Taken aback

Hey, I put some new shoes on!*

I had a great weekend.  It was good to get out of the chair and away from the computer screen.  Well, not completely away.  I visited a few blogs, answered a few comments, checked email, explored new possibilities.  That sort of thing.  But I spent more time away than here than usual of late, and that was lovely.  I have to tell you that my post on Friday was a bit of a shock to me.  Not when I posted it of course, because I knew what I had written.  I was surprised when my mind and fingers found themselves in agreement about not participating in NaBloPoMo this year.  I hadn’t consulted myself about it.  It was just there, the decision, in spite of having made preparations to participate.  I am pleased I followed my heart.  Once I hit publish on Friday’s post, I felt a sense of great relief.

*From Paolo Nutini‘s New Shoes.  The song is semi-appropriate for my recent life and times.

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Gone shopping

Autumn reflections at the Holden Arboretum

It’s one of those shopping days.  I’ll be going north, up near Cleveland, to make the pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to pick up things I can’t find at our local grocery store.

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Free Hugs

(The Old Water Tower.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I haven’t been doing much in the way of sightseeing today, and left the camera in the hotel room while I was out and about.  I wanted to do a little early Christmas shopping, but didn’t meet with much success.  Perhaps it’s because I dislike shopping so much.  I don’t have the patience to keep going from store to store to store.  Some of the salespeople in the more upscale stores irritate me.  The Magnificent Mile and Water Tower Place are probably not for me.

Sunday afternoon I wandered around the  Old Chicago Water Tower District, not going into any of the stores, but just enjoying the weather and the people watching.  The Old Water Tower was open, with free admission, due to a photography exhibit (the building is open during exhibitions).  The exhibit consisted of photos from the Philipines.

Looking for a little peace and quiet, I wandered into a church courtyard.  It was lovely and fit the bill, serene and quiet even though it was on Michigan Avenue and the crowds of people were just a few steps away.

(Church courtyard.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

On my way back to the hotel I passed a group of people giving out Free Hugs.  If you are not familiar with the Free Hugs Campaign, you can read about (and watch a video) at the link <– back there.  Sadly, I didn’t see anyone stop to get a free hug.  Happily, I did:

(151:  Free Hugs!  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Free Hugs are nice.  If you get the opportunity to get or give one, you should do so.  😀

When M finishes at the conference we’re going to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art for a few hours.  Tuesdays are free.  I want to see the Elements of Photography exhibit.  It looks quite interesting.

Tonight we’re meeting a friend for pizza.  Stuffed pizza this time around.  It’s one of my favorite places and I’m looking forward to it.


(147:  Chicago River from Michigan Ave. bridge)

I think I walked about 100 miles today.  Or maybe it was a little over 6 miles.  But my body feels like it was 100 miles.  I’ve been walking around most of the day, getting oriented and doing a little shopping.  My winter coat decided this was a good time to fall apart.  I have to agree.  If you have to buy a new winter coat while traveling, Chicago is a good city in which to be shopping for one.  I got a fantastic bargin on a London Fog wool coat that I love.  It’s cute, looks good, and it will keep me warm and comfy.

Now all I need is a new winter hat to go with it.

I met M for lunch (he had a 2-hour lunch break from the conference he’s attending).  Part of all the walking I did this morning was a search for a place to meet for lunch.  It turned out to be easier for me to go where he was, and we had lunch at Beef & Brandy, just around the corner from the Palmer House.  Before meeting with M I went inside and had a look at the magnificent lobby.  Amazing.

Lunch was excellent.  It was a good pick.  M had an autumn salad that was fresh and delicious.  I had a tuna wrap that was also fresh and delicious but M’s salad looked so good that I regretted not ordering the salad.

(Skyline from Millennium Park.)

After lunch M and I were strolling around Millennium Park when two women asked us if we would like  two free tickets (they couldn’t use them for some reason) to the Art Institute of Chicago.  Well, I was on my way back for an afternoon break and M was due back to the conference in about an hour or so, but it didn’t take much to talk us into it.  We took the tickets and spent a little while exploring Impressionism.  I let M pick where we would go because I’ll be going back on my own to spend most of the day there sometime before we leave Chicago.

We parted somewhere on Michigan Avenue and  I slowly made my way back to the hotel where I now have my feet up and I’m getting in a bit of a rest before meeting friends for dinner.  We’re going to a Greek restaurant tonight (OPAA!) where they set the cheese on fire (“flaming saganaki cheese” flambed tableside).  Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a friend that I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  We’ve kept in touch all this time but haven’t managed to get together.  I’m really looking forward to it.  (Note to those that don’t know:  M and I used to live in the Chicago area, a long, long time ago.)

(American Gothic in Chicago.)

Off for a day of shopping

(The aftermath.)

M the Younger will be heading out to Colorado for the day on Wednesday to meet with the folks he’ll be working for and with. He’s in need of a summer suit he can wear so I’m taking out to shop for one. He has a black suit, but it’s supposed to be in the 90’s in the Denver area this week. He’d probably die of heat stroke in that suit.

Anyhow, I don’t have time to post much more. Just wanted to get my food post up in case I don’t get back to blogging later today.

Pictured are the remains of our dinner from the other night. Sweet corn, and brains with hot sauce (cauliflower stands in for the brains). We also had a big tossed salad of mixed greens from the garden with that.

If someone could come by and clean off the table while I’m gone, I’d appreciate it. 😉