Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

For almost all of my adult life I had been increasingly tempted to see what the whole Black Friday phenomenon was all about. Finally, just last year, I decided to go for it. I combed the sales flyers, picked out the items I absolutely HAD to buy, wrote it down on a list in chronological order of store opening times and even searched the Internet for coupons that might save me even more money. The day finally came and I jumped out of bed all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:00 a.m. Armed with a travel mug and a thermos full of coffee, I made the trek to the mall. JC Penney was my first stop, and I waited with a throng of people outside the store just waiting for the 4 a.m. opening. It was something else. There were people singing Christmas carols still wearing their pj's, people who had obviously never even gone to bed and had stayed up partying, and people like me...just in it for the experience and the prime people-watching opportunity. It was a truly amazing experience, and I saved a ton of money.

With such a positive previous Black Friday experience, I didn't hesitate to plan a second trip. This time the plan was a little different though, because the adults in my family are not exchanging gifts. My parents had the fabulous idea that we should rent a limo and go out for dinner...just the adults. My parents didn't have to do any convincing, which meant that I didn't have much Christmas shopping to do. Why did I still go? Because there is nothing wrong with using Black Friday for selfish reasons. I again examined each and every sales flyer and wrote down the items that I MUST have in chronological order of the store opening times. It was basically going to be the same routine, the only differences being that this year Sierra was going with me and the anticipated first store opening time was at 3 a.m. instead of 4. The plan was made...pick Sierra up at 2:30 and head for Plattsburgh.

Sierra was out on the sidewalk in front of her house when I got there, and we wasted no time making the trip. Smooth sailing all the way with just a little fog to make things interesting. We decided to park near Target and make our way over to Old Navy. We were just in time for their 3 a.m. opening. There was only one problem...we couldn't find a mall entrance that was open. Everyone was standing outside waiting to get in. We decided we must have chosen the wrong mall entrance and walked around a bit before giving in and getting back in the car. Finally we found an open entrance, and headed for Old Navy. Holy cow! I know the picture doesn't really show it too well, but you should have seen the friggin' line waiting to get in the store.

I think the line even went into the other wing of the mall, it was that long! By now of course, it's about 3:15-3:30ish and people are starting to wonder why the line isn't moving. We kind of figure that perhaps they are only letting so many people in at a time because there are so many of us. That reasoning sounded good until someone mentioned the fact that the advertisement said that "select stores open at 3 a.m." Well guess what? Plattsburgh was not one of these so-called "select stores". I think some people were a little annoyed. Sierra and I decided that we were going to have to head for the anchor stores and plant ourselves in those lines. Sierra headed for Sears, and I, after refilling my coffee in the car, headed to JC Penney.

I think I had the more pleasant store to visit. Sears tends to pile all of the large aisles with all of their Doorbuster specials, leading to cramped spaces and items that aren't where they should be. Luckily enough, Sierra managed to find the King-sized down comforter that I was after for only $20! That's right, only $20 for a king-sized down comforter. I still can't get over that snag...only minutes later, they had sold out. Whew! I, on the other hand, made a rather significant purchase in Penney's...some smokin' hot boots to wear with my dress for the limo dinner. Amount saved at Penney's...$116. Can you believe it?

With that much success thusfar, we decided to head for Target. They had not yet opened, so I headed for the line outside. Again, a truly amazing experience. I couldn't believe this line! Again, the picture doesn't do it justice, but you get the general idea.

Sierra really wanted the Sex in the City movie on DVD that was selling for a low, low price of $3.99, so I headed for the electronics department (Sierra had made a Dick's detour). Big mistake. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT go to the electronics department at Target on Black Friday when the store first opens. It was pretty scary, I'm not gonna lie. I did end up snagging the movie and a few other small items, then headed for the check-out. Now if you've ever been to the Target in Plattsburgh, you'll really appreciate this...the check-out line went all the way down the left front side of the store towards the grocery section, around the corner and all the way to the back of the store. That's right, the BACK of the store. I was tempted to drop my stuff where I held it and leave. That is until someone suggested we check out at the pharmacy. Apparently that was top secret information, because we managed to be 4th in line there, and checked out within 5 to 10 minutes.

Needless to say we were spent. Not too spent though, because we had enough energy to visit Lowes on our way out of town. Lowes had storage totes 2/$5.98 and poinsettias for $.99. I snagged four totes, three poinsettias and a drill. Sierra snagged three poinsettias and some batteries.

With the car full, and our patience exhausted, we called it quits. For me, a successful trip. Sierra isn't completely sold on the idea of Black Friday. I think I'll probably give it another whirl next year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who'd a Thunk It?

I haven't written any posts in a few weeks, but last night was definitely blog-worthy. Lauren decided that the Ladies needed to get together since it had been at least a month since we had all been in the same room together. After much indecision about where to go, we ended up at the North Country Club in Keeseville. We had a delightful meal at the bar, then headed to 20 to meet up with the boys. It was pretty slow in there last night, so we didn't stay too long. Sierra took her boys home from the movie, and Lauren, Gar and I headed to my house for some more socializing. I don't know how it started, but Lauren and Mike were talking guitars. Lauren was talking about how she used to play guitar, but hadn't done so in many years, complaining that her guitar's action is too high. Mike, ever the accomodating man, disappears and comes back with his electric guitar for her to try out. What does Lauren do? She starts playing a beautiful, albeit rusty, rendition of Black Bird! I was stunned! I never knew that Lauren could play the guitar so well.

She worked with Mike on his acoustic to teach him the melody. He picked it up in no time, and then it was time for him to show her a song that we had been working on before the evening started. Before you know it, Mike and Lauren are playing guitar while Gar and I sang! We had a blast! I do believe we should do that more often!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spontaneity At Its Finest

I was supposed to have prepared pork tenderloin for dinner. It never happened. I guess you could say it all started on Friday after the ballroom dance lesson...Cory, Lauren and I agreed that we were going for a little run on Sunday. Well, we did, and it wasn't long before it turned into an evening at the Hanf's with all of the Serino ladies. My belly hurts. We ate too much. We laughed even more.

Sierra says, "I'm making lasagna. Mom and Autumn are coming and you should come too."

"Let me talk to Mike," I said.

"Sure." Mike said.

Lauren, Cory and I go for our run. I have to mention that Lauren ran quite a bit farther than us. We cheated. It was the head wind. We figured we'd get as much of a workout going for a shorter distance with that incredible head wind. Unfortunately we neglected to tell Lauren. Sorry, Lauren.

When we had all arrived back at Cory and Sierra's, Lauren was all about the lasagna dinner as well. She and I left to go home, tidy ourselves up and gather up some food to contribute to the feast. And feast we did. There was a lovely assortment of fresh veggies with dip, chips with a Buffalo bleu cheese dip, lasagna, salad, garlic bread and apple pie. The teamwork was truly impressive.
We ate until we were stuffed, then the entertainment began. It turned into "Look What I Can Do" night very quickly. Mike can bend his hand all the way back to his arm. Autumn can do a toad neck type thing that makes you want to pee your pants. Sierra can bend her fingers at the 1st (or is it 3rd?) knuckle. Briar can turn her eyelids inside out.

I tried to get a nice, relatively serious picture of the Serino ladies, but didn't have much luck.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Latest Adventure

The Ladies went on another adventure. This time...A BALLROOM DANCE LESSON!!! We managed to convince our husbands to join us in a ballroom dance lesson! I still can't believe we did it, and holy cow, that was fun!

We knew that we would have to start the evening off with a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage, and Lauren suggested we hit R.F. Macdougall's (not sure if the spelling is right on that one). The food there was quite tasty, but we did have to wait quite a while for it. It didn't matter though, because we still managed to get to our lesson on time.

We headed to the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay where the lesson was to be held. We walked in at exactly 7:00 only to discover that the instructor had not yet arrived. You can only imagine the look of relief on the men's faces when they heard that!

Their expressions didn't last long though, because only moments later our dance instructor Ray arrived armed with soft leather shoes and a boom box. Oh yeah, bring it!

I managed to get the gentlemen together for a nice shot...

Oh yeah, look at them appearing so confident. They were ready to take on the world! Well, Ray kicked things off with the Rhumba. We all practiced the step in a line for a short while before we attempted it with our partners.

The laughter quickly ensued! I'm telling you right now...get a group of friends together and go try it.

It didn't take us long before we were switching partners every so often....

At some point, the Hanfs decided they had had enough, and did the slide. It wasn't long after we discovered they were gone that we realized we had worked up a powerful thirst. Hard to imagine, but our muscles were actually feeling it. We headed to 20 and found the Hanfs already quenching their thirst.

It was a very fun evening, and The Ladies highly recommend trying it for yourselves.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Attending Oktoberfest has been a tradition in my little family for at least five years now. Not one to break tradition, we again headed to Whiteface for this year's festivities. Unfortunately, my true partner in crime, Mike, could not be there with us as he had to work (no day off since August 23rd). I was quite sad, but managed to have a good time anyway because The Ladies were there!

Ri and I hit Oktoberfest in time to have a yummy lunch. Ri opted to stay "all American" and enjoyed a fresh batch of chicken fingers with fries. I went with the whole German theme and enjoyed a pork sandwich with gravy and a side of braised red cabbage. As always, it was absolutely delicious! We sat under the large tent and watched to dancers stomp their feet. We even joined in on the "ticky tacky ticky tacky oy oy oy" shout with gusto.

Lauren, who always works Oktoberfest because she is a Whiteface Mountain goddess, stopped by for a visit. She hung out for a bit before she was called back to duty, but then returned to have her lunch with us. She opted for the grilled chicken with German potato salad. She said it was quite tasty as well.

Shortly thereafter, the Hanfs joined the party. It didn't take the kids long to pilfer all of our small bills so they could win some prizes and take off on their own.

We didn't mind, because we were more into just hanging out, drinking beer and enjoying the lively scenery.

While doing this, we happened to notice our boys' former baseball coach and his son. Chuck didn't hesitate to join us and send his son off with the others. What fun and laughs. We had never really spent much social time with Chuck, and were pleasantly surprised to discover how funny he can be! Of course the beer helps with anyone's sense of humor. Although I took his picture, he wasn't real keen on the idea of it being on the Internet, so I'll respect his wishes. Oh well, maybe next time.

We didn't hesitate in having our pictures posted though, and we took our turns posing with the pink frog prize that appeared out of nowhere. We later discovered that River had won it.

Unfortunately duty called, and I was forced to leave the festivities to spend time with some other Ladies of the Adirondacks of a more goat-like nature. I was especially disappointed to leave when I discovered "yummy belly boy" (the guy with the great abs in a previous post) just arriving at Oktoberfest as I was leaving. I gave him a quick hug and continued on my way. Boo hiss!

Oh well. It was worth it, because my husband surprised me by showing up at the farm with a king can of Bud Light to enjoy together as the goats were milked. He helped me with the goat exchanging and it made it so much more pleasant. A simple thing, but very sweet indeed. Once finished at the farm, we headed home so I could quickly change before heading to Sierra's for a little chow and more fun.

Lauren and Gar showed up a little later with the always fashionable Lauren sporting her red, fleece, bunny pajama bottoms!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Overnighter

What a fabulous weekend this was!!! It all started out Friday with a hot date with my husband. After what seems like a year at least, we finally had a sitter come when we didn't have any obligations. Finally the opportunity to go out just for us. We headed for Plattsburgh and had some spectacular food at Anthony's Bistro. A great place to go when you want to raise the bar a little bit.

Last night was a completely different scenario. It was an overnight girls' night out in Burlington. Fun? Hell yes! Lauren picked me up at my house, then we headed to Sierra's before our lovely trip across the lake. We checked in to our hotel which was, to our entertainment, full of Shriners! Picture a hotel lobby with the infamous continental breakfast dining area with about 100 people in their 60's swilling beer. Now those people are seasoned! They were all so friendly! I have to admit that it would have been easy to imagine that they were all there in anticipation of our arrival. I mean the metal drivable camel that was in the parking lot, the Shriner party hats with the tassels and all of that bright red was more than I could have asked for.

Once we laughed our way across the lobby, we hit our room. Nice job with the reservation, Mike. It was a great room with a lovely spot to make martinis.

We enjoyed some snacks and a beverage before we headed out to try to find some new duds for our night out. We weren't very successful, but had quite a bit of fun in the process.

We enjoyed some silly shopping for a bit before we headed to the Burlington ferry dock to meet Briar. She had to work, and couldn't make it over when we were, so she did the walk-on thing. We quickly headed back to the hotel to get ourselves ready to hit the town. So many decisions. Clothes were being traded, make-up lessons were given...definitely girl stuff. Briar had the very tough decision of which shoes to wear, as you can see below.

Once we could officially declare ourselves beautiful, we made the decision of where to eat. We settled on American Flatbread. We arrived at our destination only to discover that there was a one hour and forty-five minute wait. No way! We needed food sooner than that. We walked out the door and were extremely lucky to find this place two doors down....

The place was absolutely awesome. We would all recommend it highly. Not only was the food incredible, it was really inexpensive too. Chicken Satay for $8. I didn't think of taking a picture of my plate before I had started to chow, but I think you get the idea.

With our hunger satiated, we were able to make a decision about where to go next. It didn't take us long to decide on Red Square. We got our drinks and headed outside to listen to a great blues band. It was getting chilly out, so we thought we'd head in to see what the scene was like in there. We ended up having perfect timing and managed to score one of the power booths at the back bar. It was prime people watching to be sure.

Briar even narrowly escaped a wardrobe malfunction!

It was a great place to enjoy each other's company, have a few laughs and check out the latest fashions in Burlington. Definitely different from those in our neck of the woods. We enjoyed ourselves so much there, that we never went anywhere else.

As we left Red Square, we decided that a snack was in order. What's that? You want to stop and get gravy fries from Nectar's? I'm in! Unfortunately I was not under the guidance of Lauren at that time, and ordered way too many fries. We brought them back to the hotel room and did our best to put a dent in them.

With our bellies full once again, we were ready for some serious sleep. We got a few hours in, and met in the lobby the next morning for our free breakfast. We spent the morning shopping more, then finished up our adventure at Three Tomatoes for lunch. We would recommend this place as well (no pictures though).

There's another thing that we would recommend...spending an overnight in Burlington with a few ladies.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Wild Night Out

Ironwood played at 20 Main last night, and let me tell you, it was an evening to remember. Unfortunately all of the Ladies couldn't make it, but the two of us who were there more than made up for the absence of the other two.

Let me start out by saying that the evening started out spectacularly! You see Sierra had lost a bet. We had a PTO meeting this week, and before we went we thought we'd make it a little more interesting by seeing who could make the most motions at the meeting. The loser had to bring the winner a dirty martini before the gig. Guess what? I won, which means that my evening started out with a fantastic beverage. That beverage led to others of course, thereby reducing our inhibitions, which leads me to my next and most important event of the evening...

The scenery in the place was amazing! Here's what I'm talking about....

Need I say more? The previous pictures commemorate the best part of the evening, but that wasn't all the fun that we had. Sierra acted as the band's photographer, and she was able to grab a few interesting shots that you might find entertaining.

It was a great night, and I'll be reliving the memories in my head for several more days at the very least.

OK, so she did get one of all of us....