"There was a light in his eyes of one who has conquered
sorrow in so far as sorrow is conquerable or worth
--Carl Sandburg, Fellow Citizens
Year in Review #9
In July, we went to Chicago. It was the first time we'd been back together since leaving four years ago. I had a conference there and Chip wasn't working, which made it the perfect excuse for a vacation. We went about a week before the conference, and stayed at a friends house out in Oak Park, which gave us a chance to explore part of the city we spent very little time in when we lived there. We saw friends, went to our favorite restaurants, walked past our old apartment, rode around on the El. Had a fabulous time.
A story book house in Oak Park.
The view out our hotel windows once we moved downtown for the conference.
There were lots of candidate city advertisements all over Chicago. I saw this one on Michigan Ave. I tried to figure out if it was an actual Olympic Archer or someone modeling as one. I didn't recognize him from all the Olympic matches I watched last summer, but you never know.
I played hooky from my meetings one afternoon to go check out the archery range in Lincoln Park, right on the Lake. I just which I knew it was there and started shooting when I still lived in Chicago!
Towers over the River
I've lived in San Diego three years now, and even though I was reluctant to leave Chicago, I have grown to call it home in the past couple years. But there are still things I miss about Chicago, and with election day looming I am reminded of one thing I still really miss about Chicago. Election day.
I mentioned this to someone recently and they looked at me like I was crazy. Really how could election day be that much different from one city to the next? I tried to recount little tidbits of election day from Chicago, but it just didn't get the feeling across. Then I read this story about an old Marine being driven to the polls to vote, and it hit me. In Chicago, election day is an EVENT.
It is a day for dressing up and getting up early with anticipation. It is a day you gather with neighbors you hardly ever see, standing in long lines in brisk fall air waiting for your turn in the booth. It is a day where people stand on street corners reminding you to vote & your Alderman's workers ring your door bell to make sure you made it to the polls. It is a day with excitement in the air & you proudly wear your "I voted" sticker all day, and maybe even the next if the stickiness will last. You joke with co-workers about voting early & often, even if it was only once. The air cool and windy flush your face as you leave the polls and the crackle of the falling leaves swirl around you and you feel as though anything is possible and you have a say in whatever happens.
For some places and some people, voting is not just a duty or something important to do; it is a celebration. A celebration of our freedom and our country and our opportunity to choose or change direction. Despite it's seedy history, Chicago is a city that celebrates the act of voting and the day of the election. I'll miss that this election day.
Journal Entry - 10/22/03 - 7:52am
"One day, not so very long ago, I was riding the EL home from work, and we were approaching the Howard EL at just that right time of day, when the low angled light makes everything glow. It was the place where the tracks just open up before narrowing again at the stop, and a few tracks over, slightly behind, I saw an EL train slowly pulling its way to the stop. Sinuating metal cars glowing in the low light. And suddenly I was struck by how beautiful that train was, and not just because of the shades of golden pink its flanks had become in the late sun, but because of the familiarity of it. Because of the way I knew its sound and shape and movement. Because of the way I knew the the shifting of the tracks before the approach of my train. Because of the way it was interwoven into my life, and the city that was becoming my home. Because if it was suddenly gone, I would miss it. And it was beautiful there, cast in the evening light, glowing as if from within."
Often when I lie down to go to sleep at night, I'll get the briefest flash of my dreams from the night before. Last night I remembered a dream that involved something about trying to take the bus somewhere and waiting a long time, and eventually just walking because the bus was taking so long, and I was worried about being late.
This snippet of dream got me thinking. Thinking about public transportation in my dreams. How its a common thread that reoccurs with some frequency. In my real life, I have really missed being able to take public transportation everywhere since moving from Chicago, and living in Chicago was really the first time I did take it everywhere. In Chicago is also the first time I remember dreaming about public transportation.
Chip and I spent a weekend in Chicago looking for an apartment about a month before we moved. On Saturday morning we planned to take the El to an apartment finding service start our search. The night before I dreamt of the El - I think of getting lost on it - but in a very adventure disaster fun sort of way. It was born out of anxiety I'm sure - I didn't know yet what a friend the train could be.
Last night in my half awake, half asleep state, I thought how funny it was I dream so much (relatively speaking) about public transportation, and the El in particular. But it was one of the things that made Chicago feel like home, and with that in mind, its not so strange.
So, of course the winter I leave Chicago, the first week in December just happens to be the coldest in 100 years. I know most of you still living there are not excited about this. I can tell by the emails I receive almost every day (mostly from Smith) complaining about the below zero wind chills and the single digit temperatures. But I am sad to be missing it.
Here in San Diego it has been "cold." This means that it gets into the mid to upper sixties during the day and into the low to mid forties most nights. Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that at night, our apartment has actually been about the same temperature it was during winters in Chicago. Of course, in Chicago, all the windows were closed and the heat was on, and here the windows are open, but in the end its about the same. Chip wears pants and a sweatshirt and socks (just like in Chicago) and I wear short sleeves and a skirt or "almost nothing." And just like in Chicago, my toes have to turn into little ice cubes before it occurs to me to put on socks.
I'm sure most people would say we should just close the windows and let the temperature get to a "comfortable" level, but what fun would that be? At least its like a Chicago winter (maybe a mild one) inside our apartment, even if its more like fall outside.
I decided I needed a Chicago calendar for 2006 to put up in my cubicle at work. At first I was thinking of asking someone in Chicago to buy one for me, or to order one online. But then I thought, why not just have one made with pictures I took of Chicago. then I could also arrange it so all the pictures were very seasonal, and at least on my calendar, all the seasons would be as they should be. So, I've been going through all my Chicago pictures, and I found this one that was funny.
I don't know about you, but this picture sure makes me want to go swimming!
Our new apartment is only a few blocks from the university's medical campus. What this means is, that in a city where almost everyone drives to work, I get to take the shuttle that goes between the two campuses. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes, which means I need to do more planning than riding the EL, but it is still way more convenient than the Metra. The shuttle is smaller than a regular public transit bus, but the same general idea.
Since I got my ID Monday afternoon, I've been riding the shuttle to and from work. What I've discovered, is that over the last four years, I've been programmed by the CTA.
As I sat on the shuttle Monday afternoon, I found myself watching horrified (ok, maybe that's a little strong) as people got on the shuttle using the back doors. It just felt wrong. I have kept walking to the front of the bus, even when the back is doors are closer. I've also found myself reluctant to sit in the very front, sideways facing seats, even if it is the emptiest section. I have to remind myself, that these seats are not reserved for the elderly and handicapped. I haven't seen anyone fitting those descriptions on the shuttle, my mind is just seeing the sign that isn't there.
No, this isn't the most interesting thing that has happened to me in my first four days of work, its just the strangest example of how Chicago worked its way into my psyche in only 4 years. Although, Chip does keep making fun of me for complaining about prime time being at the "wrong" time (8pm). He doesn't understand how 4 years erased the first 22 years of my life. I told him prime time should properly start at 7pm, that's why.
My last day in Chicago was wonderful, and full of so many of the things I'll miss about the city.
Saturday morning I had brunch at Angels with Alanna and Martinique. Angels is delicious and cheap, and has a beautiful back patio with grape vines, and an apple and pear tree, all bearing fruit at this time of year. The perfect place to have brunch on a late summer day. We sat around and talked like it was any other day, not like it was goodbye...about things going on in our libraries, possible jobs, politics, being roomies at Midwinter, all kinds of things. It didn't feel like I was leaving, just like we were having brunch.
I took the bus home, then walked the last block or so. As I walked, I stopped at one of the little food carts, and bought some fresh, hot, homemade tamales to take home for later. Chip and I spent the afternoon cleaning our apartment, getting it all ready to move out of.
We went to the Heartland Cafe for a late dinner, and while we were there I bought some Chicago magnets in their little shop (because we're leaving :) as well as the latest issue of Sun (check out the readers write section) to read on our drive. It's one of my favorite magazines, but I let my subscription lapse a few months ago and haven't renewed it. Afterwards, we walked around the corner (literally) to the Red Line Tap for an Olupus show. It was the last one we'll get to see for a while at least, and was really wonderful, not to mention all the friends who were there and we got to hang out with one last time. Chris even dedicated my favorite song of theirs to me...Evil Pirate. I really hope they record it one day soon so the rest of the world can hear it!
Chip and I left around midnight, and had to walk a ways down Clark before finding a unoccupied cab. I saw it on the opposite side of the street, and flagged it down, and it turned around and picked us up.
When we got home, Chip said: "It was so cool the way you jumped out in the street and flagged down that cab! I didn't think it would turn around! You were like a New York lady!"
And I said: "No, not New York, Chicago!"
"Yes," he said. "Chicago."
Remember that interview I had a few months back in California? Well, I got the job! We're moving to San Diego! The past few weeks have been super hectic and crazy, trying to get everything ready, and trying to get in as much visiting time with friends as we can. Tomorrow, we leave to drive more than halfway across the country. It should be a nice leisurely trip, with several stops along the way, before we finally reach San Diego next weekend. I know all of this is not really an EXCUSE for abandoning my blog, but well, these things happen.
One thing that has made the move easier, and allowed us to spend more time with friends than we otherwise would have been able to is the professional packers and movers my new job is paying for. Not just reimbursing me later for, but setting them up, and entirely handling the payment. Although I have become very curious about how much it costs. It seems EXPENSIVE. Which really makes my first librarian job seem that much more real and professional.
Packers came on Thursday morning. They were "old" movers. As in, they used to be movers, and when they had been doing that for 15 or 20 years, they switched to the less strenuous job of packers. They backed up all our stuff in 4 hours. It was amazing! Friday morning the movers came to load everything into the truck. Also, a separate contractor came out Friday morning to BUILD a special crate for the beautiful Rear Window oil painting Julia gave us. All of our stuff was moved out of the house in three hours! It was amazing! The most stressful part of the whole process was separating the stuff we didn't want the movers to take, but once that was done, all we had to do was sit back and relax.
Quick poll: How much do you tip packers and movers? We tipped them all $20 each. Is that a lot or a little?
Now I'm off to brunch with two of my favorite ladies. But hopefully, I'll have time to post later about how geeky Chip and I are.
Last weekend two of my brothers (Johnny & Bryan) came to visit us in Chicago. It was a short visit but it was tons of fun! We did a little sightseeing on Saturday, although it was rainy so we didn't get to do as much out and about as we wanted. Saturday night we had a nice dinner with Lester, at Reza's, a nice Mediterranean restaurant in Andersonville. Sunday we spent the day at Ikea where Johnny stocked up on good furniture deals for his new apartment. Over all it was a super fun weekend with my brothers and the only thing missing was my other brother Tyson!
Click on the picture of Bryan & Johnny to see our weekend photo album:
For almost four years we have lived practically down the street from Wrigley Field. A 5 minute or so bus ride, a 25 minute or so walk, both will get us there. Every year, we have to get a Cubs night game parking pass, because we live in the parking zone. And still, I've never been. Chip went as a field trip chaperon our first year here, but I've only been to see Sox games, way on the South side. This week was the perfect opportunity. Chip's Dad's was here on business, and he wanted to go to a game, too. So we all went on Tuesday night.
It was really fun and a completely different experience from a modern stadium. It is really quite small, and still has the old-style score board, and sits right on the street. It doesn't seem nestled inside layers on concrete walkways the way Comisky does. You can even see the lake from up at the top of the stadium! Its also really cool the way the stadium walls don't go up all the way on two sides, and people put bleachers on top of their houses. Chip said the last time he went, it was even more like going back in time, because they didn't have any of the electronic signs they have now (although there's still a lot less than others stadiums.)
Here's a picture I took right around sunset:
See another picture I took during the game here.