Tag: Chicago

At O’Hare

Chicago, Illinois – December 8, 2014

Our weekend with Tyler ended. We dropped him off at base last night. This morning, Leslie, Hillary, and I lounged around at the hotel.

We left the hotel shortly after 11:00 for our trip to O’Hare International Airport. We dropped off the rental car and got on the shuttle for the airport. Once we made it through security, we began to look for a place to have lunch. After a little searching, we came upon Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant.  Although a little expensive, the food was delicious.  I had macaroni and cheese.  The women both had a sandwich.  Each of us raved about our meals.

After lunch, we found a wine bar near the departure gate for Leslie and Hillary’s flight to Colorado. The bar’s name, Bubbles.  A player piano made the atmosphere even more relaxing.

At about 14:30, we parted company.  Leslie and Hillary went to Grand Junction, Colorado, while I went back to Washington, D.C.

People rushing through the O’hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.
A pilot on his way to his plane at O’hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.
Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry

Chicago, Illinois – December 7, 2014

On a sunny but cold day, we drove back to Chicago to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. Tyler wanted to see the museum. I remembered seeing the museum in the mid-1980s. One of the exhibits I never forgot was the captured German U-boat. Tyler could not wait to see it for himself.
Upon arrival, since Tyler was in uniform, he received complimentary admission. Once we were in the museum, we stopped for the obligatory family photographs.

The new Navy Seaman with mom.
The new Navy Seaman with mom and sister.
The new Navy Seaman with the papa.

As we began our tour of the museum, one of the first things I spotted was a drawing by Salvador Dali. Because of our time in Spain, I found that very interesting.

A Salvador Dali drawing signed to the Museum of Science and Industry.

One of the exhibits had to do with the circus and side-shows in small-town America. Tyler and Hillary got a lot of enjoyment out of the exhibition and the photo ops.

I think our kids may be clowns…
…yep! It is confirmed!!
Two movie posters from the silent film era.
What?! A Navy Seaman at the helm??
I may have mentioned that our children are clowns…

We made our way to the U-505 exhibit. The exhibit centers around the German u-boat captured by the Americans during World War II. It is vastly different from when I initially visited the museum. Most notable is the fact that the submarine is now inside. Installations were showing the period newspapers and dioramas of sailors clinging to life after u-boats torpedoed their ships.
About halfway down the ramp toward the submarine, a young man met us to take our photo that we could purchase later. We allowed the picture.
Our submarine tour began at about 11:00. I did not recall a tour when I visited previously. I remember walking through the submarine. Regardless, the tour added a lot to our experience. There is not a great deal of space in the sub. One of the facts from the tour that stuck with me regarded the number of men on the submarine, 59, with only one working bathroom. I can only imagine the stench there must have been when the capturing American forces opened the submarine. One of the Americans haled from Grand Junction, Colorado according to the documents on display outside of the submarine.

This silhouette made on December 7 has an element of irony.
Various headlines in the U-505 exhibit.
A diorama in the U-505 exhibit.
A recruiting poster for the WAVES.
Another recruiting poster for the WAVES.
The u-boat U-505 as seen from the bow.
The starboard side of U-505.
Projectile holes near the insignia on the conning tower of U-505.
Onboard the U-505. This bunk area is shared with torpedoes.
The galley area of U-505.
The captain’s quarters on U-505.
The chadburn or engine order telegraph on the U-505.
The way to the top of the conning tower on the U-505.
Various communication tubes on the U-505.
Walking through the engine room of the U-505.
A small lion head on the U-505 caught my attention.
Another sleeping area on the U-505.
An epaulet on display on U-505.
The lead-weighted secret codebook from the U-505.
Sleeping may not have been so comfortable for this Navy Seaman on the U-505.
The captain’s log from the U-505.
One of the twin anchors on the U-505.
I noticed this medal of honor recipient, Philip N. Trusheim, is from Grand Junction, Colorado. The medal was for his part in the capture of U-505.
A Nazi flag from the U-505.

The main exhibit at the museum during our visit consisted of Christmas trees, each sporting the decorations of the country sponsoring the tree. For example, the tree sponsored by Brussels had waffles for decorations.

The Belgian-themed Christmas tree.
Christmas trees everywhere.
The Christmas trees were decorated in motifs from various countries.
Detail of a cross and ornament.
An ornament of Mary and Jesus.
There was nearly too much for the eye to take in at the museum.
Mickey Mouse decorating a Christmas tree with Pluto.
A central lobby in the Museum of Science and Industry.
Share the Magic with Pluto.
Marveling at the Christmas trees.
Share the joy with Goofy.
Share the tradition with Donald and Daisy.
Share the season with Mickey and Minnie.
The Holiday Shop.
The expanse of the central lobby filled with Christmas trees.
Looking down on the Christmas tree.

A Walt Disney Treasures exhibit also vied for the top spot of viewing pleasure.

Walt Disney’s book of Sleeping Beauty.
Portrait of Mickey Mouse that once hung in Walt Disney’s office.

There was so much on display in the transpiration area of the museum that it was hard to focus on the exhibits.

Model of a town in the transportation area of the museum.
Tail section of a United Boeing 727.
Detail of a diorama in the travel section of the museum.
The Spirit of America.
A German Messerschmidt.
The nose of the United Boeing 727.
A racing plane.
The racing plane and the Christmas trees in the central lobby.

We opted to have lunch in the museum cafeteria. I believe the quality of the food surprised us all. Shortly after lunch, we drove back north for a well-deserved nap.

Ahhh…the pause that refreshes!!

Below are some additional, random photos from our visit.  If the reader has not visited the Museum of Science and Industry, it is an absolute must-see if in the Chicago area.

A central staircase in the Museum of Science and Industry.
THINK. Part of a display at the Museum of Science and Industry.
A pendulum at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Interacting with the large circular disk full of sand.
The large disk filled with sand.
THINK about that photograph…
Purple silhouette.
Green silhouette.
Blue silhouette.
Some young women singers readying for a performance.
The young women meeting prior to their performance.
Green mirror maze.
Be careful in the mirror maze.
The blueish-purple mirror maze.
Tyler in the mirror maze.
The entry to the U-505 Submarine exhibit.
Christmas Market

Christmas Market

Chicago, Illinois – December 6, 2014

The first day after Navy boot camp graduation, we had lunch with several family members that live close to Great Lakes, Illinois. One of them told us about the Christmas Market happening in downtown Chicago. We decided to go check it out.
Our drive took about an hour. We found a parking space in a parking garage directly across from Daley Center, the location of the market. The elevator from the garage brought us into the heart of the shopping mall known as Block Thirty-Seven. We made our way through the mall to the exit onto North Dearborn Street. As we approached the glass doors, we could see across the street to the Christmas Market.
We went outside, crossed the street, and found ourselves immersed in a sea of humanity. It was challenging to navigate through the crowd. I saw several people pushing strollers through the crowd, which did not seem like such a good idea to me.

The Christmas tree towered over the Christmas Market.
The Picasso sculpture in Daley Center seems to be watching over the people at the Christmas Market.
People gathered at the fringe of the Christmas Market.
There were so many people at the Christmas Market that, at times, there seemed barely enough room for oxygen.
The Christmas tree in Daley Center.
The flags and a menorah above the Christmas Market at Daley Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Several vendors were selling Christmas ornaments and crafts. A few vendors were selling everything from nuts to pretzels. One very popular vendor offered warm wine in small ceramic keepsake mugs. We waded through the crowd to get our wine. It was quite good. Near the entry to that vendor was a German band. They played several Christmas favorites while we stood and listened.

Ah yes…warm wine in souvenir mugs…priceless!!
This particular shop at the Christmas Market specialized in the Christmas carousels powered by the heat of candles.
People gathered in front of a purveyor of German beer steins.
Detail of some intricate and beautifully painted Christmas ornaments.
This may have been our favorite shop. They sold all sorts of Christmas treats.
This woman served us some of the hot candied nuts. They were amazingly good!
The German band made the Christmas Market complete.

After exploring all that we wanted at the Christmas Market, we decided to walk a little farther north on Dearborn. It was very, very windy and cold. Chicago was living up to its moniker of the windy city.

Looking north on Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
A view to the east on West Randolph Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

We walked by a lively bar, Petterino’s. We went into the bar to find a seat and have a drink. We found none available.  We were close to the L.  I wanted to take some photographs of that iconic Chicago landmark.  So, Leslie stayed behind at Petterino’s to wait for a seat while Hillary, Tyler, and I walked to the elevated train tracks at Lake Street.  I took a couple of photos and then turned us all back toward Petterino’s.  Did I mention it was very, very cold?

A train passes over North Dearborn Street at Lake Street on the L (elevated rail).
A train seemed to pass by on the L every minute or so.
Looking to the east at Lake Street and North Dearborn Street. It seems to be a different world under the L.

Inside Petterino’s, Leslie had found a small table and two bar stools. We sat there for a drink while Hillary and Tyler stood with their drinks. The extravagant and eclectic Christmas decorations made the old bar feel quite cozy. The backlit sign above the bar caught my eye; “A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her.  W. C. Fields.”

A W.C. Fields quotation above the bar at Petterino’s.
The Navy Seaman and his sister at Petterino’s on North Dearborn Street.
The drink menu above the bar at Petterino’s.
The ceiling at Petterino’s had an eclectic Christmas feel.
Patrons at Petterinos drinking and dining below the actors who have appeared at the Goodman Theatre.
One of the Christmas ornaments at Petterino’s.
Detail of some of the decorations on the ceiling at Petterino’s.
A nutcracker on the ceiling at Petterino’s.
Hillary at Petterino’s in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Hillary was just happy the wine had arrived…

We finished our drinks, made our way back to the car, and began the hour-long drive back to the hotel area for dinner. We all enjoyed the trip.

A high-rise tower in the distance. It is near the Chicago River.
In a Christmas ornament, one can see the entire Christmas Market reflected.
A menorah visible above the Christmas Market.
The nativity scene on display at the Christmas Market.
A portion of the Christmas Market reflected in the windows of the Richard J. Daley Center building.
A lone pedestrian walking by a rack of bicycles in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
The McDonald’s at the corner of West Randolph Street and North Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
The marquee of the Goodman Theatre on North Dearborn Street.
Detail of the marquee at the Goodman Theatre.
The marquee for the Oriental Theatre on West Randolph Street in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
This panorama of Daley Center features the menorah, Christmas tree, Picasso sculpture, and flags.
Inside the Block 37 shopping mall across from Daley Center.
At Daley Center, the Picasso sculpture faced the Christmas tree.
Navy Graduation

Navy Graduation

Great Lakes, Illinois – December 5, 2014

We headed out early on the morning of December 4, headed to Chicago. Our ultimate destination is Great Lakes, Illinois, to watch the Navy Boot Camp graduation.
We all made it to Dallas without any hiccups. That seems to be the exception rather than the norm with our travels lately. It was cloudy and rainy in Dallas, but it was not significant.

Mount Garfield is seen shortly after takeoff from the Grand Junction, Colorado airport.
The view as the plane banked to the left shortly after departing Grand Junction, Colorado.
Flying in between the clouds on the way to Dallas, Texas.
Nearly on the ground in Dallas, Texas.

We arrived in Chicago at about 19:30.  Several parts of the airport were sporting Christmas decorations.

A festive concourse at O’hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois.

We retrieved our luggage fairly quickly and moved on to the rental car bus. A few minutes later, we were at the Enterprise desk. We completed the paperwork and got into our minivan.
About 50 minutes later, we were in Waukegan, Illinois, to check-in to the Marriott.
We arrived around 21:00. As soon as we checked-in, we went to Chili’s for dinner, then back to the hotel for some sleep before graduation the next morning. The hotel was packed with other parents and family members there for Navy graduation.
At about 05:00 on December 5, Leslie, Hillary, and I headed out from the hotel. Our destination was the Great Lakes Naval Base to watch Tyler’s graduation from boot camp. Even though Lorraine was with us, Tyler could only have three invitees attend the ceremony. Lorraine was OK with that because she would see Tyler at the hotel after the ceremony. Later, she would go on to Rockford, Illinois to spend time with her sister, Arlene.
It was a good thing we left early because TomTom sent us on a bit of a wild goose chase. We recovered from the questionable directions and made it into the line of cars waiting to enter the base. The line was already several blocks long, but it moved reasonably quickly. We parked in a parking structure and walked to the field house. We found seats in the grandstands and waited for the ceremony to begin.
From our seats, I spotted a concession stand. I walked to it to get drinks for the three of us. Once there, I noticed they sold boot camp coins. I bought two to add to my coin collection in my office.
According to the program we received when we entered the field house, we would watch 1,007 young men and women become United States Navy sailors. Tyler was one of those.

While patiently waiting for the graduation ceremony to begin, I noticed this collage of flags; the U. S., the Navy, and Colorado.
All of the state flags paraded through the venue prior to the seamen entering.
Apparently, we were not the only ones at Great Lakes, Illinois to watch the graduation ceremony…

When the ceremony began, it was hard to find Tyler in the crowd. When his division finally marched by, we saw him at the very rear. The division made it to their designated spot in the field house. That was the last time we had a good view of Tyler until the end of the ceremony. That was because the division was ordered by height. Of course, that placed Tyler at the very back. The service was very moving. It made us all feel very proud and patriotic.

Not the happiest Tyler we have ever seen, but it was still nice to see him!
The last “good” view of Tyler until after the ceremony.
All responded to a command.
The VIPs reviewing the seamen prior to the ceremony.
The Colorado flag.

Once the ceremony was over, Hillary ran down to greet Tyler!  Leslie and I waited in the stands for them to come to us.  When Tyler arrived, we both gave him a big hug.  Then we had to take the necessary photos.

Brother and sister hug after a long separation!
Making their way to the grandstands to greet the rest of us.
The newly minted seaman in his dress blues.
Brother and sister.
Mother and son.
Son and the papa.

We all left the field house and walked to the Navy Exchange to wait for Tyler.  He had to go get his belongings and check into his “A” school for culinary specialists.  We ultimately found out the NEX was not  the correct place to wait.  Instead, we had to go to the visitor center.  We did not pick him up until 16:00.  That made it a very, very long day.

With Tyler in tow, it was to the hotel and dinner with our sailor!

The seamen were ordered by height; so, Tyler ended up in the very back, under the exit sign.