My sister Mim and I found each other at Midway Airport and then taxied to the historic Belden-Stratford Hotel in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. After a very slow check-in and mishap with a cell phone (kindly returned by the taxi driver who heard it ringing in the back seat), we found the suite to be very pleasant and settled in for a bit before taking a walk. The air outside was surprisingly balmy and we walked across the street to the Lincoln Park Conservatory - a beautiful Victorian airie with room after room of tropical plants, orchids, ferns, and more.
This evening, cousin Howard Nusbaum and his wife Ann Henley took us to dinner at Salpicon, a wonderfully quiet place with a very solicitous waiter who brought us the most beautifully created and delicious haute Mexican food. Howard, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Chicago, shared his most recent research focus which has something to do with articulating the limits of sensory reception, the power of suggestion, and the patterns that emerge when looking at lots of data at a very micro level. He is working with an anthropologist on the religious phenomenon of hearing voices and talking in tongues. I know I am not doing his work justice here but it was a wonderful conversation and very multi-faceted. Ann, too, had an interesting update on her work with connecting undergraduate psychology students to research opportunities. And we learned that Howard's daughter Rebecca just moved to Galveston to start a medical pathology PhD program. Mim shared her recent work on Health Reform policy, explaining some of the changes to Medicaid and what is at stake with the new health care regulations. And I, of course, shared stories about Emma, our rescue dog and companion dog to Cody.