Monday, October 15, 2012

Our LAST Week on the Road in the US!!!

Monday, October 15th

We really packed in what we could at the end of our stay in Chicago!

Friday evening we decided to head to Chinatown, which was only blocks from Oren & Michele's place.  But, because it was raining and blowing, we drove rather than walked. Meandering down the street, walking through a statue park, we came upon a pedestrian "mall" where there were restaurant after restaurant.  All were well attended making it difficult to decide where to stop.

Our choice became Ming Hin decided by Mike. The one observation that we all made was that the restaurants no matter what caliber were extremely brightly lit - like daylight - interesting....

Ming Hin looked a bit more elegant and unique with its decor. Success!!! We ordered many different items and a great meal was had by all!!  And lots of leftovers to take back to Mo, our growing teenager who made short order of them.

The plan for Saturday was to visit as many venues as possible in the neighborhood that were on the Chicago Architecture Open House weekend for FREE!  But alas, we all awoke to pouring rain and gusty winds. Not a good combination for walking the streets for hours.

We decided to wait it out. Oren made pancakes that we devoured and we all settled in to our own worlds - sewing, reading, watching TV.  Nice actually!! So Mike tooke pictures of Oren & Michele's beautiful "urban" home that we love!!

By 2pm we felt the weather had improved enough to try to venture out. We made it to the Glessner House in the South Prairie District down the street and took a back room tour that no one ever gets to see - the servants quarters.  Interesting!

From there we walked several blocks in the opposite direction to the Columbia College Media Building and had a delightful tour of the classrooms, sound stages, and animated sound stages. Very fascinating!!

With time leftover, we walked back to the South Prairie District and toured 2 more historical homes.  Mike and I love to look at historic - well, we love to look at homes!! LOL!! What else do Realtors® do when on vacation???

All in all, we made lemonade out of lemons and felt we were able to see some important and fascinating Chicago landmarks!

A home cooked meal of sweet Italian sausage left us all satisfied and ready to head out to hear Jazz on the north side. Off we went and after some nasty Chicago traffic arrived in an entertainment district just west of Lincoln Park. We drove and turned and drove and turned trying to find parking ANYWHERE!!!  But, nooooooo!!!  So Oren made the executive decision to chuck it and head back to their "hood" where there are several Jazz clubs.

Arriving in the neighborhood just north of them around the Dearborn Train Station with ample parking, we entered the Jazz Showcase club about mid way through the first set.  I truly don't remember the name of the Quintet playing but it was a local group and they were FANTASTIC!!!  I could have listened to them many more hours as we all felt they were just getting warmed up by the time they quit playing.

The venue was quite intimate and cozy and we found ourselves ensconced on a Victorian divan and me on a straight back chair.  I only bring up the straight back chair because after sitting on it for almost 3 hours, my rear end was screaming at me!! And, it was still sore the next day!! LOL 

I did ask Mike to change places with me toward the end but the damage was done. Plus when I sat on the divan, I sunk so low I couldn't really see very well.  The lesser of two evils for me was truly the straight back chair. Plus, I got to watch the guy in front of me grope his date all night, which she didn't seem to mind.  Michele and I wanted to tell them to go get a room already!!!

Not getting to bed until almost 1am made our goal of getting on the road by 10am impossible!! Our eyes slowly opened about 9am and so we decided to take Michele up on a wonderful home cooked breakfast rather than time for lunch on the road. It most definitely did the trick!

We packed up and said our tearful "see ya laters" and were on the road by 12:30pm.  With peddle to the metal, we made it to Patti & Mike Owens on Lakeshore North, Palms, MI (the "thumb") by 7pm - our goal!  Warm hugs and kisses greated us along with Zoe and Casey (English Cockers).  We hadn't see them since my daughter Denise's wedding 12 years ago!!

With a great reception we were ushered into their beautiful timber frame home on the shores of Lake Huron.  Since I've known Mike & Patti for 39 years, their home, even though new, was very familiar to me.  Much of their art and collectibles were items that I had grown to love also over the years.

It was on this property, with an old original cottage, that my son, Tim and his wife, Andrea, spent their honeymoon many years ago.  This was my first time laying eyes on the stunning lake view.  I felt closer to my son than I have in years. Love you, my son.

What's great about this trip also is that my Mike is getting a chance to get to know Patti & Mike.  Mike & Mike have lots in common and hit it off magnificently from the get go!  Always a nice thing when the couples mesh.  So while Mike & Mike talked it up and watched football while Mike O, whose a magnificent chef, cooked us a fine dinner, Patti and I were able to begin our "catch up".

I have to interject a funny item here. You see Patti and I have the same name Patricia, so it's a good thing I go by Tricia or we'd be Mike & Patti X 2.  As it is, when I call out for Mike, they both answer simultaneously!  Funny!!

Today we again woke up to dank dark clouds and some rain.  But, it didn't stop us from having our morning visit and deciding to drive down the road to do some sight seeing and have brunch at a true "local" place in Lexington, MI.  An old gas station turned diner. Love places like this!!

Upon arriving back at "home", Mike O put Mike L to work! The raked up many leaves and walnuts and carted them off several times down the hill to the beach. Then it was time for them to pull up the beach deck and furniture and get it all stored into the beach/boat storage house.  Mike O was quite happy to have the free help and to get 2 things accomplished in one day! He says "wait until tomorrow! I've got some great projects for him to help me with!!"  Mike L is very happy to be useful and doing some active work!!

Patti is off to Canada for her signing chorus practice, Mike & Mike are watching Monday night football, and I am relaxing in our bedroom writing the blog along with a fine glass of wine!

Life's pretty darned good right now!!

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