23 December 2012

Surprise on Friday

Seventeen whole days of "weekend editions" start today. But first...some sleep!

My original idea was to bake cookies, but I also wanted to go to Richard's. Richard's Variety Store at Peachtree Battle shopping center is the closest place left to a five-and-ten left in the Atlanta area. The store goes back to the 1950s, and probably was a real five-and-ten way back when. It still has the old brown checked linoleum floor, and even has a 25 cent horse ride. You can't get clothes there any longer, but they have greeting cards (some rather naughty), books, toys, lots of stuffed animals. novelties, and even housewares where you can get bakeware and notions from mouse traps to light bulbs. They also have one whole aisle of seasonal stuff which, at this time of year, is Christmas.

I figured perhaps I could go when they opened and then get home in time to bake, but was disabused of that notion by a late breakfast and the traffic on West Paces Ferry Road (LOL...not to mention what happened on Saturday, but that's another story). I really shouldn't have gone down West Paces Ferry, as it is a main road into Buckhead and the shopping thereof, but I wanted to see the fine homes all dressed for Christmas: window wreaths and door wreaths in red and green or in gold and silver. Traffic was slow enough that I could see all the details!

Since I was late getting into town anyway, I stopped at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble, and this was a fortuitous thing: I had planned to get a certain book as a Christmas gift for Aubrey's friend Isabel, who wants to go into law enforcement and become a forensic pathologist, but I found an even better book about forensics there! Plus on the way out I found a cute kids' game. I bought both and then marched next door to Publix to put the game into the Toys for Tots collection box.

James called me just as I was about to get in line: they had let him out early. I told him I was on my way to Richard's and why not meet me there, and then we could go to lunch together (he had a discount coupon for Olive Garden that's been burning a hole in his pocket)? Well, the traffic was so bad he never made it to Richard's; he just went directly home, while I spent a nice half-hour wandering around the little store. They put in some extra "novelty" type gift books in this year, some of them quite rude! Plus lots of little gadgets like flashers for when you walk in the dark, USB lights, etc. The Christmas aisle had a bin of hand-blown glass, boxes of ornaments, garland, tinsel, and even boxes of large and small Christmas crackers, and of course lots of multicolor wrapping and bows.

Then I headed home, and together James and I went to lunch at Olive Garden. Truth to tell, we were a little disappointed. We haven't been to Olive Garden in a while, at least a year, maybe even two, preferring to eat at Giovanni's. We first noted the lunch menu was rather limited as compared to the past, and the lunch prices were more like we remembered at dinner! We had the gnocchi soup with the beef short ribs and mushrooms. The soup was only lukewarm, and each of us only had three gnocchi in the bowl. The beef came with tortelloni and it was all good, but there was remarkably little beef. For dessert we had one of the chocolate mousse dolcini dishes, small and chocolatey and just the right size. Everything was good, but not really outstanding—except our waitress. We had a good waitress and tipped accordingly.

On the way home we stopped at Publix to check out the twofers. They have Hallmark items two for one so we also wanted to stock up on some cards.

Came home to check the mail and feed and walk Willow, and then around five o'clock turned around, with the back seat of my car stuffed with gifts, and went to the "Apocalypse Game Night" and gift exchange at the Lawsons. It's about time all this idiot furor about the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world came to an end!

It was a great night: we sent out for pizza and did gifts—Isabel did like hers!—and there was the greatest reaction out of Aubrey when she saw the two drawing pads and colored pencils that was our gift: "Look at this wondrous blank page! Do you not see the marvelous things that could be drawn here!" I was catapulted back to the days when I wandered the stationery aisles at Newberry's and at Thall's Drugs and at Douglas Drug looking at the composition books and imagining all the stories I could write in them! Later we did play some games: a game of Big Bang Theory Uno, a Big Bang trivia game, and a couple of games of Cranium, which ended up with Terry (a male friend of the girls) acting out all the charade cards. By the time we finished we were exhausted from laughing.

We were home very late and after giving Willow a last walk and a pat and kissing Schuyler, went off to bed to dream our Christmas dreams.

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