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: (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: (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: (Book sale!)
Really. It's not just that it's in the 90s. It's humid and stuffy to boot. I dashed to the library earlier today to return a book and renew my card, and, after realizing how bad it really was outside, I nixed my plans to go to an outdoor concert tonight. I'd have been sitting out with no shade, no breeze, and I know I couldn't have tolerated it for long. So I stayed home with my A/C.

Last weekend was nicer. I had an errand downtown, and had left lots of time due to bus reroutes. Having done so, we naturally zipped there in no time, and I was quite early. But, as always, I had a book with me, so I sat in the Art Institute's sculpture garden and read until it was time for my meeting. The meeting was short, so afterwards I went back to the Art Institute to see the exhibit Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy, a nice complement to the "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" show. I also stopped by the shop and picked up a few "Special Value" books.

It was a bad day for book shopping (or good, depending on your point of view). I got my hair cut, and then went next door to O'Gara & Wilson's. Everything 25% off, because they are moving to Chesterton, Indiana, of all godforsaken places. I suppose from Doug's point of view, it makes sense, because that's where he lives, but for literally decades it's been one of my favorite used bookstores, and I will miss it terribly. It will come as no surprise to you that I bought a bunch of books.

This is all on top of what I picked up, free or cheap, at the American Library Association convention here a couple of weeks ago. I had an exhibit hall pass from Tim over at LibraryThing, and took full advantage of it!

The sibs arrive tomorrow for a couple of days. Stacey has warned that she plans to bring lots of veggies, so I will exercise restraint at the farmers market tomorrow morning.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Well, it's actually eased up a bit now, so I was able to head to the library, where I am typing this.  It was coming down in sheets this morning, and the Robie House manager called to say they were cancelling all tours.  So I did laundry instead, and watched a bunch of episodes of "The Hour".  I don't get BBC America in my cable package, but it is available with Comcast's On Demand, that's how I see it.  Great show!

Yesterday, I had a long visit to the dentist.  She replaced one of my fillings.  Honestly, it was only forty-one years old.  I'm going back on Monday to have another replaced, which is even older.  We're not sure by how much, as their records go back only to 1968.

And in thrilling news, I got my hair cut yesterday!  My hairdresser was happy to see me, but I was even happier to see her.  We both like the Charlize Theron look on me:
mojosmom: (Default)
Our "mild" winter has disappeared with a vengeance, now that spring is just a few weeks away. We got about 10" of snow yesterday (yes, New Englanders, I know that's nothing compared to what you've been dealing with!). It started in the early morning and just kept snowing into the night. Both things I had planned for yesterday were cancelled by mutual agreement, as was an event for this morning. I did go out in the morning before things got really bad, just to pick up some produce, but other than that I stayed inside, warm and dry.

What was cancelled (well, postponed, really) today was some additional training for Robie House tours. There's a young adult book by Blue Balliett, The Wright 3, which involves mysterious goings on at Robie House, and the Trust does a special tour for kids based on the book. I'm going to do the training to give that tour as well as the regular one. I've given a couple of the regular tours already, and I am really enjoying it. One of the perks of doing this is that there is a lot of additional education available, seminars and lectures, etc.

We had one bad day last week, too, but not bad enough to stop me from going to the Art Institute for a talk about chocolate and the Mayan culture, accompanied by a couple of kinds of hot chocolate, finger sandwiches and cookies. Yum!

I tried to accomplish some stuff on Monday, but was stymied. My hair is growing out, so I decided to treat myself to some shampoo from The Body Shop. But when I got there, I discovered they're closed for renovations and won't re-open until next month! Then I went to the bank to transfer some funds for the deposit on housing for my trip to France, and they needed one bit of info I didn't have. So I couldn't do that, either. (I have the info now and will go back tomorrow.) I then went up to Gilda's Club, contending with the alternate transit routes, as the Brown Line train, which I usually take to and from downtown to the club, couldn't cross the river as the bridge is out for repairs. The CTA, however, had free shuttle buses running so it worked out, though on the way to the bus coming back, I was forced to walk past the Anti-Cruelty Society's windows and admire the kitties up for adoption.

Also for the France trip, I've decided to get some tutoring to brush up my French, which I haven't used to any extent in about 30 years! Ack! I start next week. I have a feeling that I'll be mixing up French and Italian.

Over the last couple of weeks, since my last post, there have been a lot of interesting cultural events. A big Picasso show just opened at the Art Institute, and I went to a lecture about that. Two days later, I was back at the AIOC for a curator's talk with Kara Walker, whose installation, Rise Up Ye Mighty Race!, also just opened.

In between, I went to hear Garry Wills talk about his latest book, Why Priests?, over at Seminary Co-op.

And opera! I got to go to a dress rehearsal for Lyric's production of Rigoletto, which I'm seeing tomorrow. (Fabulous soprano, not so fabulous tenor.) Also went to Die Meistersinger on Sunday, which was all around excellent. It's Wagner's bicentennial year, so the Symphony did a program of the prelude and Act II of Tristan und Isolde. Chicago Opera Theater just did a production of Philip Glass' The House of Usher, which I liked a lot. The director gave it a homoerotic slant that served the production well. In the midst of all this, it was time to renew Lyric and CSO for next year! Time does fly.

My older sister has gotten involved in a new art gallery in Cleveland, which will have its grand opening the first weekend in April, so I'm thinking of driving out for a few days for that.

It's a rather odd coincidence, but before the Pope announced his retirement, I had been reading a couple of papal-related books. Two were books on the Borgias, and it's been interesting to see how journalists doing their obligatory potted histories of the papacy have been uncritically repeating all the old unsubstantiated gossip. I also read the extremely odd Hadrian the Seventh, about a failed priest who is unexpectedly elected Pope, by the extremely odd Frederick William Rolfe (he liked to abbreviate his name as "Fr. Rolfe", so that people would think he was a priest, but, according to one book blurb, "his vices were considered spectacular, even in Venice, where he died.").

The Latke-Hamentashen debate finally happened. It's usually the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but there was a brouhaha at Hillel, which had always sponsored the debate in the past. The Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, took it over, so it was delayed until mid-February, close to Purim. That, however, did not help the hamentashen; as always, latkes won the popularity contest!

Y'know, if I updated more often, these posts wouldn't be so long.
mojosmom: (Default)
Everyone was there! Hecht, of course, and Margaret Anderson of The Little Review, Eunice Tietjens, Sherwood Anderson, Max Bodenheim, Vachel Lindsay. Okay, so it was actors playing the parts. But still, it was the house where Ben Hecht lived for a while (it was a rooming house):


We were entertained with music, poetry and a magic lantern show, and there was food and drink. There was even a costume contest, which I didn't know about, but I got Honorable Mention, basically for being mouthy to a lecturer. (He said something about having too much money to spend on books, and I said, "Lucky you!" He liked my "20s attitude"!) I live in a fun neighborhood.

I've been down to the Art Institute a couple of times over the last week for special events. Last week there was a lecture to preview an upcoming exhibit of Byzantine art, mostly borrowed from the British Museum, which coincidentally is closing their Byzantine galleries for renovation just as we are re-opening ours. So the show will be up for nine months, and it sounds like it's going to be fabulous. At pretty much the other end of the spectrum, there was a lecture about the current Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibit. I'm completely in love with Landscape in Fog. There's actually a sign at the entrance to the exhibit encouraging photography (for personal use), a rarity for special exhibitions.

Last Thursday was "Make Music Chicago Day", with all kinds of music being played at venues all over the city - all day. Tremendous fun! I went down to the Fine Arts Building and heard Miss Chicago 2012 sing opera, and then to the main library for a dance tribute to Katharine Dunham. That was so good. They showed video clips from the Dance collection, and then a local dance troupe did some of her work, but then there were also hip-hop and South Asian dancers, influenced by her. Very cool. In the late afternoon, I went over to International House at the University of Chicago for jazz, more opera, and the Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra. There was also food and drink there, which I was not expecting, so I noshed a little but still stopped on the way home, as previously planned, for Thai carry-out.

And I saw the cutest movie! It's called "The Cat Returns" and is an animated Japanese film about a schoolgirl who saves a cat from being hit by a car. It turns out that this wasn't just any cat, but the son of the King of Cats! The King's attempts to show his gratitude lead to all sorts of complications.

And in "small world" stuff: I had lunch yesterday with the daughter of my high school biology teacher, whom I had met a couple of times years ago. This teacher was instrumental in my choice of college. Now, one of the women in my graduating class happened to mention that she sometimes comes to Chicago, and has a good friend here. You guessed it - my teacher's daughter. They know each other because their husbands went to school together. On top of which, L is a friend of D, someone else I knew way back when, and we are now hoping that the three of us can get together when D visits here in late July.

My friend Hilary was in town over the last weekend, visiting her two kids and her mom, so she stopped by on Sunday and we gabbed and ate pastries.

I have been swilling sparkling water all day. It's currently 96º and it's supposed to be in the 90s at least for the next week. At least so far, it hasn't broken 100º. We're also supposed to get isolated thunderstorms over the next couple of days.

Sorry about the length, but it's been so long since I last posted that I can't help it! I'll try to do better.
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
I'd be enjoying the 50º weather. However, this being the last day of May, I ran around this morning closing all the windows, and will probably hunker down with a pot of tea and my current read (Derby Day, by D.J. Taylor). I do have to go out later to replenish supplies and I will be annoyed that I have to wear a coat. It's also supposed to rain.
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
It's practically summer here! Seriously, we're expecting a high in the 80s today. I can live with that. I have thrown open all the windows and am letting the breezes blow and the sun shine in. I might even make some iced tea.

We have a visiting cat next door. I came home last Friday, and, as I was coming up the last bit of back stair, saw this lovely cat, who looked far too sleek and well-fed to be a stray. Turns out that my neighbor's cousin is visiting to help him out with some renovations on his apartment, and the cousin always travels with his cat. Cat can't stay inside because my neighbor is allergic, so he hangs out on the back porch and stairs, or in the cousin's van. Meet Diesel:

Lots of music lately. The full production of Rinaldo certainly lived up to the promise of the dress rehearsal. The day prior, I'd gone to the Symphony to hear (finally) Ricardo Muti conduct Cherubini's Requiem. He was supposed to do it last season, but got ill. The program also included a vocal piece by Brahms and Schoenberg's Kol Nidre. The chorus got a real work-out. Sunday, the Newberry Consort played a concert of sixteenth-century Ferrarese music at Rockefeller Chapel. Such a sunny day that, at one point, the soprano and a couple of the musicians had to move their music stands because the light shining through the stained glass windows put too much glare on the music! And most of the audience went outdoors during intermission.

I went up to my friend Margaret's for dinner on Saturday, and she showed off the new addition to her house, a lovely sun room that can be accessed from her kitchen and from what she now is using as her dining room (it had been a study/office). Her nephew did all the work, and it's gorgeous. Light wood paneling, windows on three sides, plus two skylights, and a small deck leading outside.

What else? Oh, a very fun lecture at the Art Institute by Sarah Burns called "Better for Haunts", all about how Victorian American architecture has become the archetype for the haunted house, with references to Chas Addams, Psycho, and Edward Hopper.

I have done my civic duty and voted duty. Despite the gorgeous weather, turnout seems to be light, but there's really only one major race in the Democratic primary, and that's in the top judicial race. Sadly, most people don't pay much attention to those. So as there are very few Republicans in my neighborhood, the poll workers will probably need to have brought a good book.
mojosmom: (Snow)
We're supposed to get around 8", which is nowhere near as bad as last February! I had a meeting downtown after my Italian lit class, and so ended up driving home in the mess. But my drive was on a main road, so it could have been worse. On the bright side, I parked downtown in a lot where I had a discount ticket ($12 as opposed to $33), crossed the street to the store formerly known as Marshall Field's, and walked the few blocks to my meeting underground via the Pedway. I love the Pedway!

We're interviewing for a new Managing Director for Teatro Vista, and we have an appointment for tomorrow with a guy who's driving up from Indianapolis. I called him this afternoon, and he still plans on driving up, so I gave him all my numbers just in case. I wouldn't have blamed him one bit if he'd asked to re-schedule.

I've just been out getting the accumulation off my car, and the maintenance guy from one of the buildings across the alley was also out doing some shoveling and he offered to help. I did not say "no"! He said this was about the fourth time today he'd been out shoveling, trying to keep on top of things.

Now I am going to go fix myself a cup of tea.
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
I have just come in from clearing a few inches of snow off the car. It's supposed to snow all night, and since I have a class in the morning, I wanted to get a head start. A friend of mine is supposed to be flying in from New York tonight to see her mom and her two kids (I say "kids", but they are college grads); I hope she makes it.

Hard to believe it was 50º(F) yesterday! (Well, maybe not. This is Chicago, and it is January.

It's been a fairly quiet week. I ushered at a concert on Saturday - very nice early music, featuring a pair of cellists. Went to hear The Magic Flute last night, which is always a treat. Also went to an event at the Art Institute - a conversation between a curator and a collector, followed by drinks, noshes and a viewing of an exhibit of drawings from said collector's collection. There was one piece in particular that I coveted, "Second Roebling", by Christopher Wilmarth. I won't post the image of it that I found on the web, though; it just doesn't do the piece any justice.

Did a bit of shopping. I lost my good black gloves on the bus on Friday, so had to replace them. I was really annoyed because I'd only bought them a few weeks ago. Also did some boring but necessary bra/undies/socks shopping.

I went to the library yesterday to return one book, and pick up another that was on hold. I actually returned home with four books; it's so nice to have the time to sit back and read.

I finally worked out exactly when I'm going to head off to the BC convention. I'm going to go to Glasgow first, and then Dublin. I bought my airline tickets today and booked a hotel in Glasgow, and am waiting to hear from someone who might share a room in Dublin before I book that (though I'm not going to wait too long). I had to change a couple of theatre tickets here, but that was no big deal.
mojosmom: (Default)
Wow, I just realized that I haven't posted anything substantive since I talked about my New York trip.

Since then, I've started my Italian literature class (as well as the regular language class) and my "Queens of Crime" class continues. Both are quite enjoyable. I attended the annual Printers Ball, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, which is really just an excuse to pick up free copies of 'zines, literary journals and some books. I did restrain myself, as I really am trying to free up some space on my shelves. Unfortunately for that plan, I also went to the Newberry Library Book Fair, where I did not restrain myself.

We'd been having really hot weather, but about a week ago we had a big storm overnight, and since then it's cooled off (that is, it's in the low 80s rather than the high 90s). It had been way too hot to do any real walking, so the next day I did a long walk along the lake, which was still stirred up from the storm, and was showing an amazing number of different shades of blue:

Surf's up!

I observed Do Nothing But Read Day on Saturday (though I did take a break to go buy groceries!), and finished up the book I had in progress, as well as a couple of others (one very short). On Sunday, I went up north for a picnic. We went to a park near my friend Cheryl's where there is quite a nice shelter. It's fully enclosed, but with windows that are nearly floor to ceiling that open up, so you get the air, but are protected if, as happened to us, it suddenly decides to thunderstorm! From there, I went to another friend's for a small get-together.

On Monday, I had to be downtown for a planning meeting for a seminar in October. It was held in a building right across from the Daley Center, which houses some courts and city offices and has a Picasso in the plaza:
Chicago's PIcasso

In the summer, all sorts of events are held there, and this week they're having the Chicago Sister Cities International Festival, with food and vendors and performances. So before the meeting, I lunched on jerk chicken and watched some kids demonstrating Taekwondo.

West Side Story is playing in Chicago, and I'd been debating whether to go (tickets aren't cheap). I finally decided that I really wanted to see it as a) I love it, b) it's gotten good reviews, and c) this is the bilingual version. Verdict: B+. I wasn't terribly impressed with the woman who sang Maria; I don't know if it was the way she was miked, but her voice was a bit shrill and thin for my taste. Tony and Anita, on the other hand, were excellent, and I thought the bilingual experiment worked really well.

I had dinner beforehand at one of my favorite local restaurants. Very inexpensive, as they had sent me a gift certificate for my birthday which resulted in a three course meal with two glasses of wine costing me just over $10 (just over $20 with the tip).


Jul. 12th, 2011 02:48 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
We had a derecho here yesterday morning. It came on really fast. I was up at 7:30 and went out to water the plants on the back porch. It was already 80º and very sunny. Within about an hour, the skies darkened, and the winds were blowing furiously, and it was pouring rain. It only lasted a couple of hours, but here's what my neighborhood looked like later in the day:
Tree damage

Not my car, thank goodness!
(No, that's not my car!)

There were some very unhappy birds:
Wet birds

After it was over, I went downtown and did a bit of necessary shopping (shoes, underwear) and along the way found a great pair of sunglasses that double as readers.

I've been doing a lot the past few days. On Wednesday, I met up with a couple of people from Texas who are on LibraryThing. They'd "done" Hyde Park, and we met at a local joint to eat, and then visited some used bookstores.

On Thursday, I saw David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, which I liked better than Yellow Face. Met Betty C. afterwards for a drink and to talk about the TV board.

Friday, I went to Summerdance for the first time this season - it was Cajun and zydeco music - and during the break I walked down the block to the Fine Arts Building's Second Friday, where I checked out the used bookstore and found one of the books I need for my class, and a couple of others, and said "hi" to Hodge the cat.

Saturday was gorgeous and busy. I hauled about five bags of clothes and household stuff to the Brown Elephant, and, as always, found a few things while there. Then I went to my friend Kate's. Her garden, as it is every year, was part of a neighborhood Garden Walk, but we sat inside and enjoyed some iced tea and conversation. I haven't seen as much of her as I'd like, but now that I will have more time, we are planning outings. I headed home to put together a picnic dinner, and then went to Millennium Park for a Grant Park Symphony concert.

Sunday was the DuSable Museum art & craft fair. It was very, very hot, so I didn't stay too long (it's all outside, and very little shade), but long enough to find a lovely necklace.

I am finding that one of the things I like best about retirement is the fact that I have much more flexibility to get things done. I don't have to worry about cramming in all my errands after work, or on Saturday, and if I'd rather spend an hour or so reading on the back porch than grocery shopping, I can do that. It's very nice, indeed.
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: (Default)
Cleveland. And Akron! Exciting, no?

Actually, a good time was had by all. My younger sister arrived in Chicago on Wednesday (the 15th). We went to the Art Institute on Thursday, and drove to Cleveland to my older sister's place on Friday. Next day, we drove to Akron to see the Herman Leonard photography exhibit at the Akron Museum of Art, and, of course, while we were there we looked at more of their collection. They had on display some pieces from the collection of Dorothy & Herbert Vogel, a librarian and postal worker who amassed one of the finest collections of contemporary art, all on the salaries of civil servants. Talk about living for art! Then we had lunch al fresco at Chrissie Hynde's restaurant, VegiTerranean. I managed to avoid fake meat and fake dairy in favor of a very nice pasta dish.

On Sunday, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see a show of Japanese and Korean art, The Lure of Painted Poetry, which was quite marvelous. We had dinner at a very good soul food restaurant, Zanzibar. Stacey told us it was good, and we could see she was right by the number of people leaving the place with leftovers in hand. Excellent service, too.

The next day, it was on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to see Stacey's exhibit. It's well worth seeing, and I would say that even if she weren't my sister.

In between all this running around, we hung out at her apartment with her seven cats (there are only six in the picture because one of them spent most of the time hiding in a closet):

Six cats

Cathy and I drove back to Chicago on Tuesday. I took off work on Wednesday, and, as it was perfect walking-around weather, we decided to got to Graceland Cemetery, where all sorts of well-known and not-so-well known Chicagoans are buried, including lots of architects (Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Walter Netsch, Mies van der Rohe, and more).
Louis Henri Sullivan

Cathy went back to San Francisco on Thursday, and I went back to work.

We had fabulous weather over the weekend, and so on Saturday I went to the Poetry Foundation's Open House. Ruth Lilly, the pharmaceuticals heiress, left Poetry magazine tons of money (the bequest was valued at over $100 million at the time - more now), despite the fact that they rejected her submissions! The magazine formed a foundation to promote poetry, and built a lovely new facility, which was the reason for the open house. There were a lot of author readings both Saturday and Sunday; however, by the time I learned about this, all the tickets were gone. So I just checked out the building and participated in the Poetry Corps, which meant I got to read a poem for their archives. Look at all the poetry!
The library

The weather has continued fine, so I have been spending much of my spare time sitting on the back porch with a cat, a book, and a glass of ice tea (or wine, depending).
mojosmom: (Default)
It was supposed to be in the '70s yesterday and the '80s today. It is currently somewhere in the low '60s. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that it is also raining. Just like yesterday. Seriously, both days, I'm thinking I should head downtown and run a couple of errands and enjoy the weekend. I plan my timing to miss a) the Memorial Day Parade yesterday, and b) Bike the Drive today. And both days, the minute I think it's time to get ready to go out, I hear the patter of little raindrops.

If he doesn't come through with tomorrow's promised 90º and sunny, he's fired.

However, I am taking advantage of this to get a lot of stuff done around here. In the process of switching out the summer and winter clothes (between the bedroom closet and the hall storage closet), I have piled up a ton of things that I don't wear or that don't fit and have accumulated about four bags (so far) of clothes and other items to take to the Brown Elephant Resale shop. (I haven't taken them up there, though, since there are Cubs games every day and that always screws up traffic and parking in the area.)

Before the weather turned to complete shit yesterday, I went over to the library to pick up a book ("The Hare with Amber Eyes", which was recommended on Bookcrossing. I'm think I'll spend the dreary afternoon finishing up my current read (Arthur Phillip's The Tragedy of Arthur by William Shakespeare, and start the new one. I also went by the farmers' market. Not much variety yet, though you could have fed an entire town on all the asparagus available!

NOTE: this is my first attempt at posting to Dreamwidth with a cross-post to LJ. Hope it works! (I've imported all my LJ to Dreamwidth, too.) Which reminds me. I have three invite codes to Dreamwidth. If anyone wants one, drop a comment!)
mojosmom: (Default)
It was supposed to be in the '70s yesterday and the '80s today. It is currently somewhere in the low '60s. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that it is also raining. Just like yesterday. Seriously, both days, I'm thinking I should head downtown and run a couple of errands and enjoy the weekend. I plan my timing to miss a) the Memorial Day Parade yesterday, and b) Bike the Drive today. And both days, the minute I think it's time to get ready to go out, I hear the patter of little raindrops.

If he doesn't come through with tomorrow's promised 90º and sunny, he's fired.

However, I am taking advantage of this to get a lot of stuff done around here. In the process of switching out the summer and winter clothes (between the bedroom closet and the hall storage closet), I have piled up a ton of things that I don't wear or that don't fit and have accumulated about four bags (so far) of clothes and other items to take to the Brown Elephant Resale shop. (I haven't taken them up there, though, since there are Cubs games every day and that always screws up traffic and parking in the area.)

Before the weather turned to complete shit yesterday, I went over to the library to pick up a book ("The Hare with Amber Eyes", which was recommended on Bookcrossing. I'm think I'll spend the dreary afternoon finishing up my current read (Arthur Phillip's The Tragedy of Arthur by William Shakespeare, and start the new one. I also went by the farmers' market. Not much variety yet, though you could have fed an entire town on all the asparagus available!

NOTE: this is my first attempt at posting to Dreamwidth with a cross-post to LJ. Hope it works! (I've imported all my LJ to Dreamwidth, too.) Which reminds me. I have three invite codes to Dreamwidth. If anyone wants one, drop a comment!)
mojosmom: (Chicago)
I think winter might be really and truly over. (Having said that, it will probably snow.)

Yesterday, it was 60-ish. I went off to my AAUW meeting, a wine tasting, so what if it was only 11:00 in the morning? Well, maybe 11:30 by the time we started pouring the wine. Then I headed over to the Chicago History Museum, just a short bus ride away. See, my courtroom partner is a Civil War re-enactor, and he let slip that his troop was going to be participating in an event there. Naturally, I said I'd have to stop by with my camera, which got him all flustered and embarrassed. But when I got there and found him, he was quite the actor. He posed for me with a rather inauthentic empty plastic the vodka bottle, which was highly amusing, because he never drinks.
Ricky (a/k/a Henry Simonton)
(My partner is the guy standing up.)

In the evening, I went to a lovely concert of 16th-century Italian vocal music, with three fantastic sopranos, a harpsichord, and a variety of violins and lutes.

Today, it was at least eighty, and sunny, and gorgeous. I was inspired to heights of cleaning, mostly because I want to get the place straightened up before I leave for Washington. This afternoon, I went to a rather curious opera, Death and the Powers, by Tod Machover, with a libretto by Robert Pinsky. It's got robots performing an opera within an opera, about a very wealthy guy who dies and goes into "The System", which he has invented to immortalize himself through technology. I kind of liked it, but I don't know. When an entire page of technology notes precedes the synopsis, I have to wonder about the priorities involved.

It was a short opera, just one, 90-minute, act, and because it was such a fabulous day, and the Park Grille's outside seating area was open, I treated myself to dinner there. Salmon tartare, risotto con pomodori secchi e salsiccia, and a sweet potato chiffon (like a mousse) for dessert.

I also managed to finish two books this weekend, Laurence Cossé's A Novel Bookstore, about a shop that sells only good novels, chosen by a secret committee, and James Cain's Mildred Pierce, which contains one of the best passages ever: "Are you insinuating that my daughter is a snake?" "No -- is a coloratura soprano, is much worse."

Now you must excuse me because it's time for the new Upstairs Downstairs!
mojosmom: (Oy vey!)
A stuck idiot. I stupidly tried to go to work today. Got the car out of its spot, most of the way down the alley, and then got stuck right at the entrance to the alley. Called AAA, they came and said that the snow mounds prevented them from getting their truck positioned. So they couldn't help. We've been trying the old standbys - cardboard under the wheels, kitty litter, all of that. Tires don't even move. I have no idea what's going to happen. I'm pissed - mostly at myself for not having the sense to call in.

What a pain.

UPDATE: I decided to try a couple of more times after the sun had been out for awhile, thinking that would unfreeze the tires. A short time ago, I went out, and there were some folks shoveling out their cars and the alley. So between a young woman, the teenage boy who lives downstairs, and two men, SUCCESS!! They were able to push me out, and I made it to a spot that's not on a snow route, actually in that block with the diagonal parking that didn't get hit too bad. I should be able to drive to work tomorrow, but I don't think I will. I am going to the opera, and I do not relish coming home late at night and trying to find a spot, as I really don't think the alley will be clear enough to risk. I'll just get up early and take public transportation (and I do mean early, around 5:00 A.M.!), and beg a ride home from the opera from Jim & Kevin or the Harrises.

Mood is now: relieved.
mojosmom: (Snow)
Last night was weird. It was blowing really, really hard, and then there was thunder and lightning! It blew so hard that I thought we'd luck out and not have our cars buried. Ha. My car's the one in the middle:

Ack!  Where's my car!?

I went out around 9:00 and started to dig out the rear end of the car, and was joined by a couple of kids who had been digging tunnels in the snow. They were very excited because the schools were closed, an event that the older one, who is 11, pointed out had never happened before in their lifetime. (The last time was twelve years ago.) They didn't last too long, but it was sweet of them to help. A couple of hours later, after it had snowed some more and then stopped, I decided to go and tackle some more of the snow. This time, I was joined by a young woman who was walking down the alley with her shovel slung over her shoulder. She had intended to dig out her car, but found she had no place to throw the snow without blocking someone else. So she left it, and plans to take the bus to work. (She'll have an extra day, though, because she's a teacher and CPS just announced they'll be closed tomorrow, too.) Between the two of us, we basically finished the job, and I invited her in to warm up and have a cup of tea. I paid it forward later this afternoon when I went out to finish the last bit and make sure my car would move. The neighbor kid was digging out her family car, so I helped her out with that.

I still may not get to work tomorrow, because, although we dug out the car and it does move, the alleyway still has a serious amount of snow and it's unlikely I could get from my spot to the street. Public transportation is an option, though a difficult one. It's two buses to the train, and then a bus from the train to my office, and that bus wasn't running today and they're not sure if it will be tomorrow. Not to mention that the temps are supposed to be in the single digits. So I may just call in.

Actually, had I followed my instinct and not parked behind my building but in the diagonal spaces on 53rd about a block away, I would have been okay. But who knew?

I must say that people pretty quickly got most of the sidewalks cleared, and I saw a lot of people helping others dig out. This morning, I wandered over to the park that's down the street. The dark bit to the left of the sign is the only bit of a park bench not buried in snow!

Park bench - Harold Washington Park

They're calling this the "Groundhog Blizzard".

June 2017



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