Sunday, January 30, 2011

Parks & Rec Conference

After a long, exhausting week and an incredible outpouring of support from around Central Illinois, I was ready to spend the weekend in Chicago at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. Part of me felt guilty for being able to push this week's pain and anguish from my mind even if only for a couple of days. I attended Mike's visitation Wednesday night and could not believe the number of people who attended....and couldn't believe that the Honan family was able to endure through such a long, stressful event. They are always in my prayers. 

We car pooled to the IAPD/IPRA conference on Thursday morning arriving in time to get checked into our rooms and walk through the exhibit hall. We talked to the Baggos vendor as well as a vendor who sells backyard ice rinks. We talked to several of the Les Mills and SCW Fitness representatives as well as many, many more. It was different walking through the exhibit hall this year since we weren't actively looking for something in particular. 

After walking through the exhibit hall, we went to Kitty O'Shea's for a couple of drinks. We met up with a few vendor reps and discussed life in a small town which really made me think. 
My thinking pose
Saffron Tagliorini
After a while we finally decided to head down to the concierge desk and ask for recommendations for dinner. We had read about a restaurant at the Navy Pier called Riva. Seafood - oh I love it! I ordered the Saffron Tagliorini, which had a shrimp, clam, mussels, andouille, sweet & hot peppers in a cajun cream. The dish was absolutely delicious and lived up to my dreams. For dessert, I ordered a White Chocolate Creme Brulee. 

Angie & I on Navy Pier with
the Chicago skyline behind us
Following dinner - due to way to many calories being consumed - we decided to walk around Navy Pier and check out Snow Days Chicago. Fifteen teams of master sculptors had to submit a pencil sketch of their sculpture in order to be selected for this year's event. The sculptures were still in their beginning phases, but you could see the forms starting to take shape especially when you viewed the pencil sketches which were displayed in front of each sculpture. My phone completely died at dinner. So I wasn't able to take any pictures. Instead, Steve took these pictures - and they turned out grainy!
Snow Days Chicago
Finally, we decided it was time to head back to the hotel for the night to prepare for a long day of seminars on Friday. I had a long list of classes I wanted to attend and needed to be awake & alert for the first real day of conference. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way since I had to wait for my cell phone to re-charge. I finally fell asleep after midnight only to wake up at 5 am. Why is it that you can never sleep the first night in a hotel? 

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