One of the things on our “Leaving St. Louis bucket list” (Subtitle: “Katie quit calling this a bucket list“) was to make one more trip to Chicago.
Every two or three years since we’ve gotten together, we’ve taken a long weekend to Chicago. Like this one. So we decided to repeat that once more while the beloved city is only 6 hours away from home. We woke up bright and early Friday morning and were on our way!
For the first time ever, we drove. We’d done some price comparison, and even with the cost of overnight parking downtown it was still the cheapest way to get there. Which is sorta weird, because I’ve always flown, taken Amtrak, or done MegaBus before. Because cars are scary.
But anyway. Car knitting:
That’s a Saroyan shawl out of Dyeabolical limited edition (now discontinued) tussah silk. I love that yarn so much it isn’t even funny. It was seriously hard to actually knit it up, because then it wouldn’t live in my stash anymore.
And then for when I finished the shawl, I had this:
That is Madtosh Lace in “Steam Age”, and is in the process of becoming a Featherweight Cardigan as we speak.
(And despite having 960 fresh yards of laceweight, plus sock yarn, plus easy access to at least three yarn shops along the route, I was *still* worried about running out of yarn. Knitters, you get me.)
Anyway. Six hours and 24 potty stops* later, we were in Chicago!
This is on a big scary highway, full of people merging all over the fucking place and not using blinkers and just GOING wherever they felt like. It was terrifying. I hate city driving. Jeff got snippy at me and then I snipped at him but then we got off the highway and found our parking garage and all was well. WE SURVIVED.
We checked into the hotel then wandered downtown a bit. And then we found Oysy sushi and we were done for.
SO MANY NOMS.
NOM MISO. (Actually it wasn’t quite salty enough. But whatever.)
AND SO MUCH NOM SUSHI.
This was the Chicago Crazy roll, and the only thing crazy about it was how much I nommed it.
Hot damn that was good.
After that we were pretty well spent, so we retired to the hotel (the Comfort Inn on Ohio just west of Michigan, in case you were wondering. Very nice.) and watched Downton Abbey off Netflix and fell asleep.**
On Saturday morning I steam-blocked Saroyan, following Kara’s and Rachel’s advice:
Whee! I love steam blocking. It’s about the closest thing to instant gratification that you can get during knitting.
(I actually didn’t end up wearing it on Saturday anyway; this is from Sunday.)
First order of business: the Art Institute!
(True story: I totally meant to download the music from that scene in Ferris Bueller to my iPod then make Jeff listen to it with me while we stared at this, or kiss me in front of the blue stained glass, but I forgot. Oh well. The better to embarrass our kids with when we go back in like 10 years, I guess 😉 )
Obligatory Jeff-with-map photo:
Because I know how much you like those.
Here, my esteemed husband muses upon last summer’s England vacation:
He also wonders if I’m ever going to finish blogging that trip. Answer: I hope so.
The textiles exhibit was my most favorite, though…
I told Jeff more than he ever wanted to know about quilts and fabric and patterns and embroidery.
OK so then! We left! And had a late lunch/early dinner/whatever-you-call-eating-at-3:30pm here:
(We went to the one on Lake, just north of the park).
There was calamari:
Unf. So good.
And pizza (half mushroom and onion, half pepperoni. You can guess which is which.)
I know, food photography is not my forte.
And also, I have now died of fat. DIED. There was so much freaking cheese in that pizza that I made Jeff tie me to the back of the car, then run all the way back to St. Louis. To be fair, he did drive kind of slowly.
But it was worth it.
From there we went back to Loopy Yarns (a tradition at this point), of which I took no pictures. But I did find some yarn. Which you will hopefully see in a forthcoming WIP post. (Hint: think alpaca. Think laceweight.)
It was about 6:00 by then, and we had two options:
1)Go back to the hotel, watch Downton Abbey and fall asleep
2)Act like the 20-somethings we are, and do something vaguely nightlife-y.
Surprisingly, we chose 2). For a bit. 😀
We’d heard somewhere that the view from the bar in the John Hancock building was actually better than the $$$ observation deck tourist experience. So we went there.
And it was really dark. Err sorry I mean, “romantic mood lighting.” (Translation: I had trouble finding the table, and definitely couldn’t even see to knit. I mean really. REALLY. What kind of bar doesn’t even have convenient knitlighting?)
Jeff had a couple $9 beers, and I had one (1) $7.50 martini glass of pineapple juice that was nominally a virgin something-or-other.
(Ssh! Don’t tell the pregnancy police! I had a sip or two of this and it was good. Not $9 good, mind you, but good.)
In case you ever wanted to know what a $7.50 martini glass of pineapple juice looks like situated next to a cocktail table candle (that, by the way, was our only source of heat), well, have I got a treat for you!
I told Jeff that next time I want to drink in the dark, I’ll just buy a container of juice from the store and stand in the kitchen with the lights off. He said I was missing the point. I said he was right, because at home I wouldn’t bother with the maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge garnish.
Then I ate the garnish. I’m getting my $7.50 worth, darnit!
I will admit, though, that the views were quite lovely:
So I suppose that made it all worthwhile.
BTW. They say that the view from the ladies’ room is the best, and it’s true. One whole wall overlooks downtown, and it’s not crowded with bar tables like in the main area. Only thing is, you feel like a perv standing in a public bathroom taking pictures. But whatev.
After dropping $25.50 + tip on three drinks with a collective alcohol content insufficient to give a yorkshire terrier a mild buzz, we were nearly fun’ed out for the night. So we stopped by Garrett Popcorn on the way back to the hotel…
And then crawled into bed with caramel corn, $15 worth of cranberry juice from the hotel breakfast area***, and and Downton Abbey on Jeff’s laptop.
Hey, we partied! That counts, right? (Right?)
Sunday morning we found ourselves here:
Where we waited in line for over an hour just to get in (grumble), only to find out that they changed the ticket pricing structure so now unless you’re willing to sell your firstborn****, you can only afford to see like three rooms. All the cool stuff is an extra $20 a person. NO WAY JOSE. I’m not paying THREE WHOLE PINEAPPLE-JUICE-IN-A-MARTINI-GLASSes just to see the jellyfish or whatever.
(Oh god. I really am old.)
So instead we waited in line with the other cheapasses, and took pictures…
And then paid our $8 each and got to look at the proletariat fish.
YOU. SEAHORSE. YOU ARE UNCOUTH AND A SCOUNDREL. YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE MY BUTLER. AND YOU PROBABLY SWIM WITH A LIMP. I DO NOT TRUST YOU.
I SHALL CALL YOU O’BRIEN, FROG. BUT KNOW YOUR PLACE. KNOW IT!
AND YOU ARE DAISY.
You’re OK, Daisy. I like you.
(Meanwhile, all the otters and dolphins and stuff were off in the expensive areas, being all “Week-end? What on earth is a week-end?“)
Anyway. My point is, the Shedd Aquarium is a ripoff. Cool, but stupidly expensive. (Much like those drinks. Which yes, I’m still on about.).
So then we had lunch at the aquarium restaurant, and then we went home and drove in this thick sleety snow and it took like 7 hours to get there, but that’s OK because I have this little dude and it wraps around my seatbelt and then I can see to knit without bothering Jeff.
In conclusion: GOD I AM SO OLD AND UNCOOL. I think next vacation Jeff is just going to take me to a Super 8 in a cornfield or something. Maybe I’ll get to buy an Amish basket if I’m on my best behavior.
*Slight exaggeration. Maybe.
**Because we’re hardcore party animals, that’s why.
***Using Hancock Building bar standards, of course. Because we are normal people, though, I had nicked the juice that morning and stashed it in the room.
****They’re not interested in 15-week fetuses. I checked.