Monday, February 23, 2015

More Cow Bell

I moved to Michigan in 2006 right before the Winter Olympics. I'm not a fan of the winter games, and I didn't plan to watch them. I met a guy who is now my husband who not only loves the winter sports, but he loves curling the most. I weird, right? I remember meeting at the bar one night when we were still pretending we didn't like one another romantically, and he was sitting there watching curling. It is like all of the other quirky things about my husband (including loving 40s music, old time radio shows, ventriloquists and reruns of "Night Court") that make him old fashioned and charming. Little did I know that nine years later I would've attended two national championship curling tournaments.No...I'm not kidding. 

Kalamazoo hosted the 2010 curling national championships, and I went with my husband and a friend. The day/night consisted mostly of double fisting Jack and Cokes and making loud snarky comments about curlers. Oh and the cowbell. That year we went for the preliminary rounds, and there were very few spectators. It was...something. We ended up having a really fun time though, and curling was more a special guest star than the reason for the fun.

2010: more cow bell.
This year the national championships were back in Kalamazoo (just over an hour from our house), so we decided we should take our son to his first curling tournament. I thought it would be a good way to get out of the house, do something my husband loves (and get cool wife points), and eat at Food Dance (my real motivation behind going to Kalamazoo). 

We were joined by good friends for their first curling event. Will slept through most of it. The women's national championship was in the morning. It was a close match, and I was entertained in spite of myself. The best part of the morning, however, was leaving the stadium to grab lunch at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. Their bar chips are one of the best appetizers I've ever had. Delicious.

A sleeping baby in a dinosaur hat at a curling tournament   

Curling models.

Will with the women's 2015 national championship team.

After checking into the hotel we headed back for the men's championship in the afternoon. The place was packed. There was nowhere to sit, so the baby and I ended up mostly doing laps in the stroller in the warmer annex. The men's match also had a climactic finish with Team Shuster (as in John Shuster, Olympian and object of my husband's man crush) winning in dramatic fashion.

We later ran into John Shuster in the hotel. My husband's weekend was complete.

We had reservations at Food Dance, so we walked down the street from the Radisson to the restaurant. I LOVE Food Dance. It's my favorite restaurant in Michigan. I have been known to set up meetings in Kalamazoo for the express purpose of going there to eat. The cocktails were amazing - in particular the Pimm's Cup. We started with mussels that were so delicious I could've stopped there. I had the special (the risotto), and I'll be honest I was slightly disappointed. If I'd gotten the dish in most restaurants it would've been great, but my Food Dance bar is absurdly high. It was good, but I have had better there. I guess that just means I've got to go there again soon so it has the opportunity to redeem itself.

Attending the curling championship with a baby means way fewer cocktails (no double fisting) and going to bed by 10 pm. Our son was vaccinated the day before the tournament, and he spent Saturday night up every two hours eating just a few ounces. It was a long night.

I had insisted that I would be running in Kalamazoo on Sunday morning. My outdoor runs have been few and far between, and I love running in Kalamazoo. I woke up at 6 am after having been up most of the night, and I knew it wasn't going to happen. Right now I guess "running these towns" means running on the treadmill and knocking out an outdoor run whenever I can (when the temps are not sub zero).

The apex of the trip was Sunday breakfast at Crow's Nest. It. Was. Amazing. It was the best breakfast I've had in recent memory. I love a good benedict, and the Baker's Benedict was insane - bacon, sauteed onion, garlic, gorgonzola cheese, two medium eggs, hollandaise, and fried leeks on sea salt fococcia. I mean. Wow. The leeks and sauteed onions were a delightful pairing. I didn't get to run off the calories, and I don't even care. It was totally worth it.

It was a fun and successful overnight baby outing. It certainly changes how we travel, and my arms are still sore from holding a fussy baby a lot of the weekend. But if we don't just do it, it'll be a lot easier to stay home. This weekend I resolve to get outdoors for a good, long run in advance of the upcoming (end of March) Ann Arbor Half Marathon. Hopefully the baby's overnight fussiness subsides in the very near future. Mama's got miles to log.


  1. I always wondered who watches Curling. This is great!