Monday, April 18, 2011

Adventures in the Windy City

April 17, 2011

It’s ten o’clock on Sunday night. I’m curled on the bed in one of my weird pregnancy positions keying this in before packing everything up prepatory to leaving Chicago at five-thirty tomorrow morning. We’ve spent a night and a day here: it’s been great to have a day to relax. The moving process had become such a nightmare that, as sad as I was to leave Wisconsin, I nearly wept for joy when we were finally on the road.

Friday night we slept in front of the fireplace of the “Chalet”, a rental cabin owned by part of Tanner’s family. (Cabin in this case meaning 4-bedroom 3 ½ bath vacation castle.) Too tired to appreciate it properly, I still thought it was special. The house is almost a hundred years old, built by my husband’s German ancestors in the model of a German hunting lodge. You could practically smell the history; a dark quiet blanket of time past covered the place like oil film on water.

Saturday we spent in the night in Chicago with Tanner’s friends. Exhausted sums up my impression. I blithely assumed I would be different from every other heavily-pregnant woman who suffers from backaches and swelling on car trips. Ha. Legs like sausages and a spinal cord which felt as though it had been used as a bungee. Can’t wait for that when we hit the road again.

Today, however, Tanner and I explored Chicago – or at least much of downtown. The two highlights of the day? The Butterfly Room, a branch of the Nature Museum – more or less a small conservatory crammed with butterflies. They flutter everywhere, like falling leaves in autumn, sometimes so close that you feel the tiny gust of their passing. Possibly more amazing than the live butterflies was the hatchery, where dozens of different cocoons were hanging, waiting to hatch. I had no idea how many incredible cocoons butterflies come from! Green jade drops with gold spikes. Small egg-shaped metallic oblongs, so polished you can see your reflection in them. !!!!!

The other highlight was the GNC broadcasting building, a beautiful old stone building, where some GENIUS had imbedded stones, rocks, and bits of architecture from all over the world. There was a chunk of rock from Golgatha. A bas relief from an ancient temple in China. A tiny gargoyle from Notre Dame Cathedral. The Papal Insignia from St. Peter’s Gate in Rome. A bit of quartz-riddled granite from Antarctica. And dozens more! It had to have been one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I circled the entire building, touching every stone, amazed at the texture of the history under my fingertips.

The serious part of the trip begins tomorrow. Can’t say I’m terribly excited about being stuck in a car, but I am excited. Exploring Chicago today whetted my appetite for discovery. There’s so much out there to see. I can’t wait to keep exploring.


  1. I didn't know you moved to Florida! I thought you were visiting. Next time, stop by here! *complains loudly about not being informed about this* :P

  2. Nope, we moved. I would have loved to have stopped by you, but we were running out of time and the Jeep was breaking down! You need to come down to Naples and spend a weekend with me.

  3. Bummer. I'm a penniless writer! You have a job. :P And email me your address, since I need to make your potholders and baby quilt. (They'll be sent at the same time, btw, since that's cheaper. XD)