Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Last week Jason & I used my cousin's wedding as an excuse to visit a big city: Chicago! Because we live on a desert island (as in, a small town surrounded in all directions by desert), going to a city is always somewhat of a culture shock. Um, people here don't own ridiculously large pickup trucks? And they talk on Blackberries? (I thought that was a fruit.) And they shop in stores other than Wal-mart?? Weird.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at the Holiday Inn hotel points credit card, we got to stay at a sweet hotel up on the 22nd floor of the Merchandise Mart, above the Chicago Sun-Times offices. Through some stroke of luck we got a corner room with huge windows. This was our view of the Sears tower:

And it was even cooler at night:

Visiting from New Mexico, we thought it would only be right to visit a Mexican restaurant (Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill), and the next day, visit the National Mexican Art Museum. (Ironically, the Mexican food and art is of much higher quality in Chicago than it is less than three hours from actual Mexico.)

This piece of art was crafted entirely out of seed beads!

The remainder of our day was spent hitting up the major tourist sites, such as the Sears Tower, Millennium Park (home of "the bean"), Buckingham Fountain, and because we're major nerds, Powells Books. I totally would have broken the bank in that place if I wasn't saddled with the knowledge that I would have to carry anything I bought for the rest of the day.

A view from the Sears Tower:

And the crazy huge bookstore!

Our second day in the city consisted of a trip to Navy Pier, where we had a incredibly uncomfortable speedboat ride that was so torturous it became hilariously funny. Little raindrops - not so harmful when you're standing still, but like metal BB's slamming into your face when you're on a speedboat.

On to the family part of the visit... one of my cousins was getting married (not such a big deal, because I have something like 21 first cousins on that side of the family, and there's been a marriage or two every few years for the last, say, 25 years.) People these days like to have marathon wedding weekends, so this also included a pre-wedding picnic and an epic 10-hour wedding/reception the next day.

Sunday was my Grandma's 90th birthday party. All but 4 members of my 75+ giant family showed up for the event. My favorite is this picture of my Dad, his mom, and his 7 siblings. Aren't they cute? (My Dad's the short one, in case you are wondering where my size comes from.)

Whew! I now have 2 more nights to finish packing for Yellowstone. We're gone for 9 weeks, which is just long enough to agonize about what to take. Do I have enough yarn? Should I take any sewing supplies? What books should I take? These, my friends, are the important questions.
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