Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago

Man, do I miss Chicago. We just spent three days there with the kids, and do you know what we did?

Walked. Everywhere.

Before moving to Wisconsin, Ryan and I lived in Chicago for 13 years. Prior to that time, we “courted” (as Ryan likes to call it) for nearly two years-- until I left New England and joined him in Chicago. We fell in love, and eventually, got married in that city. Spent the second half of our twenties and most of our thirties living just south of Wrigley field and a short eight blocks from the lake. I went to college there– and truly benefitted from being an “older” student. Gave birth to Joseph in that town. And fell in love with the city all over again as I saw it through the eyes of my growing son. He was 5-years old when we moved.

As with most trips back, we stayed with friends who still live in the old neighborhood– Lakeview/Lincoln Park. These people are some of the easiest to hang with. Mike is one of Ryan’s oldest and best friends-- a lawyer by trade, but at heart, a musician. When not visiting with us, he was either playing the piano or one of his guitars. Jazz is his genre of choice. And he plays it well. I could get used to living in a house where live music is a staple. Ahhh. Just think about that for a moment.

As always, Mike’s wife Joni, was a calm and gracious host. She has an almost Zen-like attitude toward life– an attitude that I’m always hoping will rub off a little while I'm there.

Their kids are terrific. Adam is a year older than Joseph, and one of his best friends. His sister Emily just turned 14. She’s taller than me now. I can still remember going to see her in the hospital just after she was born – I was on my way home from a final exam, and decided to check out our friends' new addition. She was a tiny thing, lying there under the “french fry” lights in the nursery, wearing a silver mask over her eyes (she had jaundice).
And now, she’s this beautiful young woman.

Anyhow, after we got back last night, I got to thinking again about Kerri’s top fives. Which in turn got me thinking about the top five things I love about Chicago...

1. What I like to call “The Serendipity Factor”

You can walk forever and there’s always the likelihood you’ll find in a resale store that cool silk sweater for six bucks that you couldn’t find anywhere else (I did this trip!), or some amazing Thai food, or a funky coffee shop just when you need that hit of caffeine, or (just fill in the blank– the possibilities are endless).

2. Pops for Champagne

This is the jazz club where Ryan and I got married– in their outdoor garden, in front of a trellis. Inside the club, there's a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and a bar that forms a half circle around a raised stage where you can hear some of the best jazz in the city. The champagne’s not too shabby either. We stopped in this trip for a flute, and to toast our upcoming 12-year anniversary. Wow! Has it really been that long?

3. The Free Zoo

We always go to the Lincoln Park Zoo when we visit. It was a regular destination for us even before we had Joseph. I just can’t help it. I love zoos. And this one is beautiful. And you can’t beat the price.

4. Resale Shopping

Okay, I admit it. I’m cheap. I don’t like spending top dollar on clothes. But I love a find. And for resale shopping, there’s none better than in Chicago. This trip I got some fabulous bootcut jeans, a black cotton Gap tee, a long sweater, a silk, lime-green Bloomingdales sweater, and a cute sleeveless Banana Republic shirt for less than thirty bucks. Now that’s shopping.

5. Everything else.

The tall buildings, the El (elevated train), the brownstones, the greystones, the restaurants, the Cubs, the LAKE, the music, the used bookstores, the people (so much more open than my fellow New Englanders... sorry any family/NE readers), and I’m sure there’s more....

Simply put, I love this town.


Tekakwitha said...

I can add to that list...

- The Neighborhoods! Step into Rosco Village, Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Chinatown. It feels so different in each place, a whole new Chicago experience each time.

- Tapas Restaurants. How did I ever get by without all these tapas restaurants?

- Public Transportation. Who needs a car when you can pay a couple bucks for a ride on the train or bus?


Sandra Miller said...

Yes! Yes! Ryan and I used to explore all of these neighborhoods and more on our ancient secondhand Schwinn bikes -- with coaster breaks, no less. Who needs gears when the terrain is endless, interesting and oh-so-flat?

Have you tried Arco de Cuchilleros on Halsted for tapas? Awesome!

And yes, we didn't own a car for years and years... it was heaven :)

Sara said...

Sandra, Just a thought. Wondering if you've checked out
www.insulin-pumpers.org. They have proved invaluable to me with learning about pumping, and they have a special area for parents of pumpers. Check it out if you haven't already.

Penny said...

I got a little stuck on Kerri's blog reading the comments. How fun!!! Are you a Cubs fan? We are huge Cubs fan. One of my top 5 things to do is see the Cubs play at Wrigley before it crumbles. We've seen them play, but it was in Atlanta.