Thursday, May 7, 2009

Family, Friends, FOOD!

We made it back safely to Tucson about 22 hours ago - a real letdown after the excitement of the trip north! Just your boring non-stop 3.5 hour trip home. We were home about 11, I was at work by 8am, and Melinda is at work now.

We had a great trip, but it was WAY too short. After being away for 6 months, 4 days was just not long enough. Today at work, Kirk asked if we had the famous Chicago-style pizza. No, there just wasn't time to eat everything, but do you notice that when you catch up with friends and family, it usually involves eating, and we certainly did plenty of that. Here are the memorable experiences...

I already posted about the cookout at Maj and Jeff's Sunday. Late Monday afternoon we met them again at Rookies, with Carolyn, her daughter Ann and Ann's husband Pete joining us. Rookies is great - diverse menu, always a Cub's game on if they are playing, and good quality beer on tap. What else could you want? We've got favorites on their menu, but certain times of the year, they run a loss-leader - $1 hamburgers! It might have been Pete's first time there - he didn't know about the dollar burgers - "how much of deal can that be?" he asked... Well, everyone got one, cooked their way, so he caved and got one too. They really are a great deal - here is a pic of mine - a half pound burger, for a buck, extras optional... By the time you add a chunk of cheese, and a side of fries, you are up to $4, but with a side of jalapenos and a pint of fine microbrew for $8 total, you can't beat that with a stick! Maj, Jeff, and Melinda really enjoy the all-you-can-eat snow crab for $24 on Saturday. They also have great ribs, and the pizza is good too.

Tuesday afternoon, we had arranged to meet some of my family in western Illinois. Sister Linda lives in Morrison and is a convenient nearly midway point between us in St Charles, and sister Kathy near Bennett, IA. Brother Brian also joined us with his daughter Cejae. We had talked about going out for Chinese food, or pizza, or someplace local to avoid cooking with everyone working, but Linda stepped up and fixed a buffet line, with baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and the masterpiece - burgers, thick ham steaks and smoked pork chops Ala son Mitchell. I don't think I've had ham that good since living back on the farm - you could cut it with your fork! And cooking it on the grill really made it tasty. That was a memorable meal!

Monday after our Rookies excursion, Melinda dropped in at her former place of employment to surprise her working buddies. She wanted to get a box of doughnuts, but evidently, St Charles has gone healthy - Krispy Kreme is out of business, and Dunkin' was long closed at 10:30 when she was out searching... Anyway, she had a great visit catching up, staying till after 1am, and made plans with good friend Rita for breakfast on Wednesday at Colonial. Colonial is the descendant of a local dairy that serves great breakfasts and short orders (and ice cream), and is a popular place for the nurses to meet after a shift. I'm fond of the pumpkin pancakes they serve in the fall... Anyway, Rita had talked to another nurse, Karen, who had been unable to attend Melinda's going-away party last fall, so she also joined us to catch up. Maj tagged along too to maximize time with sister Melinda.

Wednesday was our last day, the plans being that we would meet Carolyn for lunch, but after our Colonial breakfast and all the other meals the previous few days, no one was hungry, so Carolyn came out to the house and watched the 3-ring circus of home improvement. Tuesday Maj and Melinda had gone out shopping for blinds for the sun room, knowing in their minds exactly what they wanted. Maj had been doing so much work on the house, we felt guilty missing out, so with Carolyn's "supervision", Maj, Melinda and I hung a couple blinds on the side of the room that Maj had painted windows. After a couple false starts and less than a dozen holes that can be easily caulked back up, we paused to feed Carolyn an English muffin w/peanut butter. The girls finally left us to finish laundry and packing for our return, and Melinda got to enjoy some rain showers there - likely won't rain again in Tucson until July!

Like I said, a trip that was entirely too short, but we've already got plans for late June/July that is already looking to be as busy as this this one was. But it will always be nice to go back...

1 comment:

Shannon and Alex said...

That's a good happy picture of Linda! hey, how the heck can a Krispy Kreme go out of business???