Friday, October 15, 2021

Looking for the Good Times

Awoke to such heavy fog, I could barely see Lauren's front yard when I ate my cereal. It was still a little foggy when Lauren and I headed off this morning, waving "hi" to the horses grazing in dewy grass at the horse farm down the street as we passed. Thankfully, by the time we passed through Lenox and Lee, the sun was out, and it was warm and humid.

Clouds were reemerging, even as Lauren pulled into the enormous parking lot behind the Lee Premium Outlets. She and her parents normally love this mall...but a lot of their favorite stores have closed or moved online in the past few years, including The Dress Barn, Van Heussen, G.H Bass & Co, and Harry & David's. Not to mention, we got there at quarter after 10, and a lot of stores now open at 11.

Thankfully, Chico's and Eddie Bauer were open. Neither of us found anything at Chico's. Lauren didn't pick up anything at Eddie Bauer, but I found a cobalt blue hoodie on the half-price rack. I wanted to find a hoodie like this when we were last here two years ago and couldn't. 

By the time we got out of Eddie Bauer, more stores had opened...and so had the weather. We dodged a light shower as we made our way down the road. Lauren picked up a cute Nordic print sweater in the Gap and work shirts at Calvin Klein. Banana Republic, Talbots, and Brooks Brothers were beyond our budgets, even at outlet prices (and none of them really carried plus sizes). We were in and out of Nautica and Aeropostale. 

Headed to the food court for lunch around 12:30, after we left Nautica. They have a fairly nice variety for a small food court, including Subway, a deli sandwich shop, and a Chinese food booth. We went Italian at the Pizza Bar. They had strombolis that were a lot smaller than the one I had a few days ago, far more appropriately sized for one person. I had spinach and cheese again; Lauren went with pepperoni and cheese.

Hit the sidewalk again after a bathroom break, but we didn't do quite as well this time. Found nothing at The LOFT; Tommy Hilfiguer and Polo Ralph Lauren were also way outside of our budgets. We finally returned to the car with our finds around 1:30 and went back down the hill to Lee. 

Our next stop as a heavier shower began was a few smaller local shopping centers. The Allendale Shopping Center is on the top and bottom of a hill. We both made finds at the Goodwill in the top mall. Lauren bought several shirts; I found two paperback books in the Spice Shop Mystery series, Guilty as Cinnamon and Killing Thyme, that were barely touched, and the CD Summer by George Winston. Lauren picked up the Nintendo Switch game Super Mario 3D All Stars at the GameStop on the bottom level, Allendale Underground. Neither of us picked up anything at the TJMaxx across the street or the Marshalls a bit further down.

Went to the Target at the former Berkshire Mall next. Lauren said she needed a few things for her father. I looked at doll outfits, but all I got was a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash, the only thing I didn't have in my suitcase when I left. 

Lauren drove us into Pittsfield for dinner at Hot Harry's Burritos. This is a slightly larger and more upscale hole-in-the-wall restaurant that, as you can probably guess, specializes in Mexican food. They're not far removed from a smaller version of Tortilla Press. Lauren grabbed beef tacos. I tried the Baja Fish Burrito, with fried fish, Spanish rice, cole slaw, and salsa vinaigrette. Wow, was it spicy! I suspect the salsa vinaigrette was the culprit. I really gulped my root beer! There were tasty house-made tortilla chips that buried the wraps in the bag, too. 

By this point, the rain was long gone. In fact, the sun was attempting to emerge, temporarily pushing the clouds away. We got to enjoy our meal outside on a tippy wrought-iron table. 

We got in around 6:30. Showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller our finds, then had candy and granola bars for dessert. Lauren apparently had a hard time setting up Super Mario for two players, so we went back to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This time, we stuck to playing the computer and each other. The only one I had major trouble with was Yoshi's Valley. I couldn't figure out the many twists and turns of that track in the Nintendo 64 version, either. 

Finished the night on Tubi with an old childhood favorite, The Fantastic Adventures of Unico. Unico is a baby unicorn with the power to make everyone around him happy. The Gods are so offended by this that they order the West Wind to take him to a terrible place. She first leaves him on a lonely island, where Unico befriends feisty Beezel, the mini-demon who wants a horn. After the West Wind sees Beezel turn his island into paradise, she whisks Unico away to a dark wood. Here, he meets abandoned kitten Katy, who so badly wants to be a witch, he turns her into a human so she can help an old lady. Katy doesn't appreciate the gesture at first...until a handsome man sees her singing in the woods and carries her off. It's up to Unico and Beezel to rescue their friend from the evil forest and this frightening being who is far from what he seems.

My sisters and I used to love this fairy tale anime film when it turned up frequently on cable in the mid-late 80's. Unico and Beezel may seem cutesy, but the general plot of the Gods sending Unico away and the second half with the creepy man and what he turns out to be takes a sharp left turn into incredibly dark fantasy. (A sequel that debuted in the US in the late 80's is even darker.) Recommended for elementary-school-ate anime and unicorn fans who can handle some of the scary or sad aspects of the story. 

Switched to The Roku Channel for the Silver Spoons Halloween episode. It's "A Dark and Stormy Night" as Ricky and his best friends Freddy and Alfonso watch horror films. When the power goes out, Ricky's dad Edward suggest they tell ghost stories instead. They eventually concoct a wild tale with the boys rescuing a lovely lady (Kate) from a Jeckyl-and-Hyde mad scientist (Edward) and his Franken-Dexter monster (Edward's assistant Dexter). 

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