Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Fun

We don't always do the same thing every Saturday afternoon, but a few activities repeat pretty often, so here's a glimpse at a typical Saturday afternoon.

Before leaving the house, I take a quick glance at the newly uncovered (but not yet refinished) floor revealed by Friday's exciting carpet removal project. Here's a nice photo of Yang with a little bit of carpet showing.

Now here's a pic with the carpeting gone and Sylvan showing!

About 1:30, we head out for brunch with our friend Frank, the Supergardener. During our very long friendship, Frank has owned a series of pickup trucks, usually filled with sand, gravel, mulch, lumber, bags of leaves, etc. This is a guy who once left the following brief (but vital) message on our answering machine: "mushroom compost."
Last fall, when his dad totalled his own car by doing an ill-advised U-turn, Frank took him around to car dealers. Both father and son wound up getting new cars (Frank still has the truck, of course, for all gardening uses). So he picked us up with the sun roof open for the first time since last fall.

On the way to the car, I noticed that most of the snow had melted from the yard (remember the earlier posts with everything covered with that cold white stuff?). It's muddy, of course, but it's quite a different looking scene already out there.
Of course, there are a few places where patches of snow remain. And some green as well, but that is a juniper shrub that stays green all winter.
Next stop is the breakfast (well, brunch by now) place, The Original Pancake House, in Champaign.

It's actually warm enough and sunny enough for husband David to sit on the bench outside the restaurant while Frank parks the car.
We get seated and start gabbing right away. We all know the menu by heart anyway, so ordering is easy.

It's a cozy place and today there is lots of sunshine coming in the windows. Frank is ready for food and so are we. Brunch gives us a chance to catch up with each other, discuss important world news, tips for removing stains from hardwood floors, and stories about Frank's three newly adopted cats.
It's fairly crowded still even though we've arrived only a short time before they close for the day.
This is a chain place, but it doesn't have much of a chain feel to it. The original "Original" is up in a Chicago
suburb, but this one has been here a long time.
There are some nice touches here and there, such as a fire in the fireplace in the winter. Decorative plates along the upper wall, and a charming stained glass apple in the front window.

Pretty soon our food arrives. I'm having Strawberry Pancakes and David and Frank chose the Scrambler.
Yeah, that's the wonder of twenty-first century technology. You can share your food with people on the Internet whom you haven't even met!
Next stop was the CVS pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, but I decided to skip the photo documentation of this brief event. It just wasn't "Hollywood" enough to include.

But wait, there's more! Next stop after that was the Urbana Free Library, a noble institution in the heart of downtown Urbana. It's a lovely old building that has had a tasteful new wing added in recent years.
We always bring a cloth bag for the books and CDs we're returning and those we're taking out at the Circulation Desk.

Fortunately for me, the library offers free use of four-wheel "rollators" with handy seats and a basket for books and purses. It makes for a nice comfy browse with a built-in chair.
There is a large section filled with music CDs and movies. I like to experiment each week with a few new albums as well as some favorite repeats. I often choose some smooth jazz, maybe some Spanish flamenco guitar, Brazilian sambas, Irish fiddle, and some classical with Joshua Bell on the violin. Of course, being an old sixties' person, I do like some rock and folk, but I have most of those CDs of my own already.
At one end of the older part of the building is a beautiful quiet reading room with elegant arched windows.
A very handy addition is the coffee bar, called Latte Da, that serves all sorts of hot coffee and tea drinks as well as smoothies and juices, pastries, candies, and chips.

From the library windows, I get a great view of the expertly restored clock tower of the Champaign County Courthouse. It's a real jewel in downtown Urbana of which we are all very proud. The restoration was completely funded by resident donations.
I can also see the Historic Lincoln Hotel, across the street from the Urbana Free Library. Built in 1924 in the Bavarian style, it is awaiting restoration at the moment.
From yet another window, a portion of the Urbana business district is visible on Race Street, which is perpendicular to Main Street. Despite an extremely diverse set of architectural styles on campus, skyscraper apartments in campus town, high rises in downtown Champaign, a shopping extravaganza on the northwest side of the two towns, and subdivisions like crazy at all edges of both Urbana and Champaign, the downtown area of Urbana hasn't changed a great deal since I came here in my junior year of undergraduate school in 1963! I will have to do a blog sometime with photos of campus and another with photos of Urbana's charming Main Street.
But I digress ... back to our Saturday at the library. One of my favorite sections is the grouping of shelves that contain new fiction books.

Of course, I always check out a few older titles from the stacks of fiction on the other side of the first floor and, once  in a while, take the elevator upstairs to the nonfiction domain as well.

Meanwhile, husband David enjoys the magazine section, sometimes including a short nap over Newsweek.

Finally, it's time to go. Closing is at six on Saturdays and we often stay until the end. I'm lucky today. Every other Saturday or so, I get checked out by my favorite librarian and friend Eleanore Brown, famous creator of fiber beads on her Ebrown2503 Etsy shop.

Well, it was a very pleasant afternoon. Glad you could join us!

1 comment:

  1. What a fun blog post. I always look forward to your library visits. Wish I took a better picture!