I am creative, outgoing, caring, and messy. I can not believe how neat and tidy some people are. It baffles me. I think my husband and I were attracted to each other (in Chicago, eleven years ago, working Saturdays at the Northwestern Computer Lab downtown in Wieboldt Hall) because we both sink into projects and pay attention to time only because things close and coffee gets burnt tasting. Cleaning up means taking wads and stacks of papers and pushing them into some kind of bag to work on at the next hitching post. Now that we have kids I have to be better about conventional time frames not just because it's good when kids eat at regular intervals but because other people call and freak out if norms aren't being followed. I think I have so many projects going at once because I can't bear to get down and pick that congealed banana mound off the hardwood floor. It pains me even to think about. Eating at 5 makes me cringe unless it's lunch. Anyway, I digress.
I'm writing fast today because it's 7:45 am and I have to seriously Handle a meeting and childcare before heading to Chicago for an overnighter. I've been up since the cows and chickens this morning, as I unpacked my new seriously delicious macbook and had to clear a stashing place for it. Today we're going on another Road Trip! My aunt and uncle are in Chicago from New York for a fancy conference on Neurology so we're going to spend a night with them in a hotel. You'd think I'd be packed, but was just working on the marketing proposal for the ADA committee at UWM. Another story entirely. Anyway, we're driving. I laughed a dry coughing laugh when they suggested we take the train. Neat! It is a neat idea. And IF I could come out of the train station, look around, and get back on the train with both kids asleep in the stroller, I would. Four hours with moving pictures and time to reflect sounds great. But this is different. Also, I love it when relatives let me know they're "coming to see us" meaning Chicago, which isn't so much HERE as all that. But I do enjoy Chicago, I know I'm not the norm here in Shorewood, it's full of IRE for the windy city, and I completely understand why. I had to move there from the East, not from here, in order to not get the Gary, IN impression of it somehow. The driving doesn't bother me - I just assume the position on the Edens that I'm going in to JEDI KNIGHT TRAINING and I'm flying a plane and that is why there are other fighter pilots on all sides of me. I have I-Pass. I don't stop at rest areas because they tarnish my experience and make me look at them, and they are aesthetically Not Pleasing. :) And the one good value at the Lake Forest Oasis is gone - there used to be this weird pipe and used book shop smack in the middle inside there between that weird yellow trinket vending bus and the creepy pay-as-you-go massage chairs (across from the Illinois Info Booth that seems always always closed), and they had a machine that would BUFF OUT FLAWS from DVD's. Seriously, I kid you not. This goth tattooed teen was working late one night buffing dvd's for the owner of the little kiosk store and she told me all about it in a monotone soliloquy, staring at the machine as she held a shiny disk to the buffer, how you can revive "dead" dvd's and his kids make a mess of 'em and they don't last long enough. This was probably 3 1/2 years ago, .. and I assumed these buffing machines would become available. Where are they? Did Disney decide that no one should own them and instead keep buying copies after My Minty Pony, painful enough to purchase once, had a better chance with repeat sales? I wonder.
Anyway, so we won't be stopping there if I can help it. I like to hit Exit 347 at the 40-minute mark of our trip. I think I have that right. It takes other people longer. ;) I don't stop there either, but that's my marker.
Our trips to Chicago involve many old haunts from when Henry was 9 months old, and before that, the many years I lived there as an artist and NMH employee as well. I did the typical 20-something apartment swap every year when my lease was up, so I have many one-year stomping grounds that I know well. Later we stayed put longer, but got a good deal on more space so those areas (Albany Park) aren't so walkable with the kiddos nowadays.
We'll go and I'll try to stop at the school where I'll be teaching up a storm later this month (I've been teaching this arts integration course for ten years called "the Green Team" ... now it's almost cliche'! Groan) but we're going to again pursue activism through recycled art that hopefully also brings a smile or cocked head, and I'll be checking out that seeing green exhibit for inspiration! My students are in 3rd and 4th grade and are bringing the concept to the school - it's not a population that sees green just yet so much.
Then we have to go to the Trader Joe's on Lincoln Ave because they have kid carts and Henry loves finding JoJo (not Milly like we have here) AND the CB2 next door, the Crate and Barrel Concept Store that is fun to look at. They have good deals on Messenger Bags by the way, and just neat totes and bags in general. They used to carry this bag called The Chicken Bag that was in Spanish and my students used to love to check out what I had in there. They have some fun recycled stitched-together juice box bags now, but the UWM bookstore carries those too. I digress. I might call my friend Jerry who lives around the corner. He's hilarious. Actually, he's not, but we are goofy and hyper together and Henry likes him a lot.
We may have coffee (when are we leaving again? I am such an idealist!!) at Cafe' Selmarie, in Lincoln Square. Not only do I have friends (who are a couple, who just got married!) who are librarians at Sulzer Library, but there is a picture of me and Steve and our orange (what else?) marbled fondant wedding cake at the back of the restaurant in line with the other more traditional wedding cake photos they do. Oh yeah, and we're on their website too :) I love Steve's expression...kind of like, "Yeahhhhh, there's my crazy wife hugging her WEDDING cake."
In the morning I would love to get over to Brett's Kitchen in the River North district, take the El (brown line) maybe to Chicago and Franklin, go to Pearl Arts and Crafts and check out the galleries from the street (kids+galleries not so much). Love Brett's - haven't tried it with kids, but eh. Helen likes boiled eggs, Henry will eat cake and an apple. It's all good.
Will let you know how this goes - I'm sure I'll have better advice for any trips to Chicago! Maybe I can conjure up some bloggalicious coupons for you, dear readers!