Friday, May 29, 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Big City

Today is a 10am check out of our apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and a train ride back to my cousin's house. (Tomorrow we fly home) So, I thought it was a good time to post photos of the place where we have stayed.

This is it! 1631 W Winona. We had the upstairs apartment with the balcony.

This is view looking down the street toward the other residences. It is a beautiful street with people walking dogs, pushing strollers, gardening, etc. The other direction is toward two busy streets which were handy for restaurants. The area was settled by Scandinavian immigrants and it still shows in the area some.

This is the stained glass fire surround in the living room.

The dining room
The bathroom - it as a big blue tub!

The kitchen

One of the 3 bedrooms 

And the sun room behind the kitchen
It was a very comfortable rental with an enjoyable neighborhood. The cab rides to downtown were over $20 though. We took the bus to/from Wrigleyville because it was a straight shot and that was $ 6.75 for the 3 of us each way.

I have relatives and friends who have opted for "vacation rentals" instead of hotels so I thought I would give it a try. I didn't miss the hotel services at all but, instead, enjoyed the comforts of a home environment.

When Jerry and I lived in Kodiak we had a mother-in-law apartment downstairs. We set it up as a business and called it Serendipity Guest House and it was a morph between a B&B and a long term rental based on our clientele.  Now I have figured out we had a vacation rental!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sight Seeing Day Three

We started the day at Millennium Park. The Cloud Gate, or Bean, was on my list of things to see.

 (This photo is inside the bean looking up)
The photo doesn't show it well, but this is a large garden of wildflowers anchoring the tall buildings.

This art piece is one in the Boeing gallery. It appeared to be glass blocks/bricks that has a video playing through the bricks. The face changes (eyes blink, etc.) and water pours off the roof ad sometimes out the mouth.


Next we went to the water tower area. It's one of the areas I remember from when I used to travel to Chicago for business since I usually stayed in a hotel in the area. Since I know work with water/utilities, thought I would snap a photo of the old water works building.

Boy! Bloomingdale's changed a lot since I was there last (in the early nineties, I believe). They made it into a mall meaning Bloomingdale's gave up room for other stores.
 Next it was off to Pizzeria Uno which was on Jerry's list. Here he is pictured with my cousin Diane outside the restaurant. He remembers it from years ago.
And, our dinner - deep dish, Chicago styled, pizza.

Chicago Sightseeing Day Two

Yesterday we took a tour of Wrigley field - it was very interesting because the field is over 100 years old so it has a lot of history. It was also exciting because it was game day - our 90 minute tour was at 3 and the game started at 7 so before we left the players showed up on the field. (notice coach Joe Madden as the first image to the right of the sign. he was the coach for the Rays and gave a wonderful motivation speech to City employees shortly after our new mayor took over.)
Really awful photo of me and hubby (due to wind and age) behind home plate. They had all these barrier things set up - I guess to keep folks from getting hurt during practice.
Jerry's aloha shirt standing out in the stadium shot. All the flags on top of the building have meaning. The ones on the left side of stadium are team accomplishments and the ones on the right are individual player accomplishments. Oh, this stadium was the very last to have lights. They didn't get them on for a game until August 8, 1988; however, rain delayed the game so the first game under lights was played on 8/9/88. Previously Mr. Wrigley purchased lights for the stadium and they were delivered in November 1942 but Pearl Harbor was bombed before they were installed so he donated them to the war effort. And finally, the first lit game at the stadium was actually the women's professional baseball league (as seen in the movie "A League Of Their Own") when they played at Wrigley and brought their own lights!
The visiting team dugout. The team is the Washington Nationals. Some of them were there really early and I will assume it was because their guest suite wasn't comfortable. Our guide, John, told us about the guest suite for the visiting team but we couldn't see it because it was occupied. That's the downside of going on the tour on a game day. He said it's small but has hosted more top athletes than any other stadium in history because a) the field has been there since 1914 for base ball, and b) the Chicago bears football team used the stadium for 50 years. The best of the best have played here.
Having a little knee issue so I couldn't walk up the last few ramps to the top so I took some shots of batting practice once the cubs arrived. These are zoomed in because I found  spot to sit while my tour group climbed the upper two ramps. 


Dinner (before and midway through) at the Old Crowe. My cousin Brad's father-in law is the executive chef and he came by our table several times. I love BBQ so it was a great choice. It would have been a great place to watch the game with huge TV's and an indoor/outdoor atmosphere.

I wish I had taken a photo at street level of the corner where Wrigley field is located when we first arrived (about 2pm) and when we left (about 6:15). You would not believe it was the same place! It went from pretty quiet with a few people walking around in team gear to packed! It was a flood of Cubs teamwear and a few Blackhawks jerseys.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chicago Sightseeing, Part One

On Monday we took the train to the big city - Chicago!

I've been here on business several times back in the day when I was a merchandiser or buyer and I would attend the housewares show in the winter and consumer electronics in the summer. And, I've come into the city when I visited relatives in my youth: however, I've never really a true tourist. So, I rented an apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood and we are doing as many touristy things as we can.

First stop - the Willis Tower, formerly know as the Sears tower. It has an attraction known as the Skydeck on the 103rd floor where you can step out into a plexiglass box OVER the city and look down 1,353 feet below.

Jerry and cousin Diane in one of the three skydecks

My left foot in the skydeck and my right foot firmly planted inside the building - no way I was going our there. No way.  

A view of the city from one of the windows. Sadly, a dirty window but it had a more interesting view than the clean windows.  The whole 103rd floor is windows with fabulous views of course.

We also went to the Adler Planetarium. I didn't get a photo of it, duh, but I did get a city scape.

A giant telescope at the Adler. 

We ended the evening in Chinatown where we had a delicious dinner.
A happy little iris we walk by everyday on our way to the main drag with restaurants and shops. It's neighbor is a delightful smelling lilac bush. This neighborhood is also full of people walking dogs.

Cousin Reunion 2015, Peotone Illinois

We are in windy Illinois!

Most of my dad's siblings relocated to the Chicago area as young adults, instead of staying in Arkansas and farming, so as a result most of my cousins live in the farmland south of Chicago. A few of them worked hard and put together a really nice reunion. We flew from Florida, some drove from Arkansas, and many came who lived locally. We had tons of food and lively conversations.


My first cousins attending the reunion. Mernie in the front, Bob, Betty, Diane, Linda, Bobbi, and Patsy in the second row. Donnie & me in the back. Forgive us, the windy was blowing mightily.

It was my first cousin once removed Amy's birthday - she's not 64.

Cousin Bobbi with husband Bob and grand daughter Kaylee.

First cousin once removed Brad with wife Selena and sons Noah and Monty.

Cousin Donnie's family - son Andrew and his wife Teresa and her granddaughter, wife Joan, daughter Donna Jo, and grandson Austin.

First cousin once removed Dana with her husband David and son Max and Aunt Mildred. While all my dads siblings are gone, my mom and my mother are the only remaining in laws.

First cousin once removed Heather's family with husband Chuck, son Jonas, daughters Chloe & Tessa

First cousin once removed Mindy, husband Scott, and son Nicolas

Amy & husband Ed

"New" cousins Chloe & Star

I found a quilt barn nearby by - the Rolling Star. 


Neighborhood Muscovy

Broke Wing So, back in March a mama Muscovy showed up with 14 ducklings in the pond across the street. These ponds are retention pond...