Friday, August 29, 2008

An adventuresome visit with Morton!

Lynn and I had the wonderful opportunity [Lynn is still questioning my enthusiasm after 8 long hours and sore feet to boot if he had a good time or not.] to tour Chicago's world acclaimed Morton Arboretum, which is located in Lisle, IL. The Morton Arboretum is one of the largest Arboretums in the country. This is the same ‘Morton’ who is the founder of Morton Salt and has ‘Morton’ factories surrounding the Great Salt Lake. The Arboretum’s 1,700 acres is the home to 4,000 different species of trees. In fact, 185,000 plants, bushes and trees, from various global terrains, have been catalogued and are viewable while touring the 14 miles of hiking trails and nine miles of roadways.

Lynn and I, of course, started our tour on the tram that shuttled visitors around the park. After our guided tour we took our car around the park so I could get better pictures of the Arboretum and plant life. Some of our favorite moments were walking through the interactive ‘Children’s Garden’ and the ‘Maze Garden’. They were spectacular and so fun to explore. This summer the Arboretum’s landscape was dotted by humongous ants. The ants were made entirely out of wood fibers and sticks. I hope you can see in the pictures the intricate detail of the ants.

I apologize in advance for all the pictures, but I did scale them back from what I did have for our blog site. You are viewing the short(er) version of our visit to Morton Arboretum. Sleeping Lynn slept through most of the complete epic screening of our trip.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

(TSO) Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Okay Okay!!!! I know it is early but if you have never had the chance to go to a TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) concert and you like to listen to rock like I do on occasion, you will have to either go to one of TSO's concerts or purchase one their albums. TSO only does Christmas concerts and their tickets are going on sale shortly. If you have never heard them, I have included a link on the side margin (Wait for the page to finish loading before clicking on one of the song titles in the side bar, then sit back and enjoy a few moments of one TSO's Christmas songs.). I am sure that you have heard some of their music before. Shelly and I have been to 2 of their concerts and have seen children from 2 years of age to people in their 80s. Shelly had to drag me kicking and screaming to the first one I went to. After the concert was over I told Shelly that we would have to go to the next one when it came back into town. You can click here to go to their site so you can find when and where they are playing near you. I think that it is a great concert, but then again I have always been a bit strange.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chicago, at last!!!!!

Last Friday Lynn and I ventured into the west part of Chicago for a possible job opportunity. These are pictures I took from our car window as we were driving into Chicago. WOW!!!!! It’s a beautiful and spacious skyline. In October (2008), Lynn and I will be celebrating our first year in Illinois and this was the first time we ventured downtown. I am EAGER to explore more of the city. Lynn, on the other hand, said as we were driving into Chicago that he could see himself living in Castle Dale, Utah.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The future and the past!

Last Friday Lynn and I toured Walter Payton’s Roundhouse in Aurora. Walter Payton was an NFL Hall of Famer and played with the World Champions Chicago Bears. Walter renovated and (re)opened the Roundhouse in 1996. The Roundhouse is a restaurant and brewery. A museum of Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears memorabilia lie within the Roundhouse. The brick building is completely round and it was amazing as Lynn and I walked through the circle. Besides the restaurant and museum, we found a gift shop, piano bar, a comedy club, banquet facilities and a large ballroom. An open air courtyard is perfect for the setting. While we were touring the courtyard they were beginning to fire up the barbecues. The hot dogs, hamburgers, meat and chicken, smelled heavenly. Lynn and I were fortunate also in our wanderings to discover the Roundhouse brewery for rootbeer. Being the rootbeer coinsurers we are, we just had to try the rootbeer. Hmmmmmmm!!!!

The roundhouse was constructed in 1856 when Aurora was considered to be the site for a railroad car building and repair shop for Chicago Burlington and Qunicy Railroad. There were 42 car stalls which made a complete circle. An engine would come in and either pick up or deposit a railcar in one of the stalls.
A train depot was built later connecting to the Roundhouse. Today the train depot is the last or first stop (Depending on which way you’re traveling. Lynn and I are about a mile away from the Route 59 stop.) on the Metra Burlington Northern Santa Fe Line from Aurora into Union Station (downtown Chicago). The Roundhouse is the oldest existing limestone roundhouse in the nation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pretty good storm in Illinois

This week we had a storm come through that produced some 3 tornadoes. One tornado passed to the north and 2 to the south of us. The storm was awesome! I have never seen so much lightening at one time or from one storm. I captured two pictures of ligthening. I had to shoot the pictures through our windows because of the strong winds and rain, so our windows didn't cooperate due to the down pour of rain running off the glass.

This shot is what the sky looked like during a minor strike in the sky (a little light but not much.)

During some of the multitude of strikes in the sky it looked like this. (You can see a little tail of lightning coming out of the bottom.) The sky looked like this much of the time during the storm due to the tremendous amounts of lightening strikes in the air.

The house in front of the complex where we live looked like this.

This was my one good shot at the same location. If you click on the picture it will show it in more detail. I did not notice how intricate the lightning bolts were unitl I clicked on the picture.

This storm passed us at about 8:00 to 8:30pm when normally it would still be light outside. You can see how black it got.

Friday, August 8, 2008

August 08, 2008

Last weekend the sun went dark as the moon completely covered it. The total solar eclipse took place from Northern Canada to China. In honor of China and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, here is a picture of the total eclipse taken at Xinjiang, China. Due to the darkened sun, the planets Mercury and Venus can be seen in the upper left portion of the picture. The next total solar eclipse will take place in July ('09) and be visible in parts of China and India.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Garden Party

Every spring the Naperville’s business community sponsors artists to paint sculptures that dot Naperville’s downtown and Riverpark landscape. The first few pictures, within this slide show, are taken of Naperville's downtown community. Several of the sides of Naperville's buildings are painted with lovely murals. Bronze statues pose elegantly along city benches, outside of Starbucks Coffee, the public library, etc. all year long.

Naperville's seasonal statues have a theme this year titled, ‘Garden Party’. They are on display throughout the summer. In September the sculptures will be auctioned off. The donations will then go to Naperville’s United Way.

fyi: There are a few frog chairs and dragonfly benches that have caught my eye much to Lynn’s chagrin. If I bid on a few frogs and dragonflies statues I might come away from the auction as a new owner of a chair or bench; then, I have no idea where we will put it in our townhouse.