Birthday Outing: Secret Stash, Museum of Illusions, Drinks at Cherry Circle Room, Dinner at Chicago Firehouse

For my birthday this year, Liz took me around to a few spots downtown. Before heading out, I got to open a few gifts… and one of them really took the cake.

You should know this bit of backstory: a long time ago (a long time ago, like maybe 10 years)… I was saying out loud that I wished I had a cigarette. It was late at night, something I said in passing.

And Liz said to me: “Oh? I have some cigarettes in my secret stash.”

Reader, I cannot tell you how absolutely animated and excited I got, on hearing this. I said “Really?” and was getting ready to be excited at the prospect of wishing for a cigarette and suddenly having one available.

It turns out, my wife was a big liar. There was no secret stash. But there was a very public and very loud sequence of laughter, at just how absolutely excited I got.

After this fateful night, for years… years… she still mocks me about how excited I got for imaginary cigarettes. And pulls out the whole “I’ve got a secret stash” line, just to make fun of me anew.

My birthday gift: at first glance: a copy of “The Book of Virtues.”

But inside! My very own secret stash!

Let’s overlook the fact that these are 100’s, and just celebrate the fact that Liz took the time and effort (and expense) to carve out a book. Just to bring a decades-old joke full circle.

My very own secret stash.

A quick ride downtown later, we found ourselves at the Museum of Illusions.

An odd display, especially after getting really close up.

A lot of classic motion and depth illusions adorned the walls.

One particular illusion that I absolutely avoided: a tunnel that started to spin, the moment you entered it. I could barely look at this thing, and knew if I stared at it for longer than a few seconds I’d be throwing up.

I snuck this photo (without looking).

Perhaps the best illusion in the small space: a room of mirrors.

It was no Infinity Mirror Room, but still pretty fun.

I was a little unsure where to stand, for this selfie. Until I realized it technically didn’t matter.

We were a bit early for our dinner reservations, and decided to wander a bit to find a bar nearby. We trekked to the Chicago Athletic Association, and found Cindy’s was a bit too crowded for our tastes.

We went downstairs to check out Cherry Circle Room (a favorite haunt of an old co-worker of mine, but some place I’d not yet been).

Turns out – it was tucked away, and you had to walk through the Game Room to find it. Lucky for us, there were still some open spaces at the bar… and we were able to have a drink and take in the atmosphere.

Definitely need to come back here for an official dinner.

At Chicago Firehouse, walking to our table.

My lovely date. Splurged a bit on a martini, which is now a birthday tradition for me.

I got a steak (also a birthday tradition), while Liz got the meatloaf.


While there were a lot of starches, I ended up going with broccolini as a side. We were more or less “off Keto” tonight, but I managed to keep it somewhat healthy.

Liz’s meatloaf (which honestly, was a bit tempting for me as well).

A silly photo/idea.

We were in the lobby, waiting for our ride home… when I saw this fire alarm. The idea of a fire alarm, situated at the site of a former fire station (Engine Company 104) made me laugh. Better safe than sorry I guess. I wonder if they get a slightly faster response time, given the provenance.

Visiting Chicago Dizziness and Hearing
Date Night: Exploring Wndr Museum, Dinner at Mad Social
Day in Chicago with the Holders: Art Institute, Game Room, Blue Man Group

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