mojosmom: (Busy bee)
Last week was kind of Russian on the cultural front. I saw an excellent production of Uncle Vanya at the Goodman Theatre on Wednesday, and on Thursday I went to hear Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony perform an oratorio based on Prokoviev's music for Eisenstein's film, Ivan the Terrible. Both had me on my feet at the end, and I don't do that lightly. Also having me on my feet was Friday's Lyric Opera performance of Norma, with Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role. She's amazing.

Went to my book club yesterday. We had read The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America, by Ethan Michaeli. Very well-written, fascinating account of the newspaper, and very much a history of race in America as well. Michaeli, who worked at the Defender for several years, was present for our meeting (we often have area authors attend), and it was one of our biggest turnouts.

I've got a number of projects going. The Newberry Consort gala is next weekend, and I've been busy with that. I'm doing work for Wright+, coming up in May, and I've gotten involved in another project the Trust is doing, interviewing and writing about the founding volunteers. On top of that, I'm helping out the Library Committee at my club, cataloguing and culling books (seriously, who dumped a couple of dozen ratty volumes of the Loeb Classical Library on us?), and spearheading an event about Carl Sandburg (it's the 50th anniversary of his death this year).

So you can see why I chose the "busy bee" icon for this post!
mojosmom: (Default)
I traipsed out to Oak Park (in rush hour!) for a meeting, only to find that the person we were meeting with had to go out of town unexpectedly and had cancelled at the last minute. So I took myself to dinner at a place I like out there to give traffic time to ease off.

The weekend was a lot of hanging with friends. A woman I went to college with comes into the area every year for a conference, and we usually meet for lunch when it's over and before she needs to head to the airport. Another friend generally joins us, but couldn't make it this year. It's good to catch up.

On Sunday, I headed up to Wisconsin (just over the Illinois border) to have dinner with some good friends. Not as large a group as usual, because one friend was off in Iowa with her youngest daughter, visiting colleges, and another wasn't feeling well. But those of us who did come had a good time, as always.

Our weather has been crazy warm. We're breaking records, and it may get up to 70ºF today. In February! In Chicago!

Saw my oncologist yesterday, and I am now on annual visits, rather than semi-annual, which is nice.
mojosmom: (Travel)
I get regular email newsletters from Atlas Obscura, telling about odd places and things and events. They also do trips. Today, they announced a trip to Venice in July: http://www.atlasobscura.com/unusual-trips/hidden-venice-with-a-psycho-mambo-twist I couldn't resist, and have paid the deposit. I do think that the fates have been conspiring to send me back there. I went to a Chicago Symphony concert the other evening, of music by Vivaldi, Corelli, etc., with mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, that just made me want to hop the next plane to Venice. And then this morning a friend sent me a video Valentine's card of a canine gondolier! So cute!

In other things:

The cats had their annual vet check-ups this past weekend. Both are in good health, though the vet said they should have their teeth cleaned in a few months. They have a new vet (who had previously worked as a vet/kennel assistant and then vet tech at the practice), as the one they had been seeing has retired. The great surprise was that I was able to get both boys into the carrier without a struggle. Usually, I'm cornering Smoke in the closet (his favorite napping place) and trying to get Shadow out from under the bed. But my timing was right, because I found Shadow asleep on my bed, and just gathered him up in a tight grip. Smoke's appointment was Sunday morning, so he was lying on the Sunday paper that I was trying to read, which made it easy.

My friend Elaine, one of the women with whom I was in Boston, said she was sending us all photos she had taken. I was not expecting what came, a book she'd put together! Really thoughtful, but then she's that sort of person. I see I didn't write about that trip after it happened. Lots of fun. I got there before the others to see exhibits at the MFA and the Gardner, and was joined by one of the group who lives near Boston. The whole group went to the Boston Public Library (a fabulous building) for their Shakespeare exhibit and afternoon tea.

I have been going through my posts and making some deletions, because there were a lot of duplicates from having brought them over from LiveJournal. Oddly, I found situations where duplicate posts had different comments, so in those cases I left the duplicates. I will also have to do something about posts where I linked to LJ communities, since, obviously, those links still go to LJ. And some of my photos seem to have been lost in the migration. But I expect I can retrieve them from Flickr.
mojosmom: (Default)
I'm meeting a friend for lunch (it's Chicago Restaurant Week, hurrah!), and this evening I'm going to the Lyric Opera's event announcing the coming season. My original plan was to take public transportation to both. Then I woke to the weather report which said that we'll be in the 50s today, but it will drop to the 20s this evening, and decided I'd take the bus and el to lunch and drive tonight (found a cheap - for downtown - spot - $10! Yay for SpotHero!). But now it's pouring. And I really don't want to stand at the bus stop, walk to the el, and then walk a few more blocks to the restaurant in torrential rain. So I think I'll drive and valet my car.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I woke up to a very gray day, such that I would probably have stayed in bed if I hadn't had a conference call scheduled for 9:00. (This was just for a status on planning for a concert/gala for the early music group on whose board I sit.)

Now it's raining/sleeting/wintry mixing. I registered to go to a showing of one of the Commissario Montalbano films at the Italian Cultural Institute tonight, but I am really thinking of bagging it because of the weather. I may just stay home and watch Barack. (I did not even consider getting up in the wee hours of the morning to go stand in line in 4º weather to maybe get a ticket.)

In fact, this week and last have been fairly quiet for me, not much scheduled, and with some very cold weather last week not much incentive to change that. But I have done a couple of fun things. I went Sunday afternoon to hear Paul O'Dette and Ronn McFarlane play lute duets, Italian and English. Their encore was Dowland's "My Lord Chamberlain, his Galliard", which is written for two to play upon one lute. Rather fun!

I saw a production of "The Magic Flute" which, while the music (of course) is glorious and so were the voices, I didn't like. Why the director felt the need to stage it as though kids were putting on an opera in the backyard, I do not know. It lost all the magic, you never felt it was really happening.

The dishwasher has arrived, so I am slowly filling it with enough dishes to run it. Honestly, I'll probably not use it a whole lot, but it's nice to have.

When I imported my LJ entries, comments didn't come along. I did it again, and find I have a slew of duplicate entries. So I am gradually going back and deleting the duplicates, making sure to delete the ones that don't have comments. Only a minor annoyance, though, and worth it, because I like having everyone's comments! I'll shut down my LJ shortly.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Here's my reading for the year!

[Poll #2060643]
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I can now be found on Dreamwidth: https://mojosmom.dreamwidth.org/

I've actually had an account there for some time, but after establishing it and copying my LJ to it, I didn't do much with it.

I will now.

Come visit me there.
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've pretty much decided to go to Venice at the end of July. It's not generally the optimal time to go, but a couple of weeks ago the New York Times had an article about Ghetto 500, an observation of the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish ghetto. I was hesitant at first because I already have a rather pricey trip to Barcelona and Bilbao planned for late October, but the opportunity to see The Merchant of Venice performed in the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo is unlikely to come along again. Add to that the Architecture Biennale and the International Theatre Festival, and it would be a crime not to go. I will, however, have to miss the mock trial presided over by the Notorious RBG; that requires a larger contribution than I can manage, even with the tax deduction.

Since I last posted (oy! two months ago!), I've been busy. I took a class at the Newberry Library called Edwardian Passions: Dress and Desire, 1890-1920. We read Vita Sackville-West's The Edwardians, Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks, and E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, and had lectures (with wonderful visuals) about fashion of the era. I'd had an earlier class from the same instructor about the rise of the department store in Paris, using novels of Émile Zola. She is an art historian with a great knowledge of fashion and literature, and I'm looking forward to taking her next course, which involves Edith Wharton and Henry James. I'm also considering a course in the History of Italian Fashion at the Italian Cultural Institute. Fortunately, they don't overlap!

I continue to give tours at Robie House, and mentor new volunteers. The FLW Trust has instituted a new program called "Wright Around the Region", and one event this year will go to Robie as well as two other house museums in Chicago, one of which is showing the Dressing Downton exhibit. I was able to get on that as a volunteer, so yay!

My trainer was transferred from the gym near me to another facility, so I have a new guy. I've also upped my sessions. I'm doubling up, doing 50 minutes rather than 25. The new trainer is much tougher on me, but he and the new schedule are paying off. So I'm glad I did that.
mojosmom: (My House)
Just as I was thinking about getting out of bed on Saturday, my phone rang. It was one of our next-door neighbors telling me that as she was walking her dog, she noticed water gushing out of the sidewalk in front of our building. I dressed quickly, and went out to check, and, boy, it sure was! I called the Water Department, though it turns out the call actually goes to 311 - the city's non-emergency number - and was told they'd be out "as soon as possible". Our water pressure dropped precipitously during the day, but, fortunately, one of the first things I had done Saturday morning was to fill a slew of pots and pans with water, so I did have tea and, even more important, I could flush! By Sunday morning, the water pressure was so low that we effectively had no water. I called 311 again and the issue was marked "emergency". Very shortly thereafter a crew came out to assess the situation. I spoke to the crew leader and she told me the afternoon crew would be out to do the repairs. In fact, they arrived shortly after 11:00 a.m. and were there until about 4:30 p.m. with all sorts of equipment to tear up the concrete and dig down to the pipe. I'd gone out in the afternoon, and stopped on the way home to buy bottled water - just in case - but it turned out I didn't need it.

The good news is multiple: they did not have to shut off our water (which would have meant shutting down the boiler when it was about 7º F.); the leak was on the city's side of the valve, so the city did the work instead of our condo association having to find a plumber on a holiday weekend; and, most of all, we are not in Flint, Michigan.

In other stuff:

I'm really annoyed at myself. My club had a reception for architect members on Friday evening, and I completely forgot about it! I don't know why. It's in my calendar. But I did go usher at a lovely concert in the neighborhood, the Baroque Band, playing Handel and contemporaries.

A friend and I planned to go see a film at the Siskel tomorrow, but we may not. It's going to be cold again, though compared to today not so bad. Today we're in the single digits and tomorrow it may heat up to 17º.

I went to the Lyric Opera's announcement of next season. Heavy on French opera, a couple of bel canto works, the start of their new Ring Cycle, and some odds and ends. Sadly, no contemporary American opera. During the Q&A, someone asked if they were ever going to do some Meyerbeer. Sir Andrew Davis put his head in his hands, moaned, and allowed as how he really dislikes Meyerbeer. So I guess that particular patron won't be getting his wish!
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)
My yearly poll is here. Take it if you wish, or just go check out my year's reading.

I didn't read as many books as I thought I would, and it's way heavier on fiction than non-fiction than I would have liked.
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.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Last week, I was out every single night (except Sunday). Two operas, a board meeting, an event at the Art Institute, the Symphony, and the annual dinner of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I also gave a bunch of 4th-graders a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, and a couple of days later went to their class to help with a workshop on Froebel blocks. Over the last couple of years of tour-giving, I have come to the conclusion that 4th-graders are the best age! They are curious and excited and not afraid to show it. Give them a couple of more years and they'll be "too cool for school", as they saying goes. Saturday I braved very nasty weather to go to the IACDL board meeting, which I left a bit early to get to my book club (the last of the year). We got our reading list for next year, and I have already ordered the books that I don't already own, so I'll be all set.

This week, however, it's pretty quiet. I have nothing scheduled during the day except my trainer today and Thursday (yes, I'm working out on Thanksgiving), and my Gilda's Club group today. I didn't have any evening events, until I suddenly discovered today that tomorrow is the annual Latke-Hamentaschen Debate, and I really enjoy those, so I'll go. It's scheduled to start at 7:30, but I know from experience that I'd better get there very early to get in. My older sister is coming in for my annual Sunday-after-Thanksgiving Open House (I'm spending my days cleaning and shopping for that), but won't arrive until very late Friday night (technically, Saturday morning!). I did buy some pumpkin ravioli so we can have a belated vegetarian Thanksgiving. She leaves very late Monday night, so we'll go to a Music of the Baroque concert that evening - Handel's Judas Maccabeus.

I bought a new iMac about two weeks ago, and am still getting used to some new behaviors, like the mouse taking me to prior web pages if I brush it the wrong way! I was way overdue - my old computer was from 2006. This one has a larger screen, which is nice, and I can actually use some websites with this version of Safari that I couldn't with the older one (yes, Snow Leopard - I told you it was ancient).
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Yesterday, I was getting ready to head out to a community flea market, when there was a knock on the door. Our management company had sent our maintenance guy out to deal with the air conditioners (moving or covering them) for the season. Without bothering to notify us! So I said, you've got to do it before 11:00, because, although I could skip the flea market, I had to be at my AAUW meeting at noon.

So he finished up just before 11, and I went to the meeting. Then I went to a staged reading of a play called The Amateurs, part of the Goodman Theatre's "New Stages" program, which involves development of new plays. This was basically a play about a 14th-century players troupe putting on the Chester mystery play "Noah's Fludde". I think it's got a good idea, but there was a huge digression in which the playwright talks about his intentions that should be significantly cut.

Then off meet my friend Jeanne to see a French thriller, Le Pont du Nord, which was interesting, but strange. The film was made in 1981, but not released in the U.S. until a couple of years ago. Dinner after at one of our favorite places; I had an excellent steak and mushroom pie.

Today I did stop by the flea market (actually twice - before and after I did my Robie House tours), and came away with four pairs of earrings (earrings are my downfall), a pair of loose linen pants, a blank journal, and a beaded evening bag - for a grand total of $23.

My first tour at RH was a mother-daughter book club; they'd read Blue Balliett's The Wright 3. They were great, and guest relations had said that, if I liked, I could take them to a couple of outside spaces that aren't regularly on the tour (the children's play lot and the front porch). So I did. When I had a short break between my tours, the house manager came to the break room and handed me a stack of papers, saying, "This came for you." It was a bunch of thank-you notes from a class I'd given a tour to in the summer. Lots of art glass-style drawings, and lovely, lovely notes. So nice!

Tonight I'm going to see Court Theatre's production of Agamemnon for the second time. I have a subscription that's on preview nights, so I saw it last week and loved it. They'd done Iphigenia in Aulis last season, and the same actors portray Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. A woman I know is on the CT's board, and she invited me to the opening night dinner and performance, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to see it again.

Now I'm going to finish the Sunday papers and try not to get overly depressed by how dreadful people can be.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Most important, my health is good. I've been working out with a trainer twice a week, which means I actually get to the gym.

I continue to volunteer with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. In fact, I do so much that last year I was one of the top ten volunteers (in terms of hours) and am on track for the same this year. Being on two non-profit arts boards also keeps me busy. Teatro Vista got a grant that allowed us to hire a Managing/Development Director, who is a real dynamo and brings a lot to the table. The Newberry Consort has some great projects in hand and we are building the board.

Lots of traveling happening. Last fall, I went on a food-and-wine tour of Piemonte with a group led by my Italian teacher, and just this past September I went to Venice for the Biennale. That was wonderful! Saw some great (and not-so-great) art, went to a couple of early music concerts (any given night there, you have your choice of multiple early music events, so I was in heaven!) as well as an opera at La Fenice. Back in February, I went an FLW Trust tour to Pasadena, where we visited some Greene & Greene homes, and also did some of FLW's textile block houses in LA. I went to San Francisco for a couple of days first, to visit my sister, who is teaching at a culinary school there. I got to sample her students' work! In late April/early May, both my sisters and I went to New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival, and in late May/early June, I went to New York for my 45th college reunion, and not incidentally to see friends and visit museums. I'm already planning for next year. I was so impressed with the Pasadena trip that I decided to go on the Trust's tour next fall to Barcelona & Bilbao. It's not cheap, but they are so well organized and get so much special access (like a private, after-hours tour of the Sagrada Familia) that it's worth it.

I continue to take my Italian literature class, which I find is more helpful now than I think another language class would be. (I was very comfortable speaking and understanding on my last two trips there.) There are a number of places in Chicago that have community classes in a variety of subjects, and I have taken two at the Newberry Library this year. One had the irresistible title "Let's Go Shopping!", which was about the rise of the department store and social change in Paris, through Zola's Octave Mouret novels (Potluck and The Ladies' Paradise). The instructor was a woman who is an art historian who has an interest in fashion as well. I've just finished a class called "The Courtier Sings", which was Italian Renaissance music.

So I keep well and busy, and will try to be better about keeping anyone who's still around here up-to-date!
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
As usual, the year-end "have you read what I've read" poll![Poll #1994290]
mojosmom: (Snow)
I've just been very remiss.  And very busy!

I've been recruited to join another board, that of the Newberry Consort, a local group that specializes in what is now called "historically informed performance".

Volunteering at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust (they've just changed their name from the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust) continues, as I give tours at both Chicago's Robie House and Oak Park's Unity Temple, as well as help with training new volunteers.  I am finding that one of the things I really enjoy doing is giving tours to school children.  They are lots of fun!  And I was given a very nice compliment, by being asked to act as a house captain for Robie House during next year's very special Wright Plus event.  The people I work with are quite lovely.  Yesterday, it was so cold that no one bought tickets for one of the tours I was scheduled to give.  I had to stick around because there were people for the next tour, so the house manager said, "Why don't you take advantage of the living room?"  So I fixed a cup of tea, took my book, and sat there reading and watching the sunlight play with the art glass windows.

Our branch library, the oldest in the city, was once again part of Open House Chicago, and I organized the volunteers for that.

The last few weeks have, as always this time of year, been full of parties.  Between my professional organizations, various non-profits I contribute to/volunteer with, not to mention purely social times with friends, I've been eating and drinking to my heart's content, if not my cholesterol's.

I am hoping to have two new additions to my household after the new year.  Meet Teague (on the right) and his brother, Thai.  They are a Siamese-tabby mix, and oh! so adorable.



One of the reasons I'm not taking them in until next year (other than the fact that I don't want to bother them with company until they've settled in) is that I am leaving town on Monday and won't be back until Dec. 24th.  Didn't seem fair to bring them home and then desert them!  I am going to Cuba for a week!  The trip is with the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and we'll be in Havana for a week, meeting artists, musicians, and dancers, and, not incidentally, enjoying warm weather.
mojosmom: (Lilith)
I have just come from the vet's, where I had to have Lilith put to sleep.  I have seen her slow down tremendously over the last few weeks, and at first put it down to old age (she was about 16) and her arthritis.  But then she stopped eating and drinking, and she was too weak to walk far without stopping to rest.  Yesterday, I took her in, and the vet said her stomach was very distended, and took x-rays, which showed a lot of fluid, signifying either a tumor or organ failure.  They kept her overnight to see if IV fluids and meds helped.  They didn't.  And she was hurting.  So I to made the decision to let her go, and held her and petted her as she went.

She had kept me company for more than fourteen years.  I am going to miss her terribly, but I know it was the right thing to do.  
mojosmom: (cat)
a new car! (That's not the actual car, just an image I snitched from a dealer's site.)

It's a white Prius C 3, hatchback, with a moonroof.

I've been planning to buy a new car for a while now, and actually went to the auto show last February to check a few out. I'd pretty much had narrowed it down to this one or a Fiat 500 Cabrio, but decided the Fiat really wasn't practical. As much fun as a convertible would have been, I'm not a fan of two-door cars and the back seat was insanely tiny. (Now if I could afford two cars, and had a garage, that would be different story.) Frankly, the possibility of getting a hybrid with a moonroof was a huge point in favor of the Prius; that combination wasn't even possible when I bought my last car!

Then last week I got the sad news that the hybrid battery on my current car, a Honda Civic Hybrid, was on its last legs, no surprise after 9 years and 163,000 miles. So instead of sinking $4,200 into a new battery, I made a down payment on the Prius. (My older sister and I had talked a while back about her buying my old car when I got a new one, but there is no way she'd want to sink that kind of money in a 9-year-old car, either. So I traded it in. Didn't get a lot for it, but I wasn't expecting to.)

But, oh my! When you haven't bought a car for 9 years, the technological changes can be a shock! Not to mention the stack of reading material they hand you. A huge thick owner's manual for the car (it's 556 pages! so you get a "quick reference guide" as well), plus a huge thick owner's manual just for the audio system (another 200+ pages). A warranty guide and a warranty rights notification. A navigation system guide. I think it's going to take me quite a while to figure all this out. But I'll have fun doing it. The sales guy paired my iPhone with the Bluetooth system, and showed me how to answer calls from the steering wheel. Ack! Please don't let me turn into one of those people I currently bitch about!

When I got home, I figured I'd go to the I-Pass* website to add this car and remove the old one. Now, the dealer had transferred my plates. So the site wouldn't add the new car because the old one, of course, had the same plate #. And I couldn't delete the old one first, because you have to have at least one car in the account. Fortunately, the customer service person who answered my call told me to just edit the current information, and stayed on the line while I did that to make sure that worked. I had the feeling I'm not the first person who had called with this issue! They should put that info on the site.

By this time, my insurance agent's office had closed for the day, so I left a message and will talk to them today about that. And, as I'm headed downtown today to lunch with a woman from my law school's development office (translation: she wants to hit me up for money), I'll take the opportunity to stop by City Hall and transfer my city vehicle sticker.


*This is a transponder you put in your car to automatically pay tolls.

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