Friday, January 06, 2006

Two Days in Chicago

I spent the last two days attending workshops in Chicago. My staff and I took the bus to O'Hare and then caught the El, which dropped us off about a block from our first workshop. A good friend from Housing Action illinois led the workshop. She had to cram two days worth of material into one day, but she did as good as was possible given that restriction.

After spending the day in the workshop, I walked the two ladies who were with me back to the El since they were not staying the second day. I then went back and had dinner with my friend who led the workshop. We went to Hilary's Urban Eatery (zkz HUE). Great food and great atmosphere. It's a BYOB bar/restaurant, something I had never heard of before. Basically, if you want alcohol, you bring it in with you. Pretty cool setup. My friend then was kind enough to give me a ride to the Henkel's house, on the far south side.

Marc and Sandy had left for Texas earlier that morning, so I wasn't able to catch up with them, but her dad was there as was a young man who lives with them. We had a good time watching the NCAA Championship game. I'm guessing Marc and Sandy had even more fun, though, since they were in Texas for the game. I finally had to crash out of sheer exhaustion, so I missed the exciting end. Oh well, its just a game.

Yesterday I got a ride to the El and rode the Red line from 95th to downtown. The El is definitely the way to get around Chicago. Its never boring, but it sure beats driving! A quick transfer downtown to the Blue line and I was a block from my next workshop. Turned out I was two blocks from Union Station (where I ate lunch) and about three blocks from Lou Mitchell's, the world's best breakfast spot and the starting point of Route 66. Had I known I'd be so close, I would have caught the El earlier so I could eat breakfast there! I finally got to check email at lunchtime by hopping into a Starbucks and opening a pay-as-you-go TMobile account (hasn't anyone heard of free wi-fi in Chicago?!?). I downloaded enough RSS feeds to give me plenty to read on the way home last night. The workshop ended a bit early, which was fine, I hopped on the El and took the Blue line back to O'Hare, missing a bus by five minutes (not bad given that I didn't know when the buses ran!). With 4 minutes to spare, I picked up a personal pizza and started reading the RSS feeds. It had been so long since I'd read any, there were nearly 600 posts to read!

Finally got back to town last night and got hit with a bug as soon as I stepped off the bus, so now I'm sitting at home sick for my Friday!