Wednesday, August 31, 2005


The Fambly came in to visit via the train, and I picked them up at a desolate Northwest side station called Grayland.*

There's a very scary-looking bar next door and new townhomes across the street; typical Chicago juxtaposition. We got out of there fast and headed to Gridlife's to pick up my new digital camera. It's a Canon PowerShot A510 recommended by the Hex. Apprently it works. (see plates below).

We ate salad and falafel sandwiches al fresco at Andie's in Andersonville (they have the same name, sort of, but the former is Lebanese, while the latter is Swedish) before visiting the Middle Eastern Bakery and the Swedish deli. Then we drove to the Golden Pacific Market --- where among the other Asian items they sell a Japanese can of soda with an aluminum top and clear plastic body.

We also stopped at Lake Michigan -- which boasted whitecaps and seagulls. We were also entertained watching the men cruise each other in the Montrose Harbor parking lot.

On the way home we drove past Joan Cusack's house. We stopped and stalked a bit -- saw two girls get out of a minivan and ring the bell.

Even more fun, though, was waiting for the train back to the Outlying Area. Many express trains were passing by, so we placed a quarter on the track to see what would happen (this is something we'd all seen in movies but never experienced first hand -- in my case because I've never been a 10-year-old boy... not that I know of anyway). We jumped as the first metal wheel ran over the coin and made a loud clang.

When the train was gone, we could see the round mark where the quarter had been. We searched and searched through the rocks. And then I found it. The quarter was now a smooth oval with copper-colored edges. We held it up to the light and saw, very faintly, the words "live free or die." Leave it to us to smash a New Hampshire coin on the tracks (now *there's* a Bob Dylan album).


*"Grayland, which was opened for settlement in 1874, extended West from Kostner to Cicero Avenue, between Irving Park and Addison. Subdivided by John Gray, the first Republican sheriff of Cook County, on a portion of his extensive farm, it grew around the Grayland station of the Milwaukee Road Railroad, which is still in active use today. Gray’s first home built in 1856 at 4362 W. Grace survives today in a remarkable state of preservation and is the oldest house in Irving Park. Gray later built a lavish mansion on the northwest corner of Milwaukee and Lowell to reflect his newfound wealth and it was a community showplace. Indoor plumbing with gold fixtures, exotic woods and expensive marbles highlighted his home. It was razed around the year 1915." (From Wikipedia)

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