Go to AZ for MLB spring training and warm weather

Listen up baseball fans. Spring Training 2021 tickets for Chicago teams go on sale this week: Cubs 1 p.m. CT Feb. 19, White Sox, 11 a.m. CT Feb. 20.

Chicago weather is supposed to get better the last week of February, maybe even going up to 40 degrees. But imagine yourself in Phoenix, AZ where daytime temps are in the 70s and you exchange sweaters and sweats for shorts and T shirts.

Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)
Chicago Cubs (J Jacpbs photo)

The Cubs’ AZ home is Sloan Park in Mesa. A smaller version of Wrigley Field, Sloan Park is often called Wrigleyville West. It is bordered by roads  named Waveland and Sheffield Avenues and Clark Street.

The Sox play at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb known as a restaurant, entertainment and sports mecca.

Go to spring training and wave your Chiago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)
Go to spring training and wave your Chicago Whtie Sox cap. (M Temkin photo)

It may be easier to find tickets for your team’s games at competitors’ parks so get to know the schedule.

The Cubs’ schedule starts with the Padres away on March 1 and at Sloan Park against the KC Royals, March 2. Questions can be sent to mesa@cubs.com. The Cubs regular season begins April 1 when they play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.

White Sox  open at home against the Brewers, Feb. 28 then away against the Angels March 1.  For help in getting there visit Trip Planner. For more ticket, protocols and other information visit White Sox Spring Training.

The Sox play their first game away against the Angels on April 1 and are away until they play KC at home on April 8. For the regular season information visit White Sox Tickets. and Schedule.

Related 2020 articles with town and stadium color:

Take a spring training vacation

Spring training at Wrigleyville-West

Enjoy spring at Camelback Ranch or Sloan Park

 

Super Bowl commercials and more

 

KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)
KC Chiefs (Photo courtesy of the Chiefs)

Some people watch the super bowl for the game/half time and a chance to party, others like or dis the ads.

If in the latter category you’ll want to know that Super Bowl LV is touted as a matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and that the Buccaneers have home court advantage. The game is at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. ET.

If watching for either reason you can check out the NFL website and the Road to the Super Bowl for inside info to spread among family and friends.

To learn more about the team you favor, visit the Chiefs or Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers

But for those folks who think the ads are as good or better than the main event there are a couple of broadcasts and websites to watch.

The M&Ms will be back. It is rumored that Coke and Pepsi won’t be. Also  Dolly Parton who does a great 9 to 5 version on Blue Mountain’s online  birthday cards, will adapt her version to a Kierra Cotton ad this year.

For the best commercials in the past few years, try to catch your local CBS station tonight Feb. 3, 2021. In the Chicago area it is on at 7 p.m. CT.

Here is a link to some popular ones a few years ago on you tube including a Budweiser horse that makes the team and the baby stock trader.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Nature plays major role in new Lake Forest boutique hotel

Bar at The Forester
Bar at The Forester

When The Forester, a hotel now going up in Conway Park at Lake Forest, opens in April 2021, visitors will find a prism-shaped front desk constructed from a white oak tree trunk, locally done botanical illustrations and foliage designed light fixtures over the bar.

The first boutique-stye hotel built under the Hyatt Place brand, The Forester will cater to business travelers and company meetings but will also welcome area residents to its restaurant, bar and event spaces.

Even though the hotel is in Conway Park, a business-focused property that includes Abbott Diagnostics, Pfizer, Trustmark, the Chicago Bears and the City of Lake Forest’s municipal services, The Forester’s ambiance embraces the City of Lake Forest’s motto “Naturae et Scientiae Amor” and is unique to the brand, according to Forester General Manager Marlena Karwowski

“The Forester Hotel is the first and only boutique-style Hyatt Place in the world.  No other Hyatt Place has its own independent-style brand identity, The Forester was inspired by science and nature, the City of Lake Forest’s founding motto, and features custom nature photography and scientific botanical illustrations of native plants commissioned by a local artist to reflect the juxtaposition of science and nature,” said Karwowski.

Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel
Lobby rendering of The Forester Hotel

“You will see science and nature reflected throughout the hotel,” she said. As an example she added, “The restaurant features a mural with a crosscut tree trunk putting the natural pattern of tree rings on display.”

Karwowski noted that unlike the standard Hyatt Place brand hotel, it would have a full-service, chef-driven local restaurant and bar. Called Oaken Bistro + Bar, it is headed by Executive Chef Kristen Burman, formerly of Limelight Catering and Anthology San Diego. It will feature seasonal American dishes, wine and signature cocktails infused with local flowers and herbs.

Local flora and connections are important to Karwowski. “I’m working with the LF/LB Chamber to partner with them on events and I’m thinking of creating local events – something for families and pets after COVID is gone.

She said she was also working with Lake Forest Open Lands about flowers native to the area. Among her thoughts is to have designer postcards with seeds of lupine in them. Also on her list is to develop tours of old farms that are still in the area.

“I think people will find that The Forester is an escape from the city,” she said.

“The Forester brings you all the modern comforts you have come to expect from Hyatt Place like Hyatt Grand Beds and free Wi Fi, while offering a new boutique experience with individualized branding, custom design elements, and enhanced offerings,” said Karwowski.

“We are honored to be opening the first boutique-inspired Hyatt Place hotel in the world in the picturesque city of Lake Forest,” she said.

The Forester is at 200 N. Field Dr., Lake Forest, IL.

For more information visit The Forester.

Jodie Jacobs

Long Night Moon

 

Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and thought you didn’t need street lights to meander outside last night, you will have the same brightness tonight  – unless you are in or around Chicago’s expected first big snowfall.

The bright light is thanks to the Long Night Moon, a full moon also called the Cold Moon, it shines from dusk to dawn.

Considered by some as the last full moon of the decade, it will be at its fullest at 9:28 CT Dec. 29, 2020. But because it is still lighting the sky after midnight it might be on some calendars as Dec. 30.

Other sky watchers consider Dec. 12, 2019 the last full moon of the decade.

For more full moon info check EarthSky, NASA, TimeandDate and Farmers Almanac.

 

 

Watch for ‘shooting stars’

 

Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA
Meteor Shower photo courtesy of NASA

Look up Nov. 16 about midnight.

The Leonids, the debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, will be shooting across the sky at about 15 meteors per hour. They will be traveling at about 44 miles per second.

You probably can catch sight of a few of these “shooting stars” because they are bright and light from the moon won’t be a factor. The moon will be in its waxing crescent phase and sets early evening.

These meteors are called Leonids because the radiant (point in the sky where the meteors seem to come from) is in the constellation Leo.

Also, put the Geminids on the calendar for a sky watch Dec. 13-1, 2020.

For more information visit Earthsky, TimeandDate and NASA.

 

 

Watch NASA mission conference and liftoff

 

First four person crew to International Space Station (NASA photo)
First four person crew to International Space Station (NASA photo)

NASA countdown to Space X’s Crew Dragon is happening now, Nov. 13, 2020

For the press conference with administrator Jim Bridenstine and officials from NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency go to NASA YouTube watch.

For the countdown on Nov. 14 Go to NASA You Tube FLA. Watch the first (this mission has many firsts) crew rotation flight by a U. S. Commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station.

This is the first four person-crew in a capsule and commercial flight. Crew members are NASA astronauts Michael Hopkin, the Crew Dragon commander, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialist Shannon Walker plus JAXA mission specialist astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Liftoff is 7:49 p.m. EST from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39 A in Florida.

The mission will be six months. Other firsts include Walker as the first woman on a commercial orbital mission, Noguchi8 as the first international partner astronaught to fly on three types of orbital spacecraft.

For more information visit NASA.GOV/crew and NASA invites you to launch America.

Last minute Halloween thoughts from NASA

NASA poster image
NASA poster image

Granted that not everything spooky is on planet Earth but who knew the folks at NASA would find an unusual way to celebrate Halloween.

Check out their galaxy of horrors and solar sounds.

Galaxy of Horrors

It has, among other spaces and places, a Galactic Graveyard, Dark Matter section Zombie Gamma Ray Ghouls, Monster Mash and Zombie Worlds. Visit them, if you dare.

Sinister Sounds of the Solar System

While you welcome ghoulish guests to your earthly domain you may want to play some of these noises that have been gathered from space.

Enjoy

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Open House Chicago becomes a travel experience in person or from home

Pui Tok Center Chinatown. (Photo courtesy of Flicker Acct Jasmeet)
Pui Tok Center Chinatown. (Photo courtesy of Flicker Acct Jasmeet)

Typically, Open House Chicago is a visit in-person experience that involves entering historic and interesting places in and around Chicago.

In 2020, the year of Covid, places of architectural and historic significance are visited outside on mapped trails and sites or virtually thanks to  a beautifully constructed app made available through the Chicago Architecture Center.

You could but don’t have to journey to Chicago by plane, train or auto. The app allows anyone, anywhere, to visit the places, hear narrations, read  about historic sites and see what they look like inside and out.

Be warned, once started on this journey it becomes addictive. However, it only lasts 10 days, from Oct. 16 through Oct. 25, so better start now before the experience is gone.

Givins Castle in Beverly (Photo by Eric Allix Rogers)
Givins Castle in Beverly (Photo by Eric Allix Rogers)

What to expect

The app includes explorations of more than 20 Chicago neighborhoods, ranging from Oak Park, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Rogers Park and Hyde Park to Bronzeville, Chinatown, Pullman, Beverly and Evanston.

If you are  interested in Open House Chicago, you likely already know that Oak Park is home to several structures designed by famed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and George Maher. The Neighborhood section not only takes you there but it also has a trail to follow.

In Oak Park, it is the Frank Lloyd Wright; Portrait of a Young Architect Trail of seven houses he designed early in his career.. Click on the speaker to narration about the house by Adam Rubin, Chicago Architecture Foundation’s director of interpretation

In the Pullman neighborhood built by George Pullman to house his workers, you learn that its history is important from a labor and urban planning standpoint and you visit its Queen Anne Style Hotel Florence, an Illinois State Historic site.

Then check out the Tied Houses on the Pullman Trail that include the Schlitz Row Brewery Stable.

In the Evanston neighborhood, the “explore like a local” section takes you to the Mitchelll Museum of the American Indian in Evanston and the Illinois Holocaust Museum  in Skokie.

You may get the idea that you can become addicted to the app’s explorations.  But for a  good demo of how it all works go to zoom/rec/play. And if interested in public programs visit Programs.

There are so many choices of how to explore the city and environs that Open House Chicago really is a travel experience.

Enjoy!

 

 

Travel tips during Covid

Crystal Mountain goes from ski resort to golf but is also a family friendly Michigan resort (J Jacobs photo)
Crystal Mountain goes from ski resort to golf but is also a family friendly Michigan resort (J Jacobs photo)

Traveling now during the pandemic means packing differently and even doing some homework before you go.

You may already know where you want to go but if not sure of best places to  while Covid-19 cases are still spiking you can check out a couple of websites to help you decide. Their statistics do vary as states change their guidelines.

For states that require masks, have some requirement or none visit msn/. To compare your state’s Covid cases with a couple of other states, check out states comparison covid cases.

 

Chicago is still doing its river cruises but tickets go fast because of limited seating during the pandemic. (Chicago Architecture Foundation photo)
Chicago is still doing its river cruises but tickets go fast because of limited seating during the pandemic. (Chicago Architecture Foundation photo)

Road Trip

We are so used to doing things automatically that sometimes we don’t even realize what we are touching.

Don’t forget that gas pumps and the buttons pressed can be contaminated so either wear gloves and use disinfecting spray on them immediately afterwards before touching your car’s door handle or disinfect hands if no gloves.

If not camping out, check the protocols of places you are likely to stay while getting to the destination and at the destination.

Consider bringing your own pillows and a couple of extra pillow cases.

Flying

Social distancing is not possible when flying. In addition, many airlines’ blocked-seat policy expired Sept. 30, 2020 so call around to see which ones have extended that policy. Also ask if temperatures are taken before boarding and if a strict mask policy is in enforced.

Check how many miles are needed to upgrade to first or business class. If you have accumulated some this may be a good time to use them. Remember that most passengers usually board after first class so try to board after them or sit by a window.

Packing

Depending on trip length bring a supply of masks, hand sanitizers, wipes and washing machine or hand wash detergent packages.

 

 

 

Full moon for harvest or scary night

Full moon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)
Full moon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)

October 2020 begins and ends with special full moons.

The month begins with a full moon Oct. 1-2. In the Northern Hemisphere it is known as the Harvest Moon because it is the closest full moon to the fall equinox which in 2020 was Sept. 22.

That makes it special because even though moonrise is later each day by 50 minutes the full moon near the fall equinox takes less time to rise so there is more moonlight. For farmers that means more light to harvest crops.

Because the seasons are just the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon comes in March or April.

But unlike most months, October 2020 has another full moon. That phrase once in a blue moon means that rare occasion when the moon phases complete twice in the same month.

Because October began with a full moon, the phases complete their cycle with a full moon on Oct. 31, 2020. Right. Halloween. Spooky!

For more full moon information visit Earthsky, Timeanddate, NASASpaceplace and Space.com.