Peaches Prattlings











The weather is supposed to hold out for the rest of the day, what’s the plan?! Well, it’s Saturday, we have to introduce SDL and Miss A to The Shack of course!

Before that, after yoga, it’s Saturday, what else would we be doing!? we picked up bagels at the Bagel Factory, they only take cash and I didn’t have any, guess what…the woman behind the counter, I think she’s an owner, told me to just come back later to pay them. That’s the second place we’ve encountered that since moving to Missouri, that’s what I call hospitality! Back at the house, shower and off to The Shack.

We got very lucky, it was about 9am and we got a table pretty quickly! Wah to the hoo! The first booth we go, I’m not exactly sure how they expected us all to fit! Needless to say, I asked for a table instead of a booth. I kind of wish our server had gone with us, the server we got was less than…it happens. The food was good, as always, PSM and I both tried something new, SDL enjoyed hers and Miss A! Let’s just say first, SDL’s eyes were as big as saucers when she saw the size of the pancake, the entire plate! Second…she wasn’t sure if Miss A was going to eat it all. Well.. guess what…the eggs and the entire pancake…also mixed in with some yogurt for more liquid…g o n e! The girl can eat! What a champ!

We headed home to drop off our leftovers, get whatever we needed for the day, and potty breaks, of course! PSM had something else going on today, so it was just the three of us, girls day out! First stop…The Bagel Factory, paid my $10 and away we went.

First place was the Arch! How could we not! It’s the main iconic representation of St Louis, you can see it so much advertising and logos, it’s a landmark! Now, due to some restrictions we weren’t able to go up to the top, which is fine, we took pictures in front of the arch, from the side, you know the drill. Then we walked inside, went through security and down to the museum level, which is very interesting. We learned a lot while we were there, from concept, to funding to construction and completion. After learning, it was time for the gift shop, St Louis Arch souvenirs! SDL got a few things including postcards to send to family and friends back home, and of course, Miss A. I love that she does that, I do the same thing, I send post cards to PSM whenever we’re on a trip to tell him what a great time I was having!

After souvenirs, it was time for a bit of lunch, and luckily, they had a veggie burger! Not the best, but they had one, wahoo! There was lunch, pudding, bananas, and peanut butter, and dancing, what more could you want!

After lunch we headed out to walk the grounds a bit, we had just missed what looked to be a reenactment, bummer! But some of the costumes were fabulous! Eventually we headed to the car and off to Union Station, which was about a 4 minute drive, love that! Union station is a retired train station that now serves as a meeting spot with restaurants, shops, a pretty good candy shop, the St Louis Wheel, the Aquarium, which we will get to one of these days! Miniature golf, a ropes course, dancing fountain, actually fire and lights!, and so much more!

We walked around and they actually had a mini carnival with game and prizes, and a petting zoo! What?! I got to feed the goats, they tickled! PSM, please, please, please, can we get two pygmy goats?! OMG! They are SOOO cute! Imagine the savings on lawn maintenance! HA HA. They had goats, of course, an alpaca, a camel, Flemish giant rabbits, donkeys, and some other things I can’t remember! It was so much fun! I think I had more fun than SLD!

After petting and feeding, we headed over to the St Louis Union Station Hotel just in time for the 3D Light show in the Grand Hall, which runs on the hour from 5 to 10pm every day. There’s music and lights and just like the name, it’s all in 3D. There are birds flying, aquarium scenes, just wow! So worth it!

When the show was over, it was time to head out and find some dinner! Since it was Memorial Day Weekend a lot of the restaurants had a long wait if you didn’t have a reservation, and Italian was the request. We actually found one not far from the hotel, no wait!

The atmosphere was nice, the staff great, the food was ok, but the company, excellent! We talked, laughed, ate, danced, wash, rinse, repeat, what more could you ask for!? It wasn’t quite warm enough to put the top down on the way home, but the drive and conversation, as always were good, sounds good to me!

At home, it was time for a bath, spinning, laughing, and just being silly. And making plans for tomorrow, what adventure awaits us?!



Well, since it’s Friday, even though it’s a holiday weekend, PSM and I were up and working, while I waited for SDL and Miss A to join us upstairs.

The rain was coming, so how much could we do outside? Not much, but we were going to have a great day, no matter what?! One of the things SDL asked before they came…a little pampering? Oh yeah! So…when I called, it turned out they didn’t have any availability for three people until about 1230p, perfect!

Breakfast, then groceries. I had to hang my head in shame! The usually stuff that we’ve had when they visit we were out of! I had just finished the giant jar of peanut butter the day before, no, not the whole jar all at once, but I finished it in a smoothie! And we haven’t had bread, loaves, bagels, nothin! in the house for a while, so I felt terrible about that! Luckily, SDL is always prepared and had two slices of bread and one of those small containers of peanut butter, whew!

We had some time until our appointment, so we went to the grocery store, just enough time to get what we needed, and even went to the Bagel Factory! Their bagels are pretty decent, it’s not NYC or Boston, which is all about the water, but they’re good and made fresh every day. They actually close at 130p, when we got there, there was almost nothing on the shelves and when we were about to drive away, they locked the doors, it was 1215pm! Well, alrighty then! Maybe tomorrow!

We took the groceries home, I unloaded and got everything put away, grabbed some sandals and away we went to our favorite nail salon, honestly PSM was jealous! You know I got him addicted when we lived in Hawai’i!

We got there just in time and they set up two pedi chairs for us, I helped Miss A get onto SDL’s lap and we both settled in to our massage chairs for some pampering! They did Miss A’s feet first, and she got the full treatment! SDL said it was the first time for her to get full treatment! Nothing’s too good for my niece! Miss A got the foot bath, scrubbing, trimming, clipping, massaging, and warm towel, what more could you want! Oh yeah, and pretty pink bubble gum toes!

When she was done, she hung out next to mom while SDL and I got pampered! They started with the pedis, pedicures for anyone not in the know! Oh wow, it felt great! It had been a few weeks since PSM and I went, actually, just over a month! My toes still looked good, a pedicure can usually last me over a month, unless your scraping the ground with your toes, you should be good! They did SDL’s manicure in the chair, she doesn’t get color, so they soaked her fingers where she sat, I love that! For me, I went over to a table and they got to work on my fingers. Claws and paws as the phrase goes! Just what the doctor ordered!

Back to the house, it was snack time for Miss A, walks for the pups, and a while later, it was time to head out for dinner. We looked at a few places and the winner was Three Kings Public House! I’ve told you about it! I go for the Brussel Sprouts! Y U M! We had food, drinks, laughter, silliness, dancing, a few trips around the pub, what more could you want?! Food, family, friends, and fun. Yup, that’s about it!

Back home, bath time, hanging out, talking to you and then…lights out. What adventures await us tomorrow?!



We have our first overnight visitors and I am over the moon! It’s…wait for it…wait for it…SDL and Miss A!!! Ok, now you know and you knew how I felt as soon as I said it!

We had a visitor last year, our first! DLP was in St Louis for a family event and came to see us, we went out to breakfast, then she came back and saw our house, but sadly, had to go after a few hours. Today, SDL and Miss A arrived for a long holiday weekend visit!

They left Atlanta Wednesday afternoon, after school and an appointment and they were off! It is about an 8.5 hour drive if…you make no stops! Well, for me, when I drove to Atlanta was about 9.5 hours, I factored in at least four 15 minute breaks for gas, food, and bio breaks. For them, it takes a little longer, so they cut the trip in half, keeping me posted along the way.

I worked most of the day, they got here about 4pm, just in time to take the dogs for a walk, in the rain…where did that come from? Seriously?! When I checked the weather a few days ago, it was going to be warm and sunny with very little chance of rain and now…more chances of rain for the weekend. Ah well. They were here! Hugs, hugs, hugs, and more hugs! A tour of the house, where are they staying, all that good stuff, then it was time for a walk. Well, Miss A, SDL, Ruby, Bee, and I started on a walk, water came from the sky, they went home and the pups and I continued on our walk.

We got home and PSM was just about finished with work so…instead of sitting too long, SDL said if she sat too long she was done! It was a long two days! We headed out to the food Miss A, SDL, and I always do when I visit them, Mexican! We went to El Maguey, where PSM and I went to celebrate Cinco de mayo. It was great! We talked, ate, laughed, caught up, reminisced, laughed, talked, ate, you know, wash, rinse, repeat. It was like no time had passed, just as it always is when we get together!

After dinner, we headed home, it was time for a bath, cuddle, running around like crazy people, then off to bed. I’m just a happy Auntie G! I love family visits! We have so many options for the weekend, let’s see what we can get in to, I’ll keep you posted!



Sunday came and it was a nice day even with the possibility of rain, let’s ride Clyde!

We headed out for Hermann, MO. PSM is the Ride Captain for our mini biker group, of two! He plans the routes, usually avoiding the highways, and he never disappoints! It was about an hour and a half there, which I knew. It was a beautiful ride, a bunch of bikes were out. We stopped at the same gas station we always stop at when we’re in that area. Even though it was more than an hour’s ride, which was fine, as he said, it’s tradition now! We also both knew it would be time for me to fill up anyway. We chatted with a Harley rider, our bikes were about the same color blue. He gave us some ideas for different rides. Bikers really are some of the nicest people!

We went into Hermann looking for brunch, it was about 1203p at this point, so we were on the fence…breakfast, lunch, brunch? It was actually harder than we thought to find a place for breakfast. The nice thing, it wasn’t as crowded in Hermann as it was the last time we were there. We stopped at Stomp ‘N Grounds for breakfast. It was a cute little place, we sat at a bar by the window and chatted while we waited for our food and drinks.

PSM had decaf coffee, hot, it was supposed to be iced, I had a chai latte with almond milk with a mountain of foam that I didn’t ask for, and we got one of the two pastries we were going to munch on while we waited for our food, not a great sign. The funny part about getting the drinks was when they called our names, the guy said ‘decaf coffee and…the other drink’ really? The pastries were ok, a slice of cinnamon swirl bread and a brown sugar cinnamon chip scone, I would have enjoyed the scone warmed up, but I guess it wasn’t an option. PSM had bagel, lox, and cream cheese and I had a fried egg sandwich. I have to say, I have really been missing the East Coast, why can’t anyone have other choices beside PLAIN BAGELS?!

After brunch, we walked around Hermann, it’s a cute town, not much to it, but cute. I could see going back, or stopping there, with the bike group for drinks, like we did a few weeks ago, but I don’t see us going back on our own. What was crazy was how hot it was! There were a lot of bikes in town and I can tell you…the only people wearing pants…bikers! WOW! We were sweatin’! One thing we couldn’t find was anything that said Hermann! A hat, t-shirt, nothin’! I have started getting magnets wherever we go, as a memento, it’s small, easy to carry, and…our back door is magnetic! I’ve used it to display all the places we’ve been! I love it! Bummer on not finding anything!

We left Hermann and rode to Washington, MO, which we’ve been to before. It was about an hour’s ride, which was a good distance, we thought we’d check out the town a little, maybe get a drink. We stopped in two places that were shutting down in a few, really? It wasn’t even 2pm! Oh, that was the same thing happening in Hermann, for some reason, things were shutting down early! We stopped in a bar for a few drinks, enjoyed chatting with the bartender and decided to tip! It’s funny, we haven’t actually seen Washington, only the street down by the river, one of these days, we need to check it out!

Next, we headed to Defiance, MO. We drive through it all the time and talk about stopping, but never do. And when we were there, I think we found all the bikers in the state of Missouri! They were at these two bars across the street from each other. I think I saw maybe four or five bikes, not including ours that weren’t Harleys! I even saw two Indians, that weren’t ours! and that was about it! We hung out at both bars for a bit, long enough for a few drinks each, listened to some music and headed down the road to my main thought in Defiance, Good News Brewing Company. We had been to the first location and knew about this one, which actually has Alpha & Omega Coffee located inside as well.

It was a nice open space, garage doors all around, inside and outside seating, everything is a rough wood, barn-like, the way I like it! I remember going to the first one wanting to turn our lanai into that type of space, I don’t think it’s reasonable, but I would love it! Their menu is very limited, we ordered a cheese bread and a small pizza, not going to be good for either of us, but we were willing to take a chance. We sat, ate, drank, talked, laughed. Wash, rinse, repeat. It was so nice!

Eventually, after last call, which was about 6pm, it’s Sunday, after all, it was time to head out. We rode home, about an hour, got gas somewhere in there, greeted the pups, walks, dinner, relax!

I will say…it was a nice day and we both wore short sleeves…no jackets, didn’t need them, I only wore my vest because it keeps my t-shirt from riding up my back! Well…since we wore short sleeves and no arm sleeves, which we do wear in the summer, most of the time, it protects our arms from the harsh rays of the sun, and no sunblock to prevent what ended up happening…SUN BURN! OUCH! Well, now I have my base layer, which I usually get from driving the convertible, but I haven’t been going many places lately. We learned our lesson! It will be fine, but…I can also tell I am getting my biker’s tan, you can see where the hole in the back of my riding gloves are!

What a Sunday! What’s our next adventure?! Want to join us?!



Yeah right! Who am I kidding?!

Got up, hot yoga, you know how we roll…it was tough! It’s getting hotter out and more humid, so hot yoga gets even hotter. Today there were quite a few people in class, different for a Saturday, I’m wondering if it’s because of the no mask on the mat policy, this particular studio, on a Saturday morning, it’s us and maybe one or two other people…this class had at least six people!

Hot yoga done, home, shower, work on the basement for a bit, it’s getting so much better! Then…go to Mungenast to pick up PSM’s bike, he was getting a new back tire put on. Pack the pups and PSM in the car and away we go! Top down, of course! And something we learned, Ruby has an issue with overpasses! I didn’t think much of it when we went under one a few weeks ago, she barked at it, but it turns out the change in pressure makes her bark and…jump! Not out of the car, but just enough to make us nervous! I don’t want to have to strap her down in the car! Hmmm…

After we got home, hung out with the pups for a bit, didn’t want to put them right in the crate after being out, and then we headed out to get some grub, bub. We went to a new place that I found, Olivette Diner and O M G! We are in luv!!! If you weren’t specifically looking for it, you would miss it. It’s a non-descript looking place from the outside. It’s in a strip mall, above the door Diner, that’s descriptive! The windows did say Olivette Diner, but honestly, if you weren’t looking for it…

We walked in and were very pleasantly surprised. They did have a few tables and chairs outside, we wanted inside and we weren’t disappointed! The place had a great retro feel, counter service with retro vinyl covered stools, facing the cook space, and a few retro booths, along with the retro signage on the walls. Let’s just say, a little retro. They had a surprisingly big menu for a small place, but we got right down to it.

We ordered a scramble with brie, spinache, and tomatoes, it came with a side of hash browns, and toast. I asked for the scramble to be done well, the hash browns dun…[note the emphasis on done] and when I asked which type of toast was better, our server couldn’t decide between the wheat or sour dough, both of which are made by a local bakery. Could I get one of each? Why, yes I could! Then… we ordered the Amazing Banana Waffle. It was a malted waffle topped with a hot and fresh banana, brown sugar, and cinnamon sauce. How could we not, it said it was amazing!

No sooner had we ordered and I got back from washing my hands, the food arrived. Did they actually cook it? It was sooo fast! Not that I’m complaining at all! I have to tell you, this was one of the best breakfasts we’ve had in a long time! We love the places we go and sometimes something new doesn’t always work out, but wowweee did this ever! It’s going on our favorites list! The scramble wasn’t overpowering with any one flavor and the brie was melted and blended in just right. The hash browns, ahhhhh, almost no one gets it right, this was…crispy and crunchy and just y u m! The toast, you know, I don’t know which slice was better…I ate one, then the other. Then…for the second set, I ate one bite of one, then one bite of the other, didn’t help! They were both so good, and just the right amount of butter! And the waffle…they were right…AMAZING! Wow! It was fluffy and light. The banana was hot and gooey, and the brown sugar and cinnamon sauce, who needs syrup. It really was fabulous! I would order this again and again and again!

I was disappointed, no room for pie and they had the list up and they have…strawberry-rhubarb pie, my favorite! Not to worry, we will be going back! Yessss! A true treat, if you’re in the area, or looking for a good place to go for breakfast or lunch! They are only open until 2pm, so get there early! Also…we were told the food came out so fast because that’s how they have to do it, normally the place is packed! Even at 1pm! Graduations are happening all around the state, that’s probably where most people were. Can’t wait to go back and bring people with us!

Now, back home, after we stop to get a graduation present. One of those graduations this weekend, we were invited to a graduation party, a son of one of PSM’s co-workers. After a brief sit down and hang with the pups, we head back out on the bikes to the graduation party. We saw a few people I actually knew and I met some of PSM’s co-workers, that was fun! Now I have faces to go with the names! It was a nice party, I enjoyed chatting with people and there were cupcakes, what more could you want!

After a while, we said our goodbyes and headed out to Nine Mile Garden for an Adult Prom! We’ve talked about Nine Mile Garden, it’s great. There is a micro-brewery and then there are always food trucks with plenty to offer, unfortunately, limited for me, but not for most. And the trucks are definitely varied! Something for almost everyone! And if you’re lucky, at least one of the trucks has dessert!

We didn’t really read the invite closely, so it was a lot of people watching…everyone was dressed in some form of 80’s attire, it was great! There were some prom dresses, suspenders, bow ties, big hair, wrestlers impersonators, rock star impersonators, 80’s music, lights, some decorations and music videos from the 80’s on the big screen. We ate, loaded spuds!, we drank, we people watched, it was so much fun!

What a Saturday, told ya…just another average Saturday. Well, for us it was!



Yes, I know you can eat without a mask, this was walking into a restaurant without a mask!

Now, I know there are some of you out there who have been playing it very safe over the last year, not going out, strict quarantining, maybe only going out for groceries and curbside pickup, and I respect that. For us, as we’ve talked about, PSM and I have ventured out as often as possible. We respect the protocols the establishment has set for their business, masks walking in, masks walking around, masks off at the table, when eating. That is very fair, whatever is best for the business, I go with that.

This…was very different. So…I told you Monday about going to the yoga studio and being able to take our masks off at our mats, you still have to wear the mask when you walk in to the lobby, but on your mat, a machaya! [one of my favorite Yiddish words!] and they are allows you to shower at the studio again, rent mats, the whole gamut.

Tonight, we decided it had been a very long day, let’s go out for beer [for PSM] and brussels sprouts [for me]! I knew just where we were going! The Three Kings! Here’s where it was a new and different experience and took some getting used to. When I walked in, no one, and I mean no one…was wearing a mask! Now, there have been a few places, we may have talked about this, that you walk in with a mask and it’s half-arsed by the staff, so you’re like what’s the point, but you’re following the posted rules and I have accidentally walked out, especially if we’re sitting near the door without my mask on and felt odd and shocked when I got outside! This place, tonight…not one mask in sight, except for some people walking in the door.

I walked in with my mask, took it up when I sat next to PSM at the bar, but I have to tell you…the first time I walked to the bathroom, I didn’t wear my mask, and if felt weird, like I was doing something naughty! Imagine that! How times have changed! I walked to the bathroom, mask-less, no one looked at me, no one stopped me, it felt good, but weird.

Based on what the CDC said this week, businesses are at their own discretion to do what they want and I respect that. I will still be walking around with a mask in my pocket, probably for a very long time, until someone tells me I never have to wear one again, I’m not taking any chances, and why argue with what someone else is comfortable with/doing, what is it going to hurt?

I can’t wait to hear what your first experience is like going completely mask-less in an establishment. Oooh!



Typical Saturday, well, not sure who’s it typical for, ha ha. We got up, went to hot yoga, came home, I did my hair, turquoise this time, PSM worked on his pc and I did some work in the basement, it’s coming along! then made a Goodwill drop, then went to get some lunch. Typical, right? Ha ha

I am making some good progress! Promise! Even PSM said so, and that’s what matters, he can see it! I’m getting there! That made me feel so good! I’ll post pics after I’ve made some serious progress, you do not need to see where it is now!

We made the drop donations, then it was time for lunch, it was about 1pm at this point and PSM said, hey, let’s try Cracker Barrel, he’s never been, I used to go when I lived in Atlanta and it’s a good place to stop while you’re on road trips and truth be told, I love the store almost as I love the biscuits and corn muffins! The few times we tried to go during the pandemic it was a madhouse, crazy long waits. He was optimistic that it wouldn’t be too long it was about 130p, so why should there be a crazy wait time. He’s adorable! It’s Cracker Barrell…35-45 minute wait. See ya! At this rate, we may never go!

I saw something as we were driving past that I said, let’s give it a shot, Loaded Elevated Nachos. It was campy when we walked in, looked like an airstream trailer/food truck and very road trip old school. They had appetizers, entrees, and desserts, all nachos! They had two non-meat options: mushrooms and Impossible crumbles, we haven’t talked about my take on the Impossible burger and we’re not going to start now, but I tasted the crumbles and they weren’t bad, and mixed with everything else, I enjoyed it.

We ordered the Side-by-Side which is mix-and-match any two entrees or apps to share for $16, not bad, or, if you wanted to go solo, $10, can’t beat the price! I was slightly limited on my choices, a lot of things had a lot of dairy, but I was on a Bahn Mi kick, so I went with that, minus the Siracha Aioli, jalapenos, and cilantro. The fun part was, instead of traditional nachos, it was on wonton chips! Same shape as the nachos, but keeping with the Asian theme, they were wontons! PSM had the Hawai’ian BBQ, full on! He went spice city and the little spice on mine, I was on fire! I treated myself to an orange soda, well, PSM treated me, since he bought lunch! ha ha

They don’t serve alcohol, but if you wanted, you could get something from Narwhals, nothing but drinks, some even non-alcoholic, but we opted for orange sodas, y u m! I don’t drink soda very often, so I am very choosy about what I drink and I can’t tell you the last time I had an orange soda and this was, yeah, yum!

We got our food, went to sit outside and dig in. It was different, filling, tasty, and something I can see trying again. They had a lot of options and knowing they have meat alternatives, I’m down! Maybe next there will be some vegan cheese and sour cream! I could even see bringing my own vegan sour cream, especially if we are sitting outside!

So…if you’re in the St Charles area, check them out!



Admittedly, I don’t often make declarative statements about where or what I want to eat. I know, you’re thinking, what? But JJ, you have so much to say, how is that possible?! Well friends, it is. I don’t always know where or what I want and I don’t want to take all the focus, but today, I had an answer!

I was thinking about it earlier and I am sure that’s not what you’re supposed to be thinking about while you’re in yoga and contemplating, but there it was, I made a decision. We got in the truck and I asked PSM if he had an idea, nope, great! I wanted Indian and/or vegan food! Indian was a no, the reason, which is fair, we haven’t found any Indian food here that isn’t crazy spicy, not a problem for PSM, but as you know, no good for me, or that wasn’t super salty. Fair point. There is a vegan place near us that I’ve told you about that serves only vegan Indian food, Bombay Food Junkies, but…still mostly spicy, but I do like it.

Ok, then vegan it is! BBQ at Smokee Mo’s St Louis BBQ or maybe DD Mau. I have a feeling you can guess where we went! HA HA. DD Mau it is! I have been craving Bánh mì for a lllooonnnggg time, especially since we went there the first time. I fell in love with Bánh mì when I first had it in Ann Arbor, MI, when I was on a project there, and it was vegan, otherwise, I would not have tried it and I fell in love! I’ve only found vegan Bánh mì twice since then, once in Hawai’i, and now, and it was soooo worth it! For a vegan Bánh mì, I had the choice of tofu, veggies, shrimp, or beef. I asked for a recommendation and they were out of shrimp, so that made it easy! I got a beef Bánh mì, no jalapenos or cilantro, if you ever get it, you might like it fully loaded, who knows!

I ordered the sandwich and an order of vegan cheese rolls, they weren’t bad! Like Krab Rangoon, but without the crab, it was like a spring roll with creamy cheese, vegan of course! PSM had Thai Chili Pepper Wings, they were hot and tasty, but not his favorite wings, he’s having a tough time finding wings that knock his socks off here! He also got Pho and a Hitachino Nest Beer.

Let’s just say…I was not disappointed and there was nothing left to take home for me! Shocker, I know! It really was a good sandwich! There are so many more options to try, can you tell I’m a little excited!?

One of the things I told PSM tonight…I was glad we found a place that has options for both of us. I love that he is accommodating and will try things and go to vegan places with me, but I like the fact that he has more options and there are actually a lot of options for me!

Man…now I’m hungry again!



{May 5, 2021}   Feliz Cinco de mayo

It’s Cinco de mayo. It’s the 5th of May. It’s a celebration, but do we really know why it’s celebrated?

Cinco de mayo is an annual celebration commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. I’m going to let you guess the date! This is not to be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, which does happen, and is celebrated September 16th.

The nice thing about the holiday is it celebrates Mexican-American culture, gives a glimpse into something people may not have exposure to. Granted, in the US, it seems to look like a giant party, with people going to their local, maybe favorite Mexican restaurant, sometimes feeling like an excuse to drink, but when celebrated it lets people see some wonderful and beautiful expressions of love, artistry, and pride, and for those things, how can it be bad.

When my grandfather and his brother left Poland, my grandfather came to the United States through Ellis Island, like so many families, and my great-uncle went to Mexico and started his family there. The family grew and grew and grew and each time we would visit we would get an insiders view of the country and her people. I have so many fond memories of my family, being there for family events, traveling through the country and going places not everyone gets to see. I think of those times and smile.

I learned to speak Spanish a little as a kid, I took French classes all through school, but most of it has been as an adult through travel, and believe it or not, going to Mexican restaurants. One of the things we’ve talked about before is how I try to learn a language before we go to the country and practice as much as possible while we’re there. There are times I start to speak and whoever I’m speaking with repeats it back in English to make sure I knew what I was saying, but I love the times when I speak in Spanish and the conversation just flows, it’s great practice for me and I truly appreciate it.

Spanish is such a beautiful language, how could you not love it. And Mexican culture, so rich and colorful, influenced by a combination of Aztec, Mayan, and European influences. Some of my greatest memories are of the culture, Ballet Folklórico México Danza, Cliff divers in Acapulco, one of the scariest and most awesome sites! Mariachi Bands, Chichen Itza celebrating the Mayan people and culture. One of my favorite places in Mexico is Xochimilco, being on the water in colorful gondola-like boats, eating and seeing the flowers, oh my the flowers, the colors, known as the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, celebrating the idea that we can reunite with our deceased loved ones, I loved how Coco portrayed and honored this tradition. One of my most vivid memories is visiting the house shared by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it’s now the Museo Frida Kahlo, the Blue House. I was nine and saw a painting of hers that honestly gives me nightmares to this day! The Mexican Hat Dance, considered Mexico’s national dance and Jarabe Tapatío, which originated as a courtship dance, is taught in nearly every grade school in Mexico! The colors, the costumes, the traditions! And the food, oh the food, vibrant, sweet, tangy, succulent, fresh, flavorful! I loved the food in Mexico, a fireworks display in my mouth! In a good way.

I hope you were able to get out and celebrate tonight, if it was attending an event, watching a traditional show, enjoying food at your favorite Mexican restaurant, I hope you enjoyed yourself!

I leave you with this Cinco de mayo greeting “¿Dónde estaríamos hoy si no hubiera sido por el Cinco de mayo? Festejemos este día tan especial con el corazón lleno de felicidad y gran orgullo.”



Well…not set an alarm for one! That was easy! We got up eventually, took showers and got ourselves ready to greet the day. First…since we didn’t want to have to carry our bags around the city all day, so we arranged with the hotel to keep the room for the day, wahoo!

Eventually, we ventured out in search of breakfast. I was disappointed that the Chicago Diner ‘Meat Free since ’83’, one of my favorite places to eat in Chicago, unfortunately, it wasn’t open until 12p, maybe next time we go to Chicago, we can eat there. We decided on a place that was less than a mile away, Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe. It had a high rating, so we were excited. We put our names on the waitlist, we didn’t actually have to wait too long, it was quite busy. Chicago seems to still be waking up from quarantine.

When we finally got a seat, we waiting for quite a while before anyone came over to the table, our server was nice enough, but frazzled, according to her, it was crazy busy and they were backed up in the kitchen. Not sure if they had enough staff working. We finally got to order, PSM got his decaf coffee pretty quickly, but my chai latte, on the other hand, came just before the food, which was about 20 minutes later, and it came in a to-go cup, that was a first. I watched several drinks come out of the kitchen like that, I have a feeling they were low on kitchen staff. I was watching the people at the table next to ours, who were seated at the same time we were. Their drinks came at the same time mine did, and they still didn’t have food. Our food got there and we started eating.

We had ordered a vegetable skillet, requesting the hash browns be fully cooked, I don’t know if we’ve talked about this, but I don’t like my hash browns white, still looking like it was a just shredded potato. The veggies were good, the eggs as well. I will say the pancakes were good, we hoped they were since the restaurant was called Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe! The toast, on the other hand, was cold. Oh well.

We headed out for a stroll down Michigan Avenue, also known as The Magnificent Mile. You might be wondering why it’s called Michigan Avenue is known as The Magnificent Mile, click the link! It really is a beautiful street, the flowers are in bloom and one thing Chicago is known for, well in my opinion at least! is the artwork that is found on the streets, be it in the floral arrangements, sculpture, graffiti, even, and you know how much I love graffiti! I didn’t take any pictures of it this trip, sorry.

There were also quite a few businesses boarded up along Michigan Avenue, in preparations for the protests that happened on Friday. Many of those businesses were still open, and the foot traffic was lively, but not unreasonable and everyone was respectful of their space. We made our way to the T-Mobile Flagship Store, PSM had some questions, and if you remember my time in Chicago, I love that particular T-Mobile! After T-Mobile, we walked down Michigan Avenue, our end goal was Millennium Park, just looking in windows and watching people, and taking photos of the flowers as we went.

We were about to pass a Starbucks, what we thought was just an ordinary Starbucks, when it turns out to be quite a bit more than that! It was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Yeah, try saying that 5 times fast! ha ha. I can’t think of a better way to describe it “If Willy Wonka had built the ultimate coffee shop instead of a chocolate factory, the result may have looked a lot like the 15,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery.” That is the description from their website about the first Reserve Roastery that opened in Seattle, of course, where it all began.

The Chicago Reserve Roastery is a five story building and each story houses something different, although, you can get coffee and tee on every floor, although, they don’t have all the same traditional drinks that you would get at your average, on every block, Starbucks. First floor: Coffee, tee, pastry, merchandise. Second floor: dedicated bakery. Third floor: the art, science, and theater of coffee: coffee creations, flights, nitrogen-infused gelato, and more. Fourth floor: Alcohol! A cocktail bar. Fifth floor: Rooftop terrace, reservation required.

It was quite the experience. After we toured each floor, and it really was something to see, and something to see at every turn, we ordered drinks. PSM got an iced decaf something and I didn’t want a hot drink, so I tried to order something similar to the Dragon Drink that I like, which is sweet mango and dragonfruit flavors, with creamy coconut milk, ice and a scoop of real diced dragonfruit. I love it! They didn’t have anything like that so I ordered something the person at the register recommended and I ordered it with oat milk. She looked at me kind of funny, I said I wanted something similar to the dragon drink, here goes. First…they made it incorrectly and while they remade it the way I ordered it, I got to keep the incorrect one. SO glad I did because the one with oat milk…yuck! it was awful! wow!

After Starbucks, we kept walking and eventually ended up in Millennium Park, across from where we had breakfast. We started with The Bean, which is technically Cloud Gate Park, it is a 10-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. Basically, it looks like a giant bean! It was designed by Anish Kapoor. The cool thing about it is when you get under it, your reflection is inverted and sometimes it’s hard to find yourself in it. It was gated off, which makes sense, since so many people get in there and touch it. Safety first! A cool thing…as we were standing there, we saw a couple just after they got engaged, the eruption of cheers and the now fiancé’s tears were very touching!

Then we walked to the gardens, flowers were in bloom, some just coming to life, some dying. I liked that there was one patch where they left the dying flowers to feed the new growth and the insects who live in it.

After the gardens, we walked to the Crown Fountain, two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool, designed by Jaume Plensa. They project images of faces which are animated and in the summer, they are true fountains. The fun thing is to sit and watch all the kids, young and old, running and playing in the fountain/water spouts. Right now, not much water happening.

Then there was an installation by a Chicago based artist, Christine Tarkowski. “When we call the Earth by way of distinction a planet and the Moon a satellite, we should consider whether we do not, in a certain sense, mistake the matter. Perhaps- and not unlikely – the Moon is the planet and the Earth the satellite! Are we not a larger moon to the Moon, than she is to us?

This was the end of our tour of Millennium Park, thoroughly enjoyable! Now, we’re hungry! A few blocks and we are at a place I la la la loved when I was in Chicago, Native Foods. I would not have subjected PSM to an entire weekend of vegan, but I wanted at least one, maybe two meals, and this is the one I got. One of the things I have been thinking about since we planned this trip is their vegan Reuben sandwich, O M G! I lived on it when I was there, introduced so many people to it, who couldn’t believe it wasn’t real and my mouth is watering just thinking about it now! And it was the vegan Reuben I compared all other vegan Reuben’s to.

And guess what they didn’t have… O M G! NOOOOOOOoooo! I was heartbroken, what was I to do?! I ended up with a meatball sub with provolone and sweet potato fries, PSM had a brisket sandwich, remember…all vegan. For dessert, we didn’t care much for the peanut butter parfait, but my other go-to favorite…their oatmeal creme pie! It’s more like an oatmeal whoopee pie, to give you a visual. Oh wow! I was going to say OMG again, but you’re probably tired of it! It is so yummy and good, another thing I got my non-vegan friends hooked on! I still get texts from friends I was on that project with, who will go there on occasion to get just that! Wow, that’s saying something! It’s so tasty, but soo, sooooo, soooo sweet! I couldn’t eat it all in one sitting and it was a little much for PSM, he did try it though, and declared it was all mine! muwahahah. Needless to say, it is going to take me a few days to eat it! Ha ha.

After lunch, back to the hotel to chill for a bit, then head to the airport, we have puppies to see! I can’t wait to find out what they got up to this weekend. First class home, then puppies! What a weekend! What’s our next adventure?!



et cetera