Tour: Amazon Fulfillment Center

I almost forgot I signed up, but gladly I did and I went to the free tour of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In about an hour, I was part of a small group (since several people didn’t show up) who had a fun tour of the center of this high tech center which uses people, robots, high tech scanners that read all the codes to quickly move goods from trucks to sorting to packaging and on to the trucks that get your goodies to your home.

Our guide was informative and amusing, the experience excellently planned. First we got an introduction in a classroom and picked up our earphones. The facility is rather noisy with all these goods and boxes whirling around, but with the earphones we could hear the guide. The Amazon “ambassador” had a microphone so we could ask questions the the guide could hear, repeat and answer.

It’s an amazing place and a good tour for all ages. Click here to register for a free tour.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I was having coffee with you I’d tell you, that I’m watching (or came from just watching) Notre Dame in flames. It’s shocking to see such a beautiful, iconic building destroyed. I’m watching France 24, the English French news channel now.

I’d then change the subject to my weekend. Saturday a friend came down from Milwaukee and we went on walking tour of the Pilsen neighborhood, which is known for its colorful murals. First we started with lunch at Rabanitos Restaurant and Taqueria, fitting as the neighborhood is primarily Hispanic. After lunch we had time to explore the National Museum of Mexican Art. (Some on Trip Advisor rightly point out that most of the collection and the exhibits are by Mexican-American artists.) We loved the vibrant art that ranged from Pre-Colombian to today with most of the pieces by contemporary artists.

The walking tour itself was terrific. I wish it were longer so we could have seen more. I’m already planning to take friends back to Pilsen. I know they’ll love it. I highly recommend tourists see Pilsen in addition to the downtown sights.

I’d mention that I went to my Great Books Discussion this morning. We read a passage from Tocqueville. For background I listened to In Our Times, the BBC liberal arts radio show’s Tocqueville episode. If you like the arts, science or history, I highly recommend In Our Times. They gather great experts and tackle fascinating areas of world literature, culture, philosophy and science. The radio program taught me that Tocqueville was an aristocrat and was interested in visiting America to get a sense of the society’s aristocracy, i.e. he wanted to find out how to preserve his class’ standing. His English wasn’t terrific so misunderstood some of what he was told. Nonetheless his insights are interesting, but should be taken with a grain of salt, as is the case with most such works.

I’m reading Andrew Klavan’s memoir The Great Good Thing, about his spiritual story of growing up as a secular Jew and eventually converting to Christianity. Klavan is an exceptional writer and I’ll pick up one of his suspense/crime novels soon.

I’ve got to mail off my taxes. I should have mailed them on Friday, not knowing how long the lines are today. I did go this morning, but just didn’t have the time to wait.

How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.

Rabanitos Restaurante and Taqueria


For great Mexican food at a good price, head to Rabanitos Restaurant & Taqueria. Located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Rabanitos offers flavorful, authentic food and warm hospitality. Before going to the National Museum of Mexican Art (just two blocks away) and taking a walking tour of the area’s vivid murals, my friend and I had lunch here.

We both got tortas, i.e. sandwiches. She ordered the Carnitas and I had the Cubana. Great bread, wonderfully spiced meats and fillings. I also got a drink, the Jamaica, which was a not too sweet juice. I’m not sure what fruit it’s made of, but it tasted like it had some grape.

The host was all smiles and genuine hospitality. The decor is colorful and cheery. At one point a guitarist came in and played. We think the made the rounds of the nearby restaurants, playing for tips. I’m not 100% sure. Perhaps the restaurants also pay him something.

The sandwiches were huge and could feed 3. If there were more of us, I’d have suggested getting several items and sharing them. We wound up getting doggie bags and were glad to have more tortas later.

Our sandwiches were $10 each and the drink was $2.50. I’ll definitely be back.

Address: 1758 W. 18th St. One block west of the Pink Line’s 18th St. stop.

Pilsen Murals Walking Tour

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Yesterday my friend Maryann and I enjoyed a walking tour around the Pilsen neighborhood, which is full of colorful murals. The Chicago History Museum organized the tour. The guide was knowledgeable and able to handle some trouble makers like the guy, who when the guide was briefly giving his bio blurted out “who cares?” (Luckily he didn’t continue to be so obnoxious.)

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We learned about the neighborhood, which was first settled by Bohemians and other Eastern Europeans. We learned the difference between graffiti (by artists and by gang members) and murals. We learned about the history and imagery of many murals in the neighborhood. The tour was 90 minutes but if it was twice as long we wouldn’t have seen everything.

The tour will be offered, rain or shine, again on May 11th by the Chicago History Museum. I bet they’ll have one a month while the weather’s good.

Tickets: $20

National Museum of Mexican Art

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Our Lady of Guadalupe drivin’ along

I spent the day in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago with my friend Maryann. Before our walking tour of Pilsen’s famed murals, we had time to explore the National Museum of Mexican Art, which has a good collection from many eras.

I like the size of the museum. It’s got a well curated collection and doesn’t take all day to view. You’ll still have time to explore the neighborhood’s many significant murals.

The National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 19th Street, Chicago

Admission: Free

Hours: 10 am – 5 pm

Street parking

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I finished revising my play. Now I’ve got to market it more. I did send an email to a theater in Chicago where I have submitted the summary and other requested information last July. They say they need 6 months to consider whether they want to read the whole thing and I just wanted to cordially remind them in a that it’s been over 6 months. I also want to send this revised version to the theater that already asked for the full play. This version has fewer characters which makes a play more cost effective.

I volunteered as an Election Judge for last Tuesday’s Consolidated Election, i.e. the election for local jobs like village trustee. We had to help with the Monday evening set up, finish the set up on Tuesday at 5 a.m., manage the polling place and shut down. I was up at 3:45 a.m. and got home after 9. The team was great, very cooperative and friendly so that during our many lulls we could chat easily. We only had 53 voters all day (from 6 a.to 7 p.m.). There were just 19 early voters in our precinct of 703 registered voters. What a pity.

That long, long Tuesday threw my week off. Wednesday I slept late and had little energy. Still it’s a bit of extra money and it’s rewarding to help. The county has a hard time finding people to work the election.

One of my co-election judges works at a big garden center. I was interested to learn that they sell a special soil for marijuana. In Illinois, they’re considering legalizing pot, but now it’s just legal for medical usage. So it’s funny that this garden store, which caters to consumers sells this special soil.

My aunt had knee replacement surgery on Monday and I did visit her on Wednesday just before she was released. She was heading home, which is tough with the stairs at her house. A lot of people go to a rehab center for a few weeks. She’ll have in home therapy and nursing. I hope the therapy comes daily.

I’ve started watching the film Blow Up, but the main character’s so blasé and jaded that it’s hard to stay interested.

How was your week? Share highlights or links to your blog post below.

 

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Today I served as an election judge for our Consolidated Election. I was blessed with a great team and met some delightful community members. Village leaders are elected in a Consolidated Election (as opposed to a general election when we elect senators, representatives, the president, judges and the like).

I enjoyed getting to know my team members and catching up on reading, but wish we had more than 53 voters in a precinct of over 700. Nineteen people took advantage of early voting, but wow, we just got about 10% of registered voters.