Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Greetings from Waukegan, Illinois!

Yesterday was a fairly good day, marred, on my part, I'll admit, by a bad mood brought on by a looming column deadline, absolutely no idea for a topic, and, it seemed, by no time to write it. And having no time to write a column for which you have no topic is not a key to happiness.

But, on the way back from the Brewers- Marlins game last night, the idea came to me, I felt a palpable sense of release and relief, as if someone had removed a hundred stitches that were knitting my innards together, and I got up this morning at 7, wrote it, sent it in, and now I'm here with you.

We made excellent time to Chicago, got here in plenty of time for browse the Borders on Michigan Avenue before Michael met his lunch appointment, and then Joseph and I set off for our own lunch - I settled on the cool uber-food court spot at Water Tower Place called foodlife where I could get a great bowl of big flat noodles with chicken and vegetables and some incredible spicy Asian sauce, and Joseph could enjoy chicken noodle soup and (mostly) crackers. Then we strolled a bit down Michigan Avenue, ending up at the Terra Museum of American Art, which is really just the right size (and price - $0) when you have forty minutes and a two-year old in a stroller. I was most impressed by a small exhibit of some Whistlers that was truly revelatory to me.

Then back to Water Tower Square, where we studied the horsies until Michael reappeared. Drove up Waukegan way, checked into our hotel, checked out an outlet mall, then it was up to Milwaukee where I saw, for the first time, the renovated Cathedral which - hold your breath - I didn't think was that bad. Sure, it's a little chilly, and sure, part of that is because the tabernacle is off to the side and the sanctuary has been stripped and organ pipes arranged in a way too prominent fashion, at the expense of any other kind of decoration or art...but I did like the Corona and Crucifix sculpture and I even liked the statue of Mary (which Michael didn't like). So sure - what most of the critics say is probably correct, particularly about the sanctuary, and particularly about the dearth of art. But it's not a hopeless case.

And then to the game - the new stadium up there is very attractive, very impressive. Too bad it was only about a third full. But, although I was still in a creative funk, I could appreciate it, and particularly the nice play area right behind our section where Joseph could run like mad. I always appreciate spaces where Joseph can run like mad.

More later.