jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Monday, August 8th, 2005 11:54 am)
I'm just bumming around this morning and Molly is napping, so I'll put off what I've been avoiding and try to deal with day three of our trip. I think I've been avoiding it because there are lots of emotions tied to seeing my dad and it is a lot of processing. I'm good at avoidance.

Molly and I drove back in from Glenview to downtown Chicago and parked underground near Millennium Park. We were 20 minutes early, so my dad was 20 minutes late. We met by the lions in front of theArt Institute of Chicago. Tuesdays are free admission, which was nice for all of us. When Dannye and I visited Chicago together in January 2000 for the LSA (Linguistic Society of America) meeting, we stayed downtown in the Palmer House Hilton (the school paid for lodging) and made side trips to the Field Museum and the Art Institute. We visited with my dad at the Art Institute and had our pictures taken by the lions. It was less than a month after my dad's kidney transplant.

Anyway, my dad showed up. I wasn't sure who all might be with him, but it was just his new wife Rita and him. Rita brought along pictures of their wedding which was in May 2003. I didn't attend, but my brother and sister did, as well as my dad's mom, one of his brothers, his ex-sister-in-law, and three of my cousins. They were married on a Sunday morning at their church, so there were like 700 people there. Fortunately the reception was smaller. Dad and Rita live in Chicago with two of Rita's grandchildren, twins (a boy and a girl) who are about 5 or 6. Rita has two or three children and four grandchildren, I think. This was the first time I met Rita. She is very friendly and nice and gives good hugs. This was also the first time Dad met Molly, and he was very kind to her and welcomed her to the family.

We saw lots of things at the museum. I made sure I saw the Georgia O'Keefe, since she is one of my favorite artists. We saw the armor and weapons gallery. We saw early American art and furnishings. Rita saw many things she liked. We went to lunch at a COSI across the street, and Dad told us a little about his church (some sort of Pentecostal church) and about his doctoral studies there. We just didn't have enough time to talk. After we ate we looked around the museum a little more, before my dad and Rita were feeling tired and unwell and needed to go. I got a picture of them, so when I get it developed . . . . I felt really sad when they left, because it had been such a short visit and we didn't get to visit very much. Molly and I stayed at the Art Institute until closing and bought some postcards at the gift shop. Since it was rush hour, we walked around downtown for a bit. We stopped in Marshall Field's, because my mom had worked there a couple summers in the late 1960s. We went to the basement level, because I remember my mom saying that she had worked there. We found a bookstore and browsed and ate some dinner. I bought some Frango Chocolate Mints, which are melt in your mouth delicious.

We finally felt traffic was better and got the car and headed back to our motel. Wednesday we ate breakfast at a pancake house and drove back to Ohio. It was very, very hot and the drive was long and sleepy. We stopped somewhere in Indiana and walked around a Target trying to wake up. We listened to an audio book of Patricia Wrede's Searching for Dragons, which is a good story, but had some annoying characters.

Blech, I'm still avoiding my feelings. I guess I'll write later about how I felt and how my dad looked and how I sobbed Tuesday night in the motel about my dad. I'm tired of writing now, but I'll post more later.
jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Friday, August 5th, 2005 04:18 pm)
Let's see . . .

I got us as far as the Field Museum last time. While there we saw exhibits on Egypt and mummies, modern Africa, Mexican pottery, insects, Native Americans, and dinosaurs. We ate lunch in the museum, too.

Mid-afternoon we continued up Lake Shore Drive by downtown Chicago and on into Evanston. I lived in Evanston while I was in fifth through seventh grade while my mom was in seminary at G-ETS. We drove by the apartment we lived on at 540 Michigan Ave. There was actually parking available, so we got out to take a closer look. The apartments are no longer owned by the seminary, but they look about the same, perhaps with more security features, like a locked gate across the back stairways. We talked to an elderly man from the building next door. He wondered if we lived in the building or knew who had spray painted the sidewalk between the building. I told him I'd lived there in the mid to late 80s. He said he'd lived there since the 60s. I wonder if he is the same old man who yelled at us once when we were playing to be quiet so his grandchildren could sleep? His building had new back steps/balconies. The alley was much the same, and the parks are still there. We walked through them and saw the new playground equipment. The big field is still there, the one that they would flood each winter for a skating rink. We walked around the block.

We also drove past the schools I attended while we lived there. I attended most of fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary School and sixth and seventh grades at Nichols Middle School. We drove by the church we attended in Evanston (my mom did her field ed. there): Emmanuel UMC. We also drove by G-ETS. On the way out of town we drove by the beautiful Baha'i House of Worship. We finally (after bad directions and road construction) found our motel in Glenview and ate dinner at a nearby T.G.I. Fridays. We spent a quiet evening reading. Molly was reading the latest Harry Potter. I've been reading Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith (I have very much enjoyed her previous work, including Traveling Mercies) and Charles de Lint's Waifs and Strays and Blue Girl. Yep, I'm one of those types who reads more than one book at a time!

Hopefully, I finish the rest of the trip report in my next entry. Until then . . . peace :)
jennywren: (spinning earth)
( Thursday, August 4th, 2005 03:55 pm)
I'm at work right now, so I'll see how much I get written before closing (which isn't that long from now). Please see Molly's entry for a condensed version of the trip.

On Sunday, we packed up the car and got on our way. We started listening to CDs of The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but we were getting too sleepy, so we only listened to one episode. We drove as far as the Indiana Dunes on Lake Michigan. At the camp ground, we easily found our campsite and put up our tent. It was quite warm, so we changed into our swimsuits and hiked over a dune, through the woods, across a parking lot or two, and down a road to the beach, where we had a little less than an hour to swim before the life guards went home and the water was "closed." The water was cool and refreshing, and Lake Michigan was calm and beautiful. It isn't deep at all at this beach, not more than chest high in the swimming area. The sand wasn't burning hot, so we spent some time in the sun after we got out of the water. We headed back to our camp site to cook dinner and met our very friendly neighbors from Cleveland. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this camp ground if you want any sort of privacy. The sites are right next to each other with very little between them. So many people go in their RVs with all the comforts of home. We were annoyed with the campers who spent lots of time adjusting their satellite dish, accompanied by a high pitched noise. We were a few sites from the bathrooms, which was convenient, but the light illuminated our tent all night. Campers were noisy, so we were glad we were only spending one night. We enjoyed s'mores over our fire, which Molly started from the banked embers of the previous campers.

Monday morning we were able to quickly pack up our tent and put everything back into the car, with the addition of much sand (which unfortunately we need to dump out of everything still, once we bring it into the house). We followed the lake through the rest of northern Indiana on into Illinois, along the railroad and industrial areas (oil, steel, etc.) of Gary, etc. We found Lake Shore drive up into Chicago along the lake. Molly had never been to Chicago, other than O'Hare, so we wanted to see things. Since we were getting into town earlier than expected, we decided to visit the Field Museum of Natural History. Parking was $13 but very close to the new entrance, and we got in on the student rate of $7 each.

Yikes, almost time to close up. I'll write more tonight!
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