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)!

If we were having coffee, I’d have brought my umbrella because it’s continuing to rain a lot, but I’m still fine with it.

I’d say that I’ve just started two classes with University of the People (http://uofthepeople.edu ) towards an associate certificate in Computer Science. One’s on learning Python and the other’s a general College Success class, which I think I don’t need as I’ve completed three college degrees already and one was online, but oh well. Today I’ve slated my Python homework and I hope it goes well. I do like that University of the People is founded and led by educators with sterling credentials from top schools like NYU or Columbia. Also, it’s a tuition free school so while you pay for taking a final, the costs are minimal. I hope this experience is fruitful.

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W.C. Fields in The Bank Dick

I enjoyed the W.C. Fields film The Bank Dick, which could not be made today, but it was both silly and smart. It’s nice comic relief.

My sister came in town from Utah with her husband. Usually, her visits are brief and this one was, but she made a point of spending time with my parents rather than running around the city to see many different friends. I know they were delighted to spend time with her.

I went to another jewelry making class at the library. We made steampunk necklaces out of small Altoid tins that were torched, sanded and painted. The teacher had a wide array of gears, clock hands, old books, beads, inks and paints to add to the tins. It was fun to experiment.

We had another loss at the library. This one was pretty shocking. The manager of the branch library was fired. The director has been hounding her for every little infraction and had taken away her duties such as purchasing and programming so the writing was on the wall. It seems quite unfair and now all the full timers fear for their jobs. I think 12 people have left since December and I’ve learned that in the fall before I came more were let go. It’s just so unnecessary because the people I’m aware of were dedicated, skilled workers. Many are highly experienced and at a stage of their work life when its hard to find comparable positions.  Patrons have asked about the staff changes and we’re forbidden to give much information. It’s hard to tap dance when someone asks for so and so about a program they were planning or ongoing request. Of course, people want to know what happened and we can’t tell them anything. It’s silly because people will figure it out.

Did she quit? So suddenly I just saw her Monday.

No.

Is she sick?

No.

What happened?

We can’t say.

One of the “problems” it’s believed is that the branch gets higher reviews for customer service than the main library.

I’m delighting in the Hillsdale College online Aristotle’s Ethics course. I’m a bit behind, but just loved Unit 4 about Character. The professor is so clear and approachable, while being an expert. I highly recommend this free course.

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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)!

If we were having coffee, I’d begin by saying that it’s been rainier than usual here, but I don’t mind much. It’s also been rather cool and as I’m not one for sunbathing, it’s fine. You don’t need bulky layers to go out and about so I’m happy.

Saturday I went on a walking tour with a friend around Chicago’s Streeterville. Streeterville has an interesting origin. In the 1880s riverboat pilot Captain George Streeter ran aground in Lake Michigan. He left the boat there and soon the sandbar grew and grew. He declared this land a separate country called the District of Michigan. Squatters and ne’er-do-wells moved in, much to the displeasure of the elites. Legal battles lasted up until 1908.

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Our tour through the Driehaus Museum not only introduced us to the colorful Cap’n Streeter and his wife Ma, but took us around much of this district that in the 19th century was desolate and now is home to a thriving commercial and residential area. We saw significant buildings, some huge like the American Furniture Mart that I never noticed before. We also learned of some hidden gems that are open to the public and make wonderful quite spots to view the lake or skyline. Sorry, I’m not printing those addresses.

We were so lucky in terms of the rain on Saturday. It poured before and after our tour, but nothing during it. Also we lucked into street parking in a very popular shopping area.

Yesterday my brothers and their families that are in the area came for a Fathers’ Day barbecue, which was fun.

I started and gave up on the book Southern Lady Code. It was too snarky for me. The author seemed to need a Copernican Revelation. I expected some warm-hearted jabs at Southern culture like Jeanne Robertson is so good at, but the author seemed embarrassed of her Southern past and clueless about how her demands of her husband and family were quite selfish. She just seemed clueless and after a few chapters, I figured enough is enough. There are plenty of good books on my reading list.

For today’s book club, we read and discussed Antigone. It’s a solid play that illustrates Aristotle’s principles of tragedy well, but despite its strengths, I wasn’t as enthralled as some. The state and family life have changed so much that I didn’t think it was relevant. Others loved it and said it’s one of their favorites of all time. Different strokes.

I watched a very challenging, very long (3 hours 25 minutes) Russian film called Andrei Rublev. If you’re up for a challenge, go for it. I’d say the story’s more confusing than The Human Condition, another marathon film, but there’s some beautiful parts and it did make me think differently about filmmaking. I’ll be watching shorter, more fluffy films for the next couple of weeks.

 

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)!

If we were having coffee, I’d say it was a quiet week with some interesting discoveries. I discovered a masterful filmmaker from Russia, Andrei Tarkovsky, who’s Ivan’s Childhood was challenging, but forceful and well worth watching if you’re up for some intensity. I’m also discovering Eudora Welty’s writing by reading The Age of Innocence. It’s the first novel I’ve read by her. I’m also using Creative Bug via my library to gain craft skills. So far I’ve viewed short videos on sewing, cleaning sewing machines, and embroidery. Creative Bug’s quality is top notch.

A few weeks ago I attended a class on photography for eCommerce. I used the light box at my town’s library to take some higher quality photos of a few things I’d like to sell. Lighting makes a huge difference. I’ve seen more views, but we’ll see if I make more from the better photos. It can’t hurt.

I sent out a query about my play to a local theater. My fingers are crossed that they ask to see the whole play.

My colleague’s funeral was Tuesday and it was a beautiful ceremony. The family had a lot of support from friends and family as the church was full and many had to stand in the back and along the sides. I pray that the support continues as the family’s grief will no doubt be long lasting. I was impressed by the eulogy the oldest daughter, who’s about 22 gave. While she did break down a few times, she gave an eloquent speech at a time when she’s coping with tragedy.

I learned a lot about D-Day due to the 75th Anniversary of this event. I knew a little about it, but my knowledge was greatly deepened to see the speeches and interviews that honored the brave.

 

 

I’m Puzzled

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I saw a bulletin about my town’s first All-Girls’ Boy Scout of America troop. What? That’s not a typo or error. We’ll soon have an All-Girls’ Boy Scout troop. I don’t know who’s organizing it.

Why?

I think it’s possibly because of the revered Eagle Scout achievement, which perhaps the girls and/or organizers think is better than the Girl Scout’s Gold Award.

Another thought is that the Girl Scouts of America HQ takes more of the money from the sale of the cookies than the Boy Scouts do from their local troops’ fundraising. Probably it’s about the finances and the perceived status.

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)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve got a cloud of sadness hanging over me since I learned on Friday that one of my colleagues committed suicide. She was a kind, positive person who loved her family. She was married with 3 children. She always wanted to do a good job and to learn more. She was 7 years younger than me and her youngest just graduated high school. Of course, no one’s life is rosy and people are complex so we rarely know the whole story. She was such a pleasant person to work with and will be greatly missed.

It’s hard to make sense of this all. She took her life by standing in front of an oncoming train, which is an unusual means for a woman. Men tend to use such final means whereas women usually use pills or medications in other forms. Tonight is the wake and tomorrow the funeral. She’s very much on my mind and I think all who knew her wish they knew she was in trouble. We just don’t know what people are dealing with.


On another note, I finished watching Flambards. Boy, was that a great series, that you can get on DVD (from your library system – one library in your group should have it if yours doesn’t). The characters seem real and are well developed. I wish someone would produce an updated series. I learned that there’s a fourth book in this series. Book 4 covers what happens after this series ended. I’m curious to see what happened.

My family celebrated my brother’s birthday and it was fun to see them all.

I found out that Writers’ Market 2019 is available on Hoopla, which my library provides. From it I’ve found a couple more theaters to submit my play to. I have to craft a compelling query letter. Fingers crossed.

I am back on the online learning bandwagon after a couple months of doing nothing. I’ve resumed a course on the graphics program Corel Draw, which we use at the library, and started a course on Instructional Design Essentials that my friend and former colleague Joe Pulichino does. It’s his second Lynda.com course.

 

Yard House

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To celebrate my brother’s birthday my family went to Yard House in Glenview. I’d never been though my brother and nephews were familiar with the menu. The space was huge, very modern and sleek. Moreover, it was very loud. Lots of people chatting up a storm in a way that was merry rather than annoying. Yet this is not the spot when you want or need to converse in depth.

We started by sharing cheese curds, which I’d never had, even though this Wisconsin treat has made its way to Illinois and beyond and has sort of become a favorite of nerdy foodies. I had a watermelon margarita, which was fine, though it didn’t taste all that much like watermelon.

I had a ahi tuna sandwich, which consisted of seared ahi, caramelized onions, aioli sauce, lettuce on rye bread with sweet potato fries. I was delighted and brought half home for lunch the next day. The French dips, chicken sandwiches, salads and burgers all satisfied the other guests and everyone took doggie bags home.

I do tend to enjoy conversation at dinner. It doesn’t have to be super philosophical, but I want to be able to hear the stories my friends and family are sharing so the noise was a strike. I think eating outside might solve that problem. When the weather’s warm, you can eat outside on the sidewalk.