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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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)
Since I no longer get a live tree, I needed a bit of Christmas décor. I indulged in a book tree:
Book tree

but also decided to make good use of all my Christmas/winter pop-up books:
A pop-up Christmas!

(Note, too, the pop-up ornament sitting on the upper right-hand edge of the screen.)

I spent a good part of yesterday at the Art Institute. There was a reception and a lecture about the Thorne Rooms, followed by a viewing of the ones that are decorated for the holidays, in the company of the curator.

Then up to Fullerton Hall for a reading by Peter Sís and two local actors of his book, The Conference of the Birds, along with parts of the original of Farid al-Din Attar, accompanied by slides of his illustrations, which are gorgeous. I bought the book, of course. The paper is wonderful, heavy and textured; it makes you want to stroke it!
mojosmom: (My House)
I picked Cathy up at the airport on Tuesday evening. Her plane was late, having been delayed leaving SF, which meant hanging around the airport longer than anticipated. What I had forgotten was that there is no place at all at Midway to sit down and have a drink or a cup of tea outside the security perimeter, which is ridiculous. Fortunately, I had a book with me (I know, big surprise).

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

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

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

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

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

Cathy is staying until Tuesday and Stacey until Wednesday. I had originally intended to take off Wednesday and Thursday of this week (Friday the office was closed), and go back to work on Monday. But I realized that I really had nothing going on early in the week, so I will take off Monday and Tuesday as well.
mojosmom: (Default)
I took the day off work on Thursday so that I could get the house straightened up, wrap presents, and do what remained of the grocery shopping. The folks from the CSA dropped off my holiday order Tuesday night, so I had plenty of fruits & veggies, but there were still things like meat and bread and other odds and ends to get. Stacey got here shortly before six o'clock, and I fixed spaghetti with mushrooms and bell peppers and black olives and capers, plus a salad, for dinner. Then we hung out until it was time to go to the airport to get Cathy, whose plane, wonder of wonders! was actually nearly a half-hour early.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday night was the Teatro Vista board meeting. It went pretty well, and Betty had made an absolutely delicious vegetable stew (she generally provides food when we meet at her place). I brought some Turtles® that I got in an office gift exchange, because I desperately needed to get them out of my office so they'd stop tempting me!

There's a small theater run by the Department of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, called the Storefront Theater, even though it's not really a storefront. They have been running a play called "Carnival Nocturne", performed by the Silent Theatre Company. I went on Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's told in music and mime and a bit of voiceover. In the story, the Ringmaster's wife is accidentally killed during a trick, and he and the rest of the company make a deal with the devil to a) bring her back to life, and b) get eternal life. But they have to sacrifice someone once a month, and it happens in the form of a young woman who is tricked into repeating the circumstances of the wife's death. The costumes and music were quite beautiful. The play was described as "combin[ing] the styles of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey" and I'd say that's not far off.

Earlier that day, I'd gotten an announcement from the Gene Siskel Film Center that they had passes to a screening of the new film version of Sherlock Holmes, so I stopped by and got the very last one! I should be seeing it on Monday evening (the pass has a "get there early, we overbook to make sure the place is filled" warning).

Last night we saw The Merry Widow at Lyric. Lovely set and costumes, a couple of good voices, but a lot of the performers didn't have strong enough voices for the house. But Lehar is always enjoyable. We had dinner first in the new bistro that's in the building, and I expect we'll go back. The food is good, there's enough but not too much, and it's reasonably priced.

Today I bought a Christmas tree, and put it up. I now also have little red spots all over my inside forearms! So I will wear something with long sleeves to the party I'm going to tonight (and also when I decorate it).

Tomorrow is Do Nothing But Read Day, so I plan to do nothing but read (well, I'll eat, too).

June 2017



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