The Showcase is better than I could have imagined, and maybe better than the parade itself. The floats are right there and you can take your time to gawk and smell (thousands of blooming flowers smell terrific, by the way) and snap eleventy billion pictures. I am a nerd for mosaic stuff anyway, and to see that everything on the floats up close (it's all basically mosaic or paint-by-numbers, only with organic materials) was amazing.
After touring all the floats (which is a bit of walk, if you ever plan to go. The site says it's about a 2.5 mile walk around the area), we headed back to the shuttle stop, where again the driver dismissed our offer to pay and delivered us back to the train station. The train back to Chinatown had more passengers this time, but it's a quick ride and once back to Chinatown, we stopped into a new favorite restaurant for dinner. Our fortunes were telling, although Kate isn't sure if she will marry a little person or a child is going to follow her home...
We walked around Chinatown a bit more and bought some ridiculous merchandise (of course) and then took the train again to Union Station. We went to check out the spectacular window in the hub again at night time and noticed the shark tank for the first time, which has etched glass full of historical figures (why is George Washington on there? I dunno!). Then we set out across the street to Olvera Street where we shared some of our newly acquired history (courtesy of Charles Phoenix) with Kate and took a break in a hidden coffee shop for some tea and cocoa.
When our tired feet had finally had enough, we grabbed the train back to Chinatown and our parked cars. It's funny how you can spend so much time with people and not know all their stories. Kate shared with us some whoppers about how her parents met (which, BTW, I am stealing as our official "how we met" story) and her edgy theater production of Dr. Suess that got her on the bad side of everyone in the drama world in Baltimore (your loss, Baltimore!). It was a great day and a fantastic start to a new year!
Instead of 'resolutions' which are so final - and scary! - I've created some Goals for myself for this year, which I have already started:
- start a 365 photo project, with one picture per day that captures the essence of what my day was like - a visual calendar to myself
- one craft per week - this way at the end of 2009, I will have 52 new crafts (hopefully more!) that I can enjoy and/or sell on Etsy
- cook more meals at home - Ryan and I are terrible about eating at home and when we do, we tend to eat cereal or something. This year, I want to save money and learn to enjoy eating something that I have made (a lofty goal, I'm certain).
- Take a photography class. I love taking pictures but I have always just operated with point-and-shoot cameras. I'd love to learn something about composition, lighting, staging, and maybe one day have a portfolio like my friend Brad's.
- overall health and wellness. I'm not going to say I NEED TO LOSE 800 POUNDS AND ALSO RUN 60 MILES A WEEK because, let's face it, that's b.s. and never gonna happen. But hopefully, doing small things like being better about stretching and yoga and walking and biking will lead to better results, like weight loss and maybe improve my headache situation.