“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
— Mary Oliver
Last weekend my husband and I went down to Chicago to see some friends and have a little fun. We try to get down there at least once a year although I wish it were more often especially since it is only about three hours away. My mom came down to our house to babysit for us which didn’t bother our three-year-old one little bit. In fact as we pulled out of the garage, I could see our little girl jumping up and down as she stood next to my mom – waving away and giddy at the prospect of having Grandma all to herself for an entire weekend.
So away we went, iPod plugged in, Chicago 2011 playlist queued up, excitement spilling over as we headed down 41 towards a much-needed weekend of fine friends, good food and delicious fun.
Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny Autumn day. I was filled with so much energy and excitement that I was almost bouncing off the walls. We were getting ready to head out to meet my dear friend Noel Rozny – French Christmas for the first time in person! I met Noel last December through Reverb 10. She was a kindred spirit from day one. The beauty in her writing is enough to send your soul aloft into the heavens even though your feet are planted firmly on the ground.
My friend Brandon told us about this place called Delicious Cafe which serves vegan and gluten-free food. Noel was there to greet us when we walked in the door. She had the biggest smile and gave me a huge bear hug. It was like I had known her forever. It wasn’t like meeting someone new. It was seeing an old friend after a long time. That’s how it felt. She is everything she is online and much more. We ordered our food and teas and the four of us headed out to the back patio to sit outside and have some privacy.
What a wonderful visit we had. All four of us talking like old friends, laughing and sharing. I was impressed to find Noel shares our wicked sense of humor. Kindred spirit indeed! It was supremely delightful. I know I have a lifelong friend in Noel and I am so very blessed and grateful that we finally got to meet in person. I am already looking forward to our next visit. 🙂
After breakfast, Brandon, Jess and I headed towards the “L” stopping in little shops along the way. We found an awesome shop called Transistor . They had a ton of cool things. Our favorite was a homemade lamp/nightlight with a picture of one of the Brown Line stops on the “L”. (We stopped back on Sunday to buy one) Then it was time to hop on the “L” and head downtown!
We didn’t really have any concrete plans for the day. We just spent the day being together and enjoying the moment.
We didn’t get to Sears Tower as we’d hoped. It was just too busy downtown. But there’s always next time! Of course we made our annual pilgrimage to the Apple Store where I got to play around with the 11 inch MacBook Air and check out the new iPhones.
Then it was over to Marbles: The Brain Store to find a surprise for AnneShirley. Of course Brandon found a fabulous game – especially for writers – called “Story Cubes”. You get nine cubes with 54 images. Roll the cubes and come up with a story using the image that is face up. I had to get it so I did! Brandon and I played it when we returned home that night and laughed ourselves silly over the stories we were coming up with. Great fun! I highly recommend it!
After Marbles, it was late afternoon and since we wouldn’t be eating supper until after nine, we stopped on over at Elephant & Castle for a bite to eat – just to tide us over. We overheard a couple at a nearby table saying they thought they saw Bill O’Reilly just before they stopped to eat. Who knows? In Chicago, anything is possible!
THEN, it was time to get back on the “L” and head home so we could rest up and get ready for supper.
Our friend Steve got home from work and away we all went to Machu Picchu – a Peruvian restaurant. The wait was about twenty minutes but well worth it! The food was nothing short of amazing!
We had Ceviche Mixto and Papa a la Huancaina – which is cold sliced potato with a sauce of mild yellow peppers and cheese.
Our main course was Lomo Fino al Pacifico which is grilled Filet Mignon and topped with a seafood combination sautéed in its own sauce.
It was BYOB (bring your own bottle) and Steve brought four delicious bottles of wine for us to try with our meal. Steve owns Vino 100 and is extremely knowledgeable about wines. So it is always a treat to see what he is going to spring on us when we visit.
It was our first experience with Peruvian food and it was absolutely beyond delicious.
Even though we were stuffed beyond measure and you had to almost roll us home, Brandon had a surprise dessert waiting for us when we got back to the house.
We haven’t been able to find a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls ice cream by us. If you know your Saturday Night Live sketches, you’ll get the name.
It was every bit delicious as I thought it would be – vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum with fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls.
What a delightful way to end a spectacularly fabulous Autumn day in Chicago – a day of living life, friends, food, laughter and fun!
We should all be so blessed!