Saturday was our last full day in Central Pennsylvania and the only day I didn't have work to do. My dad, however, did. This tends to limit what we can do together.
The Gryphon and I took a walk in the morning with our dog, Una, and my sister's dog, Emma. It seemed that Emma was listening a little better, although I still wished I had an extra training collar with me. If I'd thought about it, I could have used Una's on her, but I didn't think of it until later.
The temperature was a little more pleasant but still colder than when we first arrived. As we had before, as we warmed up, we talked about what we were seeing along the walk and what the dogs were doing.
We drove to a nearby town for lunch, trying out a hotel restaurant where I hadn't eaten recently.
Turns out the restaurant is owned by the same family that owns another hotel restaurant where my family likes to eat. We'll have to suggest they try this one, as well.
I've heard rumors this hotel is haunted in one of the upstairs guest rooms, but we had no spooky experiences while we were there. We did, however, overhear a conversation with a nearby family. The husband and wife were in their '60s, having lunch with their 20-something daughter who had a little girl, about 5. The wife had apparently just put some makeup on at the table, using a compact mirror.
"You look like a clown," the husband said loudly. The wife looked wounded and gazed into the compact mirror to reassess her makeup job.
At first, the daughter agreed but then decided to side with her mom. "Just rub it in. It's not so bad."
Just then, the little girl piped up, declaring, "I need some lipstick."
The daughter laughed softly and then both she and the wife pulled out tubes of light pink lipstick, offering it to the little girl, who was happy to participate in the womanly ritual.
The husband shook his head quietly, apparently realizing that he was outnumbered.
For my lunch, I had scallops with somen noodles, which were thick rice noodles marinated in soy sauce (a bit too much soy sauce, if you ask me). The scallops were tasty, though: a little crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. I had half of the somen noodles boxed up to eat for lunch the next day.
When Dad returned from his afternoon rounds, he and I took the dogs on another walk. He loves to walk the dogs and doesn't even seem to mind when they pull. Maybe I should have given him Emma.
Shortly after we returned, my Mom, sister and her husband arrived. My sister and her husband were returning from her in-laws and picking up her dog. For dinner, we had a chicken and mushroom dish, mashed potatoes and leftover sides from Thanksgiving.
We had enough people that two of us, my sister's husband and I, sat at a separate table off to the side. I didn't mind that much, although it was a little weird facing the wall, as if we'd been put in the corner.
My sister and her husband couldn't stay long after dinner, because they still had a long drive ahead of them. I actually didn't get any pictures of them while they were there, but it's probably for the best, because they seemed tired.
The rest of the evening was spent with conversation and some communal TV watching, which is usually just the impetus for further conversation. Dad really enjoyed a show on BBC America where several guys competed to construct a stretch vehicle to take celebrities to a red-carpet event. As their ridiculous, cobbled-together inventions bashed over traffic barriers and got stuck on narrow streets, I had to admit it was amusing.
On Sunday, I got up early enough to have breakfast with Dad before he took off for church. Then I took Una for one last walk, and The Gryphon and I enjoyed some leftovers before hitting the road for home.
Christmas decor along our walk