Monthly Archives: September 2011

Part II…

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Chicago is a much different place on a sunny Monday morning.  That is the time to do your sight seeing.  Traffic was light for crossing streets and I felt like I could snap away with my camera as much as I wanted.  The 9-10 block walk between Ogilivie and Millennium Park is mostly theaters, restaurants, and some shopping, ie. Macy’s, Zara, Puma and some parking garages.  Millennium Park without crowds is like a quiet haven in the middle of the city.

Cloud Gate or “The Bean” is not the only part of the park.

The Pritzker Pavilion and Great Lawn are so different when empty.

And the planters and urns are filled to the brim with color.  Can you believe this?? NO people…downtown…in the city…in the middle of Millennium Park?

The Fall has got to be one of the best times to appreciate all of the plants.  Everything is so full and the heat has finally backed off from the daily lashing so they look so happy.

I need to go back in the Spring during the planting days…can you imagine the team it takes to decorate this city?

I think if I happened to be homeless, I would pick this room in the park too.  Can’t say that all things are perfect, but it is always a reminder to count your blessings.

After I explored for a while, I was lucky enough to meet two friends.  One I have known for over 10 years and one I have known for over 25 years!  This is Debbie with Marilyn (not my other friend…her name is Kelly) .  Debbie just watched the movie Contagion…She didn’t really want to touch the feet or legs of Ms. Monroe.  They need a good scrub brush after these few short weeks of being out here.

We walked along the Chicago River, met Kelly (friend #2) for lunch and even took a water taxi. It goes from Michigan Avenue, to the Sears (Willis) Tower, Chinatown and back. Great sights and cheap fun for $6 for an all day pass.   Yes…I just said $6. If you really want a shocker…$2 for each leg of the ride if you just want to do a quick ride for fun.

You can get out and browse around Chinatown.  We opted for next time because of the train schedule.

The views are spectacular.

I haven’t seen the city from this vantage point before.  We took the River Taxi, but the Shoreline Water taxi runs from Willis Tower, to  Michigan Avenue to Navy Pier, and the Shedd Aquarium (museum campus). For researching the taxis on your own, here is the link.

http://www.chicagotraveler.com/water-taxis.htm

So as you can see we crammed a lot into a few short hours and a 10 block rectangle.   So many more plans now for the future though…

If you didn’t get to Chicago this summer, go now.  The fall is the perfect time. Not too hot, not too cold, but still absolutely gorgeous.  And I recommend a weekday morning.  I think you feel a cough coming on, right?

Next Stop…France.

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As a family, we have always loved going in to THE city.  Chicago, that is.  I know that it seems big and scary to some or confusing and traffic-filled to others, but if you just do it, you won’t be sorry.  It can be so close, but also so far if you don’t take advantage of it.  If you’ve traveled to other big cities, you might agree that it is, by far, one of the cleanest, most beautiful cities.

With construction on the highways still in full swing, it is hit or miss on traffic, but we are now lucky enough to take the air-conditioned Metra. The UP-W line.  No parking hassles or prices and it forces you to walk when you get there.  It also is a good deterrent to keep me from shopping because I don’t want to carry any packages.

The station that our Metra line lands in is Ogilvie.  It is amazingly clean and feels like you are walking into a mini mall when you arrive.  It even has a Corner Bakery, Garrett’s Popcorn and Thai restaurant inside. But the greatest place is just a short walk to the back of the station on Canal Street.  It is a French Market.  It has bakery items, a meat market with fresh fish and steaks, and made to order anything.  I was lucky enough to be stopped by the manager of the market today when she saw me taking pictures. (It is amazing how dogs and cameras make people love to talk.)   Her name was Marian and she was happy to tell me about her wonderful market.  She has plans for more choices in the future to make it better, which I cannot even imagine because it is so cool already. It is hard to imagine that this is a train station.  Not dark and scary.  Incredibly eclectic and French.

This morning it was easy to take photos because it was not yet lunchtime, but the first time we were here it was bustling.

They had fresh fruit, vegetables, and a meat market with meat already marinated or seasoned ready for the grill.

Desserts upon mouth-wateringly beautiful desserts

Candies

Wine and cheeses…I know! Cannot believe this is a train station!

Breads and pastries

And did I mention they have desserts?

a Crepe stand?

Raw foods?

Sushi?

French Fries?

Beer?

You can dine in, carry out, take classes, hear live music, or just wander and dream about eating without counting calories or you can pretend you just happened to take a train and accidentally didn’t get off until you were in France.

If you want to learn more, here is the link: http://www.frenchmarketchicago.com/about/

The location of Ogilvie is right up my alley too…

Yep…located right off of Randolph and Canal…it is just a few short blocks from …

this…

and this…

and this…

and this…

(If you read really closely you can see that it is even hosting the PGA Ryder Cup Captains. Kicking and screaming may not have to be part of this theater visit, I predict.)

And this was just the first 1/2 hour I was there today. I will have to share the rest with you tomorrow, because I have so much more to show you.  The weather begged for walking today and walk we did.  Need Advil.  Need masseuse.  Need groceries.  Need more time to upload photos…check back for Part II.

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~Edmund Burke

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When looking on Flixster for a movie to see, I decided we hit a new low for movie titles with the movie, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.  I don’t even want to put it in quotes or underline it and give it credit for being a title.  It is a mainstream movie. Big as lights up on the marquee for everyone 5 and over to read.  “Mom, what’s an …   you get my drift.  I think instead of stars for reviews they should start giving 1-5 trashcans.  1 for a little trash and 5 for unbelievable, can’t believe they can say that, can’t believe they can do that in a mainstream, wide release movie, movie.  It is kind of depressing to hear people say…”Oh my God, (Trash 101) is my favorite movie. I love that movie.”  Really?  Really?  REALLY?  your favorite movie??

SO last night we chose Sarah’s Key.  It is a real movie.  Not a movie that tries to push the squirm factor to the limit with as much raunch as possible.  It was a real movie that makes you think.  This was a real movie that makes you think that this was not that long ago.  It was a real movie that makes you ask yourself…what would I do?  This is a real movie.

A quote in  the movie that sticks with me is … (when a woman was asked why she didn’t you do anything while living in Paris when thousands of Jews were being arrested) “We were told a lot of things about the Jews.”   In other words, I believed what they were telling me and I didn’t know any better.  Do you ever believe what others say about groups of people? Prejudice and sweeping generalizations are still so prevalent.

This movie makes you sad knowing what humans are capable of doing to each other, but it also makes you comforted to know that some humans stick up for others even when it puts them in harm’s way or goes against the grain.

It will make you want to stick up for someone.

It will make you want to know more about what could be happening right now, even today.

It will make you think before you judge one more person, because you don’t walk in their shoes.

So in a world with The Hangover, or Jersey Shore, or whatever else fills the void and tells us to go out and do whatever is off the wall…find this movie.  If this movie is not near you, seek it out.  Drive to it.   It is a real movie.  It deserves stars, not trash cans.

Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. ~Edmund Burke