It was a great day today. It started with me scheduled to do a food rescue at Brueger's Bagel Bakery in downtown Oak Park at 8:30am. I got there and they apologized and said they didn't have anything. But it was actually no problem. I had a good parking spot, the weather was awesome at last, and one of my sabbatical "to do" items was to walk around downtown Oak Park, to see if there were any cool shops or places I hadn't seen before. So that's exactly what I did. It was lovely. I especially liked Scoville Park.
And since the weather was so good, I decided to go on to Lindberg Park. Definitely I think forest preserves are better than parks, but walking around Lindberg was as good as I'd thought it would be when I glanced at it from the road. It's full of gorgeous flowers and greenery. The sky was bright blue with white puffy clouds. It was a nice walk, and then it was topped off by the fact that the park had one of those little free libraries inside it. And guess what was inside there? A book that I had donated to another little free library. I know it's the same one because it was stamped to indicate that it was withdrawn from the Downers Grover Public Library in 1994. That was the one!
Then I decided to follow through with something I'd messaged someone on FB about. Oak Park is going to levy a tax for anyone who doesn't bring their own bag to the store. I think it's a great idea - we're drawing in plastic! Some activists are taking up bag donations for folks who don't have them. I have so many bags in my trunk. I pulled out like 6 that I haven't been using (I mean, in addition to those 6, I have about 5 favorites that I regularly use.) So I drove my donations to her drop off spot.
Then my friend John messages me. He's driving near me and he can come over to help get my music from my MP3 onto my phone. He does!! John is awesome!
My afternoon's been pretty low-key but I did walk to Pete's Fresh Market to get avocados for tomorrow (and to get more exercise before my weekly weigh-in). Unfortunately by that time the weather had turned pretty hot and humid, but I still did it.
Oh, and yesterday I did indeed go to the comedy show at Hamburger Mary's. It was nice to get home at the same time Doris typically gets home on a Thursday (10pm)! They have a $10 minimum order plus they charge a $2.50 fee for the show; I don't know why they don't just call it a cover fee. There were 4 different comedians, none were in drag or were LGBT as far as I can tell. One was fantastic, two were pretty good, and one was just awful. They each did brief individual stand ups, plus a few improv scenes as well. I'd go again, though I'd rather see Hamburger Mary's drag show.
10 – life-changing, an all-time favorite
5 - average for what I read
1 – terrible; why did I finish it?
How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell – Just to get this out of the way first: the author is an asshole. She’s a drug addicted party girl whose life has been spent caring about no one but herself, and sometimes I wish everyone like her would vanish from the planet. Anyway, but her memoir is really good. Her writing is sharp and funny, she tells us how she got into this mess, what her life was like as a beauty editor at various major magazines and how she tried to function despite being addicted to multiple different drugs. I will also give her credit for owning all her flaws and basically admitting she’s a clueless asshole. Grade: 6
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – This was a great, short novel about a woman living in New York City and trying to determine who she is and where she wants her life to go. The story is told in a series of vignettes about her life; the chapters aren’t chronological but that’s okay, it all pulls together well anyway. The writing is immediate, wry, and moving. Each character is fully developed and feels like a real person. Grade: 8
Coop: A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry – So the subtitle basically tells you what the book is about. Perry and his wife are farmers in Wisconsin, and he tells you the day to day about their life. They seem like lovely people, it’s just that the book dragged on. It was a series of nice enough anecdotes about their life but it just wasn’t very compelling. Grade: 3
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – This audiobook has been on my “to read” list for a long time, and it finally came up! The book was exactly what I thought it would be, and I have nothing critical to say of it. We hear of Malala’s (brief) life before she was shot, a bit about her awesome dad and his upbringing (her dad really is amazing), the shooting, and the aftermath. Go Malala!! Grade: 8
It Ended Badly by Jennifer Wright – This is only the second book of Wright’s that I’ve read, and I will read literally anything she publishes. I first read her “Get Well Soon”, about plagues throughout history – she writes in an utterly hilarious and engaging way. Her earlier book, “It Ended Badly” is just as amazing. Funny, sharp, completely compelling. The topic here is 13 bad breakups in history, though I truly believe Wright could write well about any subject. Grade: 9
I'm also trying to think of more positive things like the High Holy Day choir, but the binder is thick and I'm honestly not sure I'll manage to learn all the music in the next six weeks.
(I also want a Judaism icon. Anyone know where I can find one?)
"Dear. Please could you..." (I assume they meant to type my name after "Dear" and forgot, but it's rather sweet like this.)
"Goof morning!" (Followed by somewhat of a silly question, so possibly this was actually the correct designation for the day).
Things that my students have said to me in person today:
"I'll tell my personal assistant to set up a reminder to follow up on Wednesday." (he did, in fact, have a personal assistant. In tow. Kids these days...)
This week I have been croaked at by three different laryngitis sufferers and snuffled at by at least one phlegmy parent, so I am expecting lurgis incoming on my hapless form in the near future. I have scored one bar of chocolate, one bag of jellybeans, and tearful gratitude from three different students, which set against only one twenty-minute dissociated rant and blame session from an angry parent, actually puts me ahead. The jellybeans gave me a weird moment of dislocated nostalgia in that they tasted exactly like the little pink chalky cylindrical sweets we used to get as kids, which five minutes of illicit googling suggest were actually Romantics cachous, although I remember them as having an elephant on the wrapper - that might have been a mutant Zimbabwean version. They tasted dusty and pink, I have a very vivid memory of the flavour.
I am beyond dead, but it's Friday. I have not to date eviscerated any students or myself. It could be worse.
Okay, so today I didn’t do much more than my usual things like working out, cooking, meditating, reading, watching TV, playing Scrabble, and making my calls with Daily Action. I called House of Blues to make a reservation for Pam, Sean, Doris and me next week. I grocery shopped. I hoped John will get back to me and help me with the MP3/iphone help I need. It rained in the morning, and then was pretty hot and humid after that; I just wasn’t up for anything ambitious or anything outdoors today.
(Re-reading the above, I didn't do that badly today though. I mean it's not like I lay on the sofa eating brownies all day).
Tonight though I’ll go to the comedy show at Hamburger Mary’s, and this time will give myself enough time to park in the garage and get there!
By way of a slightly retroactive upside, my mother was in town for the last month; she left on Saturday, alas, but it was a lovey visit, during which she made me clothes, niece-wrangled, did the washing up a lot and was otherwise her usual comfortable and comforting presence. The washing up was necessary because my weird body is at it again, I grew an extra mutant knuckle on the middle finger of my right hand and had to have it surgically removed before it achieved sufficient mass and pressure to fracture the bone. (If you have déjà vu, it's because this happened about a year ago, same finger, different spot. This one was more complicated because the cartilage tumour was partially under the tendon and the surgeon had to detach and reattach the tendon to get at it. Apparently that's a thing you can do. It necessitates two weeks in a splint, and ouch).
While Mother was here we (i.e. me and jo&stv, who are at this point pretty much her surrogate offspring) took her randomly to Riebeek Casteel, which was a lovely weekend in which Airbnb delivered spectacularly on the Some People Have Too Much Money end of the scale, something of an antidote to the weirdness of the Franschoek one. Seriously palatial: a huge, open, beautifully built house with approximately quadruple vertical volume, comfy sofas, a superb kitchen and three ensuite bedrooms. Good food and wine and company. Spectacular views. Generally good for the soul.
(That last one is the view through the front window, which is across from the stairs and above the huge, high living space. The window is amazing, the view even more so. I darkly suspect that church steeple of being Deliberately Picturesque.)
- Finished up the great fridge cleaning. Made a bit of progress on the whole "how do I get music from my old MP3 onto my phone?" question. Well, by progress I mean I asked my friend John and it sounds like he'll help.
- Did a food rescue today from Prairie Bread. Their donation was 3 huge sacks of bread. I said to them that I'll need to make 3 trips as I can only carry one at a time, so I'll be right back. A customer, a butch lesbian, watched the interaction and said she'd be glad to help me. She picks up the 2 sacks and walks with me to my car. My goodness, if I were single I'd be buying her a drink! (I thanked her profusely and said that if I wasn't due back at the food pantry, I'd love to buy her a cup of coffee. She smiled but didn't pursue anything. But hey, if she and I were single, this could've been a great "how we met" story).
- My random fun activity today was a trip to the Roscoe Village neighborhood. As anyone who reads this will be unsurprised to hear, I put it on the places-to-visit list because it has an indie bookstore and a veg restaurant, and both of course were lovely. I visited a few other shops in the area, bought some hand lotion. You know what I thought? I think I really love where I live! Roscoe Village was nice, as was Evanston and Logan Square, but I honestly think Oak Park has more...stuff. More landmarks, small shops, etc. So far the only place in Chicagoland that I think I like as much as Oak Park is Andersonville. (Which I've read is getting gentrified and a lot of the lesbians there are moving out).
- Pam called today and we chatted, talked more about plans for when she visits.
- Selected my fun activity for tomorrow. It will be a forest preserve visit. I need to decide if I'm going to do the ones in DuPage County (further away from me, but they're better) or the ones that are closer but less pretty.
Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
Fandom: Person of Interest
Characters/Pairings: Root/Sameen Shaw, Harold Finch/John Reese, Harold Finch/Grace Hendricks, John Reese/Mark Snow, Michael Cole, Robert Hersh, Joss Carter, Kara Stanton, The Machine, Bear
Warnings/Content: Sentinel/Guide AU, mind-bonding, show level violence, show level torture, emotional hurt/comfort, canon character death (Michael Cole). Some Mark/John dubcon in chapters 4 and 5. Follows some events from Ep 1.10 Number Crunch, Ep 1.23 Firewall and 2.16 Relevance.
Notes: Written for wipbigbang 2017.
Thank you to my amazing betas: lilacsigil and musyc. You guys were awesome and got me from "I want to write POI Sentinel/Guide fic with soft face touching" to actually getting it posted.
Title is from the Elton John song. ("Subway's no way for a good man to go down.")
Summary: In 2001, Harold advised on a project called Cascade, not knowing he was a Guide himself. Years later, he and John, a Sentinel on the run from Cascade, must help Shaw, who has just lost her own Guide when the Project turned on her. Complicating matters is Root, searching for Harold's Machine and interfering with their rescue of Shaw.
Also at the Archive
- Yesterday I didn't actually make it to Lyman Woods. The entrance was closed by police; not sure what happened there. So instead I went to the mall to get a quick chair massage before dropping suits off to Gail and then water aerobics with the awesome Ann!
- Today I went to the bank, library, and picked up the CSA veggies and fruit. Later in the day I had laser hair removal. I also drove by a park in Oak Park that looks like it'd be fun to explore, contrary to what I wrote yesterday about parks being boring.
- The random fun activity I had selected was a trip to Evanston. On the 'pro' side, I got to eat at the wonderful Blind Faith cafe and I visited an indie bookstore that I hadn't been to before. On the con side - in addition to the fact that it takes almost an hour to make the 15 mile journey there - the weather was hot and parking was terrible. I'd planned to visit a garden and an art museum - and I could not get a parking spot anywhere near either. I decided to try Evanston again either when the weather is better and I'm up for more walking, or I can just find 1 parking spot and then use Lyft to get to the attractions. (Also on the plus side, I found a place there that does "floating", where they put you in an isolation tank. I kinda want to try it though I kinda worry I'd get bored and want out. But another "con", downtown Evanston isn't as cool as I'd thought - like it has tons of chain stores).
- Selected my fun activity for tomorrow: a trip to Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. One great thing is that I've been there before and it doesn't take too long to get there. Well, at least nowhere near as long as it takes to get to Evanston!
Despite this, we've gotten some good sightseeing in before I had to start attending the conference. Sunday we successfully navigated the subway and train system and got ourselves to Versailles. In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to go on a weekend, as the crowds were beyond insane. The line to get into the main palace was three hours long, which we weren't willing to do, so we did the gardens and the smaller Trianon palaces. There's Grand Trianon, a pink marble palace that Lois XIV built as a private place to have nooky with his mistress, and Petit Trianon, which was Marie Antoinette's idea of a quaint country cottage. Both are very pretty and charming, and give a pretty good idea of why the French Revolution happened.
Yesterday we did the Arc de Triomphe, which required climbing a ridiculous number of steps (284!) to get to the top but was totally worth it for the view. Then we followed up with a visit to Notre Dame.
Here, have some pictures.
Arc de Triomphe:
Things change, but the past is not effaced.