looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Shopping for Plates

Today we awoke bright and early - like about 9:30am - and did a little work while the kids slept in in their sleeping bags. Actually, Derek was watching one of the sports channels - a soccer game between England and Holland. It was pretty exciting! Normally I'm not into sports that much, but it is fun with the kids, who identify a whole heap of subtleties that make it more interesting.

At around midday we went to Kirin's Chinese Restaurant in Santa Rosa. The family who runs this are actually Korean, and are friends of Lisa's family for many years. They were happy to see us again...They have a really cheap lunch menu which was nice. We are still avoiding using the kitchen in our borrowed house.

After than, we dropped the kids at their house so that they could get on with the rest of their day without us. We had chores to do...

Actually, "chores" is a misnomer. On the way back from Berkeley the other day, we noticed a sign at the Petaluma exit on 101 for "Factory Outlet village". Oh boy. We still remember the one at Niagara Falls in NY. We had to go take a look.  So, after dropping the kids off we drove back down highway 101 to Petaluma, and took the exit, following the signs that said "Factory Outlets this way" <g>.

Lots of good stuff, at very cheap prices. Mainly clothes. Levis Jeans at US$27 for example.

The main thing we did was spend a lot of time in the Mikasa store. This is a stoneware/crockery place that does exquisite plates and bowls and stuff. The prices were much reduced from a regular store. We spent a lot of time in the Mikasa outlet store in Niagara, and didn't get anything (even though we were tempted dreadfully) because of the difficulty of lugging it back on to the train and to the conference and back. But now, since we are packing some stuff up to ship back to NZ anyway, a couple of extra boxes won't make too much difference. So we were tempted even _more_. ...we eventually settled on a pattern, and bought two sets which will give us eight mugs, bowls, dinner plates and small plates, which will replace the old stuff that we are currently using at home at Carlisle Road. And the new plates are REALLY GOOD STUFF.

When we got back to Santa Rosa it was about 6:30, and we stopped off at the main mall to get some coffee and a light snack (we were still running on Kirin's Chinese food!). Unfortunately, the mall was sealed off and evacuated - it was on fire! Big fire engines had pulled up at the back entrance and everything. Change of plan - we parked near Barnes & Noble in search of coffee. Barnes & Noble have a Starbucks Coffee place _inside_ the store, so you can get coffee, then browse the bookshelves.

After much magazine browsing, we found a book on MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) which will help spread the good word among our more disturbed friends, and also a collection of Gregory Benford's short stories, which I couldn't resist.

Then we drove back to the kid's house. The idea was to spend the evening with the kids watching videos, but what actually happened was that a friend of theirs turned up - Brian - and we played a game of Cosmic Encounter. (In addition to addicting the Santa Rosa teenage population to Red Dwarf, we have also hooked them on Cosmic Encounter <sigh>.)

The game finished at 12:00 midnight <yawn>.