Monday, June 29, 2009

My Town Monday -- Navy Pier

Navy Pier, a family friendly attraction and gathering place, is due east of Chicago's Magnificent Mile (shopping district). (Photo above from Construction of the pier, which was called the Municipal Pier in those days, began in 1914, with the intention of utilization as a cargo facility for lake freighters and a port for travelers. It also contained a few public gathering spots and became known as a popular place for young lovers. The mass production of cars and trucks began to take a toll on the pier's capacity as a shipping hub and it proved far more useful as a public gathering space.

In the 1930s the pier contained various recreational facilities such as picnicking areas, dining pavilions, a dance hall, auditorium, and children's playground. Then during World War II the city leased the pier to the US Navy and it was used for training manuvers. Because of this, the pier's name was changed to Navy Pier.

After the war, Navy Pier was leased by the University of Illinois for a two-year undergraduate program to educate returning veterans. During this time, Navy Pier was the site of various public events including the International Exhibitions of the early 1960s which drew attractions from around the world. In 1965, the University moved to the Chicago Circle campus, leaving the pier an unused eyesore.

In 1989, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority took control over the pier and decided to return the pier to it's status as a family friendly attraction. (photo below from wikiepedia)

At the start (which is the bit connected to the mainland in the picture) is a mall-like area with shops, random live entertainment events, a food court and several sit-down restaurants. It also contains an IMAX with two screens. Typically it shows current family friendly movies. Towards the back there is a green house area called the Crystal Gardens with lush plants and water arches (photo to the right, from It's a great place to relax for a minute! My nieces enjoyed standing under the arches and trying to grab the water. Actually, I remember visiting Chicago back in college and doing the same thing :).

Inside this first building is also the Chicago Children's Muesum. This was actually started by the Junior League, but then was turned over to the community and eventually moved here to Navy Pier. It's a nice little place with some activities and learning for the kiddos.

Between the Crystal Gardens and the Pepsi Skyline Stage (mentioned below) is Pier Park, a landscaped area with various attractions including a 150-foot-high Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, an old-fashioned swing ride, and an 18-hole putt-putt course. Of all these attractions the only one that I have been on is the Ferris wheel. While it's $6 per person, it's a great view of the city. In an effort to do more of the "touristy" things around the city, we decided to give the wheel a try a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, it was on a hazy day, but it was still nice. Beautiful view and all around fun :)

Also, there is a 4000 square foot fun house maze, a stained glass muesum and various exhibition halls. Once when we went with some friends to the Pier we decided to check out the exhibition halls and ran across a Turkish culture festival. Total surprize and a extra nice afternoon.

Every Saturday and Wednesday night you can view fireworks from the Pier. There's also a beer garden with live music and a theater called the Pepsi Skyline Stage. Right now you can see Cirque Shanghai and during the summer Shakespeare plays can be seen.

And if you continue past all of this and walk all the way to the end, you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.

Visit the 3-d google earth model for a virtual experience of Navy Pier.

The Pier does have so much to offer. Much of it I've looked at, but not had time to go to. I think that I'll have to make another trip to the Pier and change that!

My Town Monday is the brain child of Travis Erwin. For other locations to visit please go to Travis' site here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Writing Time and Other Updates

Unfortunately, I will not be an egg donor. That's part of the reason that I've not been online. First I was having some questions after I realized that it was against the teachings of the Catholic Church, but that became a moot point once I went on the birth control pills, which I'd never been on before. Let's just remain vague and say that they did not agree with me medically. I am okay now and feeling much better. But, egg donation is off the table.

Also, my paycheck didn't bounce, but one of the guys on my team had his bounce. Today is another payday. I am hoping that everything is okay. Offchance, do any of you know of any companies in the Chicago area looking for a Technical Project Manager?

I don't want this blog to be an update on my 105 goals so I am going to only update on my progress on the first friday of every month and must have at least ten other posts between. This blog is suppose to be about my writing, but I've not been doing much writing recently. I'm just so busy, which makes me mad/sad because I really want to get this book done. It really is a good premise, and I'm not just saying that because I'm writing it, but I know that it's good and has alot of promise.

So, my question for those of you in blogland is, how do you find time to write? When everything is going a thousand miles an hour, how do you make time? Any advice?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I know I've been awful and not updating. I have been trying to comment. It's just been really busy around here, BUT I've been making some decent progress, which is good! Each time that I do a goals update I will put a pic representing one of the goals or a story around my goals.

# 4 Burlesque class for five sessions- I had my first class on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun! The class is all about being active and feeling good about being a woman. As they said "there's no wrong, only better." I love that! I also told my mother who was, shall we say, under-impressed. Hah. It's just an exercise class. Geesh. :-P
# 19 Go to a concert at Ravinia- Set up to see Beach Boys in a month! I would like to go another time (if this goes well) to see something classical, but I have a group of friends who are going, which will make the Ravinia outdoor concert so much more fun :)
# 32 Teach Sadie three new tricks- While working on "Say Your Prayers" Sadie got a bit too enthusiastic and bumped her chin on the bench (she missed putting her paws there...she's a silly dog) so now refuses to the trick no matter what treat we have. The above picture is her laying next to the Bench-that-Bit-Her (but this was taken over a year ago). Poor little guy. She really whacked herself good. Still not sure how, though. Sadie, your paws are suppose to go gently, not your head violently! :( Will have to find a new trick.
# 37 Drive a stick shift car by myself ten times- My friend Ducky has offered to teach me. I was thinking about having the hubby teach me, but somehow I think that wouldn't go well.
# 38 Graduate from college- As always, had classes etc.
# 39 Get life insurance- Met with an agent today who is actually an all around financial planner so will work with him for more than just the life (and disability) insurance (# 58 Get a financial adviser and many of the other financial goals)
# 86 Create the Any Gift Site- Actually been swapped with a different business idea (see below). Been working a bunch on this recently. It is actually the primary reason that I have not been blogging too much the past couple weeks. No worries, I am planning on being better about blogging.

# 31 Put change in some one's expired meter changed to buy lunch/dinner for a table of cops. Several of the restaurants I go to are near police beats and from time to time I see them eating during their dinner break. Next time I will tell the waiter that I want to pick up the tab and to not tell them who, except for saying something who is thankful for their work.
# 86 Create the Any Gift Site to Create OurWorld Site- One of my best friends here in Chicago had a fabulous idea for a website AND asked me to do it with her. It's much better than the AnyGift site. I'm actually going to have an invitation only pre-alpha release which will just have a very small set of the social networking pieces live. Those parts are going to be yelp meets wikipedia, but for a certain industry. Sorry for being vauge. I will be more specific on my pre-alpha release post in a couple months :-P. All of you who are interested will be invited! Don't worry, wait to say interest until you know what it is that you are interested in :-P

Next week:
# 18 Go to ten Chicago-area street fairs- Will be hitting up 57th Street Art Fair this weekend. Should be good times.
# 38 Graduate from college - Will finish my econ paper this weekend (before the fair) and will email/call about econ midterm. Also, have other work to do.
# 50 Get some form of art for every room of the condo- With any luck will find something at the 57th Street Art Fair.
# 53 Refinance condo- Should be submitting paper work next week.
# 85 Finish writing three novels - I have been uber slacky on this front, but next week I am going to not go out much and really make an effort to get sections 3 and 4 out the door. I promise.
# 86 Create OurWorld Site- Top Secret :-P. (We just have to incorporate and get the pre-alpha live before I can really talk in specifics...sorry for the vagueness, I'm not trying to be cute/silly, it's just in the planning phases so we have to keep the specifics on the down low)
# 93 Write snail mail to the kiddos ten times- Will write a note telling them how excited we are for them to come visit.

Overall next week I am not going to go out as much as I did this week (where I've had something every night) so that I can work a bit harder on my internal goals. It is almost a month in and I've got a lot yet to do!

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