Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicago in October

I always knew that if Chicago and I ever met, we would hit it off. It's a more intimate New York City, and I prefer smaller crowds. I was not disappointed when we finally became acquainted. Reasons why Chicago and I are meant to be:

1. Art--Between the architecture of the buildings and the painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, this city drips with art. We spent a rainy early morning and afternoon visiting their wonderful Impressionist collection and the newly renovated Modernism wing. Highlights included: Hopper's Nighthawk, simply gorgeous in-person, and American Gothic. They also had this facinating special exhibit on Soviet War Posters.

I'm the one with the blue umbrella

2. Harp--My harp instructor recommended that I visit the Lyon and Healy factory in the industrial area of Chicago. We took a the L into a non-touristy area to see how harps are made. By the end I was convinced that their harps are a steal because of the craftsmanship. Yes, they are worth even more than the current price tag--the equivalent to buying a small, new car.

3. Architecture--We took the cliche, touristy boat tour that highlights the architecture of the city. I fell in love. I'm going to admit that I'm not as well versed in architecture--blast those humanities classes for overlooking this amazing art form.

In front of the Wrigley Building

Mama in Chicago


4. Frank Lloyd Wright--We visited the Robbie House while day-tripping to the University of Chicago.  I  have this fascination with space (not the aliens and the moon kind of space), so when the tour guide explained Wright's theories of space I was having a academic orgy. New life goal: write a paper that intergrates Wright's concepts of space to literature.

5. University of Chicago--When people ask me about my dream PhD program, I tell them the University of Chicago. It's one of the top three programs in the country, and it is just gorgeous. We ventured out to my dream university, where I sat on a bench in the quad. My chances of getting into the University of Chicago are slim to none, so at least I can say I got to sit on their benches. Right? It's a lot more dignified then saying I used their bathroom.

6. Theatre--Chicago produces excellent theatre. We attended a play that I have been dying to see: Red. It is a two man play: Rothko and his assistant. Rothko, working on the Seagram Murals, espouses his philosophy of art to his assistant. I felt a certain connection to the play because I saw the Seagram Murals special exhibit at the Tate Modern in London. That was when I really fell in love with Rothko's work. Is it too nerdy to reveal that I was moved to tears during that exhibit? Too is revealed now. Anyway, the play was originally staged at the Donmar Warhouse in London, another love full of memories, and it moved to New York and received a Tony for best play.

7. Oak Park--Hemingway grew up here and Wright lived here. Talk about a star-studded neighborhood. Wright designed about two dozen houses in the area, so we walked around the block to see his work.

Hemingway said "Oak Park is a neighborhood of wide lawns and narrow minds." You would, Hemingway. Well I would live in this lovely area--narrow minds included.
My parents in front of one of the Wright's houses

Wright's Studio. Notice the lovely graphic design he created for his business. Seriously, there is no end to the man's talents and his OCD attention to detail. Requiring the Robbie kids to wear clothes that went with the house decor went a little too far. I wonder if his clothing design is as brilliant as his graphic design. Hmm...note to self: must research this.

9. Latino Market and Greek Town--We went to the weekend, Latino market; we were the only people speaking English. They sold everything from laundry detergent, batteries, and perfume. It is where the Latinos do their grocery shopping and get a bite to eat. From there, we walked to Greek Town. In a Greek restaurant there were half a dozen Greek families having children's birthday parties.

10. Taxi Drivers--Okay so this sounds like an odd reason for why Chicago and I are meant to be, but hear me out. In New York, your Taxi drivers do not like to chat with you. In Chicago, everyone is so kind...especially the Taxi drivers. My favorite Taxi driver was from Palestine. Once I told him that I lived in Jerusalem for four months, we became fast friends--we talked the entire 30 minutes. I made sure my mom gave him an exorbitant tip, and I said shukran!

11. TopShop--They have a TopShop. I think this expresses the quality of Chicago's shopping.

12. Food--The food in this city is unreal. Although I never got to go to Rick Bayless's restaurant, I did get to Art Smith's Table Fifty-Two. On the menu: Pork Belly, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Mac n' Cheese. Incredible. Mouth Watering.

Chicago, I am hoping we can meet again soon. I desperately want to be better friends. Well not that I'm desperate for friends...just desperate for your friendship. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

World's Greatest Blanket

So my mother--the same mother that had my aunt hand carry u-pick dahlias on the airplane to transport a little bit of home for me in Provo--gave me the world's greatest blanket yesterday. Here is the story: last Christmas my mother gave these blankets to all the married couples and close family friends. Since I am not married and a little more than a close friend, I did not receive a blanket. Honestly, in most cases I could care less about receiving a blanket; however, once I experienced this brilliant throw I had to have it. I even contemplated stealing it off the sofa and taking it back to school with me. My mom still has to remind me every time I visit to leave the blanket.

It may seem weird that I am obsessed with this blanket. Part of the obsession stems from my general love for all blankets. I am always cold and 
I prefer to be cold with a blanket draped around my body. But even if I did not love blankets, I would want to steal this one. You make think that it is an ordinary throw, but once you try it on you are converted; no other blanket will do when it comes to keeping you warm. One side of it is cable knit--so it has a good heavy feel to it--and the other side is this faux fur, glorious fabric.

Anyway, my mother sent me this blanket the other day without even telling me. She is possibly the world's greatest mom because she sends surprise gifts like the world's greatest blanket. Now I feel ready for the Fall and Winter weather ahead; I can face anything with the world's greatest blanket.

If you are lucky, and a hygienic person, I may just let you try it out for yourself.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Doris Day & Improving Your Latin

Today someone asked me to provide a definition of a word because I'm an English major. Do I look like a dictionary? I love how people just assume that because I'm English major they should "watch their grammar" and use me as a source for an unlimited supply of definitions . Little do they know that my grammar is possibly worse than theirs. Memo: English Language majors are the grammar Nazis, not English majors. I focus on literature and rhetoric, not grammar usage. Anyways, this person asked me for a definition of a word that his Humanities teacher used in class. I was so nervous; I hoped that it was a word I knew so I could prove my worth as an English major.

That was the word.

I responded, "I think it is Latin for Honor. I don't know if your teacher is using some word that derives from the Latin, but I believe that the etymology is at least Honor."

Super impressive, right?

Do I speak Latin? Not a chance.

How do I know this impressive bit of Latin? A Doris Day movie.

Yes, a Doris Day movie.

Here is a clip from Lover Come Back, the movie where I learned Latin - go six minutes into the

I think this proves how brilliant Doris Day movies are. I mean they combine the eye candy of Rock Hudson,

outrageous hats,

beautiful 60's clothing

and they also teach you Latin so you can impress people at dinner parties.

You just got to love these two.