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.

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.

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: (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: (Head on desk)
It has been a fun day and a half!

Yesterday morning, I was futzing around on the internet, when my computer froze. I restarted it, and got the evil gray screen with the flashing ?. Yes, folks, my hard drive had bit the dust. Kaput, gone, dead, no more. I hauled it to the Apple Store, where they said, "Yep, your hard drive is nowhere to be found." On their recommendation, I did not have them replace the drive, but took it to an authorized reseller that a) was faster (less than 1 day as opposed to 5-7 days), b) had a better warranty (5 years as opposed to 90 days), and c) was only a few bucks more. I picked it up today and again went to the Apple Store because the person I spoke with yesterday said they would comp me an upgrade to Snow Leopard. That took all of 15 minutes.

After a short trip to the Brown Elephant thrift store to donate a bunch of stuff, I came home, plugged in the computer and started to re-set all my bookmarks, etc. After about an hour or so, the power went out! I dug out a flashlight and a bunch of candles, and spent the evening reading by a combination thereof. Also being glad that I have a gas stove, because I could make myself dinner! The lights went back on about 45 minutes ago. It was horribly windy today, and a transformer pole was blown down, so our entire bloc was without power. Com Ed had told my neighbor that it might not be back until tomorrow; I'm very glad they were wrong.

Thanksgiving was good. Stacey got in about 5:00, and I fixed a lasagna. We avoided all stores, except for Petsmart, on Friday, but hit a couple of local stores for Small Business Saturday. On Sunday, I had my annual open house, with some of the regulars and some new people as well. Stacey went home on Monday, and I went to the Siskel Film Center to see a film of Carmen, performed at the Opéra Comique. It was splendid.

I shall run around tomorrow and take a bunch of pictures to try to finish off NoNoNoNo. Unfortunately, the last photos I took were not uploaded yet to Flickr, and are off in the ether with everything else that was on my hard drive. ~sob~
mojosmom: (Default)
but I am using the excuse that I was out very late last night. I went to the Jeff Awards (a Teatro Vista ensemble member was up for Actress in a Principal Role - she didn't win, but the competition was stiff), and didn't get home until well after midnight. So this morning, I woke up, fed the cat, and went back to bed. The fact that it is gray and dreary and raining was further incentive to catch a few extra winks.

Also yesterday, I plumbed. The handle of the toilet in the master bath busted on Sunday, so I learned all about reverse threads and fixed it myself. Another benefit to the internet: there are all kinds of videos on YouTube showing you how to do simple stuff like that.

I've been to a few Chicago Humanities Festival events. The theme this year is Technology, so I heard Laurie Anderson talking about the use of technology in her work (with a slam at Mp3s), David Staley on how digitization is changing the way history is taught, and Travis Jackson on "Capturing the Jazz Moment", about technology as a key player in the way recordings are made. Good stuff.

A couple of plays this week, too, both featuring Teatro Vista ensemble members. Chicago Boys, part of the Goodman Theatre's "New Stages Amplified" series, is about a protegé of Milton Friedman's who goes to Chile to promote free-market economics at the time of the Pinochet coup. Then I saw "The Great Fire" at Lookingglass Theatre, about, obviously, the Chicago fire of 1871, the text of which is, in large part, drawn from contemporary accounts of the fire. Here's the fun part: the theatre is housed in the Water Tower pumping station, one of the city's surviving pre-fire buildings. The fire itself was personified by a red-haired, innocent-faced, actress/acrobat/dancer in white Victorian-style garb, who did an absolutely amazing job. Great show.
mojosmom: (Default)
I've been flitting about a lot. )

Other things )

It's a good thing I'm retired and can sleep late. (Well, not so late. Lilith is better than any alarm clock. 7:00 a.m. sharp, she's patting my face, demamding that I get up and feed her!)
mojosmom: (Snow)
Yesterday, after doing a bit of grocery shopping, I parked in my usual spot behind my building. There was still snow in the alley, but it had pretty much been packed down by garbage trucks, cars, etc. (No thanks due to the City of Chicago, which has announced that it will not be plowing alleys. Now if Daley were running for re-election, it would surely be a different story!) I woke up this morning, looked out the window, and saw that it was snowing again!

It turned out not to be too bad. Just a couple of inches of new stuff, the powdery kind, and it's stopped already. I went out and brushed off my car, and shoveled out some of the new & old from behind and between the cars to make it easier to get out in the morning. Then, as long as I was out there, I brushed the snow off the other condo owners' cars.

Then I came in and had oatmeal for breakfast.

ETA: I just noticed that there is a link on the NYT website to "Personalize Your Weather". Unfortunately, it won't let me order "warm & sunny"!
mojosmom: (My House)
I spent the weekend organizing things. I moved hat boxes and shoe boxes around so that I could see things more easily (it really helps because then you know what you have and find yourself wearing a hat you'd forgotten about!). A side benefit was that I unexpectedly opened up some space. Then I hit the master bath, which has a lot of storage space. There's a linen cupboard and hamper on one side, and a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit and medicine chest on the other. When you have storage space, it tends to fill up. I had recently bought new bedding and new towels, so I decided to retire (as in "get rid of", "donate to a thrift shop") some of the old stuff. And then I organized all the bath oils/gels/soaps/etc. that I have accumulated and got rid of all those little tubes that had a tiny bit of stuff in them or were all dried out, etc. Suddenly, there's more room in those units! And I can find stuff! Astonishing. I don't know if this organizational fit will last, but it's nice at the moment.

(P.S. Do you know how hard it is to type when there's a cat between you and the keyboard? Oh, excuse me, between you and the keyboard and sitting on your forearm? Unlike Mohammed, who cut off his sleeve, I am not about to cut off my arm. So I'm just going back and fixing all the typos.)
mojosmom: (Chicago)
I made the first pesto and the first iced tea of the season. The pesto was by necessity, as some of my basil got its stem broken in Friday's storm, so had to be used. I had gnocchi with pesto for dinner, and it was yummy!

This morning, I got up earlier than usual, though not as early as planned (my alarm clock doesn't seem to be working right), and headed to the north side to a pub to watch the World Cup game between Italy and New Zealand. Since this was organized by folks from Casa Italiana, you can imagine the distress! However, being a member of one of the two groups (gay men and straight women) who, Daniella pointed out, just like watching the players, it was all good. (It's true, you know, that soccer players are better to look at than players of other sports; I don't know why, but it is so.) And we did celebrate Daniella having just become "una cittadina americana".

In not so great news, but tolerable, my dishwasher decided to stop draining, so I asked the guys to look at it yesterday as long as they were here. It's not the drain; the motor is shot. Since I've been in the condo for eleven years, and the dishwasher was here when I arrived, I think the wisest course is to bite the bullet and get a new one, rather than try to get this one repaired. Fortunately, as I do dishes for one, it's not something I feel the need to run out and do right this instant.

Dull day

Jun. 19th, 2010 02:18 pm
mojosmom: (My House)
I've had plumbers in the house all day. This is what happens when you live in a 100-year-old building with very old pipes. It's no emergency; they're just dealing with a variety of issues all at once, and, of course, finding things more complex than originally thought. But, of course, this means I'm sitting around the apartment instead of doing more exciting things, like grocery shopping. ;-)

We had major storms and wind yesterday. We lost power at the office a couple of times, just briefly, in the late afternoon. It was probably not the best day for the IT people to tell us to leave our computers on at the log-on page so they could do some stuff over the weekend! Because I did that, but I know the power went out after I left, because some of us were hanging around the parking garage watching the storm and the lights dimmed. There were actually people taking the elevator in the garage! Got home to find that some of my plants did not fare so well. I had a small marjoram plant on my kitchen window sill, and had left that window open, as I generally do. No rain got in, but the wind had blown it onto the floor, so out came the vacuum cleaner to suck up all the dirt. My basil has been growing like Jack's beanstalk, and the very tallest bit got blown over and the stem broken. So I cut it off the rest of the way and will make pesto!

Other than that, it's been a rather full week. On Monday, Teatro Vista board/ensemble members got together to get a mailing out, and drink margaritas and eat nachos. Tuesday was the last Italian class of the session, and I have decided not to take classes this summer. The various road construction projects have made getting up there after work sheer hell, particularly when there's a Cubs game going on. Wednesday I went to hear Mary Beth Raycraft talk about her book, A Parisienne in Chicago: Impressions of the World's Columbian Exposition. And Thursday after work there was a going away party for one of my colleagues who has taken a job as chief Public Defender in one of the downstate counties.

So it's been busy, and I can use the rest!
mojosmom: (My House)
Not only in posting about my trip, but about my "regular" life as well.

I've been to a couple concerts (the Chicago Symphony and the Newberry Consort), a couple of operas (Mose in Egitto and Giasone), both at Chicago Opera Theatre, and a play (The Good Negro, at Goodman, which was absolutely awesome and I highly recommend it!).

My friend H. is in town to spend Mother's Day with her mother and daughter, and last night we all had dinner together, along with another friend. That was great fun, as I don't get to see her that often, but we will see each other again when I go to New York.

Today, I have been doing stuff around the house. Enough light bulbs were out to warrant getting out the stepladder and hauling it from room to room, and I did some sweeping and mopping. (Isn't this exciting?) I also went to Office Depot and bought three plastic storage containers. So instead of being in bags and falling all over my junk closet, my packing materials and wrapping paper and stuff are all neatly ensconced in stacked containers. The closet actually looks relatively neat, though it still needs a bit more work.

As I was putting things away, I came across, and scanned, a framed photo which I think is one of the best I've ever taken. I took it nearly thirty years ago, on a trip to Egypt:

At Luxor
mojosmom: (photos)
Stuff on a shelf (go to the Flickr image to see the notes):
Odds & ends on a bookshelf


Chocolate-chip cookies:
Chocolate chip cookies

Fruit tart:
Fruit tart
mojosmom: (Default)
waiting for the plumber. Kitchen sink backed up. Ugh. Sunday night rates. But there's no way I can stay home from work tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Oh, well.

I went to the 57th Street Children's Book Fair today, just to enjoy the weather and the action. But I managed to snag a couple of books, too. I must be serious about Amsterdam, because I found (for $1) a book called Teach Yourself Dutch, and bought it. I have no illusions that I'm really going to teach myself Dutch, but a few words and phrases would not go amiss.

Oh, look what's still cropping up on the used book tables:

Ack!  It just won't go away!
mojosmom: (Default)
There was an ice cream social yesterday for members of the Hyde Park Art Center. I went, only to find that it had turned into an ice cream sundae social! I had vanilla and neapolitan, on a brownie, with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. So much for dieting.
Serving the ice cream

Today, I spent well over three hours in the dentist's chair. First a cleaning, and then all the prep work for a new crown. She is replacing a crown that is (she checked the records) thirty-four years old! Got a fair bit of reading done during various bits of downtime, waiting for things to set.

I then went and met my friend, Eddie, for lunch. He is luring me onto the board of the theatre company of which he is the artistic director. I was able to eat, but just a cheese omelette, because my mouth was a bit numb. I turned down the waitress' suggestion of soup, as I didn't want to dribble! On the way to meet Eddie, I detoured to the Daley Center Plaza, where there was an Arabic festival going on. There were belly dancers:
Dancers swirlilng
as well as a fashion show, and lots of folks enjoying the sun. It's a good thing I stopped on the way to lunch, because, as we were sitting in the restaurant, it started to rain. After lunch, I went and renewed my city vehicle sticker (we were just down the street from City Hall) and then came home.

At home, I played with the book case I mentioned the other day, and have decided to move the four-shelf case into the sun room, return the three-shelf one and buy the five-shelf for my cookbooks.
mojosmom: (My House)
I decided the sun room needed a bookcase, but it can't be too big because the room is small. Also, because it's windows on three sides, and open into the living room on most of the fourth, the only place I can put it, taking into account door sill and window sill projections, is 23" wide. So I found these at Pier One.

I bought the shorter one today, because the taller one would probably be too overwhelming for the space. But now I'm thinking that I have three very similar cases that are between these two in size - 48" tall, with four shelves, one of which is in my "butler's pantry" and holds my cookbooks, which are, of course, tightly packed. So if the medium-sized one fits in the sun room, I can return the short one, and get the five-shelf one for the butler's pantry. Of course, this means emptying all the books out of it for the experiment.

The saleswoman told me I have thirty days to, as she put it, "play around with it" and change my mind if I want. So play I will.
mojosmom: (My House)
I decided the sun room needed a bookcase, but it can't be too big because the room is small. Also, because it's windows on three sides, and open into the living room on most of the fourth, the only place I can put it, taking into account door sill and window sill projections, is 23" wide. So I found these at Pier One.

I bought the shorter one today, because the taller one would probably be too overwhelming for the space. But now I'm thinking that I have three very similar cases that are between these two in size - 48" tall, with four shelves, one of which is in my "butler's pantry" and holds my cookbooks, which are, of course, tightly packed. So if the medium-sized one fits in the sun room, I can return the short one, and get the five-shelf one for the butler's pantry. Of course, this means emptying all the books out of it for the experiment.

The saleswoman told me I have thirty days to, as she put it, "play around with it" and change my mind if I want. So play I will.
mojosmom: (Default)
I can't believe it's nearly two weeks since I've posted here! So, what's been going on?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It looks like it might rain. But who cares? It's warm!
mojosmom: (cat)
The bad thing is that our building's hot water heater bit the dust, resulting in the purchase and installation of a new heater, resulting in a special assessment. NOT the best time of year for unexpectedly large outlays, what with an insurance premium and estimated tax both due in January. And especially not the very day after you've had a long chat with your financial advisor, during which you both moaned a lot about the state of the markets in general and what was supposed to be your retirement money in particular.

The first good thing is that we now have hot water again! It's not easy washing your hair at the kitchen sink with water heated on the stove. And I have no scullery maid to heat large pans of water for my bath, so was reduced to a sponge bath (again, with water heated on the stove).

The second good thing is that I arrived home to find in the foyer a large box from Zabar's. "Who", I wondered, "is getting goodies from Zabar's?" And there was my name on the box! Now, my friend Hillary (the one whose daughter roomed with me this summer) had emailed me that she was sending me "a few nibbles". Some "few"!! The box was packed with goodies, including rugelach and babka, bagel chips and fortune cookies, coffee and chocolate, a Big (chocolate) Apple and a sugar cookie shaped and frosted like a NYC cab, among other things. All packed in a pretty woven cane picnic-style basket. Not to mention the cardboard shipping box which is now a cat house.

She also sent me a card, enclosed with which was a document welcoming the participants at the 30th Annual Conference of the Council on Governmental Ethics Law. A welcome letter from Rod Blagojevich. Dated Dec. 7-10, just after his arrest. Oh, my, talk about bad timing!

Weekend stuff:

Saturday was Jim & Kevin's annual Open House, always a pleasure. They do have an interesting variety of friends. I chatted about DNA and law with a couple of scientists, and politics with a former Joffrey dancer, and walked home in a light fall of snow. Sunday, I went up north to Julie's for turkey and stuff. The sweet potatoes came out well, and everyone went home with a variety of leftovers. Peggy brought me a bottle of wine which she had intended bringing to my open house. So, naturally, just as she forgot it then, I forgot it yesterday and left it at Julie's! Here's hoping Julie will remember to bring it to our next get-together. I'm missing Caroline's open house tonight, as I really couldn't see making the trek from Wheaton to Lake Villa and back to Chicago, particularly in snow and sleet.

Happy days!

Dec. 6th, 2008 05:10 pm
mojosmom: (cat)
I have a working oven again! Hurrah! I shall celebrate by throwing in a pizza for dinner.

My Sunday-after-Thanksgiving open house went off quite well, even in the absence of an oven. I'd been sent a gift of an orange-cranberry coffee cake, someone brought a chocolate bundt cake and I'd bought a double chocolate Boston creme pie, and someone else brought mandelbrodt, so we had baked goods well covered!

My discretion was well-tested, as among the guests were a couple to whose surprise 65th wedding anniversary party I went the next evening. Their daughters hosted it (though only one was able to attend, the other being in Massachusetts) at a local Italian restaurant, and it was a lovely event. Lots of good food and the company was excellent as well.

June 2017



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