Dibs.

The City of Chicago announced today crews will be going through the streets and picking up anything left out for “dibs”.

If you’re not familiar with the practice, here in Chicago, after a big snowfall folks will dig their car out and then leave lawn furniture, old coolers, saw horses, whatever they can get their hands on, to call dibs on their parking spot. We don’t park in the street so I’ve never experienced this first hand, but legend goes, if you call dibs on your spot and someone else parks there, all hell can break loose. I’ve read stories of people smashing out car windows, keying the offending car, etc., because they didn’t respect “dibs”.

I guess the fact that dibs is being called on a public, taxpayer funded street, is besides the point.

Again, I’ve never had to deal with people calling dibs, I just get to play witness, but from I’m not a fan. What happened to helping your neighbor?

After this latest winter storm I can tell you too many Chicagoans are ignoring their civic responsibilities of shoveling the walk in front of their homes. I shudder to think what happens when you get cars into the mix.

Snow.

After a week of bitter cold it’s nice to be able to stand outside in a reasonable layer of cold and enjoy a few moments of winter. My husband and I went for a ride on the prairie while the realtor hosted an Open House at the condo. The Open House proved to be fruitful. There was plenty of interest and we are under contract with the next owners of our current home.

I’ve excited about this. While the purchase of the house in Tucson was not dependent on the sale, it makes things a lot easier for our move. The timeline is coming together nicely. We’ll have plenty of time to get situated in Tucson before the intense summer heat kicks in.

In the meanwhile, I’ll enjoy some snow in the Prairie State.

Thank You.

We used to ride the CTA ‘L’ quite a bit, but since the pandemic became a thing, riding public transportation has really happened a lot for us.

I miss it.

With an ‘L’ stop right outside the building, it’s very convenient when going to visit the rest of the family or doing pretty much anything in the city. When the trains were crowded I would always enjoy watching other people, though admittedly it could be a little dicey on certain lines from time to time.

One habit I developed when we moved to Chicago was always thanking the train operator on our way out, if we were close enough to the front so they could hear us. I admire these hard working people a lot; they keep the trains on time, they work in all sorts of weather conditions, and they have to deal with a lot of weird people on their train. The operator is always pleasant in their response.

This makes me smile.

Snow.

It’s our first big snow storm of the winter here in Chicago. I walked the neighborhood this afternoon. There’s around eight inches of snow on the ground in our area. It doesn’t really slow things down in our fine city.

I am happy I don’t have to shovel it.

2021.

I am really looking forward to these signs in the neighborhood being replaced for the 2021 season. With everything going on with the pandemic in 2020, the relevant versions were never installed and looking at the 2019 season signs was just a reminder that life was way out of balance.

Let’s hope they put the 2021 signs up and soon! Though honestly, they usually go up in March.

Leftovers.

So either the movie production company left the Christmas decorations up or the folks on the street that was used for the movie set wanted to make a splash of their own. Either way, the decorations are still up and they’re quite lovely.

Decorate.

Lincoln Square here in Chicago always does it up nice for the holidays. Even if the streets aren’t as bustling as usual for the holiday season, it’s still quite pretty to look at.

Pink.

The neighbors down the street have opted to go with a pink motif for their holiday decorating. There’s a part of me that’s wondering if this associated with the Christmas movie being filmed in the neighborhood, as this house is just a couple of houses down from the house their using as a film set. (Hence the cone on the street).

This was taken at 5:00 PM in the afternoon and it is quite striking. I don’t really think of this color as being all that Christmas-y, but it is certainly festive.

Great.

Last night I took a selfie while taking a walk through the adjacent neighborhood. It was about 9:45 PM on a Saturday night. The pre-autumn winds were blowing nicely but not too strongly. There wasn’t a chill in the air. There was a very slight rustle to the leaves, but nothing to indicate the leaves were reaching the end of their life in 2020.

I propped my iPhone in the window sill of an old factory-turned office complex and set the timer to take the photo. I stood under the glow of an LED streetlight and next to a sign post. The photo was very simple and captured my mood and moment. I hope it conveyed how good I was feeling.

I posted this photo on Facebook. It was my first post of the week. I have calmed down on posting to Facebook but I still continue to do so, because love it or hate it, there are still a good number of friends and family that use Facebook as their primary form of digital communication. I think the caption said something like, “taken on a Saturday night in the greatest city in the United States”. 

I truly feel this way about Chicago, Illinois. We have been fortunate to be able to travel all over the United States. My husband and I have experienced most of the major cities that U.S.A. has to offer. We’ve spent a decent amount of time in each of the cities and I can say without hesitation, I am the most comfortable in Chicago.

It’s the mix of the Midwestern vibe with the pace of being the third largest city in the country. I know some media outlets like to paint Chicago into a spooky, destructive, heinous war zone, but the truth of the matter is, you’re going to find that in any city in the country.  The images of Chicago looking and acting like an apocalyptic war zone sells ads, fear, and propaganda. 

The truth of the matter is, Chicago is probably one of the cleanest cities we’ve encountered. Unlike New York, we don’t pile our garbage on the streets. We have alleys and our garbage and recycleable bins go back there. It also feels like people just care more here; trash bins are used with regularity. While no city would pass a “white glove test”, Chicago is a lot cleaner than anything I’ve experienced on the East Coast.

Chicago has beautiful architecture, wonderful food, and eclectic neighborhoods. We have the Lakefront, and one of the largest cycling programs in the country. Each of the neighborhoods that make up Chicago bring their own ingredients to a very diverse mix of experiences. As a lad that grew up in relatively rural Upstate New York, I have gained so much more in the way of cultural experiences since moving to Chicago a little over three years ago. Are there bad neighborhoods? Unfortunately, yes, too many of them. But there’s also plenty of beautiful neighborhoods in the Windy City.

And lastly, one of the other things I love about Chicago is the weather. You won’t hear that a lot, because Chicago is cold in the winter. Very cold. It’s common to hear how brutal Chicago winters are, but when you compare snowfall here to what we used to experience in the Lake Ontario Snowbelt in Upstate New York, it’s no contest; it’s easier to deal with the cold in Chicago instead of being buried in snow elsewhere. And when it does snow, Chicago seems to handle it just fine.

The summers are awesome. There’s plenty of sunshine. Our proximity to Lake Michigan keeps us from being completely roasted under the summer sun. And as a storm chaser, the thunderstorms can be impressive. Mother Nature keeps me in awe here in Chicago.

Additionally, in an hour we can be completely out of the city and driving across the beautiful prairies of Illinois. On the occasions I need to step away from city life, I can be near Green Acres in no time. It’s a win-win.

And lastly, I mentioned the neighborhoods. I love walking in the neighborhoods. I love discovering what makes each piece of Chicago unique.

When folks elsewhere in the country find we live in Chicago, I often here the comment, “I love that city”. I’ve heard from folks in Florida, people on the west coast,  desert dwellers, and people that grew up in the south.

The Second City? It’s second to none, just as our tourism ad campaigns proclaim. 

Chicago will always have a special place in my heart.