Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weekend in Burlington and Corned Beef

We're having Saint Patty's Day supper with our long lost friends with whom we seem to lose contact with even though we live so close together. It's an odd situation, actually, and I'm not always sure what to make of it. We have lost touch with them because our circle of friends has shifted. When we lived closer we seemed to get together a lot more, but now that we are a whopping five miles further away, we never see these guys. I go out for a beer with P, but as a family we seem to operate in other places. It makes sense, they have their own community, they are very social people, and we have our own place in the universe.

Around this time of year, a certain birthday (P's) is celebrated at our house, but again, it's a little odd because not only do we not see them for the rest of the year, but throwing a birthday for someone else at our house is not something we would initiate. In the past it has been suggested by the other party, and in essence, an invitation is made on their own behalf. I.e., they are inviting themselves over to celebrate one of their birthdays. It's become a tradition, and not an awkward thing because not only do we know each other well, but we really enjoy their company and miss seeing them more often, but that's another story.

One thing that has crossed my mind is that our friends are very social and have a strong circle of acquaintances, and yet I know they don't include us in their social calendar. So now it brings in the whole high school mentality of being included and if not, then quid pro quo. I hate to admit it, but the thought has crossed my mind-if you're not going to invite us to your birthday parties, then I'm not going to invite you to ours.

In the end, that's the not the approach we took. We really like P&J, and out of the people we know, probably enjoy hanging with them as much as anybody. They're just good people, interesting and eclectic, and though over the course of time we have lost touch, it's nice to reconnect with them, and it's always a good time. So with this in mind, we're looking forward to a nice corned beef supper and good conversation while the kids have fun and destroy the house. Awkwardness be damned!

On the subject of Burlington, we had an awesome weekend, and would love to make quick jaunts up to the city a regular thing. It's very doable, not to mention affordable. After a nice long swim in their pool, which I may have mentioned has the largest jacuzzi that I'd ever seen, we ate supper at the Skinny Pancake. That place has really taken off, I don't know if it's the location or what, but man were they packing it in. Good for them.

We had the Garlique Chic and the Ham and Egg, and the Veggie Delight. Not vegan, mind you, because it had egg and cheese. We finished it off with a Banana/Strawberry/Nutella crepe, and we were ready to hit the sack. There's something about swimming that really drains you. We went to sleep around 8:30, our standard hour when we travel, looking foward to our buffet breakfast in the hotel.

I got up, as usual, before everyone else, and hid out in the bathroom and read my new favorite book, The Shock Doctrine. Great reading for a conspiracy theorist in all of us, but so well written and intelligently, not to mention convincingly argued. There's nothing like having a great book that you look forward to reading.

Our first stop was the Echo Museum, which I've come to think is inferior to the Montshire, but again, like the Montshire, the kids go crazy for the place. I had two free passes from a survey I'd done, and it helps, because that place is expensive. And it hadn't changed much, except for the one room that has the new exhibits, the place is always the same. I guess because they are big display the can't move them around, but the Montshire has much greater variety, not to mention diversity. The Echo really focuses on biology, which is a great thing, it's just that the Montshire also includes physics and chemistry. And the Montshire seems to be more hands on, which the kids love.

After the museum, we had a quick lunch of soup and sandwiches, where everyone was jockeying for a place on the deck because the weather was beautiful. We headed into downtown and wanted to use our Macy's cards that my mom gave us years ago, hoping they were still valid. Church Street is always a lot of fun, and we all enjoy it, though it can get a little squirrelly at times with the urban experiences that you just don't get in small towns. There were the usual street performers, one guy was singing one of our favorite songs, Wagon Wheel, and the street was packed.

Our first stop was Ben and Jerry's, and man was that place packed. You'd think in a big city they'd have more than one ice cream parlor, but that seemed to be the only game in town. The line was practically out the door. You can see how much B&J has evolved into a big corporate mess, with all the marketing and horizontal integration, it's not what it used to be, but we needed ice cream. For the record, I didn't have any.

We hung out on the drag and ate our dessert, and even were told by a cop that we had to move because we were blocking traffic. He was very nice about it, it's just that we were holding up the flow of people, and he even said he felt bad but also thought he couldn't tell the riff-raff (not his words) to move and not tell everyone else. We also learned that one of our favorite eating places, Boloco, is actually a franchise, but that doesn't change anything.

Macy's was a trip, as well. I've always had this impression that Macy's was more on the upscale side, but that place really seemed like a dump. Something about Macy's outside of Manhattan just doesn't seem to work. They are somewhat depressing, and all the clothes are trashy or too commercial. It's hard to find things that aren't completely overwhelmed with kids cartoon images, unless you want to pay more. And the girls clothes struck me as too provocative, if not downright trashy. It was appalling.

After a lengthy search, we found some stuff, the service was very average, and you can tell that you were clearly bothering them by asking questions, but I'm guessing it was a long day. We got some stuff, chipping away at our Macy's cards (for the record, we spent about $30), and then began the long drive home.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive, and we got home in time for mom to get her call from her mom. Off to bed to cap a nice weekend, hopefully one of many.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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