Glad to be home!
My mom and I were there to visit my aunt, actually my dad's older sister, who is not well and has been hospitalized for a while. It was a tough trip in many ways...
However, I hooked up with some old friends, made some new ones and generally made the best of the trip to Chicago. The weather cooperated other than the first two which were rainy and cold.
Went to a few ammmazing restaurants, including:
Amitabul http://www.amitabul.getwebnet.com/ (with my pal Jeff, who has a young veg daughter)
Blind Faith Cafe http://www.blindfaithcafe.com/ (with my mom, and we then dined at Lake Michigan)
The Chicago Diner http://www.veggiediner.com/ (with friends Steve and Robin, see below).
I ate some seriously splendid seitan, the best mac 'n' "cheez," and so much other groovy grub at the above places. Plus dessert at Blind Faith... this vegan peanut butter 'n' chocolate cake that was pretty much "to die for." (Isn't it just THE BEST that no animal ever has to suffer in any way for vegans!?!)
Ran along Lake Michigan (alone but with myriad others who walked, ran, skated, biked, etc.) and through The North Branch Bicycle Trail (Jeff and I saw three deer!), hit at batting cages and played miniature golf at a local hangout with my pal Dave and his daughter.
I also enjoyed daily jaunts through "Indian Boundary" (where I "spoke" to some animals who are "housed" - let me know what YOU think: http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/068C3D93-E5F8-4D02-8767-867161271B8A.cfm ) and one night I skated at a roller rink on "R&B Night" with my friend Tammy Sue. Very interesting, all of that varied activity.
My animal activist/journalist friend Steve Dale ( http://www.stevedalepetworld.com/ ) and his lovely and brilliant wife, Robin, were kind enough to take me to eat after including me on their visit to Soggy Paws ( http://soggypaws.com/about_us.html ) for a "party," where I met some cool vegans, including two who are involved with the Tree House Animal Foundation, Inc. ( http://treehouseanimals.org/ ). Incredibly cool. Steve is going to be teaching "Kitty Klasses" there, among other places. Their own cat, Roxy, impressed me with the many talents she had, including giving a paw - just like a dog. So freakin' cool. They have two dogs, Lucy and Chaser and a skink, Cosette.
Below is a photo of Steve, Cosette and me:
I bought most of my gifts to bring back for family and friends at Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society http://www.anticruelty.org/ - I was so very sorry to not have been able to attend their "Bark in the Park" event ( http://www.barkinthepark.org/ ), which was Saturday. I had to leave Friday afternoon. Such a bummer like I can't tell you... but life goes on!
Anyway, back to SoCal my mom and I went, armed with Chicago Cubs-emblazoned bags of peanuts and two big bags o'Jays potato chips!
Friday and Saturday was the San Diego Spaniel Rescue ( http://dogrescue.250free.com/ ) fundraising garage sale. Today I found out they raised $2,000!!! So amazing! Normally I give out stuff weekly to Animal Protection & Rescue League http://aprl.org/ for their fabulous second-hand store (which is conveniently located next to my fave veg restaurant here, Sipz ( http://www.sipz.com/ ) but I have spent the last couple of months getting donations to SDSR.
As an added bonus for all concerned, when I came back Friday night (saying hi to Mattie, briefly, before going straight to work), there was a box at my parents' house with some surprise contributions for the sale from a big-hearted woman named Marie, who volunteers for a Cocker Spaniel rescue group in Pennsylvania called "Castaway Cockers" ( http://www.castawaycockers.com/ and http://www.petfinder.org/shelters/PA21.html ). I got to bring more stuff to the garage sale. (And of course I had to buy a bunch of stuff, too.)
People are so awesome. Working together we can work wonders!!
And that's about all she wrote!