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 it’s been a quiet week, but busy. I spent a lot of time gathering data from a national website on libraries to refute the inaccurate information the director at my hometown library has used to defend her performance. It took hours to pull specific towns from all the libraries in the state. At one point I accidentally lost a chart and at the last minute had to recreate it. I hate rushing, but the work got one and it was well received.

I started another online class through the University of the People. I’d signed up for Algebra and Economics, but dropped Algebra as soon as I read the textbook. With U of the People because it’s tuition free there’s no lecture from the teacher it’s all textbook and this book was written as poorly as I remember my high school text was. I will stick with Economics as it’s a general overview and while it’s not my strong suit, I realize how understanding the economy better is useful.

I went to a book club discussion of Lucretius’ The Nature of Things, which I first read while studying classics. We got a good number of people, several new ones. The Nature of Things is a poem about science and ethics. We just read the first 2 parts. It’s amazing how Lucretius figured out things that modern scientists have supported.

Wednesday I plan to attend another book club on Fiona Barton’s The Suspect. It’s mainly set in Thailand where two British girls are found dead in a fire. The heroine is a journalist whose estranged son is off finding himself and saving turtles in Phuket, Thailand . . . or so she thinks. I’m not sure how much I like the story yet.

 

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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)!

I’d begin by saying I can’t believe it’s still snowing. Just a few flakes are falling but it’s November 11 and I’d guess we got at least 4 inches.

I’d tell you that I was quite intrigued with James Mason in The Upturned Glass, a thriller from the 1940s. It kept me guessing.

Last Monday I attended a Study Session for the Library Board. Mainly, it was a presentation and discussion of how they can improve their practices. Some of the members are hard to read, others seem well-intentioned. I was bothered by how they are so concerned with communicating with one voice. In a democracy, differing opinions should be valued, not shut down. I’m not sure there is one voice for this board of 7. It’s rare for 7 people who represent a community to think identically.

I finished writing an article that I hope to get published in a newspaper feature, the Readers’ Digest or some general interest magazine. I sent a query off today and will have to send more.

I’m still waiting to find out when the Census work will resume. They do have a lot of workers’ background checks to complete. I have no idea how long that will take.

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St. Thomas the Apostle, Hyde Park, Chicago

Yesterday my parents and I went to Hyde Park where my nephew is studying law at the University of Chicago. His parents and brother also came and we went to church and had lunch in downtown Hyde Park. Since we didn’t want to wait for our table at the touted Virtue, a restaurant written up in the NY Times, we went down the street to Mellow Yellow. It’s a good thing the conversation was good, because the food was subpar.

See my short review below:

 Read Susan K.‘s review of Mellow Yellow on Yelphttps://www.yelp.com/embed/widgets.js

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 this weekend, I’d urge you to try Japanese Forest Bathing. I did on Saturday with my library. Forest Bathing entails slowly walking mindfully through the woods. It’s supposed to make you feel more peaceful, energized and creative. I will say I felt terrific afterwards.

Later I joined a prayer 40 Days for Life prayer service in front of a clinic in Chicago. I haven’t done this sort of thing, but the issue is major and my eyes have been opened by Prager U videos and the film Unplanned so I went. There was a good turnout and many people driving by showed their support. There were volunteers who supported abortion and unfortunately, they used foul language and insults to state their case.

On Friday a friend and I had a good dinner at Siam Rice before going to the Goodman Theater’s Next Stage Festival, where a novice playwright’s work is performed. Hats off to the Goodman for offering new writers this opportunity. The performances were free to attend. We saw In the Sick Bay of the Santa Maria, which takes place in the bottom of one of Columbus’ ships. One character is feigning illness to escape work and the rough sailors on deck, another really is ill. A subplot centers around a strict college professor whose students complain about her teaching. In my opinion the second story didn’t fit the main plot well and was just a distraction.

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We had snow, and lots of it in time for Halloween. I felt sorry for the kids trick or treating, but then I realized many years I had to trick or treat with a winter jacket on. So that’s just life in the Midwest.

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Friday I took my mom to St. John Cantius for an All Saints Day mass. It’s a magnificent example of traditional sacred architecture. Even if you’re not a major traditionalist, if you love art, you’ll appreciate this church.

 

 

 

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I’d tell you I took a former student from China to Pilsen so she could see the vibrant murals and have some Latin food.

 

 

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Pilsen

This year I’ve been to Pilsen three times. Prior to 2019, I’d never been there. We saw lots of murals, some I’d never seen.

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There are easily hundreds. We went to 5 Rabinitos, which was packed.

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St. Paul’s

Then we headed to St. Paul’s Catholic Church, but it was locked up. Too bad. We wanted to go to the National Museum of Mexican Art but the line was way down the block and probably would take over an hour to get through. Their Dia de los Muertos exhibit goes till January so I’ll return.

On Monday I attended the Library Board Meeting. At times it was uplifting such as when people spoke up about how much they cared about the library or libraries in general. I agree with the man at the end of the video above that we have lost a lot of cultural institutions. Some change is needed, but how much and what kind?

The board voted to spend $15,000 on a heated sidewalk, which didn’t sit well with many in attendance, who’re more concerned with the fact that 22 out of 43 people have left this year. In November all but one Youth Librarian will remain.

I saw Remorquers, a French film with Jean Gabin, which was decent, but not one I’d insist you see.

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I’d once again rave about the weather we’re having. I was especially lucky to have sunshine and pleasant fall temperatures this past weekend when I had a lot of outdoor activities.

On Friday a friend and I went back to the Chicago Botanical Garden’s super Night of 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns. Themes this year included plants that had animals in their name, classic Halloween characters, spooky stories, and .

 

On Saturday I went to Open House Chicago, a weekend when over 250 sites open their doors to the public. Many are free for the weekend or are usually closed to the public, like Big Monster Toys, a whimsical office space for a toy company or The Wing, a co-workspace for women.

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Big Monster Toys

On Sunday I explored some more Open House Chicago sites, before I went to volunteer for the event. I signed up to work at Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel, which has amazing abstract stained glass windows.

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Alice Millar Chapel

In addition to these amazing windows, which some said reminded them of Chagall’s work, the chapel has an organ with 5000 pipes. Anyone can hear the organ on Sundays at the 11 am non-denominational service. The chapel itself is open every day from 9 am to 10 pm. Check it out at 1870 Sheridan Road in Evanston, IL .

I’ll post more throughout the week of all my explorations.

As for classic films, I rewatched the 1996 Alfie starring Michael Caine. I wasn’t sure I’d like it but even though we’re in a very different era, Alfie intrigued me.

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I’ve gotten confirmed to work for the next operation of the U.S. Census.  I have get to do another background check, but that won’t be a problem.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Downton Abbey film when I saw it with my mother last week. it was entertaining and a film you can see with people of all generations without cringing at language or subject matter. There was a trailer for a new film on the life of Harriet Tubman, which looks promising. It looks like they’ve added steroids to history, but Harriet could be good.

I am disappointed that I haven’t found any time to write. I’ve missed polishing my stories and would like to start a new play. This week, I vow to correct that.

Finally, my former employer from my teaching job in China has agreed to reimburse me for the costs incurred when I had to return to China to get my belongings after they decided not to have me return. I learned that a male colleague in essentially the same situation was reimbursed. It took a while for me to come up with the needed receipts. Now the problem is that they’ve sent me a W2 form, an I-9 and other new hire documents. I mentioned that I’m not being hired and that signing these forms is dishonest. I wasn’t sure what they were doing and still am not. Then a new girl in HR replied that they weren’t responsible for withholding taxes. What?! Withholding on a reimbursement? I’m not getting wages, I’m getting reimbursed for airfare, hotel, etc. Those expenses aren’t taxed. These people should know this. Clark University continues to vex me.

I returned to volunteering in the Makerspace at my hometown library. It was loads of fun. It’s interesting to see how each space differs. In the 7 weeks I’d been gone two of their full timers have left. One got a new job and the other a promotion. They’ll leave a hole in the team even though the others are good.

No word from the two jobs I’d interviewed for. One wanted their new employee to start today. I’m guessing they have offered the job to someone else.

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 I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that the weather here is perfect. Sunshine, not to hot and the leaves are turning. People have started to put out their Halloween and harvest decorations with adds to the color.

I was amazed by the film The Biggest Little Farm. The lush orchards and greenery and the tension in man vs. nature kept me riveted. I don’t know whether any corners were cut in the filming to make it more dramatic or successful, but I loved what I saw.

I tried acupuncture for the first time and would do so again.

I’m entertaining the idea of a short trip, but I don’t know where. I’ve got a lot of airline miles and I’m feeling the urge to explore. I miss the side trips I could make when I lived in Asia. I’m not sure whether to try a new place or to revisit a familiar one. Japan, China, Estonia, Ireland, Laos, Portugal. They’re all under consideration.

Saturday I attended a neat presentation on the Whistle Stop Canteens, which started during WWII. In North Platte, NE and other towns, women and girls would serve soldiers and sailors whose trains stopped at the station with cupcakes, donuts, fruit, magazines, sandwiches, coffee and more. These men who were off to fight had no idea whether they’d return to their hometowns and were grateful for the hospitality and a taste of home. It was an important way to support the troops.