Ok, so the trip to Chicago was a complete success and I didn't get killed on the way up or the way back! Woot! We left at noon from Indianapolis and managed to get stuck in the middle of the rush hour. Which sucked. And I kept wanting (and sometimes actually going for it) to get off the interstate and take my chances on the streets of Chicago. I made Duchess nervous. Anyway, the trip home took and hour and a half less time than the trip up and I even took Lake Shore Drive! Go me! And the toll road wasn't scary. I'm not saying that its a trip that I'd do everyday, but it was fun.
So, dropped off Duchie and made the easy trip to j00j's house where I got to meet Robbie! The exciting greyhound! Who I should have taken a photo of! But he is soft and huge and very sweet and it was exciting to finally meet him. And j00j's family is very cool. Her brother was someone I hadn't met, but he has very good taste in DVDs. He also enjoys British shows and has Yes, Prime Minister (which I do not). Evanston is not as snooty as Summit, NJ (home of Diana, the college roommate), but way cuter and more trendy. And right on the lake! I really enjoyed wandering around the downtown, which is within a very easy walking distance of j00j's house.
On Saturday we went downtown to the Art Institute, where I had never been before. I really liked its accessibility and I'm going to give them mad props for their huge impressionist collection. (One of the most famous is the Sunday in the Park with George painting and they had a whole room of Monets.) Sadly, I feel like I've moved on from just needing to see Impressionists (unlike two years ago when I dragged Diana to the Met) and their collection of older European art wasn't "sock blowing." They did have lots of El Greco work (with their amazing neon colors, but no "anti-Spock" hands") and a few of the sort of Caravaggio-ish paintings with the amazing and dramatic light, which I really love. Ooooh, and some great portraits. I didn't used to like portraits, but now I've come to realize how amazing they can be if done well. The Art Institute also had several sketches for larger paintings, which are always fascinating. Anyway, the long and short of this blathering paragraphs is that we had a really great time! That evening we met up with Duchess and her boyfriend to have dinner in Evanston and hear about their adventures at the Taste of Chicago, which was in the park right next to the Art Institute (I had also wanted to go see the new Gehry bandstand, but there was no way that we were fighting those crowds.)
Sunday we went to the Baha'i House of Worship, the North American incarnation of the Baha'i houses that are scattered around the world. This is a pretty amazing building, decorating inside and out with elaborate carving that is at one time Persian and Celtic and incorporates both Baha'i motifs and symbols from the other major world religions. When you see it, it's no wonder that it took nearly 50 years to build. We sat upstairs for awhile to read a prayer for Jules before she leaves for Niger (only the secondmost unliveable country in the world!) and I wanted to center, as well. (I miss my Quakers!) There were so many visitors, too, which suprised me. We went downstairs later and joined a tour, which turned out to be "An Introduction to Baha'is 101." We wandered the gardens a bit afterwards, too. And took pictures for our Jules. Here are a few and the rest are at the other link:
Afterwards we went to the camping store in downtown Evanston and I ended up buying a pack. It wasn't the one that I originally thought I'd get, but that one didn't fit me all that well. I'm pleased to have the whole bag buying thing out of the way! Came home, crashed in bed and didn't wake up until after I should have already been at work...a great way to start the week.