Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

There is a good reason why there are songs about Chicago. The weather may suck dead slugs through a straw, but it is an incredibly vibrant and beautiful city the first of June. I was up for a show at the Prairie Arts Festival over Memorial Day and instead of driving right home, I stayed for a little vacation.

Dave flew up a couple of days after the show (Jessie drove up with me) and we stayed with his parents in Montgomery. A couple of days we lounged and relaxed (reconfiguring a home network and networking computers counts as that for me) but two other days we played tourist. The first day Dave and I took the train in, had lunch at Frontera Grill and then met up with the rest of the family at the Shedd Aquarium to see the Lizards. (Lizards ate my spouse!).

After seeing the dolphins, lizards, sea otters, beluga whales and (nesting/courting) penguins we took the free trolley to the Art Institute (didn't go in this time) and then headed for Millenium Park just north of Grant Park and the AI to see the art and gardens.

I will say one thing for Mayor Daley 2, the city is really coming alive under his tenure. The following pictures are of the sculpture affectionately called "The Bean" by the locals (it's really the Kapoor sculpture), Crown fountain and Lurie garden. It is impossible to capture the size and feeling of the Pritzker Pavillion so I am just linking to the official site for it. The official Millenium Park site is also worth a look.. We finished the day with dinner in Greek town at the Greek Isles before driving home with the parents.

The next day we again took the train in, but this time we went early in the morning and checked into the Westin hotel on Dearborn just north of the river. For Chicagophiles this used to be the Nikko Hotel... very nice. It was till pretty nice, and purchased on, could not be beat. After getting settled we took a taxi to Watertower place on north Michigan Ave. and shopped our way back to the hotel. After a quick lunch we cabbed it to the Field Museum for our reserved tickets to the new King Tut exhibit. Very disappointing. If you were alive, sentient and saw it in '77, don't bother. If you weren't, get a good book.

After a nap, dinner was back at Frontera with Stuart & Andrea. We ate continentally (dinner after 9:00) and tumbled into bed like a pile of kittens (for the prurient, just Dave and I) to sleep until riding to catch the train back to the parents.

Sunday morning we packed up and headed for Nashville. Monday morning at 7:30 in Nashville we picked up the Odyssey and its shiny new transmission and coasted on home

Update on the DOGS

First a quick update on the dogs (from yesterday's Glass Incarnate): The landlady for Alvin and Belinda called Belinda yesterday and Belinda insisted Alvin was coming over daily and feeding and watering the dogs. Bullshit. When they had no water at 9:30 am for the rest of the day and it was in the high 80's yesterday... Sadly she gave them the heads up there was a problem and they came late last night and cleared out a bunch more stuff (looks like cabinets torn out and on the curb this morning) and took the dogs. I was really hoping they would get adopted and go to a better home.

The female pit bull was still chained up as of early this morning, but she is not out in the yard now. I am going to keep an eye out and if they try to chain her up again I will call again. I lucked out and the complaint from yesterday was not filed in my name so I do not have to worry about repercussions. When we were walking into A & B's backyard I pointed out the pit over the fence to the animal control person and since she was able to see it from there, she filed the complaint herself. Of course when they think it's safe and chain the dog up again I will have to call in my name... but one bridge at a time.

In the middle of yesterday's dog excitement the neighbor on the other side told me that he saw a rat ran under the fence into his yard from the neighbor on his other side. This is another yard with four dogs chained/caged 24/7. The people who live there own the house and have lived there for about 40 years. I talked to them about the barking when we first moved in, and they were receptive but really didn't do anything. Other long-time neighbors told me that many people have complained over time about the yard (it is full of trash, junk cars, rickety sheds... you get the picture) and dogs (chained and caged) but nothing ever comes of it. That might be about to change as my neighbor was quite distressed about the rat and is also bothered by the garbage smell, the barking and the flies emanating from the yard. This being Georgia in the middle of a lush early summer, the verdure obscures the trash. But you can still see a bit of junk truck, trash, shed and one of the many kennels in the yard through the trees.

The times they are a changing. Next (after the vacation news): pics of the new screened-in porch (just in time for West Nile season!).