Since we are kind people and try to be helpful, we agreed to take Pie to his dad's & pick him up over the weekend. In the temporary custody papers, it explicitly names him as the responsible party for all transport, but we figure that when we're able, it won't hurt us to take him. Friday, he even got to get out of school early because we had an appointment with Boot's guidance counselor. J actually drove there, so I was able to just look at everything. I love being a passenger in cars, but rarely get to be. After the meeting with the guidance counselor, J drove us around Erie & environs showing us landmarks of her youth. The weird thing for me was that all the same people were still in town. Apparently, young people in the area just stay. It was very different from my hometown-no bastion of intellectualism and liberal politics, but home to enthusiastic American flags and blue collar industry. No wonder J never felt like she fit in. She should have grown up in Yellow Springs. The difference between there and here was marked, too. We stopped at Art's Bakery and then dropped Pie off for the weekend.
We had dinner reservations at Crowley's so we popped over there, eating our dessert first, in the car. J had a fantastic cream puff, filled with high quality, thick custard. I had an elderberry flip, with the most amazing crust. Dinner was great, too, in a wood-lined room with the late afternoon sunlight streaming in a wall of windows. Our service was terrific. J had king crab legs while I ordered a filet with blue cheese. They had a creamy garlic dressing that is one of the best dressings I have ever had. The artichokes au gratin we had for our appetizer were wonderful, too. After dinner, we walked out into the evening, feeling spring in the air, and drove the two hours home.
Saturday morning, J was awake bright and early, wondering if I'd like to hit the hot tub. We took our books and had a nice soak, then got dressed and wandered over to Borders' café for coffee with our books. We spent the morning reading, people-watching and enjoying the sun coming in the windows. I picked up a couple of April issues of magazines, pastel-covered and full of inspiration. One of them had a fold-out ad & when I showed it to J, she said, "House porn!"
We spent the afternoon doing drive-bys of houses for rent and shopping. We went to both Half Price Books and the Borders outlet. I much prefer Half Price Books. I found some cool Olivia stuff to give Laura, who loves the Olivia books. We stopped at Olive Garden for soup and salad before shopping.
After prowling the bookstores and then hanging out at home on the couch, J suggested we have dinner at Aladdin's. She always turns her nose up at it, then loves the food, so I was surprised she suggested it. She told me later that when I was listening to Middle Eastern music in the car, she decided it would be nice to offer. She had a delicious grilled tuna steak rolled sandwich and I had a hummus shawarma platter. Great stuff! Our chicken sambusek appetizer, though, was my favorite part of the meal. Maybe I'll get that for lunch today and take J another tuna rolled.
Sunday, I led the pastor's class, introducing our new book. It's called Practicing Our Faith and Dorothy Bass is one of the authors. I talked them through why faith practices are needed and what exactly the authors mean by faith practices. We had some good discussion, even though we were a small group. Herman told us about his habit of going down to the lake for some thinking time. Lovely! We went to church, then scooted out before coffee hour to get changed for lunch with Jazzbo and Anne.
We hung out at their house playing with the dogs and talking before heading over to North Olmsted, to a dive of a Days Inn and some very good Tex-Mex food at Nuevo Acapulco. I always have such a great time when we get together with them. There's a house for rent right around the corner from them, but I suspect it would be out of our price range. It would be so much fun to live within a block of them. We had a great lunch (and I found out that picadillo means something very different at a Mexican restaurant than it does in Cuban cooking) and good conversation. Finally, it was time to go. We bid them goodbye and hit the road to Erie.
J drove so that I could get caught up on my Dante. I spent the whole time there and back reading aloud to her from the Inferno. When we picked up Pie, he was "starving" and mad grumpy, so we fed him fried chicken (he was furious with J because she only ordered him 6 pieces and wouldn't let him buy more with his own money-he has a bunch of chicken in the fridge left over now) and he promptly conked out for the rest of the ride. When we got home, he woke up much sunnier, ate a ton of food and then collapsed into bed. Adolescence! J made us chili spaghetti & we hung out watching t.v. until our bedtime.
I am so silly because I was all excited to get to leave the state, even if only briefly and for the most prosaic of reasons. I love to travel & every time I get to go on a car trip, I feel like a dog with my head out the window, big grin and ears flapping in the breeze. I am dying to drive down to Florida right about now, taking the route through the Carolinas and Georgia, past all the orange groves and horse farms of north Florida, right to St. Pete. There's a UCC ministry opening on Pass-a-Grille right now that would sorely tempt me, were I finished with school and it not so far from my mommy.