I'm sittin' here at the Holiday Inn in Skokie, IL & just had to take some time to fill you in on all the really cool blessings God has dumped on me this weekend :-) Mostly it's a lot of first time experiences - and since I love new experiences, I'm pretty much on cloud nine right now :-D
It started with my very first - ever - out of town "business" trip . . . and boy was it "out of *town*" :-) It's actually my 2nd trip to Chicago - the last time I was here was in '93 when I came for the Urbana Conference. The weather (though still icey cold) is much better this time.
On the flight here, both our (I'm traveling with a co-worker) first and connecting planes got delayed on the tarmac at their arrival gates - the gates we needed being occupied by other planes :-/ This kind of delay was also a first ever and since I was already on a bit of a natural "high" from being on my first ever business trip, I really didn't mind the delays at all :-)
When we got to Chicago I was thrilled to have my first ever cab ride - - though, thinking back, I think there was one time in 87 or so (when I was going to school in Virginia) that I took a cab from the airport to the college. But it was my first time in a Chicago cab :-)
Then we got to the hotel - click the link in the first line of this post to see where we're at - it's **really** nice! The evening concluded my first-ever hot tub experience with co-workers. Been in a hot tub before, but always & only with family or friends close enough to be called family. As I'm terribly self-conscious about exposing too much (yeah, I'm a bit of a prude), this was a big step for me. But we had fun and I didn't spout off about my insecurities and embarrass myself too badly.
Today was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! My co-workers (Tim & Lalap) and I rented a car and headed to Chicago to visit the Museum of Science & Industry. What an amazing place. We saw so many cool things - Networld put us in the shoes of "data" on the internet; the Fairy Castle was totally enchanting; Old Town Main Street offered up an amazing look at Chicago history - including a few minutes of an old Charlie Chaplin film in an old-fashioned theater.
The two best exibits included the U-505 Submarine & Robots Like Us. I'll save the best for last . . .
The submarine exibit was amazing. I learned so much about WWII that I never remembered (if it was ever taught) from high school history class. Those subs nearly cost us that war - our world would have been totally different if God hadn't stepped in and given one man a bright idea and then made that idea successful. You can read more about it here. We got to see the actual captured sub, but the best part was the way it was presented - all the history visually & audibly displayed really took you back to that era and brought home the serious ramifications of that weapon. In 1950 over 1,500 of our subs were taken out by these things - that's about 5 subs - and their crew - taken out each DAY!
It was a good history lesson and a reminder of why we must never forfeit the freedom so many have given their lives to protect.
OK, now to the best part of the museum visit - the Robots Like Us exhibit. Now, of course, being a sci-fi fan, you would expect I'd be excited about this exhibit - and I was - but I got a surprise I never would have expected. Aside from seeing actual Star Trek uniforms and even the Sentinel (really big!) from Matrix . . . I got to see . . . .
drum roll, please . . . .
Robbie the Robot - from Lost In Space!! My very first favorite science fiction program!!!! I've always loved that robot ("Danger, Will Robinson, Danger) and I have and autographed photo of Bill Mummy (Will Robinson) from the Babylon5 series. But to see the actuall Robbie was - - -beyond exciting. I can't quit smiling about it!! YES, he even SPOKE to us :-) - he was the "welcome committee" to the exhibit. This was not a guy in a suit - it was the actual robot. It was SO COOL!
Well, as if that wasn't enough (and it was more than enough), we went to dinner tonight at a restaurant recommended by one of our managment from work. He didn't warn us it was a "dress up" place and, since we went on our free day, we were all in jeans - but it was o.k. - they still treated us like royalty :-)
I HIGHLY recommend Myron & Phil Steakhouse. The decor is warm yet classy. The staff are professional yet friendly. The food is absolutely out of this world! Of course, it's pretty pricey too. One of my co-workers & I had the "special" and it turned out to be a $35 plate! Average price looked to be around $28-30. They served up liver pate, diced onions, fresh bread & a tray of pickled tomatoes, roasted bell pepper & cucumbers. I'd never had liver pate before and the waitress (I hesitate to call her that because it felt more like being taken care of than being waited on . . . more family-like) was very helpful in explaining the standard procedure for eating it - without a single ounce of condescension for our ignorance.
Yeah, I like liver pate - it was really good! As was my 18 oz T-Bone steak and my cream spinach. We topped it off by sharing a single slice of "death by chocolate" cake . . . oh, my, goodness! That HAD to have been sinful, it was SOOOOOOOOO good!
Well, that's my day so far. Now it's off to the hot tub again :-)