Thursday, August 21, 2014

Author of interest: Ann Patchett

The first thing I read by Ann Patchett was Truth and Beauty: A Friendship. I remember how much I was interested in the story of the author's friendship with another girl who was terribly disfigured. I thought Ann Patchett had many things to tell the rest of us about our own lives and friendships.

Since then, I've learned that the novel that really put her on the map, Bel Canto, is in the works to become an opera - to be given its world premiere right here in Chicago at Lyric Opera. Renee Fleming has been behind the commissioning of the opera from the start, although she will not be starring in it. The novel  - based on a real incident - takes place in Lima, Peru, where guests at a hotel, including a famous opera star, are taken as political hostages. The opera's composer, Jimmy Lopez, is also Peruvian, so it looks like this could be something great. I may have to save up to buy tickets!

Monday, June 23, 2014

State with the "worst weather"?

The weather page in last Sunday's Trib had an interesting Q&A section by Tom Skilling, resident weather guy.   
         Which state has the worst weather? Florida, maybe, because of hurricanes?
        There is no single, satisfying answer. To borrow from a cliche, bad weather is in the eye of the beholder. It is probably unfair to judge a state's climate based on just one kind of weather event when so many weather occurrences can be dangerous or just plain troublesome. It's true, though, that Florida experiences more hurricane activity than any other state. 
    However, taking into consideration the totality of dangerous, costly or merely inconvenient weather - hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, blizzards, heat, cold, humidity, rain, snow, glaze, fog - one state leads all others in variety and frequency of nasty weather: Minnesota.

Having spent the majority of my formative years in that state, I believe I am a stronger, hardier person as a result of surviving all of the above. What say you?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sewing Again

Here is the dress for an American Girl doll that I just finished sewing for the youngest granddaughter. She picked out the dress pattern and the blue fabric, and I did the rest. I have to admit, it was fun to lay out the pattern pieces, mark and cut them, then follow the sewing directions. I haven't used my machine for anything except repairs for a mighty long time.

Now she's showing the tulle slip that makes the long skirt stand out. Would Martha Washington have worn this for a morning dress?  :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Color Blind or Color Brave?



Here's Mellody Hobson, the TV personality, as I haven't seen her before, talking about race for TED. She went to the Jesuit high school near the Loop where my kids went. Don't think they knew her, though.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crown Prince in the Onion

Yes, he has allowed his photo to be used for an Onion article today. As far as I know, he has never darkened the streets of Charlotte. Ten seconds of Onion fame?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Posada (Shelter) for Undocumented Immigrants

Last Friday morning, I joined around 100 hardy souls at the
USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) building in the Loop. We were going to join a Posada walking to some of the sites that are sources of pain for many undocumented immigrants. Most of the people were Hispanic,but there were Irish, Polish, and Filipinos, too. Each group took a turn praying in their own language. A stout older Irish man prayed in Gaelic. Apparently, there are around 50,000 undocumented Irish in the U.S. - mainly in New York, Boston, and Chicago.


Next we went to the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal prison for men and women awaiting hearings. Many undocumented immigrants are here. (This is also the prison where two convicted bank robbers made a daring escape using bed sheets just a year ago in December 2012. When you view this building from the plaza in front, it's crazy to think that anyone could get out of it.)




 
With a very helpful Chicago police escort, we made our way across some busy Loop intersections during the morning rush hour to DePaul University's Loop campus. This stop highlighted the many restrictions on undocumented students - the Dreamers - who were brought to the U.S. when they were too little to have any say in the matter and are often denied the education that would help themselves and all of us.

Then we went to Federal Plaza to mark the fact that Congress has failed to move forward on Immigration Reform this year.










And we ended up at St. Peter's Church where we were treated to a  breakfast of tamales and hot chocolate. A nice end to a good morning.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Nice Surprise in the Catechism

I just finished reading through all of the latest edition of the Catechism. I've been at it since the end of last June! There were many Post-Its stuck to the pages I didn't agree with, but the last section on prayer was worth all the time it took to get there. I especially liked the 6 pages on "The Battle of Prayer." It was so good that the authors of this book recognize the struggle many of us have in moving beyond ritualistic words. "We pray as we live, because we live as we pray." What a deep mystery it is to find our efforts thwarted by distraction, dryness, lack of faith, and carelessness.

Now that I am in the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, I'm learning new ways to pray with the Jesuit community. It's really exhilarating to discover so many important things to try out in my thinking. The glories of getting older - and better.