Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve With the Girls

My stepsister Jessa, her best friend Brittany, and I celebrated the end of 2008 with a shopping spree in downtown Philadelphia. Brittany's mother's boyfriend (and Uncle Ken's oldest son) Mark drove us to the PATCO station. We took the Speedline to the Gallery Mall, where we began our trip. The girls were chomping at the bit to check out the Suncoast Video, and I wanted to go back there, too. I figured it would be the only place I'd be able to find one of the things I really wanted today, and I did find what I was looking for, the only DVD set I bought today - The Chronological Donald, Vol 4! It's the last of the four Walt Disney Treasures Donald Duck shorts set and includes, among other great cartoons, "Trick or Treat," "Chips Ahoy," "Working for Peanuts" (which was originally in 3-D, but apparently this couldn't be recreated here), and the classic "Donald in Mathmagic Land" and "How to Have An Accident..." series!

After a brief stop at Borders Express (I bought a Tom and Jerry Calender for my room), we next went to FYE. The girls looked at posters while I went next-door to Modell's Sports Equipment and bought new New Balance sneakers. Both my good work sneakers and my cheap "errands-running" sneakers are done. The backs have been rubbed to death, and there's cracks in the cheap ones. (And I've only had the cheap ones since July! The New Balances lasted much longer. I think I got them in either 2004 or 2005.)

After I got my sneakers (on sale for $40), we decided we wanted some air...and got quite a surprise when snow greeted us as we exited at 10th Street. It was much colder than that morning, and far windier. Jess and Britt were so excited about the snow! They were more like 7-year-olds than teenagers as we made our way down 10th Street to Russkoff's Used Books and Records. It was really cute.

Cramped and musty as it was, Russkoff's seemed warm and inviting after the blizzard outside! I went through the crates of records on the floor, while the girls checked out the collection of old posters up front. I bought three records (Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band, one of Who member Roger Daltrey's solo albums, and the original Broadway cast album for Camelot) and a Garfield comic book I didn't have. Jessa didn't find anything, but Brittany bought two posters, one for George Harrison and one for Nirvana.

We went back the way we came down 10th Street to Market...but this time, instead of heading for the Gallery Mall, we went a few blocks down to Reading Terminal Market. The girls wanted Asian for lunch. Jessa spotted a Japanese food booth. She had Shrimp Tempura. Brittany had Chicken Lo Mein. I had a tasty Grilled Shrimp Teryaki with rice, vegetables, and bean sprouts. It was a bit messy (they need to give you something other than a flimsy paper plate for all the food they ladle onto it), but we all enjoyed it, and it felt great to have a warm lunch after the wind and cold.

By this time, the snow was long gone (much to the dismay of the girls), but the wind had grown even stronger. We had to fight our way through the freezing gale to the huge Macy's on the end of Market Street near City Hall. I don't think any of us were ever so happy to see a Macy's in our entire lives! We walked around the store, admiring the Light Show and the Grand Court. The girls didn't get anything, but I bought a much-needed pair of jeans.

After leaving Macy's, I lead the girls through City Hall (which I figured would be a lot less windy than going around it) to South Broad Street. We browsed through the big FYE and Borders on the Avenue of the Arts. Jessa bought a movie at the big FYE and a chai latte at Borders. I bought an Indiana Jones paperback and a slice of Pumpkin Spice Bread at Borders.

We were all tired out after walking around all day, and I'd told the girls' parents I'd get them home by 4:30. We'd debated going back to the Gallery Mall, but it was quarter after 4 by that point, and I figured we'd had enough. We just went to the 12th Street and Locust PATCO station and took a very full train home, where Mark awaited us.

I spent the rest of my New Year's Eve at home, watching Donald Duck cartoons, eating the last of the chili Jodie gave me on Friday, and beginning the next Monkees role-play story with Lauren. (Incidentally, our next story, this year's alt-universe "round robin" story, is a bit involved and may take a while - look for it towards the end of January.) I suddenly heard booms over the river as we chatted. I opened my window...and saw a burst of pink and green glitter sparkling across the dark waters of the river.

Happy New Year to all! Here's hoping everyone has a sparkling 2009!

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