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 completed my refresher course for Election Judging last week. It was a quick, efficient one evening workshop. Our next election is April 2 and I doubt most people know there is another election. I’m baffled as to why we have another election, which is fairly expensive, when we just had one in November. I know that the City of Chicago is electing a new mayor and they want the focus on that city race and have traditionally elected mayors and aldermen in the spring. That makes sense. I have no idea why there’s a suburban election.

The weather’s still bleak, though warmer. It’s that ugly pre-spring time with lots of brown, some patches of dirty snow, a bit of sunshine, but more gray skies.

I’m still watching the news about the College Entrance Scandal. The people arrested, from what I understand, were in California. I’ve got to think that in all the big cities this sort of corruption exists.

Saturday I attended a program for aspiring writers at my library. The speaker gave tips on revision, which is a challenging part of writing for me. I did come away with some good ideas and verification that what I’m now doing is good practice. I’m lucky to have a library that supports the local writers’ endeavors.

I enjoyed watching Michel Simon in Le Poison and will soon post my review on this French film.

I’m finishing up The Old Wives’ Tale and just love Arnold Bennett. I also started reading Lisa See’s newest book The Island of the Sea Women. I’m surprised that See has written about Korea since her other books that I’ve read are set in China. This book covers the women on Jeju Island, who support their families by diving for seafood.

What would you share about your past 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 tell you I really wish we’d stop daylight “savings” time. Just pick a time and stick with it the way they do in Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Mali, Singapore,India and many more. The whole change makes me feel off-kilter for a week or so.

I’d tell you that I got to spend some time with my friend Kristi who lives in France and her tween-age son, who’s developing a more laconic, slightly “too cool for school attitude.” Kristi’s a bit shocked at the metamorphosis as her son was so chatty and upbeat. Now there’s a twinge of sarcasm and that common embarrassment to be around his mom, even when she’s buying him new Nikes. Is this inevitable or can parents limit this negativity?

I’m enthralled with the online course on the U.S. Constitution put out by Hillsdale. Today I watched the lecture on Legislature & Regulation. In a nutshell while the framers of the constitution spelled out the process for creating law, when the Progressives added administrative lawmaking to the constitution via agencies, they didn’t specify how the agencies should create regulations. As you’d guess this led to several problems and trips to the Supreme Court.

Princess Margaret 4

I’m missing Masterpiece’s Victoria. There’s a little void, but I think I’ll catch up on the Doctor Who episodes, I forgot I recorded. I did watch a documentary called The Rebel Princess about Princess Margaret. A lot of what it showed was in The Crown. I wonder how Queen Victoria would deal with Princess Margaret.

Outside the weather’s warming up a little, but it’s so ugly with the brown grass, leafless trees and dirty snow. I know this isn’t a popular view, but I wish we’d get another snowfall to make things look prettier.

I am fascinated by the Literature Map which enables people to discover new authors they’re likely to like through this website.

I just finished Bill Bryson’s The Sunburned Country. If that doesn’t make you want to pack your bags and head Downunder, I don’t know what would.



It’s already lent and time for me to think about how I’ll make this a meaningful time of reflection and wise change. I like to find a good spiritual book to read and to commit to some changes in behavior. My friend Jennifer, who’s Protestant, actually taught me a lot about why we give things up for lent. For her, it’s not just to make life harder, but more about giving up those treats and comforts we reach for when we’ve had a tough day or are going through a crisis. These items tend to be cheap substitutes for God.

With that in mind I’ve chose two Bible devotions to do from YouVersion, a Bible app and I’d like to get a book, any book, by Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk. I also will observe not having meat on Fridays or Ash Wednesday. I plan to write 5 days a week at least as God’s pleased when we use the talents he gave us. Also, I plan to give up sweets, they’re what I grab when I get nervous or worry.

Finally, I’m taking a break from Twitter and Facebook for Lent. We’ll see how this works.

Here’s a poem by T.S. Eliot called Ash Wednesday.

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 the more I read Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale, the more I love his writing. Bennett is a 19th century novelist that I’ve never heard of, yet he should definitely be on par with say Elizabeth Gaskell. This is the story of two sisters who grow up in the same small town. Each one’s life is full of challenges, though Constance takes the familiar route of staying in her town, marrying and raising her son, while her wilder sister elopes and runs off to Paris with a cad. I’ll definitely look for more of Bennett’s books.

I was sorry, but not surprised that the Hanoi Summit between the US and North Korea did not result in a deal. I do hope that in a few years these efforts bear fruit. My heart goes out to the people who live under the DPRK regime.

My good friend Kristi is in town from France, where she lives with her husband and son. She and Max, her son, are here during his spring break to help with her step dad who’s in the hospital. I saw them on Wednesday when I picked them up at the airport and hope to have time for a good long chat this week.

We’ve had cold and ugly weather this week. We’ve got some sunshine, but often gray skies and a lot of the snow’s melted so it’s patches of snow, often dirty, mixed with patches of brown and greenish grass. I’d be fine with a few more inches of snow. It’s really too early for spring in these parts.

I’m sad that the Masterpiece/BBC Victoria series has concluded for the season. I long for the times when such a series would have more episodes. PBS doesn’t have much on the docket for Sunday nights in March.

Work on my play is proceeding slowly. I lost the latest revision. Somehow it got deleted. I do have a PDF version so I’m using that to recreate this latest draft. The loss could be worse, but it’s a pain to go back like I’m playing Chutes and Ladders.

I had high hopes for the film Shoplifters, but the ending left a lot to be desired and the characters’ lives were quite depressing. A lot of their troubles could have been avoided.

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 overall, I had a good week. I got some writing done, but not as much as I’d like. I did write an email to a family connection asking for some feedback on this play I’m working on entitled Dora McDonald: On Trial. It’s about the wife of the Clark Street Gambling King, Mike McDonald. Dora had a long affair with her neighbor Webster Guerin and poor Webster winds up dead. Who did it? Will the murderer get off scot-free?

I loved the Japanese classic, Samurai Rebellion and liked the biopic of Freddie Mercury Bohemian Rhapsody. I admit the more I watch old movies the more I prefer them. I didn’t bother watching the Oscars, which tend to drag. Instead I watched Victoria and the end of Bohemian Rhapsody.

I went to the dentist and was stunned that my exam and cleaning ran me $300! I hadn’t been there in a year. (Shame on me, I know.) I remember the visit costing about $120. I feel like my price was upped because I hadn’t been for a while. I really like my dentist and if I was gainfully employed, I’d have gone when I should have.

I had a one-on-one meeting with my new boss. These are a month event and we had a good talk. She’s lovely and fun to work with. What a difference that makes!

Saturday I went to a free play reading at the Newberry Library. The script of Back of the Yards was a tad outdated, but the acting was solid.

I’m reading a book called Partisan Journalism. I’m beginning chapter three. The book describes the relationship between reporting, editorializing and our political parties going back to the 18th century. While it’s a bit academic, it’s a significant work. You can probably get it from the library.

Lastly, I’d say in an effort to see less of that rainbow beach ball whenever I use my computer, I went to a fairly good session on Mac Maintenance. I’ll share some tips with you soon. My laptop does run faster, I have to tweak my desktop.

I hope you’ve had a good weekend and that your week’s starting off well.


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 the song’s from Guys & Dolls, which I saw yesterday at Northwestern University are playing in my head. “Luck be a Lady” and “A Bushel & a Peck” alternate in my head this morning.

Today was my Great Books Club meeting. We discussed Othello, a play I consider as not one of my favorites by Shakespeare. Yet meeting with a dozen smart folks to talk about Othello made me like the story more.

I did a good amount of editing last week of my own play. I hope to finish another draft by Thursday this week.

I went to the Lyric Opera’s Elektra, but didn’t like it as much as I hoped.

A friend sent me a copy of the anthology which includes a short story he wrote. I get so excited when someone I know accomplishes a literary goal.

I’ve finished two lessons from Hillsdale College’s free online course: Congress: How it Works and Why It Doesn’t.  It’s amazing. The professors are good communicators and researchers. They examine the US Congress as well as the UK Parliament and other legislatures. I’ve learned a lot including how the Parliament building’s structured with both sides facing each other support debate (better*) than all the other legislative buildings which are design more like theaters. Hence we get a lot of grandstanding and playing to the camera. Also, I learned that in the early days, the representatives and senators didn’t have offices. Their desk in their respective chamber was their office, which promoted further deliberation and community amongst peers. If you want to better understand US government, take a look at this free class.

*in my opinion

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 last night I went to my nephew’s Boy Scout Troop’s Spaghetti Dinner. It was a fun event and good to see the boys (and one girl) in uniform serving food and selling raffle tickets it looks like everyone had a good time and the scouts and their parents worked hard for a successful event.

Yesterday, despite some snowfall, the library was super busy and we had lots of time consuming questions and problems to solve. We’re glad to help and the time flew by. It was my first weekend at this branch and though I’m new I was the Librarian-in-Charge. So glad there weren’t any emergencies to handle. As it was, we were surprised that no one working that day knew the alarm code, which is needed at closing. I realized this midday so we did manage to find it.

I loved Northwestern’s production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, which I’d read in school. I’m lucky to live near a university with a strong drama department so I can get inexpensive tickets to see great acting and direction.

I had lunch last Monday with a dear friend Kasia from high school. She introduced me to Polish cuisine. Though she’s half Polish, growing up she didn’t often eat Polish food. Now she and her husband have taken to exploring different cuisines. She thought that Ewa’s Pierogi was better than the place out by her house.

Wednesday my cousin and I had lunch at Venus Szechuen & Mandarin Restaurant in Park Ridge. It’s a Chinese restaurant, which used to be her favorite. I have high standards for Chinese fare and always thought it was average. This was the second time she came and they said their credit card machine wasn’t working. This inconvenienced us and the other customers. Most people expect to easily pay with a card. We’ve decided to take Venus off our list. It was odd that this happened twice.

I’m signed up to start an online course on Managing Information Systems through my community college. I was going to drop it if there was a group project. I’ve worked for years and have done many group projects for grad school so it’s not like I need to learn how to work with people. Gladly, there isn’t one. I’ll go over to campus and flip through the book. The syllabus makes it look like I already know a lot about the topic. If you’re guessing I’m on the fence about staying with this, you’re right.

41YzEFJi9tL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_As for books, I’m thoroughly enjoying Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wives’ Tale. It’s a 19th century novel with wit. Bennett looks at the foibles of small town life. I’m also reading Zola’s Money (L’Argent), which I love, but don’t have as much time as I’d like for.

I’ve had a tough time finding or making time to write. I plan to revise Act I of my play this week. So no lunches with friends and no giving other chores precedence.