Chicago

Dave Brubeck was worth the trouble

Posted by Katie on June 20, 2010
Chicago, Famous People, Weird / 5 Comments

It was Friday afternoon, and I had left the office early to get ready for the weekend.  Sandwiches and a bottle of wine were packed away.  Despite the predictions for rain, we were going to Ravinia to see Dave Brubeck.

I was driving east on Chicago Avenue.  As I drove past a fire station, I noticed that all of the firemen were pointing up at the sky.  The view from the rear view mirror seemed ominous, but it wasn’t raining at all.  I turned right onto Milwaukee Avenue and suddenly felt a terrible wind jerk the car to the right.  The car in front of me was struggling to stay in its lane.  All of the trash and debris from the city street was suddenly 30 feet in the air.  Trash cans and newspaper stands were dancing around.  A very large sign for the Chicago Dramatists theatre company was ripped off a building and whipped behind my car and then around the front of it, cracking as the wind tossed it around.  Something unidentifiable shattered the window of The Matchbox, a bar across the street.

I didn’t think tornado.  Strangely, I thought of how horrible my face would look when something smashed a window in the car.  Vain, maybe.

At the same time, Dave was working away at his office, waiting for me to pick him up.  The sky grew green.  And then it grew dark green.  He could hear hail hitting the windows, and then pounding, and then booming, almost like glass breaking.  The building emergency system screeched an announcement to move to the center of the building.

I reached Dave on the phone.  He recommended a few places under bridges to pull over, but as I drove by they were already full of cars.  I kept driving as the rain started and the wind died down a bit.  When I reached Dave’s building we switched drivers in the POURING rain.  I was tired of driving.

Tornadoes are exceptionally rare in the city.  They can’t properly touchdown because of the buildings.  There were no tornadoes associated with this storm, but this was a storm that blew out windows of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower) as well as Dave’s office building.  This storm was not messing around.

And thanks to my (more accurately, my guardian angel’s) expert driving skills, nothing bad happened.  The car was perfectly fine.

Despite the excitement, Dave Brubeck was to be heard.  The jazz legend is getting old.  We had to go.  We started driving north in hopes of nicer weather.

Luckily, we had a tarp to cover the ground for our lawn seats.  And miraculously, it cleared up perfectly for the concert.

Yes, Pinot Noir tastes lovely from a plastic wine glass.  And it cures stressful situations quite nicely.

Dave Brubeck was cool.

There were four sets of musicians for the evening concert, with Dave Brubeck being the second.  After the third set a very meek Ravinia attendant announced on the microphone in her best NPR voice, “We are tracking a line of thunderstorms that will be at Ravinia at 9:45.  Thank you.”

The whole lawn audience collectively glanced at their watches and noted the current time to be 9:38.  The next artist started to sing, “It’s a marvelous night for a moon dance”, while hundreds of people frantically packed up blankets and candelabras.  We made it to the car just before the sky opened up again.

Weird date night.

Where’s the Stanley Cup?

Posted by Katie on June 12, 2010
Chicago / 5 Comments

From his office on Washington and Dearborn, Dave had a pretty cool view of the party that was Chicago yesterday.

Oh, there’s the Stanley Cup.

An estimated 2 million Blackhawks fans showed up for the ticker tape parade.

Can you even imagine the pandemonium that would be a Cubs World Series celebration?  Someday.

#34 – Done

Posted by Katie on May 30, 2010
101 in 1001, Chicago / No Comments

#34 – Get my bike repaired.

The bike is repaired.  Only $160 corrected a bent wheel, replaced the brake lines and the chain, fixed the tires, and generally scrubbed the thing clean.  One tragic accident and one winter outside were not enough to put this bike down.

Probably more important than spending money for someone else to repair my bike, however, is the fact that I’m getting used to riding my bike on the city streets again.  Dave and I took an 18 mile trip yesterday, down to the lake shore bike trail.  It was a lovely day to get out for a ride.  We didn’t quite realize how far we had gone until we got home and mapped it out.

Oh, and we were stupid enough to ride 18 miles on the same day we had promised to help Michael move out of his apartment…his 3rd floor apartment.  Needless to say, we are both SO VERY VERY SORE today.  Perfect day for sitting quietly at home and watching the Indy 500.

Tourists

Posted by Katie on May 24, 2010
Chicago / 1 Comment

We did not go on the tour sponsored by the Chicago Architectural Foundation on Saturday that we had intended on.  The only reason, well, is because we weren’t smart enough to buy tickets in advance.  Who knew these things sell out?  Architecture must be cool.

But we had gotten ourselves dressed AND out of the apartment at a reasonable time on a Saturday, so we decided to just stay downtown and make a day of it.

We played tourists at Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue, mostly just people watching and spending some relaxing time together.

Yay, it’s summer in Chicago!

We made it

Posted by Katie on April 27, 2010
Chicago, Family & Friends / 10 Comments

This last weekend was a very enjoyable whirlwind.

Dave’s cousin, Phil, was in town for work for a couple days last week.  He brought along his lovely wife, Rachel, and their cute little baby, Libby, for the ride.  It was a really fun visit, with lots of baby snuggling and several parties with family and friends.  I love it when we have visitors.  Being centrally located in Chicago is paying off.

Upon mentioning the cuteness of the baby to my Mom, however, she promptly intensified the, “When do I get a grandchild, already?  Just conceive a child now, PLEASE.  You don’t love me unless you give me a baby.  I would like to spend time with my grandchildren before I die” comments.

Also this weekend, my little sister, Morgan, who is not so little anymore because she is off to Nursing school in the fall, was confirmed on Sunday.  Dave and I made a day trip to Indiana on Sunday so that we could be at her Confirmation.  I’m really glad we made the trip.  It was great to see Morgan and spend a little bit of time with my family.

All this family fun, combined with a little sleep deprivation and a lot of work drama, makes Katie and Dave want take Wednesday off work just to sleep all day.  We won’t really do that.  I have lots of work to do, and Dave gets free bagels at work on Wednesday mornings.

V is for Valentine’s day and Vacation day

Posted by Katie on February 18, 2010
Chicago, Valentine's Day / 3 Comments

Dave and I celebrated a low key Valentine’s Day this year, making time for a date night out on Sunday.  And while Dave had the luxury of a 3 day President’s Day weekend, technically, I did not.  To solve this horrible injustice, I put my vacation days to a good use and took the day off.

After some deliberation about what we should do with our free day, we came up with the great cheap date idea of going to the Shedd Aquarium, which is hosting free admission this week.   Unfortunately, we were not the only people with this brilliant idea.  It turned out that the wait to get into the aquarium was pushing 2 hours.

Dave and I promptly agreed that we are not cheap enough to stand out in the cold for 2 hours, and we paid full price to get into the Field Museum.

So, instead of learning about fishies, we learned about dinosaurs…

And found conclusive evidence of alien presence in ancient North American Indian tribes…

And when it was closing time at the Field Museum, the line for the Shedd Aquarium, which was staying open late to accommodate the crowds, was non-existent.

We did get to see fish after all, but a formidable mad-dash through a few main attractions would best describe our visit.

On walking into the aquarium, however, someone approached us with extra tickets to Fantasea, the dolphin show.

We were excited to see the show…for free…but it was honestly a disappointment.  It’s really just a rock concert style theatrical performance, to which any non-deaf person should bring earplugs.  It includes a plant child and mother in the audience who by “random luck” participate in the show, flying canoes, grown men dressed as fairies and an occasional animal.  While the animals are cool, they make up about 25% of the show.  My sister, Amy, tells me this is how things go at Seaworld, but I’ve never been.  I prefer the old school dolphin tricks on crappy bleachers at the zoo.

Fantasea may be best described by one of Dave’s favorite web-comic authors who lives in Chicago and recently chronicled an hourly comic which includes a reference to the show.  Check out the 6:38 PM time slot.

Dolphin light show complaints aside, we had a really great day.

Especially when things are busy and it’s cold out, it’s easy for Dave and me to focus on the daily chores and get in the rut of our own habits.  We need to make more of a conscious effort to get out of the apartment and do something different on occasion, lest we become too grouchy and reclusive.  Turns out married people should go out on a date every now and then!

Still alive

Posted by Katie on October 25, 2009
Chicago / 4 Comments

Dave and I have not vanished.  I could blame technical difficulties for my lack of blogging, but I won’t.

manvsfood

Have you ever seen “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel?  It’s this really disgusting cable show were the narrator travels around the country accepting challenges to eat mammoth quantities of food or food that is ungodly hot.  He gorges himself on 72 oz. steaks, 6 lb. burritos, habaneros dipped in jalapenos, and the like.  It is the exact opposite of Weight Watchers.  I can not explain my fascination with this show, except to say that maybe I am living all my high calorie meals vicariously through cable television. Or that I just really like crappy cable.

Anyhow, several weeks ago we went to one of the last Cubs games of the season.  They had no chance at the playoffs, and they lost the game anyway.  It was fun to hang out at Wrigley Field for the night, despite the freezing temps.

Before the Cubs game, however, Dave and I ate dinner at one of the restaurants that was featured on “Man vs. Food”.

Lucky’s specialty is the overstuffed sandwich, which includes coleslaw and fries…on the sandwich. The challenge is to eat three of these sandwiches in under an hour.  Only if you eat all three sandwiches in under thirty minutes, however, is your dinner free.  We were not there to accept the challenge, but it was fun to completely blow my Weight Watchers points on food made famous by crappy cable!

In the neighborhood

Posted by Katie on June 06, 2009
Chicago, Family & Friends / No Comments

My brother Michael moved into his new apartment in Chicago last weekend.  At only two blocks away from us, he is officially our neighbor.

He has the perfect bachelor pad.  He is on the top floor (I am JEALOUS, as I type this and listen to my neighbor upstairs doing what I can only assume is some sort of tribal dance which involves heavy furniture, but that is another story) of an older apartment building.  There is no air conditioning, but there is  a beautiful bay window and the apartment opens up with a nice breeze.  He has renamed the living room “the den”, of course.  And what bachelor pad would be a bachelor pad without a bar in the den?  PARTY at Michael’s!

Michael invited Dave and me over for dinner one night this week.  We packed up our folding lawn chairs (there may be a bar in Michael’s den, but there is also only one chair) and we walked over to his place for dinner.  We had a great time.  So often Dave and I only visit with our families during the craziness of a hectic weekend, for a special occasion or when we are on vacation.  This time, it was really nice to visit with family in the casualness of a weeknight dinner.

Welcome to the neighborhood Michael!

And then we returned to Chicago

Posted by Katie on April 08, 2009
Chicago, Signs, Winter / 2 Comments

harposnow

See all of that white stuff in the air?  It is not a blanket of spring flowers, but %*$&^#@ SNOW!

This was the scene we returned to in Chicago on Sunday evening.  Yes, Sunday was in April.  It is sad.  I know.

At least all of the tourists will know exactly how to reach Oprah.

The parade is over

Posted by Katie on March 26, 2009
Chicago / 1 Comment

Must a few underage drunks assault the cops and ruin the party for everyone?

This is a sad day for Chicago.