Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I'll give you one guess where we spent last week ... Chicago! And what a fun week it was (all photos here). Trips to Michigan Avenue, dinner overlooking the lake, a party at Wrigley Field, shopping in the neighborhoods, Wrigley Field, movies with the folks, deep-dish pizza, Wrigley Field, a quality wedding, oh yeah, and there was that party at Wrigley Field.
Let me back up a bit. The trip was inspired by an invitation to a friend's wedding (Karl Shibayama), but we spent a good amount of time visiting with the family in Arlington Heights, too. Lots of yummy dinners, nights at the movies, shopping, and just catching up with Jim/Dad & Carol/Mom (a nod to how they sign cards to us). I especially liked looking through Jimmy's 50-year high school reunion book filled with classic '50s photos of a skinny, teenage Hutch (sound like anyone you know?). This prompted us to watch one of Chris' high school home videos made for an economics class. He is so adorable, I had to bring it home. If I knew how to make a VHS into a YouTube video, I would post it here.
After a few days with the parents, during which time they managed to escape photographic evidence, we headed to the city to meet Chris' college friend Anne. She lives in the great little neighborhood of Lincoln Square, which like many of the great neighborhoods in Chicago is tree-lined with a lovely fountain in the middle of a Euro-like plaza. Just fantastic! I came to find out that Anne and I have similar tastes, and it was so fun perusing design shops and bookstores with her. She took us to the old Swedish neighborhood, Andersonville, within walking distance of her apartment, where we were in and out of antique stores and modern print shops all morning. Chris and I picked up some great maps that will fit right in with the other prints in our apartment. Anne went out of her way to be a great hostess and we had a lot of fun thanks to her (Thanks, Anne!).
The two-day Shibayama wedding extravaganza started with the rehearsal dinner at, oh, just a little place called WRIGLEY FIELD! Initially, when we headed off to Chicago, Chris was understandably bummed that the one week we're in town, the Cubs are out of town. So we figured at most we might drive by Wrigley just so he could shed a tear or kiss the sidewalk or whatever the sacred ground at Clark & Addison call for. But instead, we got a semi-last-minute invite to the rehearsal dinner being held there. It was quite the experience having dinner overlooking one of the best baseball stadiums, although it was eerily empty. I also got to meet some of Chris' childhood friends and listen to them talk about Da Bears. And he may have been more than a little jealous to find out the wedding party got to run the bases and hang out in the dugout before the other guests arrived. Dinner was delish and so were the adorable little cupcakes for dessert.
The wedding itself was at a restaurant on Michigan Avenue, Spiaggia. From our table we had a view of Lake Michigan and the food, again, was so good. My favorite dish: the veal & fennel filled pasta ... mmmmm! Chris reminisced with his buddies some more, constantly updating everyone via iPhone on the the Bears' preseason game going on just a few miles away, and we got in more than a few dances (Lionel Ritchie and 80s music in general seemed to be the crowd favorite). And just as the clock struck midnight and my feet started to scream from the spectacular but high heels I was wearing, we scurried down to our hotel and slept like babies.
Breakfast with Jim & Carol the next day was a nice send-off, and then we made the trek home to San Jose. Good family, good friends, and a good vacation. What a fantastic way to cap off the summer.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Friday night is now date night.
In the nearly three years we've been dating, Friday night was anything but date night. With Chris' unconventional schedule we had the perk of catching a midday movie, but the trade-off was that Saturday night dinner parties or Friday night concerts in the park were out (or me going solo). So when I discovered that a local non-profit Shakespearean theater company was putting on a free play in the park, I jumped at the chance to join in with the typical nine-to-fivers and have our first official Friday night date.
I packed us a couple of Spanish-inspired bocadillos, fruit, and a bottle of Shiraz and we headed to Memorial Park in Cupertino for a picnic and a play. It was so nice. The summer night was perfect and the play, a circus-themed "The Comedy of Errors," kept us laughing throughout. Partly, I think we both were very excited to finally have the chance to partake in "normal schedule" activities. Surely there will be many more in the year to come.
Now we head to Chicago for much fun with the family, some exploring of Chicago's many neighborhoods, yummy food, and a sure-to-be quality wedding (and reception dinner at Wrigley Field!). The only downside is the separation anxiety I feel leaving Santo, who by our estimation is one year old this week. Of course, we're leaving him in good hands (thanks, Will & Lisa) and will return with photos and stories soon enough!
Friday, August 7, 2009
There are many reasons I'm excited about a future in teaching. But one that should not be downplayed is that we will always be able to enjoy my favorite season -- summer. With friends both visiting and moving away soon, we were a couple of social butterflies this week.
We took in a Giants game at AT&T Park. Couldn't resist the $5 view reserve tickets, not to mention the fact that my team is "in this." I'm only half-joking when I say Giants playoff tickets are an "unforeseen cost" projected in our budget.
There was also a night out with the Grandpeases, who will soon be moving to the ultra-cool neighborhood of Rockridge Oakland (about 45 minutes up the east side of the bay from us, and directly across the water from SF for those non-Bay Area-ers). We ended up exploring a few bars in downtown Campbell and discovered that in three years they had never used the light rail. We will miss them living just two blocks away, but surely there will be visits. I mean, who else can you count on to hang out with until four in the morning? (Yeesh, that was a late night.)
In addition to those fun times, my good friend Eric is here from New York City and can also be called a baseball/summer enthusiast. I gathered up a few of the local gang (Michael and Monica are on the right side of the pic) for a San Jose Giants game on Tuesday, where the five us enjoyed the tasty BBQ. Yum!
There was a lot of squinting as the summer sun went down but I can't remember the last time I've seen so many homers at a minor league game. Surely it didn't hurt that San Francisco Giants infielder Rich Aurilia was in the lineup that night rehabbing an injury.
The same crew gathered the next evening for a game of kickball. Yes, you read right. My friend Michael is in an adult kickball league (WAKA) and we were able to join his team for Wednesday's game. I can't tell you how much fun this was. It's the perfect mixture of sport, competition, and summer without really needing any serious skill or knowledge of the game.
And adding to the enjoyment, we went into extra innings and ended up being part of the team's first win! Go One Kick Wonders!
Unfortunately, Chris missed out on the game, but he joined us afterward at the team's official bar where there was no shortage of silliness (see below).
As of Monday, we have two weeks until school resumes, and we're taking full advantage of every remaining day. There is more baseball, a day trip or two, Shakespeare in the Park, and a week in Chicago still on the agenda. Life is good!
I used to sit in the cube behind you. Then I didn't. And then we fell in love.
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