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 I had a good Independence Day with just the right amount of celebration, not so much that there’s a frenzy. I marched in the local parade, met the trustees, had a relaxing afternoon before enjoying hamburgers, potato salad, the Capitol 4th Concert and some local fireworks.

 

I’ve started reading Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder for a Who-Dunnit book club at the library, which I’ll start to lead with a partner. I’m on for the July meeting next week. I’m on page 42 and the story’s fine, but not gripping. I’ve also started reading Sarah Blake’s The Guest Book for my neighborhood’s new book club. I’ve accepted the role of facilitator. I’m farther along in The Guest Book. I don’t enjoy how it hops between generations. It’s a gimmicky structure and somewhat hard to follow.

I’m enjoying my computer programming class through the University of the People, but the class is time consuming. I do feel I’m learning Python, but I also realize that it would take a couple years of study before one can get paid to use this skill. I’m more in need of something I can learn in six months and get employed doing.

Last night I had a Skype interview to teach in China in Weifang. While I did move on to the next stage, I’m not excited about the job. It seems like another school that’s mainly for-profit. They’re not sure how many students they’ll have. They do have a curriculum, so that’s better than Clark University, my former employer, but who knows how good it is. The Dean is busy and I didn’t speak with him, but he is bilingual and has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in accounting. He also has a degree in education.

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When I think of the human rights abuses in China–the camps for Uighyrs, the demolition and spying on religious groups, the lack of free speech–I really can’t justify working there again. Who knows what will happen with Hong Kong. The Chinese won’t let them go and won’t let them have their separate system forever. It’s not a country where a teacher can give lessons that allow students to consider the ethics of their president or government. So despite the lure of a full time job with benefits, I’m inclined to say no.

I do wish I had more time to write. I’m excited about a new play idea, but with the computer class and the easy, but time consuming class on online learning, there’s little time to research and write.

How’s your week been?

 

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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 have brought my umbrella because we’ve got storms at least part of everyday. It’s just part so that’s fine by me. I’ve realized that June is a rainy season here.

I’ve agreed to lead two book clubs. One’s reading Sarah Blake’s The Guest Book and the other is reading a mystery, Inspector Singh Investigates . . . . Both meet in July and I’m busy preparing. I can’t say The Guest Book has grabbed me yet. The mystery book is part of a series and I’ve had to order it.

My two classes with University of the People (http://uofthepeople.edu ) are going well so far. I’m really enjoying the computer class which is on learning Python. So far it’s rather simple so I’m not lost. Besides there are so many books and online tutorials that when I need extra help it’s at my fingertips. The other class is on college survival and I don’t need to know how to budget time so my paper’s are submitted by a deadline or any such academic skills.

I absolutely loved watching Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell. What an amazing entertainer! What a witty film! If you want a burst of joy, get it.

I did watch the Democrat Debates, which were really not debates, but showcases, which is fine. Short interviews with each would have been more civilized. This was a free-for-all with a poor format. There’s no way I can sit through 9 more of these spectacles. I wish the BBC could moderate.

I attended to wonderful library events last week. First was a class on picnic side dishes given by a witty chef, who offered lots of useful tips on shopping and preparation. Her citrus vinaigrettes were terrific. Out of the 4 dishes demonstrated, I’d make 3. The second was a summer cocktail event. The local mixologist created three light, refreshing drinks. Again, I liked 3 out of 4. I’ll share these recipes soon, so check back.

 

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.

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.

ChicagoAmericanFurnitureMart210-p1939

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.

 

 

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.