All of us who read blogs have friends like this. Because that's what happens when we get to know the people writing the stories that inspire, motivate, and encourage us. My sister-in-law asked if I felt strange meeting a blog friend . . . she thought it was kind of like online dating. I told her I prefer to think of it as a modern day pen pal. And I love everything about it. Where else would I have the opportunity to get to know the likes of A Lady In France, Jennie, or Destination: Unknown, Nicole? How else would I have been able to travel to wonderful places. if not with Just Nat, Nat, or News From Italy, LindyLou? Who else would I have been able to pour my deepest secrets out to, if not the friends who stop by here and read my blog? Yes, my modern day pen pals . . . all of you . . . are my dearest friends. And yesterday, one of you came to my town.
And we played. ALL. DAY. LONG. yay!
Meet my friend, Mary . . . the Food Floozie!
Mary contacted me a few months ago (dear Lord, has it really been that long ago?) and said that she was planning a short visit to Chicago when the Lichtenstein exhibit was showing at the Art Institute of Chicago, and wondered if I would like to visit the museum with her. It didn't take me long (well, perhaps 3 seconds) to reply YES!!!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!!, and our plans were underway. We met by the south lion on the steps of the Art Institute, and it was just like a Lifetime movie of two long lost friends being reunited after years apart. There was shrieking (my part) and tears (my part) and lots of hugs (from both of us), and then . . . we walked . . . and talked . . . and talked and walked . . . and talked some more. About our life and our loves and our adventures and our dreams. We told each other all the things good friends tell each other . . . you know, she said I had beautiful skin and I told her she didn't look a day over 25. It was heaven.
Have you ever met Mary? She is just . . . wonderful. Truly . . . wonderful. You can follow along with her adventures in the kitchen at her blog, Food Floozie (click the title to link to her blog). I liked her the minute I came across her blog, years ago, because . . . quite frankly . . . I'm a food floozie, too. (We floozies must stick together, you know?) I've followed along with her recipes and heartfelt stories of life and food, have drooled at the yummy photos on her blog, and dreamed of the day when she and and I could one day chat over a cup of coffee at one of our favorite Chicago coffeehouses. And yesterday was the day.
After hours of chatty conversation and art admiration, we met up with Phil, Katie and Ella, and had the most delicious dinner at Park Grill in Millennium Park. Conversation was flowing, the girls were certainly entertaining, and Mary . . . well, it felt like we had done this a thousand times before. After dinner, we visited "The Bean" in Millennium Park . . . and yes, a perfect photo op! It's official name is "Cloud Gate", but the locals (eh-hem) prefer to call it what it really is . . . the BEAN!
As we exited the park, we overheard the most beautiful concert going on at Pritzker Pavilion and stopped long enough to find ourselves in the midst of the Grank Park Music Festival. Beautiful.
However . . . something else was calling our name. We had to leave. We had coffee on the brain. A short walk later, and we were in heaven at an Intelligentsia Coffee shop. Hmmmmm . . .
Yes, we over did . . . a little bit.
Sweetheart Mary presented us all with the most lovely of goodies . . . including a Michigan (Mary's home state) coffee tumbler, yummy dark chocolate dessert topping (made in Michigan, of course), a delightful notebook, and fairy doors for the girls to paint. OH, THE FAIRY DOORS! I'll save that story for another post this week. Let's just say that Mary is so charming, and my girls just loved every bit of her!!! I'm telling you, it was like Christmas!
Thank you so much, Mary, for sharing your precious time with us and allowing us to invade your visit to this great city! I will never forget this meeting, and look forward to seeing you in your hometown soon!!!! (I PROMISE!)
I have now, officially, met three of my "modern day pen pals" - and all this year.
3 down . . . and thousands to go!
Peace, my friends. I hope someday we will meet, too!