Three Things Thursday

The further off from England, the nearer is to France
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
— from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

1. Antibes, France:

I wanted to show you more pictures, but either WordPress hates me or I’m too dumb to blog.  Sorry.

2. Pinterest!  This my new obsession – it’s basically a super easy way to bookmark all those little things you see online that you love, but never remember when you want them, but without having to bookmark a million different websites.  Check it out – and if you get an account, let me know so I can follow you.  You can follow me, too, if you want – I’m melaniew (at least, I think I am!)

3. This face:

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Three Things Thursday #61

I reckon being ill is one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work til one is better.
— from The Way of All Flesh, by Samuel Butler

1. sick days that let you catch up on TiVo

2. planting things

3. anniversaries – today is one, for me

Three Things Thursday #37

My soul is full of whispered song;
my blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
are all alive with light.
— Dying Hymn, by Alice Cary

Today, the happiness is hard to find, so let’s focus on things I’m grateful for:

1. that a wonderful, smart, kind woman isn’t in pain anymore

2. that she had the best possible care — in her own home, which she loved so much — until the very end

3. that the people who loved her had the opportunity — one not afforded to many — to make sure she knew how much she was loved

10 Days: Days 5 and 6

A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.
— Tim Cahill

So when we last left off, David and I had collapsed into bed in our beautiful European-inspired hotel room in Chicago.  That was Monday night.  Tuesday morning we prepared to head back to Detroit.  I had hoped to somehow meet up with Jane on our way out of town, but she had her own adventure to tend to, so we didn’t get the chance.  Instead, David drove us along Lake Shore Drive to head out of the city on another beautiful day in Chicago so I could see the waterfront and Soldier Field and Comiskey Park (which isn’t called Comiskey Park anymore, but whatever).  It was lovely.  We stopped for breakfast at what David tells me is the only rest stop (anywhere?) that’s built on an overpass (that is, it serves both sides of the big highway).  He tried to win me a Nintendo DS from a game machine, but didn’t have any luck.  Oh well.

By the time we got back to Detroit, we had just enough time to change and grab the tickets and David’s brother and head downtown to Comerica Park to watch the Tigers take on the hated Cleveland Indians.  I had walked around the outside of Comerica at Christmastime, but this was my first time inside.  I immediately went to the team store to purchase a Tigers visor so I could credibly root for the home team (and without betraying my Braves – the Tigers are in the AL).

We walked around the stadium so I could see everything, and I even got the boys to ride the mini baseball Ferris wheel with me!

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I also got a half-yard frozen daquiri, but that is neither here nor there.  We then got a beer and something to eat (I had egg rolls.  Egg rolls!  At a baseball stadium!  And chili-cheese fries.  Breakfast of champions.) before settling into our seats.

David’s dad snared excellent seats down the right field line off Stub Hub, and during warm ups, I looked up and who did I see?  One Grady Sizemore, centerfielder for the Indians, stretching and jogging not 20 yards from me!  He’s hot, let me tell you.

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Once David figured out what I was doing, he tried to take my camera away, but I didn’t let him.  It’s my duty to take pictures of hot baseball players, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

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The game itself was great – the Tigers won – and we headed home to do a little laundry and fall in to bed.

Wednesday morning, we packed up and got back in the car, this time headed for a little town just northeast of Buffalo, New York.  My cousin was to be married Saturday, and Wednesday evening was her bridal shower (she, and a lot of wedding guests, was from out of town, but nearly the entirety of our moms’ side of the family lives in this town, which is why the shower was there and so close to the wedding).  Since she had asked me to be in her wedding, I needed to be at the shower that evening, so we left around 9 or so and headed for the border.  The Canadian border.

As David is fond of telling me, if you head due south from Detroit, the first foreign country you come to is Canada.  Going through Canada would save us several hours, assuming the border crossing didn’t take long, and time was of the essence that day, so with our passports in hand, we made a quick entrance into the Great White North.

We had a lovely Canadian day.  First, we had breakfast at Tim Horton’s.  Donuts, yum. Then we stopped at Canadian Tire.  It’s hard to explain Canadian Tire – it’s a little like a KMart crossed with an auto parts store, I guess, but David has been talking about it as long as I’ve known him, so we had to go.

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We found Canada t-shirts there, on sale for $8.99 (or “Nine dough-lers” as David was fond of saying), red for him, white for me.  Then we stopped for lunch at Harvey’s, a Canadian fast food joint.  This one was located inside a Home Depot.  Thank goodness for GPS.  Our burgers were delicious, and people in Canada are so friendly!

We made an equally smooth entrance back into the U.S., and made our way through the Western New York countryside on a gorgeous afternoon, and I honestly don’t know if there’s any better place to be.  We got to my aunt’s around 3:30 and David encountered the first wave of family introductions.  The shower was girls-only, so I left him there to await my uncle, the District Attorney, who had agreed to take David and Steve (the boyfriend of one of the other bridesmaids) out to dinner.  He was not happy that I couldn’t be there for the introductions; I’m sure he had Sopranos-like visions of my Italian uncle picking him and “going for a ride,” but he was a good sport.

The shower was lovely; my aunts did an amazing job, as always.  Afterwards, my cousin and I and one of the bridesmaids went to find the boys in town.  We walked into the restaurant only to see my grandpa holding court at their table.  I hadn’t expected him to be there, but I should have guessed he would be.  We attempted to pull up a table to their booth to join them, but the waitresses stopped us, which was not a good idea.  My grandpa doesn’t like to be told no.  Next thing you know, the wait staff is dealing with an ornery old man, and my cousin and I are laughing our heads off because this is so typical.  I think David might have been scared, though.

In the end, we took the booth behind them, and my grandpa came to sit with us for a bit.  He told me how much he’d enjoyed talking to David and how glad he was that I’d brought him.  Made me so happy.  One of my aunts showed up and then the 6 of us – me and David, my cousin, my aunt, the bridesmaid and her boyfriend – headed to the only bar in town to catch up some more and play some darts.  And with the exception of the boys, I can tell you that all of us are supremely bad dart players.

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It was, however, a lot of laughs.  I love my family, and I love how seamlessly David fits into it.

Around 11, we headed back to my aunt’s house where we were staying and fairly collapsed into bed, again.  First, though, we had to repack a small bag, because in the morning, we were headed back to Canada: Toronto.  I’ll tell you all about Day 7 next time (which, hopefully, will not be two weeks from now)!

10 Days: Day 4 (Chicago)

I had a total 36-hour love affair with Chicago.  It started with our hotel, the Raffaello, where we got a great last-minute rate on hotels.com, especially considering how close it is to Michigan Avenue.  It was very European (fairly small lobby, very small elevators), but we had a beautiful room with a flat screen tv and DVD player.  My favorite part was the bathroom: it had one of those rain shower heads, where the water falls directly down on top of you; there was no tub, only a shower, and only half a glass door – part of the shower (the part away from the showerhead) was completely open to the rest of the bathroom; and it had a bowl sink, one of those that sits up on the counter.  Perfect.

Since we arrived close to 1 am, we slept in a bit on Monday before heading over to Michigan Avenue to see the sights and head down to Navy Pier.  It was a gorgeous day, and it wasn’t too long until we came across people engaged in what has to be one of the top-ten jobs I don’t want:

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Skyscraper window-washing.  NO. WAY.

We hung a left to head toward Navy Pier.  The first time and only time prior to this that I had been in Chicago was 10 years ago, when the amusement park I worked for was going to open a Bubba Gump’s in the park.  They sent me and my boss to the Bubba Gump’s in Navy Pier for training, since I would be managing the restaurant.  Here it is:

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Navy Pier is pretty touristy, but I wanted to ride the giant Ferris wheel, because I like being touristy, so we pressed on.  Before we got to the Ferris wheel, though, we passed several outfits offering boat tours and decided that would be a great way to see the city.  We opted for the SeaDog Architectural Tour that would take us down the Chicago River through the city and tell us about some of the buildings we’d see, and it included a “speedboat portion” out on Lake Michigan at the end.  It was totally worth it – we learned all about the big buildings, many of which are quite iconic, and our tour guide was very funny (and punny, too!).  There are too many pictures to share here, but you can check out my Chicago album on Flikr if you like.  Here’s a couple of my favorites:

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By the time we got back, it was lunchtime, so we set off in search of some authentic deep-dish pizza.  We eschewed Uno’s in favor of Gino’s East which I had seen on our drive in the night before, and after consulting the GPS on David’s BlackBerry, we made it there without any trouble.  It takes a looooong time to cook deep-dish, so we had an appetizer while we waited and I wrote “Melanie loves David” amidst all the (management-sanctioned) graffiti on the walls.  The pizza was DEFinitely worth the wait – it was SO good and really hit the spot.

We had hoped to hit Millennium Park, but lunch took longer than we thought, so we just took a short walk back to the hotel to rest a bit before the game.  David, who seems to know how to everywhere no matter where we are, led us to the El, where we hopped a train to Wrigley Field.  I was SO excited – it’s one of the stadiums I’ve really wanted to go to (when I was in Chicago before, the Cubs were out of town, so we saw the White Sox and what was then Comiskey Park).  I had to get the iconic shot, of course:

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Then we headed inside.  I really loved this stadium.  Everyone was so friendly, and although it was packed (Cubs fans are die-hard, you know), it didn’t feel busy – the lines for concessions and bathrooms were not long at all.  The only sad part was no Dippin’ Dots.  David and I get Dippin’ Dots at every baseball game we go to, and Wrigley was the first we’ve encountered that didn’t have them.  Oh well.

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(David is not betraying his Tigers – he buys a hat of the home team at every stadium he goes to.  He even has a Yankees cap.  Boo.)

Oh, if you don’t follow baseball, you might not know that a seat at Wrigley Field can be a tough get.  Some enterprising homeowners have made it a little easier:

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That’s rooftop seating on Waveland Avenue, which runs behind left field. Clever, huh?  There’s also a bunch behind right field.

Ok, maybe the best thing about Wrigley Field, for me, was the rediscovery of something I first saw (and haven’t seen since) at Comiskey Park 10 years ago:

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It’s onion grinder for your hot dog!  Fresh onion! Right there in Wrigley!  David thinks I’m silly, but I dig this so much!

Unfortunately, the Cubbies went down to the Astros, but a good time was definitely had by all.

We took the El back, but intentionally switched trains to ride a little longer and see what we could see before heading back to the hotel.  We pretty much collapsed into (the awesome, comfortable) bed when we got back, so that’s really all there is to tell for now!

Day 5 is heading back to Detroit and the Tigers game, and Day 6 has us crossing the border into Canada on our way to Buffalo, so check back later this week to continue our journey!