ECE74E31-0155-48A2-BE81-DA7A7241EBB2As I sit having my Sunday morning coffee, at 4 AM (my “New Normal” morning!), before I tackle my virtual newspapers, I do a daily dose of The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal (I saved Saturday’s WSJ, my favorite of the week, for this morning), I realized I hadn’t communicated with all of you in months, sorry….and I thought it was time for some reflections and what I have been doing since March 11th when I began my confinement.  I’m not going to whine nor am I  going to go into great detail on my feelings about the hateful virus nor the current protests, both have changed all our lives forever…here, briefly are my thoughts on that, I totally believe in peaceful protests, they are our right and my dream is that they will FINALLY bring about the process of MAJOR changes in how we have open dialogues and positive actions between all Races. We can and must make that happen.


What appears to be a peaceful view of the Chicago River and a glorious view of our City is anything but…it shows all the bridges raised not to allow our boats to sail out to the Lake but to deter people from getting from one side to the other…I find it very poignant.  To me it says we will be okay, different, most certainly, but working together we will start a new chapter for our City and our beloved Country!

The photo at the top is one I took several years ago on an idyllic afternoon in Harbor Country…and a place I’d like to transport myself to right now…where are my Ruby Slippers when I need them??  I posted it on my Instagram and Facebook accounts because I thought we needed something to look forward to. My isolation has been quite an adventure and, at the moment, no end in sight.  My outing is a daily, masked of course, 12 steps to and from the garbage chute….such excitement!  Thank heaven for Instacart and Whole Foods via Amazon Prime they are keeping my shelves and tummy filled!


A view of one side of my reorganized pantry shelf.  I really need to do something with all the cans of tomatoes, don’t you to recipe suggestions!

And  several dear friends have been supplying me with food and my constant evaporating bottles of wine!  The Woman’s Athletic Club has been doing food selections for curbside pickup and another darling friend picks up my order, and “insists” on including a couple bottles of my favorite vintage!  I am definitely depending on “the kindness of others!!”  And my doormen have been amazing in getting all my supplies to my door…I couldn’t get through this without them, thank you a Charles and Dennis. While we are in the subject of food and supplies…I need someone to explain the hoarding of toilet paper (still hard to get) and the sudden urge to bake bread and banana bread, mostly by people who have never baked bread nor even thought about it!  Finally got some flour and baking powder, I don’t need yeast because I have no interest in baking bread.

Of course, my Columbia College Chicago Fashion Studies turned into a virtual class, a major learning curve for the students and for me.  We got through it via my new best friend, Zoom!  And, my class did a decent job on their final project.  We shall see what the fall semester bring us.  Most certainly an opportunity for the students to reimagine how to present fashion shows as well as the entire fashion business which will be totally different from what we have known.

Speaking of virtual meetings and working at home…the second part I’m use to, I have worked at home since I retired, the virtual part I’m still learning how to make it work more efficiently not only for my teaching but also for my nenasnotes The Fashion Book and Film Clubs since we can’t, for the foreseeable future, meet in person.  March 10th was the first and last “in person” The Fashion Film Club, when we discussed Lagerfeld Confidential.  I skipped April and May we watched and discussed The Women, the classic film costumed by the uber talented and my favorite Hollywood designer, Adrian!  We had a great discussion.  I was amazed at how many in the group hadn’t seen the film.  Fascinating!


We ended our second year of nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club with a discussion with the author, Petra Slinkard and her new book The Women Who Revolutionized Fashion, a must have in your fashion library.  Great conversation.  I love that I can mute all participants if I so desire but they were very good at not talking until I asked for questions.  The Book Stall has been my Independent Bookseller of choice for the past two years of The Fashion Book Club and they continue to be.  Please support them when purchasing, they are THE best.

14B3661A-0154-4F51-8D9C-AC9CAE3BA784Two years ago, we started with LouLou and Yves and will begin our third year with Chanel’s Riviera, again a book I recommend to you.  An interesting look at the time just before WWII and how everything changed not only in France and the Riviera but worldwide (reminding me of today with everything changing!)

The next two films will be about the Riviera with To Catch A Thief, who doesn’t want to watch Gary Grant and Grace Kelly romp through the Riviera with Grace exquisitely dressed by Edith Head, and Last Year At MarIenbad costumed by Mlle Chanel.

I first saw the latter film in 1961 with my dear friend, Victor Skrebneski and with him again years later, it was a strange film both times…I wonderful how I’ll feel viewing it the third time this time without Victor whose recent death is still too raw for me to write an ode to our friendship on this blog.  I will do so shortly, I promise.
5BB151CE-1FA1-48B6-9715-8ECBAF045B6DMy treasured Skrebneski sketch.

Victor and Dennis at the last book signing he would do, this for a Fashion Group International of Chicago sold out breakfast last December. We are holding open our pages in Victor’s book while Victor is displaying the cover….another must have for your library.

B0243D23-8981-4F7A-A817-F4FCE9733A18Just had to pause for a second cup of coffee which I rarely do and a brownie from the batch I made yesterday….I use the recipe from the original Betty Crocker cookbook…it is my go to cookbook for the classics.  I think I have shared it in a blogpost.  And the sun is now out….

So what else have I been doing…obviously not blogging and I’m having difficulty concentrating on reading, lots in my TBR pile and they just keep piling up and major trouble sleeping, but I’m reading that both those issues, concentrating and sleeping are the ailments of our current stay at home situation.  I forgot to tell you why I can’t leave my condo (and, by the way, my environment isn’t hateful!) is my lifelong asthma which has lately reared its ugly head and, I hate to admit, my age.  I have to keep reminding myself I’m not 20 any more!!!!!

In addition, I’m streaming interesting programs on YouTube, Netflix, BritBox and Acorn…I think I’ll do a separate blog post on that subject.  I’m doing monthly fashion book reviews for The Fashion Map  I’m still doing two monthly blog posts for Randolph Street Market, RSM is on hiatus at the moment but I can guarantee that Sally Schwartz, our fearless leader, will bounce back bigger and better than ever….stay tuned for her continuing story.  I’ve also been doing other freelance writing, cooking for one (me!), doing FaceTime and Zoom, both helping to keep my sanity by seeing other humans!!!

i think that is enough for today, have to get ready to watch CBS Sunday Morning, so I’ll close by offering you a virtual platter of asparagus, my many years ago effort at food styling before we knew what food styling was, until we can share a repast together.  Stay well and safe, see you soon.  As always I send you hugs….



15 thoughts on “SUNDAY MUSINGS

  1. Lawrie Weed June 7, 2020 / 12:02 pm

    Thanks for coming up for air – Have missed your reviews and “daily” comments. I have really missed your book reviews and desperately need some suggestions – even repeats of what you recommended. Our Library is curbside pick up only now. Hopefully we will be walking the streets again soon!

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 12:13 pm

      Hi my dear…..thank you, thank you thank you. I’m trying to get to some sort of routine in posting. I so appreciate your comments. Here are two book recommendations Chanel’s Riviera doesn’t concentrate on Mlle Chanel although she is most certainly there…a good read but not a quick one. The new one getting all the attention is André Leon Talley’s started out very whiny but got interesting about half way through. You will know ALL the characters. My reading has been mostly for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club. Shall I send you details, since I’m doing then virtually you wouldn’t have trouble moving us. Let me know. Hugs…

  2. Lawrie Weed June 7, 2020 / 12:25 pm

    Send details on BOOK CLUB. I also liked your reviews of other historical bios, myteries, etc. you recommended. I am still doing books on tape from the Library as in the car so much

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 12:32 pm

      Shall do. I just got the new Cara Black book, haven’t read it but always love her Aimee LaDoc series. The new one is a stand alone…Three Hours in Paris….I’m sure it will be great. She is a superb writer, in my opinion

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 12:56 pm

      My pleasure

  3. Marcia June 7, 2020 / 2:19 pm

    Nena , as always enjoy reading your insightful blogs . Loved seeing Petra and her new book. Beautiful cover and I hope it does well.
    On another note i am so sorry to hear about your extensive time sheltering in place. I have recently found that going up to the burbs i am able to find more supplies than downtown. I would be happy to drop off those essential “supplies” when I go back up soon. I never thought I would be so happy to shop without going through instacart these past 3 mos. , that never seemed to have what I wanted . Let me know via email. Hoping to see you via zoom soon! Be well, stay safe!❣️

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 2:38 pm

      Thanks Marcia….at the moment I’m well stocked. I’m very happy with Instacart and Whole Foods direct. I presume you aren’t joining us on Tuesday for nenasnotes The Fashion Film Club, hopefully yiu will join the nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club with Chanel’s Riviera on the 23rd.
      Stay well and safe and again thanks for your offer. N

      • Marcia June 7, 2020 / 3:15 pm

        Sorry I can’t make it. Sad, but had signed up for another program long ago. I hope to be at the next one. I got upset with Instagart because they were not wearing masks, which is required in my condo, when they delivered. I made a note on each order and got 5 dollars off! Really? Anyway stay healthy and my offer still stands for the future.❣️

      • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 3:17 pm

        Thanks Marcia. My Instacart people have had their masks on, they are most definitely required by everyone in my condo building and must leave all deliveries in my lobby. I appreciate your offer. Stay safe and well…this won’t end soon.

  4. Sally Schwartz June 7, 2020 / 3:41 pm

    As always, even in your confinement you are the most interesting person in the Zoom room!!! And need that Brownie recipe yum!!!

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 3:57 pm

      Thanks Dear Sally….I think I posted it….let me go into the archives, if not I’ll send it to you. See you soon.

    • nenasnotes June 7, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      Just looked can’t find it….I’ll get it to you ASAP.

  5. Dianne Erpenbach June 9, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    So wonderful to read your Musings. Confinement has introduced many creative alternatives. This world will be changed forever. Love and hugs 🥰

    • nenasnotes June 9, 2020 / 3:41 pm

      Hi, thanks always great to hear from you. You should join either the nenasnotes The Fashion Book and/or The Fashion Film Clubs…I’m doing them virtually for the foreseeable future, let me know if yiu are interested. We meet the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. If interested give me your email. Love and hugs back….N

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