Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 2010

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Dale and I were desperate to get out of the house–we’ve been battling dueling upper respiratory infections. And we decided to take in the Magnificent Mile Lights Parade. But first we stopped to take in the Macy’s to see the tree in the Walnut Room. It was quite a sight. The windows this year are also quite cute!

The parade kicks off with Minnie and Mickey mouse riding a float. As they pass each block along Michigan Ave, the block’s trees light up with little white lights.

I was a little excited to see Santa. It was pretty cold and windy–thus my pretty hair!

One of the big balloons in the parade was Frosty!

Dale’s favorite float featured his TV heroes Phineas and Ferb!

There were several sad balloons, suffering from weak inflation. This was one of them. Kind of a Charlie Brown tree. If it were made of wood.

My favorite balloon was easily Rudolph.

Dale was such a good sport. He was cold and trying to stick it out to the end. Finally he said, “I’m freezing. Can we go?” So I said, “Ok, just this one last float…” and sure enough it was the end of the parade and Santa was there! Awesome. I clapped with excitement because I am 10 years old!

It was nice to get out of the house and take a nice, long walk with a big hot cocoa. I’m planning on hitting up all the holiday traditions that I can.

Yellowstone VI: Where the Buffalo Roam

In my last post, I forgot to include this quick video snippet I took while at the overlook for the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone–it gives you my view and I thought it was pretty spectacular!

I’ve said repeatedly that we saw a lot of bison. And while we were there they were having babies left in right. It seemed like overnight there were dozens of baby animals everywhere we looked!

On the first morning in June we saw a spectacular sight–a herd of bison with a bunch of babies were frolicking in the valley beneath the road we were driving on. There was a small crowd and we made friends with some of the other lookie-loos. They told us that they were veteran animal photographers and that seeing a bison herd of this size moving rather quickly across the land was unusual.

Bison are pretty spectacular animals–the largest mammals in North America, I think. Anyway, they were making a lot of noise and grunting away across the plain.

Of course this was especially exciting because of all the baby bison that were herding with them. They are so cute! And they jump around their mommies in a very funny way, bucking and playing.

Wait for me, mommy!They were moving from one end of the valley to the other, through a marsh area.

They would move a smidge and then pause to drink.

The babies stuck close to their mothers.

An overview of the valley.

And another area, with mountains in the background.

I took a quick video of the bison as they passed.

After our bison encounter we were hopping to spot some otters in the wild. We hiked up a very, very steep hill (oy) and came to this pretty spot, Trout Lake. We’d heard this was a popular spot for otters but we didn’t see any. Otters were the one animal we really wanted to see in the wild that we did not see.

On our way back down–notice the slope, people!–we stopped so Dale could take this pretty picture (and so I could catch my breath).

Later that day, we spotted this gorgeous waterfall.

It’s hard to tell how spectacular this waterfall is–but Dale has helpfully created a way! Hee! That tiny white blur above the waterfall? It’s a car driving by on a road far above it.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

I started volunteering at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio in Oak Park this summer. It was quite the intensive training process but all I’ve got is time, right? Anyway, at the end of the summer they throw a party for volunteers and I got my graduation certificate. And now I volunteer to give home and neighborhood tours one day a month.

Let me know if you want to take my tour!

Yellowstone: Vacation Part V

Dale took some really spectacular photos in Yellowstone and he finally gave me some to post. I’m epically behind on blogging but I’m home sick with the plague so I’m playing catch up!

On our first day in Yellowstone we started at Mammoth Hot Springs. Despite it being a rather chilly day it was quite warm walking the boardwalks at the hot springs.

Steamy springs and chilly air create a ghostly cast over the water.

Another shot of the hot springs–they are literally hot. And kind of stinky. Like rotten-ish eggs, honestly.

Dead trees in the midst of the Mammoth Hot Springs. I composed this shot (and was very proud).

Mammoth Hot Springs. In the midst of the highest concentration of geothermal activity on the planet. Neat.

People walking out onto the boardwalk to get closer to the hot springs. I have no idea how the boardwalk doesn’t go bad really quickly. But then again? They probably do.

The famous terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs.

After we hung out at the hot springs we drove for a spell and found a pretty place to sit. It was warming up and we noticed that our sitting area had tons of little creatures busying about. And I spotted my first ground squirrel. I was so excited. I like the small rodents–it’s my thing. Seriously HOW CUTE IS HE?

There were easily a dozen ground squirrels and chipmunks in this picnic area–they are the park’s tiniest vultures, looking for scraps of lunch. They were very fun to watch.

Because we went in early spring we saw animals every few seconds–they were all along the sides of the road! It was really an unusual experience and from what we’ve been told you have to come to the park early in the year to see this variety up close. So we stopped for our first “bear jam”–when there is wild animal up close everybody stops to get a better look and it causes a traffic jam in the park. And I was astonished by how close some people chose to get to this small black bear. I was pretty far away and zoomed in. And then RAN back to the car.

There were a lot of molting animals and the elks were no exception. She was really pretty and just wandering by the side of the road.

Just a few minutes later we saw quite a few cars pulled over to the side of the road. We thought it might be a bear so we pulled over. But we got really lucky. This big-horn sheep was just wandering in a ravine right next to the road. It was the only one we spotted on the entire trip. He was just grazing.

Buffalo were not nearly so scarce–saw one every five minutes!

We stayed at this hotel for two nights. And we saw plenty of elk. Indeed, they surrounded the hotel all day long. They lounged on the front lawn and in front of the restaurant next door. It got so bad that rangers would have to come and bar people from getting to their cars. Elk are tolerant of people but you can’t come too close. They rule the roost at Yellowstone.

The snow was fading but still visible, depending on the elevation. Dale wants to go back in the summer so we can see the park in bloom.

Dale went to take a photo of a pretty scene and made a friend. This little chipmunk was very interested in Dale. He darted around him nonstop, inspected his bags, sniffed out his camera gear and eventually just sat near him. I was sad we couldn’t bring him with us.

It was a bit of a hike but we got to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It was  spectacular.

Gorgeous waterfall in the midst of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

And we ended the day with a lovely elk spotting–look at his velvety antlers.


Dale and I hadn’t carved pumpkins in awhile–and we’d done really elaborate ones last time (in 2005–we hadn’t cut a pumpkin since we moved here). So we decided to take inspiration from The Great Pumpkin. We paused the DVD and picked out our two favorite jack-0-lanterns from the Charlie Brown classic and ended up with these:

Sitting in front of our door.