Wednesday, June 20, 2007
That was the hardest thing I think I have ever done. It feels as though a previously unknown knife has been removed from my heart. But now I can go on and do the things that I need to do, and not need to dwell on the pain.
I had a wonderful time though. I met his friends and they were so good to me. We spent a day in the city, and I took loads of photos and had a great time. Some of my trip is already becoming a blur, so I'll do my best to get it all right.
It all started with my harrowing drive to the Salt Lake airport. Traffic was heavy, and I had drunk too much diet Coke so I kept having to stop. I was afraid of not having enough time to get through security, so I left my house at 6am for a 10:45am flight. I made it, it was all fine. I got to Chicago, and was told to call a phone number to meet my ride. It was a white stretch limo! In the spirit of Stephanie, I took a picture of the sock enjoying the limo ride. It took about 45 minutes or so to reach the suburb of Aurora, where I stayed. His friend MMC (not to be confused with him, as he is MCM) and her sister PC were my lovely hostesses. PC has two very sweet children (LilBoy and LilGurl) and they pretty much accompanied us wherever we went. MMC is the BEST auntie I have ever met in my life. When she built her house, she included bedrooms for these two lil ones, and her garage was stuffed full of their outside toys. I hope I can be like her when I grow up.
We went out to a local Italian place for dinner. I had fried calamari for the first time in my life. I think if you didn't know the difference, you would think you were just eating onion rings. I'm not sure I'd like it prepared any other way though.
The next day was June 14, his birthday. MMC worked half the day, so PC took me with her to run her errands. She dropped me off at Fringe where I browsed for awhile. After the huge brouhaha over at Alison's blog a couple of weeks ago, I am going to be very careful about what I say. The staff was very nice, I didn't feel ignored or hovered over. They have a lovely selection of books and yarn and accessories. There is a huge table where you can sit and browse a book, or knit, or chat. If you buy yarn that is in a hank, they will wind it into a cake for you (I asked). However, there wasn't a very big selection of sock yarn, and all their other yarns were arranged by colour. It makes for a very beautiful and striking display, but it is very difficult to find what you want. I bought 100 gr of dark green sock yarn to make a second pair of socks for the VIP, as well as a house-brand needle gauge.
MMC met us for lunch at a soup/sandwich place in the mall, and then she and I went on to the cemetery. She stopped at a grocery store so I could get some flowers to bring. I chose some pink gerbera daisies, and some green fluffy things that are kind of like chrysanthemums. I liked them, and the colour went well with the salmon pink daisies. After I laid them out, I added my LiveStrong wristband. I know it all won't stay forever, but I feel better now.
To cheer us up, we went to Trader Joe's. I bought chocolate. Lots of it. It is very good, and if any of my readers have a Trader Joe's nearby and wish to supply me with chocolate, we can definitely work something out.
The next day was Friday, and our adventure in the city! We started out by walking to the shores of Lake Michigan, then we went to the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park. The kids splashed in the reflecting pool and I enjoyed watching the faces change on the glass towers. Then we walked over to the Cloud Gate sculpture, which is more affectionately known as "The Bean". I absolutely LOVE this thing. I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. If I lived there, I would go all the time. I would play in the fountains, too. Then we caught a cab and went over to Navy Pier. I made sure I got my pressed penny and my caramel corn from the Popcorn Palace. I am not a huge popcorn fan, but I could eat loads of this stuff every day. I am going to have to see about mail-order because it is so yummy! There is a lot to see at Navy Pier, but as we had the two lil ones with us, we didn't want to drag it out too much. So we grabbed another cab and hopped over to the American Girl Place. MMC collects dolls, and LilGurl has a birthday in a couple of weeks. My DD has never expressed interest in American Girl stuff, so I didn't get her anything there. Of course, now I am sure she will tell me she just LOVES it all and why didn't I get her anything there??? Mleah. And across the way from there is a Hershey's store. I bought chocolate. And then we walked. It seems like we walked for miles and miles, but I'll bet it was actually less than one mile. By chance we decided to have dinner at a place right across the street from the AMA building, where he worked. That was hard for a couple of minutes, but I was able to put it aside and enjoy the company. A friend joined us for dinner, and it was good to get to know her. Then we walked a whole lot more, across the Chicago River, past the Chicago Theater, and back to the parking garage. It was a long day, but so much fun. I want to go back and do it all over again!
Saturday dawned, and I slept in, resting my aching bones. The kids and MMC were up and playing in the water in the backyard. It was a really low-key day, which was very nice. That afternoon, PC came by and she took me into Downers Grove to Knitche. Now that is a way cute shop. Again, the staff were friendly and helpful, but not hovering. They had a nice selection of Lorna's Laces and Cherry Tree Hill, but as for the "regular" sock yarn, only Opal and Regia. I was a bit disappointed about that, and bought just 50 gr of Regia. But if I lived there, I would definitely shop there. Then we took the long way home, and I asked her to stop at Target so I could grab a couple of necessities. Like chocolate.
That evening, MCM's former long-time girlfriend RK came by. I would just like to say that I admire her so much. I didn't feel weird or anything, she made me feel so comfortable. The more we chatted, the more I liked her. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. We ordered Chicago-style pizza, and while it was yummy, I find I prefer the thin crust rather than the deep-dish. But I am glad that I tried it.
Sunday was church. Being of Irish heritage, my hostesses are very definitely Catholic! I requested to attend church with them, and I had a lovely time. The church is HUGE! You could hold Stake Conference in there and not need any overflow rooms at all. There are beautiful stained-glass windows all around, which I was informed had been reclaimed from a church in the city that had been demolished. As I love to sing, I was hoping I would be able to follow along with the hymns. To my surprise, the opening hymn was "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" but with different words. I really miss that hymn, as it's not in our current hymnbook. And then there was a lovely sermon, and a darling little girl had her first communion. The closing hymn was set to that old familiar Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts". Afterwards, I asked MMC to take me to greet the pianist. He was amazing, and his playing really set the tone for the meeting.
I had a wonderful trip, and I am so glad that I went. My greatest thanks to MMC and PC, and RK. I don't know if I will ever get back to Chicago, but I enjoyed my time there. For some reason, MMC wound up with all of MCM's family photos. She allowed me to paw through the boxes (out of six boxes, I only had stamina to go through two) and I chose a few photos to keep. I'd love to have more, but just going through those two boxes took so much psychic energy.
Here are some photos. Clickety Biggety!