1935 garden, arbor, begonias, Buddha, cannas, Cape Cod, cherubs on planter, Chicago, Chinese stool, daylilies, dove, garden in the city, grapevine, hydrangeas, nest, North side of Chicago, O'Hare Airport, paradise in the city, pine trees, reflection garden, secret garden
My parents live in Chicago, on the North side of the city. They still live in the same house I grew up in, a stately white and black Cape Cod built in 1935, with a garden that is huge for city standards.
It feels like a secret garden to my children and me. There are so many different spaces to hide, so many things to see. In summer you can hear the drone of locusts and see the glowing neon flashes of fireflies at night. In winter the snow blankets the pine branches and arbor like frosting. Sure you can hear the occasional roar of planes from O’Hare Airport overhead, and an ambulance, police car or two. But it is those sounds I grew up with and actually miss at my quiet suburban Atlanta home.
The garden has elements from when the house was built, and my parents have been cultivating it since they moved in almost 40 years ago.
She also created what she likes to call a “reflection garden” in a shady spot next to the screened terrace. The Buddha statue must have attracted new life because birds dropped seedlings and different species of pines just grew around him. There is also a little monument in honor of Cleo, our family Dalmatian. My mother added the begonias for color, and they are thriving in the dappled light..
My parents’ garden is a little piece of paradise in the city. I feel so fortunate that we can still share it with my children, hopefully for years to come. When the day arrives that we will have to part ways with it, I will close my eyes, listen to the wind chimes and hear the doves cooing, and be right back there again.
333 Wacker Drive, boat ride, Buddy Guy, Chicago, Chicago Fire Department boats, Chicago harbor lighthouse, Chicago River, Chicago River lock, Chicago skyline, Chicago tourism, Chicago water taxi, family vacation, John Hancock Building, July, Kennedy family, Lake Michigan, Lyric Opera, Marina City, Merchandise Mart, Navy Pier, pedestrians on Chicago bridge, summer vacation, summer weather, Sweet Home Chicago, Tribune Tower, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Wendella Boat Rides, Willis Tower, Wrigley Building
Forget San Francisco, I just left my heart in Chicago. My children and I just returned from a visit to my hometown to see my family, and have fun in the big city as well. And fun we had!
My kids had never taken a Wendella Boat Ride for some reason, and my father really wanted them to experience that. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, as if he had ordered it for us. We really lucked out for mid-July when there could be storms, intense heat and high humidity. It was the perfect sunny mid-70s weather to sail down the Chicago River, Lake Michigan, and enjoy amazing views of the city towering all around us.
Top of Tribune Tower jutting out from above the steps leading to the Wendella Boats..
Lyric Opera building.. my parents had season tickets when I was growing up. I was able to attend a few times with my father when my mother couldn’t. It is incredible..
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).. we attempted to go to the Skydeck at the top but there was an hour long wait and we were pooped after a long day.. it will have to wait until our next trip. It was the tallest building in the world until 1997. Now it is the second tallest building in the US and the eighth tallest in the world..
Merchandise Mart.. when built in 1930 it was the largest building in the world at 4 million square feet! The Kennedy Family owned it for fifty years and recently sold it for a whopping $550 million!
Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan.. the famous John Hancock building has the two antennae..
Chicago Water Taxi.. we got to take one later, first time ever for me!
I miss Chicago and my family the moment I leave. They will take good care of my heart until I return. After all, it is the city of big shoulders and my sweet home..
It’s the forch-a-bull-eye! As my son used to call it when he was a toddler. It’s been raining since yesterday but luckily we didn’t have a big BBQ planned. Maybe it was the weather, but I had a taste for some comfort food as opposed to grilled burgers and the usual fare. Not to mention I don’t think my husband wanted to stand at the grill with an umbrella. I have a million Barefoot Contessa episodes taped and am slowly getting through them. Yesterday I watched the one where Ina made Beef Short Ribs and Cheddar Dill Cornbread. Yum. So that’s what I made for our celebratory meal today.
In the back of my mind was also a recipe for Plum Cobbler that Clinton Kelly, of What Not to Wear and The Chew fame, posted on his Facebook page. So I made that too. It all was delicious. My favorite would have to be the cobbler. I had no idea plums were so tart when cooked. The cobbler dough is very sweet, so it was the perfect combo, and I made some vanilla whipped cream to go with it. I always forget to buy vanilla ice cream when I need it! I will post the recipe at the end.
We celebrated as best we could in spite of the weather. My daughter and I made decorations and we all lit sparklers in the driveway when the rain subsided a little. Not the most memorable of holidays, but fun nevertheless. Happy Independence Day!
Clinton Kelly’s Plum Cobbler
5 plums, pitted and cut into chunks (I used 9 small ones)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine in a mixing bowl. Then pour into a baking dish.
In another bowl, cream together 1 stick butter (softened unsalted) and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Then add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and a big pinch of salt. Then mix in one egg. Drop the mixture onto the fruit. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes (mine took about 35). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream~
One of my favorite things to do in Sanibel is watch storms come in over the Gulf.
I love sitting on the lanai with a cocktail, zoning out and watching the lightning. I could hang out there forever. The first storm had horizontal wind and rain so that was not possible. The second was cooperative and I even got a shot of a lightning strike. Even now in my mind I can hear the sound of the waves and the roll of the thunder. And feel the breeze coming in over the ocean. It will last me until my next trip there..
For the first time ever in my many trips to Sanibel, a huge rainbow, make that a double rainbow, arched over the ocean after the storm. My daughter tried to reach out and touch it.
The pot of gold was the ocean itself..