My White Sox Adventure

I have been a Cubs fan since the days of Banks, Santo & Williams but I was born on the south side. That means a lot of abuse has been sent my way from south siders as well as anyone that thought me a dope for rooting for a bunch of perennial losers.

But all the while I have never hated the White Sox. In fact the pale hose have a special place in my heart. The first ballgame I ever attended was a Sox double header that my uncle brought me to. I still remember being awed by the red pinstripe uniforms because we only had a B&W TV.

It wasn’t until years later I discovered that the Negro League All-Star Game was often held at old Comisky Park, and for years they commemorated that by giving away Chicago American Giants caps as a promotion every year.


The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.
The 1936 Negro League All Stars at the old Comisky Park.

So even though I bleed cubbie blue I think baseball fans are lucky to have two major league franchises in this city and I still enjoy catching an AL game every now and then.

Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.
Jose Abreu, whose dinger would later seal the win.

After scoring a seat in section 520, sixth row even with first base for $5, I settle  back with my Lagunitas IPA and a much anticipated Bill Melton Brat. The brat was disappointment. It was pretty dry, overcooked and burnt in some spots. Since it was covered in onions there was no way I could tell until it was too late. Should have gotten the Beggar’s pizza instead.

This brat was not worth the heartburn that it gave me later.

Halfway through the top of the second inning a group of teenagers came in. Then another group. Then, I swear to God about 150 of them just swarmed in. Of all the empty sections in a pretty damn empty park this group of youngsters had been assigned section 520. I’ve got nothing against teenagers but I was kind of hoping to just enjoy the game and all of it’s nuances which you don’t really do if you go with a group because then it becomes more of a social event. A few years ago I was at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and was attempting to return to my seat after buying food. The usher stopped me and said ” Sir, please wait until the batter is finished” after which myself and all the other patrons waited until between innings to return to our seats so we wouldn’t obstruct the vision of the seated fans. Americans have no problem putting an ass in your face at any point in the game even if something crucial is happening. Hey, I need my third hot dog, you got a problem with that? With the kids constantly getting up and parading back & forth to the snack bar, by the third inning it was time to move.

The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.
The middle schoolers that took over my section. Notice the lack of fans in every other section.

Luckily for me since the park was so empty sitting in another section wasn’t hard to do. After moving to the first base side I was able to focus on the game which was 1-0 Astros. From then the game took a turn for better for the Sox as well. My guy Geo Soto (ex-cub) hit a home run to put them ahead and Jose Abreu, who was one of the reasons I wanted to see a Sox game in the first place hits a two run shot to give them a cushion and the Sox end up winning 4-1.

The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu's insurance home run.
The scoreboard celebrating Jose Abreu’s insurance home run.

Being at the park is fun if you have crazy good seats with parking included, but for me personally, the best seat in the house in in front of your HD TV with a clean restroom just steps away and unlimited food & drink at your fingertips.


So Long Stony Island?

A few months ago before the polar vortex turned Chicago into Chiberia, I was passing through the south side and got a little nostalgic. A lot of my youth was spent in the neighborhood surrounding Stony Island Avenue. I graduated from Hyde Park High School, lived on 57th & Stony for a few years and spent a lot of time in the Hyde Park area.


There have been lots of changes since I lived out that way, most of them good. Illinois Central Hospital was torn down and replaced with a section of the University of Chicago’s Lab School. The apartment building that I lived in next door is still standing. Across the street is the Museum of Science & Industry where I spent so much time I could probably be a tour guide.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel has introduced a resolution to the city council to rename Stony Island after Bishop Arthur Brazier of the Apostolic Church of God. Bishop Brazier was a community leader and founder and president of the Woodlawn organization. While I don’t doubt that he was a great man, I personally believe that money would be better spent on a scholarship in his name for students at Hyde Park or CVS. But that’s just me. Late word is Rahm has backed off his request for now. The Chicago Sun-Times reports there have been complaints about the cost and inconvenience to local merchants and residents.

A few blocks north is a place that used to be Chicago Osteopathic Hospital. That property Has since been converted into residential properties. I worked at Osteo as we called it twice. Once as a patient transporter once as a unit helper in the OB department. Got fired both times. I saw literally more than my share of births and deaths. There’s a reason many soap operas are based around hospitals. There’s a lot of gossip and a lot of sleeping around involving everybody from doctors, nurses, administrators, housekeeping you name it. Knowing what I know about hospital mojo, I couldn’t live in that place rent free.


Get out your wallet

Yesterday we received a love note from the City of Chicago Finance department. It was a safety speed zone warning notification. While I thought it was mighty big of them to only send us a warning this time, it’s a grim harbinger of things to come.

Seems ol’ leadfoot Lorenzo was laying down rubber on our beloved streets at the blistering speed of wait for it… 36 mph. This heinous act was committed around 2700 west Irving Park rd. Those of you in Chicago may be familiar with that area and I’ve attached the video that shows me( the green Honda on the right) approaching the hill that crosses the river neck & neck with another silver car. We’re both going about the same speed and with the flow of traffic.

Long story short this is gonna turn into a gold mine for the city. Along with the red light cameras and the parking meter debacle this could be their biggest cash cow yet. If you’re caught going 6 miles over the limit fines will be $35. 11 miles will cost you $100. You know who goes 6 miles over the limit? Everybody. And the limit is usually 30 mph and in some stretches 20 mph. Around schools I get it but “areas surrounding parks” makes this just sound like another part of the money grubbing revenue machine that this city has become.

Hey, at least we got the best pizza here right?  Right? Anybody?

We’ll leave the light on for you

night lighting outside a home
I would love to come home to this!

I took a walk around my Albany Park Chicago neighborhood around 7pm tonight.  It was dark, but the night sky still had a hint of lighting, a deep cobalt blue.  For me the exterior lighting of a house or building welcomes people and can set a wonderful, cheerful tone.  Though I was suprised by many darkened exteriors, I did find enough cheerful evening exceptions that made my walk even more fun.  Here are the highlights. The first photo shows a walkway with cute little lights and and the 4446 street address in an illuminated signpost.  How cute is that!

March lights
Every day can be a holiday

Next is a house that has what many would call Christmas lights still on its front bushes in March.  It makes me smile.  I bet if they have little kids they love it.

If these lights are still up this summer I may have to feature them again.  🙂

Here at lower left we have a bright house announcing itself among tons of other dark houses.  Even if someone doesn’t care about cheerfulness, this lighting has to make it safer than the shadowy neighboring houses.  Finally at the end of my evening walk, I come to our porch and see the door wreath I made, with daffodils for spring.  Some may say it’s tacky but to me it’s cheerful and welcomes positivity into the house.  I heard that in Russia smiling often is considered crazy.  If that’s crazy then I don’t want to be sane!  Here’s hoping your pathway is always well lit and your home always safe and welcoming.

porch at night
The safest porch on the block
door wreath for spring, night view
Our welcome home door wreath for spring

Splashes of color & spreading joy

I finally went walking today, to burn off some cupcake calories!  On my walk I noticed some houses and buildings that were painted in more stand-out, creative colors.  It’s these kind of details that make walking even more enjoyable for me.  As an energy reader I always see how pleasing colors of one’s clothing and home environment can uplift one’s energy.  I think the vivid color combinations in Lorenzo’s prints can cause the same positive effect.  I wonder if the exterior colors of these people’s homes uplift them as much as they do me on my walks.  I am grateful that they decided to stand out and provide some colorful joy to themselves and others.

house photo
Pumpkin - what a beautiful color for a house!
front door
A plum colored door - why not?
house photo
Minty green - serenity for the house