Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get Thee to a Nunnery

      This past weekend I went to a writing retreat, which happened to be taking place at a religious center on Fullerton avenue, called The Cenacle Retreat. It's run by the Cenacle sisters who also live there, and so I like to think of it as a nunnery, as it's more romantic sounding.

          Since it wasn't very far from my home, I loaded up my Oma Workcycle and headed out. I have to give a shout out to my fabulous panniers. They are Fast Rider Cane Panniers in a cheery bright yellow that makes me smile every time I look at them. I can pack tons of stuff in them, but even so I packed an extra little black bag and secured it to the back rack with the incredibly strong straps. Perhaps you can see the snow on the black bag, as there were some light flurries as I headed out.
      After I arrived, the Cenacle folks let me keep my Oma in a closet in the lobby, which was super nice, but meant that I had to carry it up two small sets of stairs. Ouch! This is not a light bike. I'll say it again, no need for a gym membership when you travel by dutch bike.

     It was quiet and relaxing and there was even a giant wall of a stained glass window to help inspire anyone who cared to climb the circular stairs in the chapel up to the choir loft. They'd converted the choir into a lounge space complete with bean bag chairs, perfect for relaxing on a sunny saturday afternoon.
    There was lots of writing and meeting other children's authors, and  I got lots of work done. There was still time for a walk in the park to enjoy a bit of nature, but I stayed in my room and clattered away on my computer most of the day.
Outside the Nature Museum

    Saturday night I went AWOL and left the nunnery. I took the Clark street bus up to Andersonville. Can anyone tell me why the Clark street bus is always so nutty? But that's a story for another day.
    I was going to join my husband for the Dutch Club's New Year's Dinner. We went even though we aren't dutch. But we have dutch bikes!
A lovely night at Vincent
      The dutch menu was fabulous. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the giant sausage with mashed potatoes mixed with kale, the seafood stew, or the apple pie. Jon Carl, the chef of HB HomeBistro as well as Vincent, is of dutch descent and a friend of ours. He outdid himself with this meal!
        I went back to the nunnery that night and the next day was another productive day of writing. Later in the afternoon I headed home, taking the scenic route home through the park. Ahh, I feel refreshed. Now if I could just keep that nunnery vibe while at home and continue this writing streak. But maybe my husband wouldn't like that.


Kelly said...

I love the title of this post!
Sounds like a beautiful retreat in a beautiful place and a great dinner with your hubby!!!

Daniel said...

I'm not sure keeping a "nunnery vibe" at home is the best thing for a healthy marriage!