Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wrigley Field--Chicago Cubs-Celebrating 100 Years!

I've mentioned a few times, recently, that my husband and I were fortunate to spend a weekend in Chicago in early May.  I'm sorry that it has taken me a while to edit a thousand photos I took there, and also for a trip we took soon after that to California, but in between I was also delayed by having my laptop repaired for a glitch that was preventing me from staying connected to the internet (thankfully that was covered under my computer's warranty!)  We visited Chicago to attend an annual business event that the company my husband works for hosts every year--a rooftop viewing of a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field! It happens that this year is the 100-year celebration of the Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field!

According to this Wikipedia article, the Chicago National League Ball Club is the only franchise to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League in 1876. They are the earliest formed active professional sports club in North America.  In their history, they have also been known as the Federals, White Stockings, Orphans, Colts, Panamas, Rainmakers, Spuds, Trojans, Microbes, and Zephyrs. According to this MLB website, on New Year's Eve 1913, Chicago Federal League owner Charles Weeghman agreed to a 99-year lease on a small parcel of land located at the corner of Clark and Addison Streets on Chicago's North Side. At a construction cost of $250,000, a ballpark with a seating capacity of only 14,000 was constructed and named Weeghman Park, later to be named Wrigley Field in 1927. On April 23, 1914, the Chicago Federals played their first Major League game at the ballpark, defeating the Kansas City Packers, 9-1. Four days after opening day, the first renovations were made. The outfield walls were pushed back as much as 50 feet and the scoreboard was moved from left field to its present location in the center field. Many renovations later, Wrigley Field is the tenth smallest actively used major league baseball park, and the oldest National League baseball park.

We were going to be watching the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals at a "rooftop" venue outside the park.  The Chicago Cubs has a few official rooftop venues for left, center and right field, and there are also many privately owned rooftop venues. We were going to see the game at Brixen Ivy, a private executive rooftop experience.

As you can see there are quite a few rooftop venues across the street on the left field side of Wrigley Field. Brixen Ivy is the white brick building, third from the left.

There are three walk-up levels in the building. On the club level, we could pick up food, which was included in the all-inclusive ticket. The other levels had an indoor and porch viewing terrace, and the last level had an outdoor terrace with bleacher seats.

Beer and wine and non-alcoholic drinks were also included in the service.

The event was very well attended! Most of the people stayed inside to watch the game as unfortunately, the day was chilly and damp.

I went up to the true rooftop of Brixen Ivy to take photos. As you can see we had a great view of almost the entire Wrigley field from its stadium-style seats.

The rooftop terrace also had a bar and snack service and some tables and chairs, plus TV screens to view the game.

My husband and two of his invitees from New York.  We all stayed on top and enjoyed the game!

These were the rooftop seats on the building next to us

If you click on to enlarge this photo you can see many buildings outside the red brick right field of Wrigley Field that also have rooftop views!

More views of the game and of Wrigley Field.  The Chicago Cubs won the game, so all the fans were very happy!

I had to include this photo of a Chicago firehouse that was located on the corner, near our rooftop venue, as these lucky firemen also get to enjoy the Cub home games!  My oldest brother was a lieutenant in the FDNY for almost 30 years, and all firemen are true brethren.

That evening, my husband and I, and his guests at the game went to Lou Malnati's at the Gold Coast location, as per the request of his guests.  They are New Yorkers and wanted to try Chicago style deep dish pizza.  It was delicious, but I have to admit that since I am a native New Yorker myself, I prefer New York style pizza.  I think a personal preference for pizza is a matter of what you know the best.

While the weather was cold the day we attended this rooftop Chicago Cubs game, the next few days of our visit to Chicago were absolutely beautiful! We visited the Navy Pier, took a clipper ship ride on Lake Michigan, and went up to the top panoramic viewing windows in the Hancock Tower! Chicago is a fabulous city to visit -- please come back soon to see those future blog posts!

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Red Fox Visitor!

The kitchen window of my house, located in the foothills of Colorado, faces my backyard, where I have enjoyed seeing many deer, rabbits, and birds.  One early evening, however, I saw a different animal from my window, one who had decided to take a nap on my lawn--a Red Fox! He may have been patiently waiting for a mother rabbit to come back to uncover her nest of babies, as I saw very young baby rabbits in this location a few times.  He must have heard my camera clicking photos, as his ears went up and he kept twisting positions and looking up. From his size, I'd say he was an older adolescent fox, hunting on his own. ( All photos and photo collages will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.)

After a short time, he stood up, still looking around.  Possibly hearing me at my window? I was only about four feet away from him.

Finally, he gave a very big yawn--just look at his sharp teeth...

...and ran off very quickly!

This is how I've always seen a fox in this area before--running to and fro very speedily. They don't usually stay very long and mostly can be seen early morning or early evening. I'm sure they also hunt at night.   It was certainly a surprise for me to see him so closely from my kitchen window!   I'm also glad to think that those little bunnies may have lived to see another day!

I'm adding this post to Saturday Critters and Camera Critters! Thank you to the blog hosts, and to all visitors who come to see my "critter" this week!!

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wildflowers Along Dutch Creek Trail, Colorado

I love living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. They twist, turn, dip and undulate like a soft grassy blanket over the rising earth.

Their topography never ceases to amaze me, as does their colors, which are ever changing with the seasons.

My husband and I are fortunate, because we live in Ken Caryl Ranch's valley, and the majority of the 20 plus miles of open space trails in this valley are for the private use of the residents and their guests,  My husband and I decided to walk on one of the more rustic private trails, Dutch Creek Trail, early one weekend morning. It is considered an easy to moderate trail that leads from the North Ranch Road to Highway C470.

It is a winding, rustic and narrow dirt trail, and we weren't sure what we'd see.

Much of this portion of the valley's open space is still under archaeological study, and this morning we saw archaeologists from the Denver chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society climbing the nearby north hogback to do further investigations.  If you'd like to see an interesting video about the archaeological finds in Ken Caryl Ranch, that go back thousands of years, go to this link.

We kept on with our walk along the trail, keeping our eyes open for snakes and other wildlife.

We could finally hear running water of Dutch Creek at this point on the trail. My husband stopped to look down the ravine at the water and wait for me...

...until I finally caught up to him.

As usual, I had been busy taking photos of the creek and surrounding views.  Notice my sun hat--it's an absolute necessity to wear one when walking the trails here.  There is not much tree shade and the sun is very intense because we are at over 6,000 feet elevation in this valley!

This is what has also been making me lag behind as we walked the trail--wildflowers! Every place I looked along the trail I saw unique and beautiful wildflowers!  I bought a field book about Rocky Mountain Wildflowers recently, and I'm trying to learn the names of as many as I can.  Let me show you what I saw--and please, if anyone has more knowledge than me, please correct any errors in the comment section of this post and I will correct it.  Many wildflowers look alike!

Prickly Poppy Flower

I believe this flower has the fanciful name Butter 'n' Eggs--I could not get too close to it as it was on the other side of the creek and was blowing in the wind.

Blue Flax Flower

Silvery Lupine 

Orange Paintbrush

Sub-alpine Larkspur

Wild Roses -- growing along the banks of one side of the creek in thick hanging brambles

There are quite a few different daisy-like wildflowers, but I believe this one may be Porters Aster or Rose Heath

Yarrow Flower

Salsify Flower

Salsify Seed Head

Western Spiderwort Flowers

Field Bindweed Flower

Bristle Thistle --in pre-bloom. 

This was high up on a hill, but I believe it is called Mormon Tea or Jointfir

We were getting close to the end of the trail but we decided to turn back as the underbrush was heavy. We were worried that we might encounter rattlesnakes, and, as we did not have our walking sticks with us as protection, we decided to return another day to finish walking this trail.  I'm sure if I go back another day there will be other wildflowers in bloom, so trail walking in spring and summer is never dull

Looking up at this point of the trail I could see the rock spine of the hogback, and I wondered if these boulders could come crashing down one day?

Many rested near the trail, so it was a true possibility, and made our walk seem even more daring!

My husband is ahead of me again on the trail on the way back, as I am still looking for wildflowers I might have missed.

If you click on this photo to enlarge it you can see that the archaeologists were still investigating the hilltop. I wonder if they found anything of interest?

As we drove home, I spied more trails leading up into the foothills that we will have to investigate one day soon. I'm sure there will be many more wildflowers waiting to be admired and photographed by yours truly!

PS: I've been busy editing my photos from my recent trips to New York, Chicago, San Francisco and the wine country of Napa and Sonoma, and hope to show you more from those visits very soon!

PSS: if you are a woman over 50 years of age, and would like to find out how you can have a chance to win $10,000 to "reinvent" yourself, please read my prior post sponsored by Oxytrol® For Women and BlogHer.

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