Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Salon: The Big Grabowski



A busy week was had in the land of the Nawrot this week. Lots of fun and frivolity and stuff, so please allow me to share with you on this fine Sunday morning!

There was high excitement going into the week because on Wednesday, my husband and I were to fly up to Chicago for an annual business meeting. This is a huge mid-year highlight for me...a handful of days spent shopping and eating our way through the Windy City, kid-free! Woo hoo! My parents drove down from Indiana to watch the kids, and I spent Monday and Tuesday scurrying around getting ready for the trip. While cleaning my pool, I found a little surprise in the skimmer, which I had to fish out and dispose of.






















Nice stiff little baby possum, huh? Thought you would enjoy that. I was so offended by the whole experience. Snakes and toads I expect to find, but not that. These things never happen when my husband is home. All I have to say is thank God for the empty lot across the fence.


We arrived Chicago to find the most BEAUTIFUL weather...mid 70's with a little breeze. Big difference from that horrible, oppressive crap in Florida. In the mornings, my husband and I walked by the lake. My friend Jenny and I did the Magnificent Mile from one end to the other, as one must. We ate at one of the original deep-dish pizza joints called Pizzeria Due. We ate at the historic Atwood Cafe. We did drinks at the Trump Tower, then dinner at a place called Benny's Chophouse. Crazy as it sounds for a evening in a chophouse, out of 8 of us, 7 had the Dover Sole, which is something I personally cannot resist if I find it on a menu. It was humorous watching all the little waiter boys hunched over our fish, preparing it for plating:






















On our last morning, my husband and I found a popular breakfast joint called West Egg Diner or something like that, where I indulged in something called "The Grabowski" (isn't that the best name for a breakfast dish???), a grilled Polish sausage, covered in mustard, onions and cheese, with a side of eggs, potatoes and English muffin. Hey. At least we walked about five miles that morning. Still, no need for a flight home. I'll just roll back, thanks.






































I managed to sneak by Sandmeyer's Bookstore again over on Printer's Row, as I did last year. I was greeted warmly by the lovely Mrs. Sandmeyer, who remembered me from my previous visit. After some cruising through the stacks with her, I came away with the following treasures: 84 Charing Cross Road, Jane Gardam's Old Filth, Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, Dave Eggers' What is the What, and an Icelandic murder thriller called My Soul to Take. I'd show pictures, but I'm feeling lazy. Of course I want to cast aside every other book I have and read them all...

So what of the reading? Unfortunately, with all of this running around, I got very little done. I'm about halfway through In the Woods by Tana French, and I'm remembering why I was so besotted with this author after reading The Likeness. The kids and I are less than a half hour away from finishing Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Prince of Mist on audio (entertaining but feeling more like a contrived spooky story I'd tell around the campfire). And then there is my current audio, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Everyone seems to have loved this book, but friends, I'm not feeling the love at all. Don't know if the audio production is to blame or what, but I feel like I'm watching paint dry. I so desperately just want to move on. Four more discs. Serenity now.

So I said goodbye to Chicago knowing that in just about week, I will be back for another short stay, during which I am hoping to meet up with Jen @ Devourer of Books and little Daniel. One can really never get enough of that city.

What are all of you up to today?


27 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I love kid free time! Sorry to see that poor little possum ruined your otherwise wonderful week!

Molly said...

Ok - first I must say that any desire that I might have had to own a pool is now eliminated! I had no idea that snakes and such would find their way into the chlorinated water!

The trip to Chicago sounds absolutely fabulous!! You know how to do things up good :) I am hopeful that we can visit the windy city more often, now that I have discovered the fabulous Impressionist collection at the Art Institute. I will definitely have to add Sandmeyer's Bookstore to the itinerary.

Frances said...

Ewww! But calm domestic general that you are, you probably did not even bat an eyelash. And your trip sounds wonderful. Have not been to Chicago in years. The most impressive part of your story though (please forgive me!) is that your parents DROVE from Indiana to watch the kids. Would they be willing to train up my parents. Run a grand-parenting boot camp or something? Outstanding!

As a big fan of Pettigrew, I can only think that it is the audio. :) Happy (possum-free) reading!

C.B. James said...

I love Chicago. I wish I'd known about the bookstore you went to. I spent a month taking a class there a couple of years ago and would have concluded that it's not really town big on bookstores.

But the food there is wonderful.

Trisha said...

You keep coming up to my neck of the woods, and we never meet. Just terrible. :) I'm glad you had fun in Chicago!

Teacher/Learner said...

Poor little thing. Reminds me of the day not too long ago that my mom & I thought there was a little animal in our pool and we were both too freaked out to scoop it out, even with the long net! I woke my dad from a nap to fish it out and what do you think it was? A very drenched hat...whoops! :oD

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

You were seriously here the nicest week all summer. I hope you bring the lovely weather back with you again!

Amy said...

Fun trip to Chicago! It's great that the weather was pretty nearly perfect for you! Nice you're going back again soon, too!

What delicious food you ate! With all of the walking you did you sure deserved it! Fantastic name "The Grabowski" LOL! - I'm guessing the dish was yummy?!

Love that Mrs. Sandmeyer greeted you in the bookstore. Terrific books purchases! Do you know which one you'll read first?! It's been a long time since I read "The Virgin Suicides" but it's amazing!

I just picked up Tana French's "The Likeness" today, so excited! Loved to read your raves about it here! I think I read good things about it in another of your posts too.

Have a good week, Sandy! (Poor little possum). On a brighter note, I hope you and Jen are able to meet up in Chicago & you get to meet the adorable Daniel!

~ Amy

Gavin said...

Woa, that possum is something. I love most animals, even rodents, but possums freak me out. I think it's because they hiss when cornered.

Sounds like you had a great trip to Chicago and you lucked out at Sandmeyer's. Have a great week, Sandy.

Jenners said...

Oh Lord ... that dead baby possum is awful looking. I think I would have just left it for Mr. Jenners. I'm a baby like that.

And I love Chicago ... and a kid-free Chicago is even better!!!

I'm curious to see what you think of The Virgin Suicides. I read it awhile back and didn't like it. It is no Middlesex ... that is for sure.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Oh, very gross about the pool. But I agree with Jenners about calling on the husband to deal with that: that situation is just the kind that will tell you the REAL reason I got married!

Alice Teh said...

Poor baby possum... it does look like it was smiling... Kid-free day sounds like fun and your Chicago trip, I like!

Julie P. said...

Yuck!

I, too, love Chicago! Have some Garrett's popcorn for me!

Melody said...

That poor little possum! I wonder how did it get into your pool.

Your Chicago trip sounds wonderful! The pics look great too!

Carrie K. said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! And you will love 84, Charing Cross Road - it's one of my very favorites. :) Congrats on your short-lists for the BBAWs, by the way!

heidenkind said...

Ew! I thought that was a dog at first. :X

Nymeth said...

Aw, I feel bad for the baby possum. And for you too :P

I'm glad you had such a great trip! And awesome book loot - I LOVED Thr Virgin Suicides and 84 Charing Cross Road. You have some excellent reading ahead of you.

Beth F said...

I have always loved Chicago -- and I'm not even a city person.

Zibilee said...

Oh my! It sounds like you had an amazing time in Chicago and the weather sounds beautiful! What I would do for a 70 degree day right now! Also, you made some excellent choices at the bookstore and I can't wait to hear what you think of the books you bought. I have also read elsewhere that Major Pettigrew's Lat Stand is a snorefest, so it's not just you. I had made my mind up a long time ago to skip that one, though the cover is cute! And also, that dead baby possum is very gross. I can't imagine what my reaction would be to finding that in my pool!

Iliana said...

Serenity now! I love that, I've been saying that phrase quite a bit lately :)

Anyway, how fun that you got to go to Chicago. Love that big beautiful city. Last time I was there I am pretty sure I also went to Sandmeyers bookstore. It's been a while though and I was actually there for the Printer's Row Fair so I could be mistaken.

Catherine Ensley said...

Oh, a dead possum. Bad as that is, we had something worse drown in our pool--our neighbor's horse, alas. It was winter, and it stepped through the boards that were covering the pool.

I love Chicago. My mother grew up in Lake Forest, just north. Sounds like a fabulous time. Great pix.

Alyce said...

Your trip sounds fabulous! I've never been to Chicago, but would like to go someday. That possum is really gross.

Kathleen said...

I think I would DIE if I found that little guy in my pool! Glad you had a nice trip to Chicago. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and good that you guys can get away without your kids now and again.

Ti said...

Wait a sec! Didn't you dispose of a dead animal once before in that lot by your house??? No wonder all those animals end up there. You lure them to you with the easy food source on the other side of that fence.

Care said...

Chicago is my favorite city. And you have some wonderful books to enjoy soon!

Susan said...

Good lord! That's really gross, but it also makes me want to cry for the unsuspecting little possum who took the wrong detour.

Your trip to Chicago sounds wonderful with weather to order. Unfortunately, it didn't last. It's been stinkin' hot here this week, in the mid-90's, and dry as a dinosaur bone. Ugh. Now I don't know which I hate more...summer or winter. Couldn't it be spring or fall all year?

Melissa M said...

Your Chicago trip sounds awesome, but the possum, not so much...