I love the warm weather and sunshine in Central Texas…. but 100 degrees Fahrenheit is more than a little warm, it’s downright HOT!!!
I don’t mind sweating either. What I have trouble with is the shocking adjustment from heat outside to frigid air conditioning inside everywhere I go. Dress accordingly to avoid overheating bring a sweater for going to stores and restaurants and drink lots of water.
WELCOME TO SUMMER,
In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside. What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball!
The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit feelings. I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of Chicago and of Illinois, it was tough to see all of the places I missed. Walking around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of enemies. It was also great to see a dear friend, chatting with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.
I live in Central Texas for many reasons, though not for the food. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own. Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas for shopping, movies, and other activities, not because it is a growing city, but rather this is the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief, that too many people in the Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago. We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold.
Anyhow, I look forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years. It’ll be good!
I hadn’t been back to Chicago in close to three years until last weekend. The last time I went back was when my mother-in-law died. I was there with Husband helping to tie up loose ends, discard old, out of date, no longer needed items to prepare for selling the house, and to attend the funeral. I was there two weeks, and I didn’t want to be there. The little free time I had was spent watching my parents argue and, when my schedule finally allowed for visiting friends, we couldn’t make it happen. It sucked!
Both Husband and I have complicated families, and we have felt the effects even miles away. I almost cancelled this trip a day or two after I decided to book the flights because of the drama attached to going home. Ultimately, I chose to go because my Dad needed an angiogram to further assess blockages in his heart. Knowing that Brother and Sister-in-law had just visited,and the possible severity of the situation, I went – on my terms.
One of the greatest and most surprising parts of the trip was on the first day when I spent eight hours with my parents and they both made an effort to get along. First, we ate lunch at Wojo’s, a neighborhood hamburger joint. Later on, my Dad gave me a lesson in how to hold, load, and fire a semi-automatic weapon with a laser target and dummy ammo. This was lots of fun and gave him great joy on the day before he ended up with a stent to clear two heart blockages. I was also able to spend a lot of time with my Mom throughout the weekend, and we were able to eat Beggar’s pizza while watching the White Sox. I wish my parents could be those well-meaning people toward each other more often, and live a happy life together… However, I am grateful to have had that time with them.
Trump Tower Chicago
Often referred to as the Corncob buildings
Chicago Riverwalk with view of the Tribune Tower and other buildings
Outside of the Cultural Center
Keith Haring: A Chicago Mural at the Chicago Cultural Center
Inner roof view of the Cultural Center
I found time to walk around Downtown Chicago for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. I browsed at stores, visited a few new places (Maggie Daley Park and Dylan’s Candy Bar to name a few), and stopped in at the Chicago Cultural Center. My Grandfather took my Brother and I to many events there, and sometimes we would just stop to rest in the café sitting area after lots of walking. This was a tough but good stop for me to make, and it was great to see some art while remembering Grandpa.
All photos taken by Chrellie
I write this as I am listening to part of the listening session with President Trump and the students from Florida who survived the school shooting. I feel for the families. I feel for the parents. I feel for the teachers and other staff who lived through that school shooting. I cannot imagine their pain and sadness.
I am not a parent, but I am a Case Manager in Austin, TX who visits schools in Austin regularly. The security at these schools varies and is even inconsistent from visit to visit. Some schools buzz you in after asking the reason for your visit via intercom, others leave the main door open and you sign in at a desk if someone if sitting at the desk. In the past two years, I have visited 15 different schools, Middle Schools and High Schools, in the greater Austin area and none of them have metal detectors. Some of the schools have school district police officers on campus full-time, but the campuses are large and have several buildings, which might be hard for one or two officers to monitor or intervene in a crisis.
I am fully aware of the number of school shootings that have happened in the U.S. in the past 20 years. The best assessment of what would begin to fix the problems of youth, school violence, and society at large was written by a teacher. If you have not seen this posting, I would encourage you to read it. I would 100% agree with this teacher. Many active shooter situations happen in gun-free zones, obviously restricting guns doesn’t help or keep people safe. Look at the restrictive gun laws that Chicago has had for years, and continues to have, even after the city and the state of Illinois’ restrictive hand gun/concealed carry laws were deemed unconstitutional and were forcibly updated. BAD PEOPLE WILL DO BAD THINGS!!!
If we look at the violent means by which people are murdered throughout the world and in the U.S., should we ban box trucks? Because terrorists killed people with box trucks. Should we ban knives? Because knives are used to massacre people in places where guns are banned. Should we ban cars because people kill other people by driving recklessly or while intoxicated? YOU CAN”T BAN EVIL. I understand that we all get desperate when something awful beyond all comprehension happens, but somethings are beyond our control. They are beyond law enforcement’s control. They are beyond politicians control.
I pray for the healing of those families in Florida, and I pray that rash decisions are not made by politicians or by President Trump to further restrict the rights and freedoms of good, decent, law abiding people because of sick and evil people who will do harm by any means they can find.
Image courtesy of pexels.com / gratisography