Monday, July 18, 2011

Melting In The Northwoods Of Wisconsin

This is the week my daughter and I along with my parents make our annual trek to the north woods of Wisconsin for what usually is a relaxing week. I usually spend most of my time reading, or spending it in the bustling town of Minoqua for a little shopping or going to the beach. Megan goes fishing with my Dad, much to the happiness of my Mom cause then she doesn't have to go with him!

So this is the week I recharge my batteries you can say.

Except this year is a little different!

Megan and I usually rent a cabin for this week that we go up north. Last year we decided to try a new place and reserved a 2 unit cabin. Meaning Megan and I took one side and my parents took the other. Each unit has two bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen/living area. When we reserved last year for this year we decided to tent camp it this year to save some cash, so we reserved a campsite instead. We were gonna be at the same place, Big Arbor Vitae Campground, as my parents anyway.

We hadn't tent camped in years. The hubby hates it, but I was looking forward to it. I don't mind it at all, well unless it is 95 out and no wind. I had been watching the weather and it did not look good. The forecast was for the hottest week of the summer so far!

This is our second day here and the heat is driving me crazy! It is even too hot to go to the beach. The thought of building a campfire and having s'mores, no way! We just don't feel like doing anything. I'm beginning to ask myself whose dumb idea was this anyway?

It is so hot I do not care what my hair looks like or what I wear! That it just crazy. Makeup, what a joke it just melts off anyway. This is about as far as Paris as I can get. I wonder if the Parisians sweat like this? They always look chic. I DO NOT look chic right now!!!

As if that wasn't enough, last night we had storms. Thunder, lightning and a downpour. Actually the stuff in the tent faired pretty well. I have a double inflatable bed that sits on a frame off the ground. Thank goodness cause the floor was wet. We waited the storm out in my parents cabin although all the other tent campers went to the shelter.

The big question is. Will we tent camp next year? I will wait to see what the rest of the week holds. It is only Monday and supposedly Wednesday will be the hottest day yet!

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Chicago, Fireworks, and U2 Part 2

Day 2 of our Chicago adventure started out with breakfast at Yolk on south Michigan Avenue. If you ever head to Chicago, you have to get to this restaurant for breakfast. There are 2 locations in Chicago. It was right next to our hotel, so it was perfect for us. I have to suggest the strawberry orange juice. Yummy!

After breakfast we were off to Shedd Aquarium. Megan and I had been to Shedd a few times before, but she wanted to go back. It was a plus we went right away in the morning cause we had no long line to wait in. The Shedd is a must see and you can easily spend almost a whole day there, but we went through pretty fast. We skipped the dolphin show this time around. The Jellies exhibit was really cool. I was amazed there were so many kinds of jellyfish.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around getting a little shopping in. Back at the hotel about 5:00 it was time to get ready for the big event.

We headed over to Soldier Field about 6:30 or so. We planned on getting a bite to eat there. Okay I was so excited for this show. I couldn't wait to experience this with my daughter. I had taken her twice to see Miley Cyrus in Milwaukee, so she had some concert experience before. To me though, there is nothing like a U2 concert. Especially with the massive claw.

After we had our bite to eat, we went to find our seats. We ended up in section 339. Which was stage left, Edges side, 3 sections up from the floor. They were actually great seats and would give us a great view of the whole setup. When we sat down all Megan said to me was "wow Mom". I could tell she was gonna like it!

Interpol was the opening band so we watched them and then had the seems like forever wait for U2 to take the stage. It didn't take too long and before we knew it we could see them coming in and entering the back of the stage. Course I got chills like I always do and up on our feet we were. There was only a couple of times we sat down during the show. We noticed the people sitting behind us sat the WHOLE time! I really could not understand who goes to a concert and sits the whole time! Not me and certainly not anybody else around us from what I was seeing. Well everybody but them! Oh well! Anyway Bono looked to be in top form and when he sang "Miss Sarajevo", oh my gosh words cannot describe it! That was one of the highlights for me. I just love this band! I kept having to wipe my eyes!! A couple of times I leaned over and asked Megan what she thought and she told me she loved it! Funny cause she was most taken with Adam! She thought he was so cool! Course and the night was rapped up with an impromptu "One Tree Hill". Which made it a very memorable night!
So I don't know when they will go out on the road again after this 360 tour, but the best part is I can now share it with one of the new generation of U2 fans whose parents listened to this great band since its beginning. U2 brought my 13 year old daughter and I closer together, by sharing this great experience. One neither one of us will ever forget it!

That brings me to the end of our Chicago 2011 vacation. Next day it was boarding the train to go back home and leave behind Chicago, fireworks and U2.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chicago, Fireworks, and U2

I patiently waited 2 years for U2 to come back to Chicago. Like every other fan I held by breath last year as word was received that Bono had took a nasty tumble that required back surgery and the cancellation of all their north American tour dates last year. When it was announced that they would reschedule those dates I was so happy!

This time around I had planned on taking my 13 year old daughter along for her first U2 concert experience. Last time they were in Chicago, we had general admission tickets, which meant we waited in line outside on a hot September day from 7am till the time they let us in the stadium to take our places before the opening band Snow Patrol started. It was brutal and I knew she would not be able to do that in the July heat this time around. So we opted for seats.

Chicago is probably my favorite city behind Paris, so I am always happy for the chance to get there. I love driving to Kenosha Wisconsin and getting on the Metra train that takes us right in the west loop part of the city. I feel like such an urban girl!! It was a big bonus to travel there on July 4th cause fireworks in Chicago... Can't beat that, even though to save money the city ditched their usual Grant Park display in favor of the regular show that Navy Pier puts on twice a week in summer.

We made it to our hotel Best Western Grant Park before noon to drop our bags off. We choose this hotel cause it was the closest to Soldier Field where the concert was to be held. From my experience in ' 09 trying to get back to the hotel after the concert was just craziness with 65,000 people leaving at the same time. This time we were gonna be close enough to walk!

First thing we did after lunch at one of the many Corner Bakeries in the city we took a Hop on hop off Gray Line bus tour. It was hot, but as long as we were moving it was okay. I had been to Chicago several times before, but my friend was a newbie to the city so we did the tour. Turns out I really enjoyed it. It went to areas I don't normally get to. We hopped off Near Hershey's to get our chocolate fix! If that wasn't enough we had to go to Ghiradelli's for an ice cream sundae too! No dinner for us! By this time it was early evening and we wanted to get back to the hotel.

We had the greatest view of Navy Pier from our hotel window. Would we be able to see the fireworks without leaving the hotel? We were all pretty tired and just wanted to stay in. We were relaxing when we heard them! What a great view we had of those fireworks! Perfect way to end our July 4th. The show didn't last long, but that was okay. We had a long day coming.

Part 2 coming soon.....

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