Katra & Karl’s Day Off

With the boys in Springfield at Grandma & Grandpa Ayappa’s house for a few days, Katra and I were able to have a few days to ourselves. On Thursday we followed in the footsteps of one of Chicago’s greats (Ferris Bueller) and drove downtown to visit Millenium Park and the Art Institute. Not having a red Ferrari handy, we settled for the silver minivan.

In Millenium Park. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion visible in the distance

A closer view of the Cloud Gate. If you look carefully you can see my reflection. Katra is a little harder to spot (she's wearing a white shirt).

The view looking up from directly underneath the Cloud Gate. My reflection is visible in at least five places in this one.

Self portrait

Our snack from a nearby cupcake shop. (drool)

Full view of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with a few early arrivals for a concert later in the day.

The recently completed modern art wing of the Art Institute, with the lake visible in the distance.

Part of the Chicago skyline from the bridge to the Art Institute. The building with the diamond face is the Smurfit-Stone Building (yes, that's the real name, and no, I don't think it has anything to do with Smurfs). Just to the left of it is the building where I work. The tall building just to the right is Trump's recently completed hotel.

After touring the new wing of the Art Institute, we stopped to get a drink at Cosi. That's Watermelon Habenero Lemonade. It's spicy and it is FANTASTIC.

Even the Art Institute lions are getting in on the celebration of the Blackhawks' recent Stanley Cup win.

This is the bike that Jack built.

A view of both towers of the fountain. The inside faces are giant display screens showing the faces of various people.

Most of the time, the faces are just staring straight ahead, sometimes smiling and sometimes not. Every five minutes or so, this happens!

Purple Car II

During a recent trip to Michaels, we let Ian pick out a model car. Naturally, he picked the purple one to coordinate with his other purple car, known simply as “Purple Car”. This was a simple snap-together model that didn’t require paint, which was a good fit for Ian’s attention span. He served as the foreman on the construction job, helping me find parts and overseeing the action. Once assembly was complete, he helped me put the stickers on the car.

Inspecting the shipping crate

Always read the instructions

Time for a test drive!

Disney Madness

When do you know you have finally slipped the rest of the way into insanity? When your Disney trip planning looks like this:

We spent probably three hours tonight planning meals, events, and park visits, after many hours spent reading tour guides and restaurant reviews. We used a different color post-it for each park, and yellow for events and meals at the various resorts.

Sadly, this is what it takes when you need to make dinner reservations six months in advance.

Peeps Brûlée

Everyone is familiar with Peeps, the archetypal Easter marshmallow treat, but I bet you didn’t know you’ve been eating them raw all this time. Yes, in order to be truly enjoyed, a normal, everyday peep must first survive a ritual rite of peephood to become the legendary Peep Brûlée.

The first step is a nice impaling, ala Vlad Tepes. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit…

Perhaps more suited for Halloween, this treatment serves well here to protect one’s hand during the second step:

…the trial by fire! Here our lowly peep is subjected to the blue flame of a propane torch just long enough to melt his sugary coating. A little browning is ok, but if blackness sets in you will know that peep was not peep enough for the task.

Once the fires have abated, the peep is allowed to cool briefly, as his once granular coating turns into a crispy, sugary layer of happiness.

Yes, once you have enjoyed Peeps Brûlée, you will never settle for ordinary peeps again.

Only in Chicago

We in Chicago are not content to have our snow simply fall to the ground; around here the snow goes in the opposite direction. Yes, that’s right, the snow falls up. Here’s video proof:

This was taken from my 24th floor office during a very heavy snowstorm today. You have to look closely, but you can see the snow between my building and the adjacent building falling up. At times during the day it was also moving in sideways and round-and-round fashion.