The magnificently cold mile

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State and Washington

Shopping. It’s what Chicago’s about during the holidays, right? You’d think so with all of the Crate & Barrel, Eddie Bauer and Pottery Barn bags we were assaulted with. But Tiffany and I were more interested in exploring and snapping some photos. Some observations:

  • It was cold
  • Very cold
  • I’m convinced that The American Girl Place is some kind of cult — I’m just glad I’m not a part of it
  • If you’re wistful for a pretzel during the holiday season in Chicago, get your butt to the Christkindlmarkt
  • I kinda miss the annoying toy soldier who used to harrass me (and other passersby) out in front of FAO Schwartz
  • But I don’t miss the crazy line to get into that stupid store
  • Nor that horrible “Welcome to Our World of Toys” song that assaulted me the one time I went in there — and which is stuck in my head to this day
  • Mayor Daley’s latest holiday decor consists of throwing evergreen branches into all of the empty flowerbeds
  • I really admire the Salvation Army volunteers who cheerfully played their trumpets and saxophones under layers of scraves and mufflers
  • Gee, I’m sorry we missed Gene Simmons’ appearance at the Virgin store
  • No wonder Starbucks is taking over the world — hello tourists, there are other coffee shops in Chicago!
  • Crate & Barrel is no place to be on a Saturday just two weeks before Christmas
  • The Inkwell has been replaced by a Subway (the shame)
  • Peabo Bryson and Sheena Easton are headlining at the Chicago Theater this month — get your tickets while they last!
  • Tiffany was a good sport to hang out with a sniffly, coughy, not-over-this-whatever-sickness-this-is girl
  • I was damn glad to come home to a big cap full of NyQuil
  • It was cold

Jet lag

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Picturing myself in the Spokane River

I traveled for work-related purposes over the past three days. Two nights in a lovely Comfort Inn in Liberty Lake, Washington (on the outskirts of Spokane), just weren’t enough for me to get acclimated to PST. It’s only a three-hour difference, but I was wide awake at 5:00 a.m. As was everyone else in our party.

Highlights? Golden fields. Lovely hills covered with pine trees. Dinner at Chef in the Forest. A day-long photoshoot at a house you just wouldn’t believe that offered views like these. Oh, and the emu and the goldfish too. What fun!

Alcoholic goodness

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So good it required a photo; Vancouver : August 2003

I had a martini once. At the Blue Angel in Chicago on a cold, rainy afternoon. My friend Mark ordered an entree that actually included your choice of a free drink. The martini was one of the options. The one sip I took made me swear off that drink forever. Ick! (No offense to the bartender, of course.)

When we popped into the Brass Monkey during our last evening in Vancouver, I was presented with a hefty list of martinis. Based on my history, my first reaction was to just say no. But some of the combinations sounded tempting. Alas, I can’t remember what this lovely ruby concoction is called, but it involved cranberries and raspberries. Yum! I’ve visited our local martini spot, Bisto Bella Vita, but turned my nose up at the martinis in favor of a glass of wine. Next time I’m going for the Cosmopolitan.

Traveling with Lori (if you dare)

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Trilium Lake, Oregon : August 2003

You have to give my husband a lot of credit. I’m not easy to travel with. Take Trilium Lake, for instance. I insisted that we do the Columbia River Gorge/Mt. Hood Loop during our Pacific Northwest jaunt. Which meant driving down to this area from Seattle and spending the day seeing the sights recommended in our Most Scenic Drives in America book. It points out places to stop, scenic views, and cool attractions.

He left the navigating to me as we started our ascent. Things went pretty smoothly. We started to get glimpses of Mt. Hood in the distance. Then we stopped at a cool ski chalet rest stop and I fueled up with a mocha before heading on to the next sites. As I sipped my mocha (made by a guy who used to live in Sterling Heights), I saw a brown sign pointing to Trilium Lake. No big deal. Then I saw another brown sign and I got concerned and looked at my map. Yikes! We’d missed two attractions just in that short 1/2-mile stretch. I was determined to see everything I could, so this was not a good thing.

When I yelped in alarm, the husband volunteered to turn around. “Yes, of course, turn around. I want to see Trilium Lake!” So we headed back to the sign and went in the direction it indicated. Which led to a dirt road that took us to some campgrounds. This is where I said, “Campgrounds? Where the hell is the lake?” (I’m a bit impatient at times.) The husband suggested that the lake was here, we just needed to look for some more signs. I suggested that we go back and take another turn. We took my suggestion, of course.

We ended up at another dead end in another campground (but got two amazing photos of Mt. Hood that we never would have seen otherwise). I was quite anxious and disappointed at this point. The husband was quite annoyed with me at this point. So we returned to his suggestion and went back to the other area, drove past the campground, and found…the lake. Not so hard, really, but I tend to make things seem harder than they are. I guess I like to add a bit of drama to the scene.

After the frustration ebbed away, we wandered over to this incredibly beautiful and quiet lake. Mt. Hood was, just as promised in the book, majestically reflected in the water. I got several great shots and we walked around among the fishermen, campers and fellow travelers, enjoying the scenery.

Sure, it all ended well, but I subject that poor guy to so much before the happy endings! I’m sure he’d relish the opportunity to tell you about my tirade when we got lost in the financial district in London while trying to find the Tower of London. It’s all part of traveling with me. At least it’s not boring!

Heh…you said “nut”

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Scenic beach along Chuckanut Drive, Washington : August 2003

On our way from Vancouver to Seattle, we decided there had to be a better way than traveling Highway 5. So we inquired at the Travel Information Center across the border. The woman pointed us toward Route 11, otherwise known as Chuckanut Drive. (Which gave my inner child the giggles, of course.)

What a great tip. It’s not a long drive, but it winds along Samish Bay, and there are plenty of scenic areas where you can stop and gape at the coves and islands before it straightens out and heads through some beautiful farmland.