Hungry in Illinois….

As a new Illinois transplant from Arkansas, I am “new” to so much…..so many places to see and eat it boggles the brain!  So, I thought how fun would it be to chronicle some of our “food adventures” for the blogging world.  Let’s call today, Hungry in Illinois Part One.

If you aren’t from Illinois and you ask people about food in the greater Chicago area, you will quickly get “dogs” and “pie” as the foods you must try.  Who am I to argue with those that know best?

Portillo’s.  Dogs, fries, rings, beef and cheddar…and cake.  Started in 1963, it appears this “shack” has turned into a huge business group that I am almost sure puts some type of addictive agent in their dogs.  I don’t really care for hot-dogs and I find myself craving them more than I care to admit. The best buns ever!  It has won so many food awards that it has retired from competition!  The drive-thru is insane.  It’s the most efficient operation I have ever seen.  Ya’ll know that outdoor ordering you can sometimes get at Chick-Fil-A?  Put that on steroids. The line is wrapped around the building pretty much from open to close.  Always a crowd inside too.  The chocolate cake is super!  (Well, I still think mine is better, but for a restaurant cake…it’s tasty!)

The Dog

The Dog and to the side is the “Beef and Cheddar”

I gotta give a shout-out to their rings.  So crunchy….never soggy.  That, my friends, is reason to go even without the dogs that I’m telling ya…got some addictive agent in them.  No…seriously…..that or they put a magnet on your car that pulls your car in without you having any control…sorta like that movie where the spaceship pulls folks in.  Let’s just call it “The Force.”

Oh the argument over the best “pie” in Chicago.  I’ve had folks get pretty heated in this debate.  I’ll be honest. We have only tried one so far.  I kept telling myself before we ate that night, “it’s pizza”….really…how much difference can there be in pizza from our trusted Gusano’s to the “revered” pie of Chicago?

Pizza adventure one:  We go into downtown Naperville (that folks is a blog of it’s own!) and we were thinking “Lou’s” because that’s what we were told beats the other guy hands-down.  Lou, well, you had a two hour wait at 5:30….so we turn the corner and make “Giordano’s” our first “Chicago” pie experience.  (One hour wait and larger venue.)  We put our name on the list and had already been given a heads up to “pre-order” our pie so by the time our table was ready…the pie would shortly follow.  We get our table and the place is PACKED.  Lot of regulars and you could tell we were new….it’s almost like we have that new car smell or something…folks sense it.  Kim, being all new to the portions of a “pie, ” orders a small salad.  Ya’ll yummy in my tummy!  Covered in all the good stuff like pepperoni, salami….so yummy…..then the “pie” comes. (Kim realizes the salad was not her best idea….it’s going to be a full tummy night.)  Ok…here it comes…..Chicago….you can do pie!  You have it down to a science!  The best crust ever.  The best sauce ever.  The perfect ratios on toppings.  Seriously…outstanding.  Giordano’s….home-run.

The Pie

The Pie

We will add Lou’s to our list asap, but I am a Giordano’s fan right now and given the wait is half that of the guy around the corner….well….Lou…you will have to be the “bees knees” to get this Arkansas girl to wait two hours! Just saying…..

We have already eaten at so many yummy places and I cannot wait to tell you about those adventures.  Breakfast, steak, desserts…..Chicago area can do food.  Still on the hunt for those Blackhawk tickets…..one day…one day…..

Until next time….peace out…don’t get stuck in a moment…and just know…the food journey will continue!

See Ya In A Bit….

For me??

The move is complete.  I am now a resident of Illinois…well…not legally…still gotta take care of that pesky issue of getting cars registered here and changing our ID’s and IRS information…but our belongings are here and the bank says we live here.  It’s pretty official.

Today’s post is mostly just to say how thankful I am for the friendships God so blessed me with in Arkansas.  This post today, is for them.  To Stephanie, thank you for coming into all of our lives and for always having that camera ready to go!  (Had to give her a shout-out…without her camera…this post would not be possible today.)

To my Southaven peeps, if you look closely, you will see our very own Mrs. Logan from SHS!  Yes….a grown-up friend.  So cool how life works that way sometimes.

Carole Howard, you were there in spirit!  To those who had illness and such come up, just know I felt all your love.  I’m not sure if there’s a pic of the other side of the table or not, but I was simply overwhelmed that so many of you took time out of your week to come see little ole me.  I have loved each gift in my “warm and fuzzy” basket….I guess it’s just best to leave it this:

YA’LL ARE AWESOME!!!

Enjoy!

The Move is Here……

In about eighteen hours, the moving company will show up to begin the process of moving our life in Arkansas to our new home….Illinois.  I’m sitting in my very familiar house right now simply cherishing that familiarity.  Knowing the quirks of every little nook and cranny.

I just got in today from a week in Illinois.  There were moments that were exciting, such as finding the most amazing grocery store-Mariano’s.  Yet, those amazing moments were outnumbered by all the ones that you just felt “out of place.”  Everything is so foreign and unknown.  There were those moments, such as finding a Chick-Fil-A or seeing a Wal-Mart where I didn’t feel like that new kid at school.  Then, there were those moments where you walk into somewhere that is full of regulars and you instantly feel the eyes looking your way.  Again, the new kid at school.  I suppose right  now it’s sorta like that first day of school as you walk into the cafeteria.  Which group is going to let you sit with them?  Ask you to sit with them?

It is hard to believe that in just over a week, I was able to quickly weed out several suburbs…and we kept coming back to three…and one kept standing out above the rest.  I won’t bore with you with the details of our housing search, but God clearly took care of this and He had it planned from the beginning….I panicked…..and I shouldn’t have.  Twelve months….then we will be heading into closing on our Illinois home…fairly certain it will be Wheaton….but it could be in area close by.  It will just take time to see where we find friends, find a church….feel most at home.  Housing, for now, is way out of  my comfort zone…but I know, especially given how easy it was to acquire, that this is where God wanted us the entire time.  Time to put on my big girl panties and make a town my home.

So, that’s my pity party part of this post.

The good news.  Lee loves his new job.  He is a fixer and he has plenty to do!  The company has been so wonderful to us through this entire process. That’s a God thing.  Family matters.  I matter, because I am married to Lee and Lee works for the company.

More good news.  Everyone that knows me knows I am a grocery store snob.  Mariano’s….oh my goodness….I am in love.  I seriously, no joking, had tears in my eyes as I walked in.  A great grocery store can inspire a cook….inspire a wife….you see beautiful products…well, you just can’t wait to see what you can do with them.  The prices were great and the service was incredible.  I can see me walking in, going to the right to get me a hot tea, then beginning my shopping.

Even better news.  Ya’ll, I am going to love the ease of getting to those things you go to on a weekly/daily basis.  I will miss the dark nights living in Bella Vista has provided, but I am overjoyed to know that my longest drive is seven miles for anything I could possibly need.  (And that’s downtown Naperville, which will likely by our Saturday night go to spot.)

Snow isn’t so bad when it doesn’t stop life.  I honestly had quit noticing it on the ground by mid-week.  The cold is tolerable…it’s just a matter of down and the right footwear.  Down is my friend…as are my Sorel boots.  Oh and gloves and a scarf.

I think I kinda stick out….so I’m going with that as good news.  If I stick out, then more will reach out-right???  Lee and I were wondering if we had a sign on us that said, “we are new, ” the other night.  I am ok with glances by folks as they try to figure out who you are….but a couple of folks…I’m calling it full out stalker stare.

There’s a Benefit bar in downtown Naperville…and that’s great news.  Good eyebrows are a must.

We have started our pizza tasting…and first one was Giordarno’s.  Tasty.  Very tasty…..although, I have been told very loudly that Lou’s is the best.  Guess that is next.

Portello’s…..enough said.  Geez…I don’t even like hotdogs and found myself craving this on more than one occasion!

I return that way this coming weekend….and then it will be a matter of storage and unpacking life for this part of our journey.  New doctors, new everything…and gasp, a new hairdresser. Considering trying Free Evangelical churches first..as they seem to most line up with the SBC doctrine.  Wonder if they have assigned seating too?  🙂

So, life is moving along….I can either stay stuck or move with it.  I think I may stay stuck for a couple of days…but I know I have to move with it.

I’ll update as it goes…but soon…expect more than just what’s going on with me posts….

Hugs and Kisses….

How can you not love this?

How can you not love this?

A Life In Transition

Just a quick update of a promise of a long blog entry this coming weekend.

Lessons already learned in two days:
1. Finding a temporary rental is much different than in Northwest Arkansas. What? Builders here don’t rent brand new homes? It takes how many days for approval????
2. It snowed Sunday evening/night. Nothing stops. Nothing closes early. Trucks are out during the snow spraying who knows what….but roads are clear!
3. A hot dog can be worth the wait. Sadly, I missed the memo to get the chocolate cake. Will remedy that today.
4. REI and I are now best friends. Smartwool socks and a pair of new Sorel boots. My feet are ready….come on winter!

Lastly, I am quickly learning how friendly everyone here is. This area gets major brownie points as not one single person has asked a question about my voice or mimicked me. Pretty awesome.

Now, if I could just find a place to live for twelve months.

Moving a Life…One Foot In, One Foot Out and Isaiah

faith

We are in a sea of boxes, a sea of disorganization, a sea of organized chaos….we are in those final steps of getting a home ready to be loaded on a truck for interstate travel.  We are in limbo.  One foot in, one foot out.  And yet, just as I am looking around and begin to ask God what in the world He has asked us to do…..I see a posting about Isaiah 43.  Silly Kim.  How can I question His plan when He, in all his power, made a road through the desert….asked of His people to trust Him, because He has already made the way.  Yet, here I am typing, looking at a sea of boxes and asking Him just that…..my Human is in fully force.

I suppose this season of “lasts” has made me a tad more emotional than I want to be, but my Human is honestly starting to freak out.  Still, I trust.  I trust God’s plan and I trust Lee’s direction.  Still freaking out.  I sat in church Sunday and honestly can’t tell you three words the pastor said…I was too busy looking around soaking it all in….that last Sunday to sit in “our chosen pew” (Cause ya’ll know us Baptist got assigned seating!)….the last Sunday to get those sweet and precious hugs from what we refer to as “widow row.”  Yet, I sat there realizing I no longer “fit.”  One foot in, one foot out. God is already moving me forward, if I keep trusting Him to do so and not force my feet to stay planted.  (What my Human self desires to do.)

There was the last time at Marketplace Grill, Mr. B’s, Slim Chickens, last visits as a resident with dear friends….the last time our Josh would board a plane back to college from this airport.  I know we will be back, but never again as a resident.  We will be visitors.  That’s an odd notion to wrap your head around during this process.

There are so many boxes and totes…we are literally moving a life.  Twenty-eight years of marriage, of life….boxed carefully and ready to be transported.  To the outsider, just stuff, but to me….my life.  From the silly notes Josh wrote to his Dad many years ago, the tote full of at least 100 matchbox cars, a box full of Meg’s memories from pageants, high school…..finding my bouquet from my sister’s wedding (yes, it was silk)….our wedding album….treasures that have been passed down from grandparents, parents, friends….old Bible study books with notes that fit that season….a life…in boxes.  Realizing I need to stop soon and write the history to certain items so that those memories, those facts are passed down and that item doesn’t just become stuff.  (My Granny Page was a master historian.  I treasure that quality so much now that she is gone and I can look at things passed down and her notes remind me of why it was given to me…what it meant to the person it came from.)

So, it’s here.  Forty-eight hours until we head that way to find housing and one week until the movers pull into the driveway.  Moving a life…..one foot in and one foot out….with the hope of His promise that He has made the way so that soon I will type…both feet in.

Isaiah 43:16-21 MSG

16-21 This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
    they lie down and then can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me.

Paper and Paper Cuts

Today’s entry is of little importance in the grand scheme of things, but I felt the compelling need as I sipped my freshly brewed coffee to lament today’s biggest issue in my life.  (Speaking of coffee, my sister gave me a bag of coffee from Muletown Roasted Coffee in Columbia, TN and it is VERY tasty!!!  You should buy some!)

There are boxes and tape and tape-guns and sharpies and bubble wrap and packing paper everywhere these days.  My house looks a tad like a war-zone and I really have felt sorry for the trash guys each week as they pick up our trash. I am confident they are wondering where in the world this hoarder came from.

Today’s issue is that packing paper and the bodily injury it is causing me.  How in the world can something so light, so thin cause such injury!!!  I imagine my hands are beginning to look like those that one would assume belonged to Edward Scissorhands.  Paper cuts, well, they hurt.  They shouldn’t.  It’s not deep, but the way that paper slices through that top layer of skin…ouch!

So, that’s today’s entry.  Much-a-do about nothing!  Paper cuts.

This stuff....should come with a warning label!

This stuff….should come with a warning label!