Friday, May 28, 2010

Amber's Graduation, a Taste of Chicago, and the Botanical Garden

We traveled to Chicago to celebrate Amber's graduation from Loyola University with a Masters Degree in Public History with a focus on Museum studies.  We are so, so, so proud.  In fact I think probably you heard our buttons poppin' all the way from that beautiful Illinois city.  Amber started her studies in the fall of 2008 and has done marvelously.  When Amber left Cincy her career plans were vague at best.  During that amazing journey of graduate studies she has not only learned a whole, whole, whole lot about history, but additionally she became increasingly knowledgeable about how history is collected and catalogued and preserved.  History is so much more than a book on a shelf- but rather a collection of our past- carefully tended by the experts.  In the process of her education she became aware or the advantage of a library science degree to this career in archives- so she is actually in a dual degree program with Dominican University. She will complete the additional graduate degree next May.  (You might be noticing that we've been collecting "degrees" around here.  Just don't think the "apple" falls far from the tree.  Don has both a masters in microbiology- from OU- that would be Oklahoma! as well as a PhD in microbiology from Arizona.  And I picked up a masters in nursing and then a masters in business both from Oklahoma.  And we won't even begin to list Matthew's education pursuits- I've yet to learn all the letters of his alphabet!) 

But it was PARTY TIME in Chicago.

After our arrival in Chicago we met Evan for dinner at Las Mananitas-  very nice Mexican restaurant just a short walk from Amber's apartment. I love Mexican Food- and it just isn't easy to get good Mexican food here in Cincy.

After dinner we were already pretty tired- so we went home to rest up for our BIG, BIG, BIG day coming up!

We started with breakfast at Nookies and look what Evan brought!  Way to start the celebration! Evan does know how to impress!  And I am impressed!

After breakfast we made a trip on the train to Loyola for the Graduation Ceremony.

And after the ceremony it was all about pictures of our new graduate!

And, Loyola is located right on the west coast of Lake Michigan.  This next picture was taken in front of the "library" which has a 3 story glass wall looking out onto the lake.  We wondered how Amber was able to study as she sat in those compfy chairs lined up along the window.

We were really fortunate this time that we could visit Amber's work with the archives at Mundelein College at Loyola.  Mundelein College was the first skyscrapper all women's college in the world- and the last all women's college in Illinois, now completely absorbed by Loyola.  Amber works with the archives for this college.

We even got to take a trip to the basement where the archives are, and Amber showed us the OSCAR!
Yep you got it- a real OSCAR!  Back in the days when they were gold. 

One of Mundelein College graduates was Mercedes McCambridge and she won an Oscar for her supporting role in "All the King's Men", though she is probably best known for as the demon voice in the Exorcist.

And she works in a beautiful building on the campus of Loyola! 
And then we were off to lunch at one of Ray Bayless's restaurant the XOCO Restaurant for lunch.  They served a really nice local beer- perfect for a hot afternoon.

And now you're going to be really, really, really jealous. We were off to watch the live taping of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me!  If you have never listened to this radio program, you really should.  It is a wonderful review of the week's political happenings all done in the format of a quiz show with a wonderfully funny approach.

Amber and Don are BIG, BIG FANS.  So we got tickets for a special graduation celebration. And what a treat it was!  I laughed so hard- for the entire time.  And of course now it's even more fun to listen on NPR!

On Friday we headed out of town for the Chicago Botanic Garden.  As you well know Don and I love gardens.  And this garden was a real treat.  I think I especially loved how they respected the open spaces of the prairie. But there were lakes- and Japanese Garden... You would love it...

Max does like the open spaces, but my real favorite are all of the flowers that were in bloom.  Of course I had my macro lens with me just because I love to get up close and personal with flowers.  Below are some of my favorites.

We met up with Evan for dinner at the Hearty Boys restaurant- the owners have a new cookbook- "Talk with your Mouth Full"- and have a program on the Food Network.  Now I would have loved it just for the great food and wine they served...

But they really won me over when Steve- one of the author/owners came out to personalize my new cookbook and to talk FOOD.  I was tongue-tied! Or probably blubbering idiot is more like it!
And then we were off to the Hancock Building to spend the rest of the evening looking out over this beautiful city!

The next morning after breakfast at the Flower Flat...
We were off home.  But you can rest assured WE'LL BE BACK!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Trip to Philly: Part 2

We started our second day in Philly with "Breakfast by Sharon" in Matthew and Sharon's gorgeous new home.

And then we were off to Longwood Garden'sThe Longwood Garden had originally been bought by a Quaker family- Peirce- from William Penn in 1700 for farming.  Around 1800 the Peirce family established an arboretum.  In 1906, after family descendents had squandered most of the money- the Peirce family put the arboretum up for sale.  When Pierre du Pont (of the du Pont MONEY) heard that the trees- many well over 100 years old- were to be logged, he bought the farm to save the trees! In 1946, du Pont established a nonprofit foundation and opened the gardens to the public. Now I must admit that this was the most spectacular garden I have ever visited. The du Pont family lived on the property beginning in the early 1900's. Mr. du Pont created most of the gardens that are still on display today. It has grown to include 1050 acres of gardens plus a absolutely enormous conservatory that has 20 rooms. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  The following three were  taken inside the conservatory.

I'm not sure what these were called, but they came from the Canery Islands.

Above was a large room with an array of different flower and below was a room full of Astilbes,
The outside gardens were absolutely spectactular.  I think in order to really appreciate them, you have to actually visit the gardens.  The duPont family gave a wonderful gift to the area.

The Wisteria were amazing.

There were hundreds of "Jack in the Pulpit" in bloom.

Below is a picture of a very interesting azalea

This was labeled as a Carolina Allspice plant.

And these Foxglove were just wonderful.

After this day of wandering about in the Garden's, we spent the last evening at Farmicia Restaurant.
I actually had "Fiddlehead Ferns & Green Garlic" for a salad...
And because this was a BYOB restaurant we were able to take one of Don's really AMAZING bottles of wine from our basement here in Cincy...
A perfect ending to a perfect weekend!