The last bit of summer was a triathlon of travel, company, and more travel; it’s all a gloriously caffeinated blur. I feel like I could sleep for a solid week (once the backlog of iced coffees gets processed). Where did I leave off? Chicago? Yes, Chicago, mid-August.
To review, we were a party of 4: me, 2 kids, and 1 dog. We spent 12 hours in Chicago, and were only awake for 3 or 4 of them. We arrived in the evening, searched out a pet-friendly supper option (we heart outdoor cafes), took a sunset stroll in Grant Park, and hit the hay to rest up for the last leg of the drive from Manhattan to Omaha.
It was a warm Saturday night, so Grant Park was hopping with activity. Public salsa lessons, rabbits in the greenery for Olive’s intense excitement and entertainment (yes, wild rabbits!), the awe-inspiring hilltop structure of the Field Museum…..and at one surreal moment, a battalion of tourists on Segways.
The Flight of the Valkyries, as choreographed by Delores DeLago.
Just a regular Chicago sunset.
The park was so beautifully manicured and thoughtfully laid out that for a second I thought that these lost specs were a garden ornament. Such poignant placement. We hoped the owner would retrace his steps and come back for them.
The Green-Brown Grass of Home
Once in Omaha, we thought we’d stay a few nights, but ended up staying a full week. O to be in Nebraska in August, when the corn is high, the Omaha Royals are in town, and the wave pool is in operation at Mahoney State Park. Fish are jumpin’, and the Keystones are cold.
A highlight: Olive met her junior cousin, Charlie, age 4 months. Charlie has some major, major jaws on him. He will cheerfully clamp onto your flesh and bone, with only the most innocent and fun-loving of intentions.
And Olive’s senior cousin Maxine. Maxine (on the right, the dignified one) seemed like one of those dowagers you meet at a family reunion when you are a kid, a venerable personage whom someone introduces as your “cousin.” Your kid brain simply cannot process this information. But it’s possible, Olive! Maxine is a grande dame, for sure, but she is my brother’s dog and therefore your first cousin.
Sunrise over Lake Manawa. We were there at a ridiculously early hour for the famous Black Squirrel triathalon, in which thousands of mosquitoes competed to bite me to death (and nephew-in-law competed in the non-insect events). You think I’m making up the Black Squirrel? Well, I’m not.
Hello and goodbye, Rosenblatt Stadium. We’re glad we got to see you.
The Pennsylvania We Never Found
We returned home via Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, with a short drop into the Twilight Zone in Allentown, where we got caught in a vicious traffic jam blocking all exits from the city. And then, after an hour and a half, it was gone. Actually spooked me. And the GPS ladyvoice said, and I quote: “I got nothing.” Open the pod bay doors, Hal!
A highlight of the drive back was Milwaukee’s Iron Horse. Finally, a “pet-friendly” hotel that gets the part about being friendly, to the pets. Hotels.com didn’t tell us, though, that we should arrive on a Harley or an Indian, like all the other guests. It was also a motorcycle enthusiast-friendly hotel. Great fun, even if we did miss the Brewers game that day.
Left Coast Wedding
After a week’s rest-up for dental appointments and school supply shopping in NYC, we Jet Blew en famille to LA for a family wedding. Kind of a reunion of the German-Jewish side of the extended family, and for a righteously raucous occasion. A most excellent getaway.
My travel knitting was Pogona, a Stephen West wrappy-scarfy thing. I didn’t read the pattern that well (OK, at all) before departing, and found myself improvising stitch markers on the plane, using sock yarn scavenged from another project (never leave home without a back-up). Pogona takes a lot of stitch markers–28 in my gauge-reduced, Sea Silk version–and my dangly workarounds were not really doing that great. It seems I must have whined about this out loud, because one morning the fambly hauled me to Wildfiber, to shut me up about my dang stitch markers. (“Are you satisfied? Can we go to the Getty Villa now?”)
We had a fab visit, with Teri and Grace and assorted regulars. Wildfiber is not just an extraordinarily well-stocked yarn shop; it’s a hot spot of Log Cabin luv. My theory is that this is because they have so many colors of so many beautiful, and in some cases hard-to-find, yarns, that the shop itself looks like a log cabin blanket. You just feel log-cabiny in there. Two customers were working on log cabins when we made our unannounced drive-by, and Grace and Teri pulled out shop samples and showed me the log cabin class on their (wonderfully full and intriguing) class schedule–it’s Log Cabin Town USA! Grace has even made a wee Flying Geese blanket from our first book. I hadn’t seen one of those in the wild! But there it was.
Now I’m back, I’ve done my Jewish holiday cooking and hosting (Part One), the kids are back in school (THANK YOU HIGHER POWER)–and I find myself with a hodgepodge of hastily-started UFOs. Four of ’em. Two shawls and two blankets. I’m a mess! As much as I love the multi-tasking, I feel the need to finish something, anything. Maybe I will, even.