We held another Girls' Weekend Out (GWO), this time with a different mix of women. I got to spend time with some people I hadn't seen in a while.
I met up with My College Roommate at her house, currently being sold, and then I drove us down, since I figured I get slightly better gas mileage, driving a smaller, newer car. It gave us a chance to talk, just the two of us.
Our hostess for the weekend was The Genealogist, who has a town house in the Maryland suburbs not far from Washington, D.C. We were running behind, so everyone was really happy to see us when we arrived. The other attendees were The Paralegal, who is a friend of ours from college I had only seen sporadically in recent years, and a fellow Otakon staffer I'll call The Hugger because she's such a sweet, affectionate person. At Otakon, she makes everyone's day with hugs, backrubs and handing out interesting candy.
We were all hungry, so we walked to a nearby Asian bistro for lunch. I was in the mood for sushi, and I ordered one of their special spicy rolls plus a few additional pieces. In addition, I wanted soup, but The Genealogist gave me the soup that came with her lunch instead. Likewise, a couple people ordered lunches that included sushi, so we had it boxed up and I ate it the next day.
Since it was such a beautiful day, we were all in great spirits. Even though I don't think The Paralegal and The Hugger ever met before, they got along great. Of course, if you can't get along with The Hugger, you're simply antisocial.
After lunch we discussed options and chose to drive to nearby Frederick to check out the antique shops in search of a china cupboard for The Genealogist. Frederick is simply full of antique stores, as well as a number of other interesting shops. We pulled up to the first one that caught our eye, which had a big, discolored banner reading "ANTIQUES" stretching across a beam that spanned the road. I said, "Look, even their banner is antique."
This was the strangest store we visited. It was badly organized: a bunch of stuff thrown together, really. There were signs all over the place that said that that anything that didn't have a price on it wasn't for sale. Apparently, they don't have a place to store things until they're priced but, instead, leave them in the showroom and hope people can figure it out. I found their overuse of signs rather amusing.
The Genealogist did spot a china cupboard for the right price, but she didn't want to buy anything until she'd shopped around. So she made a mental note of it.
The rest of us weren't looking for anything particular, but we amused ourselves by looking at the items. I tried on a black leather jacket which everyone said looked cool but is totally not my style.
I channel the Fonz
My College Roommate tried on a Sergeant Pepper jacket, which I thought suited her.
The Hugger saw a couple of knickknack cabinets she found interesting. She lives close enough to come back for them, so she picked up a business card.
This store was a bit far from the rest of the main town, so we drove several blocks, got a parking spot and really began browsing. The other stores were better organized and looked more like regular stores. A number of them were similar to the store in Bellefonte I'd visited with The Gryphon several years ago, where different sections of the store were allotted to different dealers, who displayed their wares, which could all be purchased from a central cashier.
I told my friends to look for stereopticon slides, which I collect. For the entire day, I didn't spot any, so maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough. I also checked out the antique jewelry to see if there was anything worth buying. While The Hugger and I found a fantastic brooch we agreed would be great to pin a scarf or embellish a shirt, neither of us were willing to spend $25 for it.
In one of the stores, I got a call from The March Hare. He wanted to know if I was at the home of The Laughing Man and The Scrapbooker, who were hosting an Indiana Jones marathon. I told him that I was in an antique store with a group of friends, but I gave him The Scrapbooker's phone number so he could call for directions.
I found a number of items that would have been fun for decorating if either The Gryphon and I had a larger place and therefore more space or if I had discretionary money to purchase, for example, a Space Age vase on a whim. Since neither of these factors were true, I resisted the urge.
I photographed some things I found interesting as we browsed.
A window at one store overlooked a viney secret garden
The Hugger discovers Narnia
(from left) The Hugger, My College Roommate, The Genealogist
A hand-carved bear sign outside a toy store
At The Hugger's request, we also visited a pet shop, Two Paws Up, that had a really colorful facade, painted with bright colors, which stood out amongst the historical buildings.
They had wonderful toys for pets, and since I missed our doggie, Una, and our kitty, Luke, I bought toys for each of them and a rawhide for Una. You can't get Luke any food treats because of his food allergies. When I presented them upon my arrival home, they seemed less interested in the toys than in me, though Una has warmed up to hers, which is a squeaky salamander made from recycled materials. Luke, however, is freaked out by his toy, a plastic ball containing a realistic-looking mouse with bells. He ran away from it when I rolled it towards it and hasn't seemed interested in it since.
The store had a little pug, who was adorable and warmed up to The Hugger, who would probably still be standing there petting her if we hadn't told her it was time to move along.
We also met another dog, this time in an interior design store. She was there with her owner and was very friendly. A few minutes later, we passed her on the street, where she was panicking, because her owner had handed her off to a stranger while she walked into a store that wouldn't allow pets. Poor doggie was barking her head off, as if to say, "You're not my mommy! Help! I'm being kidnapped!"
In a store that sold imported goods from Eastern Europe, The Hugger bought a really interesting candy bar that contained chunks of biscuits and fruit. We split it amongst the five of us, just to taste it.
Around the corner, we found a lovely little store that sold hand-dipped ice cream, The Market Street Cafe. We each had a scoop and sat at a table, joking that it could be our dinner, since it was close to dinner time. But we agreed we needed a real dinner, so we talked about what kind of food we might enjoy. We decided to try a Greek place near where The Genealogist lived.
Before hitting the restaurant, we stopped in a nearby international store, which was really hot (apparently, no air conditioning). They sold a lot of dried fish, and that freaked out my College Roommate. We browsed the shelves and I found a really interesting packet of soup. I apologize for it being out of focus, but I snapped it pretty quickly.
Then we stopped at a dollar store, roaming up and down the aisles looking for interesting items and making cracks about the things we saw. The Paralegal and I got really silly, joking around about the different products. I bought a packet of sponges that grow in water, because I thought it could be entertaining for later. I also bought a packet of Velcro ties, used to secure unused extension chords. Aside from food and gas, that's the only money I spent on myself all weekend.
The others picked up some items, such as fun candy for The Hugger and glow sticks for The Genealogist. Hey, you never know when you might need glow sticks. The smell of the plastic in the large store was a bit overwhelming, and I got a little lightheaded.
The Greek restaurant was a basic mom and pop store, nothing fancy. They also offered a number of Italian dishes, such as pizzas and calzones. I ordered the shrimp kabob and was pleased with it. The kabob was served with a tasty dipping sauce, and the vegetables were nicely grilled.
We drove back to The Genealogist's place, then dropped The Paralegal at the bus station. When we finally got back, My College Roommate was tired, so she went to bed. The rest of us tried to watch an episode of Psych,which is one of The Genealogist's favorite shows, and a favorite of The Hugger's, as well. But I fell asleep, or as The Genealogist put it, I was watching the inside of my eyelids.
I opted to sleep on the couch, because I'm allergic to Tide, which The Genealogist uses for all her sheets. I'd brought a sleeping bag and my own pillow, so I was very comfortable. And the other guests got to sleep in beds, which was nice for them.
I almost forgot to mention the other girls who participated in the weekend: the new feline companions of The Genealogist. She recently adopted a mother cat and her young female kitten. At the beginning of the weekend, she hadn't yet named them, so we jokingly suggested names. The Hugger suggested "Peaky" for the little one, because she peaks around corners. We also suggested "Flash," since she was always spotted dashing away, or "Heidi" because, well, she was hiding a lot.
We thought the mother cat was braver and should have a brave name like Minerva or Amazon. She has a light-gray fluffy long coat, and by the end of the weekend, The Genealogist had settled on Misty for her. I suggested she spell it with an "I," but I doubt she will. I got a fairly decent pic of her Saturday night on the stairs.
The younger one, who is more shy, has a charcoal gray, shorter coat. By the end of the weekend, The Genealogist had tentatively named her Stormy. The best picture I got of her on Saturday, she looked a little ghostly, due to the flash striking her eyes.
Just because a jacket fits doesn't mean you should buy it.