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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thoughts about traveling and boredom

I probably could have watched the Obama train experience all day. There were commentators sitting on the roof of a building in Washington, DC who had been there for 10 hours just commenting on the events going on with the slowest moving train in history!:) But I was lucky and it was my daughter's birthday. So we had to leave the house around noon and didn't get home until around sixish. We got the tail end of the trip with the train inching into Union Station at a foot a minute. The cameras never left the train and recorded every excruciating minute as the train came into the station. Then they trailed Obama from the train and watched as he shook every single hand of every person who was guarding him and then showed us the procession as he left Union Station and went on to Blair House for the remainder of his time as president-elect. Yet the atmosphere around him and the reverence with which the commentators spoke of him was as if he were president. 

Did they get a glimpse of the soon-to-be first lady dancing on the train at her birthday party? Michelle Obama and my daughter have the same birthday. Sara celebrated by having us go to a diner that is an hour away from us. We had to travel over roads we have traveled before and see things we've seen a number of times. XM Radio kept us all sane and helped us forget our rumbling stomachs. But it was worth the trip. The diner is near Poughkeepsie and actually on the outskirts of Hyde Park almost right across from FDR's house. 

Yesterday Sara and my other daughter put the Wii together, although it was mostly Sara and she spent hours playing on it. She wanted the Wii Fit and we also got the Sports Bundle in case we wanted to play other games. So she played and since we only had one remote I couldn't do anything but watch. Watching someone play a virtual game has to be one of the most boring things to do. Second only to watching water to see if it will boil or waiting for the timer to go off. And then my other daughter, Rachel, decided we needed Dance, Dance, Revolution. So today after we had stuffed ourselves with one of the best breakfasts I have ever had we went shopping. I had The Eveready Breakfast: 2 eggs or in my case egg whites in an omelette; 3 huge pancakes covered in powdered sugar; 2 slices of bacon; 2 links of sausage which I seriously wanted to marry they were so good. This was accompanied by both strawberry whipped butter and regular whipped butter and for a little extra, real maple syrup in its own jar. 

After I finished this breakfast, adding 2 cups of coffee, black I had so much energy I wanted to go skiing or at least sliding down a snow-covered hill. But instead, we had to go shopping for guess what? More Wii accessories. We needed another 2 remotes and of course the Dance, Dance Revolution, and an HD cable to attach everything, plus a charger so everything will be ready for our virtual experience. I can't wait to use the Dance, Dance Revolution. I love to dance and this should be fun. I hope. But the best thing about this shopping experience was that with all of the people out of work, as we are, and the whole economic picture of stores laying off people and going out of business, Best Buy was jumping with customers and they had boxes of Guitar Hero's in the aisles. People were crowding around the Wii games and lining up at registers. There is a Wii craze and our family is finally in it!  One boy eyed our Dance, Dance Revolution II and said, "I didn't know they made a Dance, Dance Revolution II." The look of reverence in his eyes was amazing.

So now that so many of us are out of work we can still get our virtual exercise.:) Plus the Wii has so many other features like World News and Weather. It also has some TV channels and Internet hook up so you can see websites if you want to. You can also hook up your computer and see your desktop on Wii. Except for the balance board, which needs to be treated gently, everything is small and the Wii itself is as thin as a DVD case. But even though Best Buy was jumping and the shopping center was filled for Target and a few other stores I knew that there was a Circuit City there too. Circuit City, if anyone doesn't know by now is going out of business and has to liquidate all of its stores. This would have been the place to try to find the Wii accessories. We might have saved money. But the depression of going into a store that is going out of business is severe. We stopped into a Circuit City before Christmas and it was not a fun experience. I can't imagine what they look like now. We went into CompUSA a few days before it closed and the atmosphere is almost funereal. People scrambled to find bargains and shelves began to be disheveled as bargain hunters grabbed what they could and left the shelves in a mess.

What I did to keep from being bored was look around at the scenery on the way home. Up there the Hudson River is frozen in most spots. I have never seen such cold weather for so long up here. Usually we have a thaw and then it freezes. Then it snows a little and melts and it starts all over again. Not this year. We've had snow on the ground since New Year's. Anyway, I wasn't bored as I imagined a Currier and Ives scene in case the Hudson froze around New York City. It used to be frozen on the river there all the time and people skated there. If you've seen the Currier and Ives scenes you have seen that one with the children and women in victorian costume skating on the frozen river. We have come a long way from that time. People go shopping now on cold winter afternoons instead of playing in the snow. Kids get excited over virtual games instead of playing winter games themselves. Anyway, just my thoughts and I'd take that trip again up to Hyde Park for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you are near any of the places I mentioned, I live in North White Plains, NY, but anyone who knows the Taconic Pkwy and Rte 9 can get there. Just get off at Fishkill and follow Rte 9 through Hyde Park and you'll see the Eveready Diner on the right! Go here for more info:

With about an hour to go we turned to the one channel on XM that will help on a trip: The E Street Station which plays all Bruce Springsteen all the time, 24 hours a day. Today Darren Aronofsky, the director of the movie "The Wrestler" was on for an hour, since Bruce Springsteen wrote "The Wrestler" for his movie. Mr. Aronofsky is not the person you would think about to host a show of Springsteen greats. But he had on his friend who is a long time fan and between the two of them they played about 7 songs, playing "The Wrestler" twice. I didn't mind, because the one thing you want on a trip is Bruce Springsteen music. Listening to this show I didn't notice the time and as we pulled into the driveway with the show still on I was reluctant to leave the car. Of course, temps in the teens and snow covering ice might have something to do with it. 

I thought I'd stay home in the warm house, but that was not to be for me. I realized we didn't have a birthday cake, so I had to go to the grocery store to get one and of course, I didn't like the one with Happy Birthday written on it already. So I decided to write it on myself. I had gotten a cake covered in chocolate pieces so it was difficult. I managed to get Happy written and Birthday, but that left practically no room for Sara. I realize I really, really suck at writing on cakes.:) We can't all be perfect. She didn't care and Carvel cake is always good. But I couldn't believe I had to go out in that frigid cold. Seriously, I must love that girl!!

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