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[personal profile] mojosmom
Stacey arrived late in the afternoon of the 20th, and we had a nice pasta dinner before heading to the airport to pick Cathy up. The next day, we all slept in a bit, and then headed off to the Smart Museum and Regenstein Library's Special Collections to see a couple of related exhibits of Soviet art.

Thursday, we went downtown, and checked out the Christkindlmarket, and a show at the Sullivan Gallery (part of the School of the Art Institute) and browsed a bit at the Art Institute before meeting a friend there for a concert by the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Then dinner at the Russian Tea Time. I hadn't been there for quite a while, and it was as good as I remembered. I had borscht, followed by wild game sausage with noodles (kielbasa, bison and venison - half of which came home with me), and a couple of us split an apricot & plum strudel for dessert.

Friday, we went to the Chicago History Museum, as C & S wanted to see the Charles James exhibit. I'd already seen it, but was not sorry to see it again. While we were there, a young man who had worked on the exhibit began to give us some inside scoop, and showed us some photos of the multi-colored tulle underpinnings of one of the gowns.

That evening, we had dinner with our friend Victor, as well as a colleague of his and said colleague's partner, a very nice couple. Wine flowed, we had three kinds of mac and cheese, and the conversation was lively. Paul, V's partner, wandered in late exhausted, as he works retail at a gourmet wine/cheese store, so this is their busiest time.

Christmas Eve we went first to Vespers at First Unitarian Church, where alumni of the Chicago Children's Choir were singing. It was lovely as always, particularly at the end of the service, when the lights slowly go out, and the congregation's candles are lit to the sound of "Silent Night". Picture this church completely dark except for the light of candles:
First Unitarian Church of Chicago
It's gorgeous.

Entirely appropriately for the evening, a woman was breastfeeding her infant at the back of the church!

Then we picked up Victor and dashed home, getting there just as two other friends were arriving, to have latkes made by my sister. Choice of applesauce, sour cream or both! Again, a splendid evening of good food and good company.

So on Christmas, we relaxed! Not surprisingly, there were books involved. I got four. And S. gave me this amazing vintage smoking/bed/lounge jacket. It's just like this one, except a very pale lavender. We (well, Cathy & I) had rack of lamb for dinner, with plenty of veggies and roast potatoes so S. didn't starve!

Monday, S. had to deal with her car. She & C went out on Saturday, and it wouldn't start. They walked, and, as it was late afternoon when they got back, and she wouldn't need it right away, she decided to wait until Monday. Turned out it was just the battery, so it took less time and money than she had feared. However, as she was parked in my space, I had had to drive us to church Christmas Eve, and when we came home, I parked on the street in front of my building. Now, that shouldn't have been a problem, but apparently every bird in the neighborhood decided to sit in the tree next to it and poop. Honest to god, the car was literally covered with bird shit! So the first thing I did was take it to a car wash. The guys did a really good job, scrubbing by hand before running it through, and definitely earned their tip. They did have a request of me: "Please don't park in that spot anymore!"

After all cars were tended to, we headed to bookstores, and I bought six more books. Yeah, I'm bad, I know. But I had a $9 credit at one used bookstore burning a hole in my pocket, and there was a monster huge biography of Lytton Strachey on the $1 bargain book rack at another, so what could I do?

We had dinner with a couple of old family friends at Taxim's, a Greek restaurant that we had not been to before. The food was excellent, very creative, giving a bit of a spin to traditional Greek dishes. It turned out that Monday nights there was a 50% discount on selected wines, and we were able to have what would otherwise have been a too expensive Macedonian red. The desserts were to die for. Unfortunately, the service left something to be desired - very slow. We think that they did not expect the crowd they had, and there was only one server there. I expect I'd go back, though I wouldn't do it pre-theatre!

Yesterday, we hit a couple of vintage/thrift shops, had lunch at a neighborhood Middle Eastern restaurant (more leftovers!), and relaxed a bit before we had to get C. to the airport to catch her plane. S. left this morning. And I went and got my nails done. There was another woman getting hers done at the same time, and she was looking at my manicurist and saying, "I know you from somewhere." It turned out they had gone to high school together! (They're both in their late '30s, so this wasn't yesterday.)

I am going to go to New York at the end of January - 1/29 to 2/3, to be exact. Please send "no (or just light) snow" vibes for those days. Thank you. I got tickets for Warhorse, since so many people who've seen it have raved about it, and also for The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera. Plans are to see the Diego Rivera show at MOMA, Hide/Seek at the Brooklyn Museum, and the Renaissance portrait show at the MMA, among others.
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