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)
The Chicago Public Library hosted an author reading with Audrey Niffenegger on Thursday to promote her new book, The Night Bookmobile, a graphic novel about a woman who encounters a mysterious bookmobile containing everything she's ever read in life. Audrey had used photographs to create the images, but technical glitches prevented her from showing them. Instead, she read the short story on which the Guardian serial, which became the book, was based. This is actually the first installment of a larger work to be called The Library.

I stopped on the way home from work on Friday to pick up a pizza, and ran into a woman I know from the Friends of the Library. She was posting signs for a multi-family yard sale, so I went over there Saturday morning and picked up a couple of things. One person was selling two of the exact same Lenox silverplate/crystal cake slicers, obviously multiple wedding gifts, and both obviously unused. I expect one could fill several warehouses with things people thought they wanted, received and then never used.

I went over to the farmers' market then, and dashed around buying what I needed before the skies opened. It kept getting darker and darker, and just as I hopped in the car to head home, the rains came. While I was there, I stopped at the Blackstone Bicycle Works to drop off a donation. They had a fire and lost a lot of the bikes they were working on. A real shame, but they are working hard to come back from it.

In the afternoon, I went to Navy Pier for the Italian Expo. It was quite a bit smaller than the last time I attended, which was a couple of years ago, with far fewer merchants from Italy. A lot of good food, though, and distributors/retailers of Italian food. I picked up a lot of tourist literature, and watched a fashion show with several local designers, some good, some not so good (just as on Project Runway, a couple of designers were overly enamored with visible zippers and man panties). I very much liked the work of one designer who was influenced by Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons, and another who did painted and dyed silk:
Beauty!

Yesterday was the annual 57th Street Children's Book Fair, and I went over for a couple of hours to help staff the Friends of the Library table. We were right near the stage where the Hyde Park School of Dance was performing. There was also a woman doing amazing things with hula hoops:
Hula hoops!
I couldn't manage one for more than a minute or so when I was a kid!

I had wanted to go to Millennium Park for the Chicago Symphony concert, but I was feeling headachey, and figured I would not enjoy it. So I bagged it. Naturally, the headache went away when it was too late to head down there. Too bad, but I still have my subscription!
mojosmom: (Default)
I can't believe it's nearly two weeks since I've posted here! So, what's been going on?

Years ago, when I lived up in the northern 'burbs, there was a place I bought clothes, really a sample shop. She'd call when stuff came in and then you'd go and she'd find stuff that looked great on you even if you didn't think it would. She's the woman who talked me into a yellow pantsuit! And everything was very well made. When I lost 20 pounds, it was worth it to me to have things altered. I still wear suits I bought from her a dozen years ago. I stopped going by when I moved to the city, but a couple of weeks ago, she called and I did go up on a Saturday, and I now have some excellent new clothes (not all in my closet yet - she won't let anything out the door unless it fits the client perfectly, so some are being altered).

In other fashion news, I stopped by Kate Spade for an appearance by Tim Gunn. He's as charming and elegant in person as he is on television:
The epitome of elegance

I went to a seminar downtown a week ago yesterday. As always, I ran into people I hadn't seen in a while, so stopped afterward for a drink. Then it appeared that Border's was having a sale on CDs, so I bought a few, and then went over to the Cultural Center where there were some shows opening. Two were "meh", but there was one, Articles of Faith, photographs of African-American storefront churches in Chicago, that I really liked.

Last weekend was fairly quiet. I went up to my friend DeeJay's for our monthly dinner, and brought a pumpkin mousse. One of the easiest desserts ever. Buy a can of pumpkin filling (the kind that already has the spices in it). For every cup of filling, whip up 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Fold in. Freeze. An hour before serving, put it in the refrigerator to soften. Serve. Watch it disappear. Accept compliments.

The entire last week was pretty quiet. But the weather turned glorious, and put me in a spring frame of mind. So this morning I took the winter comforter off the bed and the winter kimono off the wall above it, and dressed the bed in spring green:
Spring green

I have also: done two loads of laundry, swept floors, polished the dining room table and sideboard. Shortly, I will take the winter comforter and some other things to the dry cleaner and go exchange a theatre ticket.

It looks like it might rain. But who cares? It's warm!

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