Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If only I had the time

Flavorwire posted 69 Things You Didn't Know About Bob Dylan yesterday, in honor of his 69th birthday. If I'd gotten up earlier, I would have posted 59 Things You Didn't Know About Me, in honor of my 59th today, but alas … I have neither the time nor the energy nor the brain power to create such a list on the fly. It's certainly something to work on for next year, though!

Bob is my favorite Gemini. I have all his music on CD (except "Live at Budokhan," which was awful). I've seen him live countless times, including a couple of concerts in the late '70s when he adopted Christianity and refused to play "Lay, Lady, Lay."

But enough about that. You want to hear all about Chicago, don't you? I was exHAUSTed yesterday, after driving a total of 23 hours in the previous 59. Too exhausted to write. Too exhausted to do much of anything, actually. We left Friday morning and got home Sunday evening. I spent exactly eight hours in the city itself, and nearly all of those hours I was on my feet and lugging my camera bag. Talk about burning calories!

My husband's meeting was at the Allerton Hotel, right on the Magnificent Mile. Too bad I'm not a shopper. The Apple store was across the street and I didn't even sneak a peek at the iPad. Mostly I didn't want to fight with the other thousand people who were in the store all day.

I headed east after I dropped him off and eventually found myself at the Navy Pier, where I'd hoped to take an architectural boat tour and ride the amazingly beautiful ferris wheel. It was too foggy for either of those activities; that fog crept in like little cat feet and stayed for most of the day. I ended up at the Green Festival, which was both entertaining and enlightening. (I had my picture taken at the MoveOn.org booth with a cardboard likeness of President Obama, holding a handmade bumper sticker urging him to support Single-Payer Health Care. MoveOn supports the current law, a health insurance industry gift, so I'm not sure if the photo will ever appear anywhere but in my e-mail inbox!)

The inspiring part of being at the Pier, though, was the number of people I saw running. The loop around the park at the Pier is 10.5 miles, and had I been properly dressed and equipped, I would have done it. Oh, and if we'd been staying at the Allerton, because I certainly would have needed a shower at the end of the run. (We stayed on the south side and drove in. I still can't believe I drove my car in downtown Chicago!)

I left the Pier around noon and headed toward the art museum. You know, the famous one with the big lions out front? By the time I got there I was tired, tired, tired and knew that actually going into the museum would mean more walking and all I wanted to do, really, was sit down and have a bite to eat. I found the café, decided $18 was too much to pay for a sandwich and Kept. On. Walking. I enjoyed the gardens and outdoor sculptures, and eventually found myself heading north on Michigan Avenue. I stopped for raspberry tea and a bagel ($4.96) at a coffee shop.

Above the coffee shop was a dance store called Russian Pointe. My older granddaughter dances and I went in to the store to find her a little gift for her upcoming recital: a pair of miniature red pointe shoes to hang on her Christmas tree. I hope she's heard of the shop, it seemed kind of famous to me.

I was back at the hotel at 3:30 p.m., tuckered out and willing to wait in the lobby until the meeting was over. The young woman who seemed to be in charge of logistics made me a name tag and invited me to join the group for the remainder of the workshops and dinner. So kind of her! I was probably the only woman there in tennis shoes, but I don't think anyone was looking at my feet.

I could have saved myself the trouble of lugging the camera bag all day because, truly, one can find iconic images of Chicago all over the internet. I took my favorite photo on the way home, where I actually got off the highway and stopped the car to gaze in wonder and awe at a real, live, HUGE wind farm. I happen to think those windmills are beautiful and majestic and amazing. Seeing hundreds of them turning lazily in the everpresent breeze of northern Indiana was a sight to behold. Knowing they are providing clean power to hundreds of thousands of customers in several Indiana counties is equally awesome.

My daughter recommended I buy a book while I was in Chicago. She was, in fact, astonished that I hadn't already read it. I found it in a souvenir shop; it's called The Devil in the White City, a true story of the World's Fair of 1893 and a serial killer. Since I started reading, I'm full of questions which I hope the book will answer.

And if it doesn't, I guess I'll just have to go back to Chicago!

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