The outside light was brightening and the dogs stirred, their tags jangling in the early morning. Time to get up and take the little furballs out for their walkies. When I stepped outside it was obvious that it had rained overnight. Not a soaking rain, but enough to dampen everything. I love an overnight rain. It brings out the aroma of fresh earth, and amplifies our tropical garden. As I walked towards the front of the house with the two dogs, so eager to get through the gate and begin their walk, I wanted to stop right there and take in the delicious smell of our garden. It brought back memories of winter in Chicago. The earth, the palm trees, philodendron, and flowers, all dewy fresh, definitely reminded me of Chicago in winter. How could this be, how could the tropics come anywhere close to being in Chicago at this time of year? I'll give you Chicagoans a little tip, a winter trick for those who live in the city. When it became unbearable, when I couldn't stand another day of snow, when my skin had dried up and nose began to bleed from the bone dry air, I would go to Lincoln Park or Garfield Park and visit one of Chicago's beautiful conservatories. It is like you have gone on a mini-vacation to Florida. I was lucky when I lived in Chicago, I had a job that allowed me to take time in the middle of the day. That is when you want to go to the Lincoln Park or Garfield Park Conservatory. That is when they are least crowded and you can take your time, sit on a bench and imagine that you have gone to Florida. In fact, if you want to enhance that Florida experience and make it even more realistic, bring along some homeless people. You'll all enjoy the respite from the Chicago winter.