Pics of me “Getting High” in Chicago

Without a doubt, two of the high points (pun intended!) of our recent whirlwind weekend in Chicago would have to be our visits to the Hancock Building and the Willis Tower Skydeck/The Ledge. I pondered the question in yesterday’s post: Why DO we, as humans, LOVE to do things that make us want to wet our pants?

My Sweetie and I visited the Hancock Building last Sunday night. We managed to arrive just as day was transitioning into nightfall, and we stayed for probably an hour and a half, or more, until the entire Chicago skyline was full of twinkling lights. Here is a photo of yours truly, trying to look buff at the Hancock Building:

Tim at the Hancock Observatory June 2013

I know, right? So ruggedly handsome, LOL! It was a LOT of fun and the panoramic, 360 degree views of the city after dark were unbelievable. I have to confess, though – the highly-touted, “open air skywalk at 94 floors” is actually a little lame. It is really a super secure, caged-in walkway open to the air. No Biggie.

Now, the Willis Tower Skydeck/The Ledge? That is another story completely…

We visited Willis Tower on Monday, the day we were leaving (saving the best for last!) Willis Tower is still, to me, the Sears Tower, although it apparently was renamed in like 2003 or something. I had visited the Sears Tower years ago. It is high, for sure – 103 stories above the ground. Willis Tower is the eighth tallest building in the world and the third tallest building in the western hemisphere. Since my last visit, it has re-branded itself as Skydeck Chicago with an added feature called “The Ledge.” The Ledge consists of four super-reinforced glass cubes that project out over four feet OUTSIDE the building. It reminds me of the classic visual cliff experiments they do with babies. The boxes look pretty sturdy but, still – you stand in them and look down 102 floors to the ground below. It is kinda’ scary:

102 Floors Above the Ground at The Ledge

Those are my Sweetie’s feet, bottom left in black and red, and my stubby clubs, upper right in bone, as we look thru the floor of one of The Ledge’s “boxes” down 102 stories to the ground below. It was a slightly anxious moment for me…

Tim's steps out at The Ledge 2013Tim Gains Confidence at The Ledge 2013

Then we both got a little more comfortable and realized those “box thingies” were NOT gonna’ fall off the side of the building:

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And well, then it was all over and somebody actually got a little cocky:

MSW chillin' at The ledge 2013

It was actually an AWESOME time, and a “tourist trap” I would recommend to anyone heading to Chicago. I hate to admit it, I kinda’ was hoping to see someone faint but mostly people just laughed nervously then crept out into the clear box. There was one younger, athletic woman that did a hand stand and looked down – with her eyes open – the whole time in one of the cubes. Not me. I did learn something about myself though – I will never bungee jump, sky dive or hang glide. Ever…

My Sweetie’s face was amazing to watch during the whole experience. It was so full of joy and wonder and silliness and excitement and trepidation – it was beautiful and magical. I am so glad we got to share the experience together. And I hate to admit it but I guess I do enjoy “gettin’ high” every now and then…

Five Chicago Moments

People that follow my blog (or my Facebook posts!) know that my Sweetie and I just took a ridiculous, 60-hour, round-trip weekend to Chicago and back. It was a whirlwind visit, a mix of some annoying business and a lot of fun. My Angel all but walked me to death (but I need to get in better shape anyway, LOL!) I have lots of stuff to share about the visit but, for now, I will be happy to share five (5 – get it?) of my favorite “photos” from our trip. All the images you see here were either taken by my partner Martin or me. Here we go…

1. The Hancock Building – I can’t quite understand why we, as humans, are compelled to visit high places and be scared to death by the height. Anyway, while I have been here a few times before, Martin was a “virgin” and LOVED the 360 degree views of the city. We visited the Hancock Building at dusk, and watch the city lights “come alive.” It was pretty awesome, as is this image of the building itself:

The Hancock Building

2. The Burberry Store on Michigan Avenue – Now, I am not a HUGE Burberry fan but, honestly? This vanity “facade” featuring the company’s signature plaid – I mean, what guy doesn’t recognize this pattern from his own Burberry tie? – is INSPIRED to say the least. We didn’t go in but WOW!, what a statement piece of architecture:

The Burberry Store on Michigan Avenue

3. “The Bean” at Millenium Park – OK, technically it is called “Cloud Gate” and is probably the most obvious choice to be included here but I love it. Roughly the size of my parents’ house, it is a ridiculously impressive thing for many reasons – sheer size, remarkable finish, crazy visual properties and the fact that, no matter who sees it, they SMILE. Like the Hancock Building, I had experienced “The Bean” before but it was amazing to watch my SBF see it for the first time:

Cloud Gate with Chicago Skyline

4. The Field Museum – Definitely traditional, even classical in design, the Field Museum combines the grace and beauty of a Greek or Roman temple – I mean, it has caryatids! – with some high-tech coolness inside. I personally found this museum to be a bit of a snore fest (sorry!) but the Lascaux exhibit was fascinating. Plus, to be honest, the entire time we roamed the dusty halls and exhibits there, I felt like my SBF and I were on the set of one of the “Night at the Museum” movies, so that was kinda’ cool:

The Field Museum5. The “L” – Chicago has an elevated transit system that moves completely above ground. I know you have seen it in countless movies – it’s usually featured in some high-speed car chase under some weird, elevated platform. That is the “L.” My beloved took this image, which is pretty representational of the entire L experience:

Steps to the L

I hope you enjoyed these pics. Watch for more posts about Chicago in the coming days. We LOVED our trip there and will definitely be going back – soon!

 

 

‘Bye, Chi!

Today is our last day in Chicago. We have had a ball, ruined our feet (we walked like 9 miles in 36 hours!) and had a fun-but-tourist-y time. I promise a much more “in depth” report when we get back but, in the meantime, here is a pic of one of MY favorite moments from the trip…

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Pretty cool, huh! It was SO beautiful at night – much more so than in day light…

Notes from the road…

So just a quick note before we begin our day today – today we will be taking advantage of City Pass and taking in Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, Navy Pier and the Hancock Observatory. Whew! We are gonna’ take the bus today, at least for part of the journey. So urban, right?

BTW – a few quick prices from Chicago. Cigarettes? $11.25 a pack. Gas downtown (BP)? $4.949 a gallon for premium. Ugh. Thank God, some things are universal –

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7 Eleven “Big Gulp,” any size? 69 cents…

ROAD TRIP!

Yeah, so I know you all have come to expect either biting, savage opinion pieces from me, or touching, insightful, emotional posts. Today won’t be either one… Instead,

Road Trip

That is correct – My beloved M and I are “hittin’ the open road” this weekend, for a quick 72 hour round trip to a fantastic mid-western city. The trip is a mixture of personal business and pleasure and, as such, is partially planned but mostly let’s-get-in-the-car-and-just-see-where-we-windup. I kinda’ like that…

To be sure, it will be a fun and exhausting trip but the change of scenery will do both of us good. I will do my best to blog “from the road” but those posts might not be as elaborate or lengthy as you have come to know, love and expect from me. So please bear with me – I’ll be back full-force as soon as possible…

And now, a little “travelin’ music” for the road before we go –

Tuesday Randomness (w/pics)

Today was a slightly challenging day at work.

Our clients “snap” their fingers and demand this or that immediately, then make you W-A-I-T literally F-O-R-E-V-E-R  for their response. Ugh… Anyway, during “breaks in the action” today, my mind was wandering all over the place, thinking about every thing and nothing. So, in no particular order – and for no particular reason – here are five random “things” from my head today…

White peonies –  My Angel LOVES peonies and, over the weekend, we had dinner with friends that had like a bushel basket size bouquet of white peonies from their yard in their house (this is a picture of that actual bouquet, poached from their Facebook page). It was so BEAUTIFUL and smelled heavenly…)

peonies

The Windy City – My Sweetie and I are also planning a very brief getaway to Chicago soon to take care of some personal business. I have been to Chi-Town many times but he has never been there. Circumstances dictate that we drive in and out of Chicago within 72 hours round trip but I am still hoping I can share a moment with him in Chicago at Millennium Park that maybe looks something like this:

Chicago

Converse All-Stars – As an early birthday gift, my beloved bought me a pair of “laceless” Converse All-Stars that look very much like the shoe pictured below. I wore them to work today (the high point of the day, BTW) and they are super comfortable. Funny thing is, when I was 16 years old in 1974, I bought a pair of black lace-up Converse All-Stars with my first pay check – they were $11.99. These shoes – almost forty years later – were not. Thanks, Sweetie!

ConverseChinatown Chicken Salad – Today for lunch, my business partner made an out-of-the-way journey to California Salads in Independence to bring back one of my all-time favorite lunches, the Chinatown Chicken Salad, a.k.a., the Oriental Chop. This is NOT a pic of the actual salad we ate – people that know me well know that I DESPISE those scallion/onion thingies on anything – but it looks pretty close. These salads are DELICIOUS and I had no sooner finished eating this one before I started thinking about the NEXT time we would have them for lunch…

salad

And finally,

Mentor Headlands State Park – Last year, my Sweetie and I discovered Mentor Headlands State Park. It is a beautiful state park right on Lake Erie, east of Cleveland. It is the closest thing to a real beach that we have here on “The North Coast of Ohio” and is actually quite nice. If you have never seen any of the great lakes, they are pretty impressive. Ours – Lake Erie – really does look like an ocean. The waves are very calm and the water isn’t too cloudy. My Angel and I went there a lot last summer to swim, catch some sun (he more than me!) look for “sea glass” and just “be.” We do not typically hold hands like the two gents pictured here (not a picture of us) but it is very comfortable there and we always had a nice day. I am looking forward to our first day there this season.

beachSo there you go, my random, discombobulated thoughts for the day. I hope you enjoy them. I know – it’s a bit like opening the junk drawer in your kitchen and wondering what you will find there, right? Have a great day/evening!