New Puppies for the Sliwa Household

We spent considerable time debating if and when we should add puppies back to the Sliwa household.  Nancy had picked out a name years ago (“Beckett”), but we still had to consider the options.

We decided to plunge ahead and start 2017 with new puppies.  We scoured the internet for information and after numerous starts decided the best approach would be for Steve to pick one and for Nancy to pick one.  Our first dogs, Honey and Chandelle were Golden Retrievers.  That was great but we decided diversity in breeds and similar ages would be a better solution.  There was some appeal to having two very similar dogs again, but decided each would pick a different breed as well as a specific pup and we would get them as close to the same age as possible.

I went first and decided that I wanted to get another Standard Poodle.  Losing Pixie was hard on me and this seemed like a good approach for filling the void.  I was thinking maybe white or silver, but was intrigued by getting a red one.  This honors Honey and Angel as well.  I selected a litter at Springer Clan Standard Poodles (link).  The pups were born on 11/11/16 to a black female that reminded me of Pixie and beautiful Red male.  I got on the list as the 2nd customer for one of the 4 red females in the 10 dog litter.

On puppy pick day (where the families are invited to visit in order of their selection preference) I was introduced to a couple of red females.  I put Shale on her back and she resisted a bit then went with the flow, which is the response I prefer.  Thereafter she followed me around constantly.  So we like to say that Shale picked me out.

I chose the name Brandy.  The first persons to suggest the name were Lynn Kimpan followed by her husband and my business school buddy, Jeff Kimpan, about 30 minutes later.  We decided to go with the spelling of the drink since that’s her color.

As I was honing in on Brandy, Nancy decided she wanted a mini Golden Doodle.  She wanted something a bit smaller than our last dogs to make it easier to lift into cars and planes than our goldens. Obviously, she loves both the golden personality and the poodle lack of shedding.  She also wanted a deep red color.  After research, she discovered the Irish Goldendoodle.  This has even more gene diversity, Irish Setters shed less than Golden Retrievers, and the combination of the intelligence of Golden Retriever and Poodle should be a big help.

So Beckett was selected from Sandy Ridge Puppy Farm (link link).  Beckett was born 11/17/16, just 6 days after Brandy.  Nancy also had pick number 4 but did this remotely.

On Brandy’s puppy pick-up day we traveled about 75 minutes to Surprise AZ and rendezvoused when all of the owners were picking up.  We all got briefed at the same time and met the other new owners.  We got Brandy home and she was quiet but seemed to appreciate our affection.

We tried to get her into a routine before Beckett arrived and she was making progress.  She had been inoculated just the day before we left and we think that knocked her down a bit.  She started running around and grew quite a bit.

Our plan was for Nancy to fly to Iowa to pick up Beckett.  She arrived the night before and met at the farm at 8 AM.  It was a two-hour drive to Des Moines airport, a three-hour wait, and then 2.5-hour flight home.  I met them at the airport and everyone was fine.  Beckett is less timid and more assertive than Brandy.  Probably a good think given that she will probably give was a few inches in size and a good 15 lbs in weight.

When we got her home we orchestrated the first visit and it went slow.  But within about 30 minutes everyone was playing and happy.  Even Casper, the 22-year-old cat, wanted to get in on the fun.

It’s now been 2 full days and everything is getting into a new order.  I would call it chaos.  I originally thought that having the two learning at the same time would bring some order; like having a pair did previously.  But being virtually the same age while very young is causing some JJDI (Joint Juvenile Delinquency and Independence) which is exasperated by schedules which are not yet synchronized … or at least that’s my position at this point.

Nonetheless, it has been loads of fun so far and we are looking forward to our journey ahead.

Here is a link to some SmugMug galleries:  Brandy • Beckett  • both

A brief gallery of puppy pick-up experience is below:

Coastal Inland Waterway – 2016

We agreed to meet friends Peter & Gigi when they traveled south from Boston to Florida via the inland coastal waterway in their 90′ yacht.  We selected the portion from Annapolis (DC area) to Norfolk.  This would also give us a chance to visit with friends and former environs as well.

We arrived Friday evening October 8 and rendezvoused with Peter & GG at the Embassy Suites – Foggy Bottom.  I had made reservations here thinking this would be closer to GG’s former hangout in Georgetown and being recently renovated would be a good deal. Unfortunately, the renovations were still ongoing and the parking was not convenient.  So dragging our friends there might not have been ideal, but we all made the best of it.

They were supposed to look for a restaurant for us for that night.  They walked around but didn’t spot any to recommend.  Peter said he wanted a steak, so we opted for spontaneous reservations at the Capital Grille via OpenTable and taxied over.  Everyone admitted that our meal was excellent.

Saturday morning we took the metro to DCA and got a rental car.  We drove to Easton to meet the Hazen’s at Londonderry on the Tred Avon, which is a senior community near their childhood and previous retirement home and near family in Annapolis.  We had lunch with them in the dining room, which had a wide range of offerings.  We spent the afternoon catching up as it had been a year since our last visit.  We had dinner with Art & Roselee Roberts at Scossa restaurant there in Easton that evening.  Art was my DC consultant at ERAU and helped us move several projects forward including the Lehman Center.  We drove back to DC that night and took the metro back to Foggy Bottom.

Sunday we met Peter & GG for breakfast and decided to taxi to the Air & Space Museum.  We watched an interesting 3D movie in the IMAX Theatre and after a couple of hours we migrated to the National Gallery of Art.  We had lunch in the Cafe.  We split up.  I went to an exhibit that described the building of the Museum itself, which was primarily started as gift by Paul Mellon, of which I was unaware.  He chose the name and built it near the Smithsonian to insure we had a national gallery in our capital city.  We then spent some time at the American Indian Museum.  The new African-American museum is now open on the mall, but it was heavily booked for private showings.

Interestingly, our guests from Europe are heavily influenced by the mainstream media and, therefore, couldn’t understand why there was any blue vs red controversy in the US.  Clearly the blue is right and the red is wrong.  We taxied back to the hotel with an African American driver who was a big supporter of Trump.  He was quite animated, explained a number of the controversies on the blue side and with Hillary, and then said Trump’s victory will be HUGE … HUGE.  It was an eye opener for them.  They wanted to watch the debate that night so we had a really nice dinner at the Grillfish (sustainable seafood, oysters, and meats) around the corner.   After the presidential debate (#2), they agreed with us that we don’t have a good option for which to vote.  Also agreed that it may be coming down to registering a non-vote (skip that part of the ballot) or voting against the candidate for which you are most against (hard to pick).

The next morning (Monday Oct 10) we packed up into the rental car and stopped in Georgetown on the way back.  It gave an opportunity for Gertrud to visit some of her old haunts (Dean & Deluca, Potomac Wine & Spirits, and others.)  We then traversed to Annapolis with some gymnastics to maneuver around traffic jams.  After we boarded the boat I stayed behind to log in and do some online meetings and work.  The others went shopping for food and turned in the rental car.

We had refreshments and a nice dinner on board.  Then Peter and GG taught us how to play Rummikub.  They had been talking about this for awhile and they were anxious to pull us into their circle.  We ended up playing each night for a couple of hours.  Generally, Peter and GG are nearly addicted. 🙂   Fortunately, Nancy and I picked it up quick enough and we even each had a couple of victories over the course of the week.

The boat departed Annapolis at 7AM on Tuesday morning.  This particular morning the bow thrusters were needed to help maneuver out of the dock and that woke up Nancy, but she went back to sleep.  Generally, I worked until about 1AM each night and then got up at 7AM to work until brunch, usually about 10:30AM.  Then I mostly spent time with friends from brunch until Rummikub each night.  On this particular morning, we ended up going to Reedville.

Reedville was very interesting as it was founded by Captain Elijah Reed as a key port for harvesting menhaden fish (small herring-like fish).  The menhaden are processed into fish oil, margarine, pet food, livestock feed additives, etc.  The port processes about 500 million pounds of fish per year, making it the largest (by pound) port in the US.  In fact, in 1888 it had the largest per capita income in the US.  Now it is quaint and isolated still with a population of about 500.

We walked down Millionaire’s Row and viewed the old victorian houses.  We met a nice women who told us about town and then urged us to visit the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum, which we really enjoyed and can recommend.  We had dinner that night onboard and departed the next day (Wednesday) at 7AM again.

We arrived at Yorktown Riverwalk Marina shortly afternoon.  This was a treat as Nancy and I lived in Yorktown after getting married while we were still working at NASA Langley.  I got the rental car while the other 3 visited town and we rendezvoused at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor’s center.  The movie was great describing the battle and siege at Yorktown.  That night was chili for dinner and, of course, more Rummikub.

The next morning we hosted Al and Juleen Jackson for lunch at the Riverwalk Restaurant.  After giving a tour of Magic Moments, Nancy and I took the rental car and rendezvoused with GG and Peter at Jamestown Settlement.  It has been greatly improved and they are about to open the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown.  We then toured a portion of Colonial Williamsburg on foot, saw a canon firing ceremony, and had refreshments at Chowning’s Tavern.  We had dinner (with reservations) at the Kings Arms Tavern.  We all had dishes we liked and the ambiance was excellent.

I dropped them off and then returned the rental car.  By the time I got back, I had only missed 1.5 games of Rummikub and we finished that night with each winning at least one game.

The next morning we left for Norfolk.  This is an area where Nancy and I had also spent quite a bit of time.  Tabitha was born here, Dave had lived here, Nancy spent here last year of high school here, finished college at ODU, and lived here when she was starting here career at NASA.  We even got married at the Hermitage Museum (link).  We tied up at the old Waterside Center (currently being rebuilt) and walked around for awhile before heading to the airport.

All in all it was a good trip.  We enjoyed the cruising and the site seeing but especially visiting with our friends GG & Peter, Hazen’s, Robert’s and Jackson’s.  We wished we had time to spend in Yorktown/Norfolk as there are dozens of friends with who we would have liked to visit, but it’s a busy time at Seeq.

 

Sloan Mini-Reunion 2016 – Twin Cities

Jerry Johnson did a terrific job hosting us for this mini-reunion.  In attendance were Steve & Barbara Benz, Roger & Gloria Flynn, Mike McSorley, Jerry Johnson & Stacy Bee, Hide & Julia Nobumori, Steve & Nancy Sliwa, and Tom & Anita Webber (Wednesday evening only).  Amy Bertelsen of Jerry’s company was the event coordinator and she overlapped with us a bit.

Jerry and Stacy went above and beyond in pulling this trip together.  First,  Jerry was busy at work and life was complicated by the first Vikings game the weekend before and the Ryder Cup the week after.  Jerry and his company were sponsors and it was a busy time for him.  On top of all this, Stacy delivered Jackson Jasper Jerome Johnson (J-quad) about ten days before our arrival.  The little guy needed a hernia operation but came home during our stay.  Unbelievably, J-Quad attended several events with us, was remarkably quiet, and was held my several of us.  Stacy and J-Quad deserve medals for their perseverance.

Roger & Gloria arrived in town early to visit with other friends.  The good news is they were able to attend the 1st Football game in the new stadium as Jerry’s guest the Sunday before we rendezvoused.  More on Suite 16 later.

Due to all of the activities, Jerry decided to book us into the Minneapolis Club downtown.  This ended up being a great location that was quite comfortable.  Mike, Tom & Anita, and Hide & Julia arrived Wednesday.  The plan was to eat at Manny’s Steakhouse a couple of blocks away.  Some airplane issues complicated the arrivals.  Nancy & I missed were having airplane problems (Nancy’s new Cirrus was having some teething problems) and then Steve & Barb were having weather travel problems.  In any case, I understand that it was a good kick-off to our event with a cocktail reception in Foshay Tower and then dinner.

Thursday morning the crew met after breakfast to cruise Lake Minnetonka.  The Benz’s and Sliwa’s arrived at MSP and Jennifer arranged for us to limo to the Lafayette Club so we could join the crew for lunch. We then cruised back to the boat club and bussed back to the Minneapolis Club.  We met downstairs to depart 5:30Pm for dinner at the Sea Change restaurant.  Afterwards we attended the Guthrie Theatre for the play Sense & Sensibility.

Friday morning the group (less Steve S) headed by Light Rail to the Mall of America.  Jerry, Stacy’s mom, and & Jasper (J-cubed) met the group for some shopping.  Lunch was held at Crave.  The group (less Mike & Nancy) took the light rail back into Minneapolis and met Steve S at the US Bank Stadium for a personal guided tour.  You’ll see some pictures below.  It was quite impressive and we especially enjoyed seeing Suite 16.  That’s Jerry’s company’s suite near the 50 yard line.  It was awesome and so far the Vikings are undefeated defending their new stadium (1-0).  We hope their good fortunes continue.

It started to pour the rain.  So Steve S arranged for an Uber SUV.  Several of the group hadn’t used Uber before so Steve showed them how it works.  We were picked up in about 5 minutes and got dropped off under the canopy, avoiding the heavy rain.

We met downstairs for a Chef Cooking Class & Dine event there in the club.  We all thought that it made for quite a memorable experience.  We divided into three teams.  Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert.  Preparations took about 90 minutes, but there were some snacks and drinks available for the idle hands.  We had to watch Mike, though, as it was a challenge to keep him from eating in the kitchen before the meal was served.

Each of the team shared the load and then each team was suppose to present what they learned about preparing the dish.  Chef Steve Benz with sous chef Jerry Johnson won the presentation challenge.  Steve presented for almost 10 minutes with his best “Inspector Clouseau” accent [Marc would have cringed] with highlights and commentary contributed from Jerry.  We were rolling on the floor and thought it was quite hilarious.  Interestingly, the video clips we watched the next day weren’t quite as funny, so I think a liberal use of wine prior to watching might be needed to fully simulate the experience.

What was especially nice was that J-Quad joined us.  He had just gotten home from the hospital from his surgery and stayed with us for nearly 3 hours.  He was quiet and happy.  Several Sloans and spouses got to hold that little guy … he’s a fighter.  That might be helpful to him for his hockey career.

Saturday morning we met at 9AM.  We loaded onto the tour bus and headed for the waterfront section of town.  One group did the Mill City Museum and the other group did a Segway Tour of the waterfront area with a quick stop at the Mill City Museum.  No one fell on the Segways and by the end we all qualified for Segway driver’s licenses.

We had lunch there in the waterfront at Aster’s Cafe and then took the Tour Bus to St. Paul.  We toured the Wabasha Caves.  It housed speakeasy’s during prohibition and now is used as a party venue and historical tour spot.  Apparently some paranormal sitings are common in this location and the tour guide thought Mike might have video-recorded something unusual and he suggested that we get in touch with some experts for verification. [experts]

We then were given a Gangster tour of St. Paul.  We had a person enacting Tom Brown, the corrupt police chief in the 1930’s, as our tour guide.  He took us around via bus and showed us where various criminals hung out, where some of the shoot-outs occurred, and regaled us on behind the scenes stories.  Turns out the gangsters of Chicago (John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Babyface Nelson, et al) needed a vacation spot and many chose St. Paul.  This was partially facilitated by the corruption of the local police.  It all made for an interesting story.

We capped our time together with dinner in St. Paul at Pazzaluna.  We had yet another great dinner.  However, this one was particularly special as Mike led us remembering and toasting our lost comrades — Barbara & Norm.  We shared some fond memories and agreed that we are all richer because of our interactions with them and that we will keep their memories alive.

We broke up Sunday morning with most heading home.  The Benz’s stayed for the Ryder Cup.  Mike was predicting a landslide, but he got the winner wrong. Roger and Gloria were driving to Florida.  Hide and Julia headed back to Pittsburgh.

Here are some quick news updates and observations:

  • Jerry’s business EMC is going strong and he is quite active in the community.  Stacy was amazing as she spent a lot of time with us just days after delivering J-Quad and she fit right in with Sloans.
  • Hide is Sr. VP in a joint venture between Siemens and Mitsubishi and is living in Pittsburgh.  The kids are in Japan and doing well.  Hide and Julia expect to move to Japan when he retires to take up the role of the oldest son.  His father is living in his house while they are here.
  • Steve Benz says he really is going to retire and has set a date for this spring.  However, he mentioned something about consulting back to the organization and ya-da ya-da ya-da.  We shall see.  They are splitting time between South Carolina and Florida.
  • Roger and Gloria split time between Colorado and Florida.  I think he is up to 8 boats and about to take delivery of another one.  Gloria says this will be first time he will actually give one up so the number gets smaller.  I looked at Roger and I remain unconvinced.
  • Mike is busy helping the University of Toronto and traveling.  He plans to sell his place in England and is working to get a green card to enable him getting a place in Florida.  Right now Jerry, the Benz’s, and the Flynn’s have places in Florida along with Betsy.  Perhaps Mike will be near by.
  • My new business, Seeq, is keeping me quite busy. We split time between the Columbia River Gorge (1 hour east of Portland OR) and Arizona.

We are sorry more couldn’t make this mini-reunion, but hope to you see you all at one in the future.

Cheers,

Steve Sliwa
Twin Cities Reunion Reporter

Here are some pictures:

 

 

Nancy Gets a New Airplane

We traveled to Duluth, MN to pick up our new aircraft from Cirrus Aircraft on Sunday August 28.  Nancy was arriving from TN, where she was staying with her mom.  I arrived from our home in the Gorge.  It worked out that we shared the same commuter flight into Duluth as the last leg.  We stay down in the waterfront area of Duluth at the Hampton Inn.  That first night we had dinner at the Canal Park Brewing Company.

We reported to the Cirrus Customer Reception area on Monday morning.  Laura Olsen was our Aircraft Ownership Liaison and she had prepped the aircraft acquisition.  One nice thing is that between her and our regional sales rep, David Fossler, that had us equipped with some pretty nice gifts.  Presumably these were somewhat earned by the fact that this was our second Cirrus.

We also met our CFI, Joe Peterson.  Joe was a recent grad of UND and was a member of their NIFA Team (think flying competition).  During his time on the team they placed 2nd and 3rd in the nation.  UND is really a power house.

N165MW_New_CirrusWe were introduced to our new plane, got to go over it, in fairly good detail.  The paint job picked out by Nancy is pretty awesome, I think.  Although this is one of their options we were told that this particular combination of features (interior and exterior) may have not been picked yet and that they agreed with us that it was pretty awesome.  In landing patterns, saying Yellow Cirrus seems like a natural.  Those reading this that know Nancy know that she currently has a yellow Porsche, which I believe is her 3rd yellow car.

Then we got to take a check flight.  Nancy did the flying and Joe was relieved when she made a relatively nice landing.  Apparently some people try to make Cessna landings and it can be hard to break them of the habit.  Nancy has been pretty awesome with her landings ever since her East Coast trip in the TBM without her CFI hubby.

Shortly after the flight we completed the paperwork.  We had previously had a pre-buy inspection completed by a third party, OneSource.  There were a few minor punchlist items and they were able to square them away before our arrival.  Actually, during our flying we had couple of issues for them to troubleshoot related to the equipment.  But they basically handled them overnight once we identified them.

We basically reviewed the training process with Joe, did some ground work with him, and then we did our part to clean out the Cirrus store.  We got things for the plane, for Nancy, and for hubby.

SMS_404About this time Nancy narrowed down the name for her bird.  Generally, her 99’s buddies name them and try to use the alpha characters at the end of the N-number (FAA registration number or tail number) to influence the name.  Susan’s recent bird was M for Mikey.  Marcie’s bird is ZA for Zack.  Nancy’s tail number is N165MW.  This comes from the year (2016) and her favorite number (5 – since she was born 10 – 5 – 55) and MW for her business name, Morning Wings.  She tried on Maxwell (MaxWell) for size and it has stuck.  We all think it’s a great name.  In fact, it remind Nancy of a cute T-Shirt popular amongst geeks.  The T-Shirt is excerpted to the right.  It combines a quote from Genesis and Maxwell’s Equations governing electromagnetic waves (light).

We had the best of intentions heading home to go to another nice restaurant on the waterfront, but we were hungry and didn’t make it that far.  We stopped at the Texas Roadhouse and had some good comfort food.  We then stopped at a grocery store and picked up some items for the room.

We arrived the next morning and told Joe that reports from home weren’t good about Pixie.  We suggested that we changed the schedule a bit and see if he can get me finished by the next day so that I could take a flight home.  So I got 2 flights that day.  One was quite a bit of VFR maneuvers (stalls, slow flight, landings (full flap, partial flap, no flap), short field landings.  The other one had some instrument work including and three some extra approaches and landings as well, including power-off from abeam the numbers (it falls out of the sky like a rock).

We had lunches in the Cirrus dining room and got to meet some of the executives.  Joe generally ate with us and Laura joined us a couple of times.  The lunches were catered in and were quite good.  We enjoyed the conversations with the Cirrus leaders and the other people picking up their planes.  One common topic was the new Vision SF50 or generally called the Cirrus Jet.  There were 3 models generally building flight time while we were there and the discussion was how much fun it would be to own one.

On the advice of Joe, we went that night to the Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar, walking distance from our hotel. The food was exceptional and the atmosphere great.  We stopped at Coldstone Ice Creamery on the way back to cleanse the pallet.

The next morning we came in and did some ground school with Joe followed by heavy simulator session.  We pulled the chute in many scenarios (BTW Chute Happens – Live with It!).  On one scenario I had been vectored around for an ILS approach down to minimums with various failures and went around to try again.  I got more failures and in the end was hand flying in reversionary mode on one of the displays with alternator failures, sensor failures, radio failures, and managed to nurse it back in for another approach.  Weather was ‘reported’ to be acceptable, but it was below minimums again.  As I executed a miss I got some more failures, so I decided what the heck, and circled around using one of my GPS that was still available and tried to get it right over the airport and pull the chute.  I missed the Cirrus parking lot (my target from 2000′) but got credit for trying.  🙂

We did some more reviews that afternoon and then I snuck out to the airport and headed home to take care of Pixie.  She wasn’t eating and was pretty wobbly.  She immediately took care of her business and then proceeded to sleep soundly with me there.  Within a couple of days she was back to her normal, but elderly self.

Nancy continued her training getting in several more flights on Thursday morning, afternoon, and Friday morning.  She was getting ready to complete her paperwork and couldn’t find her medical.  She has complications related to their concerns with some of her medications.  For some reason, we think, the updated paperwork and medical did not arrive.  So after to some trauma, we found the magic phone number at the FAA to call.  They faxed a copy of medical and she was cleared to go after lunch.

She decided to fly from Duluth to Bismarck, ND without and instrument flight plan.  It was a quick flight of about 2 hours.  She landed and got a ride to the Radisson Bismarck Hotel that was downtown.  I spotted the Peacock Alley American Restaurant & Grill on OpenTable and helped Nancy to get a reservation.  She took a little walk around town and made it there.  She ordered pink cocktail, salad,steak, and sweet potato waffle fries and the sent me pictures to be jealous that I couldn’t be with her.

She had some troubles getting her airplane bill paid the next morning but got of under instrument conditions.  She decided to deviate south due to PIREPS of icing and turbulence directly on route.  She did a refueling and rest stop at Bozeman, MT.  As she was flying in I told her brother how he could follow her on FlightAware and listen to her on LiveATC.

She ended up arriving at the Dallesport about 3PM.  We putzed around a bit with our new towbot and got it in the hangar in a good position.  She left for home and I put some love on her plane and connected up some more systems (for her).

So we have welcomed a new addition to the family (Maxwell) and I am just hoping that Nancy lets me fly him once in awhile.

 

 

Chicago Weekend with the Nordlunds

We arranged for a fun weekend and agreed to meet the Nordlunds in Chicago.  They were going to drive up from St. Louis to take an extended weekend vacation.  Finding such a weekend in the summer can be tough with all of the camps, sports, and summer activities that tend to occupy the kids.  Webbie reminded me that I had long told him how much I enjoyed Chicago as a kid and especially the Museum of Science and Industry.

We had prepped Pixie for the long stay without us.  Our biggest concern is that she wouldn’t eat while we were gone.  But Heidi and her family adapted our 30-minute demonstration on all of the methods we used entice her to eat and they found one that worked most of he days while we were gone.

Thursday, July 28
We departed the house at 4:40AM to catch our 7AM flight.  We arrived at the airport with sufficient time for Nancy to get a Starbucks.  We decide to check bags and I had sprung for First Class tickets (Nancy tends to avoid the grumpies if she gets more space to relax).

We landed about 40 minutes early on the tarmac but there were thunder and lightning rainstorms ongoing which caused them to close down the ramp.  Since our gate required us to be guided in by ramp hand, we were stuck for nearly an hour before proceeding to the gate.  The ramp slow down also slowed our baggage arrival and then rush hour traffic in the cab was also slow.  Bottomline, it took almost as long to fly to Chicago as it took to go from touchdown to the hotel.

We stayed at the Magnificent Mile Embassy Suites which is about 2 blocks from the Magnificent Mile Marriott at which the Nordlunds were staying.  We agree to meet them at 5:30PM at the happy hour in our lobby.

We met with for dinner with the Capozzi’s at the Seven Lions.  It was great to see Heidi, Brian, Ella, and Julia.  Kristi Garwood was even in town and was able to join us as well.  It was fun hiking by the Lallapalooza as well in Grant Park.

Friday, July 29
We rendezvoused that morning for some shopping.  Nancy took Althea for some clothes shopping and found a couple of cute outfits.  The boys went to Under Armour (I got a new golf shirt) and then we boys hiked to the Navy Pier and back for the exercise and to stake it out for later that night.

Our big event today is the Cubs & Mariners game.  We decide to take the Subway/El and arrive to see the opening of the game.  Having lived in Seattle, the Nordlunds are pretty strong Mariners fans.  I like them well enough being from the Pacific Northwest, but being born in Chicago makes me partial to the Cubs as well.  So I decide to cheer for both sides.  Since the Cubs won 12-1, I was the only one cheering.

We take the Subway/El back to Grand.  That night we walked to Navy Pier, have dinner at Harry Caray’s Tavern and rode the Centennial Wheel, a major request from and favorite of Althea.

Saturday, July 30
Met at the Marriott at 10AM and Beth demonstrate her driving skills to get us to the Museum of Science and Industry.  Between the built in GPS and two iPhone GPSs we only have to do 3 U-turns in city traffic.  Not too bad.

As mentioned above, I love the MSI.  Some of the main exhibits we did included the model train board (perhaps 100 feet long), coal mine, DARPA exhibit, and the U-Boat tour.   I figure we got to see about 50% of the museum at a fast pace.  We left at about 4PM sufficiently saturated.

We met for a quick dinner at Whole Foods, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel  It has a small eat-in area so we just went to the deli, picked out some good stuff, and had some treats.  We then took Uber cabs to the Comedy Sportz club event.  It was improv comedy, but limited to family style entertainment (no vulgarity).  I think we all got some good laughs and appreciated the cleverness of some of the routines.

We took the El-Subway home and got to bed late quite late.

Sunday, July 31
We rendezvous again at the Marriott and Beth drives us to the Field Museum.  On the way we were slowed waiting for a massive motorcycle parade to pass.  We later found out that it was a Memorial Motorcycle Ride to Pay Tribute to Fallen Chicago Police Officers.  It was quite fun and sometimes it just pays to be in the right place at the right time.

At the Field Museum we were able to see Sue (the dinosaur) , the Terracotta China exhibit, 3D China, and a variety of other exhibits.

We then walked over to the Shedd Aquarium, had lunch and did 3 of the shows there.  This was a favorite of the kids.  Items that the kids really seemed to like included the sea otters, dolphins, Beluga whales, penguins, and the pettable sting-rays.  We departed about 4PM having seen about half of the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium.  All of these sites are large.

We got back at about 5PM and agreed to meet at the Hancock Building.  We had 6:30PM reservations for the Signature Room on the 95th floor.  We had a great view and good meal.  We then walked back to the hotels and completed an awesome weekend in Chicago. SmugMug gallery is here:  link.  Blog gallery follows: