Goodbye Chicago summer

It is September 23rd, and that means that it is officially fall. Ironically, the high today in Chicago is supposed to be 89 degrees, sandwiched between two delightful days in the mid 70s–Someone Up There has a sense of humor.

While fall is probably my favorite season, it is also the doorway to a season you may be familiar with called “winter,” which in this city involves being cold. Real cold. I have conflicting emotions about this, since I would take being cold over being hot any day . . . on the other hand, having to wear leggings and long socks under my jeans and 3 layers of shirts not only means that it takes for-e-ver to get dressed in the mornings, but it also adds to the volume of my body. More specifically, the volume of my, um, derriere. I need a couple months to get comfortable with that–extra rolls are, after all, just a natural byproduct of the season. Right guys?

I seem to remember a huge winter coat I had to wear when I was young. It was a gigantic feathery concoction with a dark pink shell and a light pink lining. I hated this coat with a passion because, its girly color aside, I was convinced that it made me look fat. I called it the “fat rat coat.” I think I successfully turned my sisters against their poofy coats as well–it’s the power of the older sister. I like to call it the Girls Against Fat Rat Coats Revolution of 1996. Then I decided that coats weren’t necessary anyway, and a 5-year battle with my Mom ensued in which I tried to leave the house without appropriate outerwear during the colder seasons. “You need to wear your coat, you’ll be cold!” she urged as I scooted out the door. She may have been right, she may have been wrong–the records of history are curiously silent on this matter–but I certainly wasn’t wearing a large coat. I was a teenager, and I had my priorities straight: freeze, but look good while suffering. Then I moved away to college where no one told me what to put on, and I promptly caught the whooping cough.

I’ll let you reach your own conclusions about the folly or wisdom of my teenage decision making skills.

I took this picture on the 4th of July, which was the first super hot weekend of the summer, driving us to immediately purchase a window unit. I complained a lot about the heat here–and you know, what the heck, I’m actually glad to see it go. It’s going to mean a looooong break for the old sweat glands.

Here’s our neighborhood beach that I love so well, which has hosted many a lovely summer walk and will soon be covered in piles of frozen seaweed and sand . . .

Here’s the bright green grass at a park downtown . . .

And here’s a little foray into some flowers in spring, when life was just beginning to return to the city.

A few months’ pause in flower photography won’t kill me, I guess.

I’m excited about the brisk mornings to come and the impending holidays . . . but I also seem to remember that around October, the radiators in our apartment start clunking loudly all night long. They really like to get clunking while we’re trying to watch a movie. The choice is: give up and realize you will never hear the dialogue, or turn the loud heating machines off and freeze. It’s an interesting choice that is bound to produce many a philosophical midnight debate.

I attribute these loud noises to the radiator gnomes. When things start heating up, they wield their small hammers and hit the inside of the pipes repeatedly–that’s truly what it sounds like. A bunch of annoying little radiator miners just whacking their little hearts away. I can only hope they’re getting some fun out of it, or at least a good work out. Then there’s the large radiator troll, who wields a gigantic metal crowbar; when he gets to slamming that thing around, there is no peace to be found in a mile radius–guests be warned!

But let’s think positive here for a while. If I recall correctly, freezing can also produce some excellent cuddling. I’m envisioning a hot cup of spiced wine and a snuggle with my husband, and suddenly the winter is seeming like a force for good and not for evil.

Good bye Chicago summer! We loved you well. We will soon forget you ever existed as the harsh winds tear our coats to shreds and we fight each other tooth and nail for a position under the sole heating unit on the platform while waiting for the train. But I know that one day you will return with your music festivals, beach parties, church volleyball teams, and frivolities. Could somebody do me the kindness of reminding me in late January that there indeed are other seasons? Seasons that don’t require fifteen layers of clothes?

If I can’t take pictures of live plants, I can at least photograph these ferns of ice:

Yep, soon Jack Frost will be decorating our windows, just like he did last year.

What’s your favorite season? How are you feeling about the cold weather approaching? Any good recipes for spiced wine out there?

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12 Responses to Goodbye Chicago summer

  1. Fall is definitely my favorite season! However, last winter was SO long and so cold, I have to admit that I’m dreading it.

    And that winter fat? It’s nature’s Snuggie! Right? ;)

  2. These are wonderful shots! And you’re right, winter opens up a wealth of new possibilities that summer cannot offer. But then, I live in So Cal where it’s really never too cold!

  3. photobyholly says:

    Great shots, and your writing is so descriptive! I love Chicago, it’s slowly becoming my “home away from home”, so your pictures bring back fond memories! :)

    • Jenna says:

      Thank you Holly! After a year living in Chicago, my husband and I are loving it. The city is so beautiful and has so many sides to it. Glad I could bring back good memories for you. =)

  4. Sarah says:

    i can’t wait for fall, but as far as i’m concerned, winter can stay away forever!

  5. Vesselina says:

    fantastic visuals! wow, I just want more!!! you are good, my friend, you are sooo good.

  6. Heidi says:

    Winter is upon us! I love the excitement in the air! Are you starting to feel the Christmas cheer bubbling up? I certainly am! The only problem is that, even though it’s getting to be in the 30s during the day and 20ish at night, Christmas is a long way off. Maybe the cheer will just stick around all the longer since Santa lives 20 minutes from our house. If you ever feel depressed about the Chicago cold, just give me a call and I’ll give you a pep talk about how you’re actually in the tropics.

  7. Megan says:

    Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. I don’t enjoy the 15 layers of clothing either, but I love the changing leaves, snow, icicles on the trees and gutters, bug free walks through the woods, the smell of crisp cold fall air, not sweltering in my car (no AC), apples, cranberries, pumpkins and other fall/winter foods, and of course holidays. And I know most people think I’m crazy for this one, but I love overcast and foggy days. They’re so much easier on the eyes and much more beautiful.

    • Jenna says:

      I totally agree on the overcast days . . . mmmmm. It’s a grey day outside at this very moment, and I’m about to get my first mug of coffee going. There’s nothing like a warm drink on a cloudy day.

  8. claire says:

    if i could move anywhere today it would be chicago! i was up there recently for business and it quickly became my favorite city! Great pics!

  9. jen says:

    I must say that fall is my favorite season…but I haven’t experienced a “real” fall since I got married and moved south and now west. I do miss a good northeastern fall season!

    I love your tulip photos…especially the black & white one…beautiful!

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