Monday, January 15, 2024

2023 in review: July

JULY 2023

This busy summer month kicked off with a mini college reunion weekend in Dallas, ended with birthday celebrations, and included plenty of travel in the middle.

June 30-July 2: Dallas

It was great to reunite with Anne, Cynthia, and Dana for a fun weekend! The Willie Nelson birthday concert was the excuse, but spending time with dear friends was the real entertainment. We visited the Meadows Museum, shopped at Half Price Books, watched Leanne Morgan on Netflix, and ate some yummy food. It was so good for my soul to spend time with these amazing women I've known and loved since college. 

July 4: North Richland Hills

Is it even the Fourth of July without flag cheesecake?

July 7: Chicago

Once again Brett was invited to the Video Game Summit in the Chicago area. We flew up on the 7th, met up with our friend Adam, and enjoyed our favorite pizza at Lou Malnati's.

July 8: Chicagoland

Show day! While Brett manned his booth, I took an Uber over to Oak Park to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio. It was fascinating to tour the home he had designed for his (then) family (before abruptly leaving them for his mistress). The home includes several cozy nooks, including one particular space around the fireplace. I loved seeing all the windows and glasswork that are classic FLW. After taking the home and studio tour, I walked the neighborhood to see other homes FLW designed. 

After the convention ended, we Ubered to Galloping Ghost, the huge arcade in Brookfield.

July 9: Chicago

We can't always tack on an extra vacation day after a convention, but it's so much fun when we can. We love Chicago, so it was wonderful to extend our time in the area. We checked into our funky hotel, StayPineapple, and checked out the cheeky humor, the pineapple motif, the view of the Chicago marquee from our room, and the old building's charm. 

Of course, we had to revisit the "Bean," a.k.a. Cloud Gate.

We can't seem to visit Chicago without touring the Art Institute. This time around, we saw the Van Gogh exhibit. This one paired Van Gogh pieces with other works from the same or similar settings. We also revisited some of our favorites from the AI collection, such as the Portrait of Dorian Gray (created for the film), American Gothic, and A Sunday on La Grande Jette.

We also went back to the Route 66 sign that marks the beginning of "the Mother Road." Back when we first saw the sign, you could actually read it! 

June 2019 vs. July 2023

Of course, we can't visit Chicago without eating Portillo's dogs (complete with chocolate cake shake) and walking along the river. This time we stuck around after dark for "Art on the Mart," the projection show along the riverwalk. Our our way back to our hotel, we came across Miro's Chicago (The Sun, The Moon, and One Star). We had seen the Picasso and Calder's Flamingo, so it was cool to check off that public work.

July 10: Chicago

Before leaving town, we visited the Museum of Science and Industry. I had wanted to make the trek to this museum for a while because its building was part of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and this time, the MSI was home to the special Pompeii exhibition. 

One of our fave types of tech


The massive U-505 submarine, the only U-boat in the U.S.

Brett wrote about this particular robot!

One of my favorite parts of the museum was the Mold-A-Rama display. I love making little wax figures at various tourist attractions, so it was fun to see so many on display here. Of course, I had to make a couple.

The Pompeii exhibit was impressive. It was surreal to see artifacts that were buried in AD 79 when Mount Vesuvius destroyed the city. Back in 1979 I had seen a similar exhibit in Dallas, so I recognized some of the items and the plaster casts of victims that had haunted me back then.

We caught an Uber at MSI to return to our hotel, gather our luggage, and take a crowded train back to Midway. Once again, Chicago did not disappoint!

July 13: Home

After driving our 2006 Trailblazer for hundreds of thousands of miles, Brett upgraded to a NEW Trailblazer. Sweet ride! Bonus: It doesn't make a loud knocking sound like the old one did.

July 15-17: Lubbock

In mid-July I headed west to visit Katie and friends. We tried some local brews, competed in Hamilton trivia, saw my beloved prairie dogs, shopped, and spent some great time with Katie.

July 22-23: Austin

Brett took his books back on the road, this time for the Classic Game Fest in Austin. It's a huge show that always leads to great sales!  

Daisy and I stayed home for this one, enjoying our trails in spite of the dry summer.

July 30: Fort Worth

We celebrated Ryan's birthday with Jaws gifts, Dr Pepper ice cream, cake, and a visit to Cidercade. It's always fun to celebrate our amazing son! 

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