Sunday, January 27, 2008

Traversing Chicago w/Tori & Dianna

After our brief time with the Erenberg's, we walked over to Lincoln Avenue then headed north, towards Irving Park and Dianna and Tori's. It was the first time we'd seen their new place. They had a lovely tree. We bundled up for a winter walk said goodbye to Tori's older brothers, Tyson and Taylor, then ventured out again.

The plan was to continue exploring and remin-
iscing on foot. We'd talked about walking up to Wrigley Field then having lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant Cam and I had been to once, enjoyed and wanted to try again. But since we hadn't eaten much breakfast and had taken our time back on Waveland, we thought of trying Wishbone. It was a bit closer and a favorite of ours.

While we walked, the boys enjoyed palling around. The adults talked and exchanging stories. Dianna told us about exciting developments in her life. We told about our latest adventures. Everywhere I looked, I saw things that brought back memories.

It turned out that we weren't the only ones who thought Wishbone was a good idea. The wait was long. We'd been enjoying the fresh air and mild winter day. Rather than stop our momentum by waiting, we decided to keep going. Let's go to the Ethiopian restaurant after-all, we decided.

We had to back-track a bit on Lincoln to get to Addison. We walked past Caroline & Debbie's place, up to Wrigley. There, we turned south again, on Clark but we never saw the restaurant. We didn't remember the name and hadn't researched it online. It may not have made it.

So we kept walking. Cam saw and suggested we stop at Pick-Me-Up Cafe. Our lunch there was enjoyable. Afterwards, we were heading to Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights. We were meeting Eric and Sarah there later but Cam thought that if we wanted to see the animals in the daylight, we should get before it was too late.

We hopped on a 22 bus and got off at Clark & Belden (memories again). This intersection was where we caught the closest bus from our first Chicago home. There was the grocery store we walked to and the 7-11 Sam would sometimes walk to on his own to pick up a gallon of milk for us.

Before going to the zoo, since we were less than a block away, we walked over to our old apartment building and took some pictures in the courtyard. We joked about ringing the doorbell of the grouchy neighbor who'd moved in shortly before we moved out. He'd told the property management people that a deaf person couldn't live below us. (We were on the 3rd floor, the blue arrow shows our home. The red arrow is the mean man's home.) We had so much natural light and I loved the view of the courtyard.

It would have been nice to have had time to walk around the old neighborhood more but since most of what we did when we lived there was head east, towards the lake, the park and the zoo, that's what we did on this day too.

At the zoo, it was fun to see camels where the elephants had once been.

Our old friends, the polar bears were still there. Cam, Dianna and I marveled at their wonder and splendor.

Sam and Tori scampered around, playing tag and throwing snow. We talked a bit about the tragic events that had transpired so recently at the San Francisco zoo then walked over to see these big cats. Walking past the tiger's cage, we wondered what it would take to make one of them scale even a 12-foot moat.

We didn't see any tigers outside but snow leopards were active. Inside the cat house, I turned around and was startled to see a life-sized tiger standing in the walkway, staring right at me. Thankfully, he was just part of a holiday decorations display. It had stopped my heart for just a second. We didn't see any live tigers but the lioness was so impressive even regal.

We walked past the seals. I enjoyed getting to see them up close since out here we sometimes see them in nature but usually only catch a glimpse. Just before we moved, they opened a new area with wolves and black bears. We'd enjoyed it at least once back then and went back now.

The wolves walked soundlessly around. The bear was sleeping. Sam and Tori were more into playing than looking at the animals so we decided to take advantage of the new children's play area.

The climber looks so fun. I wish they had an adult-sized one. The boys made their way from one side of the maze to the other a few times before we decided to go. Eric and Sarah arrived. They went with Cam to see the polar bears while the kids were playing.

The next stop was the ice sculpture area where it looked like they were getting ready for a demonstration.

At our first Zoo Lights, Sam was fascinated by they guy making ice sculptures with a chain saw. I thought it was fine but didn't want to stand out in the cold of that night for too long. Kindly, Cam stayed with him for the whole demonstration while Patience and I enjoyed hot chocolate inside with the big cats.

I don't know if Tori had even seen an ice sculptor before but he and Sam were engrossed in this demonstration too. I didn't want to draw them away but when Eric, Sarah and Cam were ready to go see something else, I appreciated Dianna's willingness to stayed with them while I strayed a bit.

The weather was perfect for this zoo lights. Big, fluffy flakes of snow were falling and the temps were mild. Our group walked over to see the chimps and gorillas. I caught a quick glimpse then headed back to be with the boys.

When the sculptor finished the ice ram, we were ready to go. We walked to the buses together and said our goodbyes.

Sam asked Tori to join us for New Year's Eve. He and I had talked about that possibility before I saw our hotel room.

It was fine for sleeping but not for a sleep-over with two rambunctious boys who would want to playing until at least midnight.

I thought we might see Dianna and Tori again before we left but that didn't happen.

I'm so happy we had the time with them that we did.

Here is a link to the Flickr set of our time with Dianna & Tori.

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