Shane had a little business in Chicago early this week, and he gamely invited those of us who “don’t travel lightly” (always, we’re carrying stacks of books and electronics) to accompany him for a couple nights’ stay in the city. We routed through Tinley Park on our way, so we could take in a rec league soccer game my brother Adam’s girlfriend, Kaitlyn (in sage green t-shirt), played. She was great — and it was a fun surprise to see her dad on the pitch, too! Little bro Nathan & his fiancee, Emily, joined us for the match and dinner afterward.After a morning of workouts all around, we cleaned up and walked to Bongo Room for lunch. Man, their pancakes are delish… I had a single (plate-size) blackberry graham cracker pancake topped with lemon cream and blueberry swirl. The serving sizes are so large that I knew I could round out my smallish meal with savory bits plucked from the kids’ plates.
Bellies full, we strolled through Millenium Park… stopping for some goofy photo ops… and landed at the Art Institute, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. Here, Molly is peeking into one of the Thorne miniature rooms, which the kids and I read about a while back in The Sixty-Eight Rooms series by Marianne Malone.
It rained heavily both evenings we were in the city. Here, I tried to capture a photo of one of the storms as it approached over Lake Michigan. Unintentionally, I think I also caught a bit of the World Cup competition on TV and a bit of our hotel room decor!
The book I brought along with me was After the Sour Lemon Moon, a first novel by Denise Parsons. The story took place in a few settings, one of which was Chicago. The central character grew up in the city with the seemingly oceanic lake as a backdrop and touchstone. She recalled the comfort that gazing out at the vast body of water would deliver to her. I think it’s similar in ways to the smallness or humility that one feels when in the mountains or atop a rise in the midst of cornfields in the Midwest. I enjoyed Parsons’ sentences while sprawled across the hotel bed, looking up at the changing scene on the other side of the glass while feeling safe and dry inside.