Friday, September 4, 2015

D . . . LISH!

We were told this was a must be in Chicago.  It wasn't high on Mike and I's list at first, but once we went there, we knew we should have went sooner.  What a treat to snack on!  We even went back for more of the goods to bring some home.

Peecan clusters are sentimental to us; so when we were given the choice of pecan, cashew or almond, you know what we picked.  Peecan - always and forever - Glen.

We were entertained too much too late.  When the realization came that it might be too late to get an ice cream, we were in a panic!  Luckily, we were guided to our Savior - Potbelly's.  Peeking through the window of the sandwich shop, we saw THICK SHAKES. "Let's Go in!"

Potbelly's Oreo shake; even better than Cheesecake Factory because of the thickness.

Mike even left the hotel Wednesday night, our last night in Chicago, got on the subway and headed to Potbelly's.  When I got out of the shower, there he was back with a big THICK milkshake. He's so good to me.  We shared it and it was soooo delish! We both wished we had another one.  Thank you so much Mike. Midnight snacks are always so good.


For St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, they color the river green - it's been a tradition now for 40 years.  What you might not know, that we learned in Chicago, was this river use to be green every day filled with sewage.  Yes, it was so disgusting that contractors building the buildings along the river would shun it by not putting any windows on that side.  They would rather have their view looking at the parking lot on the other side of the river.

Chicago has now really made the river into a scene of beauty; one of the main attractions in the city.

"Put on your walking shoes."  Mike's bought us each a pair of Hoka shoes a month or so ago.  They are unique with their maximal cushioned midsole that offers superior protection, comfort and propulsion.  They give you "Giddy UP!  After Monday, we wore these continuously.  You know how Mike likes to walk the city.  I started our trip at 133.8 and returned home at 133.4.  Thanks to Mikey.

The riverwalk doesn't extend the whole length of the river; they have just put it in the last several years and are in construction extending 9 blocks longer.  It's a fun place to be in the evenings.
Mirrors under the bridge.
This is a unique looking building in the day and in the night.  Mike called it the Dolly Parton building and then laughed, but we later found out they nicknamed it the "Corn on the Cob" with all its opened up spaces.  Looks like the kernels have been chewed off leaving the cob empty.

A Batman moon in Chicago - romantic or scary?

And then back to the hotel.  We are having a good time here.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


My first experience with famous art was in the basement of my Aunt Marsha's house. I loved playing with my cousins Allison and Megan.  They lived just through the block from me. Their mom was easy going and all the kids played in the house; mostly in the basement.  Aunt Marsha baked whole wheat bread and sat it out on the kitchen counter with a big brick of cheese for us to serve ourselves; oh it was yummy.

Aunt Marsha baked cookies and hid them in her freezer, but we always found the key.  Aunt Marsha bought big building blocks that we played with for hours. I was determined I was going to find some of the same type for my children.  I did and I'm saving them now for my grandchildren.  I hope technology hasn't taken over by then and children are still play with material things.

Aunt Marsha purchased the game "Masterpiece."  It was soooo fun and exciting to bid on these famous artworks and win the game. We played Masterpiece more than Monopoly.  Aunt Marsha even let us paint on the basement wall. We had it all graffitied up; it was our artwork. I loved her house.

I then went on to college and had to take Art Appreciation for my Fine Arts minor.  I loved learning about the artists, their personal lives and all of their individual techniques and styles.  I only wished I had some of that talent in me.

The Art Institute was opened from 10 to 5 on Monday.  We were there 6.5 hours of it and wished we could have stayed longer.  That lady we met the last hour needed to be in charge.  She knew right where to direct us. We didn't get to see a lot of it because we lacked direction. We told her she should have been the one that sold us our tickets and then lined us out.  We wandered way too much.

There were sections to the Art Institute, many different floors and rooms, almost a million square feet to explore.  It is a quiet place; just whispering, with an usher dressed in black in every room. Mike noticed a machine in the corner of many rooms.  We thought it looked liked a seismic wave machine and had questions about it, but then finally asked.  It was a machine to gauge the humidity in the rooms to preserve the artwork. There are security cameras everywhere.

Even though we missed out on somethings like Jackson Pollock- throwing his paint out on the canvas, we sure got an education out of it.  I could crash this blog with the pictures I took, so I'm just going to show some of the most famous ones.

5000 years old this statue dates. Mike and I were really thinking back on dates.  BC - AC.  Life has been around for a long time. They are not quite sure what these statues are; maybe some type of idols or toys for children. They have found many of these in Italy and Greece.

A lot of artifacts about Greece and Greek Mythology were displayed. This is Hercules and Mike; just look at those muscles and strength.

 We rented telephones to hear the stories about the artwork.  A great addition to the museum.
Russian Marc Chagall's American Windows. Tells the story of how wonderful America is with all its freedoms and opportunities.
Have you seen this couple before?  Almost everyone has or other people pretending to be these two.  Grant Wood's American Gothic.  Everything is stretched out on this canvas.  Notice the long Gothic window and the tall, stretched out people with their long necks.

This is probably my favorite.  I'm going to buy this picture to put in the bonus room; laundry room, sewing room, of our new home.  I have it all visualized just how I want it displayed in the house.

Notice the two icons at the bottom of the information of the picture.  The one with the animal paw is the children's version; the one I listened to first.  That story was so much more fun; maybe because I'm still childlike myself.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. America's most recognized painting of all times. Story of loneliness and no outside connections  Notice the man at the bar all alone late at night.  Even the couple that is together is not looking at each other or conversing.  There's no door to get out.  Interesting that this sadness would be so popular.  This piece of art was in Aunt Marsha's game Masterpiece as well as a few more that I warmly recognized.

Claude Monet's On the Banks of the Seine.  I took this one to document our kayaking trip here in Chicago.  I didn't get any pictures of me and Mike together on our kayak, so here we are.

Vincent Van Gogh's Self Portrait.  I was always interested and disturbed with him.  Who was he really?
 Van Gogh's bedroom

Big brush strokes with lots of paint was his style.

Van Gogh - Chicago's pretty fortunate to have his work. I wonder what museum has Van Gogh's Starry Night?

Pablo Picasso said of Paul Cezanne, "My one and only father.  The master of us all."  Here's Cezanne's autograph.

 The Basket of Apples
Curtains, Pitcher and a Fruit Bowl.
Paul Cezanne was a very introvert person who hardly ever came out in public.  He chose his wife to be his model in a lot of his paintings because he could then be at home and out of the public sight.

 Pablo Picasso - I'm mad at him.

Both of these painting with Mike are Picasso's.  Notice that he had a few different painting techniques.  Usually you will find an artist sticking to one design, but Pablo did different styles of artwork.

Picasso stepped out on his wife and painted about it here; that's why I'm mad at him. Notice the two women's faces on this painting; representing the double life he was living.  This picture is directly across the room lined up with Picasso's painting of Mother and Child. Painting something as sacred as a Mother and a Child, and then in contrast painting betrayal, doesn't make sense to me.

Picasso's Head of Man with a Bad Eye.

Picasso's Old Guitarist
Henri Matisse

 Edward Degas and his Ballerinas.
  Marc Chagall again

Winslow Homer's The Herring Net.  I thought this one was fitting for Michael - fishing.  Why do you suppose the young boy is sitting on the other side of the boat while the older man is doing all the work?  The young boy is keeping the boat balanced in the rough waters so the older man can gather in the fish; teamwork.

Sidenote:  Backpacks had to be worn in the front on the chest.  Selfie sticks - not allowed out.

Georges Seurat A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.  Seurat first used small horizontal brush strokes and then later added small dots (Pointillism) that appear as solid and luminous when seen from a distance. This artwork took 3 years to complete.  This picture was the main attraction in the art gallery. I've always been drawn to this one too.  It's so fun to look at and imagine being there.  Which person would I be?  The small carefree child running around. I want to be young again.

The ones remaining are some Mike and I just liked.  "They are sure to be famous themselves or they wouldn't be here," Mike states. This is the massive Red Tower almost coming out of the canvas.  A hope to see landmark . . . some day.

Mike liked this one for some reason.  He liked how the chicken was painted with so much depth to it. The skinned bird looked like it was jumping off the canvas.  I think it just reminded him of his youth when he use to go to the farm and get dinner. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Ivan Albright's picture of Dorian Gray.  A story of a beautiful young man that never grows old, but his portrait ages and decays radical.  I'm feeling like that now.  I'm aging and in my mind I still feel like I could be 28.
This was the last of our tour before we got told the museum is closing.  This car was in an accident and a person was even killed in it.  How sad.  The artist took the car apart piece by piece and cast it and then put it back together.  It was amazing looking inside at the carpet and the radio knobs, they looked soo real; we wanted to touch it.  I don't think I would want to remember this piece of art, but I know we will.

On our telephone recorders we also learned of the generosity of philanthropy; the love of humanity in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing "what it is like to be human" on both the benefactors' and beneficiaries' parts.  The benefactors at the Art Institute of Chicago surely have enriched our lives.  We have gained a better understand and appreciation of God, of our earth and of one another by attending this art museum today.

Life has really changed like I have been alluding to these days.  As you can tell by this post, Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed our day at the Chicago Art Institute.  Only a few years ago, we would have spent every day of our vacation at a ball field watching ball games.  Now we are enjoying some of the other finer things in life . . . art, architecture and each other.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


French Rivera?  Yes, some day.  Destination today . . . The Art Institute.
We woke up Monday morning and headed out.  Michigan is the main street in Chicago.  It's also called the Magnificent Mile because almost everything is located here on this street.

Millennium Park where people in the city like to congregate, relax and enjoy each other amongst the busy life of the city.

What's this? A mirrored ball shaped like a bean.
 Another form of artwork here.

Mike and I joined in with everyone else and took pictures. It's one of the main attractions in the park.

We must be getting closer . . . to the museum.  Here's a nice sculpture; a 39 foot tall head has sprouted out of the ground at Millennium Park and will be displayed until December, 2015.
While walking up the ramp to the art institute building, Mike looked down, "Look here, honey bees."  How fascinating God made this world to be.  1/3 of all the food intake is pollinated by insects.  "Stop Mike, I need to say a prayer of gratitude and praise."  Just think of all the things Heavenly Father planned out in this world for us to live here on earth. So blessed we are.

and here we are . . . Paris?  Feels like it . . . The Art Institute of Chicago where it features a collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist art in its permanent collection. Totally French.

"Get the tickets, Let's Go and get started!"