Now that it’s winter, time to remember the warm days of summer…

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For three weeks in July, I traveled the Midwest. Kirk and I started the trip together in Michigan and Canada spending the week of the 4th hanging with his family, sailing Lake Erie and celebrating with our friends who got hitched at Michigan State.


Enroute from Michigan to Ontario, just before crossing the Ambassador Bridge, we stopped to provision at the duty free shop. Kirk sadly doesn’t match my enthusiasm for ogling 10-pound Toblerone bars.

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Friends of the Berrymans, Jamie and Miriam Garnier, own a cabin on Point Pelee, a peninsula jutting into Lake Erie (and the southernmost point of mainland Canada). The Garniers, avid sailors, graciously took us for a daysail aboard their newest vessel, Odessey, a beautiful 31-foot cutter.

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Val, and me at the helm.

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The Berrymans drinking rum punches and other hydrating beverages.

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The morning after returning from Canada, Kirk and I drove to East Lansing for our friends Kyle and Dana’s wedding. In between the ceremony held at the campus chapel and the reception held at Spartan Stadium, Kirk and I wandered around campus, drove past our old student housing and the Communication Arts & Sciences building (where we spent countless hours working on projects in the video production studios and editing suites), and reminisced about our college years.

Below, my sophomore year dorm, Yakeley-Gilcrest in West Circle; my room was the bay window above the entrance.

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The house on Sycamore Lane that I lived in my senior year, my room again was the window above the door.

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And, the infamous house on Dorothy Lane that Kirk lived in his junior year; the city of East Lansing condemned the property the year after Kirk moved out.

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Walking through the horticulture gardens on campus.

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Kyle and Dana are both MSU alums just like Kirk and me, but their school pride is tenfold. Everything at the reception was Spartan themed. Their table number cards were football tickets, the butter pats molded into Sparty heads. Kyle’s dad, a longtime MSU employee, managed to swing sneaking the wedding party onto the field to take photos!

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The newlyweds (:

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Kirk flew home, and I hopped a bus from Michigan to Wisconsin. I stopped in Chicago for a couple days to visit my longtime friend, Andrea, who let me crash at her place in Wicker Park.

While Andrea was at work, I went running in Humboldt park.

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Pretty, no? For a bit there I forgot I was in Chicago. It wasn’t all tranquil, however.

My Facebook status update made post-run:

Memorable run in Humboldt Park this morn: 3 miles turn into 6 after I realize I’ve run circles around the same damn pond; see a group of kids standing under a tree holding fishing nets while a guy repeatedly tries throwing a basketball 20 feet up at a kitten stuck on a branch; a red-wing blackbird dive-bombs my head — beak got scalp!; half mile later ANOTHER red-wing blackbird tries to attack, it screeches in my ear and I duck while flailing my arms… audacious little efers. — at Humboldt Park.

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It started pouring halfway through my run, and I was soaked by the time I made it back to Andrea’s place.

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That night, Andrea and I went out to dinner. First, we stopped in at DavidsTea, Andrea’s latest guilty pleasure. Tea? A guilty pleasure? With flavors like buttered rum, red velvet cake and salted caramel, yes.

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We ate at Bluebird, a winebar/restaurant with a contemporary American menu. Artisan cheeses, roasted veggie appetizers and steamed mussels paired with a delicious bottle of white blend. Marvelous.

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After dinner, we grabbed another bottle of wine and headed for the roof of her condo building. We talked, drank and talked some more. The view of Chicago’s skyline was almost as good as our conversation.

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The next day, I rode the L downtown to meet up with my friend from college, Andrew, a fellow Telecaster. When Kirk and I lived in Chicago, I loved riding the L. Rail transit never ceases to delight this suburban born and bred kid.

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That afternoon, I met with Kirk’s real estate agent to see three condos Kirk had his eye on for investments. Since moving from Chicago, Kirk’s interest in its real estate market hasn’t waned, and it’s no matter that we live on the other side of the country.

This 2 bed 2 bath second-floor unit with southern exposure, located just two blocks away from Kirk’s first condo, was the winner. I loved the exposed brick and dining area by the windows. Kirk put in an offer, and is — to this day — still waiting on a response from the bank. Ugh, short sales. ☼

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Next: Summer Throwback Part II: Wisconsin.