Monday, May 21, 2007

We're Six Now!

For the first time since Izumi was born and in honor of our sixth anniversary, Aogu and I went away on a 36 hour holiday. Our destination was Galena (behind our heads in this not great photo; I'm putting it up anyway since it's somehow the only one we got together), which I admit may not seem like a natural choice. If you think we seem more like "city folk," you're mostly right. I'm very up for a hike, which calls for separation from the city, but other than my need for some elevation, I quite enjoy the amenities that come with a metropolis. The point is, we chose Galena hoping we could stay in my parents' timeshare; unfortunately, that didn't work out for this time but then we just couldn't be bothered trying to find a different destination.
So I went to a bed and breakfast site and found Bernadine's Stillman Inn. Official check-in time wasn't until four but our gracious host, Dave, let us check in before one. He showed us around, gave us some tips for looking around downtown and dinner, and even shared the story of how God led him and his wife to plant a church in Galena (I didn't know he was a Christian when I booked the place, but that certainly explained his extra hospitable spirit!).
I can't remember exactly how old this building is, at least 150 years? I do remember that when Dave & co. bought it seven years ago they paid $350K and now the place is worth a million and a half?! Talk about appreciation! Still, I don't think I would be willing to work as hard as Dave has. Owning a B&B sounds romantic, but when you really think about it, you have to be on duty all the time. In fact, Dave has to hire someone to come and serve breakfast to his guests on Sundays so that he can be at church!
Anyway, after we checked in, we went for a look at downtown Galena. The atmosphere reminded me, just a bit, of Redmond, though now that I've visited both, I think Redmond has the better quilt shop and Galena the better salsa. That's right, the highlight of downtown Galena for us was the Galena Canning Company. We went in for some free samples of salsa and jam, and we came out with our wallet $50 lighter! It was a great investment though: Aogu's been searching for a hot sauce that he actually finds to be hot, and Galena'mite Blasting Sauce fills the ticket. The Baja Salsa, Cranberry Mustard, and Chile Mustard are delicious as well, and I ought to know since I didn't need to eat lunch after I left that place...
Late that afternoon, we went to The Irish Cottage for dinner at the pub, as Dave had recommended the Irish dancing. Well, we had a nice nap in the lobby while we waited for the dinner hour. Though that chair was pretty comfortable, to the point that I was apparently snoring?, with hindsight I have to say that I'm not sure the pub experience was worth waiting for. Aogu did quite enjoy his pint of Guinness, but the steak salad I ate and the stew he ordered were not great. Then, the Irish dancers turned out to be dancer, as three of the four were somehow waylaid and couldn't make it to the show. Furthermore, this one dancer--who, to her credit, soldiered on with the performance on her own!--looked to be about 12 years old. I can't criticize her dancing as it seemed to be quite good (what do I know about Irish dancing?) but I couldn't help feeling it all wasn't up to my hopes for an anniversary dinner.
The trip as a whole was a great success though: we enjoyed meeting Dave and realizing that the whole B & B thing is not for us (not that we minded the free DVDs, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream bars!). Aogu's feet won't ever be the same, in a good way, after the "Gentleman's Foot Detail" that he had at the nearby spa. And, Spiderman 3 turned out to be a suitably suspenseful and entertaining movie.
Last but not least, I'd like to give all the credit for our special weekend to my mom and my sister, who faithfully and patiently took care of Koji and Izumi in our absence (and Ollie and Eli too!). We are so grateful!

Here's to the next six years of our marriage: I wonder what it will bring?!

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