"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


The weekend

No biking this weekend - coach's orders (rest and recovery) - so I got to sleep in and take some long walks with Jack, as well indulge myself a bit, as well.

How beautiful was the weather? See for yourself, if you were snowed-in in Colorado or something:

That night was a fundraiser for the Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association (GIPNA), a wine and cheese tasting to benefit the renovation of the historic bungalow at the southeast corner of the park. Note that my name is much prettier than my friend Tina's:

Why would anyone go to a wine-tasting and not taste each of the nine Cotes Du Rhone labels offered? By time we had worked our way down the list to the last wine, a Chateauneuf Du Pape, it was gone. People had been skipping all the rest, including three labels of white, plus a rose, instead tasting - no, drinking - all of the big, spicy wine for themselves.

Oh well. It was a fun time, still. Here's a rare view from the balcony of the Independence Park fieldhouse:

And inside the upstairs level, filled with neighbors drinking all that CDP while listening to some smooth, loungy piano jazz:

The rest of the evening saw us moving from another fun raiser at St. Edward's Catholic school - "Red Rock" - where parents' bands entertained friends and family in the school's gym. The place was right around the corner from the Irish-American Heritage center - basically a bar within an old elementary school - so, naturally:

We ended up at Queen Albert's, a Filipino restaurant and kareoke bar just around the corner from home. Serving great food until well after midnight, it was packed with natives from all over Chicago singing to robotic, MIDI accompaniment to generic white girls in bikinis in various states of pastoral beauty behind the words on the screen. Tina sang "The Gambler," Rob gave us an Elvis ballad, and I struggled horribly with a Sinatra tune. I learned the hard way that "Luck Be A Lady" must only be sung in front of a live band.

Sunday I took Jack on a long stroll through the Old Irving neighborhood, west of Pulaski, on our way to the Starbucks at Kostner and Irving to chill with a book for a bit. I was amazed at the houses over there, it was as though I were in Oak Park. Beautiful two- and three story single family homes along sunny tree-lined streets, fall color spilled everywhere. I was suddenly wistful - for what, I'm not sure - but I wanted to see Packards and Studebakers along the curbsides. These are from a stretch of Byron between Avondale and Kostner:

The rest of the day was spent in Greg's backyard, drinking cold beers over the fire and listening to the Bears game. Even a shitty performance like theirs couldn't ruin such a perfect day as this.

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