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)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve finished my Election Judge training, Six and a half hours on Wednesday and two and a half on Sunday. This year I signed up to be an equipment manager, which means more money, but also more training time, so it all evens out. There’s a lot of little details to follow, but the experience is worthwhile as if someone didn’t help out, there’s no way we could hold elections. If you live somewhere that holds elections, you might want to give this a try.

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I’d tell you that Tuesday I went to a History Happy Hour at the Chicago History Museum. I went with my aunt and we agreed that we were disappointed in the amount of history offered. The theme was Halloween so we expected local ghost stories, but what we found was a table with some artifacts and archives that were kind of eerie, e.g. numerous examples of Victorian hair jewelry. Hard jewelry is exactly what you might guess, bracelets, necklaces, earrings made from hair. According to Wikipedia, it was worn when mourning. They had some podcasts on a Devil Baby legend and a famous murder, but I’d hoped for a live person. I’m old fashioned, but this was at a history museum.

Thursday I attended a group for playwrights. Of the five of us, four brought ten pages which we read and gave feedback on. It’s a worthwhile group that meets monthly.

A lot of people has put out their Halloween decorations and it’s sprucing up the neighborhoods. Here are some from my aunt’s neighborhood.

Saturday I went to the library for a writing program about revision. I was disappointed because the presenter got off track and talked a lot about outlining and covered so many basics like using index cards to organize. I think I’ve reached a point where I just need to write and get feedback from people I trust.

Visit Eclectic Allie’s blog for links to other Weekend Coffee Shares.

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Bourbon, Bowties & Bonnets

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Friday I went to a party at the Richard H. Driehaus Museum called Bourbon, Bowties & Bonnets, which celebrated the Kentucky Derby. My friend and I went with colorful, spring outfits, but we didn’t don bonnets because we just didn’t have any. Next year, we will. Still a lot of guests got into the spirit of the festivities and dressed up from head to toe. Many women had spectacular hats, but my favorite was a straw hat with a wide brim decorated with flowers, a small plastic horse and an old ticket from the Kentucky Derby.

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Mint Juleps

When we arrived we were given mint juleps, the cocktail most associated with the Kentucky Derby. A bona fide mint julep comes in a pewter glass and has crushed ice (not cubes), sugar (not syrup), bourbon and mint leaves (recipe here). Bourbon is the first alcohol invented in the U.S. and must be made up of at least 51% corn and be made in fresh oak barrels. After their first use, the barrels are sold to Scotland, Mexico and elsewhere. Those countries use the barrels to make other alcohol. Though distilled in Kentucky for the most part, Bourbon got its name from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where bourbon became popular.

With our mint juleps we listened to music and nibbled hot appetizers. We learned about the derby’s history.

Then we went upstairs and could taste three different cocktails: The Brown Derby, Old Fashioned and Boulevardier. My favorite was The Brown Derby with the strong Old Fashioned and Boulevardier coming in a distant second and third.

We could wander around the museum checking out this stunning Gilded Age home and the current exhibit on the history of chairs in America. In addition, they had a real life milliner selling gorgeous hats and fascinators, which would be perfect for anyone going to the derby or a royal wedding. Some of our fellow guests were planning on going to the Drake Hotel’s viewing of Prince Harry and Meaghan Markel’s wedding and got their hats here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rounded 2

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From Night of 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Just a Few Wonderful Posts

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Every spring the university has a sports day with marching, races, tai chi and picnic games like racing with an egg on a spoon, that sort of thing.

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced. 2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag. 3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great photos from each month’s most popular challenge. Other great photos:

Sports Day

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For the first time the university sports day was mandatory for teachers. The pain of having to be up and ready by 7:20 am so we could wait in the cold was eased by new flashy, cool jackets.

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Mind you it’s cold and they’re in cotton shirts

In the past, this was a chance to travel without being part of a holiday hordes. Some colleagues did go out of town this afternoon, but I’m going to the International Kite Festival an hour or so away from here in Weifang so I stayed put.

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April is the cruelest month and today it was about 40 degrees. Shortly after my marching duties in the Sports Day, I went back to my apartment and got my parka. The spiffy new jacket’s really designed for the low60s and some rain.

Flora in Winter

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Flora in Winter, Worcester Art Museum

Worcester Art Museum is offering a terrific event this February. Flora in Winter is a program for which for chosen pieces a florist designs an arrangement inspired by the painting, sculpture or other piece.

The added flowers uplift museum goers who’re no doubt tired of the gray cold of New England or elsewhere.

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Worcester Art Museum has a wonderful collection with pieces from all over the world and from ancient to modern times.