Adventuring

As always, all of the images in this post are my own.

After a Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Scholar Luncheon last week, my daughters and I visited the Art Institute to see “Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe.” While there, we also took in “Whistler’s Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago.” Truth? I prefer the artist’s self-portrait; it reminds me of one of my favorite writers.

Doesn’t Whistler look a bit like Vonnegut in this painting?

Before leaving the museum, we stopped by to see a painting that never fails to startle me.

Charles Sheeler’s The Artist Looks at Nature (1945).

Over the weekend, we visited the Milwaukee County Zoo. When I downloaded the pics of the only animal I photographed, I was struck by the odd, painterly texture the zoom had created.

Tawny frogmouths at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Later in the weekend, we visited the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum before seeing Shakespeare in Love at the CST. (Reviews here and here.)
Between and among adventures, we had time to catch up on Colony (and discuss the apparent Lost parallels, including Snyder = Ben and “Not everything is as it may seem”), finish a few books (Shylock Is My Name is well worth the effort), and plan a few more excursions — although not for over the holiday. By design, our three-day respite will not take us further from home than half the distance of our longest bike ride.

What have you planned for the long weekend?

Krannert Art Museum

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img_1588I took the above images during a recent visit to Krannert Art Museum. The first two capture detail from Lorado Taft’s “The Blind” (1908). The next two images feature items in the permanent collection “Arts of Ancient Peru.” The grave post is dated circa 1000 – 1470 and the female effigy figure, circa 1100 – 1470. Charles Turzak’s “Oak Street Beach” (1933-1934) and Hugh Pearce Botts’ “Nana” appear in a temporary exhibition “Enough to Live On: Art of the WPA.”

“Space is freaking awesome!”

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img_1076The above are images I took during our recent visit to the Adler Planetarium. What I love about the last one is that I can see my daughters through the display.

After the museum, we saw A Disappearing Number at the TimeLine Theatre. Yes, a play about math. What did you expect? My site is called “Nerdishly.” My youngest recently secured a spot with a high energy physics research group that is working on the ATLAS experiment, so insert a muted nerdgirl “Squeeeeee!” when Anish Jethmalani’s character, Aninda, announced that he was a physicist lecturing at CERN. The script is not a seamless one, but this production is so fabulous that one forgives the weaknesses in the text. Highly recommended.

Nature Museum

img_0142 img_0197 img_0200 img_0151 img_0251 img_0230 img_0234The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum attracts young children and weary caregivers — and us. The Butterfly Haven alone is worth the cost of admission, but we also love visiting the Beecher Collections Laboratory and related exhibits, and I adore the “Heritage of the Chicago Academy of Sciences” room. Although smaller, “Frogs: A Chorus of Color” actually gives the Shedd’s “Amphibians” a run for its money. (Note that “Frogs” closes on January 22.)

Abbreviated

img_8613Afternoons end before they have really begun now, don’t they? By 3 p.m., I must turn on a light here and another there. Abbreviated days possess a sort of magic, especially when the snow finally arrives. But by early January, I suspect that, as in years past, the long nights will begin to weary me, and I will sniff the air for the scent of warm, clean dirt. Spring.

I took the image above during a recent trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. The adventure was equal parts sentiment and foolhardiness. After all, who goes to MSI on the day before Thanksgiving? Everyone, as it turns out. And the trip into the city took twice as long as it should have. Still, we had a lovely time and plan to return for a proper visit (i.e., one that coincides with everyone else returning to work and school) over our long winter break.
img_8610After MSI and dinner, we browsed the wondrous stacks at the Seminary Coop Bookstores and then attended Electra at the Court Theatre. The Court’s Greek Cycle has met with somewhat mixed reviews, but we have appreciated all of it — particularly Sandra Marquez’s majestic Clytemnestra (all three plays) and Kate Fry’s Electra.

Apart from getting the band back together, the trip into Chicago for MSI and Electra was the highlight of our recent ten-day break. Our daughters, now juniors, use the Thanksgiving holiday to get ahead on final projects and examinations, so when they came up for air, we kept it pretty simple. We (re)watched some Sherlock (in anticipation of Season 4) and walked. We raked leaves and counted birds at the feeders. We ate good food and talked. They had appointments for haircuts and annual physicals. Otherwise, they were absorbed by their studies. Soon they will be home again, though, with no projects or exams looming large. We have assembled a much more ambitious itinerary for our winter break, then, including four plays, four museums, the postponed zoo trip, and some eagle-watching.

In early December, while they finish up their fall courses and enter their reading and examination period, I will work through some holiday music and Unit 4 in Rubank Advanced Method, Vol. 1. I have been studying flute for just over two years now and will (again) acknowledge that while I have made tremendous strides, some skills may be beyond me, including velocity. Young learners have a decided advantage when it comes to manual dexterity and speed, to be sure, but the pursuit remains worthwhile and stimulating. Other pursuits for these next two weeks include reading, of course; Project FeederWatch, which now offers an option to report behavioral data (displacement and predation); and my volunteer work at the library, which I don’t think I have mentioned previously. My husband and I gave several hours each week a few summers ago but stepped away from the commitment to focus on our literacy volunteer assignment. I returned to the library in September and am enjoying the people and projects.

Until my next post, here are three more images from our MSI visit, which included a stop at the “Brick by Brick” exhibit.
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