Saturday, July 11, 2009

The only thing missing was "y'all".

Hello, blogosphere...long time, no write. It really has been quite awhile since I've posted anything on my little piece of Internet domain, but as I've stated before, I do my best blogging when I have at least 3 papers due for school. Since I'm not taking classes this summer, the ink well is essentially dry. Except there is no ink, nor have I ever used a fountain pen a day in my life. Before I bore my three readers out there to absolute tears with my nonsensical rambling, I'll get on with the purpose of this post: a recap of my trip to America's Heartland, otherwise known as the Midwest.
Thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright [who are incidentally from the Midwest] and their efforts way back in the day to make air travel a reality, Ryan and I met up in Chicago last Thursday to kick-off the 4th of July weekend. This was my first visit to The Windy City so I was without a doubt quite excited. On Friday, we headed over to Wrigleyville for a Cubs game.
What a great game - the Cubbies beat the Brewers in 10! And don't even get me started on Wrigley Field...
It really is a beautiful ballpark. Maybe it's because we had absolutely amazing seats, but there really is no need for a jumbotron either. A good old-fashioned scoreboard will suffice.
I was such a good fan that after the game, I got a cap of my very own...
Needless to say, I was very enthused about this because even though Ryan was kind enough to bring me one of his caps that I could wear during the game, apparently my head is larger than the average man's so it was a bit small. I'm just chalking it up to the big hair that I've been blessed (read: cursed) with instead of developing a complex about it.

The Cubs fan indoctrination process was halted briefly on Saturday in order for us to head east via train to Indiana to visit Ryan's hometown. This was the part of the trip that I was most excited about in spite of a slight case of nerves since a hometown visit also meant meeting the family. Of course in the grand scheme of things I felt that I really had nothing to be nervous about because 1. there was no way on earth that it could have been more uncomfortable and nerve-racking than the circumstances under which Ryan met essentially my entire family and the majority of my best friends: at my father's funeral. What can I say?...Just another episode in the bad sitcom that will one day chronicle my life. [I should add that Ryan was quite a rock star throughout it all though.], and 2. Johnny Appleseed, David Letterman, Michael Jackson, John Cougar Mellencamp, Axl Rose, and Crystal Gayle are all from Indiana and really can one be more wholesome and down to earth [the Midwestern culture as defined by Wikipedia] than Axl Rose or Michael Jackson? Don't answer that question.

It can go without saying that I felt very welcomed by everyone which certainly put me at ease. [and no, I'm not just writing that because it's the polite thing to do] The town where he is from is very small and for the most part, it seemed very much like a small town in the South. Except "y'all" isn't found in their Slang Handbook. Come to think of it, I don't think that there is a Slang Handbook...bless their hearts.

After we got to Culver on Saturday afternoon, we had an amazing lunch out on the lake which was followed up by an incredible dinner complete with homemade peach pie. Ryan's mom is quite a cook!
Perhaps the above picture best captures my delight over such great meals. You see, my own mom kind of stopped cooking in an act of rebellion after daddy compared her mashed potatoes to his mother's not very long after they got married. As with many disputes between married people, the kids are always the ones who suffer the most. :) Unfortunately it was a rainy 4th in northern Indiana so the fireworks show was postponed until Sunday. This actually worked out really well though because the show just took place after the parade.
Now, I know what you all are thinking and before we go any further, please allow me to clarify: there were no Shriners in little red cars nor were there local teens hurling candy to the crowds from the back of pickup trucks in this parade. By parade I mean, a parade of summer campers marching in a standard military parade formation.
As we sat and watched, I was reminded of my college days and the many times I sat on the drill field and watched the parades at North Georgia except here there was a lake in the background. And while I always loved watching them at North Georgia, 9 year olds are much cuter and more fun to watch. Not to mention the fact that these little guys were a little better than the GEB of my time...
On our way back out of town on Monday morning, we made one last stop with Ryan's dad and sister at the local coffee shop. Of course I still haven't learned to drink coffee, so I just stuck with my standard substitute: hot chocolate. When we got back to Chicago, we took an architectural boat tour of the city. It was fantastic and provided numerous photo opportunities.
What? You were expecting pictures of buildings? Alright... This was one of my favorite buildings on the tour even though it isn't one of the famous skyscrapers. If this one whetted your appetite for more, just click here. After the tour, we took the subway back to Wrigleyville one more time. After visiting with Ryan's friend Meghan (whom I got to meet along with his friend Amy and both of their families in Culver on Sunday), we headed back to Wrigley once again. This time the home team was playing my hometown team: the Braves. In spite of my attire, I did catch myself doing the Tomahawk Chop. [What can I say...old habits die hard] But no amount of tomahawk chopping was going to stop the Cubs. We got to see them win once again...Go Cubbies!
Tuesday morning began with massages at the hotel spa. Have I mentioned that this guy treats me like a queen?
I'm quite a lucky and very thankful girl! Before leaving the hotel, we were able to watch some of the Michael Jackson memorial service just as all good citizens of the world were doing on Tuesday afternoon. Finally, our last stop before heading to the airport was a riverside restaurant...
Speaking of airports, yesterday I took Ryan to Hartsfield because he was headed to Portland for the weekend to visit one his best friends. I was fortunate enough to get a gate pass and we got to visit with Mike, Suzanna, and Caroline for a few minutes before they headed out to Canada. Caroline was a big fan of Ryan's at their first meeting and it appears that she still is. Now, whether or not she's a fan of me is questionable. Little does she know that she doesn't have a choice in the matter though...she's stuck with me!


Joni said...

what a great trip!!! looks like you had a wonderful time :)

Josh and Donna said...

so glad u had fun! WONDERFUL pics!

Suzanna said...

Wow--another dream vacation. The photos are awesome, and even attending two sporting events sounded kind of fun. Ryan's family sounds wonderful--I love that you are having such a great time--I only wish you'd pack me in your suitcase too!

P.S. Caroline loves you--you just didn't pull your hair back this time. You know she has very specific preferences for your hair! Speaking of hair, I'm not kidding that she just dumped an entire bowl of cereal over her head--gotta run!