Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Parental Units

Last weekend my parents paid a visit to us here in our fair city of Chicago. It was an enterprising trip. We kicked off the weekend with a little honky tonkin' at the Empty Bottle followed by what I like to refer to as taco hopping. In Wicker Park there are three taco joints within a mile of one another (you get the idea).

Saturday you would have found us wandering the streets of China Town, eating dim sum and calling an ambulance for an old woman who collapsed in the street. My Dad, ever the PTA, helped her to the curb while I dialed 911. I hope she's OK. That evening we journeyed to Wrigleyville to see two friends of mine from Austin called Loves It! perform at Uncommon Ground. It was a nice private show where unfortunately we were the only patrons but I LOVE Loves It!

Sunday my parents attended mass at St. Sylvester's and I still can't think of that name without thinking in my head I thought a thaw a putty tat.  After mass we all went to the Logan Square farmer's market and purchased some food for our dinner. We caught a matinee in the mid afternoon heat. Warning to all who come visit us in the summer we only  have A/C in the bedrooms for sleeping at night so most likely on the hottest of days we will visit the movie theater. I also heard that a good place to go for some free A/C is hotel lobbies but I bet I would get kicked out for sitting around in my underwear; it's dark in movie theater you can get away with more.

Monday morning my parents and I sans Peter went on the river architecture tour of downtown. We certainly picked the perfect day for it. It was sunny and not too hot and not too cold. We rounded out the weekend with "music in the park" at Millennium Park that afternoon.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend with beautiful weather and great company. Some of us got a little tuckered out on the trains.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wrapping up our Spain Adventures

Day three cycling was definitely my best performance of the trip.  There were not so many huge up and downs this day. It was more of a steady small rolling up and downs. Total distance on the bike was 40 miles and we ended in the day with a swim in a lake. It was cold but refreshing.

Here's a photo of the group on day three sans Me as I am taking the photo.

Day four we took the day off from cycling and visited the Mediterranean. We swam and ate seafood by the marina. The water was not as cold as I was expecting but Lana (Ian's finance) did get a bit beat up by the waves.

Day five was too windy for biking so we were forced to take another day off (Darn!). But we went hiking up to an old dilapidated hermitage. After which we went to a wine tasting and I had some of the best Rose I've ever tasted. I usually don't like pink wines but this one was impressive. Peter and I bought three bottles of it to bring back home and we have already drank all of them.

The last day of cycling I wasn't feeling very well so I only biked the morning. But it was a beautiful day as it had been the whole trip.

That concludes our wonderful trip to Spain. Thanks again to John and Bernice for taking us. Now get ready to hear all about Summering in CHI-TOWN!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Birthday, A Funeral, and A New JOB!

It has been some time since I have checked in. Last Weds June 6th was my 29th birthday and I chose to spend the day at Peter's school hanging out with all the kids. That evening I received the news that my Great Uncle Joe had passed. Following this revelation I worked about 50 hours out of the next 72 and then hopped on a plane Sunday bound for Houston Texas. Sunday through Tuesday were filled with family and funeral functions and unfortunately Peter was unable to attend as he started his new summer job on Monday. He is a nanny (or Manny) for a 2 year old girl named Adlyn. Yesterday I went and spent the day with her and Peter and she is adorable. So all caught up and my next entry will be a continuation of the Spain trip.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Olive Oil and Chocolate

Our second day cycling was much harder and much hotter. We did 50 miles which was the furthest I biked in one day all week. We went to a small town with a thriving olive oil business. Peter and I bought a bottle but still have yet to crack it open. We also had an olive oil tasting which was fantastic. The cute woman running the shop cut up pieces of bread with scissors (I'll never slice a loaf again) and then drizzled them with different types of olive oil all made on the premises.

Peter said this lady is the Spanish version of my mom and he's not too far off. Charming and unique she was, yet also boisterous. She had these chocolate shells that she filled with olive oil and sprinkled in salt. It was an explosion of flavor in your mouth.

Also congrats to Peter's sister Claire who got a job offer on this day and accepted via email! And I got to chat with my parents on Skype from the square in Prades late that evening. That was quite the surreal experience.

From Left Peter, Bernice (Mom), Ian (Brother), Lana (Ian's Fiance), ME!, Rob (Brother), and Claire. John Peter's Dad is taking the photo...Again many thanks John!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

More Spanish Adventures

Prades is a tiny town tucked away in the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains. Here is a photo of the first afternoon we arrived having beers in the square.

First day out and we cycled 32 miles through vineyards and olive orchards to a town called Poblet where a beautiful Abbey stood.

At lunch that day I tasted the most delicious sausage of my life. The restaurant was in a town I don't recall and unfortunately I don't know the name of the establishment either but the owner and chef was the most adorable man. He lived in the states for a while and so his English was quite good. As I spoke the most Spanish of the group I was deemed the official translator. My Spanish improved impressively over the course of the trip and I feel like if we had been there another month I would have been nearly fluent. Restaurants are hard however because most of the menus are in Catalan, which is a strange combination of French and Spanish. I do want to let everyone know the gentleman that provided this tour has made a thriving business out of taking small groups on these biking excursions. His website is and if you are interested in this type of trip please contact him. All photos today were taken by Peter's Dad John....Thanks John!

 Frog humping is very popular in Spain!