Friday, December 13, 2013

I'll Be Seeing Ya...

How time flies when you're having fun! With just a few weeks until the New Year things are wrapping up and starting anew. The month of December is packed full of friends, family and travel. My son is on his way home from college for his winter break, it will be wonderful to have him home for 1 month! This weekend Paul and I will enjoy a stay in Chicago and explore the holiday events in the City including the lights on Michigan Avenue, the Christkindlmarket, a play at Steppenwolf Theater and some Christmas shopping on State Street. Next week I will be joining my family at Disney World for Christmas and then it will be home to Chicago for a New Years Eve celebration with friends. 

2013 has been one of the busiest years in recent memory for me personally and professionally and it has been difficult to keep up with blogging on Lively Librarian. So for 2014 I am going to take a break. With the exception of the occasional update, this blog will be largely silent during the next year. I use other websites and apps to stay in touch with my family, friends, colleagues and readers so whichever sites you use, please connect with me at: 
It's been a wild ride readers and I've loved connecting with you online and in person, stay in touch and thanks for reading!

In the words of Neil Gaiman: "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Friday, November 15, 2013

Knights, Dragons and Magic Oh My!

Some of my favorite stories originate from history and legends of the British Isles: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere, Merlin, Tristan & Iseult, Robin Hood, Richard III, dragons, sorcerers, The Lady of the Lake and so many others. One of my favorite books is my 1939 copy of The Boy's King Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory's History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table illustrated by N.C. Wyeth. This beautiful book is full of stories and illustrations of Arthur, Launcelot, Tristan, the Fair Maid of Astolat, the Holy Grail and many of Arthur's other Knights.

Growing up my son also enjoyed many of these stories, his favorites were tales of Robin Hood, the Sword in the Stone and anything with dragons in it. As more and more movies and TV series were made retelling these stories, special effects evolved so much that when you see a dragon on film it's hard to believe that the creatures never existed.

Some of our favorite film and TV adaptions of these mythical stories include:

  • The early 1980's TV series Robin of Sherwood (a cult classic, my son and I have the series on DVD and have watched each episode many times. Still the best version in my opinion)
  • The 1981 film Excalibur (another cult classic with a who's who of before they became famous actors including Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson)
  • The 1996 movie Dragonheart (my son watched this movie over and over when it was released. Dennis Quaid valiantly tries to save the last dragon from a young King who becomes evil. The dragon's voice is Sean Connery)
  • The 2004 film King Arthur (Clive Owen as Arthur and Keira Knightly as Guinevere)
  • The 2006 Ridley Scott produced film Tristan & Isolde (James Franco and Sophia Myles as the tragic lovers)
I've watched a few episodes of the TV series Robin Hood on Netflix that ran from 2006-2009 on the BBC. It's a fun and more modern interpretation of Robin Hood and not nearly as dark as the 80's TV show Robin of Sherwood. Another series that I've begun on Netflix is Merlin which ran from 2008-2012 on the BBC. This series is fantastic and while it completely mixes up the legends, the adventures of Arthur and Merlin while they are young men is irresistible. If you are a lover of legends and myths you can't go wrong with watching some of the better interpretations of the stories on TV and film. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Rushing" into Life

My son was initiated into his fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) at the fraternity headquarters in Lexington Kentucky over the weekend. Transitioning from the military to college has been a challenging but exciting time for him. During his first semester he has maintained an excellent GPA, joined his fraternity and settled into a new life in a new state. I'm incredibly proud of him.

Fraternity and sorority life at American colleges and universities is often referred to as "Greek Life" from the Greek letters that make up the names of the organizations. During my son's "rush" period before he was initiated the fraternity required him to maintain a vigorous study schedule and minimum B+ grade point average, complete weekly hours of community service, attend university activities, study his fraternity's history and participate in a leadership role within his pledge class. Greek Life is not what every college student chooses to participate in but for many students it's a great experience both academically and socially.

My son is the 3rd generation in my family to participate in fraternity and sorority life while in college. My father was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, my mother is a Sigma Sigma Sigma, my son's dad is a Delta Tau Delta and I am a member of Pi Beta Phi. After college life we've stayed active in alumnae groups for community, social and work related benefits. Like myself, my son went to college far from Chicago, knowing no one on campus and his fraternity will be a great source of friendship and support for him. I have a feeling he is going to enjoy his college years to the fullest, it's a once in a lifetime experience.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"I want to be a dancer"

Like so many little girls do I started dancing when I was a child at a local dance school in my neighborhood. In high school and college I danced in school dance companies and enjoyed the practices, the performances and the relationships that develop when you spend hours with other dancers. And like any dancer who has ever worn through a pair of pink ballet slippers it was fun to dream of the "glamorous" life of ballerinas.

"Glamorous" lives of ballerinas involve a lot of bloody feet, hours of daily practice, years of pain management and even more years of patience. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker who famously twirls in a pink tutu in the opening of every episode of Sex and the City produced an online docudrama series about the lives of New York City Ballet dancers. The first episode begins with dancers in the school of ballet and as the series progresses the dancers are promoted through the corps to soloists and finally to principals.  Relationships, injuries, social lives, practices and performances are all shown, including glimpses of the famous ballet Swan Lake which is so demanding 3 principal ballerinas dance as the main character.

You can watch each episode, all are under 7 minutes in length at city.ballet on AOL.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Unforgettable Friendship

Sometimes you hear a story that you'll never forget. This is one of those stories. A friendship between 2 young men, one of them is blind and the other one has no legs and the woman who changes their lives and makes them a family. You can watch their story here and after you do share it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Autumn Awesomeness

My favorite season. I love it as much as the dog playing in the leaves in the video below. Pure joy.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday 5 List #33-Fall Favorites

The weather has changed in Chicago from dresses and sandals to boots and sweater season. We still have the occasional day of 80+ temperatures but the evenings are cool and the air smells like leaves. So for this week's Monday 5 List, here are my favorite things to do in the fall.
  1. Football. For the Bears season opener Paul and I joined friends at one of our favorite bars in Chicago to enjoy watching the game, eating bar food and drinking beer. This will likely be our normal routine for the season.
  2. Road trips. We just returned from a weekend road trip to Bloomington Indiana where we tailgated at the Indiana University v Bowling Green football game. Go Hoosiers! My son's best friend plays Offensive Tackle for IU and it's much more fun to watch college football on a college campus. Our next road trip might include apple picking, whiskey tasting, hot cider and antiquing in Michigan in October.
  3. Fire. We had out first backyard bonfire last week and expect to spend many more evenings sitting around the firepit on cool nights. Pulling out cozy sweaters for enjoying the outdoors is also a favorite part of the season.
  4. Chicago events. The first weekend in Chicago we went to the Guinness Oyster Fest a street festival in Roscoe Village. Great neighborhood, not overly crowded with 2 stages (mainly Irish style music), and lots of Guinness and oysters. This weekend we will be attending Chicago in White, a pop up dining experience where attendees dress all in white and do not know the location until right before the event begins. The last weekend in September we are playing tour guides to friends visiting from Ohio and expect to spend the weekend at a boutique hotel in Chicago, wandering the city, and visiting the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity exhibit during it's final days at the Art Institute.
  5. Friends. Fall seems to be the best season for catching up with friends. Maybe it's all the opportunities for watching sports together, maybe it's the fun of getting together before it's too cold to enjoy being outdoors. We seem to be busier than ever in the fall whether it's a party or just having pizza and jumping in the hot tub. Whatever you do this fall, I hope it's a great season for you.
If you are looking for more ideas of what to do in Chicago this fall, read this great article