Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Off Phase With the World

I woke up this morning to someone mentioning Christmas Eve.

"Oh yeah" I said. "That's coming soon."

Response - "That's coming TONIGHT."


I seriously, SERIOUSLY did not know. I thought it was tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. That's how out of sync I am with everything around me. And I was wondering why everyone was quiet online. Thought folks were probably already off traveling and such.

I went to Youtube to find something quick and pleasant for folks to enjoy while I'm off wrapping and cleaning and celebrating. I found this instead, which, according to the hits, apparently I'm the only person left on the planet who hasn't seen it. I warn you, it's very graphic. Moving, but goes dead center to the reality of things. I was glad I watched it but you might want to just not think about the flip side of the coin until you're done with a happy holiday.

I found a few other videos that were just too sugary Hallmark for me in my present mood. But I liked this last one. Strikes the right balance between funny and too stupid to believe. It made me laugh. Not sure what that says about me.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Bah Humbug!

I've stayed away from posting for a few days to save you all from the worst of my holiday meltdown. Nothing major. Just little things. Well, really a bit bigger than little. But still, little in the bigger scheme. Troubles, like snowflakes, pretty and manageable when they come down gently and slowly, but if they pile up day after day, foot after foot, they can lose their fantasy charm and become one big frozen or slushy pain in the ass. And so it's been for me. Not the literal snow, which has indeed been piling up day after day, although the weather has been one issue among many others. No, it's been ..... just everything. It all finally got to me and I had several days filled with feelings of being overwhelmed, tears, anger, and wishing I could take a carton of heavily spiked eggnog into a dark and quiet closet and just hide there until the holidays are over.

I know. Not very cheerful. See, I told you I was doing you a favor by ignoring you all for a bit.

But, I think I have it mostly out of my system. Moved past it. Knock on wood. In fact, I've moved past a lot of things, like the expectation of getting anything else done on time. I've moved past even caring. And that's a surprisingly cheerful place to be! I'm not sending out cards. I'll get the rest of the packages in the mail sometime in the next week or two. The gifts I planned to make will get made and sent.... before spring. There are no children's fantasies to be destroyed in any of my delays and January will be just as gloomy as December, probably more so. People will enjoy getting packages from me in January.

I've got candy canes decorating our outdoor trees and hubby strung two mismatched (but festive) lines of lights on the house. Inside we've got a tree up with enough decorations on it to call it done. There's also boxes - EVERYWHERE! I brought all the holiday stuff inside. It's still all sitting about making me determined to reduce it by at least half and stick everything but the most sentimental bits and bobs in the garage sale pile. I may or may not decorate anything else. Maybe I'll just truck it all back out to the garage and deal with it next year.

Several nights ago I tried to get myself out of my funk by spending an evening wrapping all the gifts while watching old sappy movies. It was lovely. Until I came home from errands the next day to discover that some evil furry spawn of satan had peed beneath the tree and it had soaked into all the gaily wrapped packages. I had to unwrap and rebox all but two boxes and throw away a number of expensive food gifts. That was the point at which I wanted to retreat to some forgotten closet. And I probably would have except all my closets are so full that there's no room for me to fit inside any of them.

But it's not all doom and gloom. I think this is sort of a pattern for me. I get all caught up in the holidays as a big production and just about the time Yule comes looming up on the calendar and I realize that, once again, I'm not ready soon enough, I find that what saves my sanity and is balm for my soul is reduced to focusing on the many small and wondrous moments that are truly the gifts of the season despite being free, unplanned, and unwrapped.

In the wee hours I had to take my old dog out to pee. Standing in the cold under rare clear skies, the crescent moon was high in the sky and beautiful and even just a sliver of it's full self, it reflected off the snow to make the night brighter than normal. In the quiet I heard a soft crunch in the snow and looked up to see a lone deer, framed by the branches of a redwood tree (yes, our neighbors have a redwood tree) silhouetted in front of the extra glow of a street light across the street.

The next morning I stood outside on my doorstep and saw the first half dozen of a covey of quail run across the icy street between the edge of my yard and the neighbors fence. As I watched, the remaining quail took their chance, a few at a time, across the open, icy road. They skittered, their feet sliding out from under then, they slid and slipped while the quail who'd already made it across chirped loud encouragement. I could almost hear them yelling "Come on Quinn, you can do it. Quentin, that's great.... Ohhhhhh! Get back up. Go for it Queenie! Yah! Oh no! Owwww! Yah!"

Equally cute, when I told William about the scene he laughed and said "Those quazey quail and their shenanigans!"

Or this neighbor's snow pile. The kids' original sign got wet and droopy so they replaced it with this new sign.

And let's not forget the person who stands between me and an enormous bill for psychotherapy - my friend Shelly and our regular dinners out to escape our families and pour out our problems over tea or pasta or enchiladas or moo goo gai pan.

Yesterday I was at the local bookstore picking up a paperback they'd ordered for me. A gentleman at the counter, a big man with a snowy white beard and a heavy coat over a red plaid lumberjack shirt (hmmmmm, could it be.....?) asked David, one of the owners, if he could get his purchase gift wrapped. David said that although they did indeed offer gift wrapping that the guy would have to come back for it the next day as he himself was absolutely fumble fingered when it came to wrapping and there was no one else to do it until morning.

"Do you want me to wrap it for you?" I offered. And so I did. When I returned from the back room with book wrapped in smiling Santas, the gentleman tried to pull out his wallet but no, of course not. It was a small thing. But I mention it because the look of relief and gratefulness on David's face, and the customer's appreciation at not having to come back out in the cold and snow, made me happier than I've felt in days.

And the sweetest moment of all - I stole this photo above from my daughter-in-law's blog. Lisa and Joli stopped to visit Sam last night on their way up to Oregon. This is my son, who fashioned a sling out of a bedsheet, so his niece could help him make brownies. If this doesn't make you go "Awwwwwwww" than your heart has already turned to stone.

And now I must go...... sigh..... rewrap presents. Maybe with some eggnog. Sans brandy. I might have to run errands on those slippery roads at some point today. BUT, hubby is home for the rest of the month starting tonight - YAY!!!!!! - so I'm soooooo gonna spike some eggnog tonight!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wanna See Some White?

You're in the right place for white. We've got lots of it here. And it's in the forecast for at least another week. Okay, so maybe it's not forecast for every day. It's actually - snow, sun, snow, snow, snow, snow. Although our one sunny day recently hasn't necessarily been better. It's been really cold, more so when it clears. The low tomorrow is supposed to be one below zero! Okay, so if you live in Minnesota or Saskatchewan or some other equally frigid place you're now saying "And your point is.....?" But most of you are probably used to temperatures being positive double digit numbers and are suitably impressed.

I heard it snowed in MALIBU today. Are you kidding me!? Although they only got a dusting. We're over a foot and a half now at least. I'm pretty sick of shoveling although I'm sure that's not gonna get me out of doing more of it. In fact all three of us spent some time shoveling in the backyard today.

Here's part of the mess we call the back yard. This isn't the part we were working on but it gives you an idea of all the junk back there. It all has to move so we can fix pipes. We're running on minimal plumbing power at the moment. Let me tell you - FUN! NOT!!!

These guys are passing the house at least a dozen times a day and I hear them scraping by at night too. Which is a good thing. Less busy roads don't get plowed out at all.

A neighbor a couple of blocks down the street made a huge snow pile out of their driveway snow and their kids painted a sign which they stuck to a stick and stuck in the top. It reads "Need Christmas Decorations? - Free Snow!" Hahaha! I think it would be even cuter if the sign read "Snow for Sale". Maybe they could make them into snowballs and sell them for 5 cents each. Although, it's really dry snow, lousy for snow ball making because it will hardly stick together at all. Waaaaay easier to shovel than heavy wet snow though, so I'm not complaining! And sparkly. Wow, soooo sparkly. Even by moonlight it was like someone had glittered everything.

I'm trying to smile and make the best of the plumbing and shoveling issues. I was gonna make a trip to the city to get some last minute gifts and foods for the holidays but those roads that are even open all look like the one above. So. No trip to the city. I'm being creative. Making do.

Hubby is being fairly cheerful as well. William not so much. He's annoyed he's not allowed to drive his big ol' tank of a car on ice and snow. We're thinking it's not a good idea to let him slide down the hill into the high school parking lot like a giant bowling ball knocking everything in it's path. He's also certain we're slave drivers for making him to help shovel. Today we timed him. We forced him to help us with shoveling and moving things about for twenty four minutes this afternoon. He grumbled, whined, argued, and blamed me for everything from his missing homework to global warming for at least twenty of those minutes. We also forced him to help carry in all the holiday decoration boxes. That probably took another ten minutes.

Hubby got one strand of lights up - not the ones that are supposed to be up there but hey, he was trying. Do you like how he didn't even notice that the Halloween decorations were still up there!? I finally took them down today.

But it's not all drudgery and drama. I bundled up on our one sunny day and walked around the neighborhood taking photos until my nose threatened to snap off in the cold. I tried covering it up with my scarf but that just made my glasses fog up.

I like the little caps of snow my sunflowers wear. Lots of little finches depend on these sunflowers after the first snows so I don't pull them out until spring.

These berries were growing in a couple of neighbor yards. I hadn't even noticed them until the snow fell. Aren't they gorgeous natural winter ornaments!?

Another neighbor's tree decorated with snow and pine cones and mini icicles.

Those are my footprints, that's as far as I went - the tree line. This is where I stood and took the first photo in this post that is overlooking the valley. You can click on the photos to enlarge them. You can also see some more snow photos I put up on Laume's Studio.

More snow tonight. Lots of hot tea and cocoa and eggnog being consumed. We finally got a mailbox full of holiday cards today. I was wondering if we were gonna get any, usually we have at least a dozen by this point. Not that I've mailed out any. In fact, I might not be mailing cards until later - maybe New Year's cards? Or Valentine cards? Because I've lost.... well, misplaced... my address book. I've also misplaced all my keys! Tonight hubby asked me if I lost them here or elsewhere. I pointed out the obvious, that both my vehicle and myself were home and that would not be the case if I'd lost my keys someplace else. So, hopefully they'll turn up soon. Unless I managed to drop them in the snow somewhere on the way into the house. Then I'm sure they'll show up sometimes this spring.

So, how's the weather by you?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The last night I was in San Diego, Lisa mentioned that when she was looking for a shop one day, she'd driven past a Moroccan restaurant near where a friend of hers lived and she wanted to try it some day. I said "How 'bout tonight!" She wasn't sure exactly where it was but she knew it was within a few blocks of here -

- so we should be able to find it. The Hillcrest District is an uptown area in San Diego near Balboa Park. Mostly residential but with a "village center", it is the center of the gay and lesbian community and also attracts other urban families so it was (stereotype coming!) a really diverse and interesting area.

We started driving around from the center in cloverleaf patterns to find the restaurant. It wasn't much of a chore as there was so much to see, so many fun shops and restaurants of every type imaginable - Thai, Mexican, tapas, Italian, sushi, Vietnamese..... We drove around and around for about a half hour before we stopped enjoying ourselves and decided that hunger was setting in and with such an abundance of choices, we'd simply park and pick something else fun and new.

So, uhm, parking. Lots of people both drivers and pedestrians. We drove around for another fifteen to twenty minutes trying to find a parking space. Finally I spied a space just as we were almost too far past it. The traffic obligingly let us back up about a car length and Lisa did a perfect parallel park. As she was turning off the car I started laughing. I tapped her shoulder for her attention and pointed to the building we were parked in front of....

....we were about one car length away from parking right in front of the Moroccan restaurant! As you can see from the photo (I'm standing right next to the car) it's in a odd subfloor setting and the sign is much lower than one would expect when scanning for it. I think it was probably behind a van or something when we were driving around looking for it.

In any case, in we went. It wasn't as "authentic" (as if I'm an expert to know if my only other Moroccan eating experiences were authentic) as the place I've eaten in London, but it was delicious. I suspect it was more of a fusion of Moroccan and California fresh cuisine. Lisa, who's been labeled our "picky" eater, said never again will she accept this title after trying and enjoying all the odd selections I ordered for us to share. Here she is sitting relaxed, peaceful and happy.

And here I am sitting equally relaxed and happy, but not quite so peaceful. I'm holding the whirlwind of energy in my lap. I think the silverware were dancing or something like that. Joli lasted through the entire meal quite well considering how late it was. The trick was to keep feeding her the small triangles of pita bread.

Lisa and I both loved the deep rich colors of the decor. I already knew that I loved this style but I think it was as new an experience for Lisa as was the food. This was a photo of a lamp and the shadows it made in the bathroom against the blue wall.

After dining we wandered about in a few shops that were still open and more so just enjoying the window views. We found our second French patisserie of the day (when it rains it pours!) and Joli and I ate more macarons (we'd just had some for lunch) while Lisa went for a dark chocolate truffle. I can see a very serious pattern here - if there's dark chocolate about, Lisa eats it. We finished up the night chatting and sipping hot cocoa at a corner Starbucks where Joli managed to charm the barista into giving her a free cocoa of her own.

Here's a sampling of the window shops we walked by -

This Buddha was in a window right near the car. Joli loved him. When we went past him several hours later she went running past the car towards him yelling "I see Boodah 'gain!" I was surprised she'd remembered who he was as I'm 99.9% certain she'd never heard anyone in her life say the word "Buddha" before that night.

This was a very elegant shop. If you click on the pic you can see more details. I liked the glass baubles hanging from the manzanita branch. They stole my idea - I have some branches here at home because I want to do something similar with them.

This was in the window of a fabulous shop full of garden statues, decor, and fountains. Largest and most interesting selection I've ever seen and the prices were surprisingly reasonable. Of course a large fountain or green man would have been tough to fit in my Subie so I just looked but didn't buy. I got a kick out of this rock hard ab'ed fellow showing off his flamboyant sense of style.

Another "over the top" party skirt. I thought two things. 1) I know a lot of bloggers who love old fashioned prom dress stuff like this and 2) who in real life in contemporary San Diego would actually find a place to wear this dress!? The entire window reminded me of something out of the '50's.

Speaking of the 50's, check out this awesome retro barber shop/hair salon - not sure which it is.

Nothing says "I love animals" more than a woman wearing fake fur while holding a fake furry animal in front of a fake nature setting in fake colors. I tease but I actually thought this was a really neat window.

And here's the other window. These windows looked like they would be at home on the sidewalks of Paris, non?

When the kids were younger I remember ordered from this company, Bluestocking Press. At least I think it was the same company as the catalog was for American history books and that was the type of books in the window. I took the photo though to show you the books painted on the storefront along the bottom of the window and up the right corner. You have to do a double take to see that those books are part of the wall and not sitting in a shadow on the ground.

This interesting hot pink hookah take on the Eiffel Tower was in a shop called Inhale. Hmmm, I wonder what sort of tabaccy folks are inhaling in these? (I get an automatic underline on words that are spelled incorrectly when I make up one of these posts. The word "tabaccy" is being ignored. No underline. Seriously? That's really a word??? I was just being silly.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Here's what we got overnight. The wind keeps blowing those big ridges of snow out of the branches and making mini bizzards outside the windows.

One good thing about snow is that it's the only time cars travel slowly down our street.

Good thing I don't have any faeries or birds in that cage at the moment. BRRRRRR!

So, from eyeballing the snow in the chairs, what do you think the measurement is? A foot? A little more?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, The Weather Out There Is Frightful!

Only a few nights ago I was enjoying nighttime terrace dining in San Diego. On the way home Friday I drove the last 30 miles of mountain road in the first of our forecast snowflakes. That first night we got a dusting that disappeared the next day into the shadows. Saturday we got snow flurries off and on but nothing that added to the small patches of left over white. Today the mountain vistas disappeared behind skies turned thick with cold gray and tonight the snow started in earnest.

Snowing in England? Nope. William and I went to the pub for dinner. This was the view out my side of the booth. I liked how the snowy street scene was overlaid by the matching white, blue and red reflections of signs and holiday lights.

The pub is in the front corner of an old uptown hotel that new owners are renovating. This is the old sign. It's been removed from outside but is displayed (I hope permanently) in this room that works as a passageway between the pub and the hotel foyer. You might be able to see the lovely old blue patina if you click to open this photo.

When I went out to the car I was playing around with capturing the falling snow in the light of this old fashioned street lamp. This photo gives you the best idea of how fast and thick it was coming down.

This faster shutter speed is crisp and more snow flakey though.

I liked this unexpected affect. A huge fire truck drove by as I clicked and you can see the lights of the truck but no truck, only the street behind it!

Here's another above the side door with a dusting of snow on the sheltered awning behind it.

I went to the market afterward. When I was heading back out to the car with my loaded cart, I had to wait in the doorway with a half dozen other people because some nut job was doing doughnuts and skidding his car all over the parking lot almost hitting cars and poles at every turn. Folks were cursing at the idiots and flipping open their cell phones to call the police but before anyone could finish pushing buttons, a CHP that just happened to be driving by on the highway pulled in. The crazies in the car thought they could pull into a parking lot and turn off their lights and "hide". I don't think so. For one thing I think the CHP pulled in off the highway because they had seen the action already. And if they hadn't, all the men in our little group ran out into the snow pointing the way for the police.

By the time I got to my car, it had disappeared under at least three inches of snow and no matter how fast I scraped it off (with a frisbee because of course I hadn't bothered to dig out my snow scraper yet!) the windows would be covered in snow before I could finish uncovering them all. Meanwhile, the young daredevils were standing out in the cold while the cops sat in their warm cozy truck calling in back up or writing them a ticket or whatever they were doing. I thought that was a good first step, to let them shiver for a while. After all, they had forced the rest of us to stand huddled in the cold for almost five minutes because it was too dangerous to step away from the building! BRRRRRRR!

Now, a few hours later, there's at least a half foot out there and it's supposed to continue tonight and then off and on for most of the week. William's grumbling that I won't let him drive to school tomorrow - he's never driven in snow and his car isn't really meant for winter use. Hubby just got home, he had to wrestle with the trailer to make a space to park on the side yard instead of the street so that it's clear for the snow plow which still hasn't been by - they're probably all busy with the highway and mountain roads. We used to get plowed right away because the hospital and the junior high school were both just down the road. Now the junior high school isn't being used and the hospital moved to the other side of town and they take their time getting to us. At least we still get plowed. The smaller side streets sometimes never get plowed out all winter. I'll probably hear the sounds of the plows - the scraping of the blade and the beeping of their back up signal as they widen the nearby intersection - as I'm laying in bed in the dark, their blinking lights flashing by against the back of the drawn curtains if I'm awake enough to open my eyes.

Well, will you look at that - I can see the bottom of the mug that held my brandied, nutmeg topped, warmed eggnog. Oh dear, I can't have that! It's time to go put the kettle on and pick something else to keep me from getting chilled. Chocolate chai? Hot cocoa? Some of my new, spiced Caramel Apple tea? What would go best with a snowy husband stomping in the door, a couchful of warm cats and dogs, addressing holiday cards, and a quirky old movie on the telly?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And This Little Piggy Went Wee Wee Wee All The Way Home!

Actually, I didn't. I only stopped for a couple of potty breaks in two days of driving. But I did feel very piggy, as I can't remember when I've eaten so much rich and varied food in such a short time. Oh, yes I can. In Paris in April. That tells you how well I ate this last week.

But all good things must eventually come to an end and this unexpected trip full of family, friends, and food has ended. There is more to say and share and lots more photos, but they'll have to wait until later as it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I arrived home on the eve of our first snow fall. It's just a little layer that accumulated overnight but I woke up to the sound of cars sliding on the road outside our bedroom window and, although there are clear cold blue skies at the moment, a lot more snow is in forecast for several days. This matches all the lovely holiday decorations I've seen on my travels and in the homes of everyone I've visited this last week but it does NOT match the piles of half dismantled Halloween decorations left un-seasonally laying about here in my own home.

The laugh is that I got "into the holiday spirit" far earlier this year than I can remember for a long time, even before Halloween, and yet here I am behinderer (yes, that's a word. I just made it up. If Stephen Colbert can do it, so can I) than ever! The good news though is I'm not feeling particularly anxious or stressed about it. I feel like I've been spending the holidays doing the things that matter most and that everything else will happen or maybe not happen and I'm not missing anything important. It's also occurred to me that maybe this is what the holidays are like for many other people. People who a) have smaller families or b) can't or aren't expected do "everything" or c) aren't trying to hostess the holiday entirely single handedly or d) a combination of any of these.

Last but not least - in fact, MOST IMPORTANT IN A NOT FUN WAY - while I was away our old sewer system decided to gasp, choke, and crumble. Hubby and William dealt with calling the plumber and peeing in the bushes while I was gone and we now have a temporary "bypass" sort of system which allows us to use our plumbing on a limited basis but creates another problem because gray water ends up coming out in the dog kennel which means we now have no fenced yard area for our dog. We're waiting for estimates for a permanent solution which sounds like a lot of serious money will change hands, we will lose several fences, our concrete courtyard (aka our tiny backyard) will have to be jack hammered to smithereens and, most horrible of all, we will probably have to chop down our apple tree. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH! WEEEEEEEP!!!!!! WAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My poor apple tree. I really can't think about it anymore. It makes me too upset. I have to deal with it in true Scarlett fashion and think about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pearls and Pattisserie

Today Joli had her weekly swim lesson.

Here's the wee mermaid with a giant pearl.

I had a thought this morning (yes, I do have them on occasion!) that San Diego was a large enough metropolitan area that I could probably find myself a place to buy some French macarons. Turns out there's at least one and it was conveniently located just a few miles from the swimming pool.

It was a very nice pattiserie called L'Opera. Beautifully decorated, friendly service, very reasonable prices, and yummy food. We started out with some sandwiches and salads on the patio. Apparently we discovered Joli's favorite sandwich of all time, a Crocque Monsieur, which I'd ordered and she ate. Fine with me as I was saving room for a second course - dessert.

Lisa ordered something called Chocolate Trilogy. Notice Joli sneaking in from the edge of the photo. She helped her mom with a few bites until she discovered her new favorite dessert...

.... my Tiramisu!

She also helped me drink two large mugs of Earl Grey with cream and sugar. Here we are blowing on the second cup which started out far too hot for tiny lips.

Somehow it all ends up being about Joli but Lisa valiantly carried on a conversation over all the grabbing and "I want!"'s and two year old chatter. I think here she's holding an imaginary goblet and explaining how fond she has become of wine in the last few months. Gee, I wonder why....... Although honestly, Joli was very good out to lunch today. In part because even though it was her nap time, she was also starving. I don't think I've seen her eat so much food since I arrived here. Lisa said she'll definitely return to this place with a friend.

And I found my macarons! We each got a sample. Fortunately Lisa didn't like her flavor so I ate BOTH of them. Well, Joli helped. And I bought an entire box to take home with me.

Although we enjoyed the sunshine on the patio, the inside was freshly decorated with a nice combination of French frilly and Parisienne contemporary style - definitely nailed it. In fact, many of the people at the tables all around us were speaking French, so I think they thought the atmosphere was "just like home" as well. I liked this pretty chandelier. I would have snapped more photos but some staff and I think the owner (or perhaps manager) were standing in the middle of the room discussing business and then talking to us, so I didn't want to act too touristy. I mean, a girl has to maintain a bit of pretend sophistication. Hey, I remembered to wear a scarf!

One last photo which several customers insisted I take, a sweet girl staring at the sweets behind the glass. What you can't see is that she is wearing her favorite shoes - those fur topped pink snow boots. The owner of the restaurant declared them tres chic and Joli quite a fashion setter. Good thing there's so much snow down here in southern California, huh!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Olde Town San Diego

The second night I was here we took my sister to one of our favorite restaurants down in Olde Town San Diego, called Cafe Coyote.

We like to eat outside under the stars or, since it's the season for blizzards in San Diego, under the snowflakes.

Right near the restaurant is a candy shop that is as much eye candy as it is candy candy.

We didn't eat here but I love all the colorful garlands!

You've got to work with what you've got and since pine and fir trees are in short order, holiday lights wrap up the palm trees.

Miranda's is an shop I always want to visit.

It's full of lots of Mexican folk art, shrines, terra cotta everything and...

... Dia de Los Muertos art. Make sure you click on the pics to get a better view of the details.

I think this is just a closet but I like the bright colors on the wall and door.

I was very good. I only bought a few tiny milagros for me and this definitely-not-for-kids guitar for Joli. (it was only $4) In this photo she was saying "I did it!" because she manage to make the plastic strings make a sound.

We walked around just enjoying the ambience and the night air. I liked this sign on a corner cafe. The name of the restaurant was cute too - O'Hungry's.

A placard on another corner pointing the way because of course I want to know where I can buy a decent sword. Ya never know when you might need a sword in the city.

I don't know if it's the MOST interesting city but it certainly is AN interesting city!

Pretty winter shadows on the church steps.