Monday, December 30, 2013

Chicago: Week 3

I stayed home with Chester so Larry could go to the Museum of Science and Industry on Monday. I hung out and did  blissfully little, with the exception of a workout at the gym. Larry had a great time at the museum, especially touring the U-505, a German submarine from WWII captured by an American ship. When he last visited the museum in 1979, while stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base, the submarine was outside.  It is now inside the museum with it's own wing and exhibit. He also enjoyed the bicycle exhibit which is more extensive then his last visit.

Submarine and torpedo! 

The next day was Christmas Eve. We went to the gym, did a quick shopping trip to get the last of our Christmas gifts, came home and had lunch. After lunch, we were pretty much ready to have Santa come so we could open gifts, so we took turns stuffing stockings and then exchanged gifts. Larry had a beautiful holiday bouquet delivered for me:

We ate a simple meal and then played his new word game, In a Pickle. It's was nice to get the anticipation and fuss of Christmas presents out of the way. I don't know what Larry's favorite present was, but today, while I was working on a project for my job, he was busying himself with his balloon animal kit:

Weather patterns changed! We weren't expecting snow, but it snowed Christmas Eve and we woke up to a light dusting of snow over everything Christmas morning:

First thing Christmas Day, Larry and I went to my church. The service was at 8:30 AM and promised a carol singalong afterwards. I've been lapsed in my church attendance, and Larry's never been to an Orthodox service, so I was excited to bring him, as I've been feeling a renewed faithfulness in God. He thought, since he grew up Catholic, that it wouldn't be too different, but boy, was he wrong. An Orthodox Church service is like a living organism, with everyone standing, no pews except on the sides for disabled and elderly, children crawling around and parents fetching them, people arriving late moving about to venerate and kiss the icons. It's almost impossible to grow bored in an Christian Orthodox Church--which is good as the Liturgy lasts at least an hour and a half. My friend Scott Cairns calls it, "full-body worship." It was lovely to spend Christmas morning in true celebration of Christ's birth and the hope that brings to me.

In the afternoon, we went to see the amazing film, "Saving Mr. Banks." This film is moving and delightful and not at all as light as we expected from the trailers. The performances and storytelling were spectacular. Hollywood at its best. I'm a huge fan of the film version of Mary Poppins, Larry not so much, but we both were wonderfully surprised. The theater was packed but a couple offered to scoot over to make room for us.

I made a pork tenderloin for dinner and we cuddled up on the couch to watch my new gift of the DVD of "Love Actually." It was a lovely day.

All the Christmas got to me, though, and I spent a good portion of the next three days napping. However, I roused myself to go see Timeline Theatre's "The Normal Heart" at Stage 773. I'd seen the play back in college. It's about the early days of AIDS and the play holds a special place in my heart. The actors really took us back to that time and became the people they were portraying, the set was amazing, with these screens that showed videos and newspaper clips from the time period during set changes. The whole back wall was the most giant book case stuffed with books I'd ever seen. It's something to cry with a whole audience together. Here's the trailer of the play:

And here's me using a night at the theater as a rare excuse on this trip to dress up:

Friday was another rest day for me, with the exception of a visit to the gym, an evening watching old episodes of "Freaks and Geeks" and the movie, featuring the Freaks and Geeks actors, "This is the End."

Another quiet day on Saturday, we played Bananagrams and In a Pickle in the evening, having accidentally missed the music we'd planned to see (the concert was on Friday night not Saturday).

And now it's Sunday night, late. I spent nearly the entire day finishing a project for work. Phew! That was a big task. I wrote 2000 words of analysis of evidence of my teaching effectiveness all today. I also had to do the most crummy thing I can think of, pore over my student evaluations over the last five years. It's no wonder I needed so many naps before completing today's work, the final portion of the teaching review portfolio.

All that done, I blared the Pandora Americana station, cooked up some dinner, and then Larry took me to the Facets Theater to see the small independent film, "Stranger Things," about a young woman who befriends a homeless man. There were only four of us in the audience. About ten minutes into the film, it turned out the DVD wasn't working properly, so the man running it moved us to a smaller theater. Even with the interruption, this film was a quietly beautiful, performance-driven film. It was nice for a break from the noise of Oscar hopefuls. It's available streaming!

As we drove home, the snowfall started in earnest.

And here I am, saying hello to our readers again. Thank you for following our journey.

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