A Very Long Bike Ride

One of our plans was to go on a long ride on the Lakefront Trail. I didn’t do long rides for a while, so I was unsure how long I could bike. The longest I biked this spring was one hour and twenty minutes. The total length of the Lakefront Trail is over 18 miles one way, and we are 2.5 miles away from the start.


We decided not to rush. Saturday was the perfect weather; we got out after breakfast and decided we are not doing more than 3 hours. In reality, we biked for 2.5 hours, but I was surprised by how far we went! I decided it’s time to start going back because I started to be a little bit tired. It was a good call – we didn’t realize we had a tailwind all the way there! On the way back, we had to go against the wind!


Surprisingly, it took us only 10 minutes more, probably because we made fewer photo-stops

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A Day Without Deaths

Today is the first day after the beginning of the pandemic when there were no deaths recorded in the state of Illinois. It does not mean that it’s all over. It does not even mean that there were no deaths. And we may wait for a while to see another day like this. But still – that’s the day to celebrate. To celebrate and to remember those who died during pandemic. That’s the day to multiply our efforts to prevent as many deaths as possible. That’s the day to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Oh yes, and the Crown Fountain is operating again 🙂

Grant Park Music Festival Is Back!

The Grant Park Music Festival season opened on July 1, but on that day, the weather was just a little bit too cool for the outdoor evening concert. I decided to give it a shot on Saturday (after returning from the Dunes) even though there was a risk of a big crowd.

And boy, there was a crowd! For a moment, I was questioning the sanity of my decision, especially because I asked mom to come and meet us there, but it turned out great!

We sat on the stairs, which instantly provided more distance. There was a large screen over the stage – new this year, so we could see everything that was going on on stage.

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Loyola Beach Wall Paintings

Last Friday, I was so busy going things with Anna’s family that I completely ignored the event that was happening very close to my home: the Wall painting at Loyola Beach! Fortunately, Igor documented it pretty well, so I am going to use his photos and comments from his Flickr album, so I am copying his description here:

Rogers Park’s Loyola Beach has this structure right where the park ends and the beach starts. I’ve always called this structure “the steps,” because it looks more like a step on a staircase than a wall, but it is officially a sea wall.

Since 1993. Rogers Park residents have been invited to paint that wall. Loyola Park Advisory Council started the whole thing because they didn’t like the graffiti (gang and otherwise) that used to cover it. While I’ve heard it described as sort of pure expression of creativity, but because one has to pay for the right to paint at one of the 160 slots, the whole thing is really more a fundraiser for Loyola PAC that happens to involve making the wall look pretty.

Normally, the wall would get repainted once a year, but the COVID-19 obviously kiboshed the 2020 session. I honestly kind of assumed that Loyola PAC would leave the 2019 murals up until 2022, so I was surprised when I stopped by the beach three weeks ago and saw the wall completely bleached. I checked the Loyola PAC’s website and discovered that, yep, they will be repainting. While normally, it would all be done in one day, it was split over three days, on June 18-20, to give artists room to socially distance.

This isn’t a perfect before-and-after set, because I lost my photos of 2019 murals to a corrupted SD card, I kind of rushed through the beach on Friday and I didn’t check the past photos on Saturday and Sunday. But, at the very least, this will give you a view of this year’s painted murals and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. I’ve been visiting Loyola Beach for the past 11 years or so, so I got to see many versions of the wall murals, but I never got to see it painted, so that was kind of neat.

As for me, my absolute favorite is that one:

And some other I liked:

But I will come back to see the rest!

A Visit To Shedd Aquarium

On Saturday, we all went to Aquarium. 

For many years, I had a family Aquarium membership, but when the kids were grown up and gone, I witched to the individual one, occasionally bargaining for a pair of extra free tickets. When I realized in May that the Aquarium is reopening and that now it would be much easier for Anna’s family to visit, I decided to upgrade the membership back to the Family level. My individual membership expiration date was September 30, and I was sure it wouldn’t be a problem to upgrade earlier.

It turned out that it was a big problem! There was no way to pro-rate the membership. There were only two options: either to pay the full year of upgraded memberships right away, only for it to expire on September 30, or to wait till September 30 and upgrade then. I could not even “annul” the current membership because “two memberships at the same time are not allowed.” An additional complication was that they already took my money before realizing that they can’t do what I asked them to do :).

I was on the calls with them four times until I finally decided to take the September 30 upgrade. Also, they gave me two complimentary adult tickets and ticketed Nadia as a Chicago resident 🙂

That way, on Saturday, we all went to Aquarium pretty much for free:).

It was so-so-so good to be in Aquarium after such a long break!

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Chicago Reopening

Chicago reopening is happening in a non-obvious way. Most of the museums and attractions are moving slowly, and often, there is no way to find out except for some random announcements.

Just five minutes ago, I found out that the Bean and the Buckingham fountain are open! And I can’t find any information about the Crown fountain. I would love to know because my granddaughters are coming on Thursday, and I was so hoping that they will be able to splash in the Crown fountain.

Most of the Museums lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people, but we might keep our masks on when going to the Aquarium because the children are not vaccinated. Honestly, I would prefer that they keep the mask requirements but open the children’s centers and cafes.

When I walk the street of the city, which I love so much, I see many places that are closed forever. I recall how in spring 2020, I wrote a post about the “wounded city.” And now I walk the streets and still see these wounds. Some of them still didn’t heal; others did, but the scars remain… God only knows how long it will take, but it could be worse…

That’s my city!
Restaurants running out of capacity

On The CTA

Life both without the car and attachment to the Metra train schedule is so liberating! Especially since I live the house early enough to hit the rush hour schedule with not-so-crowded trains.

June is the first month when I ordered the CTA monthly instead of Metra monthly (and the first time I have CTA monthly). Since I already had one CTA pay-as-you-go pass on my app, I wondered how they will live together and whether there would be any confusion. I thought I would examine the situation o May 31.
However, it turned out that the monthly pass showed up on May 26 (since I didn’t have a previous monthly). I did not know about that and thought I still have my pay-as-you-go in use and was using it for Anna. it turned out that the app was applying my monthly for the first passenger and then deducting the pay-as-you-go for the subsequent ones. That was a pleasant surprise, and it solves the problem of how I will be taking my out-of-town guests around 🙂

Unpacked

I unpacked almost everything; the only box which is still waiting to be unpacked is the box with winter boots. Granted, many things are not in their right places yet, but the rearranging can be done later.
I am still waiting for several deliveries, and I am still trying to catch the blinds of the correct size; and I need to figure out the cabinets for the dining room, but my new home already feels like home. I love it.

And I have the nicest neighbors. And a new cleaning lady is great. I never had the hardwood floors everywhere, and I was really impressed with how she mopped them!

And the lake! I biked in the morning, and I took a walk after work (the work is crazy, BTW), and I can’t even tell how much i love it being by the water!