Pretty much, Chicago has been amazing. I freakin’ love this city. I do so much walking that I should be able to fit in all my jeans by the time I go back… but I don’t want to think about going back yet.

The notable places I’ve eaten in Chicago so far include:

· Ed Debevic’s. There I had a grilled chicken sandwich and fries. It’s a definitely touristy stop, but I enjoyed it just the same. The waiter kept calling me weirdo and then all the servers did a fun performance. And who can fault a place that plays While My Guitar Gently Weeps???? I mean, come on! The food was really good, and I had fun there.
· May Street Market. The May Street Market is a bit fancy, but delicious food just the same. I had the BBQ oxtail po’boy with fries. The chef sent out a crispy thing with mushrooms on it. I liked the crispy thing. I’ve been trying to develop a taste for mushrooms, but I’m just not feeling it. :(
· McDonalds (special because it was dinner before Wicked!)
…and some philly steak place on Belmont, where I had corned beef and fries.

I’ve eaten a LOT of fries this week. Oh wait, that’s nothing new.

Today, I’m thinking Hot Doug’s< . I'll get my first Chicago-style hotdog, only with no onions so it'll probably not really be Chicago-style.... but I'm sure it'll be good just the same. :D ETA: POO! No Hot Doug's for me! :( He won't be open again until September 15th. Sigh.) Tuesday, I got to see Bob Dylan in Ft. Wayne. My first Dylan show. It was General Admission, but I managed to make my way up to the third row center. HOLY CRAP. He was right there. Since I'm a Dylan noob, I didn't recognize ANY of the songs he did (he didn't do any from Modern Times, boo. I'll have to try to make it to another show for that!), but that didn't mean they didn't sound good. *goes to look at setlist* The only one I didn’t care much for much was Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum I enjoyed Highway 61 Revisited a LOT. And All Along the Watchtower COOKED. WOW. Summer Days was a lot of fun to watch. The bouncy twins were in the front row and I know he was laughing at them. At the end of the song, he pointed to them. Ha. He also showed off his pretty new sparkly rings.

I have to say this. Adam (adamselzer) and Mike are good road trip partners. They’re funny as hell, and they had me laughing like crazy (when I wasn’t sleeping in the backseat). They’re huge Dylan fans and enjoyed teaching me all about Dylan–well, as much as they could fit into a road trip that lasted a few hours. I had to laugh at times, as they’re Chicago-ans and therefore don’t drive much, so I had to help them figure out how to get the defrost to work, and I pumped the gas. It was weird, knowing more about cars than the guys.

I slept on part of the drive home, but from what I hear, it was very terrifying. Lots of thick, dense fog, road construction, and surreal-ness. Steak and Shake was fun, though. And so was the diner we ate at on the way in–I can’t remember the name, but it was in Indiana, and it was 24 hours, and I had breakfast there. Yummy food.

Yesterday, I headed to the Oriental Theatre around 4pm to enter the Wicked drawing. When the first two rows of a show don’t sell out, you can enter your name in a raffle, and if you’re picked, for $25 a ticket (regular price $80), you get a front or second row ticket. A bunch of people did NOT show up for the drawing, but I was still THRILLED when my name was called!!! I ran up to the front, and presented my ID. They finished the drawing, and the girl in charge had us all crowd in very closely. That’s when she broke the news that THIS WEEK ONLY, they were doing a special thing, and the winners of the drawing would be able to meet some of the cast members and get autographs. No photos, but still!! I FREAKED THE HELL OUT. I just couldn’t even believe it. I was jumping up and down and acting all kinds of crazy. When I turned in my voucher for my ticket, I looked down and noticed that I was in row A, seat 114. Yes, front row center, my friends. FRONT ROW CENTER.

I could hear the cast do their last-minute hurrah backstage before the show started. The orchestra guy came out and looked around and said “Oh wow! People!” Then the show started. The actress who played Galinda/Glinda (Stacie Morgain Lewis) was incredible. So much fun to watch. Her role must be so much fun to play. Seriously, she needed some Ritalin like whoa. Elphaba was played by Kristy Cates, and she was amazing as well. Okay, when Elpaba first appeared on stage, I seriously started crying. I didn’t know it’d affect me like that, but wow.

The musical was amazing, OF COURSE. Kristy did a great job of playing Elphaba. She had the dry humor and sauciness really fit the role. My first time seeing Wicked, and I was in the front row center. How can one beat that? HOW???? I can’t even believe how incredibly lucky I am, and how incredibly amazing 2006 has been for me so far. And there are still about three more months to go!!

After the show, the raffle winners were led downstairs, where Heidi Kettenring (Nessarose) and Adam Fleming (Boq) were signing autographs. They were very nice and smiley and friendly. I was still reeling, and I was smiling so much all evening. Because honestly. Just wow!!

(I did splurge and get myself a “defy gravity” shirt. Now I can be twins with swankivy!!! :) Tee-hee!)

Here’s the cast list: [link].

Watching the show made me miss performing on stage a LOT.

I LOVE this city. I’m totally learning my way around, and all the walking is SO good for me. Going back to regular life is going to be very hard after this. :( But I’m not going to think about that now. I’ve still got a few days left!!! YAY!

I should try to get some writing done. ‘Til next time!

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