5/10/09 Happy Mother's Day Everyone! With any kind of luck you will hear from your adult children today, which is always a highlight. We got calls from 3 out of 4 and a bonus call from my oldest granddaughter, so it was a great day for us too.
We are at the Cannell Family Farm, where we arrived yesterday. After some debate, we decided to park our rig on the side of Mary Sue's house, on the grass. Because there has been a bunch of rain, we started to sink on the lower side, and totally buried our plastic "lego-type" leveling blocks. So we had to get some heavy duty 2X12 boards from Elaine's brother-in-law and now we are level and happy. Had a great reunion with Elaine's 2 sisters who live here, Mary Sue and Georgeanne, and Georgeanne's husband, Dennis. And these three also took us out for a delicious Mother's Day lunch/dinner at a Rockford Italian place called Lino's this afternoon.
Prior to arriving here, we had a very enjoyable 4 day visit with Daryl and Patrick at their place in Joliet. I must have been asleep part of the time because I never took any pictures of their gorgeous home, which is fairly new and quite spectacularly furnished, and landscaped. Happily, we fit in their driveway and managed to get ourselves level, so we were able to have many interactions with them in both our place and theirs. They have a cute puppy named Gracie, and here is a picture of her:
The weather was a bit of a challenge because there were frequent thunder storms, with lots of wind, so we found ourselves pulling the RV slideouts in quite often. Happily, on Friday when we all drove into Chicago for a guided tour by Patrick and Daryl, the rain held off and we even had some sun in the afternoon after the fog burned off. Elaine lived in Chicago for two years because she started medical school there, but I had never spent any time exploring the city at all. So I was quite excited that we were there and I was very impressed with how beautiful it seemed as we drove down Lakeshore Drive and we saw all the great beaches and parks. We stopped near the Planetarium for pictures because Patrick knew that this was a great place to see the Chicago skyline. Here is a picture of Daryl and Patrick taken there:
Then Patrick drove us down Michigan Avenue where I was very impressed with the beautiful and diverse buildings and also there were hundreds of tulips that were in bloom:
This day was Daryl and Patrick's 15th anniversary, so we offered to take them out for lunch to celebrate. They picked Russian Tea Time, which has Slavic food, of course. It is located very near the Chicago Art Institute and the Palmer House Hotel, which we also wanted to see.
The food was delicious! Elaine and I shared a plate of beef stroganof and another of chicken livers with onions, all served with different salads and dense, dark bread. Here is a picture of four happy diners:
After lunch, we walked over to the park nearby to see the really spectacular fountain that was there. At this moment, I can't remember the name of it. But here is a picture:
We ended the touring by walking over to the Palmer House Hotel where Elaine used to work when she lived here, more than 40 years ago. It is a really fancy hotel with an impressive ceiling:
But what is even more impressive is that when Elaine turned 21 and flew to New York with a friend, the Hilton Corp. put her up for free at the Waldorf Astoria, and sent up a special fruit basket and champagne for her birthday. Too bad I didn't know her then and I could have been the friend that was with her there!!!
Our day in Chicago ended when we all drove to Downer's Grove to see the house that Daryl grew up in, where her parents lived for more than 50 years. They are both gone now and Daryl and Patrick are in the process of clearing out the house so they can eventually sell it. It was interesting to see it and also a different suburb of Chicago. It made Elaine and I realize what a nice thing we have done for our kids by clearing out all of our furniture and paring down the amount of our possessions so they won't have to deal with much when we die.
Before leaving Daryl and Patrick, they got us to do something that lots of our friends have been trying to do for a while - we joined Face Book. I am still trying to learn how to use it, but it looks like a fun way to find out what is going on with a lot of our far-flung friends. It also looks like you could spend a lot of time doing it, which I won't. So, if you are on Face Book and want to be our "friend", please either invite us (we are registered under Mary Lane), or let us know so we can invite you.
We will be here at the farm for about a week, then will head up to Mayville, Wisconsin to see more of Elaine's family and then up to Frederic, WI to stay with more cruise friends, Diane and David.