So much rain.
It's hard to complain when primary food bearing states are suffering through drought conditions that will leave a mark on our daily lives for who knows how long to come...but still.
SO MUCH RAIN.
On the plus side of the ledger: that's all I have to complain about, really.
Which, say it with me, is BEYOND MY CONTROL.
So why complain? At least these constant downpours are entertaining, what with their mighty thunderclaps, multi-directional rainfall, gusting winds, and occasional strike of splendiferous lightning. At least. There's that.
(I am sick of it. Sick TO DEATH of it. I miss sunshine.)
(Is there still sunshine? Somewhere? Please say yes.)
How was Chicago, you ask?
In fine form, I must say.
It was a whirlwind three days, into which my brother and I managed to cram allthepossiblethingsandthensome. We bonded, we laughed, we ate, we got freaked out by the creepy windmills, we laughed some more. It was just a joy being with him. From hitting a couple of places featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives along the trail to staying in our namesake hotel in the city, I gained an all-new appreciation for his innate joie de vivre.
We took in a late set at the Laugh Factory after getting into town Saturday night. On Sunday - the day of the show - we trekked more than seven miles across the city, taking in as many sites as we could. We did it all. From brunch at Eleven City Diner to the Bean. From popping inside a world-famous museum to checking out the Married with Children Buckingham Fountain. From shopping the Magnificent Mile to having a drink on the pier by the shade of the wheel. From eating a couple of cheezborger cheezborgers to scoring a couple of (OMG) ticket upgrades.
And then...the show.
There is a reason attending a U2 concert has been on my bucket list for two decades. And believe me when I say, this band did not disappoint. They were ... well, I almost typed 'amazing,' but that's too lame. They were stellar. Brilliant. Generous. Moving. Inspired. Inspirational.
Our seats were phenomenal. The show was two parts long. The band was tight and loose, all at the same time. The music was magic.
Not gonna lie.
It was beautiful.
And what more can I say about that?
On the heels of that wondrous weekend, we kept heading west until we arrived at my mother's home in Kentucky. My husband and I, our daughter, son-in-law, and two grand-babies descended on her for the long 4th of July weekend, which also happens to be when we celebrate her birthday.
She's always been a real firecracker, that one.
We spent a lovely four days being together, eating, not sleeping (teething!), and just hanging out, Kentucky-style. A distillery visit? Check. A pony ride at the Horse Park? Check. A holiday spent at the pool, complete with family games and a cook-out? Check. Fireworks? Check and check.
Henley is wise beyond her years. I can't tell you how many times I honestly forget I am engaging in conversation with a three year old child. She is so smart! But it's more than that. She's intuitive. Imaginative. Interested! In everything!
She also inspired another children's book. She's a veritable spark in that regard. It seems every time we are together for more than 48 hours, I take away a new idea. She is my muse!
And Davis. Oh my goodness, this adorable little boy has my whole heart. He's got these huge pools for eyes that I just fall right into whenever he looks my way and breaks out in his little crooked grin. He's such a flirt! He also has the best disposition - most of the time. He's experiencing some teething pain, I think. On top of that, he seems to really loathe sleeping in the anything-but-comfy pack-n-play contraption. And really - can you blame him?
In a couple of weeks, their grandpa and I are going to babysit this dynamic duo on their own turf for an entire weekend. We are looking forward to it so much, I've taken to calling it Christmas in July. I cannot wait.
We feel pretty fortunate that we've been able to see the babies, on average, every six weeks or so, dating back to the day Henley was born. It's not as much as I'd like, of course. But the possibility of a visit is always just on the horizon, and Skype helps fill in some of the gaps.
My husband likes to tell me that the fact that every time we get together is an event or an occasion, with planning, anticipation, and travel involved (by both parties), makes us the "special" grandparents. This is his gallant and sweet way of trying to make me feel better about the distance, in both miles and hours, between us. It works, sometimes.
He loves me.
Why, I cannot always say, but I love him right back. <3
I recently finished reading Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. The book, which tells the story of a young man named Chris McCandless who walked off into the Alaskan wilderness and met a sad and solitary end, is gripping. Haunting. It is one of those stories that has the power to empty you of cynicism, if only momentarily, and instead force you to spend a few moments in a state of introspective pragmatism.
Much like blogging. Without the death.
But I digress.
Krakauer is an abundantly talented writer (his Into Thin Air remains one of my all-time favorite books) with a robust vocabulary (translation: the story was can't-put-it-down engaging and my dictionary got a workout like it hasn't seen in ages.) He has a knack for setting you down gently right in the middle of his subject's mind and making you feel their heart, even as you may struggle to understand it. It's equal parts disconcerting and consuming.
As I am certain many before me have, I spent an inordinate number of hours both during and after reading this book to research. The Cult of McCandless. The many theories as to what brought about his actual demise. The various points he visited on his quest. The lives and stories of fellow seekers of earlier eras, whose eerily similar mindsets and fates are referenced and examined in the book. The NASA project his father was involved with as a younger man. His sister, Carine, and her current book. Even Krakauer himself.
If that isn't the mark of an influential read, I don't know what is.
*Title quote, written in the margins of the wild, by Chris McCandless.