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1/25/10
Chicago Trip: The Day in Which I See A Whale, Some Stained Glass, And Almost Die in a Blizzard

So this is day whatever in my Chicago saga. (Four? I think this is day four. They're beginning to run together). Anyway, since Seester and Stubby had to work, most of today was a solo day to do the touristy stuff.

9:00am- Woke up to an empty apartment. Seester and Stubby had already left for work. Started another Holmes story. (Victim poisoned, cabdriver did it). It's quiet here without anybody else around.

11:00am- Set out to meet the Seester for a lunch date. High is 24 degrees with snow showers today, so I bundle up in what I refer to as my Russian Princess ensemble. ("Boris! Get moose and squirrel!")
11:03am- Holy Smokes it's COLD! Cold cold cold! I know that the Seester wants us to move up here, but I will never ever ever ever ever ever...

11:07am- ever ever ever ever ever ever get used to this cold! This wind is inhumane!

11:15am- arrive at Seester's office building. Snap action shot of Seester on the phone. (Seester would like me to inform everyone that she is not actually a hunchback. She has the phone cradled on her shoulder). Introduced to several of her co-workers. Smiled and tried to look friendly.


11:30am- Go to lunch with Seester and co-worker Allison. (I wish I had taken a picture of Allison, because she has the most beautiful complexion. She glows, only without all that pesky pregnancy stuff). Had the french dip and about 5 pounds of fries. This trip is going to make me fat.

12:20pm- Seester and Allison go back to work and I am on my own. Study my set of written directions so I don't get lost and wander aimlessly around the city until Seester gets off work and can rescue me. (How embarrassing would that be?!?) First stop is the Smith's Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier. I manage to make it without getting lost once.
1:10pm- Am walking down Navy Pier to get to the museum entrance. This place is like a ghost town! I'm the only person here! Very quiet and Twilight Zone-y. I could be the last person on Earth (Start humming Twilight Zone theme song).
1:42pm- Wandered through 150 stained glass exhibits. Such pretty colors! Have decided to live here in the museum and be forever surrounded by glowing windows and the spirit of Mr. Tiffany.
2:03pm- Time to leave the stained glass behind (tear). Have figured out why pier was so empty earlier...all the smart people are walking around inside the building. Wish I had thought of that.

2:04pm- Trying to get to a bus stop, but am confused by my own directions. Break down and buy pocket map from quickie mart.

2:08pm- Realize that I am not going to make it to the bus stop in time for bus. Decide to hoof it directly to train station instead. This means more walking in the cold, but I'm happy with that because it means foregoing the bus. (I seem to have an irrational fear of transit buses. I suspect that they are full of crazy people. No idea why. I said it was irrational, didn't I?)

2:12pm- Snowing. Humph. Not enough to be cold and windy...has to drop bits of frozen water on you too. Why can't Seester live in Miami?

2:28pm- Walking to subway pickup. On the way, I spot Trump Towers rising up through the clouds. Seester's apartment is close to Trump, so seeing it always orients me. Tiny personal happy dance for not getting myself lost.

3:00pm- Hit El station. Found the right platform, the right train, going the right way. I rock!

3:05pm- Successful dismount of train at Roosevelt. Am feeling pretty good about this whole mass transit thing.

3:06pm- Spoke too soon. Become momentarily stymied as to how to exit the train station. Can only find up escalators. Wait for next train to arrive so that I can secretly follow people down to street level.

3:09pm- Pause to take picture of sculptures around Museum Campus Park.
3:10pm- Pause to take pictures of frozen me around Museum Campus Park. Neat city background though.
3:12pm- Pass giant metal sculpture in front of Field Museum. Entitled Big Beaver Totem Poll. Snicker because I am secretly eight year old boy.

3:17pm- Arrive at Shedd Aquarium. It's free admission day! Woot!

Picture of random fish.


Picture of random ray.
Bad ill-defined picture of giant sea-turtle (see large blobby thing up at the surface).3:58pm- Scuba Diver is in one of the big tanks to do some cleaning. Little girl (4 maybe?) yells, "Look Mommy! A mermaid!" Close, kid. Need to review your Disney movies a few more times though.

4:04pm- Witness 2 map turtles staging WWF Smackdown on a log. Loser turtle gets knocked off into the water below. Winning turtle raises fists (claws?) and sings We Are the Champions. Also see baby beluga whale (huge!), swimming sea otters (adorable), and a lungfish (which happens to be the oldest living captivity animal in the world. He arrived to the aquarium in 1933). Neglected to take pictures of ANY of this. Instead, I took a captivating 10 second video of...two ducks. (Because where else can you possibly see ducks? Other than EVERYWHERE, I mean.) To be fair, they were cute ducks who swam right up to where I was sitting beside the glass. Not exactly award-winning material, but feel free to watch anyway. (If you listen closely, you can hear me going, "Hello ducks! Hello ducks!")

video

5:00pm- Shedd Aquarium closes. Security finds my hiding spot in the Amazon River room and chases me out. Upon exiting the building, I discover a raging blizzard outside. Wind is blowing 400mph and snow is everywhere! (Note: Snow propelled at your face at 400mph hurts!) Wind/snow combo is so bad that I cannot read the street signs. Even native Chicagoans are complaining. Completely disoriented. Eyes are watering and makeup is running everywhere. Resemble member of Kiss. Right about the time I decide to give up and just wait until someone finds me in the spring thaw, I stumble across the train station. Take train back to Seester's office where we meet up to go home. (Storm is not as bad away from the lake. Seester thinks I am just exaggerating when I claim to have barely escaped with my life).

7:15pm- Seester and I meet up with buddy Zach for dinner. I had (insert fancy sounding name here) that basically ended up being shrimp and cheese on fancy crackers. Still, very tasty. We split a chocolate mousse truffle cake for dessert. Zach is certifiably insane. I like him. Kinda reminds me of me.

9:30pm- Zach decides that he wants an after-dinner cocktail. He drags us through the freezing cold for several blocks until he finds the place he is looking for.

9:31pm- Cocktail place is closed on Mondays.

9:33pm- End up at bar next door. Zach has a brandy. Seester has wine. I have water. Seester gets overly theatrical and sloshes wine on me while gesturing. (Ironic that I am the only one drinking water yet end up smelling of alcohol for the rest of the night). Waitress treats us to full cleavage shot while bending over table. We make witty (read: snarky) remarks about fellow bar patrons.

10:30pm- Zach and Seester have to work in the morning (suckers!) so they call it a night. I map out tomorrow's museum adventures. Weather guy calls for even more snow and colder temps. I may not survive this vacation.