Monday, August 27, 2007

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik

I should be lesson planning but I don't know who my students are. I should be practicing but my piano is still out of tune. I should be learning the rest of the songs for my BabySteps classes but I've had "Shake Those Eggs" in my head for too many days now.

Instead, I finished a book I had found on Lydia's shelf and started reading last week. It was called Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik. This isn't a book I'm going to go around recommending to people. It was the type of book that satisfied me when I needed something light and uplifting. And it did the job. It did give me wee morsels of things to think about - helping autistic kids, appreciating friendships, having a hobby..... but now I'm going to get back to my REAL reading (that is to say - the kind of important fiction that makes me feel better about reading for pleasure when I should be reading more about music and education). I hear Cormac McCarthy's book The Road just won another esteemed literary prize. I could read that. The second volume of Proust's collection is still sitting on my desk. I could read that.

In local news: Storms ravaged parts of the North Shore this past week leaving towns without power and trees strewn about normally neat looking neighborhoods.

Both of these images are of my mom's neighborhood in Glenview.

In other news: England beat India at cricket; Seats on the first commercial flight of the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane, are being auctioned on eBay; Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers;

And sometimes other people's puppies are cute too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kung Pao Chicken

Today, as a part of my effort to tour the exciting museum circuit, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Photography. [I wanted to visit the Shedd Aquarium and see the new baby beluga whale but the cost of admission is TWENTY FOUR DOLLARS AND NINETY FIVE CENTS. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous.]

The photography museum (which is free) is hosting an exhibit called "Loaded Landscapes" right now. These are beautiful and still views that are rather savagely altered in the mind of the viewer when the captions are read. All of these locations are the sites of tragedy and violence. So, while some of it was quite powerful, it was not the most uplifting morning.

Another set of photos were beautiful and disturbing in a different way. Pictured below is a portion of the wall Israel is building to section off towns and groups of people - under the guise of protecting them from suicide bombers.

This Israeli wall, while very damaging, is decorated in such a way to make it substance for art.

And lastly, over a year ago, American troops started training for battle in mock-Iraqi villages. The same thing is going on over there in Israel and Palestine and the photo below if of one of these villages. Once I knew what I was looking at, it was nothing but creepy to me.

In other news: Iranian police close more than 20 barbers' shops in Tehran for offering Western hairstyles for men; The US state of Texas executes its 400th prisoner since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976; Bill Murray is given a DUI for reckless driving of a golf cart; and I finished reading the last Harry Potter book last night.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday. If you know her, please wish her a happy birthday! Last night we took her out for a lovely dinner at Karyn’s in Chicago.

Left to Right: Luke, Tim, Mom, Me

After enjoying all sorts of raw entrees (Luke's entree pictured below), we finished up her birthday meal with some sweet treats.

Ravioli with a tomato olive sauce

Carob Mint Cake (we ordered two of them)

Recently also, I made my way to the museum of contemporary art, started learning Arabic, started the newest Harry Potter book, and spent a little bit of time with my aunt and her grandson (pictured below).

Jordan, age two. Adorable. Funny. Not amused by my computer camera.

In news on this day: In 1866, an eight-hour workday was first mandated in the U.S.; the first around-the-world telegram was sent in 1911; Minimum wage was increased in 1996.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can I buy you a soda?

Some people diligently check my blog and have become frustrated at seeing a sideways picture of my zen alarm clock every day. So, here are some new images (all right-side up too! I'm as surprised as you are.):I've peed in the ocean before, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with a bunch of fish in my toilet.

The Field Museum is hilarious. A plaque in the Egypt exhibit says, "The basic needs of a dead person did not change much over the centuries." Hahaha!

I encountered this fellow on my recent trip to Champaign. I was too weirded out to try kissing him.

A Green River Phosphate. When was the last time you had one?

I am enjoying my zen alarm clock. In fact, I have had a few zen mornings which I like to think were precipitated by the clock. I'm not sure how well it is helping me to transition out of sleep with improved awareness, have a greater focus on goals, and have increased self-knowledge though. For example, this morning, with the first "bong" of the clock, I smiled, stretched, and fell back asleep content that I could trust my clock to bring me into a fully conscious state in a comfortable amount of time without oversleeping - only to DREAM of the next bong, and the next and the next as my wicked inner ear sent me messages that the bongs were getting closer and closer together and were increasingly insistent that I get out of bed. This I did for three minutes and forty-eight seconds before I was woken up by the second bong. Sigh. I hope I'll get better at this.

In other news: Number crunchers were dismayed to find out that an avatar on Second Life uses as much real power as the average Brazilian; The average blogger is a 14 year old girl talking about her cat who will most likely give up her blog in less than two months; The under-resourced war in Afghanistan is now starting to turn around for the better; And one can develop a chemical dependency on light supporting the idea that tanning is addictive.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Saturday Presents

I just received a present in the mail from Monte. It is a Zen alarm clock - one which I have been wanting for years. It is beautiful and I can't wait to use it. Of course, I do usually wake up before my alarm, but if I don't, this alarm clock should promote in me gradual awakening, diminished grogginess, improved awareness of dream life and increased self-knowledge, improved self-esteem, greater focus on goals, elimination of bad habits, improved quality of meditation and all sorts of stuff. I can't wait for all these things to start taking effect.

Darnit. I still haven't figured out how to rotate my pictures when I put them on my blog. So, tilt your head to the left, and you'll see what I've been talking about. I think I should take a nap.

In other news: If you go here you can find some helpful tips on how to escape from a sinking car; Leaders from Darfur's fractured rebel movement are holding their first main day of talks in Tanzania, aimed at finding common ground; my sister is moving to Omaha, Nebraska.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Am Sunburnt

I went to the zoo AGAIN! This time though, I didn't go IN - no - I have had enough of bus loads of sweaty kids at zoos recently. Instead I merely biked there and back. Merely?!?!?! That is seventeen miles! I'm proud of myself because it is hilly and I think I'm a bit out of shape since I've been so busy with other stuff and am no longer a member of a gym. So, while to you, seventeen miles may not be much, to me it warrants a nap.

a stupid polar bear purse you can get right now a Brookfield Zoo if you hurry!

And yesterday I got another job. I'm cobbling together something like full-time work. We'll see, in the fall, how successful I have been. Until then, my summer to-do list is calling.

In other news: Australian schools are beginning to require that students wear sunglasses on the playground; Exciting advances in electrode stimulation may help many people while helping us understand how sad things have been for many people considered brain damaged all along; The suburbs make you fat - type in your address here to find out how walkable your area is! (my dad's house scores a 49 out of 100 - not good)