mojosmom: (Default)
It seems as though just as people were coming back to LiveJournal, they started migrating over here for security reasons. I've had a Dreamwidth account for some time, but didn't use it much, although when I started it, I moved all my LJ posts here as well. (Truth be told, I didn't post much over at LJ, either, mostly for reasons of laziness. Bad me!) So here I am.

As with most years, there's been bad and good.

I've lost some good people this year:

An old family friend, in both senses of the word, had a stroke while visiting one of her daughters in Massachusetts. She lingered a couple of days, and then passed at the age of 93. A good long life.

A young woman whom I knew from my support group at Gilda's Club succumbed to metastatic breast cancer. Judy was a pretty amazing person. She taught at Second City, and when she was first diagnosed, she put together a comedy routine about it. When it came back, she just updated the routine. A lovely, brave friend. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-judy-fabjance-obituary-20161017-story.html

Just before Thanksgiving, one of the finest, kindest, most decent people I've ever known died after three years of dealing with lung cancer and COPD. I worked with Jamie as a public defender, we coached at trial advocacy programs together, and he was an opera buddy. His memorial service brought together folks he knew from the legal field, from his AA group, from the gay liberation groups at the University of Chicago where he attended law school. Jamie cared about people, he paid attention. I'm going to miss him terribly. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/obituaries/ct-william-kunz-obituary-20161202-story.html

As for me, my health remains good, and I've been doing a lot of traveling. I mentioned in my last post (from March!!) that I was thinking of going to Venice. I did. I decided I could not miss that production of The Merchant of Venice. (And when I got back, I went to the Jonathan Pryce Merchant at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Good, but I liked the Venice production better.) At the end of July, Venice is crazy crowded and hot, but it didn't matter. I had a fabulous time. In addition to Merchant, I saw a production of Goldoni's Servant of Two Masters, and went to a concert at the Chiesa San Vidal (mostly Vivaldi, of course). The Architecture Biennale was happening, too, and I went to a bunch of museums.

At the end of October, I went on the trip to Barcelona and Bilbao that I mentioned exactly one year ago. It was fantastic, so worth the cost. Nothing I had seen, still photos or film, could have prepared me for the Sagrada Familia. It is so big and light-filled, the detail is astonishing. It's still being worked on, but the interior is done, and they plan to finish by 2026, the centenary of Gaudi's death. So mark your calendars! ;-) We not only saw wonderful architecture, we ate a lot of good food, probably more than we should have, but we walked it off. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

At the beginning of December, I did a short, random, sort of spur of the moment, trip to New York, because I decided I really wanted to see the Klimt exhibit at the Neue Galerie and the Mrs. Carl Meyer portrait by Sargent at the Jewish Museum. My timing was good, because I was able to catch a performance of L'Amour de Loin, by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, at the Met, the first opera by a woman they've done in over a hundred years. It was also conducted by a woman. I'm so glad I was able to see it, because I loved it. It's contemporary (though with a medieval setting), but the music is quite accessible. The voices were grand, particularly the mezzo, Tamara Mumford. Simple, yet brilliant, set by Robert Lepage, long ribbons of LED lights across the stage mimicking water.

And I'm going to Boston in mid-January - pray that there are no snowstorms! Some college friends want to celebrate their birthdays there - why, when one of them lives in Miami, I don't know, but they do.

I'm planning another trip to NYC in June, as there is a big Frank Lloyd Wright show opening at MOMA that month (it's his 150th birthday), and the New York City Opera is doing an opera based on Tony Kushner's play, Angels in America, that I do not want to miss.

My sisters came in for the holidays, and, as usual, we got together with friends, went to museums and bookstores, and generally had a good time. Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah coincided, so Cathy made the traditional latkes, and on the third night we went to the home of a neighbor and fellow Robie House volunteer for more latkes.

My refrigerator chose Christmas weekend to die, and as it is twenty years old, I decided to forgo calling a repairman and just go out and buy a new, more energy efficient one. While I was at it, I bought a new dishwasher. My old one died a couple of years ago, and it wasn't worth fixing, but I'd put replacing it on the back burner as doing dishes for one person isn't a big deal. However, should I ever sell the condo, a working dishwasher would be expected, so as long as I was appliance shopping, I did that, too. The refrigerator came on Wednesday, the dishwasher should arrive next Friday. Here's hoping my washer/dryer last for while longer!

I continue to do volunteer work with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, and serve on a couple of boards, my friend Jeanne and I continue to spend a lot of time at the Gene Siskel Film Center (they did an Anna Magnani festival this summer!), and my TBR pile continues to grow, not helped by my being in a book club.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I didn't do much for New Year's Eve. I never do, as I'm too old to enjoy going out and getting drunk just because it's 12/31. And I'd like to avoid people (particular drivers) who think that's a good idea. So I stayed home, made a nice mushroom risotto, and watched a couple of Thin Man films on TCM. And here's an odd coincidence! The answers to the NYT crossword this morning included "risotto" and "Nora" (as in Nora Charles). How weird was that?

The Saturday before Christmas, I did something incredibly stupid. I needed to put something on a high shelf in my bedroom, and instead of getting the step-stool I stood on a chair - a chair that swivels. Dumb! Because it moved, and I fell and hurt my back. Fortunately, I didn't break anything, but I had some very colorful bruises and had to go very, very easy in my workouts, and finding a comfortable sleeping position was not easy. I'm very grateful for the existence of ibuprofen. Much better now, but I can't believe I did something so idiotic.

Both my sisters were in town for a week over Christmas, and while I like having them here, it was also nice to get my house all to myself again. We did the usual rounds of the local bookstores, had dinner with friends a couple of evenings, and went to the Art Institute, and the Cultural Center to see the Architecture Biennial. I took them over to Robie House on one of the days it's closed for public tours so I could show them around without worrying about running into, or being run into by, a tour. They both left last Sunday, which turned out to be an excellent plan, as Monday was godawful weather. Sleet and winds gusting to 60 mph. Cathy, who flew, probably wouldn't have gotten out at all. Stacey takes the bus, and I'd have been worried about the roads.

Things have been pretty quiet since then. I went to see two films at the Siskel Film Center, Gaudi and Sagrada, with the woman whom I'm going to room with on my trip to Barcelona in late October. I see I haven't said anything about that plan! Last February, I went to Pasadena with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust's TravelWright program. It was incredibly well-organized, and when I learned they were doing a trip to Barcelona and Bilbao, I knew I wanted to go. It's pricey, though, so I really wanted to find a roommate so I could avoid the single supplement. I mentioned it to a woman who was on the trip I did to Italy in 2014, and she was interested, so we're going together. I decided the expense was fully justified by things like "private after-hours tour of Sagrada Familia"! Barcelona has long been at the top of my list of "must go" places, so I'm excited!

While I was at the Siskel, I bought tickets for some other films. I always find their offerings to be either feast or famine, and January is definitely a feast. I'm seeing A Ballerina's Tale tomorrow, then Rosenwald and Suffragette on Sunday and Monday. My friend Jeanne gets back from a trip next week, and we've got a couple of other films on our agenda.

Had a lazy day today. Everything is closed, so I just did some stuff around the house and heated up some leftover meatball stroganoff for dinner.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Is everyone ready for the holidays?

I had pretty much all my shopping done, other than random, impulsive stocking-stuffer type purchases, or at least I thought I had! I have friends with whom I exchange gifts, and waaaaaay back in November I was at World Market and saw some nice mugs with initials. I decided to buy these but a couple of the initials I needed were on a high shelf, so one of the sales people got them down for me. "Give me two Ds and a C", I said. And I put them in the cart, paid for my purchases, which were nicely wrapped in tissue paper, went home, and shoved the bag in a closet. Fast forward to Thursday, when I decided to wrap presents. And discovered that I had two Cs and a D. I went back to World Market, and, of course, they no longer had anymore Ds. However, they say they'll get more in and will call me, and one of the people who has that initial won't be with us the day we do the exchange, so I have time. But I do wish I'd checked sooner!

Both my sisters arrive tonight, and we are making plans. We'll go to friends on Tuesday for the traditional gourmet mac-and-cheese, vespers at First Unitarian on Christmas Eve followed by our traditional latke dinner, and dinner with other friends on the 26th.

There have been a slew of parties this year - last Saturday I had two in one day, an afternoon open house and an evening dinner.

I've been to a couple of really good music performances lately. I mentioned in my last that I was going to hear Judas Maccabeus, and it was a rousing good performance! I've also been to Bel Canto, the opera commissioned by Lyric Opera based on Ann Patchett's novel. Really excellent, particularly when you consider that neither the composer, Jimmy Lopez, nor the librettist, Pulitzer Prize playwright Nilo Cruz, had ever written an opera before! Thankfully, they eliminated Patchett's ridiculous epilogue, which was a real clunker. The singers were splendid, particularly countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo as César and mezzo J'nai Bridges as Carmen. Loved the set and lighting as well.

Then I went to a recital with Patricia Barber and Renée Fleming, Fleming singing mostly Barber's music, arranged as art songs, with sometimes Barber and sometimes Craig Terry and sometimes both accompanying on the piano. Barber's quartet also played, and we did get to hear her sing, though not enough for my taste! They sang together as well, notably a bunch of Christmas songs. The only real failure was Fleming's singing of You Gotta Go Home. But it was a grand and successful experiment in joining jazz music and classical singing.

As part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the S.C. Johnson Company sponsored trips up to Racine for tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Administration Building and the Research Tower (recently opened for tours). They provided buses from the Chicago Cultural Center up to Racine and back. On most weekends, you also get to see Wingspread, designed by Wright for Hibbert Johnson and his family, and now a conference center. It's all free! So I did that last weekend, and it was a great treat. Kudos to the Johnsons for hiring Wright in the first place, and for appreciating what they have and sharing it.

Sibs

Jul. 23rd, 2013 10:57 pm
mojosmom: (Cathy)
Both sibs arrived late afternoon on Thursday. When I drove to pick up Cathy at the airport, my car's air conditioning crapped out, so I took the car in for service on Friday, another insanely hot day. Fortunately, Stacey drove in, so we were able to use her car (though she doesn't have air conditioning!). We hung out at home mostly, but went out to lunch and then browsed a used bookstore (shock!) Despite the fact that they'd both given me books for my birthday, I bought some more.

Friday night, we went to Victory Gardens to see Luis Alfaro's Mojada, an updated version of Medea, set in the Mexican immigrant community of Pilsen in Chicago. It focuses on the idea of exile. It could use a bit of editing, I think. The second act is much stronger than the first, which has a good deal too much exposition. The acting was generally excellent, though.

Picked up the car on Saturday. Of course, having gotten the air conditioning fixed, the weather cooled. Figures!

The memorial service was good, though the retirement home chaplain was recycling some platitudes. Decent attendance, many old friends of my mom's, of course. Later, we went to dinner with Eila's family and some friends, and drank many bottles of wine in her memory. Good food, too!

Stacey had to leave early on Sunday morning to be back home by evening. Cathy & I went to the Art Institute. The Japanese print gallery has an exhibition of Hokusai, which was pretty fabulous, and we checked out the Undressed and Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibits, as well as Kara Walker's Rise Up Ye MIghty Race!. Then we were tired, so we went back to Hyde Park for lunch and a visit to yet another bookstore before I took Cathy to the airport.

The weather was pretty fabulous today, low to mid-70s, sunny, lake breeze, so I went over to the Wooded Island, walked around a bit, and then sat in the Japanese garden there and read a bit. Then I wandered a bit by the lagoon shore behind the Museum of Science and Industry. Astounding numbers of dragonflies were flitting about the plants, and I managed to find one that stayed still long enough for me to get a photo:

Dragonfly
mojosmom: (Default)
And here I swore I was going to do better. ~sigh~ What did Robbie Burns say about one's best laid plans? Well, he goes around with a bird on his head, so who is he to talk?
Robert Burns with a seagull on his head (and his feet

Anyway . . .

Since we last met, I've been madly giving tours at Robie House, and having a good deal of fun. I have also been discovering all the perks! The Preservation Trust has a "Volunteer Warehouse Sale". No, they don't sell volunteers. They let the volunteers buy "distressed" and discontinued merchandise at steep discounts. Including books. Then I did two tours last Saturday, and when I signed in, I found a coupon that said, "Thanks for working on a holiday weekend. Here's 20% off at the gift shop." So I bought a pair of earrings.

I've been to a couple of good movies. The Siskel Film Center had its European Film Festival, so I saw the French movie, Becoming Traviata, a documentary about a production of that opera at Aix-la-Provence, with Natalie Dessay. Also Dormant Beauty, an Italian film about end-of-life issues. Both recommended.

Oh, and I was right. I do mix up my French and Italian. Not so much in my Italian class, but in my French lessons, I'm always doing it. "Ma" instead of "mais", and the like. I've taken to watching "Le Sang de la vigne" (The Blood of the Vine), a French mystery series featuring an œnologist who tends to stumble on bodies. I quite enjoy it. Also Maigret, occasionally. Both in French with English subtitles, on the "International Mysteries" show, where I also watch Italian shows.

Opera season ended with "Streetcar named Desire", great singing, especially Anthony Dean Griffey as Mitch, but uninteresting music by André Previn. It was pretty much just the play set to music.

The Latino Theatre Festival is going on at Goodman, and I saw a fabulous play yesterday, Pedro Páramo, by Raquel Carrío, based on a book by Juan Rolfo, which I now have on hold at the library. It was a co-production with Cuba's Teatro Buendía, with some of their actors and some Chicago actors (including folks I know). It's a rather spooky play about a young man who goes in search of the father who abandoned him, and discovers a town where everyone is dead (though he doesn't realize it at first).

The cat and I both had fasting bloodwork last week. If you ever want to piss off a cat, take her food away. She was not happy.

I'm off to Cleveland on Wednesday to visit my sister (and her cats) for a couple of days.
mojosmom: (Default)
Our "mild" winter has disappeared with a vengeance, now that spring is just a few weeks away. We got about 10" of snow yesterday (yes, New Englanders, I know that's nothing compared to what you've been dealing with!). It started in the early morning and just kept snowing into the night. Both things I had planned for yesterday were cancelled by mutual agreement, as was an event for this morning. I did go out in the morning before things got really bad, just to pick up some produce, but other than that I stayed inside, warm and dry.

What was cancelled (well, postponed, really) today was some additional training for Robie House tours. There's a young adult book by Blue Balliett, The Wright 3, which involves mysterious goings on at Robie House, and the Trust does a special tour for kids based on the book. I'm going to do the training to give that tour as well as the regular one. I've given a couple of the regular tours already, and I am really enjoying it. One of the perks of doing this is that there is a lot of additional education available, seminars and lectures, etc.

We had one bad day last week, too, but not bad enough to stop me from going to the Art Institute for a talk about chocolate and the Mayan culture, accompanied by a couple of kinds of hot chocolate, finger sandwiches and cookies. Yum!

I tried to accomplish some stuff on Monday, but was stymied. My hair is growing out, so I decided to treat myself to some shampoo from The Body Shop. But when I got there, I discovered they're closed for renovations and won't re-open until next month! Then I went to the bank to transfer some funds for the deposit on housing for my trip to France, and they needed one bit of info I didn't have. So I couldn't do that, either. (I have the info now and will go back tomorrow.) I then went up to Gilda's Club, contending with the alternate transit routes, as the Brown Line train, which I usually take to and from downtown to the club, couldn't cross the river as the bridge is out for repairs. The CTA, however, had free shuttle buses running so it worked out, though on the way to the bus coming back, I was forced to walk past the Anti-Cruelty Society's windows and admire the kitties up for adoption.

Also for the France trip, I've decided to get some tutoring to brush up my French, which I haven't used to any extent in about 30 years! Ack! I start next week. I have a feeling that I'll be mixing up French and Italian.

Over the last couple of weeks, since my last post, there have been a lot of interesting cultural events. A big Picasso show just opened at the Art Institute, and I went to a lecture about that. Two days later, I was back at the AIOC for a curator's talk with Kara Walker, whose installation, Rise Up Ye Mighty Race!, also just opened.

In between, I went to hear Garry Wills talk about his latest book, Why Priests?, over at Seminary Co-op.

And opera! I got to go to a dress rehearsal for Lyric's production of Rigoletto, which I'm seeing tomorrow. (Fabulous soprano, not so fabulous tenor.) Also went to Die Meistersinger on Sunday, which was all around excellent. It's Wagner's bicentennial year, so the Symphony did a program of the prelude and Act II of Tristan und Isolde. Chicago Opera Theater just did a production of Philip Glass' The House of Usher, which I liked a lot. The director gave it a homoerotic slant that served the production well. In the midst of all this, it was time to renew Lyric and CSO for next year! Time does fly.

My older sister has gotten involved in a new art gallery in Cleveland, which will have its grand opening the first weekend in April, so I'm thinking of driving out for a few days for that.

It's a rather odd coincidence, but before the Pope announced his retirement, I had been reading a couple of papal-related books. Two were books on the Borgias, and it's been interesting to see how journalists doing their obligatory potted histories of the papacy have been uncritically repeating all the old unsubstantiated gossip. I also read the extremely odd Hadrian the Seventh, about a failed priest who is unexpectedly elected Pope, by the extremely odd Frederick William Rolfe (he liked to abbreviate his name as "Fr. Rolfe", so that people would think he was a priest, but, according to one book blurb, "his vices were considered spectacular, even in Venice, where he died.").

The Latke-Hamentashen debate finally happened. It's usually the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but there was a brouhaha at Hillel, which had always sponsored the debate in the past. The Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, took it over, so it was delayed until mid-February, close to Purim. That, however, did not help the hamentashen; as always, latkes won the popularity contest!

Y'know, if I updated more often, these posts wouldn't be so long.
mojosmom: (Default)
Honestly, I am going to try to do better at posting regularly. If nothing else, it will be easier for me to remember what I want to say!

Gosh, I last posted on Election Day!

Since then, I've been busy.

SOME CULTURAL STUFF:

I see I've spent a fair bit of time at the Art Institute. Their new galleries for Greek, Roman and Byzantine art opened in November, and I went to a couple of events around that. And they had a fun holiday event for donors, with a talk in the photography study room on photographs of snow scenes, and another talk about art from the collection of winter scenes. All very appropriate and accompanied by drinks and cookies.

In the olden days, before radio and television and computers, people used to provide their own entertainment, often in the form of musical evenings. I went to one! A guy I know who is on the musical staff at Lyric Opera, along with a cellist from their orchestra, did a live radio broadcast on our local classical music station. They wanted to rehearse first in front of a live audience, so some friends opened their apartment, and invited about a dozen or so people over to listen to Bach, Debussy, Stravinsky - it was all so lovely and old-fashioned!

Also various operas.

SEMINARY CO-OP:

One of my favorite bookstores moved right before Thanksgiving. Seminary Co-op Books, often called the world's best academic bookstore, was so named because for aeons it's been housed in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary. But CTS has a new building, and an economic research institute has moved into the old place, so the University provided a new facility for the store. It's just a block away, next to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's gorgeous. A lot of folks were sad about the move; Seminary's quirky spaces were much beloved, despite the drawbacks (like lousy handicapped access, no natural light, and low hanging pipes), and there was concern that the atmosphere would be lost. But they made the right move in hiring architect Stanley Tigerman, who has been a Co-op member for thirty years. He has designed a large, light-filled space that still has those beloved nooks and crannies. One of my favorite things are the bookshelf "windows":

Bookshelf Window

Two days before the actual opening, they had a "book parade". The store has always what was known as the Front Table (though it wasn't actually in the front), on which were displayed recent books, generally by University faculty, an honor described by one person as "The Pinnacle of Academic Achievement". So they invited the authors to come and move their books from the old Front Table to the new one. The parade came complete with bagpiper:

Piper

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed cookies and tea/coffee/cider/hot chocolate, as well as a sneak preview of the new space.

More on the move, the store, and how much people love it at the The Seminary Co-op Documentary Project.


FAMILY/FRIENDS:

My maternal great-aunt was married for a time to William E. Rodriguez, the first Hispanic alderman in the City of Chicago (and one of two aldermen elected on the Socialist Party ticket). He was also, back in 1912, the first Hispanic graduate of the law school that I attended, so the school had a reception in his honor, at which it was announced that a scholarship was being established in his name. I have been asked to serve on the committee that will establish the criteria by which it will be awarded. Should be an interesting experience; I've never done anything like that before.

An old friend of mine passed away in October. She had been living in Maine since her retirement about 10 years ago, but still had ties to the area. There was a memorial service for her earlier this month at the Friends Meeting in Lake Forest, of which she was a member. One of her daughters, also a friend, was unable to come in for it, but she and her husband and utterly adorable daughter came through town a couple of days ago and some of us got together with them for lunch. It was so good to see her, and it looks as though they will move back to the area (well, Wisconsin, anyway), which will be nice.

I hope everyone has had good holidays. Mine were excellent. I went to scads of parties.

Also, both my sisters came out for Christmas, and we indulged in art exhibits, bookstores, and seeing friends, including a dear friend of my parents' generation who is now in hospice care.

I had said that I did not want to get a Christmas tree, as hauling it up three flights of stairs (and back down) and finding errant needles well into July had gotten old. But Stacey turned up with a tree! It's a tabletop tree, only about 2 1/2 feet tall, and it smells marvelous.

OTHER STUFF:

I have been feeding my addiction to outerwear. Honestly, I have boring black skirts and trousers, and scads of jackets and coats. There's a great store in my neighborhood called What The Traveler Saw, that has items both for traveling, and which the owner has found on her travels. Lately, she has also been taking some items of clothing and jewelry on consignment, and recently brought in a guy who sells vintage clothing. Well, you know I was doomed! For a couple of weeks, I was salivating over a coat in the window of the store, so one day I went in and tried it on:
Cashmere coat, raccoon trim

Then a couple of weeks later, while my sisters were with me (and urging me onward rather than the opposite), I found this on the vintage rack:
Donald Brooks' quilted tapestry coat

The label says "Donald Brooks", so I looked him up. Quite the guy! I was in the store today, and told the vintage guy what I'd found, which he hadn't known. I bet he's going to Google all his labels from now on. (Maybe I shouldn't have told him!)

That's probably more than enough from me right now.

Besides, it's close to time for champagne Prosecco.
mojosmom: (Default)
I have one thing to say:


We hit 102º today, and may get three in a row. Other than that, it's been in the '90s. Ugh. Way too hot to do much of anything.

The neighborhood 4th of July parade goes right in front of my building, so we went down to enjoy that. The usual politicians, kids on bikes, etc. There's a party in a park a few blocks away afterwards, but I didn't feel I could handle the heat. But my sisters walked down to check it out.

Cathy came in on Saturday, and on Sunday we went up to my friend Margaret's for dinner. We hung out and grilled, and Cathy had made gluten-free cream puffs which were excellent. When we got home, we were just coming off the Drive when we saw Stacey trolling for a parking spot. It was pretty tough because so many people were hanging out in the park down the street from me to avoid the heat, so she ended up a few blocks away.

We mostly just hung out inside because of the heat, but yesterday went to have dinner with some old family friends.

Stacey left this afternoon as she has to be at work tomorrow, but Cathy will be here until Friday. It's good to have them visit!
mojosmom: (Head on desk)
It has been a fun day and a half!

Yesterday morning, I was futzing around on the internet, when my computer froze. I restarted it, and got the evil gray screen with the flashing ?. Yes, folks, my hard drive had bit the dust. Kaput, gone, dead, no more. I hauled it to the Apple Store, where they said, "Yep, your hard drive is nowhere to be found." On their recommendation, I did not have them replace the drive, but took it to an authorized reseller that a) was faster (less than 1 day as opposed to 5-7 days), b) had a better warranty (5 years as opposed to 90 days), and c) was only a few bucks more. I picked it up today and again went to the Apple Store because the person I spoke with yesterday said they would comp me an upgrade to Snow Leopard. That took all of 15 minutes.

After a short trip to the Brown Elephant thrift store to donate a bunch of stuff, I came home, plugged in the computer and started to re-set all my bookmarks, etc. After about an hour or so, the power went out! I dug out a flashlight and a bunch of candles, and spent the evening reading by a combination thereof. Also being glad that I have a gas stove, because I could make myself dinner! The lights went back on about 45 minutes ago. It was horribly windy today, and a transformer pole was blown down, so our entire bloc was without power. Com Ed had told my neighbor that it might not be back until tomorrow; I'm very glad they were wrong.

Thanksgiving was good. Stacey got in about 5:00, and I fixed a lasagna. We avoided all stores, except for Petsmart, on Friday, but hit a couple of local stores for Small Business Saturday. On Sunday, I had my annual open house, with some of the regulars and some new people as well. Stacey went home on Monday, and I went to the Siskel Film Center to see a film of Carmen, performed at the Opéra Comique. It was splendid.

I shall run around tomorrow and take a bunch of pictures to try to finish off NoNoNoNo. Unfortunately, the last photos I took were not uploaded yet to Flickr, and are off in the ether with everything else that was on my hard drive. ~sob~
mojosmom: (Default)
I've been flitting about a lot. )

Other things )

It's a good thing I'm retired and can sleep late. (Well, not so late. Lilith is better than any alarm clock. 7:00 a.m. sharp, she's patting my face, demamding that I get up and feed her!)
mojosmom: (Default)
Cleveland. And Akron! Exciting, no?

Actually, a good time was had by all. My younger sister arrived in Chicago on Wednesday (the 15th). We went to the Art Institute on Thursday, and drove to Cleveland to my older sister's place on Friday. Next day, we drove to Akron to see the Herman Leonard photography exhibit at the Akron Museum of Art, and, of course, while we were there we looked at more of their collection. They had on display some pieces from the collection of Dorothy & Herbert Vogel, a librarian and postal worker who amassed one of the finest collections of contemporary art, all on the salaries of civil servants. Talk about living for art! Then we had lunch al fresco at Chrissie Hynde's restaurant, VegiTerranean. I managed to avoid fake meat and fake dairy in favor of a very nice pasta dish.

On Sunday, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see a show of Japanese and Korean art, The Lure of Painted Poetry, which was quite marvelous. We had dinner at a very good soul food restaurant, Zanzibar. Stacey told us it was good, and we could see she was right by the number of people leaving the place with leftovers in hand. Excellent service, too.

The next day, it was on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to see Stacey's exhibit. It's well worth seeing, and I would say that even if she weren't my sister.

In between all this running around, we hung out at her apartment with her seven cats (there are only six in the picture because one of them spent most of the time hiding in a closet):

Six cats

Cathy and I drove back to Chicago on Tuesday. I took off work on Wednesday, and, as it was perfect walking-around weather, we decided to got to Graceland Cemetery, where all sorts of well-known and not-so-well known Chicagoans are buried, including lots of architects (Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Walter Netsch, Mies van der Rohe, and more).
Louis Henri Sullivan

Cathy went back to San Francisco on Thursday, and I went back to work.

We had fabulous weather over the weekend, and so on Saturday I went to the Poetry Foundation's Open House. Ruth Lilly, the pharmaceuticals heiress, left Poetry magazine tons of money (the bequest was valued at over $100 million at the time - more now), despite the fact that they rejected her submissions! The magazine formed a foundation to promote poetry, and built a lovely new facility, which was the reason for the open house. There were a lot of author readings both Saturday and Sunday; however, by the time I learned about this, all the tickets were gone. So I just checked out the building and participated in the Poetry Corps, which meant I got to read a poem for their archives. Look at all the poetry!
The library

The weather has continued fine, so I have been spending much of my spare time sitting on the back porch with a cat, a book, and a glass of ice tea (or wine, depending).
mojosmom: (Turning pages)
and, having writ, moves on." Where the heck did the year go? If I were a resolution-making sort of person, I'd resolve to read more, be on the computer less, except for being on it more. That sounds like it makes no sense, but I started the year with all good intentions of keeping up my LJ and my book blog, and then lapsed. I'd like to do better at keeping them up, but I make no promises.

I started 2011 with French toast (not good for my diet, but very good for using up stale bread), and doing one entry on my blog with all the books I read this year (at least I did keep a list, though I may have forgotten a couple), with some commentary. I also put away most of the Christmas décor, but not soon enough. I heard Lilith making hacking noises. She had gotten at the one, tiny bit of tinsel around, which I thought was out of her reach. Ha. Nothing is out of a cat's reach when she puts her mind to it. Frankly, though, it's a good thing she did throw it up, as cats and tinsel do not mix well.

I was going to go out walking, but it's too darn cold. Yesterday, it was in the 50s, though it did rain. A local shop that I like was having a sale, so I bought a couple of things for January birthday gifts, and then I stopped by Borders, which was also having a sale and bought a couple of books. I saw the New Year in with a glass or two of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, drunk from their "Fleur de Champagne" glasses, which I've had forever (well, since 1985, when I got married), and chunks of fig & walnut panforte with goat cheese. Dinner was leftover duck (we went out with friends for Chinese on Monday and I have been living on the leftovers!) that I perked up with onion, sage and green olives and tossed with papardelle.

My book to start the New Year is East of Wimbledon, by Nigel Williams, who also wrote The Wimbledon Poisoner which I read a while back and enjoyed immensely. There is a third "Wimbledon" book, They Came from SW19, that I shall look for if this one lives up to its promise.

Because I was off three days Christmas week, and three days this week (counting yesterday), I feel as though I had an entire two weeks off, and then I'm off next week doing my annual trial advocacy coaching. They'll forget what I look like! Well, they can get used to that because, barring anything unforeseen, I'm going to retire this year, likely by midsummer.

Did you know that if you tell cultural institutions that you've remembered them in your will, they invite you to all sorts of interesting events? I've been invited to an opening at the Art Institute because I'm now a member of their "Legacy Society". For all they know, I've left them $10! They don't ask; I guess that would be crass. In fact, they're getting a share of whatever's left, and, as my lawyer said, if I'm lucky, I'll be old and have spent it all! When my sisters and I went for Thai food the other day, we got fortune cookies, and mine said, "You are going to have a very comfortable retirement." Let's hope it was right!
mojosmom: (My House)
I picked Cathy up at the airport on Tuesday evening. Her plane was late, having been delayed leaving SF, which meant hanging around the airport longer than anticipated. What I had forgotten was that there is no place at all at Midway to sit down and have a drink or a cup of tea outside the security perimeter, which is ridiculous. Fortunately, I had a book with me (I know, big surprise).

We went up to the Green City Market on Wednesday, and picked up a few things, though not a lot of veggies as Stacey had warned me that she would be bringing a bunch. Then we pretty much relaxed, and Cathy made chicken with a mushroom sauce for dinner. Thursday, Cathy wanted to go to the neighborhood used bookstores, so why was it that I came home with books and she didn't? Stacey arrived in the late afternoon and we had latkes for dinner. I know, I know, you're supposed to have those at Hanukkah, but it's become rather a tradition for us. We all stayed up late to watch White Christmas.

On Friday, we all went downtown to the Christkindlmarket. I bought myself a pair of earrings and Stacey bought some cute tree ornaments for a friend of hers. It seems to me as though every year there are more food stalls, but we did not indulge. We were going to go to the Cultural Center, but they were closed, so we headed to the Art Institute. It was pretty empty, which was actually rather nice. Cathy wanted to see the new Asian galleries, and Stacey the photography galleries, so we did that and then had a cup of hot chocolate in the members lounge. Dinner was butternut squash ravioli with a light zucchini cream sauce. Then Stacey made chocolate chip cookies (also a tradition).

Christmas morning Cathy made pancakes. Delish. Presents were exchanged. Best: Stacey gave me dried herbs from her own garden and Cathy gave me a gorgeous book of paper crafts/art, Paper: Tear, Fold, Rip, Crease, Cut. The latter may cost me as one of the items in it is this pop-up book that is really a lamp! I am very tempted.

Dinner involved roasting: lamb, Yukon potatoes (I now know Cathy's trick for getting them nice and crispy), and beets, plus salad. Chocolate mousse for dessert.

We are headed out later today to another bookstore, and dinner tonight at a friend's. We are bringing a flourless chocolate cake. It's so nice to have a sister who's a chef!

Cathy is staying until Tuesday and Stacey until Wednesday. I had originally intended to take off Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Friday the office was closed), and go back to work on Monday. But I realized that I really had nothing going on early in the week, so I will take off Monday and Tuesday as well.
mojosmom: (sisters)
My sisters were in town this weekend. I picked Cathy up at Midway after work on Wednesday, and Stacey drove in on Thursday, arriving just about an hour before I got home. She brought scads of vegetables from her garden - zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers - so Cathy made us gazpacho for dinner.

I took a vacation day on Friday, and we went downtown to the Cultural Center and the Art Institute. I'd already seen the Louis Sullivan and Jazz Loft Project exhibits at the Cultural Center, but they were well worth seeing again, and we also saw the exhibit, Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster. We had lunch, and then to the Art Institute for their Sullivan exhibit, and also the Henri-Cartier Bresson show, which was immense. Then home to rest up before going out to dinner with some old family friends.

On Saturday, we headed to my local farmers' market. I needed some garlic, and we also bought a variety of fruit, a lovely bit of lamb, some flowers and Brown Sugar Bakery's awesome bread pudding, fresh from the oven. We stayed for the chef demo, and, as always, sampled the end products, both of which were vegetarian, so Stacey could enjoy them as well.

We had thought about going to Carifete, a festival of Caribbean nations, with food, vendors, a parade, etc., but skipped it in favor of resting up a bit at home. Then I ran some necessary errands while my sisters went over to the Art Center to see a show I'd already seen and didn't need to see again. Late afternoon, we went out to Oak Park to see our friend Jeanette, a founder of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. She took us to a local art fair and dinner, and then we went back to her apartment, chatted and watched the video of her 90th birthday party. She was telling us about what the new owner is doing to her former residence, Frank Lloyd Wright's Davenport House. He's taking it back to the original 1901 configuration (there's apparently a bit of controversy about this), and the work is taking so long that six years after he bought the place, he still isn't living in it!

Sunday, we drove out to the boonies to see Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House:
Farnsworth House

I wouldn't want to live there all the time, but I can sure see why Edith Farnsworth spent every weekend there! And we could also hear why she finally decided to sell it. There was a bridge over the Fox River, right by the house, which, when she bought the land, was just a quiet, farmers' bridge. Then the powers-that-be decided it needed to be a big, modern road. And, boy, is it noisy! Quiet inside the house, but no more serene evenings on that terrace.

When we got back to Hyde Park, we went to the Medici for a late lunch. New t-shirts: "Support Elena Kagan - a judge of good pizza"! (She apparently frequented the Medici when she was at the Law School.)

Yesterday, I had to go to work, but the sisters walked down to the lakefront, through Jackson Park and then hit the bookstores on 57th St. Cathy made penne pasta with mushrooms, zucchini and pine nuts for dinner, along with thick slices of tomato with fresh basil. After dinner, she suggested that we go for a walk around the block, as it was a perfect evening to go walking. I put forth an amendment to the motion, that we walk over to the Istria Café and have a gelato. The motion, as amended, carried unanimously and was put into immediate effect. We came back through Harold Washington Park, where some young men were playing soccer and some older men were playing chess.

I dropped Cathy off at the airport this morning, and Stacey drove herself home later in the day. So now here I am with no one but the cats, which is okay, too! Marissa, who is normally quite shy with other people, took a mild shine to Cathy, briefly snuggling with her when she was trying to print out her boarding pass!
mojosmom: (sisters)
Both my sisters are in town because this afternoon we are attending a 90th birthday party for an old family friend. Cathy arrived Thursday evening, so I picked her up at the airport on my way home from work. She had a gorgeous day to walk around the neighborhood on Friday (mid-60s!) and took full advantage of it. Among other things, she did some grocery shopping and cooked us an excellent dinner, after which we watched Julie and Julia. Cathy hadn't read Powell's book, but had read My Life in France, and her reaction to the "Julie" part of the film was the same as my reaction to the book: "When is she going to stop whining?" We agreed that it was half a good movie, and wished that it had been entirely about Julia.

Saturday, the first day of spring, it snowed. And was cold. And blustery. So we stayed inside and hung out with the cats. Stacey was driving in and hoped to get here before six o'clock. However, she got to Toledo and her transmission went out. She had to leave her car at a garage there to be fixed, and rented a car to drive the rest of the way. The only place she could rent a car was at the airport, so she had to get a cab out there, and they managed to send her a cab driver who didn't know how to get to the airport! I didn't know such people existed. I mean, that's a cabbie's bread-and-butter, right? As a result, she didn't get here until about 8:30.

Cathy and I had gone out to hear the Newberry Consort (17th-century violin music, with a harpsichord thrown in), but had left her some of the excellent pizza we had had for dinner (olive oil glaze, chèvre, caramelized onions, kalamata olives and roasted red peppers). I have really gotten into using HomeMade Pizza Company lately. I can run in on my way home from work, have them create something interesting, and throw it in the oven when I get home. As easy as a frozen pizza and it tastes way better. They also had a special ice cream, Chocolate Almond Bark, which I bought.

I continue to fight a cold. Last Sunday, I went up to my friend Fran's for dinner, came home early in the evening feeling fine, but later developed a nasty sore throat. The next day, I felt rather punk, and my voice was going. I went to work, but left early, I felt so bad, and took the next day off. Felt better on Wednesday, though if I hadn't had a phone conference that would have been a pain to re-schedule, I might have stayed in bed. I'm at the point where I feel fine, but sound pretty raspy, and am mildly congested.

I've been to a couple of plays lately, one excellent, one not. Court Theatre is doing The Illusion, by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner. (Story: "Legend has it that the Hartford production was more overtly haunted by Corneille. As Sylviane Gold describes in the New York Times, the production was beset by technical difficulties until Kushner and director Mark Lamos decided to reprint the program to say not “The Illusion by Tony Kushner, based on a play by Pierre Corneille” but “The Illusion by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner.” All the technical glitches stopped on cue, save for one: Kushner’s name was mysteriously wiped from the marquee on the night before the show opened. The play continues to be performed and published under this revised heading, lest the original author return to seek his due.") It's marvelous! Love the play, love the staging, love the acting.

Rebecca Gilman's A True History of the Johnstown Flood, not so much. I'm not a big fan of Gilman's, as I find her work to be rather heavy-handed and didactic. This play was no different. It was also rather predictable. The actors were good, and there was excellent staging, but that's not enough to save a bad script.

The four of us went to dinner beforehand at 312 Chicago, a place we like a lot. They are celebrating their 12th anniversary, and each night have twelve entrées and twelve bottles of wine available at $12 each. Which is quite a deal. Usually, the least expensive glass of wine is about $9, and I don't know where you can get such a good ribeye steak in downtown Chicago for $12 on a normal night!

Home alone

Jan. 1st, 2010 12:06 pm
mojosmom: (My House)
Cathy headed back to San Francisco yesterday, and Stacey just left to drive back to Cleveland. So I have the house back. Not that I don't love seeing them, of course! I think I'll just stay inside the rest of the day. It's cold out, and I need to do some basic things like writing checks and doing laundry. I'm hoping my sisters will be able to return when the weather is warmer. There are some old family friends who always go away at Christmas who want to see them (and vice versa), not to mention that it's nice to be able to hang out outside.

I fixed a vegetable stir-fry for dinner. Then we stayed up late to see the New Year in, and had a glass of Prosecco. I finished one book right before midnight and started another right after. I still have about ten books left from last year that I need to review, but I have a feeling that the 2010 stack will start before I finish the 2009 stack.

Marissa has responded well to the antibiotics and is her old self, so I'll have a good report for the vet.

Later, I will pick out a few books to take my branch library's book exchange tomorrow.
mojosmom: (sisters)
We went downtown on Sunday and did a bit of shopping, as Stacey wanted to go to The Body Shop and Cathy wanted to get some snow boots. She's planning to leave them here for when she visits, as she obviously doesn't have a great need for them in San Francisco! We then went to the Cultural Center for the Sixth Annual Chicago Taiko Legacy program, featuring Tsukasa Taiko as well as some guest performers. We got there early, a good thing because the place was packed and there were people standing. We also browsed the exhibitions while we were there.

One of the prosecutors in my courtroom had gone deer hunting a while back. He was successful, and brought me some venison round steaks. Cathy made an absolutely awesome venison stroganoff with them. The meat was incredibly tender. We had plenty of veggies for Stacey, though.

On Monday, we went to the Art Institute so Cathy and Stacey could see the new Modern Wing, and a couple of exhibits, the Victorian Photo Collage show (a re-visit for me) and Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago, which I very much enjoyed.

We had dinner with some old family friends at a relatively new local restaurant, Park 52. The food was quite good and we discovered that, on Mondays, wine under $50 is half-price (not that there isn't still a ridiculous mark-up).

Yesterday was a fairly lazy day. I had to take Marissa to the vet, as she has been a bit lethargic for a couple of days. She's now on antibiotics, and seems to be responding. Stacey drove me and Marissa to the vet, and then she and Cathy went off to Seminary Co-op Books while I stayed home and did a few necessary chores.

Stacey is off at the dentist right now; when she returns, she and I will head to Greektown for lunch with friends, and tonight the three of us are going to another couple's house for dinner.

I must say that I'm getting a lot of reading done, too, being off work.
mojosmom: (Default)
I took the day off work on Thursday so that I could get the house straightened up, wrap presents, and do what remained of the grocery shopping. The folks from the CSA dropped off my holiday order Tuesday night, so I had plenty of fruits & veggies, but there were still things like meat and bread and other odds and ends to get. Stacey got here shortly before six o'clock, and I fixed spaghetti with mushrooms and bell peppers and black olives and capers, plus a salad, for dinner. Then we hung out until it was time to go to the airport to get Cathy, whose plane, wonder of wonders! was actually nearly a half-hour early.

On Christmas morning, we had breakfast and then exchanged gifts. Cathy gave me the exhibition catalogue from the Guild of Book Workers show, Marking Time, as well as some lovely bath oils and a little ceramic bell in the shape of a tiger (because 2010 is the year of the tiger). From Stacey, yummy artisanal chocolates, a brooch made by a local (Cleveland) artist who uses bits of broken crockery, a letterpress calendar and a couple of small blank books.

Cathy and I gave Stacey the same book! It's Zydeco!, by Ben Sandmel. It was pretty funny, because she opened a gift and Cathy immediately started describing how she'd been to the Library Bookshop and seen the book and knew right away it was perfect for Stacey, and I said, "Wait a minute! You got her that, too?" because I thought S. had opened my present. Which she had, because I got her the paperback and C. got her the hardback. We were in stitches for quite a while over that one. I guess it goes to show that we are well attuned to each other's tastes, perhaps too well!

We had latkes and green beans and pork chops for dinner, and chocolate cake for dessert. Then lazing around reading books and listening to holiday music the rest of the day. (Cathy got a CD of baroque Christmas music, so between that and WFMT's broadcast of Amahl and the Night Visitors, we were fixed.)

Today we did a few errands and went to the local used bookstores, where I acquired Stendahl's Three Italian Chronicles as well as Nelle Carceri di G.B. Piranesi. Browsing Powell's, I also came across a gorgeous book from a exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, which I didn't buy, but might in the future. But it did reveal to me the existence of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, which is now high on my list of "must see" places in Florence.

We lunched at a local Thai noodle restaurant, so had a light dinner of salad, carrots and a rice dish with onions and bell peppers. Grapes and pomegranate seeds for dessert.

I managed to smash a glass water pitcher when I was clearing the table. Not a valuable one, but a nice one, so it's a pity. On the bright side, it was empty except for a few drops of water.

I'm thinking that this will be my last year for a Christmas tree. It's too much of a hassle to haul it up three flights of stairs and try to get it straight in the stand by myself. I'm rather hoping some bright person decides to set up a "rent a tree" outfit like they have in a couple of other cities. Otherwise, I'll stick to a wreath and some pine boughs.

June 2017

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