Flowering Trees at Morton Arboretum

Midwestern winters can be shocking. Poor wife. For her they’re basically the same as the generation-long winters from Game of Thrones. She grew up in California after all. Yet in a blink of an eye, spring’s here. For all the lingering beauty of winter, spring surpasses it with a swift-growing…

Silhouettes of trees against dark purple night sky full of stars

The Last Dark Skies of Northwest Illinois

There’s a whole lot of nothing in northwest Illinois before you reach the Mississippi River. Between Savanna and Galena, it’s just cornfields and an occasional one-street farming town. So, what’s the awesome weekend sightseeing destination marked on my map? Nothing! It’s great because there’s nothing out there. There’s no cities,…

The King and I Sparkles Like New At Marriott Theatre

For my very first time seeing the Rodgers & Hammerstein hit The King and I, nothing could have beaten the Marriott Theatre. Any musical that gets the Marriott treatment comes out sparkling. Even the well-worn classics. This is, no doubt, because of their imaginative sets and world-class performers. It’s an…

Dancers at the Grand Entry procession

A 21st Century Pow Wow Near Chicago

Loud drumming and spirited vocalizations, at once jarring and beautiful, filled my ears as Native American pow wow dancers spun and swayed within the grassy dance circle. In a long procession that marked the evening’s Grand Entry, they followed military veterans bearing eagle feather staffs, and the U.S. and Canadian…

Stephen with members of the 501st Legion

Star Wars Night at Boomers Stadium

A stormtrooper was boogieing to the pre-game music when Emily and I first arrived at Schaumburg’s Boomer Stadium. It was Star Wars Night and local members of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costume club and charitable organization, were out in force in their superb replica uniforms of stormtroopers, clone…

Eyes to the Skies Festival

American flags, grilled meat, fireworks and fireflies all comprise a proper Fourth of July. This year, however, I’ve had enough of the usual pyrotechnics. So Emily and I opted for a different kind of light show—glowing hot air balloons at the Eyes to the Skies festival in Lisle, IL. We…