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Sweet Home Chicago!

After 20 hours in Miss Kia, we are back from Chicago.  It should only take 11 hours to drive from there back here, but time-wrecker #1 was an accident on Lake Shore Drive that held us up.  Time-wrecker #2 was the aging process.  Wayne and I were WAYYY more tired that we thought we'd be and needed to take a couple sleep breaks.  Time-wrecker #3 was the INSANE thunderstorms and fierce rain that pounded on us all day today.  So we left around 9 o'clock last night and got home at 5 pm today.


We were, in fact, insane to pack up my toddler monsters and take them to Illinois.  We had a good drive out, stopped at a Denny's in McKeesport, PA for a late dinner.  Stopped to sleep a little.  Stopped for breakfast at a Burger King in one of those travel plazas in Ohio that looks like an airport. 

Which reminds me, what the heck is up with those "rest areas" along the highway that are lit up like daytime in the middle of the night.  Not very easy to rest there.  We had to park in between some giant trucks to block out the light.  Anyway...

I love that you don't see the Chicago skyline until you get off the skyway and come around a curve and there she is in all her glory.  It just sucked that it was kinda hazy on Friday. 

We arrived at the apartment of my friend, umeyard, in Arlington Heights around noon.  I was yelling at Andy (a theme for the weekend) when she snuck up behind me.  After much hugging and yelling at the kids, there was Portillo's Italian Beef and Green River Soda.   I do love me some Italian Beef. 

We had planned to head to Evanston on Friday to roam around and meet up with some friends.  Alas, I fell asleep for awhile and had promised Friday evening to my friend, Chani, who lives in Forest Park, kinda the opposite direction of Evanston.  So we headed up into Friday evening Chicago traffic and walked from Chani's adorable condo to the Leona's in Oak Park, which made me squee with glee.  I had my traditional real-sized Baked Garlic Chicken, with the Psychedelic Salad and angel hair. Oh, and the snazzy raspberry lemonade with the sugar-crusted rim, that I love so much.  We hung out and chatted and the boys were actually really well behaved.  From there we went to see Chani's mom, Kathy, who is probably the sweetest woman ever.  We sat in her music room and she sat with Andy on her lap on her piano bench and let him plunk on the keys.  He thought it was so cool.  Every couple of minutes he'd say, "It's a piano!" as if he'd just figured that out.

Saturday morning we went to a place called Artemis for breakfast.  We were the youngest people there, but the food was good and that's all that matters.  We went to Navy Pier and met up (fairly easily, actually) with my best friend of 16 years, Maria, who now lives in Wisconsin. It was pretty gray and miserable.  The boys went on the little train ride and we went out on the very choppy waters for one of the lakeshore cruises.   Thankfully, the sky didn't open up with it's pouring rain until we were back on land. 

We were walking through the shopping areas, getting stuff for my Chicago-themed powder room when I ran into a pseudo-celebrity.  Well, to me he's a massive celebrity.  We were in the little shop where they sell medieval weaponry and family coats of arms and I heard this guy say something about Wildcats.  My ears perked up and I asked if he meant NU wildcats.  I got a good look at him and I said that I recognized him.  He said he played football and that's when I went all star-struck goofy.  He said his name is D'wayne and I said, like D'wayne Bates? Who played for the Cats on the 95-96 Rose Bowl team?  <insert much squeeage here>  I showed him my tattoo.  I asked if I could take a picture with him and he did.  My friends said I probably made his day.  Apparently, after a short NFL career, he's teaching history at Evanston Township High School. 

We took the boys to the Chicago Children's Museum and had a blast there before Andy had a meltdown.  We had a late lunch/early dinner at Bubba Gump's and headed back to Arlington Heights.  The boys crashed out.  Maria and Aimee went to Woodfield to get me goodies from Lush, the natural bath and body stuff store with which Aimee is obsessed.  I'm working on my own little addiction.

When they returned, we ordered a pizza from Gino's East and were silly until the wee hours.

Up early again on Sunday morning and went to breakfast at Baker's Square and yes, we had pie with breakfast.  From there, we went to Evanston and Northwestern.  First stop though, was actually the Ba'hai Temple in Willmette, because I wanted to show it to Wayne.  From there we went to Ryan Field Dyche Stadium and I was disappointed that we couldn't get in.  So I took pictures through the fence. 

We melted a credit card at Campus Gear on Sherman Ave getting purple stuff to update my gear collection for the upcoming football season.  That place is just as crowded and tiny as I remembered.  There was no room for the boys to go any further than the front door. 

Lunch was wings at Buffalo Joe's and I stole one of their trays with their logo on it.  They were as good as I remembered, but smaller.  We went to campus where we also couldn't get into any of the buildings, because summer session is over and fall session hasn't started yet, so the buildings are all locked tight.  Lots of new buildings, but I was happy to see that President Bienen did not literally pave paradise and put up a parking lot where the lagoon is still bubbling away.  We walked all the way out to the Lakefill and I was able to find the rock Chani and I painted way back in 1998.  The paint is worn, but I was able to pick it out among the hundreds that the waves of Lake Michigan lap against.

Andy had a meltdown in front of ISRC that drew the attention of a university police officer walking by.  That was so much fun.  He also had to touch the rock, wich was painted festive shades of red, yellow and orange.  I was dismayed to see that the orange was actually still wet. 

From there we went to Carmen's to have pizza with kneelbeforezod and asperas, two people I wish I'd stayed in better touch with over the years.  We had a lousy waitress who forgot to put our deep dish pizza order in, then put it in wrong.  KBZ was getting agitated and annoyed.  I hope it didn't take away from our little get together at all.  I got to introduce them to Wayne.  The boys were a little rowdy but not too bad.  It was pouring when we left and Andy and Emlyn helped me get the monsters into the minivan.  From there we started the LONG journey home.

Wayne promised that we'd go back in the spring, without the boys, so I could enjoy myself a little more and be able to go more places that were/are important to me without worrying about bedtimes and naps and stroller access. I want to see the flowers in bloom on campus.  And even if that doesn't work out, my ten-year reunion is next year and there's no way I'm missing it.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Glad you had a great time!! Did I tell you I use to live up in that neck of the woods? I actually lived in Frankfort Square (near Tinley Park) but we went into the city several times a month.
Aug. 21st, 2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
I know Tinley Park. So I guess you know the joy that is the Italian Beef sandwich then?

Aug. 21st, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
Sadly, I never liked the italian beef. Don't unfriend me!!
Aug. 22nd, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC)
Chicago deep dish pizza?

Aug. 22nd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
ummm, not really. But I'm really not a food person. I can't think of one food that I couldn't live without.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
YAY BATES! You know who I'd love to see again is Darnell. I have a truth or dare game I'd like to discuss with him. *snicker*
Aug. 22nd, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
Somebody told me he's back at NU finishing up a degree since that whole NFL & acting career didn't really happen.

He's gotta really hate Peyton Manning, don'cha think?
Aug. 22nd, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Who doesn't hate Peyton Manning?

That's cool that he's back. Last I'd heard he was a bouncer at House of Blues, so this must be more recent news.
Aug. 22nd, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
Welcome back! Did you take pics?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )