No Longer Classy

November 30, 2011 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Well, that’s it.  I have officially completed my certificate in Museum Studies through Northwestern University!  I won’t be getting the actual certificate in the mail for a few weeks yet and since there’s no ceremony or parade to honor this momentous occasion, a delivery from the mailperson will have to do.

Yay Me!

Not going to lie, I’m a tad bit proud of myself.  Going back to school (even for a continuing studies certificate program) is something I’ve wanted to do pretty much since I graduated undergrad and while it wasn’t always easy or financially responsible, I totally made it happen.  These courses led to my docent position at the Field and introduced me to a great new friend that I’m glad to have.  I learned quite a bit about things I’d never even thought to think about before and I’m really glad I did it.  Now, what will I do with my free time on Tuesday evenings?  Well, I’d like to say I’ll take that time to relax and take it easy but in reality I’ll probably find something else to occupy myself.  In fact, I’m “supposed” to be joining a gym with the boyfriend.  Though to be honest the thought of having an entire night to come home after work, veg out on the couch and crash early is awfully appealing.  I feel as though I haven’t been paying enough attention to my poor couch and it’s about time to rectify that.  Not tonight (food pantry) or tomorrow (visit with a friend after work then house cleaning for my upcoming guests) or this weekend (Mom and Sissy will be in town!) or Monday (Christmas shopping) but maybe…Tuesday?  Hey look at that, it might happen after all!

Anyway, my final class and final presentation went well, despite the fact that I have a cold and was a walking, sniveling, snotty, coughing mess too doped up on cold medicine to really care if I spoke in coherent sentences or not.  By saying it went well, what I really mean is I finished it without falling over and people half-hardheartedly clapped at the end.  Whatever, I’ll take what I can get, especially since it means I’m officially finished!

Your invite to my graduation party is in the mail but feel free to preemptively send a congratulatory check.

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Well Hello There

September 21, 2011 at 10:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Last night I began the third and final course needed for me to complete my certificate in Museum Studies at Northwestern.  Now, these classes begin at 6pm and run til 9pm and I walk there straight from work, so it’s a long day for me.  I had some rather heavy stuff on my mind when I rolled into class and plopped in my seat and I didn’t really look around or pay attention to anything or anyone until we got started.  We did the usual “say your name and tell a bit about yourself” thing and we started with me, as I was in the back of the class (just call me trouble).  As I began to speak and the class turned to look at me, I realized that the girl sitting directly in front of me lived on my dorm room floor my freshman year in college.  I promptly said “HEY!” and stopped for an awkward moment because I wasn’t exactly prepared to see her.  I quickly mentioned (to the entire class) that I knew her from college but hadn’t seen her since and then had to try to salvage the rest of my introductory speech.  It was weird and random and while I knew she lived in Chicago I hadn’t really seen or spoken to her in like….8 years.

We managed to catch up a bit over the break and since my last class buddy finished the course already, it’s nice to have another familiar face.  It also served as a good reminder that it really is a small world and even in a city of nearly 3 million people you can still manage to run into people from your past.

I cannot make this shit up

The rest of the class went well and as I trudged to the train I encountered something else that is worthy of a mention on this here blog.  Right around Michigan Avenue, I came upon a young couple pushing a stroller.  Adorably predictable, right?  Not so.  As we passed, I glanced in and was more than surprised to see a dog, not a baby.  A.  Dog.  In.  A.  Stroller.  I did a literal double take and realized that it seemed to be a stroller specifically for dogs and I almost lost my shit.  As I was staring behind me in disbelief, the male portion of the couple leaped ahead, crouched down and snapped a picture of the pooch while the lady smiled proudly.

I almost gagged.

What, were the dog’s feet so dainty and delicate that they couldn’t bear to touch the sidewalk?  Or is this couple so delusional and rich that they had nothing better to do than to shove a poor animal into a cage on wheels?  I don’t know.  I do know Catsby would smother me in my sleep if I tried a stunt like that with her.

Oh, city living.

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Loving LUMA

May 27, 2011 at 10:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Tuesday night, our Northwestern class took a trip to the Loyola University Museum of Art (aka LUMA), which is off Michigan Avenue (and conveniently located next door to the Hershey Store, where I taste tested some products before entering the museum).  One of my favorite aspects of this Museum Studies course is that it exposes me to some of the smaller museums in Chicago that I’m not as aware of and gives me an opportunity to check them out.  That was the case with LUMA, where we were allowed to wander through their exhibits before and after meeting with two of their curators.  They were both kind enough to answer our questions and speak to us about working in such a unique space.  Their insights were informative and entertaining and it’s always interesting to hear about some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of any museum.  LUMA is a part of Loyola University, which is a “Jesuit Catholic university dedicated to knowledge in the service of humanity”.  While LUMA is funded primarily through the university, they are in fact an art museum in and of their own right.  And their collections really are worth your time.

LUMA

While LUMA features various temporary exhibits which rotate fairly often (including the current one on textiles), they have three rooms in their permanent collection as well.  The permanent collections showcase various pieces of religious art from hundreds of years ago.  Dozens of paintings, sculptures, wood and ivory carved pieces and much more adorn the halls and each piece is significant.  There are some items dating as far back as the 14th and 15th centuries and I found just standing in the presence of such art to be extremely meaningful.  The display of these collections is uncluttered and the gallery provides a nice flow from one room to another while still showcasing everything in a tasteful manner.  I looked in one ornate mirror that was hundreds of years old and all I could think about was how many sets of eyes have looked for their reflection in that glass over the last few centuries.  Not going to lie, it gave me goosebumps.

As someone who grew up attending Catholic schools and masses, I felt a bit deeper of a connection to many of these relics than what some of my other classmates might have had.  However, as you may or may not know, I don’t exactly consider myself a model Catholic any longer.  I do attend mass with some regularity (i.e. when I’m home visiting Mom) so I’m not entirely lapsed but affiliating myself with a specific religion isn’t something I worry too much about.  That being said, I’ll admit I felt more of a spiritual presence in the gallery at LUMA than I have in probably the last decade or so in a church.  There was a reverence surrounding these objects that I found humbling and being around items that people have worshiped and prayed over for so much of our history was enough to give me pause.  I actually sort of wished that I had been there on my own so I could have completely immersed myself in the experience.  Since our time there was unfortunately limited, I plan on going back soon to do just that.

At just $6, LUMA’s admission fee is hard to beat (especially given the hefty price tags at many other museums).  Tuesdays are even free every week, though it’s just my luck that that’s the evening I have my weekly class.  I won’t be in class forever though so until I can take advantage of the free days more often, I’ll be happy shell out six bucks to go back for more.

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This Post Brought to You by the Letter ‘A’

March 16, 2011 at 11:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

…because that’s the grade I earned in my Northwestern class!

Where's my cookie for a job well done?

Our private tour of the Shedd Aquarium last night was pretty awesome and I got to see behind the scenes of their new exhibit, to be unveiled next month (hint: it will be super cool).  My professor emailed today with our grades and I earned 100/100 – and apparently, I was “an absolute pleasure to have in class”.  Not bad for my first official course in four years.

Now I have a three-week break before Round Two and since the weather is finally warming up chances are I won’t have to trudge 2 miles in the snow (no, not uphill but close enough) to get to class.  Unless it decides to snow in May, which I wouldn’t necessarily rule out here.  Still, I’m pretty pumped about my grade and glad a little bit of this course is behind me.  Now who wants to buy this smarty pants a drink?

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Dating the City

August 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I.  Love.  Chicago.

What's not to like?

I’ll admit that I’ve watched some Sex and the City in my day and this weekend I was reminded of the episode where Carrie admits to having a love affair with New York.  I feel the same way about Chicago and this weekend only strengthened that bond.

Friday night, I was walking home from the train with grand visions of a huge nap running through my head.  I had been busy almost every night for two weeks and frankly, my couch was calling my name.  As I was about a block from home, a group of teenagers came up to me and handed me a playbill for a show they were doing that night.  It happened to be at the Prop Theater, which is about a 2 minute walk from my apartment.  They said the show was about the tough issues teens have to face today and as someone who works with kids, I was intrigued.  So I went.  The show, called Where Do We Go From Here? was put together by the Anxious Voices Youth Ensemble, which is an organization that gets kids involved in writing and acting and encourages them to stay off the street.  They spent 8 weeks writing the script and it was about a group of inner-city kids dealing with teen pregnancy, violence, drugs and gangs.  It was pretty powerful and I really enjoyed it, although as it started late and didn’t have an intermission my bladder was not as pleased.

On Saturday, a friend and I met up for coffee at Dollop, which is a funky little place in Uptown.  I love independent coffee shops, what with their original artwork on the walls and great atmosphere.  The music was good and my iced Chai was delicious.  I wish I had someplace like that near where I live and I’m going to have to put independent coffee shop on my list of requirements for when I move.

After coffee, we had dinner at Demera, a nearby Ethiopian restaurant.  Before last week I had never had Ethiopian food and I actually had it twice in three days, so now I’m hooked.  Thursday was the day I first tried it, during my monthly book club meeting – I’ll be doing a review of that later this week so I’ll spare all the delicious details until then.  Suffice to say, it was great.

On Sunday, I treated myself to breakfast and then began another day of dating the city.  Since I’m taking a two day course at Northwestern this weekend, I decided to figure out exactly where it was and plan my route (yes, I’m a tad anal

Just Beachy

and yes, I’m extremely excited about the class).  I walked down to Wrigleyville with a huge mass of people going to the Cubs game and managed to disentangle myself long enough to hop on a train.  I found the building where my class is going to be pretty easily and had to refrain from jumping up and down at the thought of going back to school, even if it is just for two days.  Since the downtown Northwestern campus is pretty much right next to the beach, I strolled over there for a while and enjoyed some sunshine and people watching.  Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous here in Chicago and so I window-shopped up and down Michigan Avenue for a while before hopping on a bus and going to one of my favorite places in all of the city…that’s right, the Field Museum.  I spent a nice, peaceful two hours wandering around there but then they threw me out so I had to mosey on home.

It was a great Sunday and a great weekend in general.  I realized once again how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful, busy city and I am so thankful that I’m here.  I know that I’ll be bitching and moaning pretty soon when the weather turns to crap and I’ll have to come re-read this post to remind myself why I put up with the winters.  Until then, though, I plan on going on as many dates with Chicago as I possibly can!

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