a job that balances community impact and family time
  • beimg part of a team with diverse talents
  • the first Unitarian church of Chicago
  • chocolate ice cream flavored with bourbon and lapsong suchang (sp?)
  • solar eclipse
  • Chance the Rapper (rapper) and Social Works (his NPO focused on improving life for Chicago youth)

TV: stranger things

Book: potty training in three days

Concert: the roots at lost lake festival

President: Obama









Greg' List

Basking in the comfort of finally being back home after a wonderful 2 week European vacation, I have so much to be thankful for.

Good linen, a comfortable mattress and Sunday morning laziness;

Bikes, trails, a fairly long biking season, biking buddies who don’t take this biking thing too seriously, sharing lunch and a cocktail with them at some point during a 25+ mile trip, and a solo ride once or twice a week in addition;

Retirement, the first year was pretty darn awesome and the start of this second year has not ebbed my enthusiasm for the concept;

The affordability of solar panels. Yes there will be a purchase in the coming year at the Willowlawn Estate;

Travel with a worthy adventurer, let’s see last year was San Diego, Orangeburg, Mexico, the St. Joseph’s Day New Orleans road trip with stops in N.C.,  NOLA, Orangebhurg, D.C., then Ballard, Portugal and Spain, which brings us to Thanksgiving in Chicago with the fam!!! Isn’t this retirement thing awesome;

Jazz and its ever increasing availability and a spouse that appreciates my appreciation of same;

Roaring fires in our fireplace;

Our new awning in the backyard;

A summer of grilling and now a fall and winter featuring comfort food.


There were so many good ones

Scott Tixier a french jazz violinist.


I Called Him Morgan (Documentary on the life of Jazz Muscian Lee Morgan);

Chasin’  Trane (John Coltrane Documentary)

Wonder Woman


Malala talk at U.B.


As usual it’s the most recent read, The Man From Mars by Robert Heinlien.




Leon's List 2016

I’m a day late, but better late than never right family?

I am thankful for an abundance of things this year and I think we all know the biggest blessing of them all.

Vivian Shanelle Hammond, born February 8, 2016.  I am so thankful for this wonderful young lady, who my mother laid her blessings on from heaven, as she was born 2 years the day my mother went home.  She has been the highlight of our young lives and this is the best challenge I’ve ever received. She is ever changing and brightens my day when I walk in the house.  NO MATTER what has happened with my day, the excitement and smile on her face when I come through the door washes all my troubles away.

I’m also thankful for the time Jessica spent being our nanny.  She set Vivian on a course to be ahead of the curve amongst her peers at daycare.  I can’t thank her enough.

I am thankful for things to come in the very near immediate future as well.  I get to spend new years with my extended loved ones in San Diego, and that I am extremely excited for.

Thank you to Kim for being a great mother.  She saves lives and helps to keep our home in order.


I’m a lucky and blessed man!

Elliott's list

Some silence, then for awhile some music and dancing and humming and grooving and singing and clapping, then silence again sometime later

On-call nurses, ambulance rides, people who love their jobs

Such a variety of animals in this world! So many funny names and shapes!

Many places that feel like home

Teaching relief

Something to sink my teeth into every day

People who write helpful apps and don’t charge money for them (seriously!)

Cory's List

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today is Turkey Day and Bayard is napping.  I am thankful for naps.  A long time ago I reached peace with this holiday and it became my favorite holiday.  I disconnected the history of violence against the indigenous people of America – and the all too happy stories we learned in school about Pilgrims and Indians – from my personal experience of Thanksgiving being about love of family and friends, often expressed through cooking for and with each other.  I love the coming together, the lack of consumerism, the full bellies, the pies… I am thankful for all of that, but this year I am having trouble keeping this disconnect going because of what is happening in North Dakota. So first and foremost I am thankful for the water protectors and am praying for their safety and success.

(gets off soap box)

Here is my list for 2016 – Lots of love to you all!

  • Bayard’s smile and laugh
  • Naps
  • Laura’s strength and persistence
  • Young people who challenge me to grow
  • The committed people that I work with
  • A simple kitchen
  • Coffee (especially cold brew nitro on tap in the summertime)
  • Trains and blocks
  • facetime/googlehangouts/skype
  • Bike sharing programs
  • Bosses who push you
  • Chicago White Sox
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • 1-1 time with Bayard
  • Butterfly keyboards
  • Chance the Rapper
  • Knees and Elbows

Musical Artist: Jamila Woods

Authors: Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood

Radio Station/Show: / Reclaimed Soul

TV: Game of Thrones, John Oliver, the Get Down

Movie: Haven’t really seen that many this year… Star Trek Beyond?


Tessa's 2016 TG List

What a year! There have been upsets, disappointments, stress, and fear… but there have also been some truly beautiful, silly, and inspiring moments too.  One of my beloved aunties says something to the effect of ” life is a ride; I’m glad I bought a ticket;” and I couldn’t agree more. This year I am thankful for so much:

Buying my first property (that was in rough enough shape that I could afford it);

Aaron’s job which lets him come home so much more than I thought;

special deliveries of tea at work… see above;

being a bridesmaid in my dear friend Alyssa’s wedding in Mexico and everything else about that trip;

gummy candy, Smucker’s all natural peanut butter, and seltzer water in every flavor except pomegranate margarita (seriously, how did they made it taste so horrible??);

animal videos of every sort;

a packed lunch on a busy morning;

walks with Cole and Aaron and weekend coffees;

having a very experienced administrative assistant who is organized in all the ways I am not;

my personal  handyman, Arron, who not only encouraged me to buy a house but has dropped everything on numerous occasions to deal with my tenants, rip up cat damaged floors and install beautiful bamboo floors, install radiators, dry-walled the house, and build doors;

my mamma who has also thrown herself into making my first foray into home ownership a positive one.  She has planted bulbs, scared off all the  feral cats with lavender, painted the houses, hung curtain rods, weeded and brought snacks to keep us (Aaron) going;

dinners with Ed;

all the travel on deck Switzerland and Sweden with my favorite travel partner; and

the semi-colon.

Favorite quote of the year: “everything will work out in the end, and if it doesn’t… it isn’t over yet”