Monday, November 12, 2007

Scrapbooking Retreat to Galena

This past Friday, my SiL Natalie and I left for a THREE DAY SCRAPBOOKING RETREAT TO GALENA. I have been so excited about this, that by Friday morning, I could hardly pack - I just ran around the house screaming like a lunatic. My poor piano tuner was there, and I think he wondered if I was "on" something. Nope - just the heady thrill of being away from kids for THREE WHOLE DAYS - AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Natalie drove her husband's car, and although it was just us two mere females, we managed to pack it pretty tightly. I thought her method of securing her paper rather funny. We had so much loaded in the trunk, that I swear I thought the front of the car was angling up towards the sky (at least it was until we got in. Then it quickly balanced itself.)

We decided to grab lunch in Galena before checking in, since we couldn't actually get our rooms until 1:00. Lunch. was. fantastic. Since Galena is a high-class tourist town (think "Gatlinburg, TN, with taste and class") we knew it'd be expensive, but thankfully lunch wasn't too bad. Still, wowee, the food was good! (And the restaurant played my favorite blend of crooners like Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. Hmmmm, I wonder if that means I can use this trip as a tax write-off . . . .)

We had a bit of time to kill before heading to the hotel, so we did some window shopping (that's about all we could afford in Galena - looking through the windows!). Natalie saw the cutest snowman made of frosted gumdrops, which cost a mere $200. Needless to say, we were gumdrop-less on our way home.

The chocolate shop, though, was irresistible. It had two things in it's favor 1) It was called Chocolat, which is one of my favorite movies, and 2) it had a sign on the door that said "No strollers, please". What a thrill - chocolate, and no kids to take it from me! (Okay, you can peel your tongue off the monitor, now. You can't taste the chocolate that way.)

Natalie spotted a figurine in an art store that I immediately coveted. Thankfully, it wasn't for sale, so I was saved the moral dilemma of spending way too much for the satisfaction of my humor. (I think I'm going to save this picture as my blog avatar.) Isn't it hilarious? I'm always telling my voice students (if they don't sing from their diaphragm), (oh, insert heavy accented German voice here) "Sing like big opera diva; like Wagnerian soprano! Sing!" Wouldn't this just help their concentration?

Okay, on to the delights of the Ramada Inn. I knew we were staying at a nice hotel, but I was thinking, "Nice hotel". I had no idea that this was a "NICE HOTEL". I guess since it is a spa as well, I shouldn't have been surprised. The beds were so comfortable, that I seriously considered scrapbooking in bed all day. It was torture having to roll myself out of that luscious comfy-ness in the morning. Did I mention that this place was nice?

It had a beautiful pool and hot tub, which I didn't manage to get around to testing. Natalie, however, explored the hot tub for about an hour. When she was gone for a long time, we got a little worried, so blogless Lynn checked on her - Natalie was standing in the hot tub reading a book (Natalie says that's because she got too hot. We all think it's because the woman can't sit still long enough.)

Here's the huge room we had all to ourselves. We each had a long table (Natalie kept encroaching on my territory. Bad Natalie! Bad!). The large windows overlooked a beautiful pond, and the natural light that came in during the day was very relaxing. We didn't have any trouble seeing well at night, either, but that might have been due to the - um - "fun" we were having.

Speaking of Natalie's penchant for not holding still, I swear the woman stood for three days straight. She says she can't scrapbook sitting down.

I had no such problems.

The next day we woke up fairly early, considering how late we were up the night before. The continental breakfast provided by the hotel was amazing, with sausage and biscuits, waffles, French toast, bagels, etc. Then, it was back to scrapbooking!

For lunch we headed back downtown, and grabbed a slow sandwich at Boone's. It was extremely tasty, but I think our waitress decided to take a nap while she was supposed to be serving us. Two hours later, we left the place. (Hee hee, doesn't Natalie look like she's pining away for her kids? Poor Natalie. Somehow, we managed to console ourselves.)

After scrapbooking again for a few hours, dinner was catered in. It was a FANTASTIC Hawaiian Luau. Oh, not "authentic", but who cares when it tastes so good? (Besides, I don't particularly care for the taste of sand in my Kahlua Pork, anyway.) I didn't get to eat much of the main course, because I was so full from lunch, but I did manage to scarf down two plates of salad. Mmmm-mmm!

As if we hadn't already had enough to eat, at 11:00 the chocolate buffet arrived. I did think it funny that the first instinct of scrapbookers was to snap pictures of the buffet. Most normal women would have been clubbing each other just to be first in line.

(Please don't lick your monitor - you probably haven't cleaned it in awhile.) Oh yeah, baby, we're talking chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate dipped marshmallows, chocolate cake that is applied directly to thighs . . . Pure Bliss.

Needless to say, we all stayed up quite late that night. Around 11:00 the hilarity got pretty high, since the combination of no kids, more chocolate than is good for us, and the presence of other women liberated from their families, meant that some interesting things occurred. However, what happens in Galena stays in Galena. Mum's the word. I'm not going to say a thing about what some of the gals were doing with their heads on the floor and their feet in the air. Nope, not one word.

That's blogless Lynn snapping a picture of me while I snap a picture of her. She, however, will probably put my picture in her scrap book, while I am pasting her picture across the internet. Hee hee, I love being evil.
Still, I have to be sort-a kind to my friend Lynn, because it was due to her (and Bev's) hard work that I had such an amazing weekend. I'm already lobbying for next year.

Oh, how did the kids and Andy fare while I was gone? Well, they were all in one piece, and the house wasn't completely destroyed. We're talking just a low-grade hurricane, instead of Katrina. I did find it odd that they were wearing the same clothes that I had put on them before I left . . . .

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