Sunday, July 31, 2016

Our Fair City: The 96th Floor

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The tallest building in Chicago is the Sears tower (now known as the Willis Tower, but Chicagoan's still call it by it's former name). In fourth place is the John Hancock Center, a striking black building in the Late Modernism style, proudly showcasing it's x-braces on the exterior. 

The Sears tower has a lovely glass box that you can step out onto and gaze between your feet down below. To compete, the Hancock created a tilt experience on the 94th floor, where you can imagine being Ferris Bueller looking down at the city.

If thrills aren't your thing but you still want a nice view, you can visit the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor. For the price of a cocktail instead of an admission fee, you can have a lovely view of the city. Ladies are in luck too. The women's room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a great view of Lake Michigan.

Although it's not my favorite view of Chicago (hint: the view from the river is my favorite), it's a lovely way to spend an afternoon with visitors. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Member's Nights at The Field Museum

Monday, July 25, 2016
↳The insects division laid out some of  the most beautiful specimen in our collections.
↳A live cockroach in the insects division.

↳Scorpions glow under UV rays!
↳Discussing color diversity among birds.

↳Bird division preparation process. Muscle tissues is removed, birds are laid out to dry, and later, they are stuffed with cotton and tagged. 
↳In the collection of fishes, many specimen are cleared and stained with a process that leaves their tissue in tact, but colorizes their bones, cartilage, etc. different colors. Many of the specimen are treated at different life-stages, so that scientists can see the internal workings of a fish's development.

↳The botany division has rows and rows of file cabinets with folders inside of them. Each folder has a pressed and dried plan, with a label of its details. 
↳Rare books room in our library. The library is on our staff-only floor, but it can actually be visited by appointment!

Even with all of the busy days, I'm still finding time to volunteer in the Division of Insects, which I love. We recently had our annual Member's Nights, where we open up behind the scenes at the museum and our scientists get to showcase their work to our members! I volunteered that night, showing our members a live dartling beetle, ones that eat decaying matter from the forest floor. It was so wonderful to be able to share our collections and the work of our scientists with our members. You could see the excitement in the air. I was able to visit as a guest the second night, and it was nice to see some of the same faces from the first night! They love the museum so much that they came both days. It really is a wonderful tradition that The Field Museum does.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our Fair City: Belmont Harbor Dog Beach

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
↳Worried brow, happy tail.
↳These great danes made Mort look small.

↳Gorgeous Lake Michigan waters.

It's summer it's summer! Summer is in full swing, and I'm taking advantage of being outside as much as I can. I know that our dog, Mort, also had a winter that made him appreciate summer more. I've been trying to spend a lot of time outside with him too, without over-heating him.

In Florida, the dog beach was not possible because it was way too hot. The warm water wasn't enough to keep him cool, and there was no shade. The beautiful thing about Chicago is the fact that we have the most wonderful body of water, Lake Michigan. On the lake, there are some miles of sand for people to enjoy a make-shift beach. Near one of the harbors, north of downtown, there is a small, enclosed, sandy beach just for dogs!

I love the Belmont Harbor dog beach because it has everything a dog-mom could want:
  • •A small space, so that I can see my dog, even when he sprints across the sand to meet a new friend
  • •Shade from a big tree in the park next to the beach, that way the dogs can keep cool off when needed
  • •Being a northern lake, it's waters are always colder than Florida waters, which is a great way to keep Mort cool when he's running around
  • • It's not that busy, so there isn't a great chance of meeting unfriendly dogs 
Being that Mort is our only pet, he loves meeting other people and other dogs. On walks, he loves to touch his nose to the neighbor's dogs, to introduce himself, his tail wagging violently. He inevitably does the leash-tango, dancing around other dogs and getting each others leashes all twirled up like spaghetti. I really love seeing him make friends so easily. He's such a friendly dog, and so goofy and lovable at home. I love to remember how he didn't trust us when we first brought him home, and how now, he's let his personality shine and trusts us to take care of him. He's really so wonderful - I can't wait to adopt a brother or sister greyhound for him one day!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Ravenswood Manor: Montrose Saloon

Saturday, July 09, 2016

I'm still discovering all of the different neighborhoods and their perimeter lines. With this bar, Montrose Saloon, I believe that it's technically in Albany Park, but we stumbled upon it after an afternoon spent in Ravenwood Manor. So there, it's where Albany Park meets Ravenswood Manor. 

We were out enjoying the neighborhood garage sale in Ravenswood Manor. It's not far from the city itself, but it's so much quieter and more residential than I expected! There are lots of family homes, and many people were selling old children's furniture, toys, clothes, etc. We were hoping to find a few antiques or vintage pieces, but we went on day two of the neighborhood sale, so we didn't find anything that we wanted to take home.

It's such a sleepy neighborhood that the few cafes and restaurants near the train stop were closing in the afternoon on a Sunday. So we walked south a little to find a bar to try. We found one called Montrose Saloon - nothing frilly, but there was an outdoor patio that was perfect for a beer in the afternoon. Sitting outside, waiting for the sun to peak out from behind the clouds, we drank out of  Steigl glasses. It was one of the first warm days this spring, so we still had our coats on. The bar played some great tunes of some old and familiar favorite songs.

After a round of beers, we decided it was time for a proper dinner. We headed over to Lincoln Square, hoping to score some sausages and more beer on the rooftop of Gene's Delicatessan. Unfortunately, they were about to close by the time we made it there. We walked down the block until we found another German restaurant called Chicago Brauhaus. It was pretty large and cavernous inside, so we sat at the bar with what appeared to be regulars. We ordered a plate of sausages to share, and snacked on some rye breadsticks. There was even a musician that played the accordion at one point! It was a lovely day of exploring Chicago.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Our Fair City: Architecture Boat Tour

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

One of my favorite things to do with all visitors is to take them on an architecture boat tour. I love a city on a river. Growing up, Manhattan is nestled on the Hudson river. I love visiting Paris on the Seine River, as well as New Orleans on the Mississippi River. Not only does Chicago have the immense Lake Michigan, but it also has the Chicago River! 

Many different companies do their own architecture boat tour, and they each have different kinds of boats. Some are two levels, while others are completely flat, that way, everyone has a great view. The wonderful thing about Chicago is it's a city rich in architectural history. Twenty years after a fire that burned the city down, Chicago was host to the World's Fair of 1893. When the city won to be host to the fair, architects came to Chicago in droves as the prospect of being able to start a city from scratch. From that, the skyscraper was born!

The tour takes you on the north bank of the river, as well as the south bank, and even out to Lake Michigan so that you can look back and get a great view of the entire downtown skyline. Along the way, the tour guide mentions each notable building, the architects behind it, it's history, and what it means to the world. It's incredible to live in a city where each building is monumental not because they are old, but because they are innovative. 

Whether you want a cold beer on the boat, a glass of red wine if the sun is setting, or a cocktail when the sun is high in the sky, the boat's bar has all kinds of options. It's such a lovely way to spend time with your friends or family that are visiting. You get to share the highlights of Chicago's history with your visitors, and all the while you're sitting on a boat instead of walking endlessly downtown. My favorite view of the city is being on the river, surrounded by the tall buildings on either side. 
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