Family, Friends, Food, and Fun

This weekend, I got to get away from my usual routine. I was able to leave work a bit early on Friday and grab my girls and go. We got in the car, my older daughter taking the first driving shift, and headed for Chicago. Work has been a bit hectic and I’ve got some things going on personally that would make your hair curl, so a weekend for fun was at the top of my list.

Closer in to Chicago, I took over the driving and was fortunate to find a nice parking spot right by my sister’s place in the city. We grabbed our bags and headed up to her flat. Officially, we were in town for my niece’s bridal shower and we got to meet her future mother-in-law and one of her future sisters-in-law. We had fun getting to know each other. I’m just delighted to get to know the lovely families that my sister’s kids are marrying into.

Saturday morning, I got in a four-mile run, then met up with a graduate school classmate for brunch. He picked me up on his motorcycle…flashback to high school which was the last time I was on the back of a motorcycle. We took in brunch in Wicker Park. I remarked how it reminded me of the Central West End in St. Louis. It also reminded me of the restaurant strip along the Rhine in Cologne…Mainly, it was a lovely morning for reminiscing.

The bridal shower was later in the day and was so much fun. I’m still getting used to the idea of being part of the “older” generation…My kids aren’t old enough to start marrying, but I can see that I’ll need to get used to that idea in the not too distant future! My younger niece and my niece-in-law were the hostesses and they threw a lovely party. The food was lovely and the games were amusing. The bride-to-be was the quintessential guest of honor, gracious and beautiful.

imageI did win a prize during the party…I won “the perfect man”…this turned out to be a cookie cutter. I am glad to have it, as my faith in men has been damaged of late and it is good to know that I can always bake a few good men should the need arise!

Next up on my agenda was to catch-up with my classmate at his favorite Speakeasy. I had been looking forward to this for ages. I asked all the over-21’s to join me, but in the end, it was the bride-to-be and I who made the trip. My sister dropped us off at the rendezvous spot and we three headed to the secret location. We walked over to a dim stairway with a red light. Apparently the red light was a clue. Down the dark, dank steps we went, and at the bottom was a wooden door with a communicating panel. I knocked, and armed with the password, I was given entree.

Inside, the place was dark. The bar was straight ahead, and then the room ran the depth of the building with a piano at the back. This speakeasy only uses ingredients available during prohibition in Chicago and uses only authentic drink recipes. So, I had a picador (precursor to a margarita) and a white lion. Both were lovingly hand-crafted and quite delicious.

Time flew by, with great company and entertainment. A friend of my friend was also a first-timer at the speakeasy. As an entertainer by trade, she spoke with the piano player and offered to sing a song or two…and boy did she! She sang Crazy and a piece from Cabaret. There was a bit of confusion over what key to start, and she remarked that her ad lib training at Second City was coming in handy…all in a night’s fun. Her singing was definitely the highlight of the evening. Then, too soon it seems, my niece and I were headed for home on the El.

Find the Joy in the Journey…especially the Joy of reconnecting with family and friends!



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