Record Breaking Weekend!

This was a fabulous weekend!  We broke the record on how many family members we could see in one weekend!  It was so much fun!

So let’s start with lunch on Friday.  Eddie was able to meet up with some of our “New Mexico Family” on Friday afternoon for lunch.  Some of the members of the Lucero Family met up in Chicago from all over the country so that they could go to the Notre Dame football game the next day.  So a quick get together was in order.  It was really nice for Eddie to be able to be with them.  I was at tea with the girls so I wasn’t able to see them on Friday before they left.  But that was ok …

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Amy, Laura, Eddie, Brad, Shelli, Julie and Uncle Don! Pay no attention to the photo-bombing lady waving!

Uncle Don and Laura came in from New Mexico, Amy and Shelli in from Colorado, and Brad and Julie in from Arizona.  What a great reunion for them to be together, and a great opportunity for Eddie to see them, even if it was for just a quick lunch.

So, that’s six so far, adding to the three girls, that’s a whopping nine people for us to visit with here in Chicago!!  But that’s not all!!

On Saturday morning, Mary had to make her way home, and Gigi had to make her way to pick up her baby.  So they hopped on the Orange Line back to Midway.  Mary caught her plane back home and Gigi grabbed the two girls to bring back to our apartment!

At the same time the girls were going to Midway, Eddie was heading on the Blue Line to O’Hare Airport.  Our nephew, Daniel, was landing at noon for a week-long work conference, but he was going to begin and end his week with us.

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I know, I know, that’s a lot of coordinating, right?  Not to worry, we’ve got it covered!  And while they were all at airports, Coco and I snuck in a little more touring.  We heard about a “behind the scenes” tour given at one of the famous icons here in Chicago.  The “Chicago Theatre” gives tours on random Saturday mornings, and we were in luck!

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The playhouse was beautiful and has an amazing history.   Called the “Wonder Theatre of the World” when it opened on October 26, 1921, the Chicago Theatre was the first large, lavish movie palace in America.

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After being almost torn down, reconstructed at least twice, and left for empty, the house is now completely restored and is host to many of Chicago’s big name concerts.  We saw tunnels and dressing rooms, balconies and secret “viewing” places all inside the theatre.  The most amazing and scary part of this tour was the balcony.  It is huge and constructed and engineered in a way that is a modern miracle.  In order to prove that the balcony would hold all the people when they were building the original theatre, they put over 26,000 pounds of sandbags on the balcony floor to show everyone that it would really work.  Scary, right?  Well, needless to say, it’s still holding up today.  That was a fun tour for anyone who is a fan of the arts!

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After the boys had a real “Chicago” lunch …

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… we caught up at the apartment with everyone (which now makes TWELVE family members we’ve seen this weekend) and immediately took off for another walk around the city!  We had to take the girls … shopping at the famous Marshall Fields!

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The famous “Walnut Room” Christmas Tree!

 

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The “Grand Staircase” of the original Marshall Field’s Department Store

The people of Chicago still call this amazing monument “Marshall Fields” even though Macy’s purchased it a few years ago.  I love all the history of it so, I too, tend to call it Marshall Fields.  Makes it a little more special.  Besides, there are a million “Macy’s” right?

Next stop, Grant Park … what will we find there?  Well, first we found Daniel “in the Bean” …

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Where’s Daniel?

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the girls at the Symphony …

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and us girls longing to trade in our tennies for some skates …

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We ended the day with a Shake Shack burger and fries and then went home to hit the hay … the girls had an 8:00 a.m. flight in the morning … so you know what that means!  A bright and early departure from the apartment, that’s what it means!

The boys left us girls to our own devices while they decided to stay the night in a much more quiet atmosphere.  They walked up to the Drake Hotel for the night where they got to watch football and be boys without 5 girls to bother them!

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The Christmas Tree at The Drake Hotel

On Sunday morning, my comadres left the apartment around 6:00 a.m to catch their flights home.  I was blessed to be able to spend this week with them and I am grateful that they were able to take the time and spend it with us.  We had a blast and I am looking forward to another “Girls’ Week” soon!  Hurry back Comadres … I miss you already!

Well now that the comadres have all gone home, there was no time for crying!  We still have company and I have more family to see!

I met Eddie and Daniel at the “Original Pancake House” up near the Drake for breakfast to start our day.  This is a little, teeny, tiny place that serves up the best pancakes ever!!  You usually have to wait in a long line that goes down the block but today we got lucky!  We beat the rush and were able to be seated right away!

We had another full day ahead so after getting our protein (yes, we got some protein I promise!), Daniel wanted to see the Art Institute.  Remember that I said that you just can’t see enough of this place?  Well, we tried again.  It was really fun watching Daniel take it all in.  He has done some European “starving student” travelling in his day so he’s seen some of the best museums.  But he loved it and, like the rest of us, didn’t want to leave.

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However, “Goose” was honking their names … Eddie had made a reservation at Chicago’s famous “Goose Island Brewery” for a 2:00 tour.  So we split up and the boys hopped on the Green Line for the quick ride out to Goose Island.  Here’s the view from the Green Line …

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And here’s the view from the tour …

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Unlike the Lagunitas Brewery, this one allows you to taste as you go!  So, you’re not going to have that “thirst” problem here either!  Not quite tea, but still quenches your thirst!

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A few tastes of some different types of originally crafted brews.

While they were on that tour, I caught up with a different tour!  I took a short walk up to the river where I found a few New Mexicans taking the architectural tour!  I know you can’t pick them out, but they’re really there!

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Julie, Amy, and Shelli are looking right at me pretty much from the center of the boat.  They told me a funny story too.  I was waving like crazy at them so they would see me and they said the tour guide said to the people on the boat, “Oh look at the friendly Chicago lady, welcoming you all back to the dock!”  Haha!!  They were like, “Um, No, that’s our crazy cousin!”  Too funny!

I got to spend a little bit of time with them, although I’m so bummed that we forgot to take a group picture!  So, the one with Eddie will have to do til next time!  It was great to see them so spontaneously here in Chicago!  We will definitely make plans to see you guys next time you’re in town for a game!

We finished off the weekend with Daniel and carnitas.  This is a big thing here in the city.  Restaurants offer just carnitas on their menus.  Nothing else!  So obviously, they’re really good at it!

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Well it was another full day and a record-breaking weekend with family … you can’t really ask for much more than that!

Ok, talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tours & Tea

Friday morning was upon us and we still had so much to do!  We definitely wanted to have a little fun though so we took the Crazy Crime Tour first thing in the morning!  This was a different tour company than the other ones we have tried, but it was just as great!  So much history in this town!  And it still kinda creeps me out to know about all the “bad guys” that ruled around here in the hey day!  Capone, Bugs Moran, John Dillinger and his “Lady in Red.”  It’s so weird to make it real … this is just “movie” stuff, right?  Um, No!  It all happened right here in downtown Chicago!  Thanks Be To God that era is over!

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Al Capone's Speakeasy at the top of the building where the green is

Al Capone’s Speakeasy was at the top of the building where the green scaffolding is now.

The “Jewelry Building” housed Al Capone’s private speakeasy, with an elevator in the center of the building that was big enough to hold his car!  He never got out until he got in!

The tours ends at Holy Name Cathedral which is of course, a big draw here in Chicago.  This place is beautiful inside and out, but it too, has it’s own “mob” history.

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That was a fun couple of hours touring the city by way of Prohibition!  Kind of gets you thirsty!  But I’ve got a solution for that!

I know that some of you out there think I’m crazy, but I just LOVE going to afternoon tea.  Remember that I went once already since I’ve been here … the cheapest tea place that Chuchi found that was fabulous?  Well, we’re going there again!  And that takes care of the thirsty problem!

This tea place is so cool.  Nothing opulent or over the top, just a good old place to stop for a “spot of tea”!  Part of the fun of this place is the hotel and the neighborhood that it’s in.  It’s just outside of the Loop so it’s a little less “traffic-ey” than being right downtown.  It was about a mile walk from our tour ending, but it’s a great walk … or if you’d rather, a very short “El” ride on the green line.  Either one is good because you’ll see different views on each of them.  We did both.  Walked to and El’d back.

The walk to the The Allis runs up Clark Street, along the river, and through the old “packing district,” so it’s very interesting, with some great historical sites to see and beautiful views of the city skyline.

We arrived just in time for our 1:30 reservation and ready for a few hours of snacking and chatting and drinking lots and lots of tea!

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There’s really nothing that compares to delicious food being served to you and time with your girlfriends.  Being able to sit around and chat without having to say, “oh let me get you this” or “do you need more that”?  Don’t get me wrong.  I love being able to serve up a good tea party, but when you’re being served … it’s all the more wonderful!

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Check out those tea trays … filled with finger sandwiches, scones, lemon curd and clotted cream, banana bread, chocolate cake, and so much more.  There was no way we were going to finish all of that and our tea, but we gave it our best shot!  Everything was delicious and you can’t beat the company!

And I know you’re never going to believe this, but we ended the day with … MORE FOOD!  Eddie found a great Greek restaurant for us and we just couldn’t say no!  So off we went to Greek Town and the delicacies of fine Greek food.  The Athena is a generous host for anyone in the mood for Greek food and good wine.

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The service was over-the-top and the food and drink even more.  It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.  We decided to take a walk home … because that’s what we do when we eat like this … and it was a perfect night for a walk.

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I know it looks cold, but it’s really not once you get walking … by the time we got home, we were warm and feeling good enough for another cup of tea to get us ready for bed.  Another night, another hop on the bed, and chatting til midnight … you know the drill when you’re with the girls!

Ok, talk to you tomorrow!

 

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So Long … Again …

Well it’s that day again … that day when people leave.  We had a few hours time in the morning before we had to get Tina & Cliff on their train to Midway.  And because we didn’t get a chance to do everything on Cliff’s list, we had to make a couple more “must see” pit stops before they left.  The most important thing Cliff still needed to accomplish was eating a “Chicago Dog” … and seeing “Sue”!  When you only have a couple of hours, this is the place to go!

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BACKTRACK – Here’s something I forgot to tell you a couple of days ago … Cliff and Tina know their “places” and as we were walking around State Street, all of the sudden Tina says, “Auntie, I didn’t know there was a MAGNOLIA BAKERY here!”  I said, “I didn’t either!  What’s Magnolia Bakery?”  Well for you New York lovers out there, I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about.  But for those of us who have no idea how special this place is … well, when you come to visit, we’ll definitely make this a “Must Taste” spot!  I didn’t get a picture of their famous Banana Pudding because by the time I asked someone for a taste … it was gone!  Ok there you have it …

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Now back to the last day.  Off we go for a walk in the park over to the Field Museum.

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After spending a little time there, we had to eat before we left.  Well, if you “yelp” the best Chicago hot dogs on the Museum Campus, this is what comes up:  Kim & Carlos Hot Dogs.  It’s a little (seriously little) stand right outside of the museums so of course, it’s packed with tourists.  However, it is an authentic dog, hot and fresh, so everyone loves this little stand.

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As I waited for them to get their lunch (because you already know how I feel about hot dogs!), I took a little look at the lake that looks like an ocean.

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The lake never fails to awe me.  This “fall” look is so different from the views we had in summer, with the docks filled with boats and people.  Today, most of the boats are off the lake so it’s much less busy-looking.  All you can see in this picture are the buoys that hold the boats when they are docked.

Anyway, they all enjoyed their Chicago Dogs …

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and then Eddie decided to give the birds some of his leftover chips.  You know how I feel about birds!  In case you don’t, I’m deathly afraid of the stupid little things, especially when they are so bold they dive bomb just to scare you away from the crumbs your hot dog left.  I ran away and when I looked back, this is what I saw!

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Let’s get out of here!!  Before we walked back to the apartment, we stopped at the Soldier Field Memorial Stadium.  This is where the Chicago Bears play their home football games.

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Inside the “Roman Columns” that surround Soldier Field.

The stadium is dedicated to all those who have served in our military, and those who continue to serve.  I had no idea that “Soldier Field” actually meant that.  It was a beautiful memorial and it filled us with gratitude once again for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can go about our daily lives.

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As we walked back to our apartment, we were all happy with the week we shared, exploring new places and doing the “Chicago” things.  Cliff and Tina are great travel buddies, as well as a wonderful niece and nephew.

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We are blessed to have them both in our family!  Don’t stay away too long guys, we have a lot more “things” to see and do!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

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A Day with the Irish!

Well the day had finally come!  How many times had I been asked (in an Irish accent, of course — you pick your favorite one), “Have you been to the Holy Land yet”?  Now I get it!  The “Holy Land” in South Bend, Indiana!!  The one covered in green and gold, and traditions and yes, even holiness!  It turned out to be a perfect day!

Tina is a BIG BIG BIG fan of the Irish.  Last time she was here, we went to the ND store right by my house and she went wild, making sure she had her gear in time for football season to begin!  Well this time, Cliff made our visit to the store a little more authentic!  He made us reservations for the formal “Stadium Tour” on campus for our next adventure!

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So we rented a car and set out for a morning drive to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend.  We didn’t realize how close we really are.  No more than an hour and a half and an easy drive on the highway.  We arrived before we knew it!

Our first stop was the new shopping neighborhood right across the street from the entrance to the University.  Notre Dame Bookstore!  Well, we went crazy!!  It was a good thing that we only had 40 minutes to shop before our tour began or it could have been bad!

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By the way, I found it exciting to know that even ND got in on the “Star Wars” action … which of us “Star Wars” fans wouldn’t want one of these??  Ok, well, maybe just the “force” side!!

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We arrived for our tour right at noon and met our guides for an in-depth, behind the scenes look at the stadium, the locker room, the arena, and the amazing “Sports Center Hall of Fame” that holds pictures of every team from the beginning of ND time!  It was so cool!

Our first stop was the Joyce Center Arena which is where they play both basketball and volleyball.  Apparently the arena does not have enough seats for the “Final Four” so as of right now, we’ll never see one of those games there.  The hosting arena must have at least 10,000 seats and this one is just over 9,000.  If they would have only known …

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On the 2nd floor of the arena, completely surrounding the inner seating, is the Sports Center Hall of Fame.  This is an amazing exhibit to all of their former athletes and teams.  There are so many “famous” people on those walls that went on to “celebrity-ism” … it is pretty incredible to think that at a school this small (their undergrad population is about 8,000 students — that’s it!), so many are well-known for their participation in “pop culture” after graduating from ND.  And, I’m sure there are plenty whose names are not part of pop culture too … you can tell this is a special place to be part of.  It’s gonna stay in your bones … even if you’re just a visitor!

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Next stop:  The Locker Room!  We got to see the story of the “Gipper” and the window that “Rudy” crawled through and of course, the ND watermark that NO ONE … and I mean NO ONE … ever steps on!  Too funny!  Of course, I wanted to step on it just because they said we couldn’t … good thing it was behind a roped off area!

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Each one of those wooden little sections is someone’s locker.  They are all in some sort of “position” order with their names and numbers at the top.

When the players are done getting ready for their game, the next stop is the tunnel.  Our guide explained that the tradition of this tunnel is that Coach Lou Holtz made all the players touch the sign as they ran down the stairs and out to the stadium.  We just HAD to do that!!

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It is quite an awesome feeling when you’re standing there knowing that so many of our favorite football players have done the same thing, time and time again.  I’m not sure they stopped and posed for pics … but ya never know!!

Next stop:  THE STADIUM!

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There’s really not too much to say about the stadium … you know how much history it holds.  The only real thing changing this year is that they are making the seats (the wooden bleacher seats) a little bit wider for their fans.  Instead of the original 7-inch wooden plank seat, you will now get a upgraded seat made of “faux” wood!  The story goes that the season ticket holders would bring their own sandpaper at the beginning of the season to smooth out their seats and remove the splinters!!  HAHAH!!  Not sure how they got away with that all these years but apparently they did!  Our tour guides were really happy that they were “finally” doing the right thing!

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We had a great time with these two devoted tour guides.

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Mark & Steve were funny and knowledgeable and obviously huge fans of the school and the sports programs.  If you are ever in this neighborhood, this is another “must see” place!

Because we had a little time before our next “un-official” tour, we decided to grab some lunch at a local brewery.  The Evil Czech Brewery boasted some pretty good ratings and reviews and that was all we needed to re-fuel ourselves for the afternoon.  Lucky for me, they had ….

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Truffle Mac & Cheese!  OMG, if I would have known how good this was going to be, I would have ordered a couple extra to take home for dinner for the next 3 nights!  Holy Cow, they know how to knock out the mac and cheese!

I forgot to mention that at the Joyce Center Arena, they had another large bookstore … and you know what?  There was stuff in there that they didn’t have at the first bookstore, and because we took the tour, they gave us an additional 15% off our purchases.  Yeah, we stopped … and shopped … again!

Now, lucky for us, one of Cliff’s childhood buddies, Diego, is on staff at ND.  It was so nice to meet him and see his day-to-day life at ND.

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Diego was able to spend some time with us and show us a few more “behind the scenes” places like the indoor soccer and football fields (they have two — one for practice and one for games!) …

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and the training rooms (each machine has its own Ipad to give individualized instruction to each and every athlete!).

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He also took us to “The Gug” (pronounced like Google – just short – so like “goog”) which is where they keep their Heisman trophies.  That was a BIG DRAW for the boys.  It seemed like everywhere we went, there was a history lesson of some sort.

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We finished our day by taking a stroll through the campus.  We went to the Basilica,

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the Grotto,

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the Golden Dome,

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“Touchdown Jesus,”

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and finally, just enjoyed a perfect fall day on campus.

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Before we left for the day though, we found out two more very important details.  First, there was a men’s scrimmage basketball game that evening in the arena we had just toured.  Are we going?  You bet!!

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And second, can you believe that there’s yet another bookstore on campus?  And that this one is TWO stories and the biggest one they have?  Well, we weren’t going to miss that one either … what if they had something the other two didn’t?  We aren’t taking any chances!

By the time we finished our day, it was 10:00 p.m.  Tina and I snuggled in the back seat of the car and didn’t open our eyes til we heard the words, “we’re home!”  We all still felt holy and happy when we fell into our beds, resting in the history and fun, and being part of the tradition of the Fighting Irish!  We had a blast!  If you have never been here, this is certainly a must see for all of us.  Put it on your bucket list.

Ok, talk to you tomorrow!

 

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The Green Line to the Green Place!

Well gang, you’re gonna get tired just reading this post because it is absolutely FILLED!!  This was one of those days overflowing with places to go and things to see!  So hold on tight!  We’re off!

Tina had done some research and found out that Chicago has a “conservatory” filled with gardens and greenery … and tons more!  And it was a very easy jaunt on the Green Line!  I tell you guys, I am loving this transit system!  The train stop was actually called “Conservatory” so there was no way to get lost!

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The “El” Stop at “Conservatory”

The “Garfield Park Conservatory” is what the city calls “Landscape Art Under Glass” because it is literally housed in a huge glass-ceiling building that is probably about the size of 3 football fields put together!  It is huge!  And the outside gardens boast 10 acres of ponds, beehives, children’s play area, and a whole forest of “Quaking Aspens.”  It’s not as large as our arboretum, however, the layout and the creativeness of the use of their space was pretty incredible.

Our first room was “The Palm House.”  I’m not sure what the temperature was in there but you all know that palms like their heat!  Needless to say, we didn’t need jackets!

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After about an hour looking at palm trees (haha, yes an hour!), we moved on to the “Sugar Room,” the “Desert House,” the “Indoor Children’s Garden,” and their “Show House.”  Each room is filled with natural art and statuary art, along with places to sit and enjoy the beauty, as if it was your own private “secret garden.”  I imagine this place is a big hit during the winter!

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The Show Room

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The Sugar Room (a room full of fruit trees from all over the world).

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Have you ever eaten a “Jerusalem Cherry”?  They look like beautiful little cherry tomatoes, all colorful and bright!

 

 

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Next room … the Aroid House (aka, houseplants!)

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The next stop … the desert!

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I LOVED the name of this one! Haha!

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And then, of course, the Children’s Garden …

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After a few hours of roaming around inside, we finally made it to the outside gardens.  Many of them were already being “deconstructed” for the winter, but we still got to walk the Labyrinth and, at least see where the “Monet Garden” is located every summer … which you can bet I’m going to be back to see that!

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It was time well-spent enjoying, learning, and basking in another one of God’s great wonderlands … even if it is inside a building!  Some of the flowers and plants I will never see in their native landscape, so this was a gift indeed to see them all up close and personal.

And, after all that exploring, you can imagine … we’re hungry!!  Tina found a “southern style hole in the wall” diner for us to try.  OMG, I love southern food!!  The place is called “Feed” and it was a great find!

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Putting in our order!

Putting in our order!

There were plenty of options and I thoroughly enjoyed my fried okra and roasted chicken!  Here’s a sampling of some of things we tried … WARNING — Do not be in a state of hunger when viewing … it could be bad for your health!!

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Homemade Biscuits & Gravy & Fried Eggs!

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Roasted Chicken, Fried Okra, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy!

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Fried Catfish and Mac & Cheese

Oh, and on top of all that, they had SWEET TEA!  Yep, just like my mom used to make!  You can’t even drink it without adding water it’s sooooo sweet!  But delicious in it’s own way!

We really wanted to just hang out with these guys and take a nap … after all that, what else can you be expected to do except nap?  Well, they weren’t really receptive to our idea so we decided to keep going!

Next stop … Wrigley Field!

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Because it is no longer baseball season, the stadium closes and they were re-constructing the field after all the playoff games.  Seems weird to me that they do this right before the winter, but I guess they know what they’re doing …

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Brand new sod ...

Brand new sod …

Next, we walked around the neighborhood so I could show Cliff the “apartment roof top bleachers” that are famous in Wrigleyville!  Most of them are beautiful, historic buildings that are now baseball game seating on their roofs.  Apparently they are pretty fabulous because those tickets cost more than a regular seat inside the stadium!  Who would have thought that??

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Rooftop apartments

Rooftop apartments

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Aren’t they pretty?  In any event, Cliff was happy to be at this famous stadium even though it was “off season” … he’ll be back for a tour and a real live game next season for sure!

We ended the afternoon with a nice long walk through Oz Park.  It was filled with people, dogs, games, and lots and lots of leaves!  We decided to find each of the statues and listen to their stories on the way … so we … followed the yellow brick road!  

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That was a really cool park and a place where this neighborhood gathers for lots of different activities.  We had a great time listening to the statues tell their stories (and, just so you know, they’re not really statues … they get off their perches and have a homemade picnic every night at midnight!) and taking in the community at play.

From the park, we walked a little bit further and met Eddie at one of Cliff’s choices for dinner.  Because of (half) his heritage, we ate dinner at the “Rickshaw Republic” a true Dutch Indonesian place with lots of dishes that made Cliff feel like he was eating his Grandma’s cooking.  The little place was full of charm and true hospitality, making us feel like we were eating in Grandma’s dining room!  It was delicious, however, I have NO IDEA what we ate … maybe you will be able to tell!

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The food was absolutely delicious and as you can see, we didn’t leave much.  Considering our lunch meal, I’m not quite sure how we did it, but we sure did!  The crowning event of the day was a true, yet unbelievable activity that Cliff alone took part in and the rest of us “ooohhhhed” and “awwwwwed” … or on my part, “OMG’ed” through the whole thing.  I know that many of you love your coffee and, of course, dessert MUST be accompanied by at least one cup.  Well, in this restaurant, you’re only allowed one cup … and here’s why.

This coffee is 1) expensive, 2) hard to come by, and 3) apparently, the best tasting coffee you’ll ever drink.  Why, you ask?  Because it comes from a monkey’s poop!  I AM SERIOUS!!  You have got to read about this stuff!  Here’s what I found on the Wikipedia site, which is pretty much exactly what the server told us when explaining the whole ordeal to us …

“Kopi luwak (Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈkopi ˈlu.aʔ]), or civet coffee, refers to the coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).[1]

Producers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection and digestion. Selection occurs if the civets choose to eat cherries. Digestive mechanisms may improve the flavor profile of the coffee beans that have been eaten. The civet eats the cherries for the fleshy pulp, then in the digestive tract, fermentation occurs. The civet’s protease enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids.[2] Passing through a civet’s intestines the cherries are then defecated with other fecal matter and collected.”

Cliff was game and that’s all that counted …

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According to Cliff, all you coffee drinkers out there would love it … I would encourage you to try it once in your life … however, at this point, I am so glad I am NOT a coffee drinker!  Hahah!!

It was a fabulous, full day, and if you’re not tired of reading, I’m ready to hit the hay!  You can only imagine what’s planned for our next day!

Talk to you tomorrow!

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Who Wants To Go For a Little Jog?

Anyone?  Well, there are a few of you out there that I know would do this in a heartbeat!  We knew the famous Chicago Marathon was going to be taking place on Sunday and we also knew that it began and ended in Grant Park (our “neighborhood” park … remember?).  It was a beautiful day for a run and since we had never been to a marathon before, we wanted to get in on the action and see what it was all about.  Well let me tell you … it “mowed” me over!  Haha!!  When we got to the corner and could see the throngs of people lined up like the Rose Parade, we knew this was something special.  It was so exciting!  Those runners were like heroes!  And of course, many of them were.  They were running not only for themselves, but many had shirts with “causes” they were running for … cancer survivors, diabetes, veterans, etc., … it was so awesome!  And quite emotional.  When you see them actually running their hearts out at the end of 26 miles and you hear the crowds cheering them on and a voice over the loudspeaker saying … “Keep going, you have just crossed the 26 mile marker!!  You only have .2 to go!”  I was overcome with joy for their success!  I will definitely do that again!  What inspirations they were to us!

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It’s hard to see them from this picture but they are the little tiny peoples facing away from us almost smack dab in the middle of the picture.

This one is a little better …

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And this one is the best!  Run Forrest, run!

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It is pretty unbelievable to think that they have just RUN 26 MILES!!  Who does that?  Well that day, about 40,000 people did it.  Yes FORTY THOUSAND PEOPLE RAN THE MARATHON!!  So for all of you out there that do this type of activity … You are awesome!!  I hope all you runners out there decide to participate in this marathon next year … we’ll be on the corner to cheer you on for sure!!

After all that excitement, Martha & I decided to go see the fall flower planters up on North Michigan Avenue while the boys watched their football games.

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We really enjoyed the fall flower look up and down both sides of the street … it still amazes me how beautiful they make their streets and sidewalks here!  We also had an opportunity to meet quite a few of the runners and extended our congratulations to everyone we saw wearing a medal.  Here are two runners we met from Argentina!  They had just finished the race that morning and were out for a stroll of the Chicago scenery before they were headed back home.

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On our way back to the apartment, we passed a sculpture that I refer to as “the Chicago Angel.”  I pass by her all the time and she’s a beauty, decked out in flowers and framed (usually) by a beautiful clear blue sky.  Today, not so much as the clouds buzzed by just as we were getting there, but I wanted to show you her.

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Every time I pass her by, I always think of you and say a quick prayer that you are happy, safe, and healthy.  I can’t wait to introduce you to her when you get here!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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