The irony is that managing concerts, as I do, sometimes makes it difficult to attend them. Nonetheless, I was in the audience for several concerts in the last year and a few in particular I really enjoyed.
In April I heard Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 Reformation, appropriate given this Reformation 500 anniversary year, as well as Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Yafim Bronfman.
In December I heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, under Nikolaj Znaider, perform Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. On both occasions I was hearing these symphonies performed live by a professional orchestra for the first time, and on neither occasion did they disappoint!
Over the summer I attended a couple performances at the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park, including, in August, one featuring the Mariachi Cobre, which may have been only the second time in my life I had heard live mariachi music, at least in concert.
Naomi and I are regular Purple Carrot users, and a few of the recipes we have gone on to reuse, particularly the delicious (and simple) red bean burger. We have been introduced to new ingredients and new twists on familiar meals. One of my long time favorite recipes, which I first learned when Naomi and I were dating in college, is a zucchini and kidney bean chili. I am also now very partial to the use of dates as a sweetener, though that is more for baking than cooking; my skills are very much still in the cooking realm.
I read eleven books from start to finish this year and read bits of some others, but I really do want to increase that total in future years. Three in particular are:
- John Bateson's Building Hope: Leadership in the Non-Profit World, anecdotes and experience-based advice on many facets of the non-profit institution
- Andy Crouch's Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power, a compelling analysis of the ways power is often abused and how it could and can be used for so much good instead
- Christopher Gehrz and Mark Pattie's The Piestist Option: Hope for the Renewal of Christianity, an encouraging look at the principles of pietism and how they can inform most other traditions
In addition to my home state of Illinois, I found myself spending time in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont this year. (I also changed planes in California but I am of the school of thought that that does not count.)
My visits to Hawaii, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont were my first times in each of those states. The Hawaii trip was Naomi's and my honeymoon in January to the island of Kauai, and it was very much the perfect time of year to go and an all-around enjoyable trip. I chronicled the Vermont trip in detail previously on this blog.
I already have tickets for two CSO concerts in 2018, we are due for our next Purple Carrot later in January, I have two books waiting for me on my desk to read, one of which I am sure I will take on our January trip to Florida, and after that who knows to where else I will take books for the plane ride - New Orleans and Canada are on our list!
I hope 2017 had many satisfying moments of those things you enjoy doing in your spare time, and that 2018 will have no less!