Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Best of Chicago



Late Monday night I got an email from Brita (she doesn't have long-distance to call) saying that "we" had tickets to the Oprah show for Wednesday and we needed to leave "tomorrow"! What? She had told me the week before that she had emailed for tickets and she told me what she had written:

We have been best friends for decades, through moves, trials and triumphs and the losses of her child and mine. Currently, we both have economic worries and would love to escape to see Oprah in Chicago. She is such a great mom - I love her children as they are loving, thoughtful, close, daring and adventurous. Having Caren in my life has been an immense blessing. A trip to Chicago would celebrate that and we feel since you and Gayle have had the best of friendships through the years, that we would be in the best of company!

Now she got tickets? Already? So after many emails back and forth and many guilty feelings from me she convinced me that she wanted to treat us to this great adventure and I just HAD to go with her. My family also told me that it was a "once in a lifetime must do" so I did.

Here is what I discovered...

I thought that Oprah was the best...I have watched her since 1988 and have received actual letters from her (before her website) as well as one phone call from a producer who wanted to record a portion of my weight loss story for one of her shows.
Brita and I had no idea what to expect, we were to show up at the studios at 7:00 am. We were pretty close to the front of the line so we got inside fairly quickly where we checked our coats and had our bags searched. My little Target planner was a No-No and so it had to be checked as well. Then upstairs to WAIT. We had fun talking to a couple of sisters sitting across from us. One of them had been trying to get tickets for 20 years and then her sister's husband ended up getting some through work! It seemed cruel to tell them that Brita had emailed on Thursday and had a phone call on Monday...but they asked.
Of course the talk turns to "What are we going to see? Favorite things?!!!" Yeah, right...
We kind of thought based on Brita's email that it might be about "sister friendships" or Best Friends or something like that and maybe we'd get a cute BFF gift bag with jammies, a lunch gift certificate or even popcorn and a chick flick.
One of the sisters said "I don't care what it is as long as it's NOT Suze Orman!".
They were hoping for Tom Cruise.
Well, guess what? It was Suze Orman and Oprah did not seem to be that happy or friendly. I mean she was kind of blah and the show topic was pretty boring. She looked great, I thought she looked exactly the same as on TV. We had thought that we'd AT LEAST get a book from the guest or whatever. Nope, nothing. Basically the show was over, there was a little bit of voting talk--early voting VS voting on the day--and she let us know "how the world is gonna shift when you-know-who is elected on November 4".
Then we were hustled right out and it was over. Kind of disappointing but yes, I would go again if I had the opportunity.

I used to think the best talk show host from Chicago was...Oprah!

Now I think it's Bonnie Hunt...too bad she doesn't film in Chicago!
The best pizza is still Gino's East...


And yes even better than Brown County, the BEST popcorn is Garrett's. It is totally worth the $18 we had to pay to park downtown to get it :-) OK so Brita might disagree!

After that excursion we were on our way to try Lou Mitchell's Coffee Shop where everyone gets donut holes while waiting to be seated and the ladies and kids get Milk Duds and we actually found on the street meter parking!

The food was delicious and we were seated next to a couple of guys who left and then a husband and wife come in and we said Good Morning and the guy says "Good Morning! We just got back from the Oprah show!"
So of course that gave us an opening into a wonderful brunch conversation. They were really fun and enjoyable people and so friendly. They were originally from Michigan but now live in Ojai California so we had several things in common, plus Chuck told us that his uncle was a physician in New Castle, Indiana and may have been the oldest physician in the country at the time!

After lunch we headed out to Oak Park to the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district.


Now I have always loved old homes for as long as I can remember. When I visited Beth in Michigan in 1976 we went to her Grandma's house in Dayton Ohio and I actually have the address of a house there that I absolutely LOVED at 300 S. Franklin St. Yes, I still have the paper.
My Dad was always a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan and so going here was by far the highlight of the trip!

Here are a few of the beautiful homes that we saw.

This is "my house". I fell in love. It is currently being restored and we could even see a little ways inside the front door. It is believed to be his first Prairie style house in Oak Park. Here is another view--

Here are the windows...


I wish I could explain why I was so emotional about this whole experience...
These are just houses and yet when I looked at this one and these windows I could have cried at the beauty. I know, corny, but I couldn't believe I was SO close to the past.

What I was stunned to realize is that real people live in these houses. There were Halloween decorations on the porch and Hondas parked in the driveways. I guess I thought all of them would be some kind of museums or that they would be old estate homes or something.
Some of them are even For Sale! (GASP) I now have a Powerball dream to live in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Did you know there are over 30 in Michigan and there is even one for sale in Bountiful Utah. Some of them are even less than $1,000,000. Oh yes, I have checked.
My current Powerball home is the F B Henderson house http://www.savewright.org/index.php?page=33&id=90 in Elmhurst Illinois.



Absolutely the most exquisite house I could ever imagine living in. I swear, I would spend all day just touching the wood and sitting at the windows imagining who else sat there and what their life was like.

I am so glad I went and that Brita wanted me to go with her. We met the most wonderful and friendly people and enjoyed every minute.
San Fransisco will always be my favorite city, but Chicago is number two!

9 comments:

jendoop said...

Sounds like an awesome trip and makes me want to go to Chicago for the next Ya-Ya weekend. But not when it is cold! Let's try it in the summer/spring for once!!

Jaime said...

What a fun trip...the houses are amazing! Bummer that you didn't get cool stuff from the Oprah show.

Tara said...

So fun! I love Chicago. Mmm, Gino's East... Did you know there's even a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Marion? It's a smaller one, but still...

The Hughes' said...

WOW! That is so cool you got to go see Oprah! It's on my list of things to do someday. You get to do some of the coolest things I swear...You're my idol!

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