Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I have to be on my way to the airport to catch a 6am flight to Salt Lake City as I’m going to volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival for the next couple of weeks.

I’ve been working a lot and really enjoyed recruiting at the libraries and at the League of Women Voters where I met some very active, smart women. We had a talk by our local state Senator Laura Fine about the juvenile prison system in Germany. 

Perhaps even bigger news is that the Executive Director at the library where I worked is no longer there. It’s quite vague, but here’s a news article.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. Such gravitas.

German Criminal Justice

Today I attended my first League of Women’s Voters meeting and the two speakers presented information on how Germany handles juvenile offenders. Dignity is the hallmark of the German system. The speakers said that in Germany:

  • People under 14 can’t be put in jail.
  • People up to age 21 are assigned to the Juvenile Justice system.
  • While on the outside the structures looked like prisons, inside they looked like community college campuses.
  • When in prison, from the start, the goal is to prepare the inmates for successful life outside.
  • Inmates either work on vocational training or a high school diploma.
  • Everyone gets their own room and a key to it. They can open their cell doors to enter, but a guard must let them out.
  • People in prison can decorate their cells with pictures.
  • There’s a system for inmates to shop online using the allowance they receive each month from the government.
  • Guards wear street clothes, not uniforms. They are not armed.
  • Guards study for tw0 years to qualify for their jobs.
  • The interior spaces looked bright and clean.
  • Inmates can use a communal kitchen.
  • They can watch whatever TV shows they like.
  • There’s a farm they can learn to work.
  • Because the prison personnel believe drugs will get in to the jail one way or another, there’s a box for used needles and a way to get clean ones. (That was too progressive for me.)
  • Recidivism is much lower than in the US.
  • When first sent to jail, inmates are examined and assessed to determine how they may be affected by mental illness. If they have psychological problems they’re sent to another facility.
  • As for women’s prisons, offenders with small children can keep them with them until the child reaches age 3.
  • Even in solitary confinement, you have a window to look out and see trees, the sky, nature.

It was a fascinating talk, and some of these practices can be tested in our prisons. If these changes could impart dignity and reduce recidivism, they’re worth a try.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I tried Balinese Gong Meditation, which was definitely different, and I was mesmerized by Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire. 

For the last day of the official Christmas season, I went to mass at another church from the list of the “Eleven Churches Not to Miss When You Visit  Chicago” I attended mass at St. John Cantius and stopped in to take some photos of St. Stanislaus Koska, which is also featured in this article. I’m still blown away by both churches.

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St. John Cantius

Christmas actually lasts until the Sunday following January 6th. The reading is about Jesus entering public life.

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St. Stanislaus Koska, Chicago

I’m half way through a “cosy mystery” called Duck the Halls. I’m not that impressed as I’m on page 80 and so far there’s no real mystery. I think I can guess who’ll get murdered, but let’s get on with it.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that New Year’s Eve is not a big holiday for me. It’s too expensive and frenzied. So I have nothing to report on 12/31.

I did go to another church from the list of the “Eleven Churches Not to Miss When You Visit  Chicago,” St. Alphonsus in the neighborhood of Lakeview in Chicago. Again I was blown away by an 19th century church. This has a sapphire ceiling and marble altar. I snapped dozens of photos, but got home and 2 out of at least 50 were kept. I don’t know what happened with my camera.

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As I wanted photos with the Christmas decorations still up, I returned yesterday. For their Epiphany mass they had a full choir, horns, an organ and drums. The homily was relevant and meaningful. Afterwards, I took more photos. The ones that were still on a device were taken on my phone and iPad. All those taken with my camera (and were of higher quality) are gone. I hope it’s just a problem with the memory card.

I worked a lot for the Census and got to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I was impressed with the sense of true community shown by the members towards each other and the hospitality I was shown. The best part of the job is getting to see new sides of my community.

Friday a friend and I went out to eat and then drove around Sauganash, an area where when we were kids was known for the homes with over the top holiday lights. While it wasn’t as dramatic as we remembered, there were some very festive. I was happy to see some homes commemorate Hanukkah. While Hanukkah is a smaller festival in Judaism, it’s good to see that these families wanted to share their faith with their neighbors.

*My phone’s charging so I can’t use my (poorly shot) Hanukkah lights so I’m sharing these.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that we had a lovely Christmas with lots of tradition. As we have for years, we went to mass on Christmas Eve at 4pm at my brothers’ old high school before going downtown for dinner with my dad’s side of the family. Lots of cousins and their kids were there as well as my brother Bill and his family. One cousin was in from Las Vegas and another and his family drove in from Minneapolis. It was a shame that neither of my sisters came in for the holidays. One had to go to her in-laws and the other was here for Thanksgiving and couldn’t bring her kids in twice.

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St. Mary of the Lake Church

On Christmas Day, breakfast was a lot quieter as there were no siblings or nieces & nephews here. Still my parents and I had a lovely breakfast and quiet can be quite nice too. In the evening we went to my brother’s. He lives about an hour from here. We had a good dinner and it was a good time to catch up with college-age nieces and nephew.

Thursday I got to go to dinner with a friend who’s in town with her family. She’s been living in France for 13 years or so and we don’t get much time to talk.

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Jolly

Sunday, as I posted, I visited a splendid church in Uptown and then went on to the Gold Coast, where the Christmas decorations are fabulous.

I was a little behind in making my 40 book reading goal for Good Reads so I got some quite short books like And All Through the Night, a couple children’s books and a play by Tom Stoppard. Now I’ve more than caught up with that goal.

Now on to 2020!