Visiting Chicago and a Good Friend

Mik-CastleEaster weekend went by in a flash for me. On Good Friday, I boarded a plane with husband and kid to head to Chicago. I’ve never been to the Windy City, so I was excited. But that wasn’t the only reason I took a trip. I was on a mission to meet one of my best friends in person – for the first time.

Misty Evans and I have been friends for years. We couldn’t remember how long and, really, does it matter? We were both published around the same time early in our careers with Samhain. Our writing paths are different but what remains in that we were definitely sisters of the heart. But more on that in a minute.

This was the first flight for my 13 year old son. I wasn’t sure how he was going to handle it. He’s a pretty laid back kid and loves roller coasters, so I figured he would do just fine. Turns out, I was right. He was a little nervous at first but once we got in the air, he relaxed. I gave him the window seat. Husband was less than thrilled sitting in the aisle. And I can’t say that I blame him. It’s not my favorite either.

Anyway, we landed at O’Hare, got our rental car and made it out of the airport with my excellent navigation skills. The traffic, however, was… wow. We are seasoned drivers. I learned to drive in Dallas but THIS was anything I’d ever experienced.

fairy-castle staircaseOur first stop was the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology. We are Texans, so when the weather forecast says it’ll be 65 degrees, we expect, you know, warm. Not so. The wind coming off the lake was frigid. And we are thin-skinned Texans. Lesson learned. We had light jackets and FROZE once we parked for the museum. It was about a mile hike to get to the entrance, too.

SUCH a cool place! I think we could spend days in there. My first stop was to get to Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. It..was…magical. I loved it. I swear I could stand there all day and just stare at it. Cast in aluminum, it stands nearly 7 feet tall and weighs one ton. The detail is amazing. The décor is not your everyday doll house décor. One room has a mother-of-pearl floor, a winding floating staircase in the great room, it has the world’s tiniest Bible. The Prince’s room has gold-plated running shoes, a tiny replica of Excalibur. In the great room, you can see the smallest glass slippers – hand blown. The chairs in the Princess’s room are encrusted with diamonds and emeralds.

I was in heaven staring at it. I bought the book from the gift shop so I could read more about the history. Colleen Moore was a silent film star and used her Hollywood connections to build the castle. No dolls ever “lived” in the castle – it was for imagination purposes only.

I want one just like it in my house. 🙂

mom-matthewAnyway, after visiting the castle, we spent the rest of the afternoon roaming about the museum. There was so much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all. By the time we left, we realized we hadn’t eaten lunch and were starved. It was a 45 minute drive to the hotel – we were staying in Aurora. Turns out that was a good idea. It’s a nice town and we enjoyed our stay. We made it to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and stuffed our faces.

Saturday was my lunch date with Misty. We met up at the local Chili’s. I swear it was like we had always known each other and could talk all day long. We spent about three hours together and I don’t think that was enough. We are Gemini sisters, do a lot of the same things and think the same way. We even exchanged early birthday presents because both of us thought about it beforehand. And even though writing is what brought us together, we didn’t talk much about writing. Turns out, we didn’t have to because we have so much more in common. Anyway, it was a great day.

While I was having lunch, husband and kid went to Portillo’s for lunch. They both agreed it was a great place. We headed downtown after he picked me up and visited the Navy Pier and did some walking through town. I got some great shots of downtown on the edge of the water. We found Giordino’s for dinner and waited an hour for a table. While we waited, we were accosted by a panhandler who actually got angry when my husband told her no. They exchanged a lot of words. I didn’t think she’d ever leave.

When we finally got a table, we ordered three pizzas and gorged ourselves on it. It was delicious. And my kid managed to pack away half of his cheese pizza with no problems.

After dinner, we braved more downtown traffic and found Millennium Park. It was incredible. We walked around there for a while and took lots of pictures. By the time we hit the hotel, it was nearly 10 and we’d walked 12000 steps each that day.

Sunday was our flight home. We had breakfast at IHOP and boarded the plane utterly exhausted. It was a fast and furious weekend and we were glad to be home. I would love to go back some day and spend more time seeing the city. Even though it was only one full day in the city, it was all worth the trip and I’m so glad I did it.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.