Tag Archives: Chicago

Billy F’n Joel

I am home, back with the wife and kids.  It was a long two months away, but everything is back to normal(ish).  We have done some family things like buy stuff from Target, eat some food, go to the botanical gardens and watch movies since I’ve been back.  There were a couple posts I published using my phone, but decided to wait until I was back at the computer before publishing the rest.  Over the next few weeks, or months, I’ll be cranking them out to catch up (personal goal).  This little ditty was from about a month in, a couple weekends after my wife came to visit and the world almost ended (previous post). So grab a whiskey, beer or juice box (for you underage types) and enjoy.

I’ve been in my hotel room for a month now. I keep it low key mostly, mainly gym and laundry (no tanning salons within walking distance). I’ll go to the driving range a few times a week to break up the monotony. This past weekend I decided to adventure to Chicago.  I had scheduled an appointment with my stylist at Trunk club for Friday afternoon. I stopped at the farmers market and brewery in Lake bluff, then hopped on the train into the city. Once the train arrived at Ogilvie, I hoofed it to Trunk Club. It had been a couple years since I had visited.

Trunk Club is a service I began using back when I got divorced.  I wanted to upgrade from jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Basically, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new (tends to be the M.O. of most newly single individuals).  My stylist Brittni has done a great job since I became her client, and it will be a bummer not to be able to continue on with it while in Japan.  Anyway, back to adventure time.

After meeting the front desk associate, he directed me to the bar where I received a complimentary whiskey-ginger. IMG_2855A couple minutes later, Brittni came by. We exchanged pleasantries and made our way to one of the fitting areas (I guess that it what you call them?). I was in the market for some golf shirts and maybe a nice button up. She came back with a cart full of clothes to try on.  After a bit, I narrowed it down to a couple golf shirts (snagged one at a discount) and a sweet, comfortable Vineyard Vines Crosby shirt (I have come to appreciate nice clothing and it lasts a while to boot).  I paid the man and was on way.  It had been a pleasant stop-in at the club.  As I was leaving, my stomach began to make some noise. I decided it was calling for pizza and made my way to the nearest pizza joint, called Pizzeria Ora. I am a huge fan of pizza, but this place wasn’t my jam. I had a small deep dish and it didn’t meet my expectations.

By this point, I had already alerted my cousin I was in the city. She asked if I had any plans and if she could get another ticket, would like to go see Billy Joel. I responded with a resounding “Hell yeah!” (obviously she did get another ticket, otherwise I would just be wasting your time) Regardless if I had gone or not, I still wanted to drop my bag off before any further adventuring happened. I caught an Uber and headed to her house (Uber should pay me for referencing them so much, ha). As soon as I arrived, I ditched my bag and hopped in another Uber with my cousin’s husband (she followed us a few minutes later) and headed to dinner prior to the show (looks like another ticket was scored, high five!).

We arrived at Fahlstroms Fish Market and met one of his friends. Since I had just eaten a less than delicious pizza, I tried the tuna tar-tar, and it hit the spot. After my cousin arrived, we had a couple drinks, exchanged some witty banter and rolled out. Did I mention this concert was at Wrigley field? We walked from the restaurant to Wrigley. It was a madhouse, I had to beat up a family of four just to make it to my destination! We arrived at the outfield entrance gate. After a quick security check and a couple left turns, we walked out onto the field.  While the field was covered with an interlocking plastic floor, it was still an amazing sight and feeling to be standing out there.  The stage was erected in left-center field and our seats were 7 rows back.

The crowd went nuts when the lights went dark. The cheers were deafening. The piano began to ring out a sweet intro. A single light appeared on the piano. It. Was. Him.

The intro finished and he welcomed to the crowd.  He was blown away that he still sells out his concerts since he hasn’t produced anything new since 1992. The fans were a mix of young and old, but mostly older.  There was a younger cat a few seats down who could not contain his excitement. He was sweating by the second song from partying so hard.  Billy Joel wrapped his main set. The crowd of course called for an encore, the stadium lit up with cell phone lights. It was a neat sight from where I was sitting.  IMG_2864Moments later, the crowd was once again jamming out to more of Billy’s sweet music (Check out the clips below).  He played some more hits and we bounced before the main mob left.  After some zig-zagging and skirmishes we arrived at the car. The consensus was we needed a snack. We went to the Wiener Circle, famous for charde-dogs. The ladies who ran the joint were rude, but you could dish it right back.  Soon we were stuffing our faces with fully loaded Chicago dogs. There was some small talk and we headed back to the house.  I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. 

The wrap up for this post has been a struggle. My notes are all over the place and ramble on.  I was in full fly by the seat of my pants mode. It’s been my usual since being here up at Great Lakes for school.  It’s not every day you get to attend a Billy Joel concert at Wrigley Field. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I jumped on board.  It was a simple decision, because I was the only person I had to worry about at that moment.  Now, you’re probably thinking, is this guy going to break-down a fun time, over-analyzing the circumstances, and math and stuff? Yes. Yes, I am. If my circumstances had been different, I may not have jumped at the opportunity. Whenever situations like this arise, I like to ask myself “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Or as my Theresa (my cousin) and I discussed as she gave me a ride back to my hotel, how does this situation nourish one in an emotional or mental way (her way is more hippie)? Just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to take it.  You could be acting of pure emotion with zero logic, and that could lead to disaster. But then again, it could be the best decision ever (debatable) and give you a great story.  So, jump at the opportunity. Or don’t. You won’t know until you decide.

If you want to check out Intentional Nourishment, I recommend it.  I have been a repeat customer for the past couple of years and have learned a lot about myself when I take a dive into her programs.  Hell, it was after I did the first cleanse through Intentional Nourishment that I bought the domain name shortsandsweatbands.com and started me on this path I am on today. (Here is the link to a post about it: www.intentionalnourishment.com )

Also, if you feel the need to step up your wardrobe and don’t know where to start, check out Trunk Club. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t like it. If you use this link, you’ll get a $50 credit (I get one too, thanks!).

https://www.trunkclub.com/my/invite/J7WQVJ

Do work, be rad

Mustache

The World is Ending: an adventure in things not going your way

We missed the train. The first part of our weekend in Chicago was ruined. The world began to crash down around us. The station didn’t have AC (it was hot, humid, and stuffy inside) and the next train wasn’t due for another 2 hours. Literally, forever, in this age of smartphones and twitter. The sandwich maker was beside herself and a sketchy looking dude was staring at us. It was a terrible start to some well needed “us” time.

During the last few days of July, Krissi left the kiddos with the grandparents, hopped on a plane, and arrived in the city known for being windy and getting shot. Before she arrived, the most time we had spent away from the kiddos was a day with an overnight stay. This trip gave us the opportunity to cut loose, be adventurous, get together with close friends and relax. I have a bunch of notes compiled from the weekend, but I am just going to stick to this one instance for now.

I’ve had to alter my approach to publishing my writing (touched on it with my last post). I used to translate my notes from my Bieber book straight to the computer. The last post I wrote was on my phone. It was a pain. So I decided to finalize my notes using a bigger notebook before I thumb away on my phone. School has been “school” so I took up a new hobby…GOLF (more on that at a later date). Enough about all that, let’s get back to the tragic events of missing our train.

After we spoke to the ticket attendant, we exited the station and walked down to the sidewalk. The wife was ranting about how everything was ruined and we should just call it. Just go back to the hotel. We had two hours to kill and no car to go anywhere (Uber would have been $175 to the city). We started walking. There happened to be a running/bike trail that ran parallel to the train track. At first we were going to walk a short distance and come back to the station. After checking the maps on our phones, we discovered that the next station was only a mile or so down the way. As we walked, we face timed the kiddos, dodged some bikers and I watered some plants (Krissi is a terrible lookout). As we approached the Lake Bluff station, we noticed a small farmers market and Krissi got excited. She is a sucker for a farmers market. We checked in at the station. There was not a ticket attendant. There were, however, instructions on how to download an app and purchase our tickets. We still had a hour and a half until the train arrived, so we made our way to the market. It was your typical hipster/basic white bitch vibe. There were vegetables, meats, cheeses, crafts and someone sharpening knives. There was a white gazebo, children playing in the grass, and a guy jamming on his guitar to a small audience. There were moms drinking wine out of tumblers, pushing their strollers. If we had been on our way back to the hotel, we probably would have grabbed some veggies to cook. After our walk perusing through the market, we began to check out the store fronts across the street. There were a couple restaurants, a bank and, wait for it, a brewery.

Lake Bluff Brewery is a sweet little spot. They had just finished renovating the tasting room and it was nice and comfortable. The only person inside was the bartender (they had just opened) and he was rocking to some classic country. We grabbed some seats at the bar and let the conversation fly. We talked beer, adventure and music. The bartender happened to be the manager. He also worked at another brewery, helped brew the beer, and runs his own concert photography/blog website. Our future adventure to Japan came up. He had just returned from a concert tour in Japan. He told us it was one of the raddest experiences of his life, and he couldn’t wait to go back. The only music in the whole joint was played on vinyl and the coasters were made from retired records. We traded artists to check out (he was already a fan of Townes Van Zandt), and talked trash about new age country. It is the worst. I had the Black Squirrel Bourbon Stout. It was delicious. I forgot what the wife had, but it’s not important. We finished our beers, paid our tab and said goodbye. We had 15 minutes before our train arrived and we weren’t going to miss it this time. We boarded and took our seats. This gave me the perfect opportunity to take a nap. I woke up at our destination ready to rock and roll.

Plans and expectations. We all have them and do our best (or not) to make them happen. Our plan was almost derailed (pun intended) because we missed the train. What happened afterwords was an unexpected find and a new connection with someone. We also discovered a rad little spot to grab a beer close to the hotel. We turned our misery into something spontaneous and fun. When it comes to spending time with your loved ones, plans are cool, but you may want to throw them out of the window to make some rad memories. If you expect things to go a certain way, and they don’t, you can either get frustrated and stew about it or adapt and overcome. So, maybe missing the train every once and a while, could turn out to be a cool little adventure.

Also, check out this website run by the bartender from the brewery. Enjoy!
http://www.patothornycroftphoto.com/

Do work, be rad

Mustache