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Category: travel

going places!

I’ve been dreaming about a spa retreat for months now, and I’ve been saving my allowance.  (No, seriously, the husband and I get an ‘allowance’ – that way we don’t feel guilty when we buy silly little – or big – things that are purely for our own enjoyment.  It works pretty well for us.)

After doing some research, I finally booked a trip to Berkeley Springs, WV.  It is less than 2 hours away, and it is, well, pretty cheap.  I expect it to be a ‘quaint’ and ‘rustic’ trip – not quite the 5-star pampering I first imagined in a spa retreat – but I think it’ll be a nice break.  You know, from my hectic life of … working 8 hours a day.  With no kids.  And minimal housework (that’s what cleaning ladies are for!)  And plenty of free time to knit and stuff.  But, whatever.  Even the spoiled deserve some, uh, spoiling …

The 4th of July holiday is soon arriving, and that is when my solo adventure starts.  I’ve booked a ‘charming’ room in a B&B, complete with ‘gourmet’ breakfasts and an ‘opulent’ dinner.  And don’t forget the claw-foot tub!  I’ve booked a mani/pedi at tripadvisor‘s second rated Berkeley Springs spa.  And I’ve booked a half spa day at tripadvisor’s highest rated spa.

All for the same price as a day at a spa in northern Virginia.  Plus, I get several blocks of cute shops to spend (what remains of my) allowance in!

Happy 4th, everyone!

travel

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I keep getting all these great Spring deals in my email inbox: 6 days in Paris, flight AND hotel: $499. Flight to London: $200. Rome: $300.

I wish the husband had more vacation time. Oh, and a desire to travel …

On the up side, we are taking a day trip to Gettysburg in a few weeks. I’ll take my adventure where I can get it. 🙂

the big day

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the bear!The alarm went off way too early, and after a snooze, the husband kicked me out of bed.  I got ready, ate breakfast, and packed up the rest of my things.  (I do take longer to get ready for the day, it was necessary for me to be kicked out of bed in order for us to stay on schedule.)

We made sure the bear was ready for his debut, checked out of the hotel, and took the ferry into the city.  We got to the convention center at 8:20 just to find that they wouldn’t let us line up till 10.

As we sat on the floor with the bear in my lap, we met one of the husband’s website friends who was looking for a couple of freaks carrying a stuffed animal.  And she found us!  We gave her a strahotski.com sticker, and as we were chatting, a professional photographer with a crazy nice camera and a pro badge (that gave him access to the good seats) came over to see what all the hubbub was about.

We met a nice man wearing the Buy More Jacket I contemplated buying from the NBC store a few days before.  When he saw me eyeing his jacket, he worried that I was looking at it to mock it – I assured him I had nothing but admiration for it, and I whipped out the ‘Nerd Herd’ hat to put it on.

Once the convention staff realized that a critical mass was forming, they created a pre-line so that there would be order when they finally let us get in the real line.  We met up with another one of the husband’s website friends, who, again, found us because we were hauling the bear around.

They finally let us stand in the real line, where we stood in anticipation of seeing the creators of Chuck (Chris Fedak and Josh cranky-pants Schwartz) and of course, Yvonne Strahovski.  When the doors opened, we rushed in, and thanks to the quick-thinking of one of our new friends, snagged seats on the aisle right by the mic.  You know, in case they had a Q&A session.

We caught a 5-minute trailer of what we have to look forward to in the rest of the second season – and boy, was it INTENSE!  Sarah gets it on in a serious way with somebody who is not Chuck (I hope it’s for real, and not just spy bizniss, Chuck’s been having most of the ‘fun’ so far), Sarah and Chuck get to move in together in a nice house in the suburbs, Morgan’s mom gets busy with Big Mike, Anna finally comes back!

The panelists finally entered, and I have to say, WOW, Yvonne Strahovski is GORGEOUS.  Like in a way that I didn’t even know was possible.  I like to think I’m pretty, but after seeing Yvonne, I’ve had to re-evaluate.  On a scale of 1 to 10, she’s a 10, and the rest of the population is down at 1 and 2.  Except maybe for Brangelina, I’ve never seen them in person …

After some introductions and quick chatter, they opened it up for questions, so I stood up and took a step to my left – and, voila!  I was second in line.  I let the husband slide in right in front of me and handed him the bear.

When his turn at the mic came, the husband introduced himself as the webmaster of strahotski.com, and the room erupted in cheers.  Clearly, many of the thousand people in that room were aware of his site.  He asked if he could give his bear to Yvonne, and after a few moments of confusion, Chris Fedak said to ‘throw it up’.  The husband tossed the bear to Chris, and he handed it to Yvonne.

Yvonne was nothing but smiles as she accepted the bear, and she placed it on the table in front of her, by her nameplate.

My turn at the mic came, and I asked a quick and silly question that got some laughs, and prompted a funny discussion about how the creators had suggested Yvonne change her last name to ‘Smith’ or ‘Striker’.

One of the last questions was about who Yvonne’s craziest fan was, and she gave that honor to the husband for creating his website, and gifting her the bear.  That was the true highlight of the husband’s weekend, he is ecstatic to have made it onto Ms. Strahovski’s radar.

When the panel was over, Yvonne, Josh, and Chris were ushered off somewhere and quickly disappeared.

We hit the Joss Whedon and Josh Jackson (oops, I mean Fringe) panels after that with some of our new friends.  Since that meant we all missed lunch, I passed out snacks that I carried in my handy-dandy carry-all bag.  They weren’t very substantial, but it was enough to tide me over.

After the Fringe panel ended, we bid farewell, and the husband and I headed home with fond memories of the day we got to sit in the same room as Yvonne Strahovski.

saturday in the city

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We woke late on Saturday and had a leisurely breakfast of chocolate chip muffins, cran-grape juice for me and a chocolate breakfast shake for the husband.  I made us bring food from home for breakfast, as we often spend way too much money on mediocre breakfasts when we travel – I’d rather spend not much on mediocre breakfasts by bringing the food ourselves.

We took the ferry to the city, but as it was the weekend, we had to take the hotel shuttle to the port with weekend-Weehawken service.

Once we made to the other side of the Hudson river, we walked the short way around the Javits center to get to the front door, having learned our lesson from the day before.  We walked in late to a Batman panel that had the potential to be cool, but it was just some dude telling us how cool he was, his whole bootstrap story.  Which is a good story, don’t get me wrong, I have one of my own, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

We then went to the crowded food court to get lunch of a blood-dripping rare cheeseburger (for the husband) and a grilled chicken sandwich for myself.  My sandwich was good, but the husband ate his as quickly as possible so as to not think about his raw beef.

We caught the incredibly not-funny star trekkin’ improv comedy group, the moderately boring champions online/star-trek online panel, and the heated genders-in-comics panel.  After some wandering through the vendor room, we decided to call it a day, even though we had planned to hit a comedy show in the city that evening.

We rode the ferry back, and since it was a warmer night than the previous one had been, we braved the elements and sat on top.  It was a scenic ride back with the city all lit up.

In the room, we tried to order Papa John’s pizza, but all the stores I called referred me to another store, with the final store giving me a number that was disconnected.  After that failure, I just called roomservice to order a well-done burger and some french-onion soup.

The soup was sweeter than I expected, and I followed it up some famous amos cookies.  The husband thoroughly enjoyed his no-traces-of-pink burger, and I stole his pickle.  We caught some Alien-Predator movie on HBO, and I finished up our Jayne hats (I never got around to weaving in the ends).

We headed to bed early so we could get up nice and early to get in line for the Chuck panel – the real reason for our trip.

 kennethWe made it to the Rockefeller Center and checked out the NBC store.  After perusing the merchandise, we settled on a Nerd Herd hat and a couple of Buy More badge thingies.  We then followed the signs upstairs to take the tour.

We got two of our very own NBC pages to take us through the tour where we sat in Conan’s studio, saw Will Forte’s plaster head (it’s for mask-making purposes), and even saw some of the SNL cast at work!  We stood outside the SNL theater and saw Andy Samberg, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, and the husband claims he caught a glimpse of Keenan.

After the tour we wandered back to Times Square and ate in the most expensive TGI Fridays on the planet.  With time to spare before our show, we hit the M&M Store and looked at all the adorable chocolatiness inside.  Then we hit Midtown Comics, as they were just around the corner from our theater.

lorelaiWhen it was finally not too early to loiter in the lobby, we headed over to the Nederlander theater.  The theater doesn’t seem to have any back entrance (it’s currently being renovated), so we watched cast, orchestra, and crew walk in past us.  After Lauren Graham made it down the hall past us with curly blond hair and in a hat the covered the top half of her face, I realized I had just seen Lorelai’s nose!  Just a few feet in front of me!

When they opened the doors, we found our seats at the tippity top of the theater.  It’s a small theater, though, so even the bad seats really aren’t that bad.  Shortly before the show started, however, the husband suffered from a rare (for him) nosebleed.  Luckily, I carry one of everything in my married-lady purse, so I handed him my pack of tissues, and a few minutes later he was good to go.

Guys and Dolls was in the second night of previews, so the director came out to let us know there might be some snafus.  The show started 10 or 15 minutes late, but was thoroughly entertaining.  The only snafus seemed to be with Lauren Graham’s wardrobe, as she played a stripper and some of her clothing didn’t want to go without a fight.

The last ferry left just as the show let out, so we walked around the block to the Port Authority to catch the bus back to Weehawken.  While we were trying to decipher our bus schedule and the charts on the ticket-selling machines, the 11 o’clock bus left, so we had to sit and wait for the 11:30.

We made it back to the hotel without incident, chatted with a nice couple in the elevator, and went to bed thoroughly exhausted.

new york, new york!

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The husband and I took an impromptu trip to the big apple on account of Ms. Yvonne Strahovski was suddenly slated to be at the New York Comic Con.  Seeing as he runs a big Strahovski fansite and New York is only a 4 hour drive away, of course that meant we had to go!

We hit the road Friday at 5 am in order to avoid rush hour traffic in DC and Baltimore.  We stopped at one of the oh-so-convenient Jersey turnpike stops (Sunoco and Cinnabon have to be making serious money off their exclusive deal) at 8 am to get breakfast, support Sunoco, and call the hotel and beg for an early check-in.  A nice lady at the front desk assured us it would be no problem.

After un-eventful traffic all the way up, we hit stop-and-go traffic once we took our exit in Jersey.  It was actually a relief, it meant I had time to figure out which lane to be in and inch my way over – and I didn’t end up accidentally driving through the Lincoln tunnel, which was my biggest worry about the drive up.  I have a very strict NO-DRIVING-in-New-York-City policy.

We found the hotel, checked in, and slept for a few hours before heading into the city.  We had a long day ahead of us – tickets to a show that evening – so we wanted to make sure we were up to the challenge.

As the husband put his shoes on in the hotel as we were preparing to head out, he informed me that he had never eaten a hot dog from one of those New York hot dog stands.  I assured him that we could remedy that quite easily.

We bought ferry tickets from the concierge – tickets that he pulled out of his pocket – and made our way to the ferry landing just outside the hotel.  As we were waiting for the ferry, the husband noticed that our tickets had come from a ticket 10-ride pack, and had a face value of $1.50 LESS than what the concierge had charged.  Which explained why he seemed to be pushing the ferry on us, and only gave us a bus schedule and pointed out the bus stop after I requested such information.  (Thank goodness for hotel reviews!  Otherwise I wouldna known about the bus …)

We landed at the 39th street pier and walked the long way around the Javits Center to find the front doors.  We picked up our Comic Con badges, then since it was only 30 minutes till they opened the doors, we stood in line to check out the vendor room.

After a quick jaunt around the vendor tables, we headed out to the city.

We walked our way to the Rockefeller Center, but not without passing several hot dog stands.  We stopped and got some dogs and bottled water, so now the husband can now say he’s had a New York City hot dog!  And it was not nearly so exciting as he had hoped.  It was, however, the cheapest meal we bought on our trip …

still alive!

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No less than TWO of my family members were starting to worry about me since I haven’t posted in awhile.  So yeah, here I am, still alive!

So, just to recap, in my time away from blogging, I:

got summoned for Jury Duty

had Christmas in Texas

decided to write another murder mystery

knitted two Jayne hats

knitted a pirate sock and a half

decided to host a candle party

bought some new sweaters in 75% off January

got pretty and went to the husband’s company party

bought travel books for Italy!

and, talked to a financial planner.

Except for my time in Texas, I have been freeeeezing the entire time.  The butt-cold does NOT agree with me.

And I am exhausted.  I know I just had a holiday with New Years and all, but I am so ready for this upcoming 3-day weekend.  So very ready.

entirely too bony

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On the flight to L.A., I read a book.  And in the process, I managed to bruise my left jutty-out pelvic bone with my left elbow.  For whatever reason, it seemed like a good idea to rest my bony elbow on my bony self to prop up my book.  (That wasn’t even that good, btw.  The third Odd Thomas book is not one of Mr. Koontz finer works.)

5 hours later, I had a most tender hip.

Excuse me, I think I need to go eat a sandwich …

vacation!

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Woohoo!  Time for vacation #3 of the year.  🙂 

This trip takes us to the left coast and blizzcon.  I know, I know, we went to blizzcon last year, but the husband really wanted to see the diablo III unveiling.  And well, I’m not exactly complaining.  🙂

Yikes, I just consulted weather.com, and anaheim is 93 degrees right now.  The weekend forecast calls for 50 to 80 degree weather – let’s hope that holds true.

Vacations one and two of the year didn’t involve planes, so this’ll be our first flight with checked bag fees.  For the first bag!  Seriously unfair.  Needless to say, I’ve been consulting the tsa rules, and I think we’re now compliant with the 3-1-1.  So we – and every other person on the plane – can take our bags carry-on and fight over the limited overhead space.  I’m not much of a fighter, but the husband can be imposing when he wants to be, so I think we’ll be ok. 

I’ll get pics up of this year’s convention, and the husband will likely blog about all the game-ey stuff.  Me, I’m looking forward to my polar bear mount (my Venym is currently riding a chicken – a CHICKEN!!!  They put FIRE PONIES in the game, and then they force some characters to ride chickens).  Ooh, and the candy booth, if it’s back.  I sure could use a pound of fudge …

I just got the confirmation letter for my week in the outer banks!  And for those of you not privy the east coast wonder known as ‘obx,’ it’s just a region of the coast in north carolina.

I’ve never been to the outer banks, even though it seems everyone else in northern virginia has, and they have the ‘obx’ bumper sticker to prove it.  Now I will finally get my chance to visit this mysteriously superior beach.

I love beach towns!  I’m actually not really a swimmer, but I do enjoy dodging the waves as they hit my knees.  Or maybe waist, if the husband has convinced me to live on the edge.  🙂

Beach towns are always so relaxed.  And they have the best food!  Candy shops full of fudge and salt water taffy, ice cream shops, corn dogs, funnel cakes  – there’s a tasty surprise around every corner. 

And the fun little stores! Where else can you buy crazy hats, $2 t-shirts, voo-doo magic palm-reading crystals, kites, shotglasses with your name on them (well, not my name …) and 28 varieties of salt water taffy? 

OBX offers dolphin cruises, something you don’t find in the chilly waters of the Pacific Northwest.  As well as the Wright Brothers Memorial, and the tallest lighthouse in North America.

Now I just need to get busy on my spray-on tan!

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