1. I had such a nice birthday on Tuesday! I will forever appreciate that my company lets us take our birthdays off without docking our PTO. Not having to go to work (and all the things that come along with going to work, namely having to be somewhere by a certain time and stay there for a certain amount of time) is a treat.
I ended up spending just about my entire day visiting museums with free admission on Tuesday. I started at the Shedd, then went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and ended my day at the Chicago History Museum. I’ve been to the Shedd several times, but I hadn’t been to the Chicago History Museum since I did my internship in Chicago in the spring of 2011, and I’ve never been to the MCA.
I didn’t spend much time at the Shedd–I mostly just wanted to see the penguins. I watched them for awhile, then swung by the otters (who were grooming themselves, which was truly the cutest thing. They didn’t just lick themselves like some animals do, but literally scrubbed themselves down with their paws. You can get an idea of what it looks like from this YouTube video. Try to tell me that’s not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen!). I also visited Underwater Beauty and saw some pretty fishies before calling it a day after about 90 minutes.
It was, all things considered, nice outside, so instead of taking the CTA to my various destinations, I decided to walk to all of them! I had the loveliest stroll through Grant Park and Millennium Park on my way to the MCA.
I also stopped for a brief bird watch at the Lurie Gardens. I saw a male Common Yellowthroat and some other bird I couldn’t ID – possibly a Swainson’s Thrush, but I didn’t get a good enough look to know for sure.
I went to Starbucks for lunch to redeem my free birthday reward on a sandwich. The barista obviously knew it was my birthday, since I had to bring up wanting to use my birthday reward in order to use it, and it’s only valid on your actual birthday. After ringing me up, she asked me if I wanted anything to drink on the house! I asked for an iced tea, and she gave me a free Venti iced tea! I could NOT believe it! I thought that was so nice of her and very much appreciated it.
I ate my lunch and then continued my walk up Michigan Ave., where I discovered Garrett’s Popcorn handing out free bags of their Garrett Mix in honor of their anniversary! I don’t know if Garrett’s actually opened on Sept. 18 or if it opened sometime around Sept. 18, but either way, that was a fun birthday surprise.
I swung by Nike to take a look at the official marathon gear ahead of the expo, and then went to the MCA. It…was maybe not for me. Or rather, the biggest exhibit they have right now, I Was Raised on the Internet, was maybe not for me. I thought that I would get a lot out of it, since I would say that I fall into that demographic, but I mostly…didn’t. I think Steve Johnson’s review of the exhibit in the Chicago Tribune hits on why I struggled to appreciate it:
“How you feel about ‘Internet’ will, probably to a large degree, come down to how you feel about video art. … Have a hard time connecting with video that isn’t rooted in narrative (ahem), and you may wander through these rooms with something of a blank stare.”
After that, I walked to the Chicago History Museum, which is a bit more up my alley. I didn’t have nearly as much time there as I would’ve liked, since I needed to get to dance. Regardless, I loved the parts of the museum I did have time to see, and if I have PTO to spend at the end of the year, I might take part of another Tuesday off just to visit the museum.
(Paraphernalia from the 2016 Cubs World Series win was obviously not at the museum when I last visited in 2011 😛 )
All in all, it was truly a perfect birthday. I especially loved my walks between museums: just over four miles total, mostly though areas I rarely frequent. Couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my day!
2. Random fun fact I learned about my birthday while reading the September 18 Wikipedia page yesterday (as one does). On leap years, September 18 is the 262nd day of the year. That means in 2016, I ran 26.2 miles on the 262nd day of the year, which also happened to be my 26th birthday. If that’s not my biggest numerical coincidence accomplishment ever, I don’t know what is.
3. Since the 20 miler is on Sunday, I had last Friday night free, and chose to spend that free time at Tootsie, currently doing its pre-Broadway premiere here in Chicago.
I really only went because the show is for sure transferring to Broadway in the spring with the cast putting on the show in Chicago, and if this season of Broadway is anything like last season, basically every single new show will end up nominated for a Tony. This was obviously the most convenient opportunity to see an original Broadway cast, so I wanted to go just in case it was really good, honestly expecting next to nothing out of it.
Oh my gosh. You guys, it was SO good. SO, SO good. And hilarious! Like, abs-hurt-from-laughing hilarious. The show I saw was technically a preview, so I’m sure things will change between what I saw and the actual opening on Sept. 30, never mind what will happen between now and its opening on Broadway. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend going.