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36 hours in Chicago

Chicago's the kind of place where just living your life for a while can sometimes make you sit down and tell yourself that you must be one of the luckiest people alive.

This morning I woke up and went running along the lakefront from the Navy Pier to what I suspect is the Oak Street beach. The sun was warm, the water was calm, and there wasn't any traffic noise at all. That's because Lake Shore Drive was closed to cars, and instead was packed with bicycles in both directions. Bikes are much quieter than cars. Lucky me -- apparently this was the morning of the annual "Bike the Drive" festival, and it was an amazing thing to see.

On Friday night we ate cod emulsion and horseradish mousseline (among other things) at Everest. Saturday we wandered through Millenium Park and checked out the Pritzker Pavilion and the Bean. Then we wandered into Symphony Center and picked up some reasonably-priced student tickets for the CSO that same night.

I'd wanted to see the CSO for years, and all of a sudden we were in the front row (if all the way to the left). Let's just say it's an amazing experience to hear Peter Mattei sing Mahler when you're close enough to see the spittle flying from his mouth (sitting on the far left has its advantages). Watching Daniel Barenboim conduct the orchestra was even more amazing. You really don't need to be familiar with the symphony (Bruckner's 9th), or with classical music at all for that matter, to appreciate Barenboim's intensity. He gestures, leans, scowls, sways, mops his brow with a cloth from his pocket, closes his eyes, points at people, clenches his fist, and occasionally exhales so loudly that even if you're sitting at the very far left end of the first row, you can hear it. He didn't seem to lose his focus for even a second.

Whew -- ll that, and there's still two more days left in the weekend. I suppose I'm pretty lucky to be here.


Sounds like you found some of that incredible Chicago magic. It's all over the place...if ya just wander around and look for it. *smile*

I like Chicago -- and I love the symphony. But, knowing you, I would offer that *any* place has the capacity for making you feel glad to be you and feeling lucky. Most of that feeling is internal (obviously, LOTS of people hate Chicago). You feel lucky because you're the type of person who finds the positive in life. That's a great thing.