Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today we took a long ride to Ozark and back.  There are some wicked hills in the country in between, but it’s good for us.  It’s only a little over a month until the Tour De Cox and we still have never ridden 62 miles before.

Once we got back to town, we stopped at Rosati’s, a fairly new pizzeria that is supposed to have authentic Chicago pizza here in Springfield.  We had lunch there, and it was good, but definitely no competition for places like Pizzeria Uno or Gino’s East in Chicago.

Our California trip is all booked and paid for.  We leave nere July 20th and we’ll be there a week!  So looking forward to taking Ceecee to wine country and to see the pacific Ocean.  It’s funny; with her upbringing, she’s been all over Europe, but has never been to California or seen the Pacific.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today, Ceecee finally “got” one of her “12 Days” gifts from last Christmas.

It wasn’t given late, it was actually just given way early.  It was two tickets to the musical, “Chicago,” which is probably my wife’s favorite.  She loves the movie and the soundtrack, but had never seen it performed in the theater until today.

I bought the tickets last Christmas because there was no way I was going to take a chance on them selling out.  That’s happened to us before, and this one is too important to her to risk it.

We went to a matinée show this afternoon, then I bought stuff to make a seafood dinner not too much different from what we had for Valentine’s.  I figured it worked then, so don’t fix what’s not broken, right?  Life is too good right now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I was thinking that I would quit Macy’s as of the end of the year. Second jobs are a problem at tax time, so if I was done by New Year’s, at least we would only be impacted for one tax year. Between Dillard’s and Macy’s this year, I think we’re going to end up taking a bath on our income tax.

Anyway, notice I said I was thinking of it. As in past tense. Now, it looks like I’ll be on at least into the early part of next year. Not a big deal, but it allows us not to worry about all the travel we’ll be doing over the next few weeks and will help with the extra expenses of Christmas.

The 12 Days have been fun so far. No huge gifts, although the second day was kind of a big deal. I bought two tickets to the musical, “Chicago.” Ceecee had such a good time going to Cats that I decided I want to take her to the theater more in the future. Each year, our local little theater does a Christmas play and this year it was “Miracle On 34th Street.”

Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned my lesson yet, and I waited too long to buy tickets. By the time I went to the box office, there were no longer any shows left with two seats together. Since we weren’t going to go and not sit together, we missed it. Thus, the Chicago tickets for the second day of Christmas. See, the play isn’t until April, so it’s kind of lame that she gets them now and they literally sit somewhere for four months. On the other hand, it shows that I won’t let them slip away and that I know how much this means to her to be able to go.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This morning, we caught the train back to St. Louis. Everything in Chicago was beautiful and we’re living the dream, literally. Although it would be hard to ever top that very first visit back in 2003, and we have so many great memories through the years that followed, I’d say this was our best trip ever. It’s like the old and familiar plus the new and exciting melded into one experience. We had the joy of “new love” in the context of all our past experiences and memories. It really defies description and will simply live in our hearts as a healing and restoring experience that we will always carry.

While we were on the train, we got a call from the furniture manager at Dillard’s, where Ceecee used to work. She had picked out a sofa for us while she was still there, but we were waiting for it to go on sale. Now that she doesn’t have an employee discount anymore, she told the manager that if it ever went on clearance to call us and we would buy it. We didn’t expect that call today, but I told him where we were and he said he’d mark it sold and we could come in tomorrow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Even though we woke up just a half a block from Chicago’s “magnificent Mile,” or Michigan Avenue, we stayed away from the black Friday shopping crowds. We really have no desire to get in the middle of that, so we ate a leisurely breakfast, then did walk up and down the avenue and visit a few stores. We found a few small things that we picked up, like the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but we don’t go to Chicago to shop.

This year, we went to Chicago for our usual visit, but also as part of the restoration tour. When we went last year, it was fun, but the truth that our marriage was unraveling was evident in a few different incidents. At navy pier, we were impatient and snappy, but we blamed it on being hungry and tired. There was some tension and coldness while we walked around, and we put it off as stress from all the activity.

The thing that haunted me, though – and it couldn’t simply be explained away – is that I blew up at my wife in a store for no apparent reason. I didn’t just get irritated; I lost it and made it a personal attack against her character. It was without provocation and my wife was both hurt and confused by it.

In the early years of our marriage, that kind of thing just didn’t happen. In the years since the tornado, it became more of a common occurrence. I never had any answer I was willing to give when she would want to know why or what she did. The truth was, I was very unhappy inside and didn’t know how to express any of it in a healthy way, so I took it out on her when I reached a certain level of frustration.

So, while the parade, the German market, the deep dish pizza, and all the things we love about Chicago are still here, there’s something very important about this visit. The restoration tour is about setting things right and repairing the damage. It’s about fixing what needs fixed and maintaining what was formerly neglected. This time around, we’re being very intentional about expressing our love and appreciation for each other and restoring the wonderful feelings of being together in a place we love.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This is only the second time we’ve gone to the parade on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago. The first time, we had our son with us. We told each of the kids that when they were seniors in high school, we would take them on their own senior trip and they could choose anywhere they wanted to go, within reason. Angie and Taylor both chose Chicago.

That was last year and we stayed out near the airport. We had to take the el all the way downtown, which wasn’t the most convenient, but we ended up right at the corner of State and Washington. It was cold and it rained right up until the parade started. Ceecee and I enjoyed the parade, but Taylor was pretty miserable with the cold.

Today’s parade was so much better. We only had to walk out the door of our hotel and around the corner and we were on the parade route. The weather was perfect and we were very much in love. Afterward, we walked to the Christkindl market, the very thing that brought us to Chicago in the first place, back in 2003. We don’t really have any plans after that, so we’ll just take it as it comes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ceecee wrote on her Facebook, “I love waking up to your face, even on a train.” Obviously, we didn’t sleep last night, but we really only napped on the train. We took a cab ride (wow, what a nearly terrifying experience) to our hotel and were surprised that they already had a room ready and they allowed us to check in early. We’re right downtown in between Michigan Avenue and State Street, where the Thanksgiving Day parade runs.

Today, we walked around a little bit, then gave in to our tiredness and just took a nap in our room during the early afternoon. After that, we walked to Navy Pier and did something we never do. We ate at the McDonald’s in the Navy Pier food court.

I’m not really sure why Ceecee wanted to eat at McDonald’s, since that is NEVER a part of our diet, but she did. She ordered a happy meal, which isn’t at all surprising since she’s always been a kid at heart and probably always will be. While we were in there, it started to rain and hail and we were on foot, so we just hung out inside the mall at the pier until the weather got a little better.

When we left Navy Pier, we stopped at Fox and Obel, a gourmet food store owned by two foodies who are former lawyers. We always go there when we’re in Chicago. They have a bistro, a café, a grocery store, deli, bakery, and more. We got some bread, cheese, deli meat, wine and snacks to take back to the hotel. We’re staying in tonight and we want to be up early for the parade and a very full day tomorrow.