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It’s the same every time. We start out so excited and hyped up. We’re practically buzzing in the car on the way there. The drive starts to get old about an hour into Michigan (that’s roughly 8 hours from home). Then there’s the anticipation – for me, anyway – of actually getting there, getting out of the car, and being engulfed in Rob’s arms. We still have the anticipation of all the fun stuff we’re going to do while we’re down, but for now, we’re a bit tired and just anxious to get out of the car.

This year, we switched things up a bit. We didn’t go straight to Stitches. We took a day off to go downtown and do some sight-seeing. We saw Millennium Park first, with the jelly bean, the Crown fountain, the Lurie Garden… then we popped over to Grant Park and saw Buckingham Fountain (and the little tiny one I like to call Balmoral fountain – that got a small chuckle out of Kari) and the English gardens, and then we camped out on a bench at the waterfront, letting the lake breeze cool us down for an hour or so. Then we trekked back through downtown to get to Pizzaria Due for dinner (had to introduce the girls to real Chicago deepdish!)

On Friday, we headed out to the convention centre and after a small podcasters meet-up, we hit the marketplace. Well, Sue and I hit the marketplace. Kari bought a bit of yarn and went off to her lace spinning class. Winding our way through the booths, we saw some friends from last year (Sarah from Knitty and Color, the lovely ladies from Verdant Gryphon, my friends at Windy Knitty) and discovered some awesome new yarns, accessories and were a bit overwhelmed by yarn fumes. We were good though… Sue and I each only bought one skein of yarn! Mine was this gorgeous dark blue sparkly stuff from Knitty and Color. It had originally been dyed as a one-off for Kari to do her Bigger on the Inside shawl (which she wore to Stitches), but it was so pretty, I may have asked Sarah to make more of it, and she did! Then we bounced over to the Bergman house for a fabulous barbecue (thanks guys!) and some catching up with friends.

Saturday was spent rushing to get to yet another podcaster meetup and letting Kari wander through the marketplace. Rob and I sat in the canteen area and I managed to make it to the heel flap on my second sock. We won’t mention the fact that Kari knitted an entire pair of socks between somewhere in Michigan on the way in and the middle of Indiana on the way out. We visited the Baha’i temple in Wilmette – one of only seven in the entire world! Kari loves interesting architecture, and this building is certainly unique. We then wound our way up Sheridan Road to look at pretty houses (including a few Frank Lloyd Wrights) and then headed home to eat dinner and hang out. 

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As with any trip, after a few days, we start getting on each others’ nerves a bit, and the trip home always seems longer than the trip there (although they were exactly the same length this time!). We’re tired, we’re sore, we’re cranky, and while we still love each other to death, I think we’re all happy to go our separate ways for a few days. That’s normal. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody nice and refreshed again on Friday for knit night!

I didn’t even pack my camera this time, but Kari took lots of amazing pictures that I’m sure she’ll share with me at some point. I do promise to bring the camera to Montreal and Rhinebeck with us next week! There was obviously no canning done since I wasn’t even home, but I did get an amazing deal on some yellow plums, peaches and concord grapes yesterday. The plums and peaches have already been processed and are sitting comfortably in my chest freezer. Tonight, the grapes will be washed and frozen in the small freezer so I can save them to make blueberry and blue grape jam (best one I ever made! or so my cousin says). Aside from that, we’re just cleaning the house and getting ready for the next trip. I’ll be hitting the gym tonight because while I’ve mostly stayed on track, I need to get moving – spending 14 hours in a car for two days is a bit much and my body needs some encouragement to get going again! 

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