GG and I were both able to get some time off work, so we ended up with a four-day weekend. We decided to use our day off on Friday to go to the Philadelphia Zoo, something we both did a lot as children but had never done together. It was a gorgeous day, and we got there around 10 AM and aimed to see as much as we could see. I think we got to everything, except we did skip over a lot of the African Plains and some of the Bears. A lot has changed since the last time I was there, which was definitely 10-15 years ago. For one thing, they used to have a monorail that went around the whole zoo, and that was removed a while ago and replaced by a giant (tethered) hot air balloon. But the balloon wasn’t running on Friday, so luckily I didn’t have to ride on that. There is a really nice new cat exhibit where you can pretty much stand right next to tigers and stuff, if they decide to come up to the glass (which they did). They used to be in a big, smelly building, so this is nice for them. Also, the bird house is pretty cool now – you can actually walk through this rainforest path type area with birds just flying and walking around, loose. The primate building was new one of the last times I was at the zoo, and it opened in 1999, so… no wonder I didn’t remember it that well. The gorillas were really amazing to watch, but one of my favorite things from the whole day was the orangutan family! A lot of other things, like the reptile house and small mammal house, were a lot like I’d remembered them, but with improved informational displays – we actually learned stuff!
Up close and personal with the tiger
After a (too-short) nap, we met up with GG’s parents for dinner on Friday night. We ended up going to Theresa’s because I mentioned to GG’s dad that they serve “bunny bites” (saddest appetizer ever: rabbit nuggets with a carrot dipping sauce!), but apparently that is only on the lunch menu. Oh well, dinner was awesome, and then we walked around the corner a bit to make fun of that PBandU place, which is a cute idea but so poorly planned out, it makes me angry just thinking about it. I would love to go in there sometime and set them up with an assembly line, because it really shouldn’t take 30 minutes to make a peanut butter sandwich (true story).
Saturday was Homecoming at MU, so GG and I got up really early and drove out there early to be on campus and parked before they started closing roads for the parade. There is a lot of construction going on still, and a lot of things are closed. Also, the downstairs of the dining hall I used to go to is completely unrecognizable – they removed the mailboxes (those are now in the dorms), the convenience store I used to work at, and the little lunch counter, and replaced everything with a really nice looking combination store + prepared food counter. They even have fresh sushi! (I don’t know if I would trust MU sushi anyway, but there you go. People said it was good.)
The parade was fun, L and S and their friend E met up with us, as did my great-great-grandlittle and her boyfriend, so we had a good little crowd. The parade theme was “Wild Wild West,” and a lot of groups did actually fit the theme, unlike past years. Some of our favorite acts were the Hobo Band, anyone with animals, the baton girls, the Temple Guard Drill Team (loved them last year too, they are awesome), and this guy who I will just call “the king,” he danced and chased floats and was absolutely nuts all morning. We have no clue who he is, but he seemed to have a good time. At almost the very end of the parade were the Parading Atheists of PA, which was actually kind of funny – five people dressed up as the Pope, the Devil, a skeleton, Buddha, and Muhammad.
Temple Guard Drill Team
After the parade, we all went to HoPie for a lunch of pizza and cheese fries. We decided that we kind of hate watching the football games, so rather than waste our money, we just took a walk around campus to see the sights (and show E around, since she went to IUP). After we all decided we were done for the day, GG and I went to visit my brother briefly. And then we headed home. I was exhausted, and it was only maybe 4 PM by the time we got back. I passed out for a little bit, then we ordered Chinese for dinner and called it a night.
Sunday was a day to rest and catch up on chores. I sat down with my recipe scrapbook before going food shopping and for once I’m excited about cooking this week. Since TLC wasn’t showing much in the way of freak shows last night, GG consented to watch House Hunters with me (he secretly likes it).
So today is my last vacation day, except not really because I actually have to call in to a meeting at work in a little bit. Of course all this crazy stuff has to be going on during the two days that I’m off work, right? That’s why I have so much unused vacation time!