Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reflections from a Whirlwind Tour

Dorothy, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

Believe you me, there are plenty of people in this world who hear "Kansas" and can't think of a topic of conversation other than The Wizard of Oz or our supposed overwhelming crop of tornadoes.

(A shot from the "naval" of The Bean.)

But during our own "whirlwind" trip to Chicago, I also met some people who seemed genuinely interested in my life away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan area.

My sister Lisa, brother Kent and I went to Chicago for my sister Darci's 50th birthday celebration.
We crammed a little sightseeing in during our three-day excursion, July 7-9. One of my favorite destinations was Millennium Park. Where once there were parking lots and the Illinois Central Railyards, there's now a beautiful park with gardens, water features and interesting sculptures like Cloud Gate, which the locals call The Bean.

(My siblings wait while I take yet another photo of this interactive sculpture in Chicago's downtown. They are the ones with their hands on their hips!)

While we didn't join the children playing in the Crown Fountain, I did enjoy watching this interactive art and video water fountain/sculpture.

The designer must have a sense of humor.

We returned to Millennium Park Thursday evening for a free summer concert. (Well, the concert was free if you don't count the $21 parking tab.)

The Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts music concerts four nights a week and also has a series of lunchtime musical offerings. On Thursdays, it's called Music Without Borders. We heard Rupa and The April Fishes.

This bandshell is nothing like its small-town Kansas counterparts. Through the open design, you still see the city's skyscrapers. From its beams, a state-of-the-art sound system is designed to replicate a concert hall.

We had stopped by Whole Foods earlier in the day for a picnic meal. It really was similar to a Kansas potluck supper (except they let the grocery store do the cooking). Darci and her friends each brought food to share and put it on Darci's collapsible table, complete with summertime tablecloth. Everybody dug in and probably ate too much. See? It was like home.

By the end of the evening, we Kansas girls were even a little chilly. I guess we hadn't acclimated from our 100-degree-plus temperatures to the more moderate Chicago evening. Not that I was complaining.

The crowd was comprised of everyone from young families to retirees (and at least three people from Kansas.) It was a great way to end our first day. (More to come!)


  1. haha when i think of Kansas i think of Dairy Farmers of America! haha and Dorothy of course! We even had her in The Netherlands!

    Thanks for sharing

  2. I'm glad to hear you think of a real dairy farm connection when you think of Kansas and not just Auntie Em, Dorothy and the gang on the Wizard of Oz farm! But, of course, we claim Dorothy, too!