Having lived so far from the shores of Lake Michigan for so long now, I sometimes forget what an amazing, vibrant, yet down to earth city Chicago can be. This weekend was an excellent reminder. It was also much too short.
We were there Saturday through Monday for the wedding of my old friend Ari and his very cool fiance (now wife) Gail. Ari and I lived together (with about 6 other people) for a couple of years during college. Ari is an amazing chef and for at least a year of that time Ari was my personal cook. I was his personal dishwasher, so it worked out fairly well for both of us. About 12 years later, and we've each found newer and cuter cooks and dishwashers (sorry, Ari).
We had the excellent good fortune of being able to stay with our friend Matt for the weekend. Not only is he a great host, but as a life-long native he's one of the greatest advocates for the city of Chicago that I've ever met. Mostly he's just a lot of fun to talk to, and he understands the joys of drinking pints in the sun on a summer day. Thanks for being such an excellent host, and also for giving us some new tunes.
Our friends Sammi and Bill also came into the city to join us for pints in the sun. Last time, they were meeting us for pints in the snow at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha. This time we went a little more urban stylee at the Pontiac Bar in Wicker park. Bill had three different types of digital camera with him... I just have to admire that in a person.
The wedding itself was quite beautiful. It was an outdoor ceremony at the the Garfield Conservatory, with the reception held inside. The Conservatory seems (at least at the moment) to be a weird mix between a botanical garden and Jurassic Park. Weird installations of dinosaur skeletons, often in artistic arrangements where scattered throughout the gardens. Beautiful and yet a little creepy, but fun. It was nice to reconnect with so many old college friends that I don't see often enough. It's funny how many of my friends from both Hampshire and Boston have ended up in the Chicago area. There has been a slow but definite migration. Who knows, maybe we'll be next.