music,  random adventures

312 day … it’s a (chicago) thing

Update: This post is from March 2020. Yep it was one of my last adventures before the pandemic hit & everything shut down. Needless to say restaurants & bars have been one of the many industries that took the hardest hit. Click here to find out how Goose Island is trying to help. 

Did you know Chicagoans celebrate 312 day? Well, some of us knew about it & celebrated. Yes, it’s a thing. 312 as in Chicago’s original area code and March 12th which just happens to be my birthday. I think we should turn this into a whole month since Chicago’s birthday is March 4, 1837. Happy 183rd Birthday Chicago!

Apparently our former mayor, Rahm Emanuel made it an official holiday. It celebrates everything Chicago through a variety of citywide events (music, food & drink specials) hosted by Goose Island (as in beer) & do312 an online Chicago guide. Goose Island Beer Company began as a brewpub that opened in 1988 with second in Wrigleyville in 1999.

And yes, Goose Island is an island. It’s a manmade island just north of the confluence of the north & south branches of the Chicago River. It has a varied past as being home for a flock of geese, home to squatters, and home to industrial adaptive reuse developments. Today it the following businesses reside there such as Amazon, Mars, CB2, REI & Wrigley.

Anyhow, back to 312 day. That evening I attended WBEZ’s Curious City and Andrew Bird’s special discussion about his love for Chicago as well as the history behind some of his favorite venues that he’s played. He grew up here but now lives in L.A. Monica Eng (food reporter for WBEZ and the Co-host of the Chewing the Fat Podcast) presented briefly on each venue which included The Lyric Opera House, The Metro (haunted?), The Hideout & The Green Mill. If I haven’t written about these places yet they are on my list.

Andrew Bird played a few songs in between commentary and I must admit, I knew of him as the musician who whistles but if you get a chance to see him in concert you should. He was amazing! I follow him on Facebook and if you are a fan you should too. If you don’t now is your time to check him out.

the good ‘ol days

I started writing this post right before what was once normal life came to a grinding halt. It seems like a lifetime ago that I went out with friends to celebrate my birthday. A couple of days later, some of my fellow Pisces friends & I had our annual Pisces/pi party on 3/14, and I am glad we did! We got it in just before the shelter-in-place order was mandated here in IL. Now we talk about this party as being the last hurrah.

Life will never be the same.

please help feed our heroes

One of my favorite spots that I frequented a lot before this madness was Saigon Sisters in the French Market/Ogilvie train station. It’s a family-run business that serves delicious Vietnamese food like spring rolls, bahn mi, bahn bao & pho. One of their locations is located in Northwestern Memorial Hospital and they are feeding the medical staff on the frontlines for free. Yes, that’s right, for FREE. Needless to say, they are looking for contributions to help keep up the good work. Here is a link to their Go Fund Me page. Please consider donating!

keeping sane in these insane times

I must admit I’ve been in a funk since this craziness started. I moved at the end of March so there’s that stress and now I’m struggling because of the uncertainty of everything. The shelter-in-place order for Illinoisians was just extended to the end of May. Masks & social distancing are required for everyone as of May 1. Is this the new normal? Yes, for now, I suppose it is.

What are you doing to keep sane? Puzzles? Reading? Bingeing? Becoming the next Julia Child? What new skills have you mastered? Please leave me a comment & let me know. I would love to hear what you’ve been up to.

Me? I’m trying to get some exercise outside every day either running or biking. Working on my yoga practice & trying to limit my news intake. I’m watching Barry & reading The Jungle. I have mastered pour-over coffee & made mayonnaise. Next, I will attempt making flatbread. On the tour guide & blog front working on some new & creative ideas.

I’ve discovered some clever & entertaining things on social media for instance, new music. Many musicians are coming up with some really creative musical collaborations. I’ve also come across some witty & inventive episodes on YouTube like John Krasinski’s SGN – Some Good News and Joseph’s Machines The Lunch Feeder – How To Be More Productive at Work. I’ve stumbled upon many virtual tours on a wide variety of subjects. Here’s a virtual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in California. It’s encouraging that even in uncertain times people are coming up with new ways to deal with this madness.

say it ain’t so

While I truly do enjoy all seasons, as a Chicagoan & a tour guide I REALLY look forward to Spring & Summer. Not only is the weather better, business is better. Not this year.

I’ve had numerous booked tours on my calendar all cancel. Ravinia (an outdoor concert revenue) has just canceled this upcoming summer season. The City of Chicago has canceled May & June concerts which include Bluesfest, Gospelfest & the House Music Festival. I guess we just have to get over it for everyone’s safety. Time to face it, folks the Summer of 2020 has been canceled.

This is devastating for EVERYONE. Well, almost everyone. I’m sure there are some profiting from this devastation. My hope is the government steps up to actually help small businesses. The so-called fabric of this nation has been worn dangerously thin and needs some serious mending.

I try to end my posts on a positive note and really need something uplifting now that I’ve made myself depressed, so here you go. Nature has been given a chance to heal, wildlife is thriving & pollution is on the decline without us humans interfering. Also, there is a new appreciation for teachers & grocery store workers.

Feel better? Me either. Not yet. Not today. Maybe tomorrow? Hang in there.

Please be vigilant, safe and stay home my friends. It does save lives.

And to all our frontline heroes (medical, grocery store workers, police, fire, restaurant, everyone putting their lives at risk.) THANK YOU!!


  • Jeanette Murphy

    You’re amazing Mimi! You’re interest and knowledge of our city is an inspiration and has made me now wonder why I have been using google all this time to search for restaurants, music, activities, landmarks, places of interests, best photo locations and so forth, when I should have been turning to YOU! Love your website or “blog”, excuse my ignorance. There is a wealth of information that I will share with others!

    On another note, saw that Journey was going to be here again this year and hoping we could check them out together but, like you said, summer 2020 is cancelled and has me really in the dumps as well. Let’s get together when safe and share city life, a cocktail or several, and our sorrows together. Cheers my friend! 😘

  • mimi

    Thank you for reading & sharing Jeanette! I’m finding blogging is really helping my sanity right now. I’m trying to post about interesting things to look forward to for both visitors & locals. When this is all over, we will for sure get together. Thanks again, my friend!

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