Tuesday, there’s a court hearing in Chicago that I won’t be attending.

It a prove-up hearing, where Jennifer and I show that we no longer want to be married to each other, and that neither of us accepts any responsibility for the other’s future. Of course, only half of that is true. Jennifer wants a divorce; I do not. So why am I not attending? Because it will do more harm to me than good.

Jennifer has done an excellent job of making sure I don’t have any false hope of our marriage being salvageable. If I thought there was the slightest chance she would change her mind if I pleaded with her before the court, I’d be there with bells on. There is none. She would have reached out to me by now if she was having a change of heart.

In lieu of appearing in court, I had to have the Marital Settlement Agreement signed and notarized, which I then mailed to her attorney. I hate this document. This feels like i have “approved” this divorce process. I don’t approve–in fact, in makes me cry just typing the words–but seeing Jennifer (we haven’t seen each other since January 6) again would only cause me more pain. It somehow took me until the past 2 weeks to realize that she doesn’t love me anymore. That’s the root of all this. SHE DOESN’T LOVE ME ANYMORE. And I can’t argue that. I can argue all the points she made back in January about why I’ve been a disappointing husband, but as Bonnie Raitt once said, I can’t make her love me.

That’s the reality of all this. She’s out of love, and sees no future for us together. I don’t need to see that in her eyes. I don’t need to tell her how much I still care about us, only to hear her say she doesn’t. I’ve reluctantly signed off on paperwork that allows this to happen; I don’t need to be there in person to witness it. So if any of you question why I wouldn’t attend the hearing and fight for my marriage, now you have an explanation. it just won’t help.

Sadly, tomorrow is the end.


The List

The following is a list of cities, in no particular order, I would move to, if I had employment already lined up:

  1. Sydney
  2. London
  3. Melbourne (Australia, though I’m sure the Florida one is lovely)
  4. Seattle (Tower cranes galore)
  5. Los Angeles
  6. San Diego (Mostly for the weather. La Jolla in particular)
  7. New York City (If I can make it there…well, you know…)
  8. Boston**
  9. Tokyo* (I’ve never been here; it’s the idea of Tokyo that I like)
  10. Singapore* (Like Tokyo, have never been)
  11. San Francisco (That job I have lined up would have to be VERY lucrative)
  12. Phoenix
  13. Toronto (So much construction going on here, I couldn’t resist the opportunity)
  14. Detroit** (This one surprises even me. It would be fun to be part of the comeback)
  15. Miami*** (Mostly the sunshine)
  16. Denver
  17. Pittsburgh (Reluctantly. I would have to live RIGHT downtown.)

If you don’t see your favorite city on this list, but you think it belongs, make me an offer.

  • Cities in bold are dream destinations
  • * Denotes cities I’ve never visited
  • ** Denotes cities I’ve been to, but haven’t really seen
  • *** Denotes an airport visit only



About the confidence I don’t have

One of the factors that led to my impending, heart-wrenching divorce is the part-time job I’ve been clinging to for more than 3 years. Why? Because working there, for a friend, was easier than looking for another job. It allowed me time to photograph construction sites, which I love doing. But certainly not a particularly ambitious achievement.

I love photographing construction. This is Essex on the Park, in the South Loop.

I wish I was ambitious. I wish I was a real go-getter. To me, that’s about confidence. Confidence I don’t have. Without a college education and degree, with gaps and irregularities in my work history, lots of doors never open. But admittedly, I didn’t even try knocking on them. I rejected my eligibility before I submitted my application. Because I have no confidence. Not so much about my abilities, work ethic, etc. But about my my abilities and work ethic as seen by others.

I want to stride into your office and tell you why I know I can do the job you need filled, despite what you might see on my resume and work history. I don’t have the confidence for that. I want to tell you how I’ve out-performed expectations in nearly every position I’ve accepted (I’d prefer not to talk about car sales.) But I don’t want the rejection. I don’t even want the thought of me leaving your office, and you explaining to a co-worker the audacity of an unqualified candidate trying to tell you I’m qualified. In reality, I should let you disqualify me anyway, if need be, instead of doing that to myself.

I know some remarkably ambitious people. I yearn for their confidence, but I also wish I had their credentials, experience, education, and pedigree. They have good reason to be bold; in my mind, I do not. I look at you and think “Sure, it’s easy to feel good about yourself and your chances. Look at what you’ve accomplished! Look at the decisions you’ve made!” That’s how I defeat myself on a daily basis.

I’ve held the same job for 3 and a half years now. That’s a good thing, and something I haven’t been able to boast in quite some time. Sure, it’s in retail, not a skilled position. But surely something I should leverage as a positive.

I have a huge decision to make. Stay in Chicago, where I might not have the earning potential to support myself. Or, head to the burbs where rent is cheaper, but I’d have to find a new job, and likely buy a car to get to and from work. Or, leave the Chicago area and seek a new challenge in another city. (This is an option I’m more than willing to choose, but only if I can line up a job before my arrival. I’ve done the cold job search. It can be soul-crushing, and I don’t want to try it again.)

I wish I had your confidence.

This long-neglected blog has become something of a diary. Posts are written but not published. This is the first entry I’ve felt the need to share.

Kris Bryant fills the Chicago River with baseballs

Kris Bryant, with his BP pitcher Juan Cabreja, survey the outfield. Which is actually the Chicago River.

As far as PR stunts go, this one wasn’t bad.

Kris Bryant of the Cubs put on his jersey and took batting practice on the lawn at River Point Plaza. With Chicagoans lined up along the Lake Street Bridge, Wacker Drive, and the Chicago Riverwalk, he took swings and launched fly balls into the Chicago River with River Point tower providing the backdrop. This was a Red Bull event, so there was plenty of pomp and circumstance, including reps with backpack coolers handing out energy drinks, and a hyperbole-obsessed MC who let the crowd know at least 174 times that this kind of thing had never been done before.

I was there, and I took some pictures and video from a distance.

14 better ways to speed up baseball than that moronic “Runner On Second” MLB idea

In case you hadn’t heard, Major League Baseball wants to test a new rule that would automatically place a runner on second base to start each inning, once a game is tied after nine innings, according to Yahoo Sports.

**Keep in mind here, if the game has gone to extra innings, the horse is pretty much out of the barn on shortening the game.

So, to shorten the amount of time we have to sit in the open air and smell the grass and hear the crack of the bat, here are 14 better ways to make baseball games go by faster. They make as much sense as putting a runner on second base to start an inning:

  1. Hit off a tee.
  2. If, when hitting off the tee, a batter swings and misses, his place in the lineup is eliminated for the rest of the game, and is instead an automatic out.
  3. If you insist on having pitchers — no tee — go to 2-1 counts. Two balls is a walk, one strike and you’re out. Or at least consider 3-2 instead.
  4. If a fan catches a foul ball in the air, the batter’s out.
  5. Those twin, parallel mounds in the bullpen? Utilize that technology on the field. Pitch to two hitters at once.
  6. Instead of 3 outs per inning, you get 5 outs every 2 innings. Follow me here. Every odd-numbered inning, the team at bat would have to decide, with 2 outs, whether to end the inning now, therefore allowing them 3 outs to use in the even-numbered inning that follows, or play on to the 3rd out, leaving them with just 2 outs to use next inning. So, if you’re first two batters make outs in the 3rd inning,  give up now, and save that third out for the 4th inning.
  7. Apparently Joe Torre is in favor of this fiasco. So make him pitch the 10th inning for the team that gave up the lead that resulted in extra frames.
  8. Show all commercials on the Jumbotron during the action, and eliminate breaks between innings.
  9. Bring back the bullpen cart. As a bullet train.
  10. Have relief pitchers be peanut vendors. They can warm up their arms throwing snacks, so they’re ready to pitch immediately upon being called onto the field.
  11. Use FaceTime for meetings on the mound, instead of waiting for 70-year-old managers to walk onto the field, then back to the dugout.
  12. Use only ambidextrous pitchers. Arm’s tired? Pitch with the other one.
  13. Put low ceilings over ball fields. As anyone who’s ever played squash will tell you, that really speeds up the game.
  14. If game time is 7:10, start at 7:00. Most fans don’t show up in time for first pitch anyway.


                                                        PLAY BALL!


Heading into 2017 with an unburdened mind

Kris Bryant Championship Belt

I did *not* miss a smiling Kris Bryant as he wore the Championship Belt at the Cubs victory parade.

I thought I’d never admit this. Seriously. I didn’t want anyone to know. I was fully prepared to go to my grave with nary a soul finding out the truth behind one of the greatest moments in human history. But I need to get it out in the open, and let the healing begin.

I missed the final out of the 2016 World Series. You know, the one the Chicago Cubs won.

I missed Kris Bryant’s smiling, slipping throw to first. I missed Anthony Rizzo tucking the ball into his back pocket. I missed Ben Zobrist skipping in from left field like a child who just found a shiny nickle. I missed Addison Russell and Javy Baez meet in midair like a couple of Cirque du Soleil acrobats.

I missed it all.

There was a pitching change. Carl Edwards, Jr. was coming off the mound. Mike Montgomery was coming in to pitch. I needed to use the restroom. So I did what you do when you have to go: I went. I thought I had time while Montgomery warmed up.

I did not.

I was away from every television Moe’s Cantina had to offer. And the sound I dreaded, happened. First, a nervous cheer, then a quick crescendo into pandemonium.  And I knew the crowd wasn’t cheering for a commercial. I ran to the sink, did a less-than-thorough washing of the hands, and ran out into the restaurant in the hopes I hadn’t really missed the culmination of 46 years of Cubs fandom.

No such luck. I had missed it. And you know what? It bothers me. A lot. I feel shame.

Sure, we still got to celebrate, once I found Jen and assured her I hadn’t spontaneously combusted in the heat of the moment. And I got to watch, half-crying, half-laughing, as the Cubs players celebrated on the field. But I missed The Last Out. And I’ve still not quite forgiven myself.




































































Alta Roosevelt Coming to Big South Loop Dirt Lot

Alta Roosevelt May 2014

The Alta Roosevelt lot in the background, way back in May of 2014. I took this from the ShowPlace ICON at Roosevelt Collection. The construction equipment was from the early work on the British School.

They say a watched pot never boils.

Sadly, there is no other way to know when to put the pasta in the water.

But that’s a whole other issue. What’s important right now is that you know a watched lot of dust and dirt will one day be transformed. I know, because I’ve watched that lot. A lot.

At 801 South Financial Place in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood, Alta Roosevelt has been given the all-clear to begin digging foundations for its future 496 apartments. As we’ve reported at Chicago Architecturethe 33-story tower will have studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, and a whopping 348 parking spaces to go along with them.

According to the Chicago architecture firm with the outstanding name that designed Alta Roosevelt, Pappageorge Haymes Partners, the tower will feature “resort-like amenities.” These types of highfalutin perks are becoming the norm for new-construction apartments, not just for condominiums. Developers are looking to provide renters with as many creature comforts as possible, making today’s apartment projects look much more like fancy condo buildings. (You can make the argument that high-end amenities will help developers turn those apartments into condos somewhere down the road, but I’m not going there.)

What is a tad unusual for a new Chicago development the size of  Alta Roosevelt is that early indications and renderings show no retail space at ground level. Nor any other level, for that matter.

Alta Roosevelt Soil sampler

A soil-sampling rig parked in the dirt back in August.

I can’t say for sure why I’ve been so anxious to see something happen at the 801 South Financial lot. I’ve visited often, mostly to watch progress on the new British School that was completed in the space just to the south. It was on one of those visits that I saw a soil-sampling rig parked in the dirt, a sure sign that development was imminent. But that was way back in August. It took seven months to finally see some action going on here.

Any construction project I can get to and photograph before any work actually starts becomes an instant favorite for me. It let’s me chronicle the entire process, from dirt to done, with pictures all along the way. That means lots of trips to the South Loop. Like I needed another reason to visit…