Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sweet Home Chicago

I grew up in central Illinois, but attended college in Chicago and spent the greatest portion (so far) of my adult life living there.  I went to grad school in the Windy City and met my husband at the Art Institute's left lion.  If he had landed a job there, I'm sure we'd still be calling Chicago home right now... but alas.  My brother, on the other hand, did land a job in Chicago and we spent the week of the 4th at his place in the northern 'burbs--hence the lack of posting around here lately. 

And you know, Chicago is really pissing me off.  Every time I go back, it's better than the last time I was there--as if I didn't miss Chicago enough already.  The Chicago of 2013 is nothing like the one I left in 2004, and really  nothing like the one I first called home in the early 90s. 



But this was my kids' first visit to Chi-Town, so some touristy activities were in order--including a few train and taxi rides and, of course, the Millennium Park "bean."


Millennium Park was just beginning construction when we left Chicago in 2004.  The last apartment we lived in is actually visible from the bean (bottom left photo above).  222 North Columbus.  It was all rental units back then (it's condo now) and there was nothing to the east of it at the time--so we had an unobstructed lake view, albeit from the bargain-priced 7th floor.  We could see the Navy Pier fireworks twice a week from our living room windows all summer long.

Living downtown was just something we did on a whim for our last year or so in the city.  I'd lived in walk-ups all over Chicago prior to that, but never in a high rise (with air conditioning! and laundry!) until that last hurrah. 

Something else I never did in all my years in Chicago was go to the Botanic Gardens--but I remedied that on this visit, and I was not disappointed.  I may have uttered the word "plant-gasm," in fact.  Multiple times.  It was awesome.  If I lived in the Chicagoland area now, I'd be there every other week.


Ajuga, lady's mantle... lupine (top row)!  Blue spruce, hakonechloa "All Gold," and heuchera obsidian are such an awesome combination; and those umbrella plants were HUGE!

 
I can't even remember what this flame-like number is--it was in the bulb garden.  Isn't it stunning?  Even the spent aliums were incredible.


More heuchera, lilies, astilbe, hosta--who cares?  Just look at these vignettes.  Plant. Gasm.  And these are just iPhone photos.

It was a lovely visit.  Friends, family, Botanic Gardens, Logan Square farmer's market, Longman and Eagle, Trenchermen, Billy Sunday, Yusho...  there's even a Target now (Target!) in the old Carson Pirie Scott space on State Street.  Man, I could have used that in 2003.  

Chicago, you're killing me. 

3 comments:

  1. It is on my list of botanic gardens I must see -- I've been to many famous gardens, but never to Chicago and that must be remedied. I've seen so many rave posts and articles about it.

    I'm glad to find your blog and follow your leap into creative non-working. I retired from a health insurance "corporate career" 7 years ago and it's been transformational. It will be for you too!

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  2. I sure hope so. Thanks for the comment, Laurrie. I'm still struggling to figure out exactly what my creative "encore" career should be, but it's always inspirational to hear from others who have made the leap and are loving the change.

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