mojosmom: (cat)
Today is the first day of my retirement.

I highly recommend retiring (or otherwise leaving your job) for finding out what people think of you. I was taken out to lunch twice in two days, and colleagues kept stopping by my office yesterday telling me they were going to miss me and thanking me for my help and my work. After my last case in court, the judge led a round of applause for me. To my utter astonishment, the former State's Attorney (now an Appellate Court justice) showed up at my going-away party Wednesday night, when there was no political percentage in his doing so. The party was delightful in all respects. We went to a local casual restaurant which has a patio, and, as the weather was glorious, that is where we hung out. Scads of people showed up, from my office as well as the prosecutor's office, and also a number of people with whom I used to work (one of whom brought me a bottle of champagne).

Last night, a friend invited me to a wine-tasting at her church (it was a fund-raiser for one of their summer youth programs). They had quite the variety! About 15 different winemakers, from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, were represented, with several varietals each. (I did not sample all of them!) Ordinarily, I'd have taken the bus home, but as there were a few of us from the neighborhood, we decided to share a cab. And thank goodness. About ten minutes after I got home, we were hit by a major thunderstorm. It was coming down in sheets, and in some areas they got hail so thick it looked like snow on the ground. Sadly, one of those areas was the neighborhood where the Garfield Park Conservatory is; the buildings were badly damaged, and they have had to close indefinitely.

This morning, I woke up about 6:30 and promptly turned over and went back to sleep. ;-))

It was supposed to be horribly hot today. Instead, it was extremely overcast, and threatening rain again. I debated going to an outdoor jazz concert at the local shopping center. In the event, I did go, and we got in well over an hour's worth of music (two hours were scheduled) before it started to rain a bit. Since you don't want to be playing electrified instruments in the rain, however slight, the concert ended, and I went and had a light lunch.

The rain stopped shortly thereafter, but it was still overcast, and when I got home I encountered my downstairs neighbor who was mulling over whether she should go to Taste of Chicago. I hope she did go, because it's cleared up quite nicely now, and the sun is out. The cat and I hung out on the porch while dinner was in the oven. Dinner, by the way, was excellent. I did a pork tenderloin with cardamon, mint and dried apricots, and had a green salad with it. Yum.

Here's an utter travesty. I will be taking a course on British women mystery writers, and we were supposed to read Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night, one of my favorite books ever. Today, I got an email from the instructor with a syllabus change. Seems that Gaudy Night is out of print! (And so are the two Ngaio Marsh books we were going to read.) I'm appalled.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I went to a pre-retirement workshop earlier this week, with a speaker from our pension system as well as someone from Social Security. Much of what they told us, I knew, but I did learn some things. I'm back and forth in my head about whether or not to start taking SS now, or wait until full retirement age. I'm leaning towards the latter, as, fortunately, I don't need to take it now.

I was asked yesterday by a colleague, "Where do you want to have your retirement party, if you do want one?" IF????? You better believe I do! Not so much because I want to be fêted, but it's an opportunity to make sure I'm able to say a fond farewell to everyone (or at least a lot of the people) with whom I've worked.

Long sentencing hearing yesterday on that murder case I did back in December. The result was not as good as I'd hoped for, but better than I expected.

I am being very good this weekend. I am not going to: a book sale, my favorite thrift store's 50% off sale, a fashion sale (with shoes, yet). I do not need more books or clothes. That doesn't ordinarily stop me, but it's getting ridiculous, and I'm trying to avoid temptation. Indeed, I'm starting to make a pile of books to ship off to D.C. for the BC Convention. I didn't even stop in at my local Borders' today, even though it's their last weekend and things are 75% off. I've been in too many times already, and was starting to eye the bookcases!

Mildred Pierce is coming to HBO as a mini-series, and I went to a sneak preview at the Siskel Film Center. There was a reception before the showing, with HBO springing for a lot of good food and an open bar. (Seriously, when was the last time you went to a reception where the cater-waiters were passing out lamb chops?!) We were shown the first two episodes, and some scenes from the rest, and it's good. Everybody applauded when Mildred finally smacked Vida. It's not a remake of the Joan Crawford film, but is truer to Cain's novel. In a bit of brilliance, they've used "Der Hölle Rache" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in the music. Unfortunately, I don't get HBO, so I'll miss the rest of it.

This is an early music weekend for me. My Lyric Opera season ended at last night's opening performance of Handel's Hercules, directed by Peter Sellars in a very interesting production which portrayed Hercules as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the impact of that on his relationships, particularly with Dejanira. It sounds a bit odd, but it worked. (Story from WBEZ.) Alice Coote as Dejanira and Lucy Crowe as Iole stole the show.

Tonight, I'm going to Rockefeller Chapel to hear the Newberry Consort singing the Cantigas de Santa Maria and back there tomorrow for Bella Voce and the Callypigian Players (yes, that's really their name) doing Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, etc.
mojosmom: (My House)
Sounds like an opera diva's nickname, like La Divina or La Stupenda, doesn't it? But it's Italian for "blizzard". I went to work today, anticipating that I would leave just a bit early, or whenever I saw it starting to snow, and not go in tomorrow. (I'd decided that the other day, particularly after I checked my calendar and realized that I had nothing scheduled for court.) However, at about 12:30 my boss stuck his head in my office and suggested that I head home right then. He said that the courthouse was likely going to be closed at 3:00 and would be closed tomorrow. So I threw a file in my bag and left.

It's supposed to be a doozy, the worst since the storm of '67, during which my father abandoned his car and walked home, a distance of nearly 8 miles. I am about a block from the lake, where twenty to twenty-five foot waves are predicted, which means that Lake Shore Drive will likely be closed. I must say that the lake tends to look really beautiful in this sort of weather, but I am not sure it will be worth it to go try to photograph it!

I will be warm and cozy in my apartment with books to read and cats to snuggle with, and my fridge and cupboard are sufficiently full to meet my needs. My main concern, frankly, is whether I'll be able to get my car out after the storm. I may go out a couple of times during the day, if it's feasible, to dig out so I don't have to do it all at once. But getting it out of the alley may be a whole 'nother story, as they say.
mojosmom: (happy)
that I was planning on retiring at the end of June, and in the course of the discussion I mentioned that I'd be turning 63 this summer. And he said, "Really? I never would have guessed."

Made my day!
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: (Default)
My deputy thought it was a hoot!  

I printed out the photo and captioned it "[Deputy's name]'s worst nightmare!"  Gave it to him this morning.  He cracked up, and then asked our clerk for some tape so he could tape it to his file drawer.
mojosmom: (Default)
My deputy thought it was a hoot!  

I printed out the photo and captioned it "[Deputy's name]'s worst nightmare!"  Gave it to him this morning.  He cracked up, and then asked our clerk for some tape so he could tape it to his file drawer.
mojosmom: (Default)
Our courtroom deputy has two pet peeves: babies in the courtroom and baseball caps in the courtroom (on someone's head). We always kid him that one day someone will bring in a baby wearing a baseball cap, and he'll go off the deep end. Today, I found this picture on the web: Babies in Ball Caps. I have printed it out and I'm going to leave it on his desk tomorrow.

I may need bail money!
mojosmom: (Default)
Our courtroom deputy has two pet peeves: babies in the courtroom and baseball caps in the courtroom (on someone's head). We always kid him that one day someone will bring in a baby wearing a baseball cap, and he'll go off the deep end. Today, I found this picture on the web: Babies in Ball Caps. I have printed it out and I'm going to leave it on his desk tomorrow.

I may need bail money!
mojosmom: (Default)
at least momentarily. I received a new modem from Earthlink today. I still cannot connect directly, but have to use a round about way. I have the number for a "senior technician", but naturally they aren't available 24/7 and I called after they closed, so I'll try again tomorrow evening.

In the interim, I'll play catch-up here.

First up: the neighborhood in the news. NBC Nightly News visited our local farmers' market last Saturday. The story is here (you have to watch an ad first). I'm not in it (one of my sisters says that's because I didn't look "gritty and inner city enough"), despite the fact that a camera was pointing at me as I ate pork with mango salsa!
Pork chop with peach salsa

Later that day, I went to Kittenpalooza, an event during which cute little kittens are displayed in order to get suckersnice people to adopt. I did not succumb, but did ooh and ahh. I mean, how cute is this?
Yay!  I get to play!

Saturday evening, I went to see the Jules Dassin film, La Loi, with Gina Lollobrigida, Yves Montand, Marcello Mastroianni and Melina Mercouri. It's a rather over-the-top soap opera, but with that cast, who cares?

On Sunday I dropped a bunch of clothes and tchotchkes off at the Brown Elephant, and came back with a few things, as always. There's a new resale shop a couple of doors down, everything $3 except for t-shirts, which are $1. I found a pristine white linen Liz Claiborne blouse with French cuffs and a sage green sleeveless linen blouse. Helluva deal. Then I went over to my friend Kate's, whose garden was one of many on a neighborhood garden tour. But we mostly sat inside and drank iced tea or seltzer water, and ate cheese and cookies, and chatted.

Other than that, it's been a fairly quiet week. I had to pull an iron out of the fire for an idiot probation officer. She was shocked, shocked! when I pointed out to her that someone who was locked up in the jail couldn't just pick up the phone and call a treatment center whenever he felt like it. (I think she must be new.)

As usual, I celebrated Bastille Day by watching Casablanca and having a French meal. It was going to be escargots Bourguinonne, but it's been hellishly hot here* so I didn't feel much like bubbling butter and hot ovens, and had a salade Niçoise instead.


*I keep telling myself, "it's only in the 90s, not like the East coast with triple digits!"
mojosmom: (catkind)
My favorite legal research tool has finally been updated! The Illinois Handbook of
Criminal Law Decisions (a/k/a "The Bible" or "The Green Book"), published by the Office of the State Appellate Defender and the Illinois State Bar Association, was sooooo outdated. The last volume was published in 1998 with a supplement in 2003, with yearly updates on the Appellate Defender's website. But ever since it was published just by OSAD, and was red, and was called "Davidson's outline" after the OSAD employee who compiled it, it's been the greatest tool, mostly because of how it's organized.

We've been grousing for years that it needed a complete overhaul and updating, and they finally did it, and I was just handed my copy. (Oh, it's not green anymore, though, so I guess we'll have to give it a new nickname.)

So I'm a very happy camper.
mojosmom: (Default)
Italian classes started up again last Monday, and I brought a chocolate panettone that I found at my local produce store. (The family that owns it is Italian, and so they also carry quite a variety of imported Italian goodies.)

I don't remember if I posted that my boss was named a judge, so they're looking for a new Public Defender. On Monday, the list was narrowed down to six names. I know three of the people (one currently in our office, and the other two I know from other places), all of whom I'd be happy with. The other three are unknown quantities.


Tuesday night was the Teatro Vista board meeting. The majority of the actors from the Chicago production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity will be in the New York production. I'm probably going to go to New York a day or so earlier than I originally planned, so I can meet up with Eddie before he leaves on May 31.

Thursday night, I was thrilled and delighted to watch the start of season 7 of Project Runway, back in New York where it belongs. Quite a variety of points of view among the designers, and there was color! and pattern! on the runway. I think this may turn out to be a very good season.

Tosca at Lyric on Friday night, with a bit of unplanned excitement at the end of the second act. Fortunately, all turned out well, but just as Tosca stabs Scarpia, and orders him to "Muori dannato!", a woman a few rows up from me collapsed, and there were calls for a doctor. Another audience member who was obviously a doctor jumped out of his seat and went to help, and she revived and was helped out under her own steam, though the ushers said later that she left the building in an ambulance, but was okay. (P.S. Loved the opera - it's a favorite!)

I have been very lazy this three-day weekend. I went out to a concert Saturday night (eighth blackbird, and Suzanne Mentzner) and a play last night (The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, based on her book, which I suppose I should now read), but during the day I haven't done much at all. Today, I'm playing catch-up on this and my other blog. I ran into a former colleague both Saturday and Sunday night! She is doing volunteer ushering. I rarely see her, so twice in two nights was a surprise.

Off to class soon. We had to write a few sentences describing our "casa dei sogni", house of our dreams. I said mine would clean itself.
mojosmom: (art)
God, I love this city. Where else can you visit eight art galleries on a moving elevated train? It's called Art on Track, the brainchild of a group called Salvo NFP, which places art in unlikely public spaces. You pay an entrance fee (unless you, like me, have a free pass), go up on the "L" platform, and wait for the "Art on Track" train. It goes around the elevated tracks in the Loop, and you can ride it as long as you want, changing cars at the different stations. Each of the eight cars has art from a different gallery or studio, and artists or gallerists are there to talk about the art/installations.

Installations and interactive art were very popular, as the venue lends itself to that sort of thing. Kids were particular fond of this bubble-wrapped car:
Bubble wrap installation, Salvo car

Other cars were simply used as display space for art, such as this one for the Flat Iron Artists Association:
Charlie Rees, Flat Iron Artists Association Car

After I'd enjoyed that, I had some time before my AAUW meeting, so I wandered over to the Art Institute to see the James Castle retrospective. I find his work oddly compelling. Profoundly deaf since birth, he never learned to sign or lip-read, though he spent several years at the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind. He was a self-taught artist who worked in isolation in the family home, and his primary materials were paper detritus (unfolded matchboxes, discarded texts) and a soot-and-saliva medium. He worked in the book format and created sculptural works, although his works are mainly drawings, often with human figures heads of objects, such as chairs. It's a great show, covering all aspects of his work, and thoughtfully curated.

I got home and went over to the shopping center, purportedly to run errands, but, in reality, to check out the used book sale. I just picked up a couple of books, because I planned to (and did) go back this morning when prices were slashed 50%. Tomorrow is $5 box day, so I am going to return. Then off to 57th Street Books to pick up my copy of I like it like that.

Winter is definitely upon us. It was quite cold this morning, though I expect the Marathon runners preferred that to the horrendously hot weather they had to cope with last year at this time. No need to stop the race early on account of the heat this year!

I have some vacation time that I have to use or lose. I will take a week off around Christmas when my sisters come to town, but I decided to take next week off as well. On Tuesday I will drive to Galena, come back Thursday to go to a benefit for Teatro Vista, and head to Springfield for a seminar on Friday. (Galena is a small town on the western border of Illinois, across the Mississippi River from Iowa, very scenic. It was the home of President Ulysses S. Grant, and has a lot of Victorian architecture. In fact, I'll be staying at a bed-and-breakfast housed in a Victorian mansion.)

Stuff

May. 17th, 2009 08:52 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
Saw Tom Stoppard's play, Rock 'n' Roll, at the Goodman the other day. It got rave reviews, but I don't see it. Not that it was bad, but it wasn't that great, either. It didn't help that it was difficult to understand the actors who used a Czech accent; I don't know if that was a result of bad diction or bad acoustics. A deep knowledge of 60s-70s rock and British & Czech politics of the period would help, too.

Friday/Saturday I was in Springfield at the twice-yearly Public Defender seminar. It was very good, some very useful and interesting presentations. We gave an award to the recently-retired chief State Appellate Defender (who'd been in the job something like forty years - until his retirement he was the only person to have the job). I was going to get together with my friend, Sue, but she wasn't feeling well so we didn't manage to do so.

Right after the program ended on Saturday, I went up to Waukegan to have dinner with friends. I had volunteered to stop and get salad fixings, so stopped at the Jewel and remembered all over again why I don't like that chain. Their produce department sucks (how can a produce department not have green onions or endive?), and I hate, hate, hate those damn tv screens at the checkout that blare advertising at you. They don't have express lanes, unless you're using self-checkout (which messes up half the time). The cashier asked me if I had my Jewel card, and when I said I didn't have one, handed me a form to fill out. Hello? I don't recall saying I wanted one. Not her fault, though; I'm sure they tell her to do that. But it's annoying.

I didn't do much today. Moved winter clothes and summer clothes from one closet to another, and that sort of thing. I watched "Great Performances from the Met" this afternoon, as it was one of my favorite operas, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, with Stephanie Blythe and Danielle de Niese in the title roles. Mark Morris directed and choreographed and Isaac Mizrahi did the costumes! Loved it.
mojosmom: (Work)
I left work right after court on Monday because I had come down with a bad cold and felt really miserable. I also took yesterday off, so my partner covered for me. He continued one of my in-custody cases to Friday, and today the client called from the jail. He wanted to make sure I was feeling better and that I didn't have swine flu!
mojosmom: (Work)
I left work right after court on Monday because I had come down with a bad cold and felt really miserable. I also took yesterday off, so my partner covered for me. He continued one of my in-custody cases to Friday, and today the client called from the jail. He wanted to make sure I was feeling better and that I didn't have swine flu!

stuff

Mar. 24th, 2009 03:33 pm
mojosmom: (Lilith)
There's a guy on LibraryThing who is a conspiracy theorist, and he's posted on a couple of the loonier groups about an anti-Obama video we're all supposed to watch. I looked at his profile. He has 666 books catalogued. Coincidence? [Cue eerie music] (I was going to comment thus on one of those threads, but I figure he probably has no sense of humor.)

I forgot to set my alarm the other day. Fortunately, the cats woke me up a mere half-hour after I usually get up, and, since I always get to work way early, I wasn't late.

I went to a lovely concert of music from 14th-century Florence (mostly Francesco Landini) the other night, at the Oriental Institute. I love the space there, very intimate with excellent acoustics.

Sunday, I went up to Gurnee to have dinner with friends. We drank champagne and ate a lot. What else is new?

Tonight, I'll probably do laundry and taxes. What an exciting life I lead!

Weekend

Feb. 10th, 2009 09:02 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
My best-laid plans of sleeping late this weekend went agley on Friday. I was having lunch with one of the guys at the offce. He'd been sick lately (pneumonia), and, being a guy, came back to work too soon, relapsed, and still was feeling a bit punk. When I said, "I hope you're going to have a real rest this weekend", he responded, "No, I have Bond Court." So, rolling my eyes and muttering about people who should take better care of themselves, I swapped Bond Court weekends with him. That meant I got up at my usual time instead of snuggling with the cats.

Saturday )

Sunday )
mojosmom: (catkind)
I've been off at a seminar on defending death penalty cses for the last couple of days. It was mostly good, but a couple of the speakers were godawful. Do not expect me to pay attention if you misuse the phrase "beg the question", say "acronym" when you mean "abbreviation" and refer to the Compiled Statutes as the "combined" statutes. It also helps if you don't just read your presentation off the power point slides in a boring monotone.

Weird coincidence: I'm reading Alexander McCall Smith's latest Isabel Dalhousie novel, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, in which she has to decide whether to publish a paper on the Trolley Problem. So one of the speakers yesterday, a neuropsychologist, talked about some testing which involved . . . the Trolley Problem! (I wasn't reading the book at the time; he was actually quite interesting.)

Saturday, I went and got my flu shot. I had put it off but realized this was the last Saturday clinic. Surprisingly, the place wasn't full. I guess other people are more organized than I am about such things.

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