Last week me and this guy got on a jet plane.

And flew to Chicago.

By ourselves.

(And like 150 other passengers, but I think you knew what I meant.)

We were almost late for the flight because two of the three long term parking lots at the Charlotte airport were closed.

But we raced into the terminal, shucked off our shoes, unloaded our overstuffed carry-ons and cleared through that x-ray business.

Except when we didn’t.

Kevin was watching the x-ray view of the bags pop up on the computer screen and he nudged me, “Hey – look at that bag.  Somebody brought in a knife.”

“What?  Who would do that?”

The airport official examining the bags motioned to Kevin.

“Is this your back pack?”

Kevin just made this sort of “seriously?” face and calmly said, “There’s a knife in my bag – right?  I thought those shoes looked like mine.  I thought that bag was packed just like mine.”

And yes.

There was a knife in his bag.

It was a surprisingly calm situation.  They offered to ship the knife back to our home at our expense or to confiscate the knife.

We let them have the knife.

(Turns out – it was sort of my fault.  I had borrowed the bag weeks earlier for a hiking trip and had packed the knife in there for slicing apples.  And then I forgot about it.  Oops.)


The adventure continued.

A complete stranger stopped me in the terminal to ask me what brand of boots I was wearing.


Thank you very much.

After we landed in Chi-Town, rode the smelly, loud rail system and found our hotel, we dashed off for some world-famous deep dish pizza.

My friend Julie told us to eat at Gino’s.

We found it on our map and followed the directions precisely, like two city professionals.

And when we arrived where we thought we should be, we noticed the sign read “Giordano’s”.

We knew that name was not the same name as Gino’s.

But the pretzels from the plane were long gone and this place looked pretty great and besides, maybe we’d gotten the name wrong.

In fact, I might have even said something to that effect out loud.

As if I know anything about Chicago at all.


We ate this incredible deep dish pizza, wandered back to the street and looked in the opposite direction.


Across the street.


(It’s all good guys – we just ate there the next night.  No worries.)

Chicago was great.   (Just the two of us.  Stay out as long as we wanted.  Walk in any direction we desired.  Eat out every meal. Go inside any store without considering if the stroller would fit or not.)

I could go on and on.

(And I really want to.)

But let me give you the fast forward version.

(Bear with me.)


Whisked away by kind and generous Uncle Joe, an official Chicago native, who showed us all the highlights in one short day.

My first-ever taxi ride.

Followed up later that day by my first-ever river taxi ride.

And then the bean at Millennium Park.

So cool.

And Navy Pier.  The Ferris wheel.  (Another first-ever experience.  What have I been doing all my life?  Not riding taxis or ferris wheels, apparently.)  Lunch at the world-famous Billy Goat’s Tavern.  A trip to the commuter train station where Uncle Joe works as a conductor.  Views of the city skyline from the boat.


Sears Tower.  (Which is now actually Willis Tower, but who cares about that name?)

Thursday & Friday:

The reason we headed to Chicago.

Story.  The conference.

Of which I will certainly speak more later.  But where we were able to meet or to hear speak or to hang out with some of the following people . . . this guy on a mission, this great blogger, this ridiculously amazing team of designer/photographer, the funny guy, this inspired speaker.

Plus – a late night walk to Chicago’s Art Institute where we got to see gobs of cool paintings like this one.


I didn’t exactly fast forward as I intended.

Well, actually.

I did.

There’s loads more.

But one last funny thing was this –

Walking down the street a man asking people for change and whatnot yelled across to me, “Hey, lady – do you got any fried chicken in your pocket?”

I confessed to him that, indeed, I did not.

His response – “But I love you!”