Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bucket List: Wrigley Field !!! Chicago Trip Part 2

In Part 1 of this Chicago Road Trip, I shared with you all the great places Ms. Wanda, Ms. Kathy, Ms Kim, and I saw just within walking distant of our wonderful room at the Waldorf Astoria, but the BIG BUCKET LIST check off came later that evening.  Ms. Kim was the one who requested me to make this trip happen because she had NEVER been to a professional ballpark to watch a professional baseball game!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat ????????  

I know!

It sounds crazy, especially when we can go west, east, and north and be in one of three MLB parks within three hours!

Come to find out, Ms Wanda was just like Ms. Kim: no professional baseball experience to claim! 

HOLY COW!!!


Now Ms. Kathy and I have seen our fair share of games at Wrigley, but this would be our first NIGHT game, so our Bucket List was going to become one item shorter too!  

When planning for this trip, I was able to find tickets on a site called VividSeats.  I found four seats in Box 11, Row 6, and the total price was $168.00 per ticket.  You cannot imagine how excited I was to score those tickets!  I've never sat that close to the field, just 6 rows from third base and very close to the Cubs' dugout!  Wooo to the Hooo!  I was a bit anxious that I would not receive my downloadable tickets until just  few days before the game, but they showed up right on time and printed off without a hitch.  Want to know something?  Tickets for those same seats for today's game are running around $1,700.00 per seat before all the taxes, AND for World Series Game # 3, they are running $10,000.00!!!! I'm thinking we can all gather at my house, eat well, drink well, and have a most excellent time for that kind of Moola! But there is still a rather big bit of Cubby Nation Wild and Crazy Fan in me to want to be there!

Now we had our tickets, our place to stay......next challenge was to find a way to get to the game. My nephew Josh, who has been to sooooo many Cub games told me all the down-low, what-to-know stuff, and suggested we try Uber, and that's what we were going to do when our very competent concierge said we would be fine to take the "L" to Wrigley.  This was another new experience for the girls.  I've been on London's Tube and Paris' Metro, so I knew how to read all the stop maps, but there was a bit of a learning curve.  Best rule as we got closer to the field and picked up more Cub fans, obvious with all their Cubby bling and swag, was to get off when the rest of the fans got off the train. We only had to go four stops, but that was still a ways up to the northside.  We did great going up, but it was an entirely different experience coming home.  Thousands of people trying to all get on the same train.....For this claustrophobic, there were many deep breaths, and what I breathed in wasn't always the "best" air.  We made it with a bit of humor and patience safe and sound to our room, but ACK!  We haven't talked about the game yet!


First, we arrived early enough to see some of the sights around the park before we went inside. I, being the big fan and not ever seeing the statues of some of my childhood heroes, of course hd to get a picture of the Big Three:

Sweet-Swinging  #26 Billy Williams!




The ever so loyal, funny, honest #14, Ron Santo


And of course, Mr. Cub himself, "Let's Play Two!"  #14 Ernie Banks!!!!!


I listened to them all play on WGN as a little girl, and on rare occasions watched them on WGN too. Here we are in our seats and hanging out by the field.



And you all know what Cub plays third base right?  Kris Bryant!  Google him to get a great shot at those baby blues he has.  Oo la la!


We had a great time watching the game, watching the people around us, getting to know the young men sitting in front of us who were quite friendly and good Cub fans.  By the end of the game, we were high-fiving with them and whooping it up!  We played Cincinnati, and were down two runs until the 7th inning when all sorts of magic started to happen with the Cubs' bats. Final score:


We won!  So it was a perfect night for all Cubbie fans!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bucket List: Chicago Trip Part 1

Around the beginning of August, I received a text from a friend asking for my help in crossing off one item from her Bucket List: She wanted to see a Cubs game in Wrigley Field.  Boy did she pick the right friend for this task!  I'm a Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Let's Play Two, Hey Hey! Holy Cow! Ryne Sandburg, Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, Kerry Woods, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Fly the W, life-long Cubs fan!  By the end of the day I received the text, I had four tickets 6 rows from third base and a fabulous room that would sleep four in style all for about $210.00 per person!  On September 19 we piled in to Ms. Kathy's car and headed north to watch the Cubs play the Reds at Wrigley Field.

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Have you ever gone into a hotel room and tried every light switch trying to figure out which one you want?  We oohed and ahhhed over this light panel!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Speaking of fun electronics....Yep there is a TV in the mirror!  How cool is that?  Our husbands are in for it because we all started taking notes on stuff like this!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Our fridge was well stocked, but we were of the BYOB mindset and left the goodies untouched. Check out the real freezer underneath!  WOW!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

All of these awesome amenities were down this hallway!  Outside our room, we even had a door bell!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Here we have our two heavenly beds with a choice of feather or foam pillows! We each requested an extra pillow.  No not for pillow fights, but it's nice to have a pillow to curl up to when the husbands are away.

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Ok, want to know a secret?

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

With the points I used while making our reservation at Chicago's Waldorf Astoria, we were able to book a Deluxe Room with Two Queen Beds for $38.00 a piece!  This room usually runs around $500.00! Hilton Reward points, AARP, Senior, AAA, Military and package deals are just a few ways you can also receive a discount on your room.

Once we were settled, we had some time to see a few sights before our game.  Where do four ladies go when in Chicago without the rest of their families???  Shopping of course, but a funny thing happened on the way to the stores..... We found this place!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Oh yes indeedy, we went right on in and sat down where the Coach surrounded us with his pictures on the wall.  You see, I was also a HUGE Chicago Bear's fan from the age of 1 on through the golden years of the "Super Bowl Shuffle" team.  I sobbed when Walter Peyton died, and I still love to watch footage of him playing.   It was just a tad bit before noon, so Ms. Wanda and I thought we should have Bloody Marys while Ms. Kim and Ms Kathy went with more tropical drinks.

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

We were right in the "Gold Coast" of Chi-town, so we walked in or window shopped at many stores just a wee bit out of our budgets, but we did score on some great sales at Water Tower Place!  On Level 7, the girls introduced me to a treat I had never experienced: popcorn from Garrett's Popcorn Shops!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

WOW!  Where has this wonderful place been all my life?

Guess what business is also located on the 7th floor???  Here's a hint.  It shouldn't be too hard for all you Cub Fans out there!

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

Holy Cow!  It's Harry's.  We dodged in there for another sample of beverages and light eating.  I even had my picture taken with the man himself, or at least part of him.

There is so much for a person to see and do in Chicago.  We went up on a Monday and came home on a Tuesday so we had to select one main goal and then see what else we could fit in to our schedule. With watching a game at Wrigley Field as our primary purpose, we needed to squeeze in any other stops as best we could, and it helped to have an awesome home base.  We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, and Peeps, I have to tell you it was a pretty darned near perfect place to stay!

 Bucket List:  Road Trip to Chicago to See a Cubs Game


After saying good-bye to Harry, we walked back to our hotel to get ready for the big game!  

Part 2 will be coming shortly, so tune back in!

In the meantime. I would love to hear about your favorite places in Chicago...


         
   

     What is you favorite place to eat in Chicago?


     What is your favorite place to visit while in Chicago?


     What is your best hidden treasure in Chicago?


Until next time Peeps, have a wonderful day,
and go out there and make a positive
difference in someone's life!





Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: The Waiting Place by Sharron Arksey

I did receive a free copy of this book, but all ides and thoughts are my own.

She had me on page 5 with words that echo the unofficial 11th Commandment at our house:

      "Never come to town without a list of things to pick up.  If you have to take the time and use the money up on gas, you have to make it worth your while."

Those words told me that Susan Davidson, the main character in Sharron Arksey's new novel, The Waiting Place, spoke with an understanding of the rural life I and many of you, my dear Peeps, know all too well.  Sharron's characters speak our language, ladies and gents.  She knows about rural living, about the highs and lows of raising livestock.   The voices of Susan, Susan's mom, Sandra, and her mother-in-law, Joan, tell of experiences, loneliness, and love of their men and echo many of the same scenes that we women play out in our own lives out here in the country.

I don't know if we all have similar lives or the world is full of coincidence, but I found myself in so many of the characters' words.  Set in Manitoba Canada, this story is about Susan as she awaits the impending arrival of her first child. There are ten chapters, and each chapter starting with her dilating 1 cm.  As she goes through the changes in her body toward birth, she introduces us to her husband Glen, her parents Sandra and Dave, her in-laws, Joan and Joe, and siblings along the way.  The perspective is predominately feminine, and it revolves around this lovely circle of life we lead and how we often find ourselves in The Waiting Place.  s

Let's dig into this story a bit.  The first similarity I found is that Susan lives in the house her in-laws lived in.  BINGO!!!  I live in the house that Steve has never left!  His parents lived here before us, and both sets of his grandparents lived in this house, at different times.  It is a natural progression that many established farm families pass down a home.  The "farm house" is usually central to our operations, and it makes good sense for the farm family to live there.

Susan's mom likes to go for walks in the country for the same reasons I do......

     "I like to go for walks in the early evening.  Not necessarily for the exercise....More for the solitude.  Thinking time, I call it.  Although I don't spend much time thinking.  I just walk, senses soaking in the sky and the ground and the space between.  The silence is a comfort, rather than a void that needs filling."  (p.51)

Love the walks I used to take here.   I haven't been able too lately due to crazy schedules and crazy knees that are headed out of their warranty period.  We all could do with a bit more silence and less noise right?

Another part of this family story that hits home is the frank discussion of life on the farm.  From death and taxes to trying to make a living at the mercy of weather and stock markets and global economics, readers unfamiliar with farming will learn some very hard truths:

About the control we have in our livelihood:

     "The weather is the predominant factor in the quality and quantity of our product and we have no control of the price of the product we do have for sale.  Those prices fluctuate from week to week and are influence by everything from politics to the price of rice in China." (p.81)


About raising cattle in a fluctuating market:

     " The last decade has been hard on cattle producers and many have sold their herd.  They've given up....On the other hand, if we keep our herd or add to it, we get called everything from methane gas production to e-coli contamination.  Damned if we do and damned if we don't." (p.103)

We have down-sized our herd these last few years from about 150 head of feeder cattle to no more than 40-50.  Prices have fluctuated from $1.62 a pound to $1.20 a pound for our beef while feed costs have been steady or slightly raised.

One of the most profound statements I found in the middle of a conversation between Susan and her mother, Sandra.  Sandra has decided to go back to University to enroll in Women's Studies, and Susan asks her how it is going being back on campus.  In the midst of her answer about living on campus among the city people , Sandra says,

     " 'I'd forgotten how city people think of us,' she added.
     [Susan replies] 'They don't think of at all.'
     [Sandra replies] 'You'r right Susan. They don't.' "  (p.108)

This is the main reason I and many of my friends started our blogging group so many years ago.  We want to bridge this disconnect between farmers and those who have moved away from the farm. Through sharing recipes, photography tips, storied from the farm, and Q & A posts we try to connect with our customers, our neighbors, our friends who are 3-4 generations removed from the farm.  It's very important that you think of us on the farm.  I know we think of those who don't quite a bit.

From the snippets I have shared, I hope you understand why Sharron Arksey's story strikes such a deep cord within me.  I promise I haven't revealed too much.  There are other arcs in the story, and by the end there is a baby and another new life to share the family farm experiences.  Will this child grow to love the farm and stay to care on the family business, or will this child find life off the farm more inviting.  It's a question all farming couples wonder about as a new life arrives.

If you are intrigued about this novel, you can by clicking on the book's picture below.  If you are feeling lucky, please leave a comment at the end of the post and enter a giveaway for a copy of The Waiting Place.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  Tell me if you farm or have a family farm and if you have any questions about our farm operation.


 A Waiting Place by Sharron Arkeey

Until next time Peeps, have a wonderful day
and try to make a positive difference
in someone else's life!