Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yes I FINALLY made it here.  I am typing this on my hide-a-bed at my airbnb "home".  Chris and Carolina, my hosts picked me up at the bus depot which was really sweet of them. 

I am sad tonight though as late this afternoon I learned of the passing of my Uncle Tony yesterday.  He was 92 and had had a wonderful life but it is still sad to know I will never see him again.  That is selfish I know.  He is out of pain and that is the main thing.  He was a sweetheart and a true English gentleman.  Very quiet and reserved and so intelligent...he was a very lovely man.  And boy will I miss him. 

This morning after a breakfast at the hotel I went to the Kentucky history musuem which was so good.  Really enjoyed it.  They also had an exhibition on the civil war and how families were torn apart as some were union supporters and others confederate.  Kentucky is on the border of being midwest and southern.  It is more southern than midwest  - trust me the accents are!  The fellow at the front desk was a hoot.  I really enjoyed the people in Kentucky - so friendly.  A young fellow was playing with his dog on the grounds of the Old State Capital and I was taking pictures and he asked me where I was from - he knew Saskatchewan was in the west.  I am impressed - more than most I have talked to here!!! 

I had a pulled pork sandwich for lunch at Melanie's as well as some cold sweet tea.  I walked around a bit and then back to the hotel.  I decided to take the bus and had phoned for instructions.  Well let's just say I got the instructions wrong and no bus came to where I was waiting.  Went back to the hotel in a bit of a state needless to say - to make a long sordid story short they had not cancelled my taxi for 3:30 so got that to the Walmart.  In the meantime I phoned the transit company back and asked again where it was - well then I figured it out.  She had said a shelter and I said like a pavillion and she said yes so I wandered over to a pavillion that had benches and places for vehicles to pull up.  WRONG.  Anyway all is well that ends well but I didn't think I was ever going to get out of Kentucky! 

I went into Walmart and being as the Customer Service line was long (I was going to see if they would store my luggage)  I decided to start wandering around with my luggage until security stopped me.  No one took a second was amazing.  Anyway got a few little things I had wanted to get with no one even batting an eye as I went through the check out with my luggage.  But's Walmart.

The bus arrived on time and he accepted my day over due bus ticket.  It was a good one hour ride and I had a whole seat to myself as the bus was nearly empty.  I am glad I went to Frankfort when I did as who knows how long the bus will run there.

Arrived into Louisville and had to pay ten dollars to change my ticket - cash no less - could not use credit.  Weird.   Oh well - my last Greyhound trip this time around.  It's Megabus/Amtrak from now on so we shall see what that brings.

I found out in Louisville that my uncle had passed so was a bit out of sorts there.  The bus left on time and got into Indianapolis early.  Chris texted me that they would pick me up which was so kind.  I really hate taking taxis at night in strange cities - I always feel I am going to get ripped off. 

They are a friendly couple and have a cat named Maks. 

I am in the living room but have privacy.  I hope I sleep well as have a big day of sightseeing and walking tomorrow.

Good Morning from is this Groundhog day!

Well this should have been Good Morning from Indianapolis but oh well... Anyway I just phoned Miller Trailways which does the Frankfort to Louisville portion and the fellow told me I can use the same ticket on both portions of the trip.  So that's good news...if it's true.  Can you tell I am cynical? I can see Miller trailways accepting it but Greyhound is a different story. 

I also have to double check the times for the local bus - I will probably be hanging out way too long outside the Walmart Super Centre but oh well.  Rather be there early than a repeat of yesterday.  The rain is due to stop around 3 p.m.....

I emailed my host in Columbus about my reservation for the weekend and if I get off at the university I can get a free university residence bus that stops a block from their house - works for me!!!  I hate taking taxis.  I am excited to try Megabus. 

No reminders of my glass of bourbon last night so that's good. :)  I slept very well thank you!!!

I guess next up is a shower, breakfast downstairs, store my luggage and off to the Kentucky history centre. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bourbon calms!!!

I went down to the bar and ordered a bourbon on ice which is the recommended way.  The bartender told me I could take it up to my room (did he see the desparate look in my eyes and he didn't want a brawl in the bar?) up I came.  Bourbon on it's own?  Not so good.  So I went down to the vending  machine and got a coke and it's going down very nicely thank you.  Another thing to go on my "60 new things" list...

I am trying to look at the positive but man oh man Thursday in Indianapolis I will need roller skates to do everything I want to do....hopefully the walk goes by some of the places.  I do want to visit the history museum there as well.  I love learning more about the places I visit. 

One week from today is the election.  I am getting way too involved.  Guess what side I am on?  Let's ee...I believe in freedom of choice, planned parenthood, affordable healthcare, hate religion being involved with politics.  (I hate religion period but that's another post), am pro marriage for everyone no matter what your sexual orientation...well I could go on.

Anyway here are some pictures from my wanderings around Frankfort - I will try to label but for some reason the labelling feature on blogger does not show up on my netbook.  No clue why....


SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!!  AND DOUBLE SHIT!!!  And no apologies for my language either.  I MISSED MY BUS!!!   My taxi was late - well it never showed up.  I asked the gal at the desk today when I should order my taxi and she said 4 p.m. as it "only takes a minute".  I ordered it at 3:45 and it still hadn't shown up at 4:25 - my bus left at 4:30!!!   I figured even with a five minute drive or so I would still probably miss it and have the cost of a taxi there and back. The gal at the desk (a different one) kept phoning for me and was so sweet about it.  She kept apologizing - I said it's not your fault.  I would have taken the bus except for the rain.  So now I am stuck in Kentucky another night!!!  There is no bus until the same time tomorrow.  Sure I could bus it to Louisville tomorrow morning but there are no lockers at the bus depot in Lousville so I would be trapped there all day. 

And get this...turns out I should have booked the taxi last night.  There are two taxi companies here and both are owned by the same people and they only have a few cars.  I booked my taxi for 3:30 tomorrow but if it's not raining I will take the damn bus for 25 cents. (and if I was being a real bitch I wouldn't cancel - but I'm not so I will)  Cost saving measures are in order.  Me, the anal control freak when it comes to being on time and I have never missed a bus, train, etc. in my life until now.  I am totally freaking out about this - in case you couldn't tell!!!  I trusted someone's advice (you would think a hotel desk clerk would know these things) and it has cost me dearly.

So here I am back at the hotel - she gave it to me for the cheapest rate and am in a different part of the hotel (same floor) with a view of the state capital, etc.  Make lemons out of lemonade Laurie you can see the Kentucky museum and if the damn rain stops walk down and tour the bourbon distillery.  There is some event on tonight I remember thinking I would miss so will look that up.  But only a day in Indianapolis so upset over that. I am not sure I can complete an 11 km walk in one day with my foot and there are other things I wanted to do.  It will be a very busy day.  Luckily my bus does not leave until 1 p.m. on Friday so have the morning to do something. 

I phoned Chris, my airbnb host in Indianapolis and he was so understanding and sweet over it and is going to try and get me a partial refund for tonight. 

I could have taken a taxi to Louisville (where I change taxis) for $120 but no damn way would I give that company that much money.  Plus I now have to buy a new bus ticket as mine was only good for yesterday.  Will see if I can change it......oh goodie a chance to talk to the morons at Greyhound...

I think I need a shot of that Kentucky bourbon to calm me down. 

A belly full of pies

Yes my belly is full. I am here I am at the Frankfort public library.  I just came from Rick's WhiteLight Diner which was fun. This place was featured on Diners and Dives on the Food Network.  I had crawfish pie with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. Something different for sure- cajun and not Kentuckian but that is okay. It was different but good....something new to try and put on my "60 new things" list.  There really was not much to it so I had Kentucky bourbon pie for dessert - caramel and pecans infused with Buffalo Trace bourbon with cream on top.Delish.  That is my meal for the day to be sure. (Dena:  pictures to follow!)

This morning I stopped for coffee and a tiny ham biscuit at the same coffee shop as yesterday.  I love it. Then I explored the Frankfort museum which was excellent. For those who care Johnny Depp lived here from age 3 to 10.  "Dreamer" was filmed here. 

It is drizzling out and very chilly.  The space bar on this keyboard is very difficult to push down so it is taking me a long time to do this post.

Next up is a look in the shops again and then back to the hotel to get my luggage. My bus does not leave until 4:30.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hi y'all from Kentucky

Well I survived the over night bus trip - actually the bus trip itself was fine.  I dozed off a bit and we moved ahead an hour to eastern time which helped.  I had a three hour layover in Louisville but could not go out for breakfast nor do a short walk as I had planned as no lockers for my luggage and it was pitch dark when we arrived.  I did not want to be wandering around with all my luggage in an area I didn't know.  So I had breakfast at the bus depot which was okay but it was a long wait.  An hour bus ride and I was here in Frankfort.  My longest bus trip this time around is over. 

The bus stopped at Walmart at the same place as the local bus and how lucky is this - right before the once an hour local bus was due.  So for 25 cents (yes, I nearly fainted too)  I got dropped a block away from the hotel!  The hotel I am in is very nice - well nice for my standards.:)  It has a king sized bed  and I have a lovely view of the river and park.  Unfortunately the weather is not good...but better than the east coast.  According to the news this area is being affected by Sandy too.  It is very cold and windy and showered on and off. (mainly off)  Tomorrow it will rain so I have chosen in door things to do.

Today I did the 6 km walk and explored the State capital.  Frankfort is a nice little city with beautiful old buildings and lots of history.  Sadly the history musuem is closed today and tomorrow - I was really disappointed as I was looking forward to visiting it tomorrow.  Anyway the walk was interesting.  I opted to do the shorter route as the longer one took in the cemetery - not really my thing although it would have been neat to have seen Daniel Boone's grave.  If it had been sunny tomorrow I would go but it won't foot is bugging me again and the left one seems to be joining in with sympathy and let's not talk about my knees.  I know it's the change of weather. 

When I started out with the walk I saw The Meeting House which my friend Eilleen told me about.  I didn't have time to tour it (it's a B & B) but I did have a quick lunch there.  I had what's called a Kentucky Hot Brown which was toasted bread covered with ham, turkey, tomato and bacon and slathered in a multi cheese sauce.  Heart attack on a plate as the gal called it and I hesitated but I wanted something typical of this area.  So I ordered it and it was good but wont' be doing that again for a while!!! 

The state capital was interesting and as I checked in the girl asked where I was from and when I said where she said "I want to visit Saskatchewan".  Turns out she's a "Corner Gas Fan"!!!  

Just a little trivia...the name Kentucky comes from the Iroquoian Indian word Kentake which means "meadow land".  The building above was built in 1910. 

When I got back to town I was chilled so went to a local coffee shop (no chains for me if I can help it) called Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe and ordered a "Dirty Chai Latte" - which is a Chai Latte with espresso.  Oh yes!!! :)    I looked in a few shops; a book store and a beautiful shop that sold nothing but things made in Kentucky.  I got a Xmas pressie there but nothing for me....I may go back though if I have time. :) 

Back here and I have the heater going full blast.  A hot bath is up next and then down to the restaurant for dinner about 6:30.  I get 10% off from staying here and it's one of the best restaurants in town - I am going to have shrimp and grits!!!  With bourbon sauce!!!   And a glass of wine...:)  Then collapse in my honkin' big bed and have a good long sleep....she says hopefully!!! 

The people here are great.  So friendly.  All asking where I am from as it's not common for people to be wandering around Frankfort with a camera in late October. 

I hope to visit the Frankfort city museum tomorrow and perhaps do a Bourbon distillery tour (hick) and visit Rick's Hot White cafe for a late lunch - if I can fit it all in!!!! 

My bus tomorrow leaves at 4 p.m. but I will be taking a taxi out there this time if it's still raining.  Then tomorrow evening is Indianapolis for three nights. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hallowe'en party at Wicker Park

I couldn't decide what to do today but decided I wanted to do something a bit different. I found a self guided walking tour of Wicker Park (a neighbourhood in Chicago) on So off I went on the bus and "l" train - luckily it was on the blue line which is the line from this area.   I started off on the walk and first stop was Wicker Park (the local park)  - lots of activity!!  It turns out they were having a Hallowe'en party complete with costume parade for kiddies and an hour later one for dogs!!  Well you know which one I preferred!  The kids one was fun too though - the kids were in costumes which made them cute and I didn't have to interact with them, just take photos - even better.

In between the two "parades" (which consisted of walking around the fountain a couple of times) I walked around the area and saw some fabulous mansions.  This area was settled by European immigrants - wealthy ones built homes here as they were not welcome along the Anglo Saxon enclave of the Gold Coast. (snobs!) 

The "scary" doggie parade was so much fun. 

After that I had lunch at a vegan place called Native - I had an Italian "meatball" sandwich made from seitan with sweet potato fries and a watermelon drink.  All delicious!!! 

I then looked around the shops - I really like this neighbourhood.  Very funky!!!  And guess who I saw?  Elvis!!!  I just saw the jumpsuit and freaked and asked if I could take a photo and they said "wait we'll put on his wig".  He doesn't like walking with his wig on!!!

Took the "l" back to Irving Park Road and popped into the library for a few minutes then back here - Casper's mom is back.  We caught up on all the news and had a spaghetti supper.  A relaxing evening after a wonderful fun filled day. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

A shopoholic hits the shops - NOT

Well this morning I had a later start being as I was tired and could not decide what I wanted to do.   All I knew was that I wanted to have breakfast out and beyond that...In the end I went to the Burgundy Restaurant which is about six blocks away and had french toast with bacon and sausage.  Yum.  From there I took the bus down to the HIP which stands for the Harlem-Irving Plaza.  Yes I went shopping.  I had hopes of getting a new cardigan or hoody but nothing jumped out and said buy me.  At first I saw a lot of things I wanted but then realized are you really worth dragging home.  There was a Bath and Body Works which was a total surprise and can you believe I walked in and walked out empty handed.  Only because I know I will be going to one in St. Louis and then again in Vancouver.  I checked out all the new scents so I can swoop in and get what I want when the time is right.  I don't want to be dragging that stuff around with me for the next two weeks. (and yippee next Spring there will be one in Regina so I can buy to my heart's content!!!)  So I came back with an 8 gig memory stick and that was it.  

Casper went totally ballistic when I came home - the whole neighbourhood must have heard him. 

Don't think he is too impressed with me right now as my suitcase is on the bed as tonight is laundry night and getting my things (and the rest of the house!) in order.  My petsitting duties officially end tomorrow afternoon when Casper's mommy comes home. Then Sunday night I am on the road again.  NOT looking forward to the overnight trip but it can't be helped.  The choice was that or stay in Indianapolis and catch a 5 a.m. bus - don't even want to think what time I would have to get up....Frankfort, Kentucky has limited transportation options so I want to go there while public transit is still an option....

I have been playing around with programming my DVTR online - man I love that feature.  I had never activated it until this trip and boy do I love it especially with all the figure skating going on.

So not the most exciting day of the trip but that's okay - I needed a rest day.  Still two weeks and three days to go!!! 

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Screech screech!!! Aaaaooooooooooooooo!!!!

Just back from the Haunted House and it was fun.  Dru drove us over to St. Pascal's school and luckily we got there early - they were having a reduced price tonight of $5 so it was going to be crowded.  We had to wait about 45 minutes before we actually got in but they kept moving us around to different places so it didn' get boring.  The Haunted House was in the basement of the school...a very old school....

Then it began....I let Dru lead as I am a chicken at heart and she had helped build the set years back so knew the set up - sort of.  All sorts of creatures of the night (as well as some scary clowns)  jumping out but of course she was the first one so got most of it. :)  However we had to duck down and walk under some pipes for a while and then walk through the middle of this sponge thing which was bizarre. What freaked me out was the total darkness at times - obviously I am a scaredy cat of the dark!!!  I know I am claustrophobic and I did feel everything closing in on me.  At one point I was in the lead and it was hard to know where to go.  Dru commented it was darker than it's been other years.   If I was a little kid I would have been screaming my head off I am sure - I think the kids behind me were braver than I would have been.   Or maybe my screaming was drowning theirs out - ha ha.  I wasn't quite that bad although a little bit of my "roller coaster language" was used especially when the guy with the chain saw jumped out at me at the end. 

Anyway great fun!!!  They did a really good job and no wonder they are rated one of the top Haunted Houses in Chicago.   I am so glad I went.  It is pouring out there now so I am glad we went when we did - no more walkies for Mr. Casper today but he shouldn't complain as he's had two.

 And here is a picture of me and my new boyfriend..rather handsome don't you think?

Beautiful Oak Park

Well this morning I headed over to Oak Park to do the 5 km walk.  The sun was shining, it was warm...despite a strong wind that brought the clouds in earlier than predicted. was a lovely walk.  I think I was more impressed with the beautiful old Victorian houses decorated for Hallowe'en than the Prairie style houses of Frank Lloyd Wright although they were interesting.  It is a lovely area but of course you need major bucks to live in those huge houses.  I'd rather live simply and travel thank you!!! 

Afterwards I stopped off at Whole Foods market and got some fresh squash soup and fresh fruit.  A simple supper tonight of soup and a baguette with cut up cheddar cheese.  And fruit for dessert!!!  Delicious!

I had lunch at Delia's which had been recommended by the tourism office...sad to say I was not impressed and I will leave it at that.  I hate when I waste my money on food I don't enjoy that much.  I picked up a couple of little goodies at Whole Foods so will heat those up for my supper tomorrow night. 

Storm clouds are rolling in so it will add ambiance to the Haunted house tonight!!! 

Meanwhile here are some photos taken on my walk.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A busy day

What a full day!!!  After breakfast and walkies I headed out - bus and train as usual. While I was waiting for the bus a 30ish fellow said to me "you look just like my aunt".  I thought "huh"?  And then I realized I have a niece who is turning 40 next month and then thought "okay".  It's always a shock to think I am 60 years old as inside I feel like I am in my 20's.  My parents used to tell me that and I would think "yeah right - you're OLD" but it's so true!!  Anyway...  I got off at the Monroe stop and walked over to the Crown fountain on Michigan Avenue.  I can't even begin to describe this Fountain - two screens with faces on that has water running down and once in a while they will "spit" out the water. (missed that this morning)  Really different.  This morning one screen was being cleaned.  

Usually there are children playing in the water but being early morning on a Wednesday it was very quiet - I was the only one wandering around the fountain area as half of it was blocked off. 

Next was Cloudgate - known locally as The Bean. I never get tired of this sculpture and apparently judging from the crowd around it neither does anyone else!!!  You could just keep photographing it from different angles.  I must mention here that I had my small point and shoot with me today as did not want to haul my DSLR with me to the play. 

After crossing the Chicago river I carried on along the part of Michigan Avenue known as the Magnificent Mile due to all the expensive stores. (Cartier to name one)    I then carried on to Lakeshore drive via a tunnel and walked along the lake for a bit.  Next up I walked through a bit of Lincoln Park and came across a Green market.  By this time (it was noon) I was very hungry so had a grilled cheese sandwich made with home baked bread and fresh cheese - delish.  I washed it down with fresh blueberry juice.  I just can't resist a market!!!  And it was so beautiful out why sit in a restaurant? 

The day was fantastic - about 80 degrees which was about 20 degrees above normal. 

I walked all the way to the Apollo theatre on North Lincoln Avenue.  I am so glad I had lunch in the park as there was nothing in the area that appealed to me.  Not even a coffee shop in sight!!!  There was supposed to be a scarecrow display along Clark Avenue but I didn't see anything.

I went into a cafe and had an iced coke - I was mighty thirsty and made myself presentable - I was pretty sweaty and wind blown after a three hour walk!!  I picked up my ticket which turned out to be front row on the side - I guess Goldstar is a really good place to get half price tix from so I was told.  I ordered a glass of wine which went down mighty fine.

The show, Million Dollar Quartet was absolutely fantastic.  Based on the night of December 4, 1956 when Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis were all together at Sun Records.  Obviously they took a bit of poetic license but the music was fantastic.  I was sitting right beside the piano and the actor who played Jerry Lee Lewis was wild!!!  It was lots of fun and we were all boogying at the end.  I am so glad I went.

Back here on the train and the bus and Casper was very very happy to see me!!!  Dru, the next door neighbour let him out for me which was really kind.  There is no way I could have stayed in town that long otherwise.  Both Dru and her husband were both shocked at how far I had walked!!!  Luckily my foot behaved itself pretty well. 

We had a chat over the fence about an hour ago and we are going to go to a Haunted House near here tomorrow evening.  Her kids used to go to the school.  So that will be fun. 

A wonderful day out!!! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A little bit of history

Today I went to the Chicago History Museum which was so interesting.  I really enjoyed it.  Everything from how it got it's name (French version of the Indian name "shikaakwa" meaning wild leek) to the neighbourhoods of today with everything in between. (the Chicago fire - NOT caused by Mrs. O'Leery's cow,  Al Capone and gang, the riots at the Democratic convention, etc.)  Even the bed that Abraham Lincoln died on !!!  (and I am a ghoul so had to take a picture)  At $14 the price was a bit steep but I really haven't spent much money since I've been here so I did not mind.   I got "peckish" while there as I did not have much of anything for breakfast so I had a goat cheese and pepper omelette with o'brien potatoes with peppers.  Very good even if I was burping up peppers for the rest of the afternoon.  I had read the cafe there is good and quite reasonable and it was both. 

I took the bus, the subway and the bus to get was kind of fun as got off the "l" train at Western which is an elevated track.  Like you see in ER. :)  I followed the same route home.  At Western Avenue there was a candy store so I popped in but my oh my it was like a flashback to the 50's.  Not much candy for sale at all - mainly collectibles and then a soda fountain where you could order sundaes, etc.  I must admit the Sundaes that went past me to the only customers there looked mighty good but was not in the mood for that so carried on. 

After I visited the musuem I walked through the south end of Lincoln Park stopping at the (free) zoo.  I got to see the 12 day old gorilla although it's mom had it pretty well hidden - you could see it's little head now and again but it was sleeping.  I didn't spend too long there although it was pleasant not to have the place filled with screaming children I must admit.  Saw a baby zebra bouncing around as well  it kept running around in circles in between it's parents.  I could almost see them rolling their eyes!!!  My foot was bothering me sadly so did not want to walk too far.  As I got to the bus stop the rain started and it was really hammering down when I got off the bus here.  One of those days with rain on and off. 

Tomorrow afternoon is the show and I hope to go into town in the morning and do a bit of wandering if the weather is good.  I will check the forecast and if it looks good I will phone the neighbour and see if they will let Casper out for me.  I do plan to treat myself to a nice lunch.   

Well looks like the rain has stopped so guess it's time for Casper's second walk of the day. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

When things don't quite work out as planned...

As indicated in my previous post I had high hopes for today....well here I sit just after 2 p.m.....

After Casper's walk I headed off to the bus stop and had just changed busses on Harlem for the trip south when it hit me "did I turn off the coffee maker".  Come on, we've all had that.  Except when you are living in someone else's house it becomes a bit more of a concern. (even if there is a fire hall across the street...)  So back and came and you can guess it...the coffee maker was off.   However I could not recall turning it off at all.  Sigh...

Anyway back I went - busses all came on time but as the bus headed south the sky darkened and just as I walked into the Oak Park Visitor Centre the whole place shook with thunder.  Hmm...anyway I signed in and got a map and a visitor guide decided to start out.  Needless to say I did not get far before the rain pelted down.  Now I don't mind walking in showers - in fact sometimes it can be quite pleasant - but not a downpour and certainly not with thunder and lightening.  The fact that I probably could have done most of the walk if I hadn't had that "did I turn it off" moment didn't escape me. 

Then I debated should I go for lunch or should I go to Trader Joe's which I had seen as I got off the bus.  Well Trader Joe's it was and I picked up a few things and with what Terry had here I can tell you my belly is full of lobster bisque (yum) and a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich.  That is what I was craving. 

Of course the rain stoppd on the way home however it is still dull and miserable out there.  My foot is bothering me so maybe it is a day to rest...AGAIN.  Today is laundry day and it's a good day to read, sip tea and watch movies.  Chicago is still there waiting for me and will be there for the next six days. 

I will definitely go back to Oak Park to do the walk - however I will do the 5 km walk as it covers the main areas of interest and I don't want to "overwork" my foot.  What I saw I loved - what a beautiful area. 

At the moment I am thinking of heading to the History Museum tomorrow as more showers are predicted.  I am so glad I had my beautiful walk by the lake yesterday. 

Hmmm....what will I do today?

I must admit I am loving this part of my trip.  Getting up each day and thinking "hmm...what will I do today"?  The rest of my trip is pretty well planned (WALK!) but my time in Chicago is on a day by day thing.  I am thinking today I will take the bus over to Oak Park and probably do the 5 km walk. My feet were pretty sore last night so want to give them a break today. Especially after recent events.  And I don't want to leave Casper for too long today either.  He was a really good boy yesterday while I was gone however.    I do want to see as much as possible as well so it's a tough call.  Oak Park is known for it's Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and a friend has done the walk and loved it.  I couldn't do it yesterday as the visitor centre is only open Monday to Friday. (which has changed since it was published on line)  So not sure on whether it will be a 5 or 10 k.  It is supposed to rain later today so want to get out there while the weather is good. 

I had thought of the Chicago History Museum as in some publications it says it is free on Mondays however it does not state this on it's website nor in current tourist brochures so I assume it's old news.  I thought I would go on Wednesday morning as it is in the same neck of the woods as the theatre I am going to that afternoon.  I will definitely get Terry's neighbour to let Casper out that day.

I notice there is a 5 km race for runners/walkers in Columbus on November 4th.  It is for the international festival which I didn't know existed but now that I do I will go.  The entrance fee includes a t-shirt and admission to the festival.  Hmmm....I will have to think on that one.  Maybe I will do another walk that day and just go to the festival....  I am definitely feeling regret on missing the Monster race though - or even just being there and taking photos as many of the competitors were in costume.  But it's mainly on missing out on that awesome medal...

As you can see I am busy planning even while talking about being free on a day by day basis.  What can I say? 

I read the Chicago Tribune every morning with my coffee in my jammies. (that's me wearing the jammies...not my coffee!)  I am loving living in a home and feeling like a native (albeit a temporary one) so will have to do more of this long distance petsitting.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beautiful day by the lake

What a fab day!  After breakfast I took Casper for a walk and then took off for downtown.  Just missed my bus so took the opportunity to get a bottle of water while waiting for the next one.  Once I got to Jefferson Park station luckily I didn't have to wait long for the subway to take me downtown.  As I was walking to the hostel to start the walk I saw a Garrett's popcorn store so popped in to buy some Chicago blend - caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn together in a bag.  Delish!  I had it last year and loved it.  I signed in for the 11 km Lake Front walk then headed off.  As I was crossing Michigan Avenue I kept seeing all these people with the coolest medals. (monster heads!)  Turns out there was a "monster dash" today.   It ws a 5, 7, 10 k and a half marathon.  I'd have loved to have done the 5 k anyway.  Oh well.   Anyway I walked over to the Field museum and Planetarium and started my walk north along Lake Michigan.  What a beautiful day!  Sunshine and in the mid 60's.  The views were amazing - Chicago really does have a beautiful skyline.  It blow me away every time I am here. 

Anyway I carried on walking - stopping every once in a while to dig into my bag of popcorn. :)  It was funny as I saw a girl taking a picture of the skyline with a stuffed mouse in the picture.  I remembered I had Monty the Greyhound with me and pulled him out and said to the girl here's mine!  Well she had to have Monty in the picture with her mouse.  Ha, ha.  Glad to know there are other nut cases around like me. 


I cannot believe how beautiful the weather was for the 21st of October - it was unseasonably warm according to the weather news here.  I was down to short sleeves and wishing I had worn my capri pants. (yes I brought a pair along!) The walk carries on by the Chicago Yacht club and on to Navy Pier.  All by gorgeous Lake Michigan.  Navy Pier is where I ended the walk as I knew I wanted to look around and explore. Poor Casper could only wait so long!!!  (as it is he lasted nearly 7 hours)  There was a petting zoo for the Hallowe'en festival so I had to stop and look at the animals of course.  I walked to the end of the pier and then on the way back I decided to go on the ferris wheel.  Being as it wasn't crowded I got to have a cart all to myself which was great.  The view was amazing!!!  I knew this was a good day to get be by the lake so I am so glad I did this.  Showers are called for the rest of the week. Before I left I had a loaded Chicago hot 

I finally located a subway station after asking a few people and transferred to the blue line and then had quite a long wait to get the bus back here.  Casper was very very happy to see me!!  We went for a 25 minute walk when I got home which he enjoyed immensely. 

A quiet evening coming up watching the third Harry Potter movie and cuddling Mr. Casper. 

I plan to do the rest of the walk another day and combine it with exploring the Gold Coast area as well. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hallowe'en decorations

One thing I have learned is that the U.S. goes a bit more overboard at Hallowe'en than we Canadians do.  Or I think they do...I must admit most of my life is lived downtown and not in the suburbs so who knows really.  On Casper's second walk today I took along my point and shoot and pointed and shot some of the following pictures.  Casper kept himself busy watering every tree.  I am sure I will see even more elaborate decorations as my wanderings take me around more of this city. 

It's just you and me kid!!

Well Casper's mommy is off to Florida.  I drove the car back from the metro station and its' safely parked in the garage.  (whew!)  I really don't like driving other people's cars.  Of course the traffic was nothing but I had to take my foot off the gas when I realized I was going almost 40 mph - NOT 40 km an hour!!!  One of those "oh shit" moments!!! 

Casper ate his breakfast and is happily having a nap.  After I have my breakfast it's walkies time!  Today is Casper day and I am staying in with him to spoil him and get him adjusted to life with just me. 

Last night we went out for stuffed spinach pizza which was really good.  There is one piece left over which will be lunch and then left over ribs for supper.  So a pretty lazy day for today I'd say except for walkies with Casper.  Reading, surfing the 'net and watching movies.  Probably my last restful day of the trip and then my inner tourist takes over and I will start exploring tomorrow.

Yesterday I got a half price ticket to see Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo theatre.  It is the story of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash getting together for one evening in the mid 50's.  It is supposed to be excellent so I can't wait.  I will be going to the Wednesday afternoon matinee.

Here is my little friend!!! 

A bit of bliss in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

While I enjoyed my tour of Sri Lanka I also found it exhausting.  It was nothing against the tour - it hit all the spots I wanted to see an...