Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Last Friday night, I planned to meet Deb and Ann for a long-overdue social drink and some dinner. Deb suggested we go and visit her family’s new home in Oak Park (a western suburb), as she needed to water some recently transplanted plants and drop off a few items before their future move. This was a great opportunity to escape the city and see a little more of Illinois. Deb picked up Ann and myself and we drove out to Oak Park. Oak Park is notable as it contains the “world's largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings and houses, with 25 structures built between 1889 and 1913”, and Wright’s studio. I look forward to exploring these sometime in the future.

Given my brief (and superficial) visit, Oak Park was much more ‘urban’ than I expected. There appeared to be a good mix of low and medium-density housing to provide the population needed to support services and conveniences such as restaurants and boutique shops. There was quite a bustling vibe in the main shopping strip, with abundant families taking advantage of the beautiful evening. 

Unfortunately, I developed a horrible migraine while having dinner. I later joked that perhaps this was an allergic reaction to the suburbs! 

On Sunday we went to John and Yoly’s son’s (Joseph) 4th birthday party. This was held in the Exploratorium in Skokie (a northern suburb). Paul hired a Zipcar to take us there. We were a little concerned as to how Nic might travel in a car – as he has had very little car-travel experience (save for taxis). I held Nic while Paul fitted his car seat. Nic meanwhile had a meltdown. We thought we might be in for a torturous trip until it dawned on us that Nic was not upset at the prospect of travel, he was merely showing his impatience with Paul! Once seated in the car, Nic grinned from ear to ear. His conversation on the journey consisted of repetitions of “Car!” and “What’s that?” as he had a new high-speed perspective on life. 

The Exploratorium consists of a large play area with abundant toys, a water play area, dress-up section, library, and a large climbing frame with slides, bridges and tunnels. This would be a fantastic resource for the winter time. We had some free play-time before adjourning to a private party room upstairs. Spiderman was the theme – much to Luc’s delight. Pizza and juice were followed by some superb spider cakes. The boys had a great time. We were concerned about the journey home with sugar-hyped boys and the potential for car-sickness (particularly from Luc), but needn’t have feared – they were fine. We took the opportunity to drop in at Trader Joes on the way home to do a bit of grocery shopping.

Paul and I agreed that we so loved the freedom of having a car for the afternoon – we would now love to get one! 

Photo: Joseph, the birthday boy, and Luc, involved in a duel with Spiderman blowers