Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday in Chicago

Our day started near noon today...brunch at Hub 51 with Mitch and Sander...great food and another chance to replay the events from last night's birthday celebration. We all agreed that it was a huge success...every detail well organized by Mitch!

After brunch we ventured into the heat and walked to the Chicago Cultural Centre, housed in an amazing building on Michigan Avenue. The current exhibition is a 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial...North America's largest international exhibition of contemporary architecture.

The bottom photo is actually a miniature...tiny tables and chairs!

While the exhibitions were very interesting...the building itself has several unique features.

These two domes are breathtaking!

Piranesi Circus in the (inaccessible) centre courtyard of the Cultural Centre.

Back in the outside heat we were in need of hydration and stumbled into a Mexican pub!

Our waiter was very sweet...only charging us for one Diet Coke instead of two!

After a much needed nap we returned to Sullivan's Bar 
for a glass of wine and appies before an evening stroll.

Surprise 90th birthday celebration

Mitch picked us up at 3:00pm and took us for a personal tour of Oak Park, the area where he grew up. We drove past his his childhood home and down the street to Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio. It is a beautiful part of Chicago with many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's stunning architecture. Mitch pointed out particular buildings and their histories. 

After this personal tour we drove to Fred and Toby's apartment for the first part of her 90th birthday surprises! She was truly surprised when we walked in! It was the first meeting for John and Fred, Mitch's adoptive father. We spent a couple of hours visiting, looking at photos and we even managed to fit in a game of of Toby's favourite pastimes. 

Time passed quickly and it was soon time to walk over to the Italian restaurant where family members were waiting to surprise Toby again! It was a great surprise! She was embraced with hugs, stories were shared and we were introduced to everyone! It was very overwhelming for me to finally meet so many family members that I have heard about over the years.

Mitch presented several gifts to Toby with much applause from the group....

...including an autographed copy of Rich Little's (Canadian comedian) book.

The Italian restaurant did a wonderful job of serving several courses of delicious food over the next couple of hours and young family members provided entertainment. Several of the adults also sang songs and played guitar music.

Aaron and his children played Happy Birthday while a beautiful cake was carried into the dining area.
Very kindly, there were less than 90 candles on the cake!

After walking back to the apartment with Fred and Toby we sped back to the downtown area
where Mitch had reserved a table for us at Andy's Jazz Club.

I am sure that the Jazz was was that cacophonous jazz 
that assaulted my eardrums and resulted in a roaring headache.
We stayed until almost 1:00 am before retreating to the busy streets of Saturday night in Chicago
where long lineups of gorgeous young people were on parade outside clubs.
There was definitely more skin than fabric on display!!

Architectural Boat tour

What a day! The temperature was already climbing upward into the nineties when we left the hotel around 10:00am. The River Walk is a short distance from the hotel so we sauntered along the pathway while watching bridges open and close over the river. 

The next Architectural Boat tour was scheduled for 11:30am so we bought tickets and found a shady spot to wait. I visited a Walgreen's store to buy water and picked up a baseball cap for myself. The tour boats are all open topped with most passengers seated in the open under an extremely hot sun! We managed to find seats under cover in the bow of the boat. For most of the 1 1/2 hour trip we were protected from the sun...but...we couldn't hear the tour guide! Chicago's architecture is varied and interesting. Also...apparently you can follow the Chicago River in a southward direction and link into other waterways that will take you to the Gulf of Mexico!

It must have been close to 100 degrees when we disembarked and walked back to the hotel...a tough walk in the heat. There was time for a shower and short rest before Mitch had arranged to pick us up at 3:00pm. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chicago - Day One

Well, we missed breakfast after a wonderfully long sleep. It felt like the temperature had already reached the predicted high of 94 degrees when we left the hotel at 9:30 am in search of coffee and a bagel. My apologies if the photos and text don't look right to my viewers. It's this damned iPad again!!

The Art Institute welcomed us with air conditioned galleries full of valuable artwork. We wandered past pieces by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, sculptures by Rodin and Picasso, stained glass by Chagall and paintings by all of the Impressionists. 

The Museum Cafe offered a wide selection of foods for our lunch before we headed back outside for a HOT walk back to the hotel around 2:00pm.

The downtown core is easy to navigate and the tall buildings provide shade and a corridor for the breezes to whip through...very appreciated! Enroute we passed a four sided piece by Chagall in tiny tiles and stopped for a rest beside a full sized sculpture by Picasso...the same as the miniature one in the Art Institute.

It is time for a rest. Tonight promises more adventures with Mitch!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It was a long day of travel...up at 6:30am for a drive to the airport...transfer in Seattle to a full load of passengers bound for Chicago. After a jerky, slow taxi ride from O'Hare airport to downtown Chicago we arrived at the hotel around 7:30pm, unpacked our "bag" and went for a short walk to Sullivan's for a drink and appies. It was the perfect spot...the perfect drinks (I had a martini) and the perfect appies! music...a taste of the big city. Just enough before returning to the hotel to rest up for a busy day tomorrow in 90 degree heat!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017


We are enjoying the (possibly) last day of summer before the weather reverts to typical fall precipitation. The tomatoes have been harvested before their skins split in a heavy rainfall that is predicted for tomorrow. The kitchen counter is lined with shiny red and green balls of flavour.

This morning we visited my sister who was hosting a Yard Sale before her move to Campbell River.

Their driveway was lined with hundreds of treasures that they have gathered over the years...but very few customers arrived while we were there. Maybe the afternoon hours will bring hordes of buyers.

The condo market continues to deny us are just waiting for the right place to come along. Until then...we are enjoying life in the slow lane.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Thank God for Toaster Ovens!
The food was ready...brie stuffed salmon for baking, veggies for roasting...and the doorbell rang. Our dinner guests had arrived and I still couldn't figure out how to operate my sister's oven. I pushed "BAKE" and it fed me a message about a fan not cooling. I repeatedly cancelled everything and tried luck. 

Fortunately my sister has a lovely little toaster oven on the backyard patio that she used during the heat of summer. I moved the salmon onto a pan that fit the small oven and transferred the veggies into a smaller dish. The meal was a success! I will never live without a toaster oven!!

Our guests arrived with a beautiful floral arrangement and were very understanding of the delay in dinner delivery. It wasn't until later in the evening that I realised that it had been many months since I had attempted to cook a meal in an oven!

Today was harvest time for tomatoes in the garden...some were chopped up and frozen for winter soups and sauces...some were added to a Greek salad and the precious little yellow cherry tomatoes were eaten like candy. There are still some green ones on the vines. If they don't ripen we will have fried green tomatoes in the future.

Now that we have settled in one spot for a while our discussions are becoming more serious about where we want to find a new home. For the summer months we were considering Langley...but, now we are uncertain about this area due to the crime statistics. Vancouver Island is another possibility as our daughter just moved to Comox and one of my sisters is moving to Campbell River. Fortunately there is no pressure to make a has only been 21 months of homelessness!!