I woke up this morning with the beginnings of a cold sore. Uh oh, who is stressed out about visiting with John’s relatives today.  But there was no reason to be anxious, John’s cousin Bruce and his wife Lois plus their son and his wife and their daughter and her husband as well as five grandkids made us feel like we really are a part of the family.

There is no sense in going into why John stayed away for so long but when we were at his dad’s funeral it became very clear that it was time to reconnect.We had a really nice time at Lois and Bruce’s house for lunch.  We enjoyed the repartee between Bruce and his kids (reminds us of home) and were even targets for a few barbs ourselves, a real sign that we were accepted. Tomorrow we will have lunch with John’s second cousin, Moe and his wife, Bryna.  Having broken the ice today, it will be much easier tomorrow.

Worst part, though, I brought my camera but forgot to take pictures.

Later we went out to eat at Quartino. It is an Italian place serving small plates with an extensive Italian wine list.  The food was very good but the ambiance was terrible.  What is with these Chicago restaurants that they equate noise level with enjoyment?  John and I had to shout at each other to talk.  The waitperson had to shout at us to communicate. Plus we were sitting next to an open kitchen with pots banging and people shouting.  And our table was in the traffic pattern from the kitchen.  Every time a waiter came out he banged into my chair. Finally towards the end of dinner, when asked whether we were enjoying everything, I told the waiter that it was the most stressful meal I had ever had.  We got moved to a quieter table and comped for dessert. We should have said something sooner.

I think the noise and the bustle of the city is just too much for me.  Next time we’ll stay further out in the hotel for country mice.



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