Chicago makes you walk fast, drink rivers of hot coffee and throw fashion to the wind for functional and fuzzy stocking caps sporting the red letter, C, and sturdy, waterproof LL Bean galoshes that actually get muddy. Parkas, boots and mittens in March are mandatory along with a hearty outlook on life and a willingness to face the bracing wind off of Lake Michigan. Something transmogrifying about a spring break in the upper Midwest to affirm why I transplanted to warmer climates thirty years ago. But it was beautiful from the top of the Willis and Hancock Towers looking out above 100 plus floors of iron and glass at the city and the lake. Frozen ice reflects across the city scape and appeared false to my naked eye but the city was so very real in some memorable ways.

Top 10

10. Riding electric trains and walking fast on slippery sidewalks while hanging onto RM so he wouldn’t fall down. Oh, yeah, the time when RM nearly punched a middle-aged woman spewing profanity at me for what seemed a very long and slow-motion period of time on a city street between Ohio and Michigan Avenue. I swear I didn’t even make eye contact.

9. Picasso and his public art next to melting snow revealing mounds of cigarette butts exposed after one of the worse winters on record

8. Views of a frozen Lake Michigan slowly beginning to melt around the edges

7. James Beard award-winning Blackbird restaurant and the N.Y. cookbook editor we met and shared a cab ride. I wanted to peek at her scribed notes in her tiny journal but the mystery was most likely the best part

6. Stumbling into the warm interior of the Rookery…oh, Frank Lloyd Wright, you are a complex soul

5. Chicago Institute of Art …we were schooled at the institute

4. The morning knock on the door and arrival of hot coffee and newspaper

3. Day in the burbs with our daughter and the purchase of a 1920’s typewriter

2. Snow in March and jellies at the Shedd

1. Gothic architecture followed by prairie style and home again


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