Photo Friday

When I was looking for a new desktop photo I found myself looking at my pictures from Chicago two years ago.  I only used a few in posts back then so I thought I would share some of the more interesting architectural photos.

This is the one I chose for my desktop.  I love the way the buildings reflect on each other.


Can’t go wrong looking up.


It’s like a road map going up the side of the building.


I like the way the center building is framed and the light near the bottom.

Keep Your Focus!

Chicago: Random Observations

Ladybug cow walking up a building. Who wouldn’t take a picture of that?

* One of the first things I noticed in downtown Chicago was all the horn blowing. The first day we ate a late lunch and sat at the outdoor patio and I was rather surprised. The streets were narrow, there were cars parked on both sides and there were a ton of pedestrians. I thought drivers would be used to crappy driving conditions.
Over the next few days I observed the honking. Some of the honking was done by taxis. A quick beep letting people know they were available. Buses honked to get cars out of the bus stops. And everyone honked at pedestrians crossing against the light. (Me, I would have ran them over.) I didn’t really see any angry driver to driver honking. All that honking really did seem to have a purpose.

* By far most of the women were wearing flats, but nice flats or sandals. Only tourists seem to wear sneakers or flip flops. (I alternated between my sketchers and ll bean mary janes.)

* Several hotels had bowls of water for dogs near their doors. One even had a bowl of milk bones. (Don’t tell my dog.)

* Pretty much everyone we had dealings with was very friendly. Waitresses, bus drivers, cashiers at Walgreens, all were not just friendly but really helpful. It helped Chicago leave a wonderful impression.


* All the green space was such a surprise. In a city of skyscrapers there were not just parks scattered around but most streets had a little green belt. The sidewalks were wide and on the curb side there were trees, small stretches of grass and flowerbeds. Many buildings had flower boxes too that were just gorgeous.


Taken during the architectural boat tour.


It’s off center on purpose to show the DBacks flag.

* I cannot say how much I loved Wrigley Field.  Old school ballparks are the best.  And the fans were lovely.  They stayed until the end even though the Cubs lost 3-2.  The woman sitting behind us told us we were on tv for the seventh inning stretch.  Her husband (she was there with a girlfriend, I think a season ticket holder) was watching the game from home and sent her a picture of us! And this is a little weird but I got a chopped salad and it had the best Italian dressing I have ever tasted.  (I also ate a hot dog and some Cubs popcorn from Nuts on Clark so I wasn’t being crazy healthy, I just needed some greens.)

*At the end of the trip we realized we had used quite a few modes of transportation over the week.  Our truck  -> airplane -> shuttle bus -> boat -> the ‘L’  -> bus -> taxi -> train and of course our own two feet.

Next Chicago post:  The train trip home.

Chicago: No Worries, Was Happy

Look, a flying penguin!

So, everything I worried about before the trip turned out to be non-issues.

Security at the airport,  a breeze.  We had the TSA pre-check because of my husband’s job so we got to skip the insanely long (despite it being 4:00am) regular security line and go through the no line at all pre-check.  We didn’t even have to take off our shoes and I did not set off the metal detector.

Getting from the airport to our condo, easy-peasy.  I wanted to arrange transportation beforehand but my husband wanted to wing it.  We ended up finding a shuttle at the airport and it was a reasonable $54 for the three of us. (It was almost 20 miles from the airport to the condo we rented.)

Using public transit, a piece of cake.  We rode the bus to the Museum of Science and Industry, easily arriving in time for our 10:00 a.m. Imax National Parks film and used the “L” to get to and from Wrigley Field with no issues.

I am a terrible packer.  I always want to bring some of everything “just in case”.  With flying that wasn’t practical and even though I checked the forecast I had no idea if I would have what I wanted to wear.  Turns out I packed perfectly, wore everything I brought and I was perfectly outfitted for the weather, the activity and my mood!  (We did laundry while we were there so I brought five outfits for eight days with mix and match possibilities,)

My biggest worry was about getting over tired or “over peopled”.  A lack of any solitude for eight straight days could be a real stressor for me, as well as being in many crowded situations.  Because I was smart enough (for once in my life) to monitor my own needs I was aware of how I felt and avoided any meltdowns.  For instance at Wrigley Field we opted to walk around the neighborhood instead of waiting with the crush of people for the gates to open.  We got to see some really interesting architecture and gardens and even popped into an open house just to see what the inside was like.

Our condo, fantastic!  Not fancy but better than a hotel and a perfect location just one block from the lake and two or three blocks from Michigan Ave.  Most mornings I got up first and used the shower and then  I could sit alone in the kitchen of our studio condo with my book and journal while everyone else got ready.  (Maybe I pretended a little bit that I was living there.)


The kitchen in the condo


The view out the kitchen window, love the ivy.

I ended up enjoying the trip much more than I thought I would.  Right before we left I had this sort of sucking it up for the family kind of mentality but once there, well, I have to admit I fell in love with Chicago!


Next Chicago Post:  Random Observations

Chicago: Prologue



Last fall my husband mentioned going to Chicago to see a baseball game. I gave him my “are you crazy?” look and said we are not driving 2000 miles all the way to Chicago to see a baseball game. Then he gave me his “are you crazy?” look and said we would fly. Oh. And from there our second trip for this summer developed.

Here’s the thing, the last time I flew was 2007. It was a miserable experience starting with security making me throw away my yogurt and then spending many long minutes with some woman feeling around my back where my bra hooks because the barrette in my hair set off the metal detector. And when I started to get obviously annoyed about it and the woman asked if I was annoyed I answered yes. Then she asked if I was annoyed with her. Uh-oh. So I lied and said no of course not.

And then I threw up all the way across the country. I was three months pregnant. When we got back to Montana I said I was done flying and I haven’t flown since.

The reasons why I don’t fly:

1. Ever changing and inconsistently applied security rules and the rudeness of many TSA employees.

2. The cost. When you think about how airline tickets are priced it feels fraudulent. How would you like it if every time you went to the grocery store the price of a can of peas was different depending on the time and day of the week you were purchasing it? Same peas a woman bought the day before but she paid ten cents less. Ridiculous right?

3. Delays. Flying may or may not be convenient. Used to be you mainly had to worry about weather and the occasional maintenance delay. Now you have to add in computer glitches, security lines and an unattended bag. And not just at your airport but any number of airports could affect your flight depending on where your plane and your crew are coming from.

But I agreed to bite the bullet and fly to Chicago.  We were only flying one way and it was a direct flight. And our flight was in the morning so I was hoping we could get out of Dodge before things went awry.

And thus our amazing Chicago adventure was born.  There is more to come!