Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'll Follow the Sun

Started out around quarter of 10, this time through downtown Pittsfield, Lee, and Lenox (which we visited when I was here last October). We made a brief stop at the bank where Lauren works in Pittsfield, the Co-Op, for her to get some money for the rest of the week and to introduce me to her co-workers. I met two young lady tellers, a sweet older woman teller, and her manager, a very young, bright-looking fellow named Steve.

Lee took us to the Masspike for almost an hour. It was a gorgeous day for a long ride, sunny and breezy and blue with no humidity in sight. Lauren cranked up Irish jigs, polka, classic rock, and 80's hard rock as we headed down the highway, the wind in our hair. We arrived in Holyoke to visit their huge mall by almost noon.

First stop of the day was their Target. It was surprisingly busy for noon, mostly with kids and their parents buying back-to-school stuff. Lauren didn't make any finds, but I picked up a few things here. Mattel just put out a bunch of new Ever After High dolls in the last couple of months. There were a few to choose from, but they were all $20. At that price, I was only taking one. I finally went with Jillian Beanstalk - I love her bright smile. I also picked up two CD's I've been wanting:

The Monkees - Good Times (their latest release)

Hamilton Original Cast Album (I've been searching for this for a decent price for ages. Everyone else offline has it for between $27 and $30. Target had it for $18.99, cheaper than it is even at Amazon right now.)

We were both hungry. Lauren doesn't like eating in the mornings, and I'd only had a small breakfast. Ruby Tuesday was a short walk from the Target mall entrance. They're basically Applebee's with a more elegant, rugged atmosphere. We slid into a dark brown vinyl booth that was as smooth as the bright ball the women volleyball players spiked over a net on the TV screen. Lauren had a chicken BLT. I had the Avocado Turkey Burger. Yum. Even if the turkey burger patty wasn't hand-made, it was at least huge and juicy, with fresh avocado slices, tomato, and lettuce, and crispy bacon. Both sandwiches were enormous. Lauren couldn't finish hers. I did finish mine and poked around in her fries as well. (They were good, too - the kind with the skins on, like at the Pop Shop and that hot dog booth at the Moorestown Mall in June.)

We browsed around for a couple of hours. She didn't get anything at JC Penney. I finally found decent khaki pants for work. (I just hope these last longer than the ones from Macy's.) A brief review of Game Stop yielded no finds.

The FYE was smaller than the other two, but it still had some decent stock. Instead of buying more movies, I took advantage of a buy two, get one 75% off sale and bought my first Funko Pop figures. For those who aren't pop culture nuts, these are bright-colored toys and bobble heads that are basically cute-ified versions of favorite characters. I've seen everything from Sesame Street to Doctor Who to WWE wrestlers (Lauren has Ric Flair and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and bought the Ultimate Warrior for her dad) represented. Yes, I ended up with three Star Wars figures, my first toys for The Force Awakens. I got the older Han Solo in his brown leather jacket, General Leia in her uniform, and Rey with the blue lightsaber on Starkiller. (Rey was the 75% off.) Lauren bought more wrestling T-shirts, which were apparently also on sale.

There are plenty of AC Moores and Michaels in South Jersey, but this is the first time I've ever been in a Hobby Lobby. Same deal, really - lots of hobby and craft-based merchandise, from yarn to doll clothes. I considered the latter, including a brand I'd never seen that does sell some historical costumes, but my AG dolls are spoiled enough as it is. Hobby Lobby is apparently owned by a Christian company. They sell quite a few religious items, including lovely metal crosses. Lauren bought two, one for her and one for her parents, on sale.

The Christmas Tree Shops continue to be good to us. Like Hobby Lobby, they have their fall stock out. Lauren found the Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Cookie Mix and another box of those soda frozen bars. I settled for another container with 50 muffin papers.

Made a quick trip back to Macy's. Neither of us came up with anything here. I just went to the bathroom. Even Lauren couldn't find the blouses she likes for work. We passed through Target on the way out, looking for their seasonal section. Disappointingly, no fall stuff yet. They're still on back to school.

When we were wandering around earlier, Lauren saw that the Uno Pizza and Grill had a small cart outside that sold single slices for surprisingly cheap. We both spent a little over five dollars on a deep-dish slice of pizza and a soda. She had pepperoni and Pepsi. I had chicken-pepper and Diet Pepsi. Yum.

It was quarter of 5. We'd spent the last three days hiking around three large malls and an amusement park. We just decided to pack it in early. We dodged traffic and headed for Masspike, making it home by around 6.

Spent the rest of the night playing video games. Lauren saw a couple of guys at a store playing Rayman Origins on the Wii and thought it looked like fun. It's...odd. The weird, colorful animation looks like a Cartoon Network show. As far as I can tell, Rayman is a bird-thing that has to rescue his buddies, who have all been captured. They collect tiny yellow beings called Luma to unlock characters at the main hub. Weird, but actually kind of fun, once you get the hang of it. We got through the desert/music themed second level before finally calling it quits for the night.

Right now, we're online, chatting and listening to 80's music online. We're going to stay in the Pittsfield area tomorrow, checking out her local mall and mini-golf course, along with Jiminy Peak, a ski resort that has a really neat slide.

Oh, and meet Jillian Beanstalk, one of the newest students at Ever After High! Life's an adventure for the daughter of Jack and the Beanstalk, who loves a good beanstalk climb and will never turn down a chance to live life to the fullest. She didn't come with a brush or a stand, but she did have a cute purse (it holds the magic beans) and a lovely flower headdress. I'm glad they've started giving different characters different expressions, too. Jillian's fun-loving smile fits her to a T.

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