Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Windy City Part 2

Sunday July 31st.... We had a relaxing morning and then headed over to Terry's place to pick her up. We were off to Woodfield, a huge shopping mall - but on the way we stopped for lunch. We had Italian beef sandwiches at Portillos which were good and got us all pumped up for some shopping. At Woodfield I bought a couple of things - a pair of walking socks ( I am obsessed with walking socks but I have not had a blister in my ten years plus of long distance walking...some hot spots when I've worn my shoes past their prime but never blisters...) and a turquoise blue Chicago t-shirt which has turned out to be a favourite. Due to having carry on and determined for it to be carry on on the way home (something I regularly fail at) I could not buy much. Back to Gloria's to change and then we were off to the Paul concert at Wrigley Stadium. A friend of Terry and Gloria's accompanied us and being as she knew the manager at the CVS drugstore close to Wrigley we were able to park there which was wonderful. Only a four block walk. We got there early so we could peruse the merchandise on sale - I bought myself a black t-shirt with a picture of Sir Paul on the front and the Wrigley dates on the back. $40. Yikes but oh well it doesn't happen that often. I carried on onto the field - I was in the third row which is the closest I've ever been. Oh for those who say "he must know you by now". Um...no. Except for a book signing in 2005 I have not seen him up close since the 80's. Don't think his memory is quite THAT good!! My seat in the third row was quite far over but it was still fun. I was able to quickly meet my penpals Mary and Linda from the 60's - we reconnected on Facebook. Say what you will about Facebook but it is a wonderful tool for reconnecting people. We were meeting the next day for lunch so more on that later. I patiently waited except for a nervous pre-concert potty stop in the porta-potties. Then he came on and once again totally blew everyone's mind for nearly three hours. I always bitch about the price of tickets but at the end of the concert it was totally worth it. It makes me feel like a teenager again and is so much fun. For people who say I am a "stalker" (and yes, there are some...) I say BITE ME. (and trust me, compared to some people the amount I see him is nothing) As long as he is touring I will be hitting the road. Anyway we all enjoyed the concert and it was a happy trio heading back home. We were starving so stopped and had a very late supper - 1 a.m.? - at a 24 hour restaurant. I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate milkshake - not my usual fare at any time let alone 1 a.m. but luckily my stomach forgave me. (my waistline..not so much...)
The next morning I had a quick shower and breakfast then Gloria drove me to the "El" train station whereI took a train downtown to meet up with Linda and Mary for lunch. I walked over to North Michigan Avenue stopping to see the huge statue of Marilyn Monroe. I met Linda (from Pennsylvania) and Mary (from South Carolina) in the lobby of the Grand Lux Cafe and we had such a wonderful visit. I wrote the two of them (amongst other penpals) in the late 60's and lost touch about 1971. We reconnected on Facebook. I was so excited when I heard that they were going to be in Chicago and we would meet at last. (the two of them go to concerts together) It was so much fun and hopefully we can meet up again at another concert. Who would have thought back in the late 60's that 1) Paul would still be making music and performing in 2011 and 2) we would still be going to concerts (heck for me, going to see a Beatle live period and 3) I would get to meet them. On the way back to the "El" station I took photos of the Chicago River and the beautiful buildings surrounding it. Back to Gloria's and a quick sandwich at Terry's before we headed off to the next concert. If possible this one was even better...he changed the set list slightly which was wonderful. That is the only criticism of his concerts - the same songs and the same banter. He did "I Saw Her Standing There" which is my all time favourite song he sings live - nothing can compare with singing (or in my case shrieking...) the "ooos" with him. At the end of the concerts red, white and blue pieces of paper are released - I am still picking them out of my purse. (my hair was covered with them) Such fun. We met up at McDonalds which is where we had met "the night before" and then walked to the drugstore to get the car and head home. We stopped again at the same diner and the waitress recognized us - I had some kind of skillet scramble which was good.
The next morning Gloria drove me to the airport and I flew home via Minneapolis and took a taxi to work - yep how is that for being dedicated. However I was relieving someone and it was only due to the kindness of the manager that I was able to attend that second concert. I felt that was the least I could do.
What a fabulous weekend...I am so glad I did it. Chicago is a beautiful city and I hope to get back to explore her museums and do some of the walks there. It was my fifth trip there but there is still so much to explore. Thanks Terry and Gloria, Mary, Linda and Paul!!!! You made the weekend FAB!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Windy City Part 1

Well here I am over two weeks later...my access to the internet was sporadic while I was in Chicago so I could not work on my blog. What's my other excuse for being so late? None really - how about laziness? Yeah, that'll work.

What can I say a weekend with good friends, beautiful city, sunshine every day and Paul McCartney. It HAS to be a good time - and it was.
I flew out on the early morning of Friday July 29th on United airlines - direct flights to Chicago from Regina now - gotta love it. My flight was on time and went well but customs in Chicago was pretty jammed up. Finally I got through and phoned my friend Gloria...no answer....oh oh...phoned my friend Terry...voicemail...oh dear. Luckily I had Terry's cell phone and was able to reach her. Thank goodness!!! Turns out I thought I had Gloria's home phone and it was her cell phone which she rarely uses - kinda like me...

It took them a while to get to the airport due to me arriving at Terminal 5 (international) which is hard to get to. Anyway there they were and off we went to Terry's place for lunch - ham sandwiches, potato salad and coleslaw and coke - perfect. It hit the spot. I also got to meet Terry's cute little doggie Casper. We decided to go to Lincoln Park Zoo. So off we went in Terry's car and had a wonderful time at the zoo. My favourites have always been the meerkats. So cute! We managed to see pretty well the whole zoo before it closed. Then it was time for some deep dish pizza - I can't remember the name of the place we went to but the stuffed spinach and cheese pizza was fabulous. It has layers or spinach and cheese and sauce with some sauce on the top rather than cheese ...oh and we had bruscetta to start. I love pizza - if I ever had to have a "last" meal it would be pizza. Back to Gloria's where I got to meet Wren the kitty - but Arbus the other cat hid from me the whole time. He spent the whole weekend (at least when I was in the house) hiding under the sofa.

Saturday morning we went out to the suburbs to visit Gloria's brother and then popped into the charity shop she works at. Then we drove over to Terry's and took the commuter train downtown from there. We had lunch at the train station at a sandwich shop. Then we headed over to the Willis (formerly Sears) tower only to find that there was at least an hour and a half wait. Bummer!! But it was summer and a Saturday to boot...what can you do? Next time I guess - I have been up it but not since 1981 or 82 (I was there both years but can't remember what I did when except I know I attended Beatlefest both years) So we headed over to Millennium Park and saw the Crown fountain. I had seen this back in 05 as well - amazing! It has two screens on either end with (changing) faces projected and at various times water spurts out of their mouths. Being a very hot day both children and adults were splashing in the water. It was a delight. We carried on over to Cloudgate - known locally as The Bean. A mirror in the shape of a bean - love it. We then walked over a bridge that went over Lake shore drive and sat down and drank some water. It was HOT. We then decided to take a taxi over to Navy Pier. Terry and Gloria treated me to a ticket on Windy - a sailing vessel complete with pirates! We had about an hour to wait so went to Haagen Dazs for ice cream. I had Rocky Road and ended up wearing most of it....I tend to avoid chocolate ice cream for that very reason but I just could not resist this time. The sailboat ride was lovely - I just enjoyed being out on beautiful Lake Michigan and admiring the skyline. You can never get tired of that fantastic skyline. Afterwards we went to a restaurant called Capi's Italian Kitchen. You lined up and ordered your meal and then they brought it out to you - I had the Cavatappi with Mushrooms - three kinds of mushrooms with carmelized onions in a cream sauce. Enough said!!! We then took a taxi back to a metro station and got the metro back to Terry's place and back home to Gloria's to relax. Another super day!!!

What a cutie pie.
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree....

When I took this photos I thought it was cute that the little guy was looking at me but didn't see what he had in his hands....oh well a guy has to do what a guy has to do....

Chewy gooey stuffed pizza...oh I want me some...it was good!

One side of Crown fountain, Millennium Park.
"Cloudgate" but called The Bean by the locals

Part of the Chicago skyline