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: (Default)
It's been lovely.

Friday night was a second Friday, which means Open Studio night at the Fine Arts Building. Every month, different artists have open houses, and Hodge the Bookstore Cat
Hodge, the bookstore cat
holds court at Selected Works Used Books. I visited a couple of the studios, bought a couple of books, and admired Hodge.

The Fine Arts Building is just down the street from Symphony Center, where I had tickets for the L.A. Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel conducting. I had a bite to eat at the Bass Bar in the rotunda before the concert, which was fantastic. They played John Adams' City Noir and Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony, with two encores, the Intermezzo from Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" and the Waltz from Leonard Bernstein's Divertimento for Orchestra. It was quite delightful, particularly the Adams piece, a jazz-inflected evocation of '40s film noir.

Yesterday, I went early to the Hyde Park Garden Fair and stocked up on herbs: sorrel, thyme, Italian oregano, basil, dill, parsley, lemon balm, chocolate mint and spearmint, which I planted in containers on the back porch.

I had a few friends over for dinner (not the usual size crowd, due to scheduling conflicts and illness). I poached a fillet of salmon in white wine, and made a sauce from sour cream, thinned with a bit of the poaching liquid, dijon mustard, lemon juice and fresh dill. Served with oven roasted new potatoes with rosemary, and broccoli. My friend Margaret made a luscious frozen dessert involving pineapple and whipped cream. We killed a couple of bottles of wine, too. DeeJay won't be with us for the next couple of dinners, so she brought my birthday present two months early. Part of it was marjoram seeds, an herb I hadn't bought that morning!

Slept in a bit this morning, and will be off to the opera in a couple of hours, Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, with Frederica von Stade in her last Chicago appearance.
mojosmom: (Default)
On Saturday, I went to my AAUW meeting. We had invited some young women who have been recipients of AAUW fellowships, some from other countries, some from the U.S., and asked them to talk about their research. What an interesting, intelligent group the were, and such interesting and valuable projects! One is working on islet cell transplants, another is doing research into Alzheimer's, one is involved in environmental projects, one is studying a nurse-midwife studying maternal health. And, oh dear, they all look so young! (Of course, they're not, all being in doctoral or post-doc programs, but still . . .)

That evening, I went to the home of the lovely [ profile] tzurriz to eat latkes. Lots of other good things, too, but the point was the latkes. (And, of course, to admire her two adorable children.)

Sunday was my monthly get-together with friends up north, and our annual holiday party. Usually, the guys join us, but between people being sick and a retirement party, it was just us women. We had a lovely dinner, and, as usual, I came home with leftovers.

Tonight, I went to the Poetry Café program at my branch library. I can't usually go, because my Italian class is on Monday nights, but as we are on winter break now, I could. We read poetry, our own or other people's, and played some poetry games. For instance, the facilitator chose a random line of poetry, and then we each dashed off a poem using that line. It was rather fun! As expected, there was quite a range of talent, a bit of pretentiousness, but mostly just people having a good time. I know I did.


Oct. 18th, 2009 09:35 pm
mojosmom: (Birthday cake)
Yes, I've had a lot of champagne this evening. I went up to my friend Margaret's house for the monthly dinner of my women's group. Julie can only drink champagne since her various treatments, so we had a bunch of that on top of whatever else (Barbera d'alba, in my case). Margaret made her usual ham, and we had scalloped potatoes, and an excellent bean dish, and ice cream with fruit, and all was good.

Then I went to my friend Victor's for his 60th birthday party (a/k/a his 1/2 120th). Victor & Paul had their usual party spread: curried chicken, rice pilaf, beef tenderloin, pasta & shrimp salad, lox, asparagus. And lots of wine. And beer. And champagne. Followed, of course, by birthday cake (chocolate, natch).

In other words, I've had a lot of champagne today. It's just wrong that I have to go to work tomorrow!


Jun. 29th, 2009 09:32 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
What absolutely gorgeous weather we had this weekend! Just the sort to make you want to go out even if you had nothing in particular to do, simply to enjoy it.

I did a fair bit of wandering. Saturday, I walked over to a (relatively) nearby condo building where there was a used bicycle sale going on. However, it was pretty picked over when I got there, and what was left was in really poor condition. So I walked back, too! Later, I had to go to the grocery store for a few things, and walked that, too.

There was also an odd event at the Hyde Park Art Center, called "Fryvalry". Basically, people brought a variety of food, one guy fried up the meat, another guy fried up the non-meat items, and then everybody hung around outside eating and enjoying the day:

Macramé Intervention, Mindy Rose Schwartz

Yesterday, I went up to Waukegan for their Independence Day parade (always the Sunday before the 4th) and our annual barbecue at Julie's. The usual marching bands, floats, jugglers at the parade, and the usual bratwurst, hamburgers, and wine at the barbecue. A good time was had by all.
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!


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

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

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

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

Tonight, I'll probably do laundry and taxes. What an exciting life I lead!
mojosmom: (Librarian books)
A while back, Bookcrosser Kate Kintail posted about the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference ( I was tempted, and I fell. Saturday morning, I went down to the Hilton. Oh, my! There were several hundred exhibitors at the Bookfair, and I think I visited them all. See where she says about discounted prices and people shoving things at you? Well, all I can say is that it's a good thing one of the items shoved at me was a tote bag! I came away with lots of books and literary journals, as well as a great many poetry broadsides and catalogues, and had many an enjoyable chat with people. And, as it was Valentine's Day, just about every exhibitor was giving away chocolate:
Chocolate & frisbies

I hauled my books home and rested up, and then went back downtown to meet KK for dinner, at which we talked books and Bookcrossing, of course. I went a bit early, though, as I wanted to stop by Snow Days Chicago. Fortunately, the weather was a bit more cooperative for this event than for last weekend's "Frozen" Fun Fest. I missed the dog sledding, but saw a bit of snowboarding
and admired the snow sculptures. The one below won First Prize:
A Bug's Life

Yesterday, I went to my monthly cooperative dinner, for which I made roasted fennel and carrots. There were only a few of us, but the food and company were good, and I came home with leftovers.

I'm off work today, and am being lazy. I've done a couple of loads of laundry, though I had to wait to get the sheets off the bed until Lilith decide to get up. Off later to my Italian class.
mojosmom: (Default)
Gosh, it's been a while since I've updated with actual life events! (Memes and political rants don't count.)

The day after the Inauguration, I had dinner with friends and we went to see Desire Under the Elms at the Goodman Theatre, part of their O'Neill festival, and yet another in the Brian Dennehy/Robert Falls collaboration. Although the dialect was a bit heavy-going at the beginning of the play, I thought it was extremely powerful, and the acting, particularly Dennehy and Carla Cugino as Abby, was excellent.

A bit from the Trib's Chris Jones showing why Dennehy is so fine )

Art stuff )

Sunday, I went up to Caroline's for brunch and socializing. I made a flourless chocolate cake as my contribution, which was, naturally, greatly appreciated.

Today, I interrupted Marissa's nap to take her to the vet, and she has been officially pronounced in excellent health. I brought her home, left the cat carrier on the floor in the back room, and Lilith is now ensconced within it. Silly thing!
mojosmom: (busy bee)
Tomorrow, I am going to the annual Christmas dinner with my XYZ group, so this morning I made the sweet potatoes that I am bringing (we'll reheat them at Julie's), and wrapped presents (with "help" from the cats). We didn't have our monthly meeting in November, so I'm bringing Peggy's birthday present as well. I've had it (well, them) sitting in a closet since late July! Books. Lovely small (in size and number) editions of plays by her distant relative, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman (after whom the Goodman Theatre is named), on gorgeous paper, a couple of them letterpress. Found at the Newberry Library book sale for a song!

I took Thursday and Friday off from work, and basically lazed around during the day. Thursday evening, I had a ticket for a concert at the Art Institute, the Newberry Consort playing a program called "All In a Garden Green: Renaissance English Music in the Lowlands". It was one of a series of events at the AIOC put on in conjunction with the exhibit, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries. I haven't seen the exhibit yet, but definitely will do so before it closes. There was actually supposed to be a short tour through the show after the concert, but the concert ran a bit long, so there wasn't time.

I went downtown early, because I wanted to browse around the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Center, and check out the tree:
Daley Center Christmas tree.

There was time at the Art Institute before the concert, so I checked out my favorite galleries, as well as the new Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art. There was also a jewel of an exhibit in the Ryerson Library, Art Through the Pages: Library Collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, that included a couple of stunning Sangorski & Sutcliffe bindings, among other nice things. I bought the Museum Studies issue on the exhibit.

After the concert, I decided to take myself to dinner. As I often do, I went to the bar at the Rhapsody, which is in Symphony Center. It's not too noisy, despite being a bar, and the food is good, not too huge portions, and it's less expensive than the restaurant. A good spot for people-watching, too, and, in fact, I ran into an acquaintance.

The snow held off until late night/early morning, so Friday morning I had to dig my car out. My neighbor came home while I was doing so, and, after a bit of a struggle getting through the snow into his parking space, he muttered something about how he could have put in his resumé in San Francisco. I had to dig the car out because I a) had errands to run, and b) went to the opera last night and it was too cold and slushy to take the bus(es). Kevin treated us to dinner at The Tower Club, which is in the Civic Opera Building, so mere steps from the theatre, always nice on a nasty night. The opera was Lyric's first production of Porgy and Bess. I liked it, though some of the voices were not strong enough to stand up to the orchestra, and Bess really overacted in the first scene, though whether that was the choice of the soprano or the director, I can't say. The absolute best voices were Lester Lynch as Crown and Jermaine Smith as Sporting Life, as well as Eric Greene and Laquita Mitchell as Jake and Clara. The audience gave the show a standing ovation, which, enjoyable as it was, it really didn't merit.

And the latest at [ profile] croc_sandwich
mojosmom: (Default)
This weekend was the Hyde Park Art Center's annual 24-hour Creative Move program. I was planning to go over on Friday night, but it was pouring, so I stayed home and puttered, roasting potatoes to take to DeeJay's on Saturday. The next morning, I did go to the Art Center, and enjoyed the art, listened to music
'Olympus Manger,' Scene II, by Kelly Kaczynski
and watched kids messing about.
Pottery class

The Istria Café, which they have been promising for about a year, has finally opened, with lots of yummy flavors of gelato. I had a piccolo hazelnut, which wasn't all that piccolo! The guy kept scooping and I was wondering where it would all end! (Well, we know that; on my hips!) Then, when I went and paid the cashier, he counted out the change to himself, "cinque, sei", so when he gave me the change, I said, "Grazie tanto!", and he looked very startled and said, "Prego!" Maybe I'll go practice my Italian there.

I went up to DeeJay's for dinner, bringing the aforesaid potatoes. Peggy, Cheryl and the girls arrived rather dressed up, as they had just come from a shower for their minister. It's a mixed marriage - he's a Methodist and she's a Presbyterian. Shocking! ;-))

I'd thought of going to Artropolis today - a big art & antiques show at the Merchandise Mart. But I've been running around a lot, and wanted to go out tonight, so I hung out with the cats, watched Verdi's Macbeth on "Live from the Met", and did my homework instead. Then after dinner I went over to Rockefeller Chapel to hear the University of Chicago Motet Choir's annual concert of Jewish music - everything from Josquin de Prez and Solomone Rossi through Milhaud and Ravel up to Shulamit Ran and other contemporary composers. It was very lovely.
mojosmom: (Zingers)
I went to dinner at my friend Fran's tonight. She made roast pork, and we had cheesy potatoes, and a green salad, and green beans wrapped in bacon, and corn, and baked apples with almonds, and I brought strawberries for dessert, with a topping of yogurt, honey and chopped walnuts. I brought home leftovers.

Fran's granddaughter and Cheryl's daughters were also with us. While we had dessert, they were sitting in the floor of the living room watching a movie. Fran has a cat, and at one point we looked in and the cat had joined the girls. They were lined up on the floor in a row: Alex, Clare, cat, Jennie, all watching the film. I wish I had had my camera!

After dinner we played Trivial Pursuits. I think Fran has every edition of the game known to man. My team got all our wedges, and made it to the center. So the other team thought they'd get us by asking a sports question. They were so wrong! I had the answer immediately! Because the question was, "Who wanted Polo Magazine to stop using that name?" No, dears, that's not a sports question. That's a fashion question! (It was Ralph Lauren, of course.)
mojosmom: (Default)
Two plays so far this week, and another tonight. Wednesday, I went to see The Cook, by Eduardo Machado, at the Goodman. We have a subscription, but I'd have gone anyway as a friend of mine is in it. The play opens on New Year's Eve, 1958, in Havana. Gladys, the cook of the title, is working for a wealthy family. As they flee the revolution that night, the wife, Adria, asks Gladys to look after the house. The play follows Gladys and her family, with the remaining acts set in 1972 and 1997. The play confronts class and racial attitudes in Cuba, the relationship between economics and tourism (and a comparison between that tension in Batista's Cuba and Castro's), and basic concepts of loyalty - to one's family, one's work, one's country. It's a very nuanced play, both exiles and Fidelistas will find something to applaud and something to complain about.

Friday, I had a free ticket to Cymbeline at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Several weeks ago, I got a letter from the Newberry Library informing me that members could get free tickets. "Just call this number", it said, so I did. I don't often go to CST, as it's not cheap, so I was thrilled. The play was excellent, and I like the theatre a lot; it's modeled on the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. I do think the plot is one of Shakespeare's most convoluted, and it's got many of his favorite devices: cross-dressing disguises, thought-dead-but-really-kidnapped children, an Othello/Iago pair, and so on. I'd never seen the play performed before, and hadn't realized how much humor there is in it!

I took advantage of being at Navy Pier to take some pictures. Every time I drive by at night, I think, "I should get some shots of that Ferris wheel", but there's nowhere to pull over, and parking is outrageous. So I remembered to take my camera, and got not just the
Looking up at the Ferris wheel
but some other good shots as well. I was really enjoying the way the lights from the rides reflected off the glass building. One of the rides is a "wave swinger", and the people flying through the air against the reflected light looked pretty spooky, I thought:
Riding through the air

Yesterday, I went up to my friend Margaret's for our monthly dinner. As a friend who had moved out of town some time ago was back for a visit, M. had also invited some other friends of hers, so we had a nice group and a good time. I made caramelized apples to serve over ice cream for dessert, which turned out quite nicely. Lois had pictures of her grandson, who has turned into quite a hunk!

Tonight, I'm off to a one-woman show about Hattie McDaniel, part of the Chicago Humanities Festival. I'll report on that later!
mojosmom: (busy bee)
It really was a busy week. I've told you about the plays, and Miss Manners. Here's the rest.

Thursday night, I went to a going-away party for a co-worker who is leaving the office to join a local law firm, but left early to go to a reading at 57th Street Books. Kurt Elling (jazz musician and former neighbor) has published a book of his lyrics, so I thought I should pop in for that. Bought the book, of course!

Friday night, there was a lecture at Columbia College by Julie Chen, of Flying Fish Press. I love her work! After the lecture, I went down to the gallery at the Center for Book and Paper Arts to see the current show, "Reading, Writing & 'rithmetic", all sorts of old writing manuals, alphabet books, etc.

Saturday, my friends and I had what will likely be the last picnic of the season. I went that morning to the Green City Market to buy some veggies for the picnic, and while I was there I found some yummy Concord grapes and some Japanese sweet potatoes. I love the latter. I cut them into bite-size pieces, deep-fry them, toss them in a simple syrup flavored with soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Delish!

Sunday afternoon, I went over to the Hyde Park Art Center. They were having artists' receptions for a couple of exhibits. One was student work, and I didn't much care for most of it, though there were a couple of sketches that I liked. But I really liked the "Plate Convergence" exhibit. It consists of plates done by a local ceramicist, as well as historic plates from the Yamaguchi family. And there's a story! In 1592, the Ri brothers were captured during the pottery wars, and brought their art to Japan. The Yamaguchi family learned the art and have been practicing it ever since. Shoji Yamaguchi heard of the "Black Clay of Itawamba County" in Mississippi, and moved there in mid-50's, later marrying an African-American woman (They were tragically killed in a car crash in Japan in 1986, but their son carries on the tradition). Many of his pieces are specifically designed as containers for traditonal African-American foods, like this collards pot:
Collards pot

Then there was an exhibit that included some very cool altered books and book-like pieces. I liked these whimsical "Fungus Beast Books":
Fungus Beast Books 1,2,3

I walked back home via Harold Washington Park, and checked out the boat pond. They've just recently re-opened it with a nice new fountain, but there were only a couple of kids using it. I think it hasn't been re-discovered yet.

other stuff

I talked to my kid sister, who is doing well. She's just started her hormone treatment, and is busily planning a trip to Osaka in October. (Well, she's reading up on Japan, and leaving the planning to the trip organizers!)

Tickets for the Chicago Humanities Festival went on sale to the general public today! YAY! I was surprised, and very pleased, to find that members hadn't glommed onto all the Philip Pullman tickets. I'm going to hear him twice! AND Garry Wills. As well as a performance of Noye's Fludde (unfortunately, not the one at Rockefeller Chapel, because I have a conflict that day), a one-woman show about Hattie McDaniel, a performance of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with a reading of the sonnets which he wrote, and the closing cabaret concert, featuring songs about the weather! (The theme this year is "The Climate of Concern".) Now you may think that's a lot of stuff, but the fact is that I usually find a lot more events that I want to go to. Oh, well, it saves me juggling and rushing around.


Aug. 19th, 2007 09:47 pm
mojosmom: (Zingers)
As feared, the planned picnic at the beach was rained out, but never mind! It was a wonderful day despite that.

It rained off and on, but about 10:00, when I called Barb (who was organizing this), it had stopped, both by me and up in Waukegan, so the consensus was to give it a try. I cut up veggies for salad, put everything together and drove up north. As I hit the Edens Expressway, so did the rain! I'd planned that I'd go to Margaret's, and then we'd drive in her car to the lakefront (since, as a resident, she gets better - and free - parking). We stopped by the grocery store to pick up corn for the grill, and decided to call Barb to see if we should pick up anything else. It's a good thing we did, because I discovered Barb had called me (for some reason, my phone was on "silent"!) Called her back, told her where we were, and she said, "You might want to not buy the corn". Apparently, the Doppler didn't look good. So we put back most of the corn, and Margaret and I went back to her house, where we discovered that Caroline had stopped on her way home from the beach and left a dessert inside Margaret's door!

We were sitting around drinking hot chocolate when we got a call from a Peggy, who said she and Cheryl and the girsl, and - surprise! - our friend Sue, were downtown, so we told them to come over. Sue had driven up from Springfield, but had told Cheryl not to say anything because she wasn't sure if she'd make it. So we got back on the phone and called everyone else who'd packed it in because of the rain, and we decided to "picnic" at Margaret's. The rain lightened a bit, and we were able to grill the brats and burgers and corn. It was a really nice time, and it was great to see Sue, so who cares if it rained? We were warm and dry and well-fed and having a good time. We are really a pretty flexible and spontaneous bunch - and we care more about being with each other than having things go exactly as planned. (It's an attitude that I can't recommend highly enough!)


Aug. 19th, 2007 09:47 pm
mojosmom: (Zingers)
As feared, the planned picnic at the beach was rained out, but never mind! It was a wonderful day despite that.

It rained off and on, but about 10:00, when I called Barb (who was organizing this), it had stopped, both by me and up in Waukegan, so the consensus was to give it a try. I cut up veggies for salad, put everything together and drove up north. As I hit the Edens Expressway, so did the rain! I'd planned that I'd go to Margaret's, and then we'd drive in her car to the lakefront (since, as a resident, she gets better - and free - parking). We stopped by the grocery store to pick up corn for the grill, and decided to call Barb to see if we should pick up anything else. It's a good thing we did, because I discovered Barb had called me (for some reason, my phone was on "silent"!) Called her back, told her where we were, and she said, "You might want to not buy the corn". Apparently, the Doppler didn't look good. So we put back most of the corn, and Margaret and I went back to her house, where we discovered that Caroline had stopped on her way home from the beach and left a dessert inside Margaret's door!

We were sitting around drinking hot chocolate when we got a call from a Peggy, who said she and Cheryl and the girsl, and - surprise! - our friend Sue, were downtown, so we told them to come over. Sue had driven up from Springfield, but had told Cheryl not to say anything because she wasn't sure if she'd make it. So we got back on the phone and called everyone else who'd packed it in because of the rain, and we decided to "picnic" at Margaret's. The rain lightened a bit, and we were able to grill the brats and burgers and corn. It was a really nice time, and it was great to see Sue, so who cares if it rained? We were warm and dry and well-fed and having a good time. We are really a pretty flexible and spontaneous bunch - and we care more about being with each other than having things go exactly as planned. (It's an attitude that I can't recommend highly enough!)
mojosmom: (cat)
I woke up early this morning and headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo (pictures here). It's not as big or elaborate as Brookfield, but:
a) it's free
b) I can get there on the bus
c) it has a lovely setting, in a park in the middle of the city.

A lot of the animals, especially among the big cats and bears, were "off exhibit", as their habitats are being worked on. (It was pretty amusing to see an area marked "bears", full of homo sapiens!) But there were plenty left to see, and I spent an enjoyable two hours or so watching the animals, human and non-. The Green City Market is just south of the zoo, so I stopped there and bought a few things before I headed home.

Then later I drove up to Waukegan for a performance of Guys and Dolls, Jr. It was put on by a performing arts camp at Waukegan's restored Genesee Theatre. My friend Cheryl's oldest daughter, Jennie Len, had the role of Nicely, Nicely. The kids ranged in age from 9 to 14, and, as you can imagine, their talents ran the gamut as well. There were a couple only a mother could love, most were average but enthusiastic, and another couple were standouts. The girl who played Miss Adelaide could have been a professional. Great voice, great stage presence, a real natural. They cast way against type for Big Juley - the actor was the smallest and youngest girl in the group, and, gosh, did she make a meal of the part!

So all in all, a very enjoyable day.
mojosmom: (Librarian books)
What a literary weekend! Between the Festival of the Book
Festival of the Book
(and the accompanying exhibit, Action/Interaction)
at Columbia College, and the Printers Row Book Fair, it's been books and authors all over the place. Friday night was the opening reception at FOB/AI, with Audrey Niffenegger giving a talk. I did a quick browse of the vendors room, and went through the exhibition (though these will be up for a while, so I can go back), but it was mostly drinking, noshing and chatting.

Yesterday, however, I did nothing literary. I had friends over for dinner, so the day was spent straightening up the apartment, cooking, etc. We had a grand time, though there were not as many of us as usual, as a couple of people were out of town and a couple had family obligations. Lilith was a bit of a brat and threw up on Julie's shoes. Fortunately, they were sneakers, thus easily cleaned, and most of it landed on the floor.

More books today, though. I had committed to being at the Chicago Hand Bookbinders table at the Festival from noon until 2:00 p.m., so decided, after much vacillating, that I would take the bus and go to Printers Row first, do my stint, and then, possibly, go back to Printers Row. The Book Fair is set up on Dearborn Street, with booths on either side and down the middle, so the plan was to go down one side, with an occasional browse in the middle, and then visit the booths at the end. I would then go to the Festival and come back and do the other side of Dearborn Street. However, by the time I got done with one side, I was loaded down! Had I done both sides of the street, I would have needed a truck (or at least a cab) to get home! Got some good stuff, including a book for one of my sisters (which she may have already, she wasn't home when I called to ask, but at $2.50, what the heck). Sadly, Congregation Makom Shalom was not having their usual book sale. (They are on the same street as the fair and their sale is generally a great source of books for me.) For some reason, Ghirardelli Chocolates was giving away free samples. I'm not sure of the connection (I think it was a "life's simple pleasures" thing), but who am I to turn down free chocolates?

While at the Fair, I stopped by the Twilight Tales booth. I'm a huge fan of Tina Jens (she's the one on the left),
Tina Jens & Claire Cooney
and told them so (I'm continually pushing her books onrecommending her books to people. The guy I was talking to told me that they were having a "double debut" party at a local bar tonight, to celebrate the publication of two new anthologies (one of which I bought), in both of which Jens had a story. He also gave me a couple of copies of her book, wrote her email address in it, and told me that the next time I recommended it to someone, I should give them a copy! I had been thinking of going to hear Dee Alexander at the Checkerboard, but since I'd heard her a there a few weeks ago, I ultimately decided to pass on that at go to Villains for the book party. It was great! Not a lot of people, but a lot of fun. They were having a raffle, and I won a bunch of ARCs. I also bought the other anthology, in a deal with Jens. I bought the anthology and she gave me another couple of copies of The Blues Ain't Nothin' to give away. We really hit it off, and the next thing I knew, she invited me to a cocktail party at her house next week.

I had a great time at the Festival, though. Marlene, CHB's current president, and I were at the table, chatting up folks right and left, getting them to join (or re-up). I had the opportunity to do some serious checking out of the vendors (bought some single sheet books from Emily Martin), and again seeing folks I haven't seen for a while and catching up.

Now I'm home, and wanting to catalogue all the books I got tonight, and LibraryThing is down! Bummer.

Talked to my younger sister yesterday (I'd called her Friday night, which was her birthday, but she was out having sushi and beer). She's tolerating the radiation pretty well. She goes in for it after work (which she leaves a bit early), and either walks home, if it's good weather, or takes a shuttle bus from the medical center where she has the treatment to the one right near her house.
mojosmom: (busy bee)
Hmm, where to begin.

Okay, last Wednesday I went to see a play called Oedipus Complex, Frank Galati's take on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Basically, it was Sophocles, framed and interrupted by bits involving Sigmund Freud, his Interpretation of Dreams and the development of his theory of the Oedipus complex. Sounds a bit contrived, I know, but, gosh, it was powerful stuff. I was completely engrossed, on the edge of my seat almost. It occurred to me, in a discussion of "spoilers" in another forum, that in the case of a play like Oedipus the power comes from the fact that the audience knows what's coming and the protagonist doesn't. That's what builds the tension.

Friday was the Newberry Consort concert, music from the court of a couple of the Holy Roman Emperors. Really wonderful stuff, a combining of sacred and secular, with some of my favorite singers, including the glorious soprano of Ellen Hargis. It was Mary Springfels' last concerts as director of the consort, as she is "retiring" and moving to New Mexico where her partner is now working. "Retiring" is in quotes because she will, it is hoped, return for the occasional concert. Peggy and George have bought a house in Albuquerque. They'll use it as a vacation place until she retires, in about five years. We told her to be sure to buy a sofa-bed as we all plan to visit. ;-)

Saturday, I had a board meeting (stuff was actually accomplished!) in the morning, and in the afternoon I went to my friend Fran's for dinner. Fran's younger granddaughter and Cheryl's two girls gave us a fashion show. They raided the closet where the clothes noone wears anymore are kept, but were forbidden to wear Fran's shoes. Fran's older granddaughter did not join us as she was off to prom; I find it hard to believe she's old enough! But she is, and she has turned into a beautiful young woman. I liked that she didn't worry about a date, but decided at the last minute to go with her girl friends. Picture that happening in my day - not!

Yesterday, I thought about going to one of the Silk Road concerts at the Art Institute, but I figured it would be a mob scene downtown what with the Dalai Lama speaking in the part down the street, so instead I decided to go to the Smart Museum to see the Cosmophilia exhibit of Islamic art. After I'd gone through it, I discovered that there was a docent-led tour happening about a half-hour later, so I had a snack and then went through the exhibit again. It really is wonderful. The pieces are exhibited based on the style of ornamentation, and they range from glassware and ceramics to textiles and books. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed, so I can't share my favorites.

Today was a long morning in court. I had a sentencing hearing on a guy who was his own worst enemy. I told him after we lost the motion to suppress statements that he should take the state's offer of 25. But noooo. So he went to trial, lost, had a mandatory minimum of 60 and got 70. Should have listened to me.

Tonight there was a reception and lecture at the Chicago Public Library, in conjunction with the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit, Picturing Words: The Power of Book Illustrations. They had brought some rather wonderful old books, with hand-colored illustrations that were incredibly vibrant.

There was a story on NPR tonight about Herman Leonard, whose work I love and one of whose pieces I own. It's awful - he's in his 80s and when I heard the first couple of sentences I was sure they were going to say he was dead! Fortunately, they didn't. The occasion was a new book and an exhibit of his work in New Orleans.

Came home to find that Pete's hat had returned to me. He'd left it at the restaurant where we'd had lunch when he was here. I picked it up the next day and went straight to the post office to mail it off, priority, but I guess it didn't get to the hotel until after he'd checked out. I suppose this means I'll have to go to the convention in 2009 and deliver it in person . . .
mojosmom: (cat)
Saw Die Fledermaus last night at Lyric. I do like this opera, even if it is all fluff. Fluff can be fun! And the music really is gorgeous, though you can't waltz in your seat. Jim & Kevin didn't come, as they are busily preparing for their annual holiday party (which is tonight). Jamie said it was just an excuse because Kevin doesn't like Die Fledermaus, not dark and Wagnerian enough for him. K. denied that, but Jim agreed with Jamie. So it was just four of us.

There was a woman seated behind me whose coat I was tempted to steal. Dark, dark charcoal gray velvet (almost black) with big silver fox collar and cuffs, very twenties.

The Hallmark store near me closed several months ago, but they still had a lot of stock so this weekend they are having a big sale, everything at least 50% off. I was there when the doors opened this morning, and, oy, did I make a haul! I have enough birthday cards for the next two years almost, bought wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, etc. Being a good Bookcrosser, a few padded bags were in the pile. And I found some stunning ornaments! Small glass balls, each set of eight has silvery balls, ivory metallic balls, opaque white ones and ones with streaks of silvery glitter. They're very subtle and muted. What's really nice is the detail of the metal cap where the hook goes. It's not plain, but has little embossed design. I saw one set, and then noticed two more. So I got them all. Guess I'll have a silvery tree next year!

Best find was when I was standing in line to check out, trying to balance everything. Now, you may have noticed that I write about a group of women friends with whom I have dinner every month. We call ourselves the "XYZingers" (we needed a name for a Literacy Coalition spelling bee!). It started with a group of then-present or former board members of the Lake County (IL) YWCA (hence, "ex-Y zingers") who worked near each other, and would lunch together once a week. After a while, we started having monthly dinners. That began because one of us, who also sells Mary Kay cosmetics, was going to give one of our group a facial. And we all thought that sounded fun, and someone said, "well, let's have dinner, and Cheryl can give us all facials." So we did, and the rest is history. We've been through marriages, divorces, moves, job changes, childbirth and death together.

Anyway, as I was in line at Hallmark, I saw a stoneware platter from their Maya Angelou collection. It says: "It was a time of such splendor -- charming people, good food, laughter, and brave ideas -- enough to entertain us for years." "That's US!" I said to myself. And decided to get it for Cheryl for her birthday, since, in a manner of speaking, she's responsible for nearly twenty years of dinners.

I do love finding the perfect gift.

June 2017



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