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  • Writer's pictureJessy Tolkan

Joy Ride! Day 56

Breaking News: Raj & Jessy crossed state-lines and LEFT Wisconsin (temporarily)!

After more than 60 days in one place, we former-jet setters were going a bit stir-crazy, and so yesterday, we packed up the car (as if we were going away from much longer than a few hours) and ventured down I-94 to the glorious northshore suburbs of Chicago! It may not sound exhilarating, but it was!! New scenery, new billboards, new highway exits, but must importantly, a chance to see some of my favorite humans (in person through windows).

A critical part of this mission in addition to the very special people we visited, was of course FOOD. Here's a recap of our epic day of spreading JOY around the North Shore suburbs of Illinois.

  • STOP 1: Superdawg! A 1950's style car-hop, we ordered from our car window, and a delicious gooey Grilled Cheese sandwich and onion rings were brought right out to us. A nice healthy way to start the day!

  • STOP 2: The home of the URETZ family...aka my cousin Lauren, her two amazing daughters (who I call my nieces) Charlotte and Livi, and her husband Jon. We were welcomed with some brilliant wedding attire design ideas expertly crafted by Livi & Charlotte. Some delicious cinnamon rolls from Deerfield Bakery, and the thrill that my nieces accepted our invitation to be flower girls in our wedding :) We brought them these flower baskets so that can start practicing. A lovely visit through the window - can't wait until I can hug these special people in person again soon!

  • STOP 3: The home of college bestie Jacki Krashin and her kids Madi & Drake and husband, Dan. With N95 masks on our faces and a safe distance between us, we set out for a beautiful outdoor hike in a nearby park. It felt so incredible to actually be doing a real-life activity in the world! We kept our distance, but it was wonderful none the less! We had so much fun - we forgot to take a Selfie. See our faces on FaceTime when we realized we failed to document this momentous occasion!!! Also, thankfully we have many freezing cold selfies from other occasions to use as a stand in - we wouldn't have been able to be this close this time around :)

Following our walk, we hung out poolside in Jacki's backyard, as anyone would do when its 24 degrees outside. Raj ordered a Pequod's Deep Dish pizza to the Krashin house and we enjoyed the meal al fresco. Our lovely visit ended with the ULTIMATE "mitzvah" as the Jewish people might say...Jacki served as what you might call (with no offense intended) as our COVID GOY.

(Let me explain: Religious Jews who observe the Sabbath, often have someone who is not Jewish aka goy around to do tasks they are unable to do because of the sabbath, like turn on and off lights, etc. Jacki, recently recovered from Omicron is feeling safe to enter establishments, such as the 100% legal Marijuana Dispensary in Skokie, IL, and graciously served as what she brilliantly coined, "Our Covid Goy" to procure some delicious, very low-dose gummies, to aid in pain relief and relaxation during this recovery!)

Finally, we left Jacki with her giving us a frozen Lou Malnati's Veggie Pizza as a parting gift...Amazing friend, and perfect gift after the errand she ran for us!

Stop 4: Special Delivery for my Mom's best friend - Linda in Highland Park, who is VERY special to me and Raj. We made a COVID-safe doorstep sweet treat delivery, followed by a phone call from the car. FEEL BETTER LINDA! Hope we were able to brighten your day a bit! Notice the special bag decorations of some of the best photos of my mom and Linda. This is why one should ALWAYS carry their portable cannon mini-printer with them at all times - you ever know when you might need to add the perfect detail to a doorstep delivery.

Stop 5: BBQ PIT. Once again, these vegetarians went outside their comfort zone a bit - but all I the name of JOY and LOVE. We picked up a few racks of ribs from Gus's along with their famous greek salad and fries to bring home to my parents. One of their absolute favorites - we drove straight to their house to deliver them dinner. We are just doing driveway exchanges these days, as my Dad was exposed to someone with COVID 6 days ago, so we are playing it extra safe.

WHAT A DAY!?!? It was just what the doctor ordered. COVID safe, filled the much needed desire for a change of scenery, and nourished by soul with some of my favorite people.

It was pretty exhausting, an important reminder that I'm still rebuilding strength and stamina. With at least 6-8 weeks left of virtual isolation, this was a perfect way to get through the current slump and sadness of being far away from so many I love.

Raj couldn't have been a more thoughtful or supportive driver, travel buddy, joy-rider, joy-giver! Love this guy lots. (Pictured below enjoying an incredible biscuit out of the oven this morning, and braving his first walk across our entirely frozen lake!)

Health Update:

  • Healthy enough to spend 7.5 hours away from home (thankfully I can pee outside no problem, haha!)

  • I have band-aids and anti-biotic ointments all over my body - the healing is UNDERWAY!

  • Ear infection and Sinus infection finally going away!

  • Full work up of scans and tests this next week ahead

What's Entertaining Us:

  • Tick Tick Boom

  • SNL


What I'm grateful for:

  • Some very special friends and family just 1 state-away

  • Seeing some other very special friends on Raj's Sunday Morning Zoom Yoga

  • The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Rodriguez, Aladdin Soundtrack, Bob Dylan, REM - just a few of the artists that provided the soundtrack of the weekend

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Amy Austin
Amy Austin

What a great day trip plan, and of course, you packed it in! LOVE xxoo Amy



Covid goy at your service!


Sam Dorman
Sam Dorman

covid goy is 💯


Nolan Lehman
Nolan Lehman

Raj in a Packers hat ---Perfect!

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