So, realizing how much money we were saving over that time period and how self-sacrificing it was of me to actually do the trip, I bought a CAKE. A white cake with the whipped frosting, which puts all buttercreams to shame, and glorious life-is-actually-a-pastry red roses. Not a single birthday or holiday in sight. Jake and I poured over the choices - balloons, cupcakes with plastic animal heads on toothpicks . . . we settled on the roses, and I told him right then and there. This is the reason you should want to be a grown up.
Admittedly, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The roses (the little tricksters!) were buttercream. A store-bought kind of flavor that bled into the entire culinary experience, decreasing the allure. But I was still so proud that I took this picture of what it means to get to make silly, inconsequential decisions all the time all on your own that could very well make life richer - at least for the evening.
The new book I'm reading (by the author we met) is set in Chicago. How much do I love Chicago now? I've had to research it for work, and I am so embarrassed that I didn't realize my pretty little midwest had such a treasure. Because, you know, I'm claiming it now. Navy Pier, Grant Park, Cloud Gate - the book talks about them all, and because I've researched them, I almost feel that I've seen and touched them - or at least that I have some sort of ownership in their greatness. I still dream of New York, but People, Chicago is a train ride from here, and it is so on my list. Someday I'll buy that train ticket just like I purchased that cake. I wrote about the Art Institute of Chicago on the Student Travel blog today, and posted pictures of its miniature rooms display, which looks dee-lightful. Linking to that blog post justifies the fact that the writing of this one bled a teensy bit into the work day. Which brings me full circle, because that's just what those buttercream roses did.