I'm glad to be home. We went to Ohio over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins. Oh and Grandma and Grandpa came too. We had a great time!
I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Ohio. I expected it be something like Pennsylvania or Illinois in the winter time, i.e. very gray and depressing, but it wasn't. It's not boring and flat for starters, and it was sunny, and there are very cool old buildings not just old steel plants and such. I mean, there was some of that too, but nothing like Pittsburgh was when we went there. Bleah. Pittsburgh. We somehow managed to stay in the gloomiest, most nasty part of the town when we were there for some work conference.
My cousins and I went for walks, and talked, and played games. Ate food. Lots of food. All of the Thanksgiving meal was absolutely delicious, especially the sweet potato casserole. I didn't realize how much I like sweet potato casserole with pecans and stuff on top.
That was my first serving, then I went back for more sweet potatoes (definitely have a weakness for them), another roll, and more cranberry stuff. Not the best idea perhaps, but then I never did get around to eating pie: so I guess that somehow balances it out? No, I didn't think so. And I'm sad I missed the pie. Rebecca made three kinds of pie and I didn't try any of them. What an awful cousin I am. Plus I'm kind of craving apple pie now...I might have to make some.
And goodness sakes. It takes a lot to overcome my insane metabolism, but two days of sitting in the car for eight hours, that meal, and some fast food did the trick. :/ I must say it surprised me when I got home and discovered my clothes weren't fitting quite as well, that just doesn't usually happen. Oh well, not a big problem, I'm thin enough as it is, and what with a couple days at work and a contra dance, I'm working it off. :)
Oh, we also tried some Cincinnati chili while we were there. I didn't get mine on spaghetti because I just wasn't sure I could handle that, but I got chili cheese fries. Yum. Really really good. It threw me off at first though, because the chili is kind of sweet, and it smelled like tacos in there. So I was thinking tacos, and sort of expecting it to taste like tacos (even though chili doesn't, of course, taste like that) so it was a bit of a surprise when it was sweet. Oh well. It was still very good!
Let's see, what all did we do? On...Friday, we all went to the art museum. Lots of cool stuff there. Including this car, isn't it splendid?
I took way too many pictures of everything on this trip, but I have a bunch just from the art museum. Art Museum Photo Album (That link should work. It's a Facebook album, but that's the link that should make it viewable even if you don't have an account. If it doesn't work, please let me know.)
Saturday Rebecca and I went with the rest of my family to the zoo, my other two cousins, Andrea and John went with Grandma and Grandpa to the creation museum that's just over the border in KY. I wasn't particularly looking forward to going to the zoo, but it ended up being fun and it sounded like we were better off at the zoo than the museum. Hanging out with the grandparents that long apparently started to get to Andrea, since when they got home she texted us asking "Where her homies were". ;)
So yeah. Zoo. Lots of animals. Lots of random people that Rebecca and I were either fed up with bumping into, or talked about, etc. (Gosh, that sounds rude...) And then lunch... Lunch was very exciting. We ate at the one cafe in the zoo that was open, and sat outside, ready to enjoy our lunch and look at the peacocks strolling about the zoo. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Sure.
So, I'm getting ready to eat my french fries and see these little birds hanging around waiting for food, so I break off some bits of french fries and throw them to the birds. The birds eat them, fine, cute, I go on eating. That is, until Rebecca points out that the peacocks are gathering. Oh, that's cool, of course, they want food too, but they're not going to get close enough to be a problem, and I'm not going to throw them anything because there's certainly not enough for all of them. (See where this is going?) So one of the peacocks comes right up to the edge of the table; his head's about at a level with the table, he's peering up to see what food we have. At this point, I'm starting to eye the peacock a little more closely, not sure what his intentions are. Next thing I know, totally unexpected by me, he flap-flumphes onto the edge of the table (yes, I kinda forgot they fly) at which point I believe I involuntarily shrieked. Rebecca and I immediately shoo the bird, getting him to get off the table, which he does, by sort of falling backwards while flapping great gusts of breeze which blow the plates and napkins off the table.
At this point I am no longer impressed with peacocks, no longer think it's cool that they'll walk right up to humans, no longer am even considering sharing my food with them, and instead hold my water bottle in my free hand while eating the rest of my food so as to be able to hit any of them that try that stunt again. They didn't. One walked back and forth and Rebecca and I shoved the empty chair back and forth in front of it and it looked for a spot to get closer. Finally, some naive people a couple tables down sat down and start exclaiming about the peacocks and throwing food to them.
And then the squirrel decided to try his luck. Given his much smaller build and lack of flying ability he was nowhere near as intimidating as the peacocks. He did get on the table, where (in between taking pictures) I stared him down and told him firmly that no matter how cute and furry he was, he was getting a water bottle to the head if he didn't watch it. He finally gave up and went and jumped in the trash can. Oh no! Poor rejected squirrel. I never intentionally hurt anyone...but I must have hurt his feelings. :(
I took pictures at the zoo also, of course. Oh, right, they're in that other album too, along with the art museum pictures. I didn't get any pictures of the peacocks with their tails spread out, but I believe that's a mating ritual and it didn't seem to be the season for that. Or maybe these peacocks are just too fat and lazy from eating people's junk food to bother with that. :D
Oh, what else? We watched some movies. "Sabrina" w/Audrey Hepburn in it, and "It Happened One Night". We watched that one online. Started out on YouTube, and got so fed up with the sound/picture lag that I searched and found it on GoogleVideo instead. It's cool how many old movies are online, especially since it can be hard to find them to rent anywhere.
Took lots of miscellaneous pictures of all of us too. :) Cousins (and other relatives). I have a couple random videos too, but I'll put them in another post tomorrow.
The trip wasn't too bad. About eight hours of driving from here to Ohio. I drove about 60% of that on the way back because Mom was too tired to drive any. But that was fun, I enjoy driving. On the way there we made the mistake again of stopping in Nitro, WV. Terrible, terrible town. At least the part right off the highway certainly is. If there's a nicer part, we haven't seen it. According to Wikipedia there were munitions plants and such there during WWI, but they aren't active anymore. Hmm. It kinda looked like there was a nuclear power plant there now, but...ok...
(Incidentally, Wiki says that Clark Gable, who starred in "It Happened One Night", lived in Nitro briefly.)
It also says the pollution used to be really bad because of all the manufacturing, and Nitro was the location of a sighting of the "Mothman"...these two things may be connected, no? *eye roll*
Anyway, icky little town, nasty fast food places, not stopping there again.
I took pictures out the window of the car (a technique which sometimes worked and sometimes, sadly, did not) and also at various other points during the weekend: Cincinnati Trip
I stayed with my cousins all but the last day and one morning after making my fried eggs for breakfast, I was putting the eggs back in the fridge and started rearranging them like I usually do. Needless to say, my uncle gave me a strange look as if to say "What the heck are you doing with the egg carton??!" I explained that I always rearrange the eggs so that they are evenly distributed throughout the carton and when you pick it up it isn't unbalanced, leading to incidents that would be harmful to eggs. (And yes, I probably should have refrained from rearranging eggs at someone else's house.)
The last night and morning, I went and stayed at the hotel with Mom and Dad and Colin. Made Colin sleep on the floor, while I got the fold-out couch, since I was going to have to drive the next day. ;) I don't think he minded, he thought it was pretty neat, especially when I set up the couch cushions as a sort of mattress.
On a side note, I guess they don't have annoying little bells at the front desks of hotels anymore? Not sure that I would ring them, even if they did, but I went down to get some towels and ended up sort of tapping my knuckles on the granite countertop to get the attention of the desk clerk who had his back to me and was texting or something. I guess I should have said something to get his attention, but couldn't think of anything. "Excuse me" would have worked, but it didn't occur to me. :P To his credit he was really nice and gave me extra towels. :)
Hi, I'm a homeschooler and I haven't stayed in that many hotels recently... Speaking of which, we saw some homeschoolers on the way home. (They had an nche.com bumper sticker.)
And finally, a group photo, which we took Saturday night right before the grandparents took off without saying goodbye to my cousins. :P All in all we had minimal grandparent drama for once. Just a few things, but for the most part tempers were kept. Unless I missed something...