This last Thursday through early Monday morning, my mom and I were able to fly to Chicago for Grandma Cleo's funeral. It was quite a change for this California girl to hear the pilot say, "We're on our final descent into Chicago, where the temperature is currently seventeen degrees." As Mom and I met up with Uncle Rob and collected our suitcases from baggage claim at Midway, I promptly changed from sandals into my cute boots I bought from work, pulled my orange wool EMU hat snug as far down on my face as possible and stepped bravely out the door. The bravery quickly hopped on the next plane back to California as I realized that this was no joke! The three of us stood on the sidewalk waiting for my grandparents, and I jumped up and down to keep warm as they pulled up to the curb. I slid into the back seat and exclaimed, "I didn't know God allowed it to be this cold!" My grandparents loved that line and fit it into countless conversations over the weekend. I don't mind, though- I'm funny, what can I say...
It was nice seeing extended family and celebrating Grandma Cleo's life. Everyone had good words and it was nice to hear stories about her that I hadn't heard before. We stopped by her home after the funeral and went inside for one last time. To our surprise, there were piles of photo albums and miscellaneous pictures scattered in two of the otherwise empty rooms. I found an album with lots of my baby pictures (naked in a bowl- no, you can't see it), and pictures of my mom when she was little- it was like finding lost treasure to me, especially when I know Grandma Cleo loved all those photos (she is is in the center of the photo below, taken in 1934.)
Saturday night, Mom and I stayed at the Raffaello Hotel and it was fantastic. We had an extended check-out so we were able to have the room until four the next afternoon. We spent the first hour or so exploring the hotel a bit, then settled in watching HGTV and planning the next day. After a really wonderful night's sleep, I went down to the fitness center and ran a fast mile on the treadmill while watching the snow fall around Chicago's pretty buildings. A little while later, we ventured out into the snow (after chatting with the most hilarious Russian doorman) to the Cheesecake Factory and had fun people-watching while devouring the most delicious piece of cheesecake I've ever eaten. We shopped and enjoyed the city, and before we knew it- poof!- hours had flown by and it was time to head back to California.
We waved goodbye to Chicago and hello to Santa Barbara without looking back. We're such California girls.
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