Friday, November 21, 2008

Tis the Season

Apologies for the weird formatting you'll see in this post. Guess it's the copy/paste or something.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?​
Hot chocolate, baby

2. Does Santa​ wrap presents or just sit them under​ the tree?​
He better wrap them. Even if it's just in a bath towel.

3. Colored light​s on tree/​house​ or white​?​
I like both, but we have white for our tree.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?​
Nah. I already kiss him on my way out the door.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Whenever we get around to pulling them out of the back of the closet/storage unit. Hopefully soon though, I'm in the spirit this year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (​not desse​rt)?
Well, Honeybaked Ham is something we always had for Christmas at home. But I can't really get that up here. (I love how this question has to qualify, "not dessert." What's wrong with dessert??)

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child​?​
The year I learned about the REAL Santa, I got to stay up really late until my sister went to bed and help my parents...uh, I mean Santa...put the presents under the tree.

8. When and how did you learn​ the truth​ about​ Santa​?​
I don't remember exactly what year it was or how it went down, but I think I was about 8 or so?

9. Do you open a gift on Chris​tmas Eve?
No! Sacrilege!

10. How do you decor​ate your Chris​tmas tree?​
By hanging ornaments on it?

11. Snow,​ love it or hate it?
Both. I love it when I can just look at it and hate it when I have to drive or trudge to work in it. But I'm a Southern girl and we didn't see much snow, so I still get excited anytime there's a chance of it.

12. Can you ice skate​?​
You mean like make it around the rink without falling on my butt? Yes. But it won't be pretty.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My promise ring as teenager was a big one. The watch I got from my parents a few years ago, which I still like but needs a new battery.

14. What’​s the most impor​tant thing​ about​ the holid​ays for you?

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Ohh, this is why I can't say desserts in the other question. Hmm...pumpkin roll is definitely up there. I'm not big on fruity pies, but they're good sometimes.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Well when Scott and I got married, we decided to start our own tradition. So each year, we shop together for a Christmas ornament. There are no parameters, it can be from the dollar store or from Saks Fifth Avenue, as long as we both love it.

Also, when I was growing up, my mom forgot to wrap one of my presents and had it downstairs, so she remembered it as we were opening gifts, and she brought it up from downstairs wrapped in a red towel. The next year I gave her a gift wrapped in a red towel. And it stuck. But now I have the red towels.

17. What tops your tree?​
An angel.

18. Which​ do you prefer - giving or receiving?
Um, both?

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
I can tell you my least favorite Christmas song: The Little Drummer Boy. I have a few favorites: O Holy Night, O Come O Come Emmanuel, and since I moved away from home, I'll Be Home for Christmas.

20. Candy​canes​:​
Are good for stirring a cup of hot tea

21. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a Wonderful Life

22. What do you leave​ or Santa​?​
Nothing now, but I think we left milk and cookies when I was a kid. We had to bribe Santa somehow to come early, since we always were at my grandparents' house on Christmas Day.

23. Did you start​ any new traditions lately?
See #16.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year?
For my best friend to have a happy and healthy baby. For my mom's shoulder to heal well after surgery. For my family and friends to have happy Christmases.

Wish they all could be

I'm sitting here watching Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the musical guest tonight is Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Now, I'm a big Beach Boys fan, grew up with some of their tapes (remember those?). But I have to say, Brian Wilson, bless his heart. His shirt is way too big and he doesn't stand, and it just makes me sad. The first song he and his band did was from his new record, and I have to say, eh. And then, they did the Beach Boys' classic California Girls. It's just not the same. The song makes me smile, but I feel bad for Brian Wilson. Good for him for continuing to do what he loves I suppose. Long live the Beach Boys.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas! The lights are going up. The trees are twinkly. It's getting cold. It might even snow. And pretty soon the lines at the stores will be longer than the ones on Election Day this year.

The Stock Exchange

The plaza on my way to work

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Forget the pizza

All you West Philly people, I am doing you a HUGE favor. Last night, on Food Network, I was watching an Unwrapped episode about couch potato food. And lo and behold, delivery cookies. Warm. Fresh from the oven. In West Philly. Why did I not know about this? It's called Insomnia Cookies and they deliver in University City between 30th and 50th streets. $1 per cookie, minimum $6 delivery. Enjoy. You guys so owe me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Mystic vacation

Alright, I know you've been waiting. I'm finally getting around to doing the photo thing for our vacation. Ready? Let's travel.

We left Thursday and got stuck in traffic getting out of NYC, so we didn't get to our B&B until 8 p.m. By the time we got settled in and fed Thunder, who went with us, it was after 9 when we set out to find dinner. There wasn't much open, but we managed to sneak in under the clock before Mystic Pizza closed, and we were pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Mystic Pizza is the namesake of the 1988 movie, starring Julia Roberts, which I haven't seen. Yet.

Click on any photo to see it larger.

The B&B we stayed in was nice enough, and they brought us breakfast every morning. Friday morning it was sausage, eggs, and muffins. But they were banana muffins so I couldn't eat them (bananas make me sick, literally). So after lounging around a bit and getting ready, we ventured out for lunch to a place called Go Fish, and had some surprisingly good seafood. We weren't sure what we were in for...the parking lot wasn't very full. But after lunch was the fun part.

I wasn't expecting much from the Mystic Aquarium. After being to the aquariums in Chattanooga and Atlanta, it seemed pretty small. But good things come in small packages. And it was fairly empty on that day, so we rarely even had other visitors around us. As you walk in, the first thing you see is the beluga whales. You can pretty much walk right up to the edge of their tank, and there's a window for below-viewing too.

Popping up to say hi
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Then they were starting the sea lion show, so we did that. There were three of them, Coco, the big dark one, Surfer, the middle child, and Boomerang, who is 2 years old but still tiny compared to Coco and Surfer. He was an orphan and they named him Boomerang because when he was released back into the wild he came right back, so now he lives at the aquarium. Oh, and the day we were there was Halloween, which is why the trainers are wearing pajamas.

Coco coming out to say hello

Boomerang waves hello

Coco showing us how sea lions like to get around...they slide!

Surfer shows us his teeth

Coco holds a fish in his mouth and won't eat it until the trainer claps, even when the whole audience clapped! Here, she's trying to trick him, but he doesn't fall for it.

Coco leaps out of the water to touch the toy! (See those shapes on the back wall? They've been trained to pick them out when told.)

Some stuff from inside...
This was a neat exhibit. They took a styrofoam cup to different sea levels, and the compression actually shrank the cups since styrofoam is made of mostly air.

Scott the marine biologist

Back outside...
A seagull tries to get in on the sea lion's fishy goods
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Finally we made it inside to what I guess would your typical aquarium exhibits.
I know this is blurry, but it's Boomerang chasing his tail.

Bird-eating spider bigger than your fist (intentionally left this one small in case you don't want to see it)

That evening, we had dinner at S&P Oyster Co., which is kinda like THE place to go for dinner in Mystic. It's right on the water. Here was the view from our corner table.
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On Saturday, after our breakfast of french toast and sausage, we came across a scenic stopping spot. Actually, we turned around here like 5 times, but that's beside the point.
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But this is where we were headed: Mystic Seaport. It's kinda like historic Williamsburg for those of you who have been there, with old-time buildings and shops where you can watch them make hoop skirts and rope. They also have boats there you can get on and walk around. This is the Joseph Conrad, which served as a commercial training ship for more than a century.
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The lighthouse

Underneath the deck of the L.A. Dunton, which is a national historic landmark. This is where the crew ate and slept.

Me on the boat...although you can't see the boat...

Saw some pretty fall colors on the way back to the inn
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On Sunday, after our pancakes and bacon, we checked out and headed home. But not before Thunder got his turn. We stopped at Ocean Beach State Park on our way out of town. They have a nice nature walk, and then we went down to the beach.

From the nature walk
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Down to the water (the little speck in the distance is a lighthouse)
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Thunder biting at the waves

And running at me full tilt

After that, we packed up our tired puppy and headed home. The End.