Friday, June 11, 2010

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Remember that children's book? I used to love to read it to my kids when they were little. Lately, that's what I feel like as I'm going back and forth between Chicago and the suburbs a couple of times a week. I love the city and even though it takes up a lot of my precious quilting time, I am thoroughly enjoying visiting while my daughter undergoes her Physical Therapy routine and Dr appts. Today is not going to be fun however--the parade and rally for the Chicago Blackhawks (Stanley Cup champs) is scheduled for late morning. That means several hours sitting in traffic as hordes of hockey fans descend upon the city . . . Go Hawks? 

It's fun wandering around, maybe because I don't have to live there anymore--I'm like a tourist in my own city. And I won't deny that there are a lot of scummy parts of Chicago, but there's also so much good. I found this cute little park across from the Newberry Library last week. A little knock-off of Central Park in NYC. Never even knew it existed.

I grew up in Chicago and after I had a job I got a small apartment a few blocks away from the lake. Chicago has an amazing lakefront and I always loved living there. My husband was from the suburbs and hated the city while we were dating--No parking! Noisy! Dirty! Crowded!--and when we got married and my job moved out to the suburbs we moved away too. I missed the lakefront but I was ready for a change.

When I lived there, I remember I couldn't stand the noise, the dirt, the crowds and the traffic myself sometimes and longed for a place with a garden and somewhere to stretch out a bit. Talk about stretching out . . . if I'd known I was going to become a quilter one day I would have bought a house with a few more rooms . . .

My peonies before they got ruined by the recent storms.

Now that I have my little house in the suburbs (with a large yard that keeps begging for lots of my time to turn it into a real garden. Be careful what you wish for  . . . ) I really miss the "energy" of the city. My son says that after college he's going to get an apartment there and my daughter wants to live there too eventually. Hope they'll both get decent jobs cuz I'm not paying their rent . . .

This is one of my favorite churches downtown, a beautiful old gothic nestled amidst the skyscrapers.

I always wanted to be married in this church, but by the time that happened, I was living somewhere else. THAT church had scaffolding up during our ceremony because 1 week earlier they decided that the chapel walls needed PAINTING and neglected to inform us until the rehearsal the night before! And they wouldn't take the scaffolding down just for us so the photographer had to work around it, LOL. I can laugh about it now.

My husband recently said "Wouldn't it be cool to sell the house when we retire and live in different areas of the country for a year at time?" I said "You mean like in an RV?" I don't know . . . Can I get cable TV in an RV?? Can I even take a bath in an RV? How would I quilt while the thing was moving? Maybe that's not what he meant but somehow I'm guessing living in a condo in the city may not be what he meant either.

At a business dinner for his company last year we talked to a couple who sold their house in the suburbs and bought a condominium in a high-rise building downtown to be closer to their grown kids. They were having the time of their lives going to museums and shows, dining at good restaurants, enjoying the lakefront and the freedom from home maintenance. I think if I could afford it I'd like to try that someday too. Just for a year though, because I know this city mouse would yearn for a little green space eventually.


  1. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and an other view of your town! Greetings from Holland and a nice weekend,

  2. Your pictures are beautiful. You seem to be enjoying the time you have in the city. I hope your daughter's back is feeling better.
    I love your little white picket fence and your beautiful garden.
    Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

  3. Chicago is a very nice town ! You are very talented to describe the dilemma between living downtown and in the suburbs at different ages of our lives. At least my husband has not yet the idea of moving all year long for his retirement : I could not stand it anyway !

    I love to see that we have the same peonies, but mine are also ruined by storms this year...

  4. I am definately the country mouse. My husband and I moved to the country when he retired, and are loving everything about it. Cities make me nervous...

  5. I really enjoyed your beautiful pictures, you can always visit the city and then go back to the country.

  6. Yes, that will have to do for now unless I change careers so I can afford to buy houses in both places!

  7. I love the pictures you share about your time in Chicago. The church is really lovely, the park looks so peaceful and your garden is beautiful. I am particularly fond of picket fences :) I hope these appointments are helping your daughter feel better.I love visiting the city of San Diego, but being the country mouse that I am it is always nice to come home to my little house. Hope you have a good weekend.

  8. I grew up in the suburbs and worked in the city for years. I have to admit I'm a suburban gal. My son and granddaughter were at the Hawks rally. He is one of those crazy Hawks fans. Thanks for the pictures that make our City look so pretty.

  9. It is a pretty city! Just trying to give a better picture. And I imagine it's a lot more fun to visit like I'm doing than it is to work there every day. Some days I think I'd prefer a different, cleaner city like Portland or Minneapolis, but this is where I live and my family lives so I make the best of it.


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