05 July 2004

a happy birthday

Yesterday was my 31st birthday. It turned in to one of the nicest birthdays I have had in recent memory, even though it was pretty low-key.

Gram and I had a yummy Greek honey cheese pie I made for breakfast (if anyone wants the recipe, I would be happy to share), then I headed for the airport. I met Jim, Jenny and the kids there. Their plane was leaving at 1:11pm, so we got tasty beverages at Starbucks and just hung out for a while. I gave Edward and the Pirates to Jonathon and he had me read it to him about six times in a row. (Have I mentioned that Jonathon is a pirate?) Then, Michelle and I sang "Clap Your Hands," about seven thousand times in a row. With Jonathon's help we made up new verses ("Drool, drool, drool and spit, drool and spit together...") and laughed a lot.

Finally, too soon, it was time for them to go. I gave Jonathon the rest of the gum I had with me, hugged everyone, and waved good-bye.

I missed them immediately.


Next, I went to my best friend Barbara's house and we packed the kids in the car and headed for the train. I had come up with the brilliant idea that we should go to the Taste of Chicago -- on the fourth of July -- so we could see They Might be Giants play. Her six-year-old, Ethan, loves them, as do I.

If I didn't know better, I would swear I had been doing some serious drugs to come up with such a marvelous plan. I have lived near Chicago my entire life. I know better than to hit the Taste on the fourth. But the promise of TMBG erased all doubt from my mind.

Good Lord! I go to a fair number of Chicago festivals, etc. but I have never seen this many people in Grant Park at one time!

I am just gonna skim over that whole part. We did hear a stellar TMBG concert, then headed to the Pier. I rode the carousel with 2-year-old Lily while Ethan's parents took him on the Ferris Wheel. Got the kids their first ever cotton candy. We were able to let them run around a bit in the Crystal Gardens. We figured we would watch the fireworks and then head home.

Taste ended at 9pm. Every single person who was there picked up two friends and brought them to the Pier. We could hardly get Lily's stroller down the ramp; every inch was full of people. It was insane. Seriously.

We ended up in a park across the street from the Pier where Lily, Barbara, and I laid on a sheet and Ethan climbed on a piece of the public sculpture. Lily was thrilled with the glowsticks we got and seemed more interested in those than in the fireworks.

By the time we got back to my car at the train station, it was after midnight. I returned a call from my brother Wilhelm (in Las Vegas), got home, checked my e-mail, and collapsed in bed.

Nothing earth-shatteringly exciting, but a wonderful day!

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