Tuesday, July 25, 2017

3 Nights in Milwaukee

Planning a week in Milwaukee and Chicago seemed like an ideal follow-up to last spring's 2,200-mile road trip -- we're visiting nearly all of the great cities of the Midwest. The kids had never seen them, and even Paul and I haven't been since about 2004.

We arrived in Milwaukee just in time for supper, arriving at the Craft Beer Garden at Humboldt Park at almost exactly 7 p.m. Why more cities (ahem, Columbus) don't have beer gardens is a mystery to me. Who doesn't want to sit outside on a beautiful day, a drink in one hand and food in the other, with a playground just across the way for after-supper fun for the kiddos? It was a wonderful (re)introduction to the city.

The next day was Independence Day, and there was no better way to spend it than by watching some baseball. But first: food. We ate lunch at the Milwaukee Brat House before getting bracelets to use the restaurant's free shuttle to the Milwaukee Brewers' game that afternoon.

But first we strolled along the Riverwalk. The day was already hot, and the Milwaukee River was full of boats, kayaks and even a few paddle boards.

First pitch was at 3:10 p.m., and we got to Miller Park about an hour early. We purchased tickets for the cheap seats and explored. Edith loved the free slide in the kids section on the ground floor (and later, a play area near our section). Atticus was practically asleep before we got to our seats, and Edith napped during the last few innings, which meant that I actually got to watch some of the game! And it was an exciting one -- 4 or 5 home runs, and the Brewers won 6-2. Even better, we all appeared on the billboard cam thanks to the uber-patriotic clothing and crazy dancing of a guy sitting in front of us.

Paul and Atticus's selfie

All in all, it was one of the best ballgames that I've ever been to. The weather was perfect, our seats were shady and it was only 2.5 hours long. It was an ideal holiday afternoon.

After the shuttle back downtown, we drove north to a Sprecher restaurant. Paul had wanted to try the beer, but we couldn't fit a tour into our schedule. We did this instead. The mango radler was one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

At Sprecher

We started the next day at Discovery World, a kids museum downtown. It was separated into two sections -- technology and an aquarium. We spent only two hours there and saw everything -- a great way to spend a morning (especially since admission was free with our COSI membership here in Columbus).

View from Discovery World

View from Discovery World

Next up was lunch and a tasting flight at Lakefront Brewery, followed by a stroll along the river. Milwaukee likes its beer, and the kids learned almost as much as we did since we went on a Miller brewery tour next. They were thrilled with the free lemonade while Paul and I sampled some of our favorite Miller products.

We had another drink later, this time at the South Shore Terrace Beer Garden, where we met up with an old friend from Brooklyn and her two kids. It was right on Lake Michigan, which made for lovely views that I totally forgot to take photos of.

We left for Chicago the next morning with the impression that Milwaukee is much like Columbus, with more beer and brats + a lake. It was a relaxing few days in an iconic Midwestern hub.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Birthday on Crutches

I sure didn't expect to spend my 36th birthday on crutches.

Nevertheless, it happened. I was at a friend's house Wednesday evening, following another friend down some steps as we were heading to our cars. At the bottom step, my left ankle popped.

I spent the next 20 minutes -- 30 minutes? more? -- icing the ankle, feeling faint and counting my lucky stars that I could still wiggle my toes. I hobbled to one friend's car while the other drove my car home.

It was a painful night, and the next day was even worse. I barely made it down the stairs in the morning, and when I later tried to move from the couch I realized that I couldn't put any weight on it. I called Paul at work.

He called a friend who is a doctor, who confirmed that a visit to the doctor probably wasn't necessary. Instead, Paul picked up a compression bandage, air cast and crutches, and dropped them off at home before a meeting.

I was on crutches through my birthday on Saturday, only leaving the house to sit on the porch (where the mosquitoes promptly ate me up, so happy birthday to me). Now I don't need the crutches, but I keep the ankle wrapped when I go out. I limp when I walk and I can't stand for long periods of time, but I'm much more mobile than I was a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Week in Milwaukee and Chicago


I almost feel strange telling people that our vacation to Chicago and Milwaukee was relaxing. Two major cities? Relaxing? But it was -- mostly because we took our time, relaxed our kiddo rules (TV galore!) and slept in late.

Paul and I had been to Milwaukee for one night more than 10 years ago. I've been to Chicago multiple times, but again -- it's been more than a decade. Edith and Atticus had never been to either city. It was time for a road trip, and this was the one we decided on: three nights in each city.

Requirements: an indoor pool in each hotel and light itineraries. Accomplished. Yes, we visited museums, but we also squeezed in playgrounds for the kids and beer gardens for the parents. Everyone was happy. We also managed to see friends in each city that we hadn't seen in years.

I'll write a post about each city in the coming weeks. Today: Photos.

Milwaukee Brewers game

Milwaukee Brewers game



Chicago, at the Bean

Chicago, at the Bean

Chicago, Adler Planetarium



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I'll Remember

Mostly I'll remember Grandpa's laugh. He had a sense of humor, but the ho-ho-ho often made an appearance when we were playing cards and he would inevitably catch some points the rest of us forgot to count up.

I'll remember driving through the tiny town of Harlan, and him telling us that the Harlan Globetrotters originated there. I may even have believed him when I was very young.

I'll remember searching the farmland between my grandparents' house and the one I grew up in, collecting the golf balls he would swing into the field.

I'll remember the Saturday nights we spent at their house, learning all the new card games that they brought back from their winters in Arizona. Nobody could play like Grandpa. He taught me cribbage, and I'm not sure I've met anyone outside of our family who knows the rules.

I'll remember riding in Grandma and Grandpa's car, and him letting me use the CB radio to speak to my own Dad elsewhere on the highway.
I'll remember a family trip -- to Michigan, I think -- when a seagull swooped down and grabbed the bologna sandwich right out of his hand. I would bet anything that the laugh made an appearance then.

I'll remember how I never heard him lose patience or say a harsh word, even though I probably deserved it.

We spent the day at the hospice center in my hometown of Defiance about a week before he died last Tuesday. We stayed six or seven hours in the room with him, and his eyes flickered open once or twice. But the whole time we were there, I didn't know what to say to him. I shared a few parting words at the end, but left wishing I would have said more. Like this.


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