Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life in Greenville (continued)

A cold front moved through and the last 2 or 3 days have been amazingly cooler, not humid, and breezy. If the whole of summer could be like this! These are like our best winter days in Florida.

I hesitate to turn on the radio or TV, because the chatter and noise seems almost a sacrilege to the quietness of the days. Children play on the sidewalks, occasionally a car goes by, but I find that a deep silence predominates in the neighborhood. Maybe it is the big trees. Or that there is no major highway around.

I do my chores, go to Curves and the morning Mass, work on my websites and my story about Florida's Felony Murder Rule. Sometimes I take Jubilee to a nearby park for a hike in the woods, or I go to the pool for a swim. An easy (idyllic?) life. It's hard to imagine that more important things are taking place elsewhere.

This is an outdoor "stove" at nearby Patriot's Park. When John and Jubilee found this back door in the stove, John said: "Hansel and Gretal"?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Montgomery County Fair

Hey, we know her!

Hey, we know them!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

summer swimming pools

The forecasters say that it will be 100 degrees today with a heat index of 110.

Today I took John to the local Greenville pool for noontime "adult swim".

Yesterday I visited my friend, Julia, at New Town in Missouri and we lolled around in the Agave Pool.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chicago - part 3

From W. Cornelia, we headed south on Lake Shore Drive to the Hyde Park Art Center.

I had read that the Art Center offered free walking tours of the Hyde Park area on Saturday. But we got there too late. The free walking tours ended at 3pm, and it was about 10 after. We did get a map, which did not include the Obama house, but would I like for it to be designated on the map? Maybe it was just me, but it seemed to me that people made a point NOT to draw attention to this being Obama's Chicago neighborhood. Unlike Crawford, Texas, there were no souveniers shops, nothing to indicate that this was the Chicago neighborhood of the President. Nothing but this sign in Ossama's barbershop.

We made our way down the 6 or 7 blocks to the Obama home, which was blocked by barricades and Chicago police. You could not cross the street, or even walk into the street to get a photo. When I tried to do this, the police man quickly sounded his horn.

From here we meandered over to the University of Chicago. I was trying to find the Frank Lloyd Wright, "Robie Home".

Enroute, we ran into an Oriental Museum, advertizing "Ancient Iraq".

Welcoming the air-conditioning, we were surprised by an incredibly extensive collection of art and artifacts from the Middle East - Persia, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Nubia. The history of humanity. One display board said that the different tribes corresponded to the different land areas - Kurds in the northern mountain region, Sumerians (or Akkadians) in the dry south - so that when drought (or some other natural weather pattern) affected one area, the people could help each other and/or migrate to the other region. Now there's an idea!

I was drawn to the cunieform writing in the rocks and the mathematics, finding these early attempts to order and make sense of the world to be complex and intriguing.

Finally we made it to the Robie house, which was just a block away from the museum. It was not open, but we could walk around, look in the windows. I was surprised at how big it is. This house must have looked quite "odd" in 1910, when it was finished. It is considered one of the most important buildings in American architecture, inspiring an architectural revolution. Uniquely American, the Robie House is renowned as the greatest example of Wright's "Prairie Style".

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant, then returned to the Hyde Park Art Center for ice cream. I wish I had taken a photo of the ice cream/coffee shop which is adjacent to the Art Center. The best ice cream ever!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

apricot jam and next door neighbors

I love my next door neighbor, Leanne. She and her husband and 3 children live in the house behind us. Niam is almost 6, Eleanor just turned 4, and there is a little baby not yet 1. The parents are always smiling and the children are always talking excitedly, especially Eleanor. There is something different/special about them that I can't quite put my finger on. I suspect that they are (God Forbid) "Christian". They are trying to homeschool the children. I get to know them a little more every day.

Last night Leanne brought over apricots that are falling from her tree. She also brought an easy recipe for apricot jam, so today I made it. It will be really good with yogurt.

Chicago - part 2 (mostly Navy Pier)

When I saw the sign on the bridge, "La Salle Street", I remembered that I used to work on that street, crossing this bridge in the middle of winter! More about that later.
After the architecture tour we were hungry and hot, and found a good market cafe on Illinois Ave for lunch. We wanted to explore the "Navy Pier", so we walked to the end of the pier. If it had been cooler, or night-time, we would have stood in line to ride on the Ferris Wheel. As it is, that is about the only reason I would ever come back to the Pier. I put it in the "been there, done that" category of things we don't have to do again.

I took this photo of the HOT DOG stand for my good friend, Taylor, who has been in prison (wrongly incarcerated) for more than 16 years. He wanted to know about the Hot Dogs in Chicago. We talk about food a lot.

We headed up Lake Shore Drive to West Cornelia Avenue. On the way we noticed the "Chicago Beach". Whoever knew that Chicago had beaches like this, with volley ball courts and everything. I didn't see anyone in the wather, though. I don't know whether that was because the water was too cold, or dirty or what. It looked pretty clean to me.

Believe it or not, in the winter of 1972 I lived on West Cornelia Avenue, and I wanted to see it again. I was 21 years old, just out of college, and came to Chicago to "be on my own". I knew some people who lived near the University of Chicago in Hyde Park, and after sleeping on their couch for a couple of weeks, moved into the apartment at the corner of W. Cornelia and Broadway. I worked downtown as a statistical analyst at a place called "Crop-Hail Insurance Company". I remember it as a boring job. My roommates on W. Cornelia were different (crazy).
Hard to believe that when I walked this street on my way to the train station, my hair would freeze into icycles!
(to be continued ...)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chicago - part 1

The road from Greenville, Illinois to Chicago is a continuous stretch of field and farmland, all of it flat. If there are towns along the way, they are a ways from the road because I didn't see them. There is fast food and gas at the exits. That's all. There are no billboards, but I did notice 3 or 4 "Burma-shave-like" series of small signs from a group advocating the safety of a society that allowed gun ownership. As in: Violent killing - does not happen - where there are guns - and then the URL of a website which I have forgotten. This is Illinois, or at least the highway side of it.

Then there is Chicago. A beautiful city with magnificent skyscrapers, tree shaded streets, parks and museums, people from everywhere, and a big blue lake.

We stayed with our cousins, Robert and Mary Lou, who are a bit west of Chicago in the town of Plainfield. On Friday night we celebrated Aunt Mil's 93rd birthday. Saturday morning we headed into Chicago. Driving in you can see and feel something special about the city rising on the edge of the Lake Michigan.
We parked at Navy Pier, a kind of lakefront amusement park, dominated by a large ferris wheel.
As we were headed over to a boat that would take us on an "architecture tour", who did we run into but Bob Newhart!? John sat down on the couch for a little therapy before we proceeded on.

Then we got on the boat and headed up the Chicago River to see the sites: