2014 Chicago Bucket List, part 2

I’m so far behind in blogging about my resolutions and other adventures from this year. We’re halfway into December and I have drafts from outings from February. So how about rolling up this very fun resolution into a miniseries?

The second installation in my miniseries about my 2014 Chicago bucket list adventures!

Chicago skyline
View from the Adler

Adler Planetarium: May’s Adler After Dark event was cosponsored by the Oriental Institute – a perfect excuse for us both to make our first visit! We learned about medical astrology and inverse moons and took funny photos of our bellies.

Hot Doug's
Doing Hot Doug’s right

Hot Doug’s: Chicago’s premiere encased meat emporium had been on my to-do list for years prior to the announcement that the owner planned to close up shop in October. My first thought was “I can go on my maternity leave!”. Fortunately, an earlier opportunity presented itself: since I was already missing half a day of work for an ultrasound, we decided to make a day of it and brave the Hot Doug’s line. It felt pretty ridiculous, but was worth it for extremely delicious sausages and fries.

Chicago Bucket List: Cubs game with Nicolas
View from Wrigley

#ChicagoBucketList: Cubs game with N, even though he's cheering for the Mets...
View at Wrigley

Cubs game with Nicolas: Despite living in Lakeview for 6ish years, Nicolas had never been to Wrigley Field or to a Cubs game – in fact, the Sox game in April was his first baseball game, period! We kept talking about how these all-American activities needed to be added to his citizenship dossier. Hot dogs, beer, and baseball on a perfect summer night were an excellent addition.

Drinks at a shitty Wrigleyville bar: After the baseball game, we knocked out a second bucket list item by walking down Clark to grab drinks and food at a random bar before Neo prom. We thankfully skipped the douchiest bars in Chicago.

Dim sum
Dim sum

Dim sum in Chinatown: The bucket list originally called for hot pot, but dim sum was on my mental list. We tried Moon Palace on the recommendation of another Chinatown diner who, after seeing us order pork buns at another restaurant, said we had to try the (off-menu?) steamed spinach buns at Moon Palace. They did not disappoint.

We stopped into Vosges yesterday and left with free truffles.
Truffles from Vosges

Vosges with Nicolas: I’ve been a fan of Vosges chocolate for years, and had been to the Lincoln Park shopfront a few times, but never with Nicolas. We stopped in while walking around Lincoln Park one afternoon and left with free truffles! My enormously pregnant belly probably helped.

Vegan Korean food with Karen! 36/#100daystobaby
Vegan Korean with Karen

Vegan Korean at Dragon Lady Lounge with Karen: Karen and I talked about checking out the monthly Korean buffet at Dragon Lady Lounge for two years before we had the right opportunity – the next-to-last buffet they would offer! We ate all the things, and all of them were delicious.

Untitled
Sailing on Lake Michigan

Untitled
Chicago skyline, golden hour

Sailing on Lake Michigan: We bought a deal for a two hour sailing adventure at the beginning of the summer, and cashed it in as one of our last pre-baby adventures on a lovely September night. We were supposed to share our outing with at least two other people, but they didn’t show up, so we had the boat to ourselves. We were treated to an exceptional sunset as we turned back to the city. It was perfect.

Pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company: We made a strategic error in not eating before Nicolas’s naturalization ceremony, expecting to be in and out in an hour or so. Instead, it took three hours, and we emerged as a famished family of American citizens. We headed straight to Hoosier Mama and had pie for lunch. What’s more American than apple pie, after all?

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2014 Chicago Bucket List, part 1

I’m so far behind in blogging about my resolutions and other adventures from this year. We’re halfway into December and I have drafts from outings from February. So how about rolling up this very fun resolution into a miniseries?

Around this time last year, I posted a first draft of my Chicago bucket list: an aspirational collection of 50+ outings and adventures that I’d like to tackle before I eventually leave Chicago. While I didn’t stick to my goal of one bucket list item per month, I knocked a number of them off this year:

Sandwiches and Petits fours
Tea at the Drake

Tea at the Drake Hotel with Mom: For the last few years, I’ve met my mom in the city for a birthday weekend. This year I requested high tea at The Drake in lieu of a birthday dinner. While pricey, it was a really nice thing to do for a special occasion, and something I look forward to doing with my nieces in the future!

The Brookfield Zoo: In February, we braved the cold to take advantage of a free admission day to visit the larger of the Chicagoland zoos. They don’t have a sand cat, but they do have black-footed cats! The highlight for me was probably the wolf habitat – it was amazing to watch the pack tear around in the snow.

The Oriental Institute: I took a whirlwind tour of this museum during a tour of campus when I first started my job, but hadn’t been back in the two years since. If you haven’t been and you have even a passing interest in history or archaeology, you MUST go. I wasn’t feeling well the day we were there, so I spent a lot of time reading the contents of cases that had benches in front of them.

We walked downtown for donuts.
Do-Rite

Donuts from Do-Rite: It turns out I’d already had donuts from Do-Rite, but I hadn’t been to the main location downtown, so we made it our destination on a late spring morning when Nicolas wanted sweets and we both wanted a long walk. We’ve been a few times since, and their old fashioneds have been consistently excellent – possibly my favorite donuts in the city, though that might be the subject for another post.

Not bad.
Our view for the Sox vs Sox

Tina!
More baseball with Tina!

White Sox game: I was raised baseball agnostic, but adopted the Cubs as my team by default when I was subjected to radio broadcast of the games at my post-college call center job. If you’re a Cubs fan, you can’t be a Sox fan. That’s just the rule. So this was one of the least likely items on the list – unless I got tickets to the Crosstown Classic. Instead, I went to TWO Sox games this year. In April, Tina and Jeff treated us to an extremely cold Sox vs Sox game (and a helmet full of nachos). And then in May, we got a good deal for tickets and snacks on Memorial Day. I’m still a Cubs fan, but I have a new appreciation for the Sox – or at least their ballpark.

Water taxi <3 <3
View from the water taxi

The water taxi: THE WATER TAXI. How did I live in Chicago for two years before taking the water taxi? How did Nicolas live here for three times that long without taking the water taxi? The water taxi was a highlight of our summer, and a frequent weekend activity – walk to Chinatown, take the water taxi downtown, have an adventure, take the water taxi home. It’s the cheapest way to see the city from the water. If you buy a 10 ride pass, it’s not much more than taking the El, and it’s considerably more pleasant. About half the time, they didn’t punch our pass, or didn’t punch it the right number of times, so we have a number of water taxi rides saved up for next summer. Seriously: take the water taxi.

0805 Take Me Out to the Lugnuts

You’ll forgive me if I don’t have pictures to go along with tonight’s dinner.  You see, we were busy doing this:

Lansing Lugnuts

And what do you eat when you’ve paid $10 each for two seats that are basically on the playing field?  A slice of pizza, nachos, and a hot dog, of course!  And $2 beers.  Cold ballpark beers in tall plastic cups.  If we didn’t have an hour drive in each direction, I’d say we should make this a regular thing.

Things I did today

Denver edition:

  • woke at 5am, tossed and turned, took pictures of my CouchSurfer Max’s ceiling
  • was showered, dressed, and on my way to the light rail by 6:30am (the time for which I’d set my alarm)
  • light-rail to the ‘burbs, breakfast w/random GSLIS grads
  • opening plenary, 1st session, nerves setting in
  • lunch w/David
  • first conference presentation ever! entitled: “Okay, This is Just Too Weird: Identifying Outreach Opportunities in Facebook” and coming soon to an institutional repository near you
  • climbed on a rock to take pictures of the mountains
  • 3rd session (not as interesting as advertised)
  • light-rail back to downtown, drop off stuff at Max’s, walk back to the 16th St Mall and then to Coors Field
  • bleacher “rock pile” seats for $4 to watch the Rockies vs. Nats.  Add 1 Blue Moon ($6.50) and 1 chicken sandwich and you get 1 happy E.
  • leave after the 6th inning out of sleepiness, walk back to Max’s with a stop for airplane snacks.
  • Fin.

Briefly

It’s the last weekend in April, and things seem to be getting crazy busy.

We spent last weekend in New York, celebrating SB’s 28th birthday. Happy birthday, SB! We had a great time, saw lots of friends, and ate lots of things that are bad for us.

Thursday was the last day of metadata. I should be hard at work on my final project, but instead I just planted our balcony garden – herbs, lettuce, two kinds of tomatoes, strawberries, and maybe some onions.

I’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather to take 2-3 mile walks on my lunch, which this week resulted in my first sunburn of the season. It is very weird to already have so much color!

Tonight and tomorrow SB and I are going to see the CUBS vs the Nationals. I’ll be cheering for the former, SB for the latter. There’s a chance of rain, but that can’t dampen my enthusiasm.

vacation update!

Exciting adventures:

Breakfast in the sun

Kasey’s going away party

Showering outside at Mel’s Memorial Day party.


Going to a Cubs game with Shane and some long-missed Chicago friends (Heather is sad because she can’t have cotton candy).


Shane is growing a beard in a bad beard contest. I don’t think it’s so bad.

Things I have read in the last month:

Things I have watched in the last month:

  • Shopgirl
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Hustle & Flow
  • Prime
  • Hero
  • The End of the Affair
  • Wonderfalls – 1 DVD
  • 24 – last 4 episodes of this season
  • Twin Peaks – beginning of season 2
  • The X-Files – end of season 1

Friends that are moving/moving away:

  • Kasey to Philadelphia – already gone
  • Sam & Brian to a new! house! in Champaign
  • Sarah & Greg to a house! (albeit rented) in Champaign
  • Nicole to Texas – this weekend
  • Erin & Ben to St Louis – June 10
  • Karin to Philadelphia – June 17th-ish
  • Ryan to St Louis and Americorps – end of the summer?
  • Angie & Chris to parts unknown – TBA

It’s been a lovely summer already.