Tag Archives: Chicago

Chilly Appreciation



See what my iPhone 5S’ weather app showed this morning?



Compare that to what it really looked like outside. Although it did rain last night and early this morning, I didn’t see any snowflakes at our house. Plus it had stopped even drizzling by the time I took the weather app screenshot.

When it’s cold and windy, as it is right now (30 degrees but feels like 17 degrees), I always think we might as well have some snow to remind us that it truly is winter. It makes for such a great photo op!


No thanks!

But then I’m reminded that I experienced enough snow and frigid temperatures during my 30 years in the Chicago area to last a lifetime.

Right now I’m appreciative of our “milder” Houston winter, with or without snow!

Colorful Change

Note the differing colors

Two-toned hues

As you can see from these trees, fall has arrived.

Each day these trees look a little different.

Each day these trees look a little different.

The predominant green of summer ebbs away, as golden tones show off their glory.

So brilliant!

So brilliant!

There’s only one, minor problem. These photos are from Chicago, where the season’s change is dramatic and gorgeous.

Our street looks very ordinary.

Our street’s trees look very ordinary today.

Here in the Houston area? Not so much.

Happy Internet Halloween

Looks like Aragog’s relative (Harry Potter alert!)

Looks like Aragog’s relative (Harry Potter alert!)

Photoshop helped me get into the Halloween spirit with this pic, which I recently snapped in Chicago. When I downsized it for easy blog posting, I selected “save for web.”

How ironic! Hope all the spiders you really encounter are much smaller today on Halloween . . . and every day!

One-Word Wednesday

This unique bench made out of bats and bases was at Lou Malnati’s pizza place (yum!).

This unique bench made out of bats and bases is at Lou Malnati’s pizza place (yum!).



Bats with the names of former Cubs players (the restaurant is a Chicago favorite)Ernie Banks: Let’s eat two pizzas!Ernie Banks: Let’s eat two pizzas!

From Brrrrr to Ahhhh!

Although it’s getting a bit warmer in Chicago, it’s still too brisk for me.

Chicago is too brisk for me.

Today I’m flying home after a wonderful visit in Chicago with my beloved relatives and a couple friends. I’ll return from being a temporary Midwesterner once again and resume extending the Texan part of my life (hopefully, for a loooong time).

I’m looking forward to the milder temps.

I’m looking forward to the milder temps.

Just consider me gone (back) to Texas!

My Half & Half Anniversary

Gosh, I hate the cold!

Gosh, I hate the cold!

Thirty years ago tomorrow, I made a momentous decision: I left Chicago, where I had celebrated my 30th birthday in mid-August, and followed a guy to San Antonio. Like pioneers in the 1800s, I put a “gone to Texas” sign on my apartment door (well, not really, since I didn’t know my Texas history back then), and off I went on a wing and a prayer.

Much better!

Much better!

After spending about a year in San Antonio, I moved to Houston, as did the guy. It was there on August 25, 1988, that my life changed for the better: I met the Mister on the Rice University bike track as I trained for a duathlon (run-bike-run). The rest, as they say, is history. I traded icy, cold winters for ridiculously hot and humid summers. But I also found a warm and welcoming home.

Ironically, today I’m in Chicago, my old stomping grounds, visiting my mom and freezing my butt off. Karma perhaps?

Brothers and besties

Brothers and besties

Looking at all that I’ve gained over the last 30 years—the Mister and our sons, as well as my wonderful in-laws and lots of cherished friends—I’d say I have a lot to celebrate tomorrow.

On Sunday, I will be more of a Texan than a Midwesterner. As much as I adore Chicago and Illinois and always will, my true loves live in the Lone Star state.

And so will I, probably for the rest of my life. I’m truly and wholly thankful!

Throwback Thursday

Young and innocent!

Young and innocent!

I recently found this photo of myself from back in the good, old days. Specifically, October of 1976.

I was a year removed from the University of Illinois, working at my third newspaper job, the “Suburban Trib” (the “Chicago Tribune’s” multi-weekly suburban supplements). I was a sportswriter who, of course, specialized in girls’ sports. In fact, back then I covered all of them in all the Chicago-area suburbs, north, south, and west (east, of course, is Lake Michigan). By the time I left in 1981, my clip drawers were overflowing.

See the typewriter behind me? I banged out a bunch of copy on it . . . in triplicate. We didn’t get computers until almost the end of my tenure. I was (and still am) a fast typist whose fingers could keep up with my thoughts. But I sure wish we had the ability to copy and paste back then! Writing life would’ve been so much easier.

I must admit that I don’t remember that day 37 years ago when staff photographer Carl Wagner snapped my photo. But I do recall that he was cute . . . and that I really liked that sweater!

A Different Camera Documents My Trip

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

The view from above on the way to Chicago.

When I plan one of my infrequent trips, I usually spend a lot of time assessing what’s most important to me: My photographic needs. I’m rarely without a camera in addition to the one on my iPhone.

On previous journeys to Chicago I’ve lugged either my Nikon D300 or D700 along with my Nikon 50mm lens (occasionally I’ll tote the Nikon 105mm macro, too).

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window

But this time I wanted to go with a lightweight kit, because Chicago in winter can be . . . dare I say it? . . . ugly. Remember yesterday’s photo of the dirty snow? There’s no need to snap multiple pics of that with your best equipment.

So I opted for my newest camera, the Nikon 1 V1, which is mirrorless (virtually noiseless). Plus you can change lenses, and it’s small and light. The best part?

It was free! I “bought” it from Amazon with my Discover Card points. As you know, free is my favorite price!

The crazy lights in O'Hare

The crazy lights at O’Hare

As it turned out, I was glad I chose the V1 as my photo-traveling companion. Not only did it do a decent job with the subject matter (I only snapped about 45 pics), but I spent most of my four days moaning and groaning (when I wasn’t living on Advil), because I tripped over a curb (yes, once again!) outside of Bush Intercontinental Airport and fell, bruising my ribs.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.

I’m not sure what worried me more: The thought of carrying my heavier photo equipment while I was in pain or the possibility that I might have broken one of my beloved digital SLRs and/or lenses when I went splat on the hard concrete.

Now that really would have been cause for moaning and groaning!

Returning to What Passes as Normal

That’s much better!

That’s much better!

When I last left all of you, I was kvetching about the bone-chilling conditions in Chicago.

I returned home yesterday from my short visit to my hometown and was greeted by a glorious final day of spring break. Of course, we know that before long I’ll be kvetching about how flippin’ hot it is here in Houston. But let’s not go there right now.

I enjoyed a splendid time in the windy city, where I was reminded of what I miss and don’t miss about my kind of town.

Just so ugly!

Just so ugly!

Number one with a bullet on that don’t-miss list? Dirty snow! As well as constant temperatures at or below 32 degrees. No, thank you!

This iPhone 5 photo does NOT do this magnificent work of art justice.

This iPhone 5 photo does NOT do this gastronomical work of art justice.

Can you tell what I miss second-most about Chicago? Yep, it’s the great food. During my four days there I managed to consume a Portillo’s hot dog, Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza, half a corned beef sandwich on rye, and ribs at L Woods. So delicious!

My mom (right) and her twin sister sandwich the birthday girl.

My mom (right) and her twin sister sandwich the birthday girl.

Of course, what I miss most about Chicago is family. So it was wonderful being able to spend quality time with my mom as well as her twin sister, who also stayed with her. It also was great sharing dinner with my brother (the hot-shot Chicago lawyer) and his family at L Woods.

The marquee event of the weekend, though, was helping my mom’s younger sister celebrate her 70th birthday last Saturday night. Believe me, this gal looks terrific! And she’s as beautiful inside as she is outside. I also got to spend more time with my little bro as well as my cousins, who I don’t get to see often enough.

All in all, it was well worth braving the cold; I’m really glad I visited. And I’m looking forward to making another trip north this year . . . probably in September.

When the weather should be ideal!

What Do I Miss Most?

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . brrrrr!

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . ugh!

I’m in the Chicago area until Sunday visiting my beloved mother. As a bonus, it’s her younger sister’s BIG birthday tomorrow, and my cousins are having a party for her. I’m thrilled that I get to help my wonderful Aunt Sandy celebrate!

That being said . . . goodness sakes, it’s flippin’ cold here in mid-March! I haven’t lived in these parts in almost 30 years, and I forgot how much I hate when the temps fall so low amid Chicago’s notorious bracing breeze. But not for long.

Those freezing feelings came rushing back to me as soon as I stepped outside at O’Hare Airport last Wednesday afternoon. The 20-mph north wind hit me square in the face, making the 28-degree temperature feel downright frosty. Brrrrrr!

This is what I left behind.

This is what I left behind . . . love!

Meanwhile, this is what I left behind in Houston. What a lovely spring break week it’s been . . . there. Lows in the 50s, highs in the 70s and low 80s. Ahhhhh!

Of course, I also left behind my sons and the Mister, trading one family for another. I miss my trio a lot . . . as well as those mild Houston temperatures.

When I return home and step off the plane Sunday afternoon, I’ll be greeted by a warm 81 degrees. Plus I’ll eventually get to see my guys, including my older son before he returns to UTSA to finish his spring semester.

Win win!!