Author Archives: The Wife of Bath

My Art Institute of Chicago Squishy Jesus tour

In the late 90’s I worked at the Art Institute of Chicago for a few months. I was hired to work a variety of visitor services roles but was never actually trained for them: the AIC just dropped me off in the coat check and the other staff showed me what to do. Everything we […]

Tacos in the parking lot: how we do street food in Chicago

Last fall it was our 25th anniversary and HOB asked me how I wanted to celebrate, and I was like, “Hmmmm…I think I want to eat something in a parking lot while standing over a trash can.” We ended up eating dumplings from the food court in this ginormous grocery store. Due to various annoying […]

Frank Lloyd Wright’s System Built Houses in Illinois

There was a time, from 1911 – 1916, when Frank Lloyd Wright came up with a system to make beautifully designed houses accessible for middle-class folks. The idea of a Frank Lloyd Wright home being considered “affordable housing” is kind of hilarious. These days his homes are for rich people; really rich people. Wright was […]

Be the kind of tourist that goes to Pullman

Chicago is huge and most tourists see very little of it (probably true to say this of most residents too). I work in the tourist industry and often get asked for directions to Navy Pier, Giordano’s Pizza, and—if they are feeling daring—to Wrigley Field. So it really shocked me when a few years ago a […]

The Bridgford Foods Mural is Genius

If you’ve been keeping tabs, this would be the time you’d normally expect find HOB and I travelling somewhere. But here we are—another Chicago staycation. There’s still Covid, but now on top of that I’ve had vertigo for three months and I am unable to take long distance transportation, Anyway, not here to whine but […]

The (mostly concrete) churches of Reykjavík

So when we were in Reykjavik we looked at a lot of churches, Whoa—plot twist! Didn’t see that one coming, did you? For a brief look back at Iceland’s church heritage, here’s a turf church from 1842 that we saw in the Árbær Open Air Museum. The wooden Mosfell Church in South Iceland was built […]

Cooking (and a magic refrigerator) in Reykjavik

Not to ruin my budget travel cred or anything, but I didn’t try super hard to have a cheap trip to Iceland. (And by Iceland, I mean Reykjavik, because we didn’t leave the city other than a couple of day trips.) The last minute nature of the travel, plus the Covid situation meant I tried […]

A scooter-riding diva at Reykjavik’s Harpa concert hall

During the 1990’s through the early 2000’s, splashy museums and concert halls were popping up everywhere. Not that I’m a hater of this trend—after all, I enjoy Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park, built during the height of the building-as-spectacle orgy. Sometimes, though, these can seem kind of dated. And if something seems […]

The corrugated iron houses of Reykjavik (plus—wait for it now—cats)

These days I’m less excited about traveling for sights and more interested in experiencing uniquely specific culture. In Reykjavik, its corrugated iron houses are just this special sort of thing I love. These houses started out as wood and then they were covered with sheets of corrugated iron. I’m sure you’ve gone out on a […]

Picnic at the volcano of Iceland

If you’re an Icelandic person right now, here’s how you spend your Saturday; get the whole family dressed in hiking gear topped with wool Icelandic sweaters, and head up a mountain to look at the volcano. When we got here, everyone we met said “When are you going to see the volcano?” and at first […]