Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

We staying in a motel 1/2 way between the beach and the airport (about 10 min to either) the night before we were to fly home to Colorado. You can see the photos from our evening beach excursion in the previous post. Since we had an 8 AM flight and a rental car to return, we didn’t want to have a big drive to worry about before 7 AM in order to return the car and check our one suitcase -we always fly out carry-on only with United and bring a duffel bag to pack dirty laundry in, giving us room in at least one of the small roller bags to pack souvenir bottles of wine and other food products we like to purchase while traveling (preserved cherries and maple syrup this time).

Anyway, we packed the night before, leaving out a change of clothes and tooth brushes, and swim suits to dry. The morning was a breeze since we’d pre-packed and had some pastries from a bakery in Traverse City stashed in our carryon bags. We returned the car, checked our suitcase and sleepily waited to board the plane (note: at this point I had an awful head cold and was snuggled into my sweatshirt and cuddling a box of kleenex).

We boarded our tiny plane, had to gate check our roller bags because they would never have fit in the overhead bins of the tiny plane, and took off on-time.

I really wanted a ginger ale and was waiting for drink service (about 20-30 min after we took off) and watching the landscape below.  My ears were KILLING me. I kept rubbing the little flappy part over the ear opening, trying to get my ears to pop. The pilot made an announcement that we were about to fly over Milwaukee. About 2 minutes later he made an announcement that because they were unable to stabilize the air pressure inside the cabin, we were unable to assent above 17,000 feet and didn’t have enough fuel to make it to Denver at that altitude. Therefor we would be making an emergency landing in Chicago and would touchdown in about 30 minutes. Doh!

We landed in Chicago, went to the service desk and were issued tickets for a 3:30 PM flight to Denver. It was about 9:45 AM at that point. We also each received a $10 meal voucher.

After plunking down to pirate some wifi from the airport hotel, we each emailed our bosses to let them know that we were stuck in travel purgatory and wouldn’t be in until tomorrow.

Then we sat around debating what to do with our time in Chicago. We figured we’d head to the Art Institute and go see American Gothic, but I got us off a stop too early on the El and we ended up right on the Chicago River. Then I thought: a river cruise! So I dashed into a nearby fancy hotel and asked the concierge if she could book us 2 tickets on the Architecture River Cruise! No dice, it was high tourist season and they’d been booked for weeks. Oops. Then I was informed that tickets to the Art Institute were $18 each. Also a no-go for us.

Dejected, we walked aimlessly along the Magnificent Mile until we saw as sign for Beard Papa’s, a French chain that serves various styles of cream puffs and gourmet coffee drinks. Aah, the perfect birthday indulgence (yes, this all happened on my 29th birthday).

Yes, we had cream puffs the size of cheese burgers for lunch, and sweet cream tea. DELICIOUS!

We wandered the mall a bit before retreating back to the airport so that we could have a proper lunch of quick gourmet Mexican at Rick Bayless‘s Tortas Frontera in the airport and spend our vouchers before our flight. YUM! We split a Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms Torta (sandwich) and a Tres Quesos Mollete and each got our own agua fresca (fresh squeezed juice). DELICIOUS!

My birthday may not have been as boring as I’d planed (fly home, eat lunch, go to work), but it was WAY TASTIER!

In the end, we got on the plane to Denver, flew home, got our checked bag, waited just 10 minutes for the bus to Boulder, got home and did laundry and ate something un-memorable for dinner. Again, not what we’d planned, but still a great day!

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I hate uploading photos because I hate resizing them/exporting them and my web provider makes me do all the work! How lame. Anyway. I own the internets photos from my bridal show and from DJ & J’s wedding. I’ll start with DJ & J’s wedding because it was kind of epically huge. 320 people attended the reception!

Here’s the rehash I wrote for my parents, who asked what lessons I learned from DJ & J’s wedding that I might be able to apply to my own (my parents were at my youngest brother’s college graduation, instead of the wedding):

On their wedding day we got to the church 30 minutes early to take some photos with the Illinois family. We were in just a few, but we had to take 2 sets, one in front of the St. Peter the Apostle’s Catholic Church sign, and the same ones next to (but not including) the sign, to send to our shared gramma. We were also in few photographs after dinner, but I’m sure a look a little disheveled form dancing in those and I know J was exhausted because it was 10:30PM and she was quietly whining about how her feet hurt.

One thing I learned that we can apply to our wedding: have someone video tape the ceremony and any toasts that people give. I’m sure I’d have be too hopped up on adrenaline to listen well and Father Dominick had a lovely sermon prepared and I’m sure they’ll want to be able to listen to it later (thanfully they did have a videographer/video stalker). He talked about how a marriage is the joining of two families and how DJ is going to have a lot to learn about joining an Italian family and how he’ll never have to pay retail again and J is marrying a Boy Scout and that she’ll have to be OK with him coming home with pockets full of stuff, holes in his pockets from too much stuff, and odd fascination with all things small/useful/lightweight, and an expectation that when he does something well that he deserves a merit badge (he somehow tied this to the bedroom in an church friendly way, but I’m not sure how). He also said something about how when he undoes his belt, his pants will drop to the floor like a dead weight because his pockets are so full of stuff that she’ll never be able to imagine why he’s carrying it or that she’d ever want to carry herself.

Their wedding was just so different from ours that I’m not sure there were many lessons to learn…..

DJ married into the Sicilian mafia and had a 2PM Saturday mass wedding. The ceremony lasted until about 3:15, then we all trekked over to her parents house for “snacks” where Janine’s mother’s friends from work made sandwiches, mixed/poured drinks, and kept plying us with cookies and cheese for almost 2 hours while Janine and DJ and their escorts took photos at the church and at the park down the street.

At the smaller ballroom of the banquet hall (with painted ceilings and marble floor) we were greeting by a HUGE seafood buffet that included focaccias, calamari (fried and in a salad), a wheel of parmesan cheese broken into bite size bits [see photos], fried polenta, shrimp cocktail, some sort of fried oyster thing with tomato sauce, fried rice/cheese/meat balls, lots of cured meats, and an open bad fully stocked with premium liquors and any mixer you could think of.

Then there was dinner! The chairs were all covered and tied with green sashes, and there were matching satin minty green napkins on the tables. Every other table had an elaborate/tall centerpiece and the others had glass pillars of varying heights with submerged flowers and floating candles on top surrounded by little candles. The table was set funny though, fork and knife together on the left and only one fork for all the courses. There was a teaspoon and a steak knife on the top, where I would put a butter knife. Dinner as a meal was quite the affair, 2 pastas, salad w/ your choice of dressing, lemon ice, veal steak with baked mashed potatoes and asparagus, then a dessert table with cake, italian pastries, and lots of fresh fruit and some chocolates, a woman scooping lemon ice and making nutella ice cream sandwiches on demand (so the cake “buns” didn’t get soggy), and coffee. After the main course servers came around with carts to collect the plates and offer you a togo box if you needed one (Ben and I gifted our steaks to DJ’s coworker us who’s wife couldn’t come because they had babysitter issues). The cake was also cut up into to go boxes as well as set out on plates on the dessert buffet table.

I’m pretty sure our budget would have just covered their bar tab, and possibly the band too, or at least the donation to the church they were married in and to the school, where Father Dominick (the drama and communications teacher from DJ’s HS) came from.

PS- I think my tummy might be all stretched out from the food baby I stuffed in there over the weekend. I was constantly hungry yesterday and today! I wish I had taken pictures of Ben and myself all dressed up but I forgot. There was a photographer there taking photos in the back of the hall, but I’m not sure if/when those photos will come in. 

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