Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful for Long Weekends

I've been blogging at much slower pace as of late and I'm okay with that.  I hope my readers are as well, because I've found a groove again and I don't think the rate of change is going to pick up much in the near future.

My wife and had five consecutive days off around Thanksgiving, which in itself is somewhat of a small miracle. Even on her day off she often attends meetings at work and my schedule can get quite clogged with coaching responsibilities.

We had planned to take off Wednesday for Starved Rock and do some serious hiking, but the combination of rain and a sick cat (Gus) nixed that idea. Instead we left early Thanksgiving morning, did some hiking, had lunch with my in-laws at the state park, and then hiked some more. It was peaceful on the trails ... waterfalls ... canyons ... bald eagles.  It was a pretty cool way to spend the holiday.
Mom-in-law and Laura behind a water fall.

That evening we drove north to a suburb of Chicago and stayed at a hotel. Laura and I were both needing a little dinner, but nothing too crazy after enjoying the buffet at Starved Rock. (They had biscuits and gravy on the buffet. How awesome is that!)  Because most of the restaurants were closed I volunteered to walk to the Walmart about a quarter mile of a way to pick up some microwaveable soup. I left at 5:30pm and got out of there at 5:58pm. Did you know that Black Friday starts at 6:00pm Thursday evening? Talk about a scene . . . people everywhere counting down the seconds so they get their special deal. Wow.
On Friday Laura and I spent the morning at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. My wife absolutely adores plants, and I love her, so this was a fun time for us both.  She took me out to Lulu's for lunch, which was a place I walk to for lunch when she was still in grad school. I feel head-over-heals for their jalapeno cheeseburger back in the day . . . so good!  I tried it again, thirteen years later, and it wasn't quite the same. Such is life.
Found this T-Rex celebrating in the conservatory!

That afternoon I dropped Laura off at King Spa, which is place where you walk around naked, hopping in and out of cold and hot pools, while naked, with other people around. Yeah, I love my wife, but I'm doing that. Nope.

I went to two card shops, one in Buffalo Grove and another in Palatine. I found a nickel box at the first store and I WENT TO TOWN! Man, you Chicago folk don't know how good you have it! The main beneficiary will be my BWTP Secret Santa recipient. You, my card loving friend, will be very happy. The second card shop in Palatine didn't have much I really liked, but I did find this Kosuke Fukudome Red Hot Rookies card for a buck and some BOGO card supplies.

After the two stores I found a Barnes & Noble and picked up some more Cubs reading material and got a small percentage off for using my teacher's discount card. We don't get many perks, but I'm pretty happy when I get to cash in. The trip to the two card shops and one book store, with driving, took nearly four hours, which was just about how long my wife wanted at King Spa. Being naked around strangers for 3+ hours...  or baseball cards?  Yeah, I made the right decision.
Black Friday . . . 50% off!  Woot!

Saturday, after a walking through the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and along Lake Michigan we headed home. Chicago, even when it's around 45 degrees, is a pretty fun town.
Floating XMas Trees at the Lincoln Park Conservatory

It was a really nice trip overall. We enjoyed each other's company, some neat restaurants, and with all the walking and hiking I don't feel like I gained too much weight over the holiday weekend.

Even better, I kind of feel out of my "The Cubs won, so now what?" funk. I think the long weekend was just what I needed.

Thanks for stopping by and belated Happy Turkey Day to you all.


  1. Starved Rock, eh? Right up the road and nary a phone call. JERK! :)

    I'm thinking that Palatine is the BCK location. I keep telling Brian he needs dime boxes. Only at the store in New Lenox.

    1. Yep, BCK #5 if memory serves. There's not much to that store.
      #1 in Plainfield is still my favorite of the chain, but I haven't been to the one in New Lenox yet.

  2. I've only been to the Garfield Park Conservatory once. My wife and I saw a Chihuly exibit there:
    As creative as Chihuly is we actually appreciated the plants more.

    1. They still had some Chihuly "lily pads" in one of the koi ponds. It adds a nice touch to the pond.

  3. I've toyed with the idea but don't have much of a green thumb. Maybe you guys can combine Cubs and plants and make a Wrigley Field terrarium (if thats the right word?)

    A little moss for the field, there's got to be some kind of miniature ivy for the wall...

  4. I really like those floating Christmas trees. Way cool

  5. My wife would absolutely love the conservatory

  6. Hey - my fiancee and I just happen to be getting married at Starved Rock. Such a beautiful place, isn't it?

    1. Yep, we love and plan on going back this summer. It's only a 75 minute drive for us!

  7. Hiking... waterfalls... and bald eagles. Sounds like perfection.