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.

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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 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.

 

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 have gotten about 40% of the editing done on my play and I sent an email to the theater that I submitted the summary to in July. You’re supposed to hear if they want to read more within 6 months and there’s been no word. I should also see if there’s a contest for plays coming up.

I had coffee with a friend who just returned from visiting her sister in Arizona for 5 weeks. Her plan was t substitute teach there for a month. It was good to be with her sister, but the subbing was mostly one day gigs and she much prefers longer term assignments. We caught up on family and friends’ activities.

This Jussie Smollett situation really blew me away. I can’t believe the case was dropped and as a long time Chicago area native and Chicago history buff, I’ll say that there’s something fishy afoot and I hope that comes out. Kim Foxx has little courtroom experience and yet is managing those that do. She’s never tried a felony case, but got to be in charge of that system. It’s all connections. Now I regret agreeing to go take care of someone’s dog at noon, because I’d like to have gone down to the protest against these shenanigans. I’m not saying Smollett should go to jail, but he should either plead guilty or have presented his side while the State presents theirs and a judge or jury decides. What we have here is special, secretive treatment.

We’re in a cold snap. A lot of people are tired of winter. I’m not exactly. A couple years ago I realized that contrary to what I was told in kindergarten in these parts the seasons aren’t divided into quarters. Our spring is rather short. It sure doesn’t start in March, and often it doesn’t warm up till mid-April. So I don’t start wearing my spring jacket till the temperature’s get to the 60°s. I know I’ll get sick if I start going out underdressed. I’d rather peel off some layers than be too cold.

I started planning for next month’s book displays. A colleague invited me to help out with them. So I’ve picked a couple themes and am checking on which books fit the theme. My first idea was Microhistories, i.e. the history of just one thing, and I found we own a lot. We’ve got micro histories on salt, the number zero, color, bananas, Genghis Khan and many more. Now I’m searching for titles of books and films about rivalry. I’ve gotten (pairs of) books on Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, Matisse and Picasso, the film Amadeus. I’m looking for more rivals. Can you think of any? Fiction or non-fiction works.

I found Lucky Partners entertaining and fun. I saw Unplanned and that was hard to take. It’s not a pretty subject and it was a true story, but I didn’t need so much blood to get the point. I’m half way through Harold Lloyd’s talkie Cat’s Paw and while parts are outdated, it’s a delight.

How was your week? Can you think of any rivalries?

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 one minute ago I finished my latest draft on my play. I’ll need to print it out and look for typos, but I’m essentially done and will soon start another project.

Saturday I attended a lecture at my library on the Charms of Chicago or some such thing. It was a disappointment. The speaker just listed a bunch of well known facts you could find on a Wikipedia page. No depth or new information at all. I was tempted to leave, but I would have had to crawl over people on either side of me.

I finished a good book that I strongly recommend, The Old Wives’ Tale. It’s by Arnold Bennett, a Victorian novelist and essayist. I never heard of him, but a friend suggested we read the book and discuss it online. I’m so glad I said yes to the idea.

I loved the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I’m still thinking of the power of Frank Rogers’ kindness. The film deserved at least an Oscar nomination. I’m not sure why it was overlooked.

I’m delighted that the Mueller investigation is done. It’s time to move on.

Spring is on the horizon. People are still complaining about how cold it is and it’s just in the 40ºs most days, but to me that’s still winter weather. I think part of the reason people are cold is that they’ve started to wear spring coats. It’s too early, folks.

 

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.

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.