Pride with Dr. Barrett

(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)

We had a fun time on our last full day in Chicago attending the Gay Pride parade with Dr. Tommy Barrett and his hubby Rich, Rebecca and Karol (his first!) and one of Rich’s students. That’s all of us but Rich (well that’s his finger in the upper left corner 😂) below at the parade.

The parade had the usual mix of corporate floats and bar sponsored ones, like the one below which was covered with flowers, I thought for a minute we were at the Tournament of Roses parade.

Dr. Barrett and Mike spent most of the parade catching up rather than enjoying the sights. I guess each of us shows our pride in different ways.

The most impressive group at the parade to me was the huge crowd of churches. They were several blocks long!

I loved watching this little girl on her Dad’s shoulders. When she wasn’t waving to those marching she spent her time playing with her flag as you can see in the video.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and a storm arrived so we had to leave before the end of the parade. Lightening got so bad they actually canceled the end of it. Before we left we tried unsuccessfully to take a selfie of the group, Tommy is missing but you can at least see Rich.

Dr. Barrett and Rich had everyone plus others back to their lovely home for a barbecue. Unfortunately I failed to take pictures as Dr. Barrett had me working hard to help Rich with the food (“Clay, come gay up this platter”) while Dr. Barrett socialized and kept the party fun. But below is one of the delicious pound cake his Mom sent. Apparently the freezer is stacked with them in reverse chronological order but when she learned that this cake was for Mike she insisted we get s fresh one, not one from 2009! Boy was it tasty!

Spending the day with family and friends and enjoying Rich and Tommy’s delicious food, great hospitality and meeting their fun friends was a great way to finish our short stay in Chicago.

Chicago

(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)

After the wonderful time at the DMV…ahem Chinese Embassy, we walked back to the Embassy Suites and checked in. The hotel noted that it was Mike’s birthday so he got an upgraded goodie bag and shortly after we got to our room, there was a knock at the door and room service delivered two beers, some chips and enough salsa for the entire hotel! Good job Hilton!

Many of you know that Mike’s traditional birthday dinner is Long John Silver’s but since we were in Chicago he requested pizza. Our niece Rebecca recommended Lou Malnati’s and she and her boyfriend Karol met us there to celebrate Mike’s big day. The pizza was tasty despite the long wait.

The next morning, Rebecca met us and we took an architectural cruise around Chicago. It was amazing to see how much had been built since our last visit…of course we later realized that had been 15 years prior!

After the cruise, Rebecca went to work and Mike and I met a college friend for lunch. Afterwards we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Apple store getting me a new phone. My battery wasnt keeping a charge so we elected to replace it.

We had planned on visiting Millennium Park but it rained so we ended up going back to our hotel. And during one of the breaks in the rain we ran across the street to Whole Foods and got some grub for supper and stayed in and watched a movie.

Saturday morning we walked a few blocks to Millennium Park. Wow, what a great space from what used to be a parking lot (after it had originally been rail yards).

Frank Gehry designed the pedestrian bridges and the stage. The trellis over the grassy seating is actually the support for speakers and from what I read, makes every seat sound as good as those up front. I was surprised at the thickness of the pipes that make up the trellis. In pictures, they look more like wires.

We loved seeing Cloud Gate, the polished stainless steel sculpture that has come to be the centerpiece of the park. It was fun watch kids of all ages play with their reflections.

The fountain at the park is also incredible. It combines video, a water play space and 1000 Chicagoans spitting. What a hoot!

we finished our morning at the park by using my new phone and it’s “portrait” mode to take some pictures of us!

We met Rebecca and Karol and rode they el to their favorite hot dog place for lunch. A Chicago dog had been Mike’s other birthday meal request. I just wonder what they use to dye the relish that non natural color of green!

After lunch, Rebecca and Karol took us for a “surprise” to the Green Mill. This old fashion speakeasy was Al Capone’s hangout back in the day. Now each Saturday it is the home of Paper Machete. This variety show combines comedy, music, and political satire…sorta like Saturday Night Live but with booze!

After a quick stop at the hotel to change clothes, we ubered across town to meet Tom (Mike’s college chum and one of my favorite people) and his hubby Rich for dinner at S.KY., one of the trendy (only for the pretty people but they let us in anyway) restaurants in town. Dinner was delish but the time spent with friends and family was even better.

Rebecca and Tommy

Mike’s fancy cocktail with edible flowers!

My pork with broccoli three ways including “ash”!!!!!

Rebecca’s bibimbap being mixed for her in a stone bowl that had been in a 500 degree oven since noon.

We all had a great evening and agreed to an early night since Tommy had just flown in from visiting his Mom in Virginia and tomorrow was Pride!