Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend No 2

We have just spent our 2nd weekend in this great city. Although still cold (maximums around 1 to 4°C), the sun was out... and so were we! On Saturday we visited the Shedd Aquarium as a family. I had brought the two boys here by myself and found it quite a stressful visit trying to manage both a baby and a toddler that dearly likes to explore - solo. Having a toddler-lead and Paul helped immensely. The Aquarium has several themed zones - a few too many to visit with only toddler-attention-span time... but the Wild Reef (full of sharks) and the Carribean Reef (full of Nemo-type coral-dwelling tropical fish & crustaceans) have been very appealing.

From the Aquarium we caught a cab to Millennium Park - this time a little warmer. After doing a couple of laps around the Crown Fountain, we had a look at the spectacular Cloud Gate or sculpture. Although largely cordoned off due to some final grinding and polishing works being undertaken on its ‘omphalos’, it is still very popular. We also had a look at architect Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The pavilion was reminiscent of some of Gehry’s other works including the Guggenheim Museum which I visited in Bibao, Spain back in 2000 (and absolutely adored).

On Sunday, we made the trek to Wishbone for brunch. This place is an institution and a reasonably short walk from our apartment. I could sense Paul’s growing vexation as we arrived to see a crowd of people waiting outside and then to find a huge throng of people waiting for a table (it appeared that there were more people waiting for a table than were actually seated. It did not look good. My growing hunger ensured that we persevere, even though I think Paul would have easily called it quits. We asked for a table and were given a beeper /pager. Despite the apparent chaos, a very efficient system saw us seated (with high chair) in a seemingly short time. The staff were extremely good humoured (and efficient) given the huge volume of customers. The food served is Southern so is comprised of hearty portions of ingredients such as grits, corncakes, crawfish, biscuits (what we would call scones), catfish and heaps of egg and pancake variations. We had a great time here, even with children in tow, and will return...

Katie, our baby sitter arrived to look after the boys while Paul and I were driven around the north of the city by a realtor (real estate agent). Nancy Hearon was recommended to us by Polly. Nancy is super-efficient and had arranged for us to visit 6 properties to gain both an appreciation of what our money might be able to rent, and a feel for the neighbourhoods of Lincoln Park and Lake View. The first property we visited was a very grand and impressive apartment that, although within our budget, did not have the key criteria (open plan kitchen / living, internal laundry, the ‘L’, Lincoln Park Zoo...) - we would have taken this place on its immense size and fantastic kitchen alone (each bedroom had its own ensuite - including one next to the ‘maid’s room’!). The second property was less than appealing and reminded me of the overpriced student hovels to be found in South Yarra (Melbourne). The third property we saw struck both Paul and myself as being perfect for our needs. A little small, with a couple of flights of stairs to negotiate, this apartment in Lincoln Park seems to fit the majority of our criteria. We are putting in an application for it tomorrow!

As the age gap closes, Luc and Nic are becoming better and better mates. Nic really responds to Luc and, as a result, Luc pays him more attention. Nic has started to ‘mouth’ items. Luc became a little anxious as he first handed his toys to Nic, and then retrieved them from Nic’s mouth “Nic... no bite Buzz” “No bite Zurg”, “No bite Woody”...

Paul has started a second blog (!) that is less technical and concentrates more upon his ‘take’ of Chicago. Check it out at

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