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 you should go see West Side Story at the Lyric Opera. It’s a terrific musical and there are discount codes to get tickets for a good price.

I made dinner for Mother’s Day for my parents and two brothers’ families. I’m most proud of my key lime pie and the angel food cake that I decorated with Trader Joe’s small chocolate mousse tea cakes in the shape of flowers. Those were great and don’t think you must add them to a cake. On their own they’re addictive.

On Friday, my nephew broke his arm quite badly. He was in gym class and decided to jump over a volleyball, but instead he fell on the ball and went sailing. He was in surgery for 4 hours. By Saturday, he was smiling though very tired.

I finished reading Henri Duchemin and His Shadows by Emmanuel Bove, a French writer whom I discovered by using Literature-Map.com. Try Literature-Map and let me know if you find any new favorite writers.

I’m getting more active about applying for jobs. I look and look, but in ESL there aren’t many possibilities. In EFL (i.e. teaching English as a Foreign Language) the main employers are China and the Middle East. I’m done with China. Or I do hope I am. I spent many years there and liked my students, but China is cracking down on religious expression in a way I can’t overlook. (See this article as well.) Also, the PRC’s government needs to negotiate in good faith with its foreign trading partners. For decades they’ve gotten such sweet deals and they’ve stolen IP left and right. None of the computers I worked on at school or in a hotel had purchased Microsoft software. It was all pirated. That’s one example. I don’t want to help a country that’s not going to protect religious freedom. That same reason makes the Middle East a problem. I am trying to find work as an Instructional Designer here in the US. So far finding nearby opportunities and convincing an employer that I have the needed skills is difficult via a form on the internet. In conversation, I can make the case.

I’ve loved my library work, but the field is on a downward trend of just offering part time work.

 

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Thursday Doors Challenge

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London

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time). 

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London

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Westminster Catholic Church

You can see more contributions to the doors challenge, by clicking here.

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 about the water color program I went to at the library on Tuesday. We followed the teacher step by step to create a small water color painting of two spring blossoming trees. We learned about a couple techniques of water colors and painted to Mozart. The teacher was super well organized and down to earth. Sometimes her classes are free style but this wasn’t but that was fine with me. She planned and paced the course so well and everyone left with a decent spring painting with matted with the color paper of their choice.

On Tuesday I went to a brunch to honor volunteers at my local library. The event was catered and there was something for everyone. I got to meet other volunteers whom I rarely see and met a few library staff members for the first time. Lots of good conversation and at the end we were given a small box of fine chocolates and a $20 gift certificate for a local restaurant.

On Friday I went to a conference for library staff. It was a fairly small affair with an array of small presentations. I saw some on Readers’ Advisory, i.e. how to interview patrons and figure out what sort of books they’d enjoy and some on makerspaces. The makerspace presentations were actually best for libraries that don’t have makerspaces. The information was very basic. One highlight was a session on motivation by the director of the LaCrosse Public Library. She knows how to give a speech as she was upbeat and had great body language. She structured her speech well and had ideas you could immediately put into practice if you were a manager at a library.

Yesterday I attended my nephew’s confirmation. His church is rather small, but the level of community engagement was high. I liked that people knew each other and were truly connected. There were 5 young people confirmed and one was also baptized. They prepared for years and the pastor and youth pastor seemed to know each person well.

How was your week?

 

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 comment on the curious weather we had on Saturday. We got snow, considerable snow, Saturday afternoon and evening. It kept coming down and that night it was sticking. I guess we had over 3 inches–and it’s almost May. I wasn’t so put out since it didn’t make driving worse for me. I stayed in, turned on the fire and enjoyed Trading Spaces.

I’d mention that I attended a playwriters’ group at the Skokie Public Library. We gather to read out 10 pages of each others’ work. It’s good to hear a play read out loud and the group is very convivial and helpful.

I’d recommend the book How to Get Rich in Rising Asia, for its unique structure and point of view. Also, I think it really captures life in Southeast Asia.

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I’d tell you that Friday I returned to yoga at my library. I hadn’t been in months. I usually work at noon on Fridays and it’s just a bit tight to get from my library to work. I probably make more of the time issue than I need to. Another excuse is the winter weather. I felt great after going and realize I need to make this happen.

Then I went down to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the exhibit of Hokusai’s famous wave and other prime ukiyo-e (i.e. woodblock) prints. This exhibit focuses on how each print can differ though it’s made from the same block. Sometimes later printmakers added features; sometimes the coloring differed; sometimes sunlight faded a print. I was surprised that the great wave print was smaller than I imagined, but when you think about it the printing press equipment was probably a factor. Also these prints were made so that middle class people could afford them. Thus they’re probably the right size for a home.

I’d mention that I’m enjoying watching Flambards, one of my first favorite British TV imports. Set in as George V is taking the throne in 1910, Flambards focuses on a teenage orphan Christina who’s sent to live with her grouchy, tempestuous uncle and her sparring cousins. Trust me it’s a delight.

This week I want to market my play Dora McDonald: On Trial and start a new writing project.

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 ask you about your Easter and how you’re liking the spring weather. I’d then tell you how happy I was to discover a new tradition, Polish Easter Basket Blessings, which I saw on Saturday. The Poles’ baskets contain symbolic items (explained here). The ceremony was short and a lot of people turned out in their finery.

I’d share that I had a nice Easter despite not getting to church early enough for a seat in the sanctuary. Later I had brunch with my brother and his family. Since the weather was warm and I needed to burn off some calories, I went on a walk at a park not to far that’s got a small lake.

On Wednesday I was amazed by the technology at the Amazon Fulfillment Center. If you’ve got one near you, you can go on a free tour.

Thursday afternoon I attended a fashion show at Talbots to see the spring offerings. They had wine, sparkling water, and some sweets on hand. If I hadn’t given up sweets for Holy Week I sure would have indulged. I satisfied myself with a glass of sparkling wine. The show was well done and though they offered a discount, there was not pressure to buy. Nonetheless I did splurge on a blue and purple dress for Easter. I needed something colorful.

I’ve been watching the DVD of an old (1979) British drama Flambards. I remember seeing it in the ’80s and loving it. While the production quality is low compared to what we see to today, the drama is every bit as engaging. Someone should remake 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)!

If I was having coffee with you I’d tell you, that I’m watching (or came from just watching) Notre Dame in flames. It’s shocking to see such a beautiful, iconic building destroyed. I’m watching France 24, the English French news channel now.

I’d then change the subject to my weekend. Saturday a friend came down from Milwaukee and we went on walking tour of the Pilsen neighborhood, which is known for its colorful murals. First we started with lunch at Rabanitos Restaurant and Taqueria, fitting as the neighborhood is primarily Hispanic. After lunch we had time to explore the National Museum of Mexican Art. (Some on Trip Advisor rightly point out that most of the collection and the exhibits are by Mexican-American artists.) We loved the vibrant art that ranged from Pre-Colombian to today with most of the pieces by contemporary artists.

The walking tour itself was terrific. I wish it were longer so we could have seen more. I’m already planning to take friends back to Pilsen. I know they’ll love it. I highly recommend tourists see Pilsen in addition to the downtown sights.

I’d mention that I went to my Great Books Discussion this morning. We read a passage from Tocqueville. For background I listened to In Our Times, the BBC liberal arts radio show’s Tocqueville episode. If you like the arts, science or history, I highly recommend In Our Times. They gather great experts and tackle fascinating areas of world literature, culture, philosophy and science. The radio program taught me that Tocqueville was an aristocrat and was interested in visiting America to get a sense of the society’s aristocracy, i.e. he wanted to find out how to preserve his class’ standing. His English wasn’t terrific so misunderstood some of what he was told. Nonetheless his insights are interesting, but should be taken with a grain of salt, as is the case with most such works.

I’m reading Andrew Klavan’s memoir The Great Good Thing, about his spiritual story of growing up as a secular Jew and eventually converting to Christianity. Klavan is an exceptional writer and I’ll pick up one of his suspense/crime novels soon.

I’ve got to mail off my taxes. I should have mailed them on Friday, not knowing how long the lines are today. I did go this morning, but just didn’t have the time to wait.

How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.

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 finished revising my play. Now I’ve got to market it more. I did send an email to a theater in Chicago where I have submitted the summary and other requested information last July. They say they need 6 months to consider whether they want to read the whole thing and I just wanted to cordially remind them in a that it’s been over 6 months. I also want to send this revised version to the theater that already asked for the full play. This version has fewer characters which makes a play more cost effective.

I volunteered as an Election Judge for last Tuesday’s Consolidated Election, i.e. the election for local jobs like village trustee. We had to help with the Monday evening set up, finish the set up on Tuesday at 5 a.m., manage the polling place and shut down. I was up at 3:45 a.m. and got home after 9. The team was great, very cooperative and friendly so that during our many lulls we could chat easily. We only had 53 voters all day (from 6 a.to 7 p.m.). There were just 19 early voters in our precinct of 703 registered voters. What a pity.

That long, long Tuesday threw my week off. Wednesday I slept late and had little energy. Still it’s a bit of extra money and it’s rewarding to help. The county has a hard time finding people to work the election.

One of my co-election judges works at a big garden center. I was interested to learn that they sell a special soil for marijuana. In Illinois, they’re considering legalizing pot, but now it’s just legal for medical usage. So it’s funny that this garden store, which caters to consumers sells this special soil.

My aunt had knee replacement surgery on Monday and I did visit her on Wednesday just before she was released. She was heading home, which is tough with the stairs at her house. A lot of people go to a rehab center for a few weeks. She’ll have in home therapy and nursing. I hope the therapy comes daily.

I’ve started watching the film Blow Up, but the main character’s so blasé and jaded that it’s hard to stay interested.

How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.