Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mark in Chicago and Bean Fries

As previously stated, Mark Egan was at my house. And I wasn't. C'mon, Cohen! I raced home (stood at bus stops) and I finally got to see my old friend. I gave him a quick tour of my place, we snacked up, then it was time to hit the town! We swung by the Cultural Center because I love it there. It is amazing. It was there I remembered that our next stop, the Art Institute, was closed for the rest of the day. 

We quickly changed plans by following the masses of people heading to Millennium Park. Hello, free concert! I love Chicago in the summer.

 After we heard some beats we wondered over to Cloud's Gate.

I told Mark that the main activity at the Bean is to take pictures of yourself in the Bean. I don't think he was paying attention: 

He was busy capturing this. Looks like a sound wave, huh? Or maybe a worm hole to another universe? Or maybe just a mirror? 

If you've ever been under the bean, you'll know it looks a bit like this: 

If you've ever met Mark before, you would know that he would need to conduct some experiments to find out how tall the underside of the Bean is, and he would use whatever he had on hand to conduct said experiments. In the above picture, can you see him throwing a wadded-up pamphlet?

We checked out the rest of Millennium Park and its environs, 

We walked up Michigan Ave to the river, where we posed for a pic with the Trump Tower, 

and also the other weird buildings I  can never remember the name of, 

and settled down for a delicious riverside dinner, which happens to be the place that I went to with my parents just a few short days ago. 

It was a gorgeous night. Mark lucked out on that one.

We walked around a bit more, then jumped on the L to go up to Lincoln Park (the 'hood, not the park), where we met Hope and Diana for a little West Side Story movie in the park. 

The next morning he was gone, off to continue on his great journey. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diana's Birthday Day

 A half hour after my parents left I packed my bags and I went home with Hope and Diana. It is our usual Sunday routine to have a sleep over, and it was also Diana's birthday in the morning!

We woke up about five hours after the sun was up (the sun was waking up really early) and we went for.. wait for it.. BRUNCH! On our way we found a special birthday wish for Diana:

We went to Southport Grocery and had the most amazing breakfasts. 

I had a bruchetta scramble number, 

And Diana had bread pudding pancakes which basically knocked her socks off. They were rich and amazing. 

After breakfast, although we could hardly move, we made our way downtown. It was a gorgeous day. I love when Chicago tries to woo me. We ended up at the last remaining Boarders in Chicago and went crazy looking for great deals and hard to find books. It was great! 

Then suddenly, I get a text from Mark Egan. He's at my house. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mom and Pops

I needed a manicure. My parents were coming to visit me, and I had just hung up the phone with my mother, who said she had "no idea" where they were, so I figured I had plenty of time to walk over to my local nail salon and get a mani. The parents had just finished up a Church History Tour and were driving up to see me. Five minutes later I was contemplating nail polish color when I got a text that said, "We're here." What? "We're here," like, in Chicago? On my street? I walked home and there they were!  My parents came to visit me! It was so nice to see them, and remember how awesome they are! First order of business: eat a hotdog. This is Mother, biting into a sport pepper for the first time. Turns out they were too spicy.

And Pops, ready to dive into his.

It was wicked hot, and my AC suddenly stopped working. While trying to contact my landlord, it was best to find ourselves some free AC or wind or something. We headed to the loop. Mom and Pop, down town Chicago. See the tall shiny building in the background? That's Trump Tower. The older building next to it? Wrigley Building. 

We went to the Chicago Cultural Center because I absolutely love it, and then on to the Art Institute because it is my favorite museum in Chi-town. 

The lost diadem:

We kept an eye on the time, because we were meeting my roommate Amanda for dinner! She was leaving town that weekend, but I wanted her to meet Mom and Pops, so we caught a bite to eat right before she had to leave!

We ate at this cool little riverside cafe with live music. It was wonderful! Dad gave us relationship advice, which Amanda tried, and it worked, and I tried, and it failed. Sigh. 

At the river walk.

Mom was hot. Well, we were all hot, but she was the most hot. The plan was for them to stay at my apartment, but certain death would arise there because our AC (and our landlord) wasn't working. So on this bench it was decided that we would get a hotel for the night.

I love Chicago.

We made it back to the apartment, brought down my parents luggage, I packed an overnight bag (story of my life) and we hopped in the car. We decided to pick up Hope and Diana and do a little driving tour.  We went down Lake Shore Drive, past Soldier Stadium, past Cellular Field (this was a driving tour for Father) and then up to River North and Michigan Avenue, where we stopped at the Rock 'n Roll McDonalds and got Rollo McFlurries. Those things are legit. 

We make it to the hotel (out by the airport) around Midnight Thirty, or something, just when a storm was rolling in. We slept like logs. We woke up to housekeeping, and I realized I hadn't slept that well in months. We hurried down to breakfast, and then back up to the room to chat and get ready like family does. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Also, the storm was crazy, and that area kind of got the worst of it, so it was awesome to watch. When things calmed down, it was decided that we would go to the Baha'i Temple. We were able to go into the visitors center and learn more about it. It's pretty cool, and there are lots of similarities to the LDS faith, except, you know, we believe in modern day prophets, the Atonement, the priesthood, and a myriad of other things.

We went to a random cavern type restaurant, which Mom kept calling Greek (everything was Greek because she's seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding... and we didn't even go to Greek Town). We raced home in time for the AC guy to show up and fix our AC. 

Then we hung out on the porch (cause I have a porch) and bought tickets for an architectural boat tour! While standing on the L platform I realized I was orange-y. Proof:

We drank a lot of Gatorade that weekend. 

On the tour we even passed by the little cafe we ate at the night before! Cute! 

After our boat ride it was time for a little deep dish! Oh, it was so good. I love it. All chewy and delicious and everything. By the time we finished dinner it was past 10, and Mom and Pop were tired. Exhausted. Worn out. And we still had to wait for the bus: 

The next day found us bright eyed and bushy tailed, to use a phrase my father uses ALL the time and which I've never actually found to be able to apply to me. Chicago loves brunch. It seems to think there is nothing better than brunch. Naturally I had to take my parents to at least one brunch spot, so we chose Ann Sathers. It was so good, and I think my parents began to understand the phenomenon that is Chicago Brunch. 

What's that Giants shirt my dad is wearing? Oh yeah, did I mention we were going to a Cubs game? Naturally we dressed appropriately:

Father loves baseball. I think the baseball tickets were the first thing he thought of when he was planning this trip. 

We had some pretty wicked cool seats that Father found somewhere on the interwebs. He bought them from some old lady in the suburbs. 

After the game (the Cubs won! WHAT?!), we transited back to my place where naps were taken, and then we went to the store, because we were having taco salad the next night with all my friends!

Somehow the afternoon turned into evening and it was discussed that I still needed a manicure. It turns out my parents needed mani pedis too, so we walked over to my neighborhood nail joint. I had walked my parents all over Chicago, and they were really happy to sit in the pedi chairs and get foot massages. 

Father, watching Korean television:

After our pampering we ran home, I popped some popcorn on the stove (my favorite kind) threw it in a bowl, and we were off to Lake Shore Drive in hopes of catching the fireworks display off of Navy Pier. FYI, every week in the summer Navy Pier has a fireworks show every Wednesday and Saturday. We were driving along LSD when we see a bunch of cars kind of pulled over. We got behind them and just sat there on LSD and watched the fireworks and ate popcorn. It was awesome. It's the best (easiest and most comfortable) way to do fireworks.

The next day we went to Church (in the elementary school in Lincoln Park) and then I wanted to take a little driving tour of Lincoln Park. I grabbed my friend Sandy, and we took them to my work: 

We stopped by the Wiener's Circle: 

then we passed the zoo and the huge park. Well, it's no Central Park, but it's big and it's pretty, and it is certainly a part of Chicago that couldn't be missed.   

We went home and prepared dinner. I love anything that has to do with tacos. And did you know, Mother's nail polish matched the tomatoes perfectly? 

Later that night Mom and Pop went to a hotel out by the airport because they were to catch an early flight the next morning. It was lovely to have them visit. And I cried when they left.