Most of us in the knitting blogosphere would call knitting their passion; I, too, am a passionate knitter. But I do have other passions that do creep into this blog, passions that pre-date the knitting.
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Food. Travel. College Basketball. These are passions Mr S and I share.
Men's NCAA basketball is a true passion of mine. I watch it obsessively, regardless of the team, although I do have certain familial or geographic loyalties. I attend about a dozen games each season, and considered the Big Five a serious pro to my move to Philadelphia. I have a pretty good knowledge of the sport, its players, history and personalities, and have an uncanny memory for very specific games and plays. I am only a casual observer of other sports, and will cheer my local teams, but when it comes to basketball, I am one of the guys.
Mr S and I are coming upon 10 happy years of marriage, and 6 years of parenthood. And as any married parent can tell you, it is important to reconnect periodically as a couple. We need to spend time together outside of our roles as parents and enjoy our shared passions and to participate in activities not considered child-friendly: serious gourmet indulgences, 12 hours straight of basketball viewing, hours of strolling through art museums, sleeping late and various enthusiasms enjoyed shamelessly by married parents staying in hotels.
Our annual tradition is to choose one of the host cities for the March Madness Tournament. We have two amazing days of basketball, and get to play tourist in a big city on our off days. This year, we chose Chicago.
We had the good luck to be in Chicago on Saint Patrick's Day, the day they turn the Chicago River green. This also happens to be the day that the streets of downtown Chicago teem with drunken masses sporting shamrocks and green mardi gras beads. It was amazing people watching as we ate breakfast at Mary's Cafe, strolled through Millenium Park, and stood in line at the Art Institute. We also had the good luck to eat at one of Chicago's best restaurants, Tru.
Mr S and I have had some pretty amazing meals in the last dozen or so years, and Tru certainly takes its place among the best. The service was absolutely 5-star, but without the slightest whiff of pretension. And the food was truly exquisite. Who knew that foams and gelees could be so scrumptious? Tru's claim to fame is their top-notch pastry chef, Gale Gand, and dessert did not disappoint. You have your regular dessert (and since Mr S was having trouble deciding, our server simply brought him both). Then you choose from the candy cart, with homemade root beer lollipops and various barks and candies. Then, they bring you the truffle tray where all the chocolates made in-house are presented. And on your way out the door, they present you with mini-loaves of the moistest banana bread known to man. Simply amazing.
And yes, we did see some great basketball, even though our favorite team went out in the first round. And because this trip is about Mr S and I, I do try to keep the knitting to a minimum. He is so supportive of my knitting in our every day life, it seems the least I can do to not make him stand around a yarn shop while I swoon and fondle on our romantic weekend. We do not visit yarn shops or search out fellow bloggers. But when you just happen to stumble upon the Stitching Salon, what choice does a knitter have?
The Stitching Salon is the centerpiece of Chicago's Winter Delights program, a city-sponsored interactive space that exhibits various fiber crafts and has lots of opportunities for new knitters to learn and experienced knitters to participate. I knew I loved the city of Chicago, but when it encourages knitting as a civic event? My kind of town, Chicago is!
We showed up just before closing, long enough for me to contribute one lone row of knit stitches to the amazing free-form dress being knit by Chicago area knitters. And Mr S indulged me by taking a few photos.
We happily returned home yesterday to some pretty fragile children and an icy driveway, with sated appetites for gourmet dining and basketball. We have been renewed as a couple and have a newfound love for the Windy City.