About Margaret Hicks

I'm Margaret. I'm an author, a tour guide, a traveler and a whole bunch of fun.

The Glove Affair

You know how certain comedians point out what you’ve known forever and really they’ve just figured out how to say it? And you’re like, YES YES, oh TOTALLY, YES!

Well, this has just happened to me recently. Apparently, I have a very strong opinion about gloves, a belief even. I had no idea how strongly I felt about the glove situation until someone said something and now, now I know. And I’ll tell you what Gloves, I’m coming for you. Yeah yeah, go ahead, hide away in your little pockets. Because what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for hand-warming devices like you.

I have a post that does pretty well, What To Wear For Winter In Chicago. It has a great comment section too, people are confused and worried and excited and asking all kinds of questions about the weather and what to wear. The other day, Carmen asked this question:

I’m from Cali, so our cold is a balmy day for you guys!! The gloves thing still has me confused though. My hands freeze here hiking at 30 degrees, so how the heck am I going to keep them warm at -9 degrees??

It’s a really good question Carmen! And for all the other questions about to wear and how to wear it, I have definite answers. But I can’t answer the glove question for Carmen and until she said it, I didn’t know why, but now I know why…

I had no answer for Carmen because the Glove Game is a racket! A scheme I tell you! Like Mother’s Day and selfies, it’s something “they” made up to keep us compliant! GLOVES DON’T WORK AND WE ALL KNOW IT.

So I brought the question to Facebook, asked some good ole Chicago people how they feel about gloves.

Matt responds first:

Double gloves are a must. Light weight gloves under heavier winter gloves. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s the only thing that keeps my finger tips from going numb from December through March.

To which I replied:

Double-gloving seems like a good idea, but I shall argue that is part of the glove racket!! DO I NEED TO BUY TWO PAIRS OF SHOES? NO! No I don’t. The Glove Game is a long con….

Then Matt  proceeds to tell me that I might wear two pairs of socks on a cold day, or with long underwear, maybe two pairs of pants.

 To which I reply that he is right, but I still say the Glove Game is a RACKET!
Then Holly says:

Matt is right (I don’t know you, but you’re right). I would go one further and say liner glove plus over *mittens* is really the best solution I’ve found. And the mittens need to be double-walled (fleece/thinsulate inner layer, knit outer layer).I’ll also take those chemical hand warmers that have stick-em on them and stick them on the inside of the mittens in the finger box

To which I reply:

Can we start a band called FingerBox?

We got these two too, in agreement with the Glove Racket.

I don’t know how many kinds and pairs of gloves I’ve tried with no success in keeping my hands warm. I’ve learned to use hand warmers, both the chemical and lighter fluid type and they work much better, I’m able to wear light gloves with them.

I have yet to meet a photographer who has solved this problem. In fact, REI has told me photographers are their toughest customers.

Diane thinks about gloves like I think about coats, you gotta get the GOOD ones:

Buy yourself some North Face or Isotoner gloves and that shit’s legit. I have a pair of Isotoner gloves that my Mom bought me for Christmas, and even though I am perpetually cold in the warmest of conditions, I have nice toasty fingers all day!

And then Poquito had the answer that seemed to settle the rest of us:

I used to work in an ice cream factory while in college. It was always -30 in the freezer area. You have to wear a wool glove liner with a suede insulated mitten over the wool glove.

Most seemed to agree that Poquito had the right idea. That does sound warm, although, it starts snowing and you start shoveling and that pretty little suede isn’t going to help you now. Not that it snows here anymore.

After all that work and some very deep and aching soul-searching, I realized that the warmest gloves I own are my Hills Bros gloves I got from the awesome ladies at Chicagonista.

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I got these at an event…yes, they’re Hills Bros. Coffee gloves. And they are SO cozy, omg. I think it’s so funny and again, they’re not going to last in the snow, but they are by the far the warmest gloves I’ve had in awhile. And I do jazz hands in them a lot, because they’re cute and red.
Where do you stand on the Glove Game? Racket? Or helpful? Do you have tips and tricks to make your glove game the best? Fill us in!
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Tour Guide Training

So, awhile back, I was really worried…anxious….over where my tour business was going to go. What was going to happen to me? How can I stretch this a little bit, how can this evolve and grow? Also, my anxiety over what my competition was doing was driving me bananas – how can I work with that anxiety? What is the opposite of being afraid of my competition?

That last question shifted my thinking. Instead of worrying so much about ME and how this was all going to work out, I opened my mind and my heart a little, thought of my fellow man, wondered how I could help THEM, what skills I had to share and how could I share them, and came up with the craziest, best idea EVER.

A Tour Guide Training workshop.

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You see, a lot of us guides, we never get any formal training, not really. The independent guides? The ones on the street? The Greeters that give our tourists FREE tours because they are so freaking awesome?
No training.

These souls, these brave and strong and curious souls, have no place to go a lot of times. And as I got more involved with Chicago Tour Guide Association and sat on the certification committee to certify new guides – I realized what hard work this is, all on our own.

SO! With the help of some friends and my bajillion years of improv background, I came up with a workshop. This workshop is not about how to research or what kind of tour you could give, but a workshop on how to present yourself, what your body language is secretly saying, how to find the beats of a story and talk about them, how to connect emotion to your words…

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I had my first workshop on Monday and it was SO GREAT.

A few quotes if I might:

I had a lot of take-aways, great food for thought as I think about how I conduct my tours, and life! Right now the first one that comes to mind:  Embrace the awkward moments, there will be many and they can be gold. – Larissa

I just wanted to tell you what a great learning experience I had at the workshop.  I really learned a lot and had fun doing all the games, they will come in handy for giving my tours. I also really enjoyed connecting with other guides. – Char

YES! And I also enjoyed connecting with them and all of us finding a better way to speak, to engage, to entertain and to educate.

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I am now going to set up some more of these workshops with other tour guide associations, but am also looking forward to teaching anyone how to do this! Sure, “storytelling” is a big buzzword right now for corporations, people and brands and there are lots of us talking and presenting about storytelling. The thing about this workshop is, I can help ANYONE not just figure out what storytelling means, but help you get that story OUT OF YOUR MOUTH in a concise, fun and interesting manner that includes your whole body and mind.

That’s what I can help with.

Let me know if you need help telling your stories, because I can TOTALLY help.

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Field Trip

One of the perks of being a tour guide (and oh there are many) is that we get to go on special trips to museums to see new exhibits!

So the other day I went to The Greeks exhibit at the Field Museum. That museum is such a weird place. What amazes me about it is, it is SO MUCH the same as it was when I was a kid. I mean, it is the same. The Chinese warriors and the sabre tooth tigers, it’s all still there just like you remember it from when you were 12. It is childlike and cool. The outside of course, is especially lovely. Fun fact, when you have ladies acting as a column, or “holding up the building,” those are called Caryatids – when it’s a man acting as column, that is called an Atlas:

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Of course, because I’m old, the first thing I think of when I walk into the Field Museum, is She’s Having a Baby:

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And yes, Sue is as cool as ever. Do you follow Sue on Twitter? You should, it’s hilarious.

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The Greeks exhibit was especially neat. The thing that I learned is that these sculptures, these Greek sculptures we know so well and imagine as gleaming white – they were all painted. Big, bright colors, they have photographs of what they looked like and it’s just fascinating. I always picture them stark white. :

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Then I went to go see the Future Buddha in the Tibet exhibits (which is basically a storefront window, but I love me some Buddhas:

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Here’s me getting excited, because guess what I’m going to see…

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THE HALL OF DINOSAURS – this is where it all comes together for the Field Museum:

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And then of course the city looks so beautiful from there:

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More On The Winter Tour Is Awesome and Why It’s For Locals

When I was on WGNRadio last week (GOD HOW I LOVE WGNRADIO), Justin Kaufmann, the host, asked me “What makes this a Winter Tour?” And I answered thoughtfully, but I’ve been thinking about that question a lot and then a long walk yesterday (that’s totally going to change the tour route a bit) helped me solidify that reason.

I walked from the Field Museum along the lakefront yesterday and I got to Buckingham Fountain and NO ONE WAS THERE. It was just totally empty. And it’s so cool, it’s SO COOL to be wandering around. It’s like a ghost town and it wasn’t even that cold yesterday. There’s something about exploring such a familiar spot when it looks totally different.

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Normally on the Winter Tour we don’t walk over to Buckingham Fountain, but I think I’m going to switch up my route, because the other thing you walk through, and this is mostly familiar to Chicagoans, is Petrillo Band Shell. Now in MY Chicago history, a lot in my life took place in front of this bandshell! FESTS. So many fests. And now it’s sad and weird and you can walk right up to it and get on the stage and it’s neat and weird and EMPTY:

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And then you just scooch right on over to the Millennium Park, but I have this great “warm up spot” that I’m really excited about and it basically takes you to this, WITH NO ONE THERE:

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It just really solidified the Winter Tour. What makes it a Winter Tour and why is it special? Because we’re seeing things that any other time of the year are PACKED with people and there’s something really special about walking through these spaces alone, quiet…

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