Chasing Helicity by Ginger Zee

In the time it takes to create a waterspout, Ginger Zee was hooked on weather.

GINGER ZEE

ABC NEWS – Ginger Zee )ABC/Heidi Gutman)

“My mom kept shouting at me to get out of the way,” says Zee, who was eight years old at the time. “I thought it was the coolest thing, I was mesmerized. That’s when I decided that when I grew up I wanted to become a meteorologist on national TV.”

Fast forward a decade or so. After attending Valparaiso University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology as well as majors in both mathematics and Spanish, Zee worked as a meteorologist for several stations including WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids (she was born and raised in nearby Rockford, Michigan), WYIN-TV in Merrillville and

WMAQ-TV in Chicago before making her debut on Good Morning America in 2011 as the show’s first woman meteorologist. She now is their chief meteorologist and hosts an ABC News original digital series “Food Forecast,” focused on climate and its impact on agriculture. Added to all this and in keeping with her interest in science, she also recently authored Chasing Helicity (Disney-Hyperion 2018; $16.99), the first in a series of three children’s book for ages 8 to 12 about a girl named Helicity—a physics term meaning “to spin.”

“Helicity is a character I’ve been dreaming about for years,” the Emmy Award-winning Zee tweeted earlier this year, noting the book is semi-autobiographical.

Indeed, Helicity is an adventurous weather aficionado who barely escapes a tornado barreling through her home town because she’s so caught up in capturing it on film. Also like Zee, who describes herself as being “different” from the other kids when she was growing up, Helicity sometimes has trouble fitting in.

“Helicity lives in a hyper-reality where so much is happening to her all the time—which at times is very much like my own life,” says Zee who since joining ABC News has covered most major weather events. She’s broadcasted from the Jersey Shore during Hurricane Sandy and Colorado at a time of both horrendous floods and wildfires. She’s also been on the ground following tornados in Moore and El Reno, Oklahoma.

“I fly to the storm, I’m always chasing the storm and I’m in the storm,” she says. “Helicity has lots of adventures too.”

Even the name, Helicity, has long been a favorite.

““I chose that name because it’s one of my favorites,” says Zee. “If I had a daughter I thought about naming her Helicity.

My husband asked if was crazy when I told him that.”

The couple has two boys; neither is named after a weather event.

Zee had another reason to write her book.

“I want to encourage students to take an interest in science and technology,” she says, noting that she often speaks about weather at schools. “I want to let them know what’s out there in terms of science and I have the platform to do just that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cecile Richards: “Make Trouble”

“How much time do you have?” Cecile Richards laughs when I ask how her mother, the late Ann Richards and the first woman governor of Texas, influenced her.

“She taught me so much,” continues Richards, the outgoing president of Planned Parenthood who will be in Chicago next week to talk about her new book, Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead — My Life Story (Touchstone, 2018; $27). “There were the practical lessons, like never wear patterns on TV, or before you name your child, think about how it will look on a bumper sticker. And then there were the life lessons I think about constantly: People don’t do things for your reasons, they do things for their reasons. You only get one life, and this is it – there are no second chances, and no do-overs. And most of all, that there is no higher calling or better way to spend your time than public service and making people’s lives better.”Cecile Richards portrait

Richards recalls how, when eight months pregnant with twins and campaigning for her mother, she had to figure out what to wear to such events as the Luling Watermelon Thump parade and how  despite all polls to contrary, Ann Richards won the governor’s race. All of these experiences developed in Richards a resiliency and an ability to persevere no matter what.

“To me, that’s one of the ultimate lessons for activists today: Never let practicality stand in the way of doing the impossible,” says Richards. “Whenever you’re working for social change, there are going to be people who disagree with what you’re doing. If there aren’t, you probably need to set your sights higher. Anything worth doing has its challenges, and I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to choose to do the work I do.”

Calling herself a troublemaker, she encourages others to take that role as well.

“Activism and working for social justice are not a chore – they’re fun, inspiring, powerful, and introduce you to people who will change your life and change the world,” says Richards.

She’s also excited that there are currently 35,000 women in America running for office.

“They’re not waiting for permission or an invitation,” she says. “They’re looking around at the people – especially the men – who are supposed to represent them and thinking, ‘I could do better than that.’ Women are leading the resistance, and that is one of the most hopeful, encouraging signs I’ve seen in my life. The number of people in this country who believe politicians should be able to interfere in women’s personal health decisions, who want to go back to the days when women didn’t have the opportunities they do today – that’s a small iceberg, and it’s floating out to sea.”

Ifyougo:

What: David Axelrod, Chief Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns and current Director of University of Chicago Institute of Politics and a Senior Political Commentator @CNN, will be in conversation with Cecile Richards:

When: Saturday, April 14 at 4pm

Where: Nicholas Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL

FYI: Tickets are for sale by Women & Children’s First and can be ordered at brownpapertickets.com/event/3335756. The price includes a pre-signed copy of the book.

Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide

 

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All illustrations © Jessie Kanelos Weiner

Imagine strolling through Paris with a friend, one who knows the greatest little patisseries, cafes, outdoor markets and shops tucked along winding cobbled streets. Together the two of us try on amazingly chic designer dresses at La boutique Didier Ludot and amble through the courtyard gardens and gaze at the Swedish art work at Institut Suedois located in the Hôtel de Marle, a 16th century mansion in the heart of the central Marais district. We order small plates of fantastic food amidst 19th century murals of clowns at the appropriately named Clown Bar, considered one of the city’s finest restaurants. After stopping to admire the Eiffel Tower, we trek even more before stopping to reward ourselves with ice cream at Berthillon Glacier. We are, definitely, Parisian insiders.

17. Clown bar

Wait—don’t have a friend in Paris? Don’t even have tickets or plans to go sometime soon? Well, Rick of Casablanca told Else they’d always have Paris and for the rest of us, before we get there, we’ll have the recently released Paris in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide (Rizzoli 2018; $27.50), co-authored by Jessie Kanelos Weiner, a Chicago gal who grew up on the Northside and Sarah Moroz both of whom have lived in Paris for the last decade. Charmingly illustrated with over 150 of Weiner’s delicate watercolors, the book curates walking itineraries the authors put together to go beyond the typical guidebooks.

“We wanted to put together walking tours of a timeless Paris, the type of Paris that will always be the same,” says Weiner who will be back in Chicago on April 6 & 7 for book events. “We wanted something that wasn’t too text heavy, a book that was a jumping off point to see what you want to see, one that wasn’t prescriptive but takes you down the side streets.”

Paris is Weiner’s passion and wandering its streets is what she loves to do. ParisinStride_p134-135

“It’s a city based on pleasure,” she says, “and one with many beguiling things along the way.”

Ifyougo:

What: Jessie Kanelos Weiner will talk about her book and teach a water color class during the conversation at Read It & Eat, 2142 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL, Friday April 6 @ 6:30. Wine and a cheese will be available during the event, as well. (773) 661-6158; readitandeatstore.com

On Saturday, April 7 from 3:00pm – 4:30pm, Weiner will be in conversation with photographer Rebecca Plotnick talking about Paris and her book at 57th Street Books, 1301 E 57th St., Chicago, IL.  (773) 684-1300; 57th.semcoop.com

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