Lollygagging ‘long Chicago Loop

Hmmm, that subject is a bit of a stretch even for me!  Oh well, I may work on it some more.  This week started with a trip to Chicago, included more culture just for Gran, a celebration, and drinks galore, and ended with hiking and dinner. 

First up a couple of photos from last week, the first at the lunch table and the second after the show.

Me, Joyce, Jana, Trilce, and Uma at the table.

Monday morning I got up nice and early and caught a jet plane to Chicago.  I guess the early hour is a thanks to darned company policy. I tried a few different combinations of flights but some weren’t available and some gave me gig evil notes of ‘this is outside company policy’.  I tell a slight mistruth, there was another option…leaving Denver at 1800 hells no, that’s too late for this little black duck! So I got up and headed to Chicago. I got to the office about 1030 local time so had most of a day of blissfully productive working. It was so good to get a whole host of things done! 

***52 New Things ***

I even popped out for a local deep dish pizza lunch. When they say deep dish they really mean it in this city!

Deep dish pizza from local chain Giordanos

***

After all that working and eating ridiculous amounts of cheese (even for me) I finished up work at 1700, checked in at the hotel, and went for a swift stroll.  I headed towards the lake to see what this lake thing and the river are all about.  I got to Millennium Park and there were many many people there, stunning Monday evening so why not. There were still some quiet pockets where people were stretched out and relaxing. Pretty cool park.

Millennium Park: the performance space; the famed bean; and the beach.

Around town: the start of Cancer survivors walk near Millennium Park (one of the quiet areas); good luck blowing those seeds on the wind; that seems like an oddly built high-rise!

This is the loop I walked around the Chicago Loop.

Tuesday I had to do what I was there to do… We had the pink team review for the Fargo P3.  Read there was a room of highly paid people sitting about debating nuances of a very very roughly drafted document for nine hours.  Seriously, was a little crazy making.  I managed to sit not at the table so I could have my laptop out and doing three things at once…at least one of those things being finding the responses to DPs quest, which are in the document. Working with him will be interesting. 

I think this is the motto for the designers.

After the meetings we went for a walk back to the river and a steakhouse called Chicago Cut.  That was good steak, thank you Dave S!  DP got a few stiff drinks into himself and was story telling. Things like hiring the younger lads for truck operators – they go faster – all safety measures taken.  At one stage he must have been talking about his leadership and Mark noted (and told me on the walk back to the hotel) that I was wearing my look of is this guy fucking serious? Well I don’t remember having those thoughts but evidently they were marching across my face!
Wednesday morning we headed back to Denver.  On the way out the air hostess did a great job, most entertaining safety speech I’ve heard! It started with: Just as we closed the door the girl on the bridge handed us a wad of bills wrapped in a rubber band, if this belongs to you press your call button, we’d like to give you your rubber band back. And now we have your attention… “; in reference to the location of the life vests “your teeny weeny southwest bikini is under your seat”; when you’re evacuating “step out on the wing you’ll be on the next edition of gone with the wind”; in the event that the oxygen masks drop down “to activate oxygen stop screaming… If you’re travelling with kids we’re sorry. Start with the one with the most earning potential and work your way down from there”.  I by no means caught it all but that was absolutely hilarious! The passengers gave her a round of applause. Absolutely deserved.

See anything out of the ordinary here? I can’t imagine Qantas allowing dogs but all airlines here do.

An afternoon of work later and I was ‘ready’ for the next spot of culture.  I managed to get a half hour kip before we went, highly necessary, then Uma and I wandered over to the train to head into the city to the Ellie Caulkins Opera house, pretty place!  We met up with the beautiful Trilce and saw Norah Jones perform.  I remember her being more jazz influenced but it was also quite country influenced, a good mix of great singing, jazz, and country.  It was a great concert! I was 90% asleep towards the end there, but it was a good show. That woman can sing! Plus play piano and both acoustic and electric guitar.  She was great to see.  Dear sweet in-a-huge-amount-of-trouble-I’ll-never-forgive-her Uma convinced me I should wear the long black dress.  She was wearing a long dress too, though nowhere near as formal looking. So I was overdressed…I’ll get that girl back for sure!

The Opera house; Trilce, myself, and Uma; the show.

The trip home was an interesting one too…Uma and I ordered an uber but the silly app got us a ride share, which would have been fine if the other we rode with were just one instead of two people. Four in a Jeep Cherokee from 2001, with a 6’4″ driver, resulted in us being a tad uncomfortable. The guy was good though, uber drivers are so much more interesting!  Thursday I refused to set the alarm but still got to work at 0800…madly enough I got there after Mark! That never happens, I asked if there was a fire in his house to get him moving so early.  Thursday night we’d organised a celebration for Michelle who graduated as an industrial engineer last weekend.  It’s astonishing that I have so many women in my life at the moment, this was a dinner with five strong, switched on, successful women.

Paula, Mari, Michelle, me, Kat, and Suzenne at the Perfect Landing.

The Perfect Landing is actually a restaurant at the Centennial Airport, so we had fun watching the 1% fly in and out in their fancy planes and helicopters.  The food is great too!  I also popped into Target on the way and got Michelle some Tim Tams, hopefully I get her as addicted to them as I am to that drafted popcorn! A couple of hilarious comments.

You use 8? But you’re white! Suzenne apparently said this to her husband in relation to spf level in sunscreen. I don’t recall how we got to talking about sunscreen but it’s super important here, even for those with darker skin. I guess the altitude combined with the dry atmosphere has something to do with it.

Watch out it will turn you black. Good advice from Paula in relation to a coal scrub she recently purchased. The story went that she did her normal scrub, looked at herself and was quite nonplussed. She warned her daughter, who poohpoohed her, then agreed! Why are mums all too often right?

Friday I was supposed to have my flex day. I think I need to change it to Mondays because Fridays really do not work! I had meetings from 0900 to 1300, I didn’t set the alarm again but this time beat Mark in to work even though I forgot my phone (so had to go back home to get it) and went via coffee (that I spilt all over myself; black is so forgiving).  After the morning of meetings I headed home and got my house organised (it’s been all over the place with all this never-being-home stuff), did some more work, then Uma called and we headed out for a Friday dinner and drinks.  We stayed local and headed up to Darcys, this is a place that a couple of the old boys at work love, so I was keen to try it out.  It was oddly quiet for a Friday night so the kitchen staff were wandering the floor.  At one stage Uma mentioned something to our waiter about how terrible Chef Eds cheesecake was, I think he got super confused, so Chef Ed came out and had a chat with us.  He even pulled up a chair! I think Umas comment to the waiter was intentional, she likes chefs 🙂 He chatted for a good ten minutes then decided he should for back and do his job.  I like it when people do that sort of thimg, I suspect both Uma and I will be back.  I’ll have to remember to tell Rob and Kelvin at work that we’re converts to the Darcys!

One of my organising things: get this magnificent beast on the wall, he looks awesome!

Saturday I started in a relaxed manner with a snooze in, then headed to work for a few hours.  Then Earl and I headed to the natural history museum, the room that has the different exhibits was closed so I just acted like a child for an hour or so, I like being childish! Then we got our adult on and headed to trve brewery… This place is kinda cool, they call it a metal brewery, not sure how metal music converts to beer but they had a great sour beer!  This tries to indicate the kind of place it is. I felt a little different as I was wearing no black, but it was a decent place and a good vibe.

Our goal is to give you a rad place to hang out and drink killer beer. Founded on the Summer Solstice of 2011, our mission has always been to create beers that are beyond the pale. To us this implies new ideas, channeling Loki, and embracing chaos. It means drawing from the sounds and sights that inspire us most in life.
Our beers may or may not exactly adhere to any particular guidelines – we’re style blasphemers and category agnostics – but you can count on the fact that we’ll always brew damn good beer.
To us, TRVE represents being a part of a counter culture without immersing yourself to the point of taking it too seriously. – TRVE Brewing 

I guess at some stage in our chatting I mentioned that I was planning to hike Mt Evans Sunday morning, Earl invited himself.  I was astounded, for not-a-morning-person he was quite awake when I got to his place at 0415!  We got to the trailhead just as the sky was lightening enough to not need torches – read perfect timing!  As we got to the top of Mt Spalding the sun was cracking over the horizon, Earl is afraid of heights, so he stood back and was stuck with me in his view, but I had an awesome view, kicking my feet over a 1000+ foot drop, loved it.

Sunrise from Mt Spalding

I really was there! Advantage of exploring with people. Sunrise and being childish.

Then onward and upward…the hike wasn’t super hard, bouldery but not hard. Earl struggled a little with his asthma but so did I because I’ve been distracted with rafting and down south for two months (almost to the day, mid June we did Mt Princeton).  On the way we heard many marmots, eventually I saw my first! It was much too far awayfor a pic tho. There was also a plaintive bleating at one stage, a mountain goat on its own. I snapped a pic then was grumpy it moved…until I realised it’s mission was about 15m below us.

Far away sheep making a racket; it kept complaining all the way past us!

The view from the top, you can see red down there in the carpark (well I can because I know she’s there)

On the way back down I guess I got hungry. Turns out there was a similarly straight trail either side of us, but we never met it so I just kept on heading down the hill…

Straight down! I missed the first part of the hike, but the round trip was five miles according to the watch.

When we got to Marions in Idaho Springs I was hungry for sure. I managed to inhale my breakfast burrito for almost lunch. Sure I had breakfast…but that was 0330. When I got home I did my cooking, attempted a snooze, succeeded at chatting with mum, and cooked up some scummy Halibut (thanks Michelle!). Uma came over for dinner and we got excited about Monday night.

Finally, happy birthday to my fellow born-on-the-13th family member, uncle Fred! I hope that back improves super fast so this coming year can be awesome! 

Happy birthday Freddy!

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