I woke up this morning at 1:30 am, hoping that it was at least 6. I got up, got a drink of water, looked at the time. Dang. Not even close. I went back to bed, where I was greeted by the most beautiful woman I know (my mother, who came in last night for the weekend). She asked me what time it was and I told her. "Oh good. It's worth waking up just to know you have a few hours more to sleep." "But this is so boring!" I told her. The truth is, I just wanted it to be today already.
6 am rolled around. I forced myself to stay in bed for another hour (we had originally agreed on getting up at 8) purely because my body is starting to tell me that 5 hours of sleep a night is not acceptable. Finally I got up at 7, just as excited as when I had gone to bed.
The big occasion is that my mom, who I haven't spent a whole day with in over a year, is here, in Chicago, and I finally have enough time and money to treat her like the princess that she is. You see, I've been working around the clock the last year and a half, just trying to establish myself in a straight commission sales job. The second complication is that my wonderful mother found the love of her life 16 years ago--which is great--other than the fact that we've never gotten along very well. So I rarely go home. My mother and I have as good of a relationship as two people can have over the phone. But this weekend, we are going to have it in person.
I finally secure 2 functional bikes, print off confirmations, get us both fed and out the door by 9 am. We head towards the lake for our first stop of the day--a architecture canal boat tour. I've been wanting to take this tour for over 6 months and finally have a really good excuse to do it. I am not disappointed, to my amazement (sometimes when something has that much buildup, it can fall flat.) The tour was totally entertaining, BEAUTIFUL, and very informative (Did you know there is a building in Chicago that looks like a drinking flask? Or that the famous Mrs. O'Leary and her cow that started the great Chicago fire was made up by the press? How about that an ordinance was passed that you could buy the air space above the train line--which is why most of the train lines are underground). Personal highlights included: I took a picture of a couple kyakers, and when I yelled at them to smile, they stopped paddling and waved. I got a picture with the tour guide at the end (he was really hot). Coffee with Baileys--yep, at 11am. Snuggling with my momma, because it was FREEZING.
After this we biked our way to my friend Danny's place (he actually prefers to be called Daniel, but whatever.) His new roommate (who sleeps in the living room on their couch and will continue to do so) Matt is there, and that is really exciting. We decide that Matt is a bonus friend. I'm getting 2 really awesome friends out of one apartment, and that's exciting. Not to mention that Matt is probably the coolest bonus friend ever. He's in advertising, and he epitomized the creative, quirky, genius of what I would picture someone in advertising to have. Matt could be a character in a movie. In fact, he'll probably produce a movie one day. For now, he works on commercials. http://www.mattgrim.com/ http://www.gutengrim.blogspot.com/ He is the one who first encouraged me to start a blog today. This will never hold a candle to the genius I read on his, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing...if only for my own therapeutic benefit.
We hang out for 35 minutes longer than I told my mom we would. That always happens in that apartment. Matt and I actually just met a couple months ago, and this is only our 3rd time hanging out. We talked about hanging out more. That was a month ago. So while I re-establish this instant friendship that we seem to be able to kindle at a moments notice, Danny talks to my mom. I comment to Matt that Daniel is probably the perfect guy to introduce to a mom. Anyone's mom really. I say that if I was less honest I would tell my mom that we were dating...she would like that. Danny is one of the most honest, hardworking, caring, fun people I know. He's my favorite boy...right now, anyway.
After leaving Danny's apartment, we head over to high tea at the Drake hotel. We had the option of sitting by the fountain or the harpist--and actually were able to do both. I got to meet the harpist in the bathroom, and complemented her on her dress (is that an insult that it wasn't on her music? not sure...) $30 for some sandwich bites, scones, unlimited tea and deserts...the $, I found out, went to the $10,000 flower arrangement in the middle of the room. It was pretty...I mean, once I noticed it, that is. All sarcasm aside, I'm glad I went--it's fun to be treated like royalty now and again!
Personal highlights of the grand tea: I gave my tip for the harpist to a couple elementary school girls because I figure tips mean more coming from kids and they would be excited to go up there and give it to her...both theories seem to be true. I met the woman at the table next to us, who was sitting perfectly serenely, by herself, journaling. I asked her if she was a writer, and she is--she has published a curriculum for school children on being peaceful. I tell her that it's amazing how busy I can keep, even while having tea...checking my cell phone, making sure I knew how to get to our next destination, saying hi to a friend who happened to be there, etc. I admire her state of tranquility. I ask if she has a card or a blog, and she doesn't. We both agree that we should start blogging. She was my second inspiration for this blog. Her name was Pam. We exchanged e-mails. Pam, I hope this blog helps further inspire you to start your own. I'm sure it will far outshine this rambling experiment =)
My mother and I decide that we are both too tired and too full to go to the history museum or go for deep dish pizza. We are going to bike back home and go by the Merchandise Mart (which I have never been in, but learned has it's own zip code from the architecture tour: 60654), Millennium Park, and Northerly Island. I find out why I've never been to Merchandise Mart (super cool, but for people who are in the interior decorating business, I think). Then we ventured over to Millennium park and took some signature pictures in the bean (which unfortunately are the only pictures that survived from the weekend...tragic accident where no people were injured, but the pictures didn't make it survive...)
I call these, Momma and the bean:
The biggest surprise of the day, however was first of all finding out that Chicago's Gourmet Festival was going on, secondly that it cost $150, and thirdly, winning a free ticket. How I won the ticket is another story for another day. Sauvingnon blanc (my absolute favorite) from New Zealand (I had it on a wine tasting tour while I was there a couple years ago); Scotch with orange, lime, and a blackberry; a cracker with salmon and cream cheese chive sauce; grilled watermelon with crab meat, apple and granola; chocolate and lemon Haagen-Dazs ice cream were some definite highlights. Personal highlights were 2 guys asking to have what I ordered after I enthusiastically thrust my glass towards the festival worker for a taste of Sauvingnon Blanc, getting teased by a bunch of people for triple fisting (I was taking it out to my mom, I swear), and then hanging out with my mom by the gate as she was consuming the goods I brought for her.
After this excursion we made our way down to Northerly Island, only to turn around as soon as we got there (mom was getting pretty tired at this point). We took the bus back (I never take the bus. Ever.) We figured out how to put the bikes on the bike rack on front of the bus (what a great city I live in!) I got so much exercise today (probably went 10 miles) and loved every minute of it. My new resolution? I'm not going to drive anywhere that I can bike or take the CTA. After all, one person can eliminate 4,600 pounds of emission waste in a year by using public transit. And I'm sure I quadruple that (I've put 50,000 miles on my car in the last year and half). I have to drive for work. In my personal life, however, I'm going green (and buff!)
We finally made our way home, my mom took a bath, and I bs'd with my roommate about the day, and the horrible street evangelists that gave me the food festival ticket (...yup...got to publically admit that I'm not a good person), then took a bath of my own. It was devine. Now I'm recapping all of this to my computer screen...and to you...hope you got something out of it!