In my last post I was welcomed to Chautauqua Institute with the bang of the gate descending on my windshield. In Chicago, it was a parking ticket, minus the bang, but still on the windshield. I had parked in what I thought was an unrestricted space, but the next day I had a $60 fine to contend with. I am going to contest it as the spot was not clearly marked. If they expect me to obey the rules, they need to have some sign of visual notification.
I wonder if the word familiarity comes from family or visa-versa? They start the same famil and carry many of the traits that I find related. Walking into my daughter’s arms, apartment, and presence I completely let down all guard, I breathed, I relaxed my shoulders and felt tension slip away. Familiarity. It was a physical reaction, and showed me that I am not walking around consistently being my true self. I don’t have to impress, or hide, Audrey knows me, as I am, there’s no need to have a persona or work hard to converse. We can be quiet, she can be crabby in the morning, I can be annoying and talkative. Seeing the nitty-gritty isn’t always as pretty, but it’s blissfully true.
When Audrey went to work, I walked around the city like Marlo Thomas in “That Girl.”
Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes,
Chestnuts, Rainbows, Springtime…
It’s That Girl
She’s tinsel on a tree…
She’s everything that every girl should be!
Sable, Popcorn, White Wine,
Gingham, Bluebirds, Broadway…
It’s That Girl
I was grinning ear to ear, said hello to strangers and stopped to talk to people walking their dogs. I had lunch with a Shakespeare & Company friend that has recently moved to Chicago. It was a fun visit and I followed her into a rehearsal with Two Pence Theatre Co. to meet the artistic director, another Shakespeare & Co. alum. I watched rehearsal for over an hour and realized that just being in a room of actors makes my day. My life is just where I want it. I have such a large net of connections and it makes me full of inspiration.
On the 4th of July we drove up to Milwaukee to see my friend Robert that I met in an elevator at the beginning of this trek (Tantalizing Telluride). We spent the afternoon eating fabulous fresh vegetables out of his garden, going to the gorgeous Milwaukee Art Museum, and eating Kopps frozen custard. We lounged the evening at a friend of Robert’s who made us dinner out on her deck, and where we watched the fireworks explode from the neighboring park. Pyrotechnics make me feel like such a giddy kid! My eyes glow with each “WOW” and sparkle-flash!
Back in Chicago we spent a day at the Lincoln Park Zoo and botanical garden. This is an astounding FREE park a little north of downtown, that should not be missed. The mature landscaping is lush and gorgeous. The giraffes were my favorite, their beauty and movement mesmerizing. Audrey liked the koi and studied them because she has been painting a series of watercolor fish. We also went back to our favorite Italian restaurant, shared a luscious salad and pot pie pizza (see post To Audrey, with love). YUM!
Our last day together we went to the incredible Art Institute Chicago in Millennium Park. They do such a beautiful job installing the paintings and telling stories with the exhibits. I found the Impressionist exhibition on fashion and modernity especially haunting the way they were displayed with real costumes that matched the paintings. The room of portraits painted in nature hit some dreamy chord in my core so that my eyes welled up with tears. I experienced Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Tissot figures in my soul. Art touches a subconscious place within me, and I love that we are all inspired by different things. Audrey sponged up the Dali’s and modern work and we both loved the Chagall stained glass.
We walked through the park and along the waterfront to Navy Pier and saw the sea of crowds heading down the pier and decided that we were not in the mood to be part of a busy school of fishy people so we caught a bus back to Boystown. We had been taking public transportation because driving and parking is just a headache in the city. I hopped on the crowded bus and in the rush put my transit card into the cash slot, instead of the transit card slot, and slurp it was gone with no hope of return. The poor, already harried-looking bus driver had to give me an emergency card and get all my info so that when the card is retrieved they will send it to me. Ugh, I held the whole bus up at a bunch of consecutive stops while the driver and I conferred over the details. Leave it to me to do something silly. I think Audrey was fading into her seat hoping that no one would put the two of us together! We are never too old to be embarrassed by our mothers.
We ended the night slurping tasty margarita’s at DS Tequila and eating a pile of amazing nachos. It was the perfect finale to a 4 day spree full of art, friends, walking, talking, lush foliage, and smiles from ear to ear. The magic of the road is again burgeoning into my life.
She’s mine alone, but luckily for you…
If you find a girl to love,
Only one girl to love,
Then she’ll be That Girl too…