Monday, June 28, 2010

Smiling with pride.

     I picked up one of my bestest friends, Ashley M at 8:45am.  As I sat in her driveway, I thought to myself, "Is this an awful idea?"
     With my windshield wipers on full force and the rain refusing to let up, I wondered if we were making a mistake by starting this journey into the city.  As I looked down at my outfit of a turquoise summer dress and flip flops, I was ever so thankful that I brought my disposable poncho that I had originally bought for unexpected down pours in Ireland and never used.  Luckily, Ashley M (or Shley, as I have always called her) had been in contact with a coworker and resident of Chicago, and the rain had not hit the city just yet.  We decided at that point that whatever happens, happens and we would just go on with hopes that the terrible storm above us would move far away from Chicago.
     We made our way down I-90 toward the city, with a quick stop at my friend, Madeline's home in Oak Park.  Our little stop in Oak Park helped verify my love for that town.  The trees, unique houses, and its closer distance to the city all make it that more appealing to me. 
     We took the green line train from Harlem, transferred to the red line train at Lake and landed at the Addison stop next to Wrigley Field.

The weather was beautiful at this point... sun shined down on...
Chicago's 41st Annual Gay Pride Parade! 

     We donned our sunglasses and were ready for "people watching mode".  I have never seen so many shapes, sizes, and colors of people all in one location.  People were dressed in costumes, others just wearing underwear.  
Some men were wearing headdresses, others just dresses. 

We even came across a man with a giant tropical bird on his shoulder.

     The parade made me so happy. Seeing how such support Chicagoans have for the gay community was a really great experience.  

The Chicago Police department showed their support.

The Stanley Cup arrived and helped bring the Blackhawks support to the parade.

The Chicago cubs had a float bringing their encouragement.

     People were dancing, smiling, cheering, and showing their love. It was fantastic. Days like this remind me how great Chicago summers are.
     I could have stayed and stared at people all day, but I had my first encounter with a thing called claustrophobia.  We were sandwiched between a big crowd that was enjoying the parade and the glass entrance doors to Center on Halsted.  People were sweaty, I was hot.  It was muggy outside.  The temperature kept on rising. The sun was out, beating down on the pavement, and the music was loud. It was a glorious time, but I needed to breathe!  We stepped out of the crowd and backed away for awhile and from a distance I enjoyed the scene.  Next time I go, I will be better prepared with coolers, chairs, and an earlier trip into the city to stake out a good location.  Overall, a fantastic experience and one that I hope to experience again in the near future.

Smiling with pride.
Shley and Me

    Madeline and Justine (Madeline's high school friend who found us)

My Spring & Summer Fun To Do's
  • DONE Go to the beach
  • DONE Go to a museum
  • DONE Seek out photo ops 
  • DONE Go to Ireland (June 2-7)
  • DONE Kentucky Derby party @ Mike and Shley's (May 1)
  •  DONE Visit the Sears Tower (not Willis darnit!) Skydeck
  • DONE Have a bonfire
  • DONE Paint pottery
  • DONE Lake Geneva trip with my favorite ladies (June 17-19)
  • Go for a long (for me) bike ride
  • Go to my cabin  (July 10/11 and Aug 7/8!!)
  • Ride a roller coaster
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Have a picnic
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to a concert
  • Pride parade (June 27)
  • Volunteer
  • Play bocce ball
  • Gamble at a casino
  • See a movie in grant park
  • Go to a cubs game
  • Pitchfork music fest (July 16-18)
  • Play tennis
  • Go camping
  • Chicago Jazz Fest (Sept 3-5)
  • Paint with acrylics
  • Oktoberfest Chicago (Sept 24-26)
  • Summerfest for the 4th of July in Milwaukee, WI
  • Sturgeon Bay, WI for my birthday with a few of my best ladies (July 21-23)
  • Family Picnic (July 24)
  • Possible South Carolina Trip (mid September)

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