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After a later and lazier start today, we headed back into the city to do more exploring.  First, fuel.  Shawn had scoped out a place called Intelligentsia Coffee on North Broadway, so we ducked in there to get him a cup of joe and I found an herbal tea on the menu that very much suited and pleased my tastes.  I wish I could’ve captured his reaction when he drank that very first sip – pure joy, and he said, “This is the best damn cup of coffee I’ve ever had!”  Totally worth the trip into the city just to see him enjoy that.  He knew for sure that Tina would love it too so we got some beans to bring home.  Watch out, Tina!  Some Burundi Mgogomo is on its way to you soon!

Next we headed down the street to Falafill for some fantastic (and cheap!) falafel for lunch, then a little more exploring.  We browsed around a music shop called Reckless Records and then, after a brief jaunt along beautiful Lake Shore Drive, headed over to the Museum of Contemporary Art to take advantage of their free day.  Quite a lot of interesting pieces and exhibits there, many interactive ones (including one in which we had the chance to lay inside a giant clamshell) but my favorite piece was of a huge sculpture of a series of panels bearing the engraved names of all of the Vietnamese victims of the Vietnam War.  Very moving indeed.

After a pitstop at home for a quick dinner, we headed out to Jazz Showcase to participate in the Tuesday Night Jam Session hosted by the Rajiv Halim Quintet.  The atmosphere was perfect and the music was really great.  I got nervous though but I had a great time with the other players.  While I was up, we played Ain’t Misbehavin’, Song For My Father, Straight No Chaser, and Misty.  And just as I was feeling really loose and relaxed, then it was time for someone else to play (ain’t that always the way?).  I got lots of compliments from a lot of nice players and folks.  Very kind people in this city.  Lots of other great players rounded out the night – including another sax player, stand-up bassist, two flautists and a plethora of drummers – and the night was over just as it seemed to begin.  I really had a great time and everyone was asking me to come back next week.  I said, “Sorry, I’ll be back in New Hampshire by then.”  One player asked, incredulously, “New Hampshire?  What the heck is in New Hampshire?!”  That got some laughs.

So… home now and looking forward to tomorrow.  The weather is supposed to be very mild – around 50 degrees!! – so I think tomorrow we’ll do the Willis Tower/Skydeck and Navy Pier business, more downtown exploring, and then I’ve scoped out an open mic at a place called Heartland Cafe that also has vegan food on the menu – wow, I may have found “my people”.  🙂

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