mojosmom: (Default)
Since last I wrote, I have had quite a bit of music and music-related events in my life. Georg Friedrich figured prominently in a couple of them, hence the bad pun in my subject line.

I went to the dress rehearsal of Rinaldo at Lyric, which is basically little different from seeing an actual production. Some of the singers don't use full voice, and there is always the possibility of repeats (though none occurred on this occasion). It's absolutely marvelous, and I am looking forward to the actual event in a couple of weeks.

The next day, the Apollo Chorus (140 years old and still going strong) and the Elmhurst Symphony performed Handel's Dettingen Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel. Both pieces were magnificently performed, and the setting was perfect:
Dressed for Christmas

On Sunday, I went back to the Civic Opera House for their backstage tour. What fun! We got to see all the various departments (wigs, wardrobe, props, etc.), and learned lots. So I can say that I have been on stage at Lyric and in the orchestra, and it wouldn't be a lie. And I got to wear a crown:
Crowned head
(The weird head position is because it was too big and wanted to fall off. "Uneasy lies the head", as they say.) Lots more pics here.

As you can see if you click through to the set, they're doing Showboat, which was, in my view, a waste of Lyric's resources. I don't go to Lyric to see musicals. It didn't help that it was miked, and not well, or that there was no chemistry between Magnolia and Gaylord Ravenal. Fortunately, their next foray into musical theatre will be outside the subscription series, so I can calm down about it.

Yesterday, they had a press conference to announce that Lyric has commissioned an opera based on Ann Patchett's book, Bel Canto, rather a natural, when you come to think about it. I am particularly thrilled that Nilo Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will do the libretto. Teatro Vista has done a ton of work with him, so I feel even more connected.

After the tour, I dashed off to the Smart Museum for a short concert of food-related music, ranging from Purcell to Schubert to Ravel to Comden & Green. The program was done as part of the events around the exhibit Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, which I didn't have time to see that afternoon, but will go back to view.

In non-classical music events, I went to a wonderful film last night, Chico and Rita. Set in Cuba, New York and (briefly) Las Vegas, this animated film tells the story of two Cuban jazz musicians, pianist Chico and singer Rita, and their star-crossed love affair, from when they first meet in 1948, up to the present. I loved the animations, particularly the cityscapes. And the music, well, it just can't be beat. See it if you can: http://www.chicoandrita.com or http://www.chicoandrita.co.uk/

And in non-music . . .

My financial advisor decided that, since I have now been retired for several months, we should have a meeting to review my situation. All is well, all is, indeed, very well, and I have decided to transfer another account I have over to her. I've actually been thinking about that for awhile, and now it's done.

I went to an interesting lecture at the Art Institute about restoration (and faking) of old masters, and how conservators can figure out what's been done.

Today bids fair to be a fair day (it was already in the '50s at 8:00 a.m.!), so I am going to go out and enjoy the day. It's personal pampering day - I'm getting a manicure this morning and a haircut this afternoon.
mojosmom: (Default)
How did it get to be September already? Gosh, the summer has simply flown. The Chicago Jazz Fest starts tonight (well, actually, last night with the Jazz Club Tour), and I'm planning to hit tomorrow night's concert, as well as the day and evening events on Saturday and Sunday. Rain is predicted, so I will take my umbrella - to ward off sun and rain as required.

This being Chicago, there's been a lot of jazz this summer, and last Thursday I went to hear trumpeter Corey Wilkes (and friends) at Millennium Park. Went back there on Saturday for the grand finale performance of Chicago Dancing, which I hadn't planned to do until my younger sister said that a friend of hers was having a dance performed there by River North Dance. Also performing were the Joffrey, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, dancers from the New York City Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and Ballet West.

Earlier that day, a friend and I went to Graceland Cemetery for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's "Women of Influence" tour. It was very interesting, and even though I knew about most of the women the docent talked about, I learned new things about them, and met some new ones. Walking tours are free to members; now that I have all this free time, I just might have to join. I'd definitely get my money's worth.

Friday evening there was a reception at the Chicago Public Library for the "One Book, Many Interpretations: Second Edition" exhibit, wherein bookbinders were invited to bind copies of the books that have been chosen for the "One Book, One Chicago" program over the last five years. They haven't put the catalogue online yet, though I understand that they are planning to do so. When and if that happens, I'll have to link to it, because there were some stunning pieces. In fact, they were giving out copies of all the books (labeled "This book has been placed here for you to Read, Enjoy and Pass It On . . .") and I picked up Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" solely on the strength of the bindings people had done for it, which were quite intriguing. I hadn't liked the one other novel of his I'd read ("American Gods"), so likely would not have considered reading this one otherwise. I also picked up the newest selection, "The Adventures of Augie March", by Saul Bellow.

On Tuesday, I went to the Art Institute to see the show, "Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945".
The Motherland Calls!

Fascinating story of how this exhibit came about. Back in 1997, when renovations were going on in the Prints and Drawings Department, a couple of dozen wrapped parcels were found on the back of a shelf in a closet. They contained propaganda posters that had been created during the war by the Soviet news agency, TASS. The exhibition includes these restored posters, as well as some from earlier in Soviet history, some U.S. and British posters using some of the same images, and other Allied propaganda posters. After victory, came false hopes:
"Peace - we won it together"

Went from there to my bank, where I refinanced my mortgage (something I should have done a long time ago, but better late than never).

And in a move that got me much thanks from my fellow Teatro Vista board members, yesterday I made chocolate chip scones and took them to our board meeting. I do so like baking, but you can't bake just a couple of cookies or one cupcake!
mojosmom: (Default)
How did it get to be September already? Gosh, the summer has simply flown. The Chicago Jazz Fest starts tonight (well, actually, last night with the Jazz Club Tour), and I'm planning to hit tomorrow night's concert, as well as the day and evening events on Saturday and Sunday. Rain is predicted, so I will take my umbrella - to ward off sun and rain as required.

This being Chicago, there's been a lot of jazz this summer, and last Thursday I went to hear trumpeter Corey Wilkes (and friends) at Millennium Park. Went back there on Saturday for the grand finale performance of Chicago Dancing, which I hadn't planned to do until my younger sister said that a friend of hers was having a dance performed there by River North Dance. Also performing were the Joffrey, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, dancers from the New York City Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and Ballet West.

Earlier that day, a friend and I went to Graceland Cemetery for the Chicago Architecture Foundation's "Women of Influence" tour. It was very interesting, and even though I knew about most of the women the docent talked about, I learned new things about them, and met some new ones. Walking tours are free to members; now that I have all this free time, I just might have to join. I'd definitely get my money's worth.

Friday evening there was a reception at the Chicago Public Library for the "One Book, Many Interpretations: Second Edition" exhibit, wherein bookbinders were invited to bind copies of the books that have been chosen for the "One Book, One Chicago" program over the last five years. They haven't put the catalogue online yet, though I understand that they are planning to do so. When and if that happens, I'll have to link to it, because there were some stunning pieces. In fact, they were giving out copies of all the books (labeled "This book has been placed here for you to Read, Enjoy and Pass It On . . .") and I picked up Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" solely on the strength of the bindings people had done for it, which were quite intriguing. I hadn't liked the one other novel of his I'd read ("American Gods"), so likely would not have considered reading this one otherwise. I also picked up the newest selection, "The Adventures of Augie March", by Saul Bellow.

On Tuesday, I went to the Art Institute to see the show, "Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941-1945".
The Motherland Calls!

Fascinating story of how this exhibit came about. Back in 1997, when renovations were going on in the Prints and Drawings Department, a couple of dozen wrapped parcels were found on the back of a shelf in a closet. They contained propaganda posters that had been created during the war by the Soviet news agency, TASS. The exhibition includes these restored posters, as well as some from earlier in Soviet history, some U.S. and British posters using some of the same images, and other Allied propaganda posters. After victory, came false hopes:
"Peace - we won it together"

Went from there to my bank, where I refinanced my mortgage (something I should have done a long time ago, but better late than never).

And in a move that got me much thanks from my fellow Teatro Vista board members, yesterday I made chocolate chip scones and took them to our board meeting. I do so like baking, but you can't bake just a couple of cookies or one cupcake!
mojosmom: (Default)
I don't usually go to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. For one thing, despite its name, it's not actually in Chicago, but in Glencoe, a suburb north of here, which means a fair bit of a drive. For another, despite the fact that "admission is free", they charge $20 to park, and there's no reasonable public transit from the city. However, in one of the rare instances when they offered something that interested me, Groupon had a half-off coupon for CBG parking. I watched the weather reports, and yesterday a) the weather was beautiful, and b) I didn't have anything else scheduled during the day. So I waited until the outbound rush hour calmed down, and headed north. In the event, I spent three and a half hours wandering about the Gardens (and another half-hour having a nice lunch on the deck of their café).

Of course, I took scads of photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

I loved the look of this dewy spiderweb stretched over a thyme plant:
Dewy spiderweb on thyme

Here's a ladybird (or do you say "ladybug"?):
Ladybird on a stem

I was tempted to pick an apple!
Red delicious

Fishies:
Fish

Lots more here

Other things:

Casa Italiana had an author event on Saturday with Robert Rodi, to promote his book, Seven Seasons in Siena. It was fun and interesting, and, naturally, I bought the book.

I've been getting more involved with the Friends of the Library, and met with a couple of the other folks today to talk about our membership drive. I'm going to work on the brochure, and I have some thoughts about the website (which hasn't really been kept up with, and it needs to be). We'll have a booth at the Children's Book Fair, and I'm going to a meeting tomorrow about programming in the Family Tent at next month's local jazz festival.

It poured most of the day. I'd walked over to the FOL meeting before the rain started, but fortunately was wise enough to bring my umbrella. Got a bit wet all the same (umbrellas don't keep your feet dry!).

A nice fat check arrived from one of my pension systems - a refund of the spousal contribution. I'd expected it to be deposited directly to my bank account, just as my pension distributions are, but instead they sent me an actual check, so I had to go and deposit that. (The bank is all of a block and a half away, so no big deal there.) I'm not going to spend it all in one place, as the saying goes, but I do think this means that Dublin is definitely on. I guess I'd better start reading Ulysses!

Oh, and earthquake! I was sitting at my computer early this afternoon, and felt my chair shaking. I couldn't figure it out. I didn't think the ceiling fan was blowing all that hard! It stopped after a bit, and I didn't think anything more of it, until I read about the earthquake on the east coast. Seems it was felt quite a ways away, up to Toronto, and a number of people in the Midwest felt it, too. Timing was right, so I'm guessing that's what it was.
mojosmom: (Default)
I don't usually go to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. For one thing, despite its name, it's not actually in Chicago, but in Glencoe, a suburb north of here, which means a fair bit of a drive. For another, despite the fact that "admission is free", they charge $20 to park, and there's no reasonable public transit from the city. However, in one of the rare instances when they offered something that interested me, Groupon had a half-off coupon for CBG parking. I watched the weather reports, and yesterday a) the weather was beautiful, and b) I didn't have anything else scheduled during the day. So I waited until the outbound rush hour calmed down, and headed north. In the event, I spent three and a half hours wandering about the Gardens (and another half-hour having a nice lunch on the deck of their café).

Of course, I took scads of photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

I loved the look of this dewy spiderweb stretched over a thyme plant:
Dewy spiderweb on thyme

Here's a ladybird (or do you say "ladybug"?):
Ladybird on a stem

I was tempted to pick an apple!
Red delicious

Fishies:
Fish

Lots more here

Other things:

Casa Italiana had an author event on Saturday with Robert Rodi, to promote his book, Seven Seasons in Siena. It was fun and interesting, and, naturally, I bought the book.

I've been getting more involved with the Friends of the Library, and met with a couple of the other folks today to talk about our membership drive. I'm going to work on the brochure, and I have some thoughts about the website (which hasn't really been kept up with, and it needs to be). We'll have a booth at the Children's Book Fair, and I'm going to a meeting tomorrow about programming in the Family Tent at next month's local jazz festival.

It poured most of the day. I'd walked over to the FOL meeting before the rain started, but fortunately was wise enough to bring my umbrella. Got a bit wet all the same (umbrellas don't keep your feet dry!).

A nice fat check arrived from one of my pension systems - a refund of the spousal contribution. I'd expected it to be deposited directly to my bank account, just as my pension distributions are, but instead they sent me an actual check, so I had to go and deposit that. (The bank is all of a block and a half away, so no big deal there.) I'm not going to spend it all in one place, as the saying goes, but I do think this means that Dublin is definitely on. I guess I'd better start reading Ulysses!

Oh, and earthquake! I was sitting at my computer early this afternoon, and felt my chair shaking. I couldn't figure it out. I didn't think the ceiling fan was blowing all that hard! It stopped after a bit, and I didn't think anything more of it, until I read about the earthquake on the east coast. Seems it was felt quite a ways away, up to Toronto, and a number of people in the Midwest felt it, too. Timing was right, so I'm guessing that's what it was.
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: (Steinlen cats)
Well, a week and a half anyway.

No traumatic or terrible reasons for it, just a bit lazy, and trying to catch up with reviews over at my other blog.

I've been busy with Teatro Vista board/committee meetings. We're planning a benefit in April and I'm on that committee (though it unfortunately falls during the time I'll be in Europe!).

I saw my first "Live in HD" Metropolitan Opera broadcast last Saturday. Friends have raved about them, and so I decided to take advantage of the rare opportunity to hear Placido Domingo sing baritone, in the title role of Simon Boccanegra. I had the libretto from when Lyric did it years ago, so read it ahead of time, a necessary thing because the plot is incredibly convoluted, even for opera! I loved it! The opera itself was grand, but it was worth going just for the close-ups. I loved seeing the details of the costumes, and you could see them sweat! During intermission, there were interviews conducted by Renée Fleming, but what was even more interesting was that they showed the sets being changed. The Met stage crew deserves every penny they get. It was like choreography. The only thing I missed, that you get when you listen on the radio, is the Opera Quiz. One of the perks of my Opera Guild membership is advance ticketing for these, and I expect I'll use that next season!

Both cats have been to the vet, Marissa yesterday for her annual check-up and a couple of shots (three-year rabies and distemper, so she won't have to be poked for awhile more). Lilith went this morning. She has been having pooping issues, going outside the box (though not all the time) and very loose stools. Bloodwork is being done, stool sample checked and pills have been prescribed. So we'll see.

I went by the library to return a couple of books and, of course, browsed the "New Books" shelves. I noticed a book with the intriguing title The Web that has no Weaver, which turned out to be a book about Chinese medicine. And was authored by a guy I knew in college, and had acknowledgements to two other guys I knew in college!

I had yesterday off (Lincoln's Birthday is a holiday in Illinois, so I've got a four-day weekend! Yay!), and went up to the northern 'burbs to meet with my financial adviser. We hadn't run the retirement numbers for a couple of years and, as I am approaching that time (the two government pension systems I've been under are reciprocal systems, and due to the fact that I took a pay cut when I left my last job, I'll need to retire out of the system by November of next year to maximize my pension.), she wanted to do it again. The news is very good. Between the pension and Social Security, both of which have annual COLAs, and decent investments, I don't need to worry and can actually relax about the whole thing (barring anything unexpected and horrendous, of course).

Had a taste for Thai food so I stopped off at a place I like and got cucumber salad and curry noodles to go.

June 2017

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