Friday, June 1, 2012

Refueling A Hybrid

I was reading an article in last week's paper about introverts and extroverts. Seems that research shows an extrovert is charged up by hoopla: hustle and bustle, sights and sounds, new things, challenges. The introvert finds all this draining, and prefers quiet and control to find strength and focus in her life. The author wrote that research shows if we allow people to find their own approaches to fitting in to the world, either personality type can find success and satisfaction. When I was a child, I was quiet around all but best friends. But because I spent a lot of time preferring the company of adults, and studied their more orderly world, I learned several things about myself that I have carried over time to have success in life: you don't have to be Queen of the prom to be Queen of your own life; it's okay, maybe preferential to be different from the gang; persistence pays off; being confident means not being afraid to be alone. I have also come to realize that while people may be generally "intro" or "extro" in their approach to life, I am a fine example of the Hybrid.

Most days and weeks of my life center around a quiet, if busy, home life that allows time each day for artistic pursuits, exercise, reading, and contemplation. And most days this solitude fills me with great satisfaction and the ability to concentrate on the creative life. The part of me that thrives on this is the introvert; the girl who always (and now) hated noise and confusion and needs to be alone to do her best work. But every so often that girl becomes drained of energy and needs a refuel, and when that happens the best way to charge all the batteries is to plug in to the energy of the city: to let loose the extrovert side, see and be seen, revel in big, bigger and biggest.

My guy had not taken a vacation day off in over five months, and with plenty to spare we decided to make the occasion of a concert the excuse to enjoy spring in a more invigorating environment. As regular readers know, my city of choice is the one lying a mere one hour to North and West, embodying all the art, culture and views  a person could require to inspire a creative burst. This is some of what 26 hours in Chicago bought us. (And by the way, this interlude was just days before the NATO summit, as the city made plans to disrupt the lives of normal folks in favor of showing off the riches to the world. What we experienced on two perfect weather days was an extremely quiet and low key downtown with light traffic and little hassle anywhere.)

Wine flights are the thing at Bin 36, part of the Hotel Sax building, adjacent to the famous House of Blues and Marina City.

L'Chaim! I love an empty restaurant at lunch, knowing this place can be totally booked at other times.

Walking Michigan Avenue on the way to Crate and Barrel, I snapped pictures of floral inspiration for my "Flower Crazy" class.

The concert hall (Chicago Theatre) was literally around the corner from our hotel. It's hard to believe I've been a fan of Steve Winwood since junior high and the man is still making such fine music. The audience on the other hand...don't get me started on spectator manners these days.

As always, an amazing view from our hotel. The "corncobs" of Marina City from the other side of the river this time.

Lying in the window seat trying to capture the lightening lighting up the sky around the Trump Tower. No luck.

First thing next morning, a reminder of my kitty, who is home alone. If he could call us he would. Instead we look in on him with a "nanny-cam".

Instead we request a goldfish to keep us company. As far as I am concerned they are all named Fiona after our first one in Portland. (The Monaco there gives them introductory name tags.)

The rooms are very elegant and make you wish you had more more to just laze in bed, but we must be off to get that recharge!

On the way to Blick's, some colorful sights include spider men...

A "green" service...

A remnant of another era in the clocks at the corners of the  former Marshall Field's store.

As Art Institute members we were able to attend preview days (and pre-crowd days) of an amazing exhibit of the life and works of Roy Lichtenstein. The only thing negative to say about it: we were both a bit headache-y after looking at all those dots for over an hour. Lunch in the courtyard restaurant gave us time to recover our perspective.

Since, unfortunately I wasn't able to take any photos of the exhibit to show you, I can only share the similarly dotted table on which I ate a most excellent lunch of huge shrimp on cheese grits. Yes, that is a biscuit, and no, not an optical illusion. Just the tiniest biscuit in history. Good, because I'm watching my calories. 

We decided to leave the building by way of the bridge from the modern wing to Millennium park, with some of the most wonderful views on the lakefront.

Look quick! You can just see the bus turning the corner covered with an ad for the Lichtenstein exhibit.

If you've never been to Chicago, you might think we were somewhere coastal. But no, that is Lake Michigan.

With the Modern Wing of the Art Institute behind me, I am enjoying a rest in the amazing prairie-like Lurie Gardens.

Under the "dome" of the Millennium Park band shell (designed by Frank Gehry), another view of my wonderful guy wearing my art.

And so ended a short but tasty tour of some of our favorite spots along the refueling trail. Enough to satisfy for a little while at least. But with all the painting and stitching I've been doing lately, I'm bound to run low soon. At least I know where they keep the juice.


  1. Super tour of the big city, Cheryl, including some familiar sites. Always good through the lens. Thanks for the recharge!

  2. Chicago looks amazing Cheryl...thanks for you little tour. Your guy looks great in his upcycled demim jacket.

    I think I fall into the introvert category creatively. Love peace and quiet, order (in this somewhat disordered life of mine).

    Great post.

    Jacky xox

  3. well this was just a great post, i rambled along with you and totally understood...

  4. Hi, Cheryl. Chicago is such a fascinating place. I enjoyed your view of it. Very funny, an hour with the Lichtenstein dots! Also found your comments about the introvert and the extrovert interesting. I used to be painfully introverted and nobody believes it when I tell them. But maybe it helps to be partially introverted when doing artwork? Great post!
    best, nadia

  5. I lived in Chicago many years ago...right on the Lake on the 16th floor in a high rise. Chicago has changed a lot since I lived there but still the core is the same.