Monday, October 09, 2006

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was packed full with activities. Except for having a terrible cold/sinus "thing", everything else pretty much fell into the FUN category.

Friday we drove over the mountains (with an hour and a half extra driving time because of road construction (or by the looks of it - deconstruction) - maybe that part wasn't fun) to watch William's football game in Yreka. We had to sneak Rosie past the ticket booth into the game which wasn't easy as she didn't like having her head inside hubby's jacket. Once we were in the bleachers she got lots of "ahhhhs" from other families, and no one booted us out. Our team won by many touchdowns. It was the perfect sunny, crisp autumn day.

We backtracked a half hour to Mt. Shasta City to meet up with Sam and Kyla and had a birthday dinner for hubby at an Italian family style restaurant. (It's actually not his birthday until next weekend, but we're celebrated it during his time off this weekend.) Lots of eating and laughing. We transferred William and Rosie and their belongings to Sam and Kyla's car, as they were staying with them for the weekend so I could treat Jeff to a weekend in Ashland for his birthday gift. We got a call on our cell phone when they got back home asking where William's clothes were. He was still wearing his dress pants, shirt, and tie and the only backback he had with him was his school books. Oops, we'd backed the wrong bag. Good thing he fits into his brother's clothes.

We stopped in a coffee house for coffee-to-go (we had reservations on up the road) but we ended up staying for a "Bob Dylan Open Mike Night". All sorts of folks got up on stage and sang old Dylan songs. Some musicians were really wonderful but it was equally fun to listen to people totally screw up the lyrics. Most of the time the audience sang along. Even this dog did a few rounds of singing.

After a horrible night at the hotel (see previous post about my sinuses)....

Because of my bad night, we made it to the ticket window too late to snatch up any of the remaining last minute tickets for a play. I had a short period of feeling all horrible and weepy at screwing up the plans but hubby was all "I'm just happy to spend time with you, don't need to go to a play, everything is fine....yada yada". After I got annoyed at him for destroying my pity party, we had a lovely breakfast al fresco and I decided he wasn't evil after all, and neither was I.

We ended up getting tickets after all, buying them from someone with extra seats, for a matinee of The Winter's Tale (synopsis here), which was even the play I most wanted to see. I didn't know this play at all. Despite that, I had a few criticisms of the way it was done but for the most part I enjoyed the production.

After the play we had dinner at what used to be our favorite vegetarian restaurant. I say used to be because we discovered they are no longer a vegetarian restaurant. They still have most of their vegetarian menu selections, but somehow it's not the same. I liked that we could just open up the menu and order anything. It's too confusing now. I ended up ordering something that had ground lamb in it without realizing it. I think next time we come to Ashland, it might be time to find ourselves a new favorite restaurant. Sigh. Life changes. It's inevitable. It's just that it takes energy to keep adjusting, even it's ultimately a good thing.

After dinner I was delighted that some of the shops were still open. I hadn't expected that, but many of the shops must stay open until 8 pm on weekends. So we strolled up and down the fun "old town" tourist section of town popping into some stores, window shopping the rest. What was most fun was that being both a tourist and a theatre town, this is a place that enjoys decorating and drama. So everything and everywhere was already decorated for Halloween. All the shop windows looked so great. I could hardly wait to get back home (and feel well) so I could decorate my house, something I've been trying to find time to do since the equinox two week ago-ish.

Sunday we went back to the shops to go to a couple places that were closed the night before. We started off by trying a new place for breakfast and it was wonderful! I had eggs with a sweet potato hash that was delicious and I know I can (and will) easily make again at home. Next I got to visit a new quilt shop. They had the most wonderful Day of the Dead quilt in the window. It was apparently from a book. I didn't catch the name but I'm sure folks could google and find it.

One of my favorite stores in Ashland is called Unicorn Gift & Toys. It moved from Main Street a few years ago and the last few trips I haven't been able to find it. We finally found it this trip, tucked in on a side street with it's front entrance facing an alley - no wonder I couldn't find it for so long. I always love their selection of goods but I was completely surprised and delighted to discover that along with their regular items, they were stuffed to the rafters with high quality Halloween items - lots of folk artists work and reproductions of old paper goods - that sort of thing. It took me forever to pick out one special thing to buy, there was soooo much to choose from! I also found a Halloween advent calendar - how cool is that! Hubby spent a lot of time in the children's toy area bemoaning the fact that our children were too old to buy toys for anymore. He finally decided to buy himself a toy instead - a lance wielding Welsh knight on horseback. I'm glad he indulged himself. I realized years ago that if I wanted dolls and children's books and wondrous things like that, I would have to start buying them for myself. Dang kids only want things like new snowboard pants and CD's and parts for their cars nowadays.

The last shop we visited was the best new discovery of the weekend. Dang, I can't remember the name. Something like Behind the Velvet Veil. It was a "goth" store for grown-ups. Lots of cemetery stuff, Victorian Gothic decorations, Edward Gorey designs, Day of the Dead art, and pirate stuff just because it's fun. It ran from the silly to the beautiful. Even the building itself was wonderful, all brick walls and old wooden trim and high ceilings, like somewhere in London or Paris. I bought a handful of little treats and a black t-shirt with a gravestone image on it.

The only negative was that after being relaxed and fun all weekend, Jeff woke up Sunday morning in a antsy mood and went all "Bill O'Reilly" on me, talking politics with everyone he met. ARGH! I "accidentally" stepped on his toe to get him to stop going on about immigration with the lady at the quilt shop. All he did was say "Ow! You stepped on my toe!" Duh! I stepped on his toe again a few minutes later and he almost said "ow"again but then finally the light bulb lit up and he decided to go repark the car while I finished up making my purchases. I think he was just starting to think about having the vacation come to an end and having to go back to work and.... sigh. One never knows with my silly spouse sometimes. I suppose he wonders the same about me although heaven knows I'm never eccentric or embarrassing in public places. Uhm, don't ask my kids about that last comment, okay?

The ride back was even fun. We stopped at all the little towns. I wanted to catch each of the quilt shops. None of them ended up being open on a Sunday, but it was still fun to drive down all the old town main streets. We made it back to Redding by late afternoon and met the kids at the mall because not only did William not have any clothes with him, he also does not have any winter school clothes and there is no place in Susanville (except Walmart, where we found nothing to his liking) to buy him any.

Sam and Kyla thought it was beyond hysterical that I had to force William to buy new clothes. William hates shopping, hates trying things on, hates trying new ideas out. Sam and Kyla kept shaking William and telling him he was crazy and that he was giving teenagers everywhere a bad name! They kept offering to make the ultimate sacrifice and let me buy clothes for them, since I was so determined to spend money and William was so resistent.

We had a lot of fun at the mall. William and Sam auditioned for jobs as male mannequins at Old Navy.

I'm amazed at patience of the workers at the Halloween store. Here's the whole motley crew in alternative personas. William complained that the camera flash hurt his eyes. Hahaha.

Right after I snapped the photo of William in this cute little ensemble, he tried to take it off and accidentally took off TOO MANY LAYERS, almost exposing the real thing. Oops!! Blush!! Let's all have a laugh anyway at William's expense!

Fortunately our mall adventures were ultimately successful - whew! William found a zip up Burton sweatshirt at Zumi's and a three pair of pants at Old Navy. Sam and Kyla even convinced William to try on and buy a pair of jeans, something he has refused to wear except for a pair he needed for horseback riding lessons one year. I bought Sam a pair of jeans too, as a thanks for "babysitting" the teen and chihuahua. And then we took everyone out to Red Robin as a thank you too. Expensive, but well worth it as Jeff really loved his vacation.

We even made it home at a reasonable hour last night which was quite a treat. I was never so happy to see my own bed again as I was after this trip. Big dog Buck and all thirteen cats were well and accounted for (a friend watched them for us) but the cats were all MAD at us! I've never had them be angry at us for leaving, or at least not act that way. They acted wild, running around, batted us with their claws, laid back their ears, growled at us even! Well, except for Charlie who just jumped up on William, head butted him, and started in purring. All the kids keep threatened to "accidentally" take Charlie home with them. After an hour or so they finally decided to forgive us and we ended up on the couch covered with cats. It was like a scene out of the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".

I'm watching hubby suit up for work at the moment. Alas, all good things must come to an end. I hadn't been very enthusiastic about all the travel and work to make this trip happen (and the work yet to come to unload the car, laundry, etc.), but I'm glad I went ahead anyway. Surprisingly, even with all the road construction and driving and ticket troubles and stuff heads and everything, it ended up being what a vacation is really supposed to be - fun and relaxing.


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