Nope, this isn’t a blog dissing Iowa (although my goodness, can we be any more backward and ignorant in the bills we are passing).


I took last Friday off (my wife didn’t have school) and we travel to Chicago. Now, I’ll fast forward to Monday. We #celebrateMonday, talking about what we did to clear our minds on the weekend to be focused during the week. I showed them the pictures we took over the weekend, then shared that when I told people we were going to Chicago, that two of their classmates and an adult in the building said, “Don’t get shot.”


I know! So I talked about how downtown Chicago was safe. I talked about how we walked everywhere without feeling the least bit unsafe. I talked about while there were homeless people visible, we have homeless people in our town, but we just cannot see them around us and because they are homeless, does that make them any less of people? It was a good lesson in just being empathetic to others around us.

We drove in on Friday, battled Chicago traffic going in, and a little bit downtown. We stayed right off of Michigan Avenue, down in the theater district. Our hotel room was “NY small” according to my wife, but it was doable for us. We had drinks, we had food, and we people-watched like crazy our table was right next to the window. As we were on teacher time, we were both tired, so it was an early night, but I’ll be we said at least a half dozen times, “This ain’t Iowa.”

Saturday, walking day! 🙂 We walked the Shedd Aquarium and I’ll admit, I’m very much a child in places like this one. As you walk in, they have the Caribbean Reef exhibit front and center, so the 12-year in me makes a beeline for it. We saw a sea turtle, hammerhead sharks and so many other colorful fish! Then there were the penguins, the beluga whales, the sea otters, the sea lion, the dart frogs, and the bigass tarantula (not a fish by the way). It’s been a while since we’ve gone through the aquarium, so there were many new exhibits that were both awe-inspiring and sad. Seeing these creatures close up is amazing, but the fact they have to be “caged” because of loss of habitat is just sad. Why can’t we see the beauty in our earth and work to save some of it?


Nope, I’ll be good! The highlight of our trip: Drunk Shakespeare


You got it. The troupe performs Shakespeare while someone is getting absolutely hammered. For each show, they select a member to do 3-5 shots before the show starts. The guy (Diego) was also drinking in the previous show, so he was pretty toasted to start. Then, he did his three shots and they explained the rules. There were two Shakepearan challenges. If Diego did well, he’d be spared another shot. If he didn’t perform, drink up. So, of course, he did two more shots DURING the program. By the end, he was not in a good spot, as you might imagine! People watching, again, happened because this was Chicago Theater Week, so the adult theater geeks were out and they were SO MUCH FUN! Don’t ever tell me that band/choir/speech/theater people aren’t cool. They are the coolest people in school, and watching them enjoy the show was almost as entertaining as the show itself!

The show was Macbeth, and it was a mix of classic Shakespeare with modern things thrown in. The theater is a library, with stadium seating. The cast was right there, so they interacted with the audience all the time, which gave it a very intimate and personal feel. We laughed for 90 minutes, I swear, it was that good even though it was Macbeth, not a comedy! The show got over about 10:00, so we went to the Irish pub (by name only) we’d gone to the night before, had a couple of drinks, and called it a night.

Sunday, we walked again, this time down the Magnificent Mile, on Michigan Avenue. We saw $900 sneakers, a $500 baseball hat, and a $20000 watch. It’s amazing to me just how far out of reach so many times are in our country to people. To think someone would spend that much money on these things is beyond me. I had problems allowing my wife to buy me a Valentine’s present because “oh I can’t justify spending that much money”. It’s part of my up-bringing, but it will show up, then I get scolded for being a penny pincher. 🙂


Hush. Sunday brought more traffic and a 5-hour drive home to gather things for Monday’s classes.

To close, take the personal days, go do stuff like this everyone once and a while. This was fuel for our souls because this year has been hard, too hard. Just being together, doing things together is exactly what we needed, and I’m so happy we made it work.

My Grammarly has crapped out, so I apologize if the spelling and grammar are not up to par.

I’ll leave you with this: we walked almost 11 miles between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. We heard at least 7 unique languages and saw so many different people. This was our second trip in as many years and we’ll probably keep going to during this time. It’s breaks up February and just gets us somewhere that is not Iowa.

And that is NEVER a bad thing.