The first time I went to Chicago I was ten years old, wearing Limited Too and pretending to be a Harry Potter character in the comforts of my Uncle and Aunt's attic. It was Thanksgiving, and there were cousins raking leaves into piles, younger cousins destroying said piles, quick kitties, and piles of pie.
If you had told my denim backpack-dotting self that fourteen years later I would be returning for afternoon hot whiskey drinks and crunchy leaves, my imagination would have gone buck wild. I liked to wonder (and still do) about the future, often with great imagination. And as much as I like to play this game, I could not have fathomed a more perfect excursion.
I made the trek back to the Windy City last week for a small reunion with the eight women I once shared a home with. Chris Palmer and Kristen Hanes were our hosts, and we made sleeps in one bed, two air mattresses, one couch, and a papasan. Bras, blankets, and wine glasses littered the floor while leaves tumbled off the trees and down the ivy-lined walls. We watched Lo, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and The Room while avoiding burning off our eyebrows when lighting a fire. It was the epitome of cozy.
We lay on anything that can be consider comfortable, our legs link in order to stay warm.
Chris chops mushrooms and sautés tomatoes. Maps and cookbooks are discussed, and we take many sips from glasses of Pinot Noir.
Kaitlyn plays with the camera while I play with a kitty. Italian aromas dance through the air as we sit on countertops and kiss each other's faces.
After a breakfast of tea-smoked duck benedict, togarashi bacon, and huckleberry waffles with sake maple syrup (!!!!!!!!), we take our full bellies on a stroll through the Logan's Square farmer's market.
There are pumpkins as big as Santa's bum and homemade chai marshmallows and fleece on fleece on fleece.
Sunday shoppers find ways to stay warm in their layers of flannel and thermal leggings. Beards and vegan baked goods are everywhere. Baby lattice pies steal my heart. And goodbyes are hard.
I really like this whole taking pictures thing. I like the simple form of capturing a story and the clicky-click of the shutter as each snapshot is taken.
Yesterday a friend told me that the only consistent things we have in life are ourselves and change. But if we look for it, there's beauty. Whether it be falling leaf, an old sheet tray, or an empty stool waiting at the bar.
Also, I can no longer say I've never missed a flight, because I did, and it led to one of the c-o-z-i-e-s-t days in history. Kaitlyn and I worked from Chris and Kristen's office with lit candles and an at-home happy hour. In the evening we drank $1 Milwaukee's Best and ate steamed eggplant buns. Chicago is no stranger to the foodie world.