Chicago | October 2014

The Bean

Last month, I traveled up to the Chicago area to attend Skate America. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit the city for a few hours on Friday, October 24 before the competition started that evening. It was a short visit, but I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite sites from Chicago once again.

The trickiest part of the day was actually making it into Chicago. My hotel was in Hoffman Estates, which is quite a ways from the city. I decided to take the train, but first I had to drive to the Rosemont CTA Station. There was so much traffic on I-90 I was afraid I wouldn't have any time once I made it into Chicago, but I did eventually make it to Rosemont. The train ride into the city was long, but it was nice to be on public transportation again.

The Bean

Reflection in the Bean

The Bean

I arrived in the city a little after 11 and walked over to Millennium Park to visit the Bean ("Cloud Gate") first. It was just as cool as I remembered it but also very crowded. I took a few pictures and then walked around the rest of the park. The trees were decked out in their fall finest, and I had to restrain myself from taking too many pictures. Since it was so pretty (and warm — 60 degrees in October!), I decided to walk down to the waterfront. I found a bench where I could sit down for a few minutes and take everything in. Having such beautiful weather during my stay was such a blessing.

Fall foliage

Fall color

Fall color

Chicago skyline

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Chicago Waterfront

My next stop was the Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue. I visited the museum a few years ago with my parents, but it was nice to go again. This time I went to the Impressionists area and the American art. It was interesting to see Monet's paintings and realize my mom and I had visited the real places earlier this year. I also enjoyed seeing a painting of Les Andelys, the little town we visited on the Seine.

Institute of Art


Chicago River

After I left the museum, I walked over to Giordano's, a restaurant Esther had recommended for dish-deep pizza. It was definitely a popular place, so I ended up sitting in the bar area. The pizza was wonderful, and I was excited the restaurant had Dr Pepper too. Once I finished eating, I walked over to the Chicago River to look around for a little bit and then headed to the subway station. It took a little while for the train to come, but I was still able to make it back to Rosemont a little after 4 and avoid rush hour traffic driving back to Hoffman Estates.

Even though I was just in the city for a few hours, it was great to experience Chicago once again. The warm, sunny weather and gorgeous fall colors made it memorable — it definitely felt like a small gift after the last few weeks.

P.S. I took my first trip to Chicago in 2011 with my parents (a few pictures from that trip).

October 2014 Round-up

Fall foliage

I think this is the longest I've waited to write one of these round-up posts, but as many of you know, October was a difficult, unusual, confusing month for my entire family. While there were many highlights — my trip to Chicago chief among them — the most significant event was my dad's heart attack on October 2. The early-morning phone call from my brother signaled the end of life as I knew in and ushered in the new normal of ICU visiting hours, perplexing medical terms, daily text conversations with my family, and several long drives between Austin and Tyler. Fortunately, my dad is on the mend now, and while we know there is still a long road to recovery ahead, we're all so glad to know there is a road ahead — a way forward after this crazy October.

It seems silly to write anything else about this month, but at the same time, I don't want to forget that good things did happen. Over the past few years that I've been writing these posts, I've enjoyed looking back on these short recaps to see what was taking place in my life (even if it's only to see what I was reading or watching at the time). These are a few of the highlights:

  • Spending the evening of my birthday (that fateful October 2) with my mom, Paul, and Esther. We ate at Shogun's and enjoyed Esther's wonderful birthday cake. I also received some nice presents.
  • Watching the U.S. women, especially Simone Biles, dominate at the World Gymnastics Championships. It was a bright spot during the early days of the month.
  • Buying a one-way ticket to Tyler so I could see Dad one weekend. I flew up on Friday after work, and Paul and I drove back to Austin the following day for the UT-Iowa State game. It was a less-than-24-hour turnaround, but I'm so glad I did it.
  • Meeting my friend Michelle for dinner one evening. It was wonderful to see her and catch up a little bit.
  • Traveling to Chicago for Skate America. On Friday, I took the train into the city for a few hours and then spent the rest of the weekend at the competition. Watching live skating always makes me happy (and meeting Meryl and Charlie was a definite bonus this time).

Books I read: Persuasion (Jane Austen), The Dressmaker (Kate Alcott), Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End (Jennifer Worth)

Movies I watched: Gone Girl

TV: Dancing with the Stars, Castle, Forever, Parenthood, Grey's Anatomy, college football, World Gymnastics Championships, figure skating (Skate America and Skate Canada)

About My Monthly Round-Ups
At the end of each month, I take a look back and write a post about the month's highlights, as well as what I read and watched. To see all of my round-up posts, visit this page.