Tuesday, July 21, 2009

up, up and away

Awaiting the blue line (note my vintage, BKF-initialled Lands' End duffel, circa 1981)

Paula and me on Brady Street

"Before," 9:57 a.m.

Watching it unfold

With wings outstretched

MAM entrance skylight peppered with a Calder

Ethan and I thoroughly enjoyed our hop up to Milwaukee two weekends ago, to visit our friends Paula and Marie. Paula and I met nearly seven years ago, in a prenatal yoga class when we lived in Chicago, and I'm thrilled we became friends and are still in touch. Since her 6 y-old and husband were away camping, Ethan and I had the pleasure of setting up camp in Shorewood for a couple days. The weekend whizzed by as swiftly as the Amtrak that took us there. Ethan absorbed as much about the train trip as he could, flipping the tray table, testing the bathroom, admiring the luggage rack, following the schedule, and enjoying (or enduring, he's such a sweet kid) my string of train stories from my previous travels.

Within an hour or so of arriving in WI, we were at the beach, stripping the the fair city of its rock specimens. Later, Paula and I enjoyed a wonderful night out of catch-up, local flavor and a late-night chat. Milwaukee is such a great city, if you haven't been, I highly encourage it.

Ethan is fascinated by the variety of mint box packaging on store shelves, with the seemingly endless combinations of shapes, colors, sliding doors, panels, flip tops, and boxes with multiple openings. So I was itching to show him the impressive opening of the Milwaukee Art Museum, an addition designed by Calatrava featuring huge wing-like panels that gracefully unfold over a 3.5 minute timespan. Ethan was just as impressed with the interior and art -- the museum is very kid-friendly with thin crowds, bite-sized introductions to a variety of forms and time periods, two kids' project studios, kids' sketch kits you can check out for the day - tailored to specific exhibits/areas of interest, mac-and-cheese al fresco, and an unmanned coat closet where you can run through passageways for a quick game of hide and chase. The Amtrak tickets in our pockets limited our MAM visit to 3 1/2 hours.

On our return ride, I asked Ethan his favorite part of the trip, expecting his usual, diplomatic answer "all of it." But was touched to hear him say, "Spending time with Paula and Marie." I second that emotion. We're lucky to have them and you as friends. We'll be back! xo b/s/e/k

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