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Friday, November 28th, 2014
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Postcards from the Windy City - Art in the City


By Abby Stocker

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists



Dear Readers,

This week, I found myself on the train once again, tumbling into downtown Chicago. Beautiful Saturday afternoon, plans in the city, what more could you want?

Art. And people to share it with, of course.

My trip downtown a few weeks ago, to the Taste of Chicago food festival, was a trip of experimentation and observation. Traveling by myself, I did a lot of watching—fun when the crowd is diverse and you have time to observe their antics. I felt quite independent, quite adventurous. This trip, I went with my host parents and my mom, who was happily visiting for the weekend.

Our destination? The Art Institute of Chicago, near Millennium Park and home to great works of art such as Wood’s American Gothic, van Gogh’s The Bedroom, and Monet’s Stacks of Wheat. If you pass it on the street, you might recognize the two bronze lions, unofficially titled “in an attitude of defiance” and “on the prowl.” Since its founding in 1879, it has been home to both a museum and a school, and today owns almost 300,000 pieces of art.

My guidebook to three pieces you absolutely must visit, based on our trip:

1. Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above Clouds IV (1965). O’Keeffe is well known for paintings of flowers and deserts; this painting, a vast landscape that hangs by itself in a spacious white stairway, depicts the sky from O’Keeffe’s perspective in an airplane. The painting is striking, but is also well-displayed to give you a sense of the vast size of the sky and the endlessness of the clouds which O’Keeffe portrays. It’s so large that some museums haven’t been able to display it—no door was big enough to bring the painting inside.

2. Henri Matisse’s Bathers by a River (1909-10, 1913, 1916-1917). This painting was considered by Matisse as both his test canvas and one of the “most ‘pivotal’ works of his career,” according to the Art Institute. Over the years, Matisse altered the work, with the result that closer museum study of its revisions shows signs of his literally scraping paint off in his various stylistic periods. It was never quite finished, perhaps like the artist himself?

3. Vasily Kandinsky’s Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons) (1913). I didn’t realize I’d bump into Kandinsky while at the Art Institute, so it was a pleasant surprise to round the corner from seeing Matisse to be greeted by .....
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Country Coffee Talk - August 12, 2013

By Jeanette Schmidt

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Don’t you just love the summer! There’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting on the porch in the morning with that first cup of coffee, ignoring what’s ahead for the day. How did that jingle go...“The best part of waking up...”? Did you kno ..... 
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Tech Bytes - Profiling

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Profiling, “the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities,” is often associated in a negative light when you’re the potential employee. When you’re th ..... 
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Musings from the back porch! - August 5, 2013

By Judy Thomas

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

In the good old summertime We waited quite awhile for it to get here and before we know it, it will be gone. Since this is my first attempt to share bits of myself and who I am, I guess I could describe myself as liking to meet and getting to know ..... 
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Postcards from the Windy City - A Bird? A Plane? A...Magnet

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Dear Readers, Picture this: a giant circular object, apparently a ring, shrink-wrapped in some kind of white plastic, on top of a 16-axel red flatbed trailer, driving maybe five miles per hour through a gap in the trees opposite the building wher ..... 
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Postcards from the Windy City - Casablanca

By Abby Stocker

Fri, Jul 26th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Here’s looking at you, Readers. I got stuck in “Casablanca” this week. Astoundingly, I’d never seen the movie. So I spent nearly two hours last Monday evening with Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and my host parents, waiting for letters ..... 
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Tech Bytes - Uninvited Guests

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jul 26th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Keeping in touch with family and friends via instant messaging is great, through video is even better. Skype, for example, is a great program to video chat at people’s convenience by utilizing your computer’s webcam. However, if a stranger was ..... 
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A View From The Woods - Blackcaps and Bites

By Loni Kemp

Fri, Jul 26th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

I rose at sunrise, anticipating a sweltering hot day with only a couple of hours of relative comfort in the shade before the sun reached the forest edge. I forced myself to put on lightweight slacks and a long-sleeved shirt, both stained and relegat ..... 
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More notes from a country kitchen.

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Jul 19th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Summer always makes me think of hay and that is one hot, sweaty, and itchy subject! When we first started farming, we had many acres of hay ground. We didn’t have any animals that ate hay as we only raised pigs, but we sold our hay to others. Si ..... 
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