Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24, 2011 You Know I'm No Good

I usually don't care about self destruction but when I heard her body was found dead in her house I felt sad...not surprised...just kind of sad. Amy I hope you find that elusive happiness now.

July 23, 2011 My Bike Riding Dates & Trash Talking Soccer Women

Jim & Mike @ Montrose Beach, Chicago, IL

Red Stars @ Montrose Beach, Chicago, IL
This story goes back a few months. While enjoying a beer in the locker room after a hockey game, Bill Gentzler mentioned that I should call him next time I go bike riding. Over the past few months, I have but we never could match up our free days. So last week we picked this morning to ride Chicago's Lakefront Trail. Bill contacted fellow teammates Jim & Mike McDonnell. We all met at the Lincoln Park Zoo and decided to ride north up to Montrose Beach where the McDonnell's younger sister's were playing in a beach soccer tournament. Mary Therese & Shannon's team, the Red Stars, easily won two games while we were watching them. It is here where I have to stop the story to explain something about the McDonnell brothers. Jim, Mike & Ian are very talented hockey players. They are the kind of teammates you always want on your team...they are unselfish, play hard, easy going and always encouraging teammates. The one thing they do not do is trash talk. Now...back to my story. In between games, Shannon asks Jim how his bike date is going and laughs. Then when we left she joked again about enjoying our bike date. This made me laugh because her brothers are always so polite. So when I said to Jim & Mike that it was funny to hear their sister teasing them because they never talk trash about anyone. Mike quickly replied, "Gregg, we do it behind your back." I deserved that one because earlier when I saw Shannon then Mary Therese score easy goals I said, "Look at that, McDonnells can score goals." Their was another funny comment when we stopped at the Green City Market. As Jim locked our bikes to a street sign, he said, " I'd hate to tell people our bikes were stolen when the four of us stopped to shop at a farmer's market." It was great to spend time with hockey players away from the rink. Thanks for the bike date guys. Let's do it again soon.

July 22, 2011 The Towle Theater

Hammond, IN

I saw the play, 'I Love You Because' last night at the Towle Theater. Once again the small but very dedicated cast and crew put on a great performance. I can not say enough about this theater. The shows are only $15 and cheaper than that if you purchase a season ticket which includes all 4 shows they put on each year. If you enjoy live theater, you really should support the Towle Theater. If you think you can act, try out for one of their plays. They post the casting dates on their website. Hammond has a small group of artists that are trying to provide a reason to visit that city, I support them and hope you will too. Enjoy dinner at El Taco Real, stop by Paul Henry's Art Gallery and take in a play at the Towle Theater. It will be a night well spent.

July 21, 2011 Hey Mother Nature...WTF?

Torrence Avenue, Lansing, IL

It's been 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity all week. Today was the worst or maybe the culmination of nothing but heat & humidity with no relief made it seem like the worst day of the week. It was 104 degrees earlier in the day but had cooled down to 98 degrees by 5:45pm...lucky us.

July 20, 2011 Hot Day, Cold Dinner

My Kitchen Table Lansing, IL

Chilled Smoked Shrimp from Calumet Fisheries, chilled cucumbers from Green City Market and my garden.
Special Note for frequent reader of this blog, still owe my $11.50 for the shrimp.

July 19, 2011 Chicago Is Begging For You To Buy A House

Chicago, IL

The ad on the bus is for new neighborhoods that were started during the 'get rid of the poor people and bring in the rich people' building boom of the early 2000's. Now that these areas have been built but the city no longer has money for infrastructure, they have partnered with the developers to beg you to move here and recieve big discounts. I've been to most of these areas, the local neighborhood amenities mentioned on the website are not easily seen driving through. That said I'm all for people moving to the city so check it out at Find Your Place In Chicago.

July 18, 2011 Walk Forever By My Side

Walk forever by my side
Never lose sight of the day

When we will run through all our weakness
On through the fields
Strewn with our broken dreams
Walk forever by my side

Stay forever in the light
Never lose sight of the way
For I alone can't face the future
I need your strength
To help me make it through
Walk forever by my side

Stay forever in the light
Walk on 'til morning
All my days are yours
Walk on 'til morning

All my days are yours

Hope you'll stay with me tonight
Lift the veil from my eyes
For I am weak and I am foolish
I need your love
To see me through the darkness
Hope you'll stay with me tonight

Walk on 'till morning
All my days are yours
Walk on 'till morning
All my days are yours

OK so I am a month late on this one. I am old and feeble minded but my heart is in the right just needs to grow 3 the Grinch. This goes out to Chrissy...23 years and one month ago...this was our wedding song...and it still rings true after all these was and is the perfect song for us. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 2011 Saint Patrick's Cemetery

I got up early and drove out to Waterfall Glen to go biking with my friend, Mikey. It was already a hot muggy morning by 8am. We did the 10 mile loop but the highlight for me was taking a detour to St. Patrick's Cemetery. It is at the secluded end of an access road to the back side of Argonne National Laboratory. As we walked through the cemetery we played a game that Mike thought up. You had to name a sports figure with the same last name as the tombstone. I'm pretty sure I won that goofy contest. Mikey's search for someone who had lived 100 years brought on the biggest laugh at Margaret Jones' tombstone...
...Mike said lived to be 98 years old, but when I looked at it I said no she was 100 years old. He said no because she was born in September and died in March. Once I convinced him she was 100, I joked that  his Lake Central education had failed him. Then we both just laughed about it.
 I thought this was a good motto to live by.
 I always feel something extra special at a soldier's grave.
Born in County Mayo, so were some of my family.
 There were quite a few Irish names here...County Limerick represented on this one.
I love the old tombstones, the peaceful feeling of a final resting place, the tranquility of a graveyard.

July 16, 2011 My 'Summer In The City'

 I took my own advice from yesterday's blog and spent a day in the city. It started out at my favorite Farmer's Market in Chicago, the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. They are having a great fundraiser event July 21st. Check it out here.

 I always tip the street performers, especially if they play my favorites...Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" and Lyle Lovett's "If I Had A Boat". Thank you very much.
After spending some time at home doing the usual Saturday house work, it was back into the city for a night out with my good friend... not Jesus we are just casual good friend Debbie. But she did take me to church. A Catholic church. She was kind enough to tolerate me during an hour long mass but wouldn't let me take pictures inside. I am fascinated by religious statues and stained glass murals. I'll get pictures another time when I won't upset the worshippers. After a very good dinner at Blue 13, we walked over to the Taste of River North festival. It was a beautiful summer night.

JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound were playing their brand of soul and R & B. So I grabbed a Goose Island 312 beer, Deb had a glass of wine and we strolled along the river, enjoying the music, the night and spending time with an old friend. It was a great summer in the city day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 15, 2011 Summer In The City

Uptown Neighborhood, Chicago, IL

I worked in the city all day today. It was a beautiful summer day...90 degrees, the humidity was bearable and the sun was shining. What I loved the most about today was the city felt so alive. The streets were crowded, people biking, walking, hanging out enjoying the day and enjoying being in the city. I passed several closed streets where outdoor festivals were being set up for the weekend. This one in Uptown looks real tasty...for obvious reasons. Let's all enjoy our city this weekend. 

July 14, 2011 I Love Frank Turner...Here's Why

July 13, 2011 ...and here's the aftermath

Montrose Avenue near Harlem Avenue, Chicago, IL

2:12pm July 11th  It's a beautiful afternoon. If it wasn't for all the damaged property and the nearly 1 million people without power, you wouldn't even know a storm ripped through Chicago earlier today.

July 12, 2011 ...It Quickly Turns Into This...

The Dan Ryan Expressway near 59th Street, Chicago, IL

8:28am July 11th The brake lights are due to the driving rain and 70 MPH winds.

July 11, 2011 It Starts Like This...

The Dan Ryan Expressway just south of 95th Street, Chicago, IL

8:17am July 11th The ever present black clouds seem to appear out of nowhere.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011 The L.A.T.E. Ride

My Number for the L.A.T.E. Ride a 25 Mile Bike Ride thru Chicago from 1am until Sunrise

It was a stormy night...wait...that is how horror stories start...this story starts out like was a beautiful summer night for a bike ride with 9,000 of my friends.
My sister-in-law Kimmie, her second LATE Ride
My long time friend Mike, his rookie ride
My Canadian friend Walter, his second ride
 Everyone is lining up for the start of the ride at 1am
This is Columbus Drive near Buckingham Fountain. We were in the Blue group which leaves second after the VIP section. As you can see it is a crazy scene but they release groups every 10 minutes or so and this year it seemed pretty smooth. If you look closely you can see the Lollapalooza banners on the street lights. I'll be at that wonderful event next month but now I'm excited to start riding through the city on a great summer night.
Our first stop was in Chinatown, we lost Kimmie somewhere in the crowd.
The people riding are very friendly. Everyone is just out for a fun ride through the city. Unfortunately  some people are put off by the traffic issues caused by closing some streets and intersections for this ride. I heard several angry and quite frankly stupid comments from people on the streets. Of course at this time of night alcohol is probably involved. But these people were the minority (loud obnoxious assholes always are), most people were cheering and taking pictures of the bikers filling the streets. There was a loft on Milwaukee Avenue that had some partiers in the window with Queen's "Bicycle Race" blasting down to the street. That was cool.
Downtown Chicago from Greek Town
The only hills in Chicago are the bridge overpasses like this one on Halsted Street.

My favorite picture of the night, Chrissy & Kimmie under the Puerto Rican flag in Humboldt Park neighborhood.
Mikey at the rest area in Homer Park where sponsor's supply the riders with drinks and food.
The last part of the ride in down the Lakefront Trail while the sun rises across the lake. Here's Chicago's Totem Pole along the trail.

A couple of pictures taken at Belmont Harbor just before sunrise.

Mike & Chrissy on the lakeshore waiting for the sunrise but low clouds along the lake stole the excitement of watching the sun rise over the horizon. The white dots are bugs that got lit up by the flash.
The Queen of the LATE Ride removes her crown.

My favorite shots along the lakefront.
North Avenue Beach
It was a warm humid night and the morning had that 'it's gonna be hot day' haze over the city.
Walt & Jamie catch up with us near Oak Street Beach.
 A few shots at Navy Pier on our way back to Grant Park
 Mike poses with Bob Newhart
 A strange sign saying "Fix - Ice Machene"
Chrissy dreaming about raspberry bars at the Bleeding Heart Bakery which is where we picked up breakfast after the ride...see Chris...dreams do come true.

 A few shots at the end of the ride
 back where we started about 5 hours ago
A cute girl with the sunlight in her hair