Standing in the 100-degree heat at the Skokie Fourth of July parade on Oakton Street and waving that little plastic American flag, my mind wandered and sauntered off its sometime vegetative state. Maybe it was that sun bearing down worse than one of my former bosses. Maybe it was that I had long run out of flavored water (tasty yet with zero calories, no less)? Maybe that it was that I coveted the ice cream in the parlor across the street? I do not know. All I know is that I marveled at all there is to do in this enclave.
I mean there is a judo store for those who want to do judo, a Dollar Store for those who want to spend a dollar, or two, a park district with a swimming pool and the Swift for those who want to take a ride downtown, or to the McDonald's on Dempster Street, or maybe even to Kauffman's Bagel Bakery, whenever it gets rebuilt.
All I know is that there is a lot do for the enquiring mind and for those others as well. Me? I am a simple soul, born of humble origins and beginnings. So my tastes run from the mundane into the extreme. (What this has to do with any of this? I do not know, but I put it in because it sounded good.)
Anyway, there are a few things I'd like to add to the mix and to the pile of things to do in our enclave and little corner of the world, Skokie, Illinois, zip codes 60076 and 60077.
What to do -
First, there is the Relax Center, a Chinese massage parlor, on 9257 Skokie Blvd., with a massive plastic Buddha inside in the most darling shade of light green. I first thought it was a jade Buddha, but that was before I started pricing smaller jade ones and now believe that it is probably plastic, but that doesn't take away from its meaning and beauty either way.
The pros of this place are that a being can get a reasonable massage at a good price and there doesn't seem to be any hanky-panky going on there or any vice-squad related stuff. The cons are that very little English is spoken here, especially by the staff, so you'd better either know Chinese (I joke).
My Mandarin (or Cantonese?) is limited to “how are you” (Ne how?), “please” (shea, shea) and “thank you” (bu-yong shea.) I once bowed while asking someone how he was at a parlor on the other end of this country and he started to laugh, so I wouldn't suggest being overly-polite or bowing through any of these.
The next must see place is Panera Bread situated near Skokie Boulevard and Golf Road. It is so crazy busy much of the time that I don't need to give the address and don't really feel like looking it up anyway. But suffice it to say that it is so popular, it is hard to get a seat at times. But if you want a good (non-alcoholic) summer beverage or a smoothie, this is the place to go, and they have very good piped-in music. The con is that some people talk loudly when you're trying to work and type opinions like this, you end up listening to their conversations and wanting to see the pictures of their kids are showing on their cell phones. Otherwise, it is a four-star dining experience.
The last spot I'm going to recommend is the Westfield Old Orchard Mall and just about anything there, though I am partial to Wilde & Green, for their ambience, variety and quality, even if they do need softer music, Victoria's Secrets (new fave), and Lush because a person could really learn to exfoliate there.
I will try and post other things later whenever I think of them. In the meantime, have your fill and get a massage, smoothie and do some shopping. Maybe not in that order, though.