Sunday, March 26, 2006

bushed & bound for home

Knowing that I'd be really busy today and wouldn't have time to recap, I wrote the following post on the trip back yesterday.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It’s ten minutes to four (Ohio time) and we are on the bus back to Toledo. It’s been an enjoyable but long trip and I’m ready to go home. The bus can’t drive fast enough.

We left Wednesday morning at 8:30. We were supposed to be at the school by 8 o’clock to load up—I was twenty minutes late and the last one to arrive. That’s highly unlike me. Tardiness and general disregard for being on time is one of my biggest pet peeves. That left me with a less than stellar choice of seating. I sat with one of my colleagues in about the middle of the bus. I later learned that the back of the bus had a lot more leg room—so I snagged a back of the bus seat on the way home.

We got to Chicago around noon (Chicago time) and went straight to the Chicago Art Institute. That place was huge. I felt like all I did the whole time I was there was wander around aimlessly. Toledo has a fantastic museum but I know where things are there. I’d never been to the Art Institute before and that was painfully obvious. We only had until 3 o’clock to look around, eat lunch, peruse the gift shop and get back on the bus. Not enough time by any means—at least not if you want to really enjoy the museum.

From the museum we went to the hotel—the Red Roof Inn on Ontario and Michigan. Talk about tiny rooms. Not the worst place I’ve ever stayed but certainly not the nicest. I tried to not spend too much time in the room as a result. I swear if you farted on one side of the room you be blown to the other side. I claimed my bed and gathered up some students to head out for a drink. We went to Viand’s for a glass of wine and then went to Weber’s Grill for dinner. If you are not yet aware, I’m a major foodie…love it. I had another glass of wine, French onion soup, and a nice rare piece of prime rib.

On the walk back I realized I lost one of my earrings—an earring I had only had on for a total of 2 hours. One of my students and I walked back to look for it and in the process were hit up by some lady asking for money. Not your typical Chicago homeless person on the side of Michigan Avenue with their blanket and sign—this woman had a story. According to her the “man” had just beaten her up and she was trying to get her and her 6 kids on a bus to get to a battered women’s shelter. She needed $$$ for the bus and was willing to give us her wedding ring if we would just get her on the bus. She also said to me, “I know I’m black but could you help me?” WTF? I don’t care if you’re purple lady and I don’t want your wedding ring. By the way, where are those six kids of yours? I gave her two bucks and my student gave her four and we went on our merry way. Hard telling what she was actually going to do with the money—but I’d done my good karma deed for the day and didn’t really care. Never did find my earring.

Thursday morning we (myself and one colleague) took our seven design students to two very different design firms to give them a glimpse of the “real” world. The first was Brainforest—a small firm with 5 on staff with their office in a great industrial space. The second firm was Liska + Associates, a much larger firm with 13 designers on staff and a gorgeous view of the city from their offices on State Street. From there we went to Potbelly’s for lunch and then hit the Magnificent Mile for some shopping. The Apple Store and Borders were like a little piece of heaven for me. I’m such a dork. For dinner, five of us went to The Cheesecake Factory. Spinach and Artichoke dip, Chicken Potstickers, and Avocado Eggrolls were the evenings fare (see, I told you I love food). We got seated by a group of young Asian girls (probably in their early 20’s) who would not stop giggling. It was incredibly annoying and one of my students decided to mock them which we thought was hilarious (they however did not find us amusing).

Friday we went to an awesome Frank Lloyd Wright Home/Studio tour in Oak Park. FLW was an amazing architect and his house was really cool. We also went on a walking tour around Oak Park to see some of the other homes in the area he designed. When I get my pictures developed, I’ll post a few here. For lunch we went to Gino’s Pizza—home of the original Chicago Deep Dish. Our service was crappy and although the pizza was good, a small pepperoni deep dish (not much larger in diameter than a Pizza Hut Personal Pan) was $13.75. So, I won’t be frequenting that place again. After lunch, four of my students and I walked over to a little Mexican restaurant for margaritas, then to The Cheesecake Factory to get a piece of cheesecake to go. I got Chocolate Pecan Turtle…yum. Then, since I’m super lame, I spent the rest of the evening in my room reading this hilarious book, Superstud by Paul Feig.

Saturday morning we went to the Corner Bakery for breakfast then Jamba Juice for smoothies. The bus picked us up at 11:30 and it was off to the Navy Pier for touristy stuff before we left. It was really packed there. I got a Cosmic Dog for lunch (a hot dog with cheese, chili, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, relish, and celery salt). While we were eating two people came up to us and asked us to be part of some research they were doing about how people make friends. They video taped us and asked us a bunch of questions. It was interesting and the first time I’ve been part of any sort of research group in that capacity.

Now we’re on our way home and I’m ready.


Jen said...

Oh! I forgot you were going to be gone! so THAT's where you've been all this time! It sounds great! The food sounds fabulous- I'll go with you next time ;)

Welcome back!

...celery salt on hot dogs? I never heard of such...! but then, I grew up putting mayo on mine- and there is no end to the people who yell at me and say that I'm committing the absolute worst sacrilege possible because of it.

❉ pixie ❉ said...

Josh and I LOVE mayo on our dogs and brats! Yum. I hadn't heard of celery salt on dogs either but it was good. I forgot to add tomatoes to the list of things on the dog. And the pickle was a big pickle spear.

babyjewels said...

Sounds like fun - I'm going to go on amazon and check out that book. I could use a fun read.

Jen said...

I must try the tomatoes and celery salt thing- and I'm happy to find someone else who applies the thinking is, it IS a type of lunchmeat, after all...a type of sandwich, and if you put mayo on your other makes sense, right?

Mindless Dribbler said...

Well, 6 bucks probably done her some good. Reckon' she left her kids with her "man"?

Sorry about your earring.

Glad you're home safe and sound now.

Tim said...

I'm a little new here and confused. Based on the pic you posted the other week, you're in your 20s. So, how is it you have students you can get maragritas with?

❉ pixie ❉ said...

BJ—The book is hilarious. Definitely check it out.

Jen—makes sense to me.

Mike—thanks for the welcome home. I figured a couple bucks is better than no bucks at all.

Tim—I'm indeed in my 20s (29 to be exact). I teach college classes = students old enough to drink. In fact, the median student age where I teach is 30.

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