Summer 2011 - Chapter 4: Goodbye Turtle :(
First: Apologies, because I am so far behind T_T
Second: Apologies, because there are no pictures to go with this chapter. Turtle and I didn't do anything picture-worthy...
Turtle and I had known this day was coming for a long time, and finally, it had arrived.
Time for Turtle to leave Utah. :(
I don't really remember anything about the drive, other than it being its normal long-ness and listening to music. We made good time though and got in around midnight, where we were greeted by the most annoying bird. EVER. Now, I'm not a huge pet person, but pets that ANNOY are decidedly on the bottom of my list. The stupid thing squawked ALL NIGHT LONG. He would not shut up for one second. Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep.
When I'd had enough, I demanded she get up and call her mom to come right then or I was going to kill the thing. We had to finish up The Last Battle before we could start the book she was dying to read. We also camped out in front of her TV because I found episodes of American Ninja Warrior. If you haven't seen that show, you should. It's ridiculous.
Eventually Turtle's mom's friend came over and we went down to the creek to play with some littles. Then we went with her mom to some house where she was dog sitting in Wheatland. I cooked my chicken pillows and asparagus as a "last meal" sort of thing for Turtle. She loves them so much. We chilled for a while after that until the guy got home, then went home and started into the final novel of the DragonLance series. We read late into the night, and the bird (of course) didn't shut up the whole time.
Next morning we got up and continued reading. This was the last book in the series, Turtle had to know how it ended! In the middle of the day we decided to go into town, where we got ice cream and saw Green Lantern (review forthcoming). When we got back to the house, we absolutely bored Turtle's mom to death, because we only wanted to do one thing: read. Well, we had over 400 pages to cover and not much time to do it in!
Monday morning played out much the same, though we did so in the hammock outside this time while her mom lounged in the creek nearby. Then we headed over to her mom's cousin's house (to continue reading *grin*), though we did take a break to visit Joe's Crab Shack in Old Town Sacramento and do some window shopping. Somehow we got convinced that since it was the 4th, we should watch some fireworks. Personally, I could have gone without, but Turtle's mom really wanted to go. So we appeased her and went, and read there, though I was a little shy at first since I was kind of reading in public, and doing character voices is sort of embarrassing to me in a public setting (but I just admitted to all of you that I do them, so the secret is out... eep!). I got over it (I don't know if I'll get over that confession though!). We read and read and read, and pretty much did nothing else the whole 4 days, but we only made it about 3/4ths of the way through. I think when the fireworks were over we had about 200 pages left. I calculated the rate we were reading and suggested we could stay up all night and finish it, but then decided I wouldn't be able to make it. After all, my plane left super early in the morning and right after that I had to be to work. So I nixed it. She would just have to wait a little longer for the epic conclusion.
Next morning early I caught a plane back to SLC and said goodbye (not forever though!) to my Turtle :(
So the very next weekend after going to Zion's (now 5 freaking months ago T_T), I packed my bags and flew across the country to visit two of my Besties from High School, Em and Mel.
Super exciting for me because I had not since these girls forever! (And by forever I mean Fall 2009 when Em got married. But still). I had *never* been to visit either of them where they were living, and I had never actually been to Pennsylvania (other than maybe driving through it(?)), so this was an extra exciting trip for me.
When I got there, there were squeals and laughing and smiles and hugs and a bathroom break. Then we started driving around and as I looked out the window I realized how much I miss my East Coast. SO GREEN! The trees were gorgeous. They gave me a brief driving tour/view of the City before we went back to Em's to drop off our stuff.
We hung out for a bit ad watched some GANGLAND (just because). Then when it got a bit later we decided to go get some eats and maybe do some shopping as well. Exciting!
The vote was for a German Restaurant whose name I cannot even hope to know (or pronounce) but it was for real, for real German. With the dancing girls and the accordions and everything. We got seated outside on the river! Nice view!
I was just so excited to be there! AHHHH!!! It was soooo good to be away from UT and to be having a real vacation and having it with the BEST people.
I opted for the PORK SHANK on the menu. Because. They had PORK SHANK *ON* the menu.
I mean, why NOT?
The best part was when the waitress was like, "Um, do you know what a pork shank is?"
Ummm, do I *look* like I have NEVER played a single video game in my life?! What do you think you feed warriors with?! Upside-down pineapple cake?! Of course I know what a shank is! Seriously girl! It was a pretty massive shank. I ate about half of it and got the rest boxed. Then I was totes eating again as soon we started leaving.
"LAY OFF ME, I'M STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARVING!!!" :D
We rounded out the evening by going back to Em's and getting our dance on with some Wii Just Dance 2. It was actually pretty fun, except when I totally ROCKED a move and it didn't catch it. Silly sensor. I think the consensus was that doing the Monster Mash was the funnest.
Saturday was a day to be remembered for sure. A full day of being in Pitt!
We headed into town and they decided I needed to ride an incline car, which are these house-like carts that go up and down the mountainsides. They were built originally for mining (if I remember correctly) but then they were used to help transport people so they didn't have to commute as far. We opted for the Monongahela Incline.
That's me trying to do a "ta da!" a la Vanna. My hand should be turned up, though :/ Hand pose fail.
The track of the incline reminded me of Cedar Point. Sorry, I had to throw it in there... You loaded in just like at a train station, and there were different levels and benches and then it went and you just looked out the window as it went up.
Once we got to the top, we had to visit the lookout point and see the WHOLE city at once. It was gorgeous. Super pretty and breathtaking.
LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!! (The 4th, previously unmentioned person there is the wonderful Em's Husband. He's an amazing man that one. So glad he has Em and she has him!) :)
After our wonderful photo shoot (there's like 10 other pictures that didn't make it on here. For the whole trip album, just go here. Fair warning, there are over 100 pictures!), it was definitely time to get some MUNCHIES!!!
ICE CREAM THAT-A WAY! Yeah, giggity. While we munched on ice cream, Mel and I wandered a bit because I was curious what some of the city streets looked like. When we were all done with ice cream it was time to head back down the mountain.
There was so much more to do! We walked around the mall a bit, and Em's Husband left us for a previous engagement he could not get out of. Then we had a stint of waiting to do.
After le wait, we went and got our tickets for the "Ducky Tour." I know, right? What the frick is a ducky tour? That's what I said. But I (and you) was about to be pleasantly surprised. A Ducky is like a truck/boat. See Exhibit 1 below.
Weird, I know. I promise it will make sense. And the Tour part is self-explanatory. In this case, of Pittsburgh. Fun! I love city history and exploring new places. This was perfect.
While we were waiting to board, some other High School friends joined us! YAY!!! So good to see L&G! Haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
After the exchanging of warm wishes and triggered memories, we loaded into the Ducky. I opted to sit in the very back where there wasn't a canopy roof for optimal viewing.
The truck rolled out into Downtown and the tour guide told lame jokes and explained to us various things about various buildings downtown. One of my favorites was the old courthouse.
We saw the NY Mellon building, Heinz Hall, a number of theaters, learned about Henry Clay Frick and the Flood of 1936. Pittsburgh has some REALLY cool buildings. Like breathtakingly beautiful cool.
It was like a glass Tower/Castle. Here's another view from farther away:
Eventually the truck trundled down under the freeway toward the water. Yeah, the water.
And then it went INTO the water and our truck became a boat. Because, what could be more awesome?
So then we were chilling on a boat in the river seeing the city from another angle. The driver even let everyone who wanted take a turn at driving. The little tykes ate it up (so did some big "kids"). Being in the water was really relaxing. It also allowed me to see the city of Pittsburgh from the outside, which was neat. We saw the Fort Pitt Tunnel, admired the trees, went past the Ball park, and I asked really important questions, as demonstrated in the picture below.
When we were done in the water, the boat drove back up onto land and made its way back to the mall. I was so sad for that to end. It was SUCH a cool tour. I cannot thank Em enough for thinking of it!
Fantastic use of time with friends. We joked and talked and just enjoyed ourselves. It was super good memories.
L&G had to say goodbye and then we wandered around some more. Outside one of the mall stores there were some fountains set to music a la Vegas. Dancing may have ensued. >.> This was incredibly entertaining for both Em and Mel. Then we decided we were hungry so we got some Joe's Crab Shack, which was delicious. I picked that place because I said we didn't have any in Utah (which is apparently a lie - there's one in Sandy and one in West Jordan).
After good eats we wandered over to a Half Price Books where I went crazy and bought like 7 books (which, let's be honest, I read alot, but I don't *purchase* alot. This was a big grab for me. Especially since I'm so picky about my books. But, I will be honest, I found the majority of a series I've been looking for a long, long time. I had to).
Then we went back to Em's where we debated going out, but ended up voting against it in favor of kicking it chillax-style with a movie at home. We opted for Megamind (review forthcoming). Though it had been on my radar, I'd never indulged in this particular flick. I was pleasantly surprised.
Sunday morning was so nice. We slept in, then relaxed on the back porch, enjoying Em's backyard foliage and the weather, and chatting. I packed my stuff, and we headed out to the mall(and more half price books! I had to find the rest of the series!) Eventually we gave up shopping in favor of eating and got lunch at some restaurant whose name and food is clearly not memorable as none of us can remember now where we went.
Then, all too quickly, it was time to say goodbye to Pitt and my lovely ladies. Such a fun trip. One I'll definitely have to make again soon! As if that wasn't enough, the very next weekend after saying goodbye to them, it was time to say goodbye to Turtle. :(
Stay tuned for Summer 2011 - Chapter 4: Goodbye Turtle :( coming soon!