Hiawatha, Iowa.

I’m in Hiawatha, Iowa tonight and tomorrow night for work. I’ve been here before but it’s been a couple of years; this was the first time driving here for work since moving to Chicago. The drive was pleasant.

I enjoy work trips and getting to meet with fellow team members face to face. A night in the hotel room can be a little boring, especially when the Internet connection won’t allow me to VPN into the office, but I have enough bandwidth to waste time writing blog entries and watching the various versions of “The Bob Newhart Show” theme song. I enjoy trying to figure out where Bob is walking through Chicago back in the day.

Telecommuting is wonderful, even working with team members over video conferencing is great, but nothing replaces face to face time.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s day at the office.

Videos.

I’m watching old private pilot videos from the 60s and 70s on YouTube. I need to go flying. Very soon.

Screams.

After taking our weekend visitors Jeff and Mark to O’Hare for their flight back to Raleigh-Durham, I decided to take some time to go on one of my little urban adventures in the city. I decided to head out to the western neighborhoods, and I began my journey on the Red Line so I could transfer to the Blue Line and head out to the Northwest. That’s how the Loop-oriented CTA lines work in Chicago.

As I made my transfer from the Red Line to the Blue Line at Lake, I followed the trail of folks with luggage looking to make the transfer so they could head to O’Hare. In the CTA stations there are plenty of posters and other reminders to “walk left, stand right” on the escalators, and during the week daily commuters do an excellent job at observing this rule. It’s rare to see someone clog up the escalator.

On the weekend it’s a completely different story.

A young woman was standing next to her luggage on the escalator, staring at her phone, clogging up the folks trying to pass on the left. Just as I was perfecting my glare (along with others), the escalator came to a abrupt halt.

Not a big deal. For the uniformed, when an escalator comes to a stop, it simply becomes a staircase. The escalator stops, so you walk up the stairs and you easily reach your destination. It’s not a difficult concept.

Except below me on the escalator some woman started screaming as if the station had been plunged into darkness, a portal to Hades had opened, and the compartment was being filled with some sort of noxious gas. (I promise I wasn’t “crop dusting” the escalator on my way up).

Bewildered by this screaming, other patrons on the now stopped escalator took this as some sort of wailing cue and started hustling up the escalator rapidly.

I believe my response to all of this was, “Settle down, Loretta”. I then proceeded up the escalator in a calm fashion, threading my way around the woman blocking the path because she hadn’t figured out what was happening yet, and I made my way to the Blue Line.

People need to calm down.

Design.

Our friends Jeff and Mark from North Carolina were in town for a visit over the weekend. While Earl worked the Cubs game, we took the opportunity to drive out to Oak Park to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio. He left the complex in 1909.

I’ve always been a fan of Wright’s architecture and I wasn’t disappointed with the visit to the Home and Studio in Oak Park. While this particular group of buildings was not in his well known “Prairie Style”, the design of his home and studio were definitely his work. Moving from room to room, one is “compressed” into a small space along the hallway and then “decompressed” for a grand entrance into the next room. His office was three stacked octagons, and the work studio has chain used to suspend the roof and ceiling out in plain view, instead of hidden in walls like you’d find elsewhere.

The Preservation Trust has done a magnificent job in bringing the site back to its 1909 glory. When the Trust took over the property in 1976 it had been an apartment building and a dormitory, among other things. One stairwell is still in its 1976 condition and it’s evidence of what good willed people can do when they put their mind to it.

I’ve never understood this American trend of ripping down beautiful downtown areas in the interest of “Urban Renewal”, and I will never understand how someone can take a gorgeous, historic, and obviously unique building and carve it up into a bunch of apartments.

The visit was a pleasant one; I look forward to taking Earl out there to experience it as well before the snow flies.

In Lyrics.

I will take my life into my hands
And I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes
And I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers from the sky
And after all the loves of my life
Oh, after all the loves in my life
You’ll still be the one
And that will be my life

My take on a verse from “MacArthur Park”.  The goalpost of my life.

View From an Apple Store.

I’m sitting in the gallery at the Apple Store on Michigan Ave here in Chicago. I’ve always loved this store. Apple has always wanted their locations to feel like community centers, and this flagship location has always met my expectations around that goal.

Sunset.

I spent most of the day driving today after a successful 24 hours with my family in Syracuse, N.Y.

I was born and raised in Central New York State, but I really love the Midwest.

Random.

I have no idea if the photo is in its proper orientation or not, so my apologies if it’s sideways in the page. Remember, it just works.

So when Earl works at night I have some time on my hands. I like going for walks in our beautiful city, especially during the nicer nights that are typical of this time of year, but I’m not crazy about walking the same route day after day.

To break this monotony, I will just hop on the ‘L’ and head in either direction and jump off at some random stop and then walk around the neighborhood. Often I’ll walk back in the direction of home. It’s a great way to get to know the surrounding neighborhoods and do things like find restaurants we wouldn’t otherwise know about or see some of the beautiful parks we have scattered throughout The Windy City.

Tonight I walked around Lincoln Park, heading back toward Lakeview before jumping on the ‘L’ a few stop south of our stop. It was a great night to walk and I’m feeling centered as a result of the activity.