Author Archives: Lee Diamond

Endings and Beginnings

Three generations of Diamond women make goofy faces

Three generations of Diamond women make goofy faces

It has been a little over a month since my sister and I found out our dad died. In that month, we have experienced what feels like a lifetime worth of startling discoveries and what seemed like a continuous barrage of shocks. A lot of what we unraveled is deeply personal and hard to share on such a public space. With the extraordinary aid of my wife, sister, kids and family plus many good friends and kind newly met individuals, we are at the start of a new beginning.

Our mom was living in a very difficult environment, and her condition was far worse than we knew or could even imagine. The circumstances of how our parents came to live as they did and the harm it did to them has left us reeling. Because my wife and I are caregivers to Jackson, our son who has a wide variety of special needs, we are never able to travel or leave town.  In the 13 years since his injury, I left the Chicago area exactly twice…for my sister’s wedding and to visit our parents 6 years ago. While there were certainly signs that their health and lives had deteriorated, it turned out to be on a level that was completely unexpected. We have spent the past month travelling between our respective homes in Chicago and the Bay Area and Cleveland while dealing with all the fallout. Meanwhile, my wife had to manage all of Jackson’s caregiving and keeping things functioning on the home front during the final month of her break. It was very hard for all of us, and a super bummer tough summer for my wife and children. 

Over the past month, we saw to our father’s funeral, re-homing our parents’ elder dog, emptying out over 40 tons of belongings and junk out of our parents’ home then hiring a hauling company to spend a full week after that finishing the job. We listed their home for sale and have dealt with a maze of financial, legal and administrative challenges and lots of hotels, road food, and stress. We were away from our immediate families, who had to deal with great challenges on their own. I relied on my work colleagues to keep things afloat while I was away or otherwise busy with these affairs. We saw to getting our mom into the hospital, then rehab in Cleveland, and finally to move with us to a new rehab hospital 15 minutes from our Evanston home. We experienced the very best and the very worst in health care and elder care. We ran all over the city and suburbs of Cleveland dealing with insurance, document gathering, wrecked cars, FedEx, certified mail, notarized documents, bank accounts, assets, debts, properties and so many other things. The good that came of this is that mom is here with us. She will now make her home in the Chicago area as she has little family left in Cleveland and while the future is still very uncertain for her, for the moment, she is being cared for, she is safe, she is getting good nutrition, and she is tended to by a variety of therapists and medical professionals.

I know my sister and her awesome husband Joe have their own challenges to face back at home, and will try their best to get their lives back to a new normal.  My sister and I are grateful that the tough month we have endured has also brought us closer together, and neither of us would have been able to get through all of this without the other. We hope that the new life we are embarking on, and that are mom is working on, will allow us to see one another more frequently, and that we will stay more involved in each other’s lives. I hope that I will also be able to get back to a more normal life at home, and be there for my family and to resume caregiving for Jackson, but there is still much left to do, and so much of what my mom must deal with over the near and long-term future are unknown. 

But here we are. The good part is she is near us and she is safe and she is being cared for and we can be a part of her lives, and she can be part of ours.  As hard as this has all been, this is what matters the most, and it is the best of the new life ahead.

While dealing with all of this, I had an MRI on my still sore shoulder to discover two complete tears and a ¾ tear of various parts of my right rotator cuff, requiring surgery.  This is going to require me to cancel the last two months of the tours I had hoped to run this year.  I am issuing refunds to all the season ticket holders this week, and working on catching up with correspondence from the many kind souls who have reached out to me and my family during this past month. I’ll be getting the loaner bikes on sale soon, a plan already months behind, but hopefully next on my agenda with the time off I will have from the rides. I feel like I was already somewhat of a hermit…barely seeing friends or family due to life circumstances.  The bike tours provided a great social life for me, and I will miss doing them for the rest of the year, but hope to resume them next Spring.  I’ll miss riding while recovering from yet another shoulder surgery, and I’ll probably be jonesing for some kinship, friendship and socializing as the year spills into the fall and winter. I hope to snuggle in with my family, and as much as it pales in comparison, at least get some trainer rides in the basement as I recover.

In the interim, I get the chance to play music again, at least for the weekend, when the old bassist for one of my bands comes back in town for us to do a one-off reunion show at Reggie’s Music Joint. So many people I am friends with now don’t even know that I spent most of my life as a musician, and many of the people I know from that life I haven’t seen in years and years. If you aren’t doing anything this Saturday night, please consider joining us.  I can honestly say it would be so good to see people and share some good times with everyone. 

So…while I hate to announce the rides are done for the year, I intend to keep the rides going next year.  I thank everyone that has supported me and my family through this all with help, a kind word, a message, or just their love and thoughts. It has made all the difference and I thank you all. I’ll post the bike sale details soon and maybe I’ll see some of you this Saturday for the Replica Republic show.

Replica Republic/Discoveries of the American Scientific/OUTDrejas
Reggie’s Music Joint
Saturday September 2, 2017

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Tour Hiatus

This is a brief post to inform everyone that the July, August and September tours have been cancelled.  This includes tomorrow’s Tour of Evanston.

As many of you know, my father died at the end of last month and my family and I are working on sorting out his affairs and moving my mom to be close to us in the Chicago area.  I have to focus on my family for the time being but hope to be able to run the final two tours of the year in October and November.

My sincere thanks for all of the kind wishes, messages, calls, texts, emails, letters and the like that we have received.  It has been a difficult time but we have been better able to get through it with the support we have received. 

Thank you all for you understanding.

Goodbye Dad

Charles Nissan Diamond

Charles Nissan Diamond

Last night, my father, Charles Nissan Diamond died unexpectedly at his home. It hit my mom especially hard and I drove out to Cleveland today to begin the process of helping her, making arrangements for his funeral, and meeting the family that is congregating to celebrate his life. It has been a hard couple of days and I suspect they won’t be easy for a while.

My sister Rae sent me the picture above, which I love and shows a side of my dad that not many knew.

I love you dad and I miss you already.  Peace to you and mom and Rae and all of our family.

FRIDAY NIGHT’S TOUR IS CANCELLED.

I am going to have to cancel Friday night’s make-up Downtown Night Tour as I will likely still be in Cleveland and in any case will be in no position to lead a group of riders through the streets of downtown Chicago at night.  I am sorry for this. I will initiate refunds for all that pre-registered and be in touch about the status of the season pass for those that purchased one this season. As I look through the posts on Chicago Velo, it is depressingly notable how many of the posts are about tour cancellations, postponements and rescheduling. I know it isn’t the time to make big decisions about everything after a major event in one’s life, but as I sort through these tasks, I will be taking stock about the future of the Chicago Neighborhood Bike Tours as well.

Take care everyone and hopefully I will see you soon.

Downtown Night Tour Cancelled Tonight….postponed until Friday July 28

Hi everyone,

It is raining outside my window as I am typing and there is lightning in the sky.  There is a flash flood warning in effect and my three open browsers with radar and weather forecasts don’t look much brighter for the rest of the evening so I am going to cancel tonight’s ride.

We will hold the Downtown Night Bike Tour next Friday, July 28 at 7:00 PM instead.  The ride has been postponed for one week.  Pre-paid tickets have the option of a refund or can use their tickets next week.

My apologies for the late notice.  It is my goal to not have to cancel a ride whenever possible but I am also concerned for everyone’s safety and want to make sure that the ride is fun for everyone that comes.  That doesn’t seem like a deliverable set of goals this evening.

I hope to see you all next week.

At night, Chicago is particularly lovely

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE TOUR AND THE WEATHER:

The weather report is indicating the strong likelihood of thunderstorms during the hours we would be touring. While we do indeed hold our tours in the rain, we do NOT hold tours during storms, particularly when lightning might be present.

I will be at the start of the tour to either run the tour as scheduled, or to greet riders that show up if the ride has to be cancelled.
IF the ride needs to be cancelled, we will have a rain date of next Friday, July 28 at the same time. Pre-paid riders will have the option of a refund or rain-check. Hopefully our weather luck works out and I will see everyone tomorrow.

THANKS! – Lee Diamond

 
 

When Chicagoans speak of their downtown area, they most often refer to it as the Loop. The term does indeed represent the central business district of the downtown area and is a designated Chicago Community Area, but Chicago’s Downtown also includes adjacent neighborhoods and communities and many of the iconic buildings that people associate with downtown Chicago like the Field Museum, Wrigley Building, Merchandise Mart, Union Station and the Water Tower which all lie outside of the Loop proper.  The term the Loop is most frequently thought to originate from the loop that the cable cars made at the turnabouts along State, Lake, Wabash and Madison. Later it referred to the Union Elevated Line, an elevated train that connected the various independent el train companies to one another in a central business district Loop.

Agora

Agora

For much of the decade that I have been organizing the Chicago Neighborhood Bike Tours, I have offered mini-tours of the various Downtown districts which I held for the City of Chicago, and longer night tours of the same areas.  The mini-tours were 6 to 10 miles and offered the greatest hits of the major sites of each Downtown Community.  The night tours were 10 to 14 mile tours that used the night as a filter to highlight sites and buildings that were particularly impressive for night-viewing.  A comprehensive tour of any of these areas would be impossible due to the density of all of the magnificent sites in any of these areas, as well as the challenge of very dense and busy downtown vehicle traffic. 

LaSalle Street Bridge

LaSalle Street Bridge

I have created a Google Map with our Route, and sites of interest in each of the different Community Areas.

This year, the tour combines iconic buildings and sites of all the different downtown community areas in a combined night tour. There are fewer stops and an exciting route that offers a breathtaking view of Downtown Chicago in all its nighttime glory. All riders should bring a helmet as well as front and rear lights to see and be seen. We ride in rain, but not in storms.

I hope you can join us for a one-of-a-kind view of Chicago by bike at night.

Biking Downtown Chicago at Night

Biking Downtown Chicago at Night

Inspiration for this post’s title from the great Ohio band Orchestraville and their album, “At Night, it is Particularly Lovely”, available to listen to for free on Bandcamp here.

Downtown Chicago Night Bike Tour
Friday July 21 at 7:00 PM
Buckingham Fountain at 301 S Columbus Dr in Chicago

Buy Tickets | Facebook | Chainlink | Downtown Night Tour Map

 

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