Our First 2016 Visitor!

Hi Guys,

I know it’s been a while but apparently nobody visits during the winter in Chicago!  What a bunch of wimps!!  Well it’s been a very different kind of winter for us, and by all standards, a very mild Chicago winter for the locals.  So we have been doing some exploring on the weekends, taking in the surrounding areas of this great Midwestern part of the country!  We have been blessed that we are able to get out and go on the weekends when the weather has agreed with our plans!  But finally, our first guest of 2016 has arrived!  Our God-daughter, Marissa, joined us for a couple of weeks to take in the city.

Stanley and Marissi 019

It was a “weird weather” time while she was here … for a few days we were in the 60’s and hot, and then it would plummet to the 30’s, and then back up into the 50’s.  So, we all agreed she got both a Chicago Winter and a Chicago Spring in the weeks she was with us!

Marissi is our “Get Out and Go Girl” so we did a lot of exploring, and walking, and dancing, and eating!  We started the week out by just getting out into the city so she could get familiar with it.  So off we went!

Stanley and Marissi 002

We stopped to chat with the South Lion at the Art Institute and continued north to Millennium Park.

We checked out the park where the symphony will play (remember … free evening concerts in the summer??) to see how the grass was coming along.

Stanley and Marissi 004

Then, kept going up and over the river  to …

March 2016 003

… hop on the famous “Double Decker Tour Bus” so that she could get a bird’s eye view of the city.  Check out the reflection of the sky and clouds on the building behind (and above) Crate & Barrel.  Isn’t that pretty?

Stanley and Marissi 009

After that long, hard tour, we needed some refreshment.  So we walked back down State Street (I love this street!) to the amazing “Magnolia Bakery”!!

March 2016 004

Marissi couldn’t quite make up her mind … hmmm … cupcake or banana pudding??  Oh well, let’s try both!  Haha!!

Stanley and Marissi 011

We also made a quick pit stop at Ghiradelli’s just because.  I promise you we did NOT have any free samples there … well at least I think we didn’t!

Stanley and Marissi 012

After a long day of exploring, we decided to go home and relax.  So we made a quick grocery stop and then headed home.  Marissi is a great cook, so she was ready to fill up a cart and go home and cook up a storm!

Stanley and Marissi 014

The next morning, we were ready for our day at … The Field Museum!  You absolutely cannot miss a chance to take a picture with our “Sue” … we wouldn’t want to make her unhappy now would we??

Stanley and Marissi 002

Now, the Field also has a brand new exhibit that I have never seen in person before, and that I have been wanting to see for years!!  The Terracotta Warriors have made their way to Chicago!  I know we’ve all seen the NatGeo documentaries on this amazing discovery in China, but to see it up close and personal is pretty fabulous!  I can’t begin to explain to you what I learned, but here’s what the Field says about it on their website:

“China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, planned to spend his afterlife buried in a palatial tomb, surrounded by all his worldly treasures. To guard his mausoleum, he commissioned an army of terracotta warriors unlike anything seen before or since.”

The “palatial tomb” is over a mile long and wide, and it is literally a city full of life-sized characters … animals, plants, government workers, and warriors … in fact, everything that the Emperor thought that he would want or need in the afterlife is in his tomb.  They have discovered over 8,000 terracotta figures.  Here are some free samples for you!

Stanley and Marissi 004

Stanley and Marissi 005

Stanley and Marissi 008

Every single face and uniform is unique.  They were hand carved, not molded in any way.  Also, they would have been painted in their original form.  Here’s what they believe they would have looked like at the time they were buried:

Stanley and Marissi 003

It’s really hard to imagine or convey, so you will really need to see it for yourself!  When are you coming again?  If for some reason you can’t see it in Chicago, you will need to see it somewhere!  To think that someone actually built a full city complete with inhabitants, and then buried it with him, is truly incredible.  You have got to see this!!

We spent the full afternoon trying to take this all in and when we left, we took a quick stroll by the lake.  It was a little overcast, but I was able to catch an airplane in the clouds so I think it’s a cool picture!!

Stanley and Marissi 020

Another full day so back home we went to make a pot of lentil soup … it was delicious and warm and just right after our recent discoveries! Stanley and Marissi 024The next day, we had a lot to do before we welcomed our 2nd guest of 2016!!  Choochie was due to land at noon so we had to be ready for her!  Choochie and Marissi have been best friends since they were born, so anytime they have a chance to explore together, they do!  These two girls have been backpacking all over Europe and South America in their days as “starving students who wanted to see the world.”  So get ready Chicago when they’re both in town!

The next morning, we got up early and headed out … Navy Pier was Marissi’s next destination!  It was a great time to visit the Pier because 1) there was no one there (apparently not a winter hot spot for tourists!); and 2) we found a stained glass exhibit!  At the very end of the pier, right before you walk off into the lake that looks like an ocean, there is another “exhibit” … a life-sized bronze Bob Newhart statue with his famous couch from the old t.v. series “The Bob Newhart Show.”  Bob was a native Chicagoan so they have built this in his honor.  Marissi decided to give him a dose of his own medicine!!

Stanley and Marissi 004

On our way back to the top of the pier, we discovered a little teeny sign that said, “Stained Glass Exhibit This Way” and I said, “What?  I’ve never seen this before!”  So we followed the signs and found a little teeny room that housed some of the “Tiffany Studios” stained glass.

Stanley and Marissi 010

We had the exhibit all to ourselves and we were able to really reflect on the beauty of the stained glass, learn about how they were created, and the significance of each glass.  This was truly a gift.  I had no idea that “Tiffany” first created glass and then in his later years, moved to jewelry.

Stanley and Marissi 009

Here are a few more to share with you … until you come out here and see them for yourselves!!

Stanley and Marissi 006

Stanley and Marissi 005

Stanley and Marissi 012

Stanley and Marissi 013

Obviously the quality of my “phone” shots are not really worthy of their beauty in person.  But I wanted to show you another cultural opportunity given to the people of Chicago for no cost.  I’m not sure how the City of Chicago does all these types of things, but they do … and I’m glad!

We finished just in time to take a quick red line train down to the station to meet Choochie!  And … here she comes …

Stanley and Marissi 020

EJG March 2016 001

These girls are gonna have me running wild … so I’m going home to take a nap!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Standard

My 50th Post!

Merry Christmas Everyone!  May the love of Jesus fill your hearts and be with you each and every day in the coming year.  As we celebrate a different kind of Christmas this year here in Chicago, our hearts and prayers are with all of you!  Blessings & love be upon you!  

Scripture Art 8x10 - Isaiah 9:6 Chalkboard. $15.00, via Etsy.:

And … I just wanted you all to know that today’s post is my 50th one!  I can’t believe I’ve written you so many times!  But I’m having a great time doing this, so thanks for keeping me motivated to continue!  I know I’m always behind (yes, I know!), but I love telling you all our stories, and because I’m behind, it makes me remember our time together … again and again!  So, thanks to each and every one of you who have visited us here in Chicago, and you who continue to read about our adventures!  You’re the best!

Mounted Scripture Art 16x20 Luke 211 by ToSuchAsTheseDesigns, $45.00:

May your Christmas days give you peace, and may the blessing of your family (whether they are far away, like ours … or next door, like some of yours) stop you for a moment to be grateful that you have them with you in your arms and in your hearts.  Life here is short and we need to recognize the gift in each person as they are.  God made each one of us a unique son or daughter and we need to remember that as we look into their eyes … the eyes of Jesus.

We love you all dearly … consider this your big hug and smoochie kiss from us.

A Christmas Tree with a Angel (a fancy one but, still an angel!)

A Christmas Tree with a Angel (a fancy one but, still an angel!)

Christmas Eve dinner at Carnivale! Yummy to say the least!

Christmas Eve dinner at Carnivale! Yummy to say the least!

Us at home, ready and waiting for Santa to show up!

Us at home, ready and waiting for Santa to show up!

Mele Kalikimaka, Joyeux Noel, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Buon Natale, Merry Christmas, and as Grampa Elias would say, “Feliz Navidad Y Prospero Ano”!  Blessings for a wonderful 2016!  See you all very soon!

Talk to you tomorrow!

 

 

 

Standard

Out of Order – But You’re Gonna Like It!!

Sorry gang, I’m a little out of “posting order” but I couldn’t wait for this one …

SNOW!!  It’s here!  We have officially entered the Chicago “Snow Season” as of last night!!  It was pretty exciting for us.  We haven’t been in snow like that since we were caught in a blizzard one year in Mammoth!!  We checked the forecast but it said, “Snow – 9:00 p.m.”  so we figured, we’re good to go!  So we took our nephew, Daniel, out for an Italian beef sandwich (more on that later!) and as we were sitting there eating at, oh … 6:30 … it started snowing like crazy!!  It said 9:00 p.m., not 6:30!!  We weren’t completely ready but, ready or not, it came!!

Snow

We have learned to layer our clothing and I’m usually boiling by the time we’ve arrived anywhere by walking.  So tonight was no different!  But after that humongous sandwich, we needed a good walk!  Bring it on — snow and all!

Snow on Michigan Avenue!

Snow on Michigan Avenue!

We had about a 2 mile walk south from Portillos back to the apartment.  I have never walked in snow for that long for any reason (skiing of course, but walking in snow?  Who does that??).  It was exhilarating and exciting!  And there were people everywhere doing the same thing … walking home from dinner or work or wherever they were … or just out enjoying the first snowfall of the season!  At one point, Eddie was doing a video of us and I’m saying in the background, “the snow is melting down my face!”  Haha!  I guess that’s what happens when you’re walking … fast!  Very fast!  It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing … you still get hot!

We make a pitstop inside one of the historic buildings on Michigan so that Daniel could see the inside.  Well, also because it was coming down … do we say “pouring cats and dogs” when referring to snow?  I’m not sure what it was, but it was coming down for sure!!

Snow & Daniel 082

IMG_4643

Our "bridge" - Clark Street Bridge over the Chicago River

Our “bridge” – Clark Street Bridge over the Chicago River

We made it home and enjoyed our first snow-walking experience!  Even Daniel loved it!  After a warm cup of hot chocolate, here’s what we saw before heading to bed …

View of the courtyard from our window …

Our courtyard

Our courtyard

Snow

Courtyard, first snowfall

Today it’s been snowing on and off all day.  We had some errands to run so we took off around 9:30 this morning and did some shopping up on State Street.

A real Chicago shopper!

A real Chicago shopper!

When we returned home around noontime, we got lucky again!  The snow was comin’ down … see for yourselves!  I went down to the indoor patio to take some pictures of the courtyard.  The ones from last night were from our window … today these are taken from the ground floor common room windows.

Snow & Daniel 024

Snow

Remember the BBQ from the summer? Can you see it?

Snow

Trees outside our window

Trees outside our window

Looking down from our window at the courtyard – 2nd day of snow!

Snow

From our patio looking south on Clark Street

From our patio looking south on Clark Street

And here’s another first for us … the sidewalk being cleared by our staff here at the apartment.  They go out every now and then and just brush the sidewalks …

Cleaning the sidewalks!

Cleaning the sidewalks!

The forecast says it’s not supposed to snow again for at least 10 days … so … as they say, “so far, so good”!!  For now, we feel like real Chicagoans!  We walked around during the snowfall doing our weekend chores, just like everyone else!  It was crazy and fun!  Well, at least it was today!  We’ll see how we do the rest of the winter!

See ya tomorrow!  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard