Capitol-izing on Our Weekends

We recently discovered that Hulu is streaming “The Wonder Years,” so now we’ve got a new old show to add to our retro collection, a list that includes “Perfect Strangers,” “Blossom,” and “The Brady Bunch.” I was a big fan of TWY back in the day and even met Josh Saviano, the actor who played Kevin Arnold’s best friend, Paul Pfeiffer. I was working at Brookstone, selling overpriced and completely unnecessary (but still kinda cool) gadgets to the masses, when Josh came into the store one day. I wish I remember what he bought; all I can recall is that he was shopping with his grandparents and was a really nice kid. I asked for an autograph and he signed it, May all your years be wonder-ful.

Something tells me he didn’t just come up with that on the spot.

“The Wonder Years” was such a nostalgic look back at a complicated, yet simpler, time. It holds up quite well all these years later. Much like Danica McKellar. Ahh, but who didn’t have a crush on Winnie Cooper back in the day?

Not that we’ve had a lot of spare time to watch TV. Feels like we’ve been on the go for weeks. And I suppose we have. Last Sunday was our REO Speedwagon concert in Deadwood. The boys put on a good show, even if they are all pushing 70. We made a day of it, visiting Mount Moriah Cemetery and watching the Broncos lose to the 49ers (ugh) in a sports bar on Main Street. But the weather was decent, and Deadwood Gulch looked beautiful covered in snow!

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By the way, I broke down and bought a new phone last week. I hadn’t planned on it, but my HTC was giving me all kinds of trouble. I was one payment away from paying it off, naturally. I swear, smartphone manufacturers do this on purpose. Just once I’d like to have a phone last longer than two years! I smell a conspiracy here. In any case, I bought a Google Pixel 3 based on stellar reviews, and I love it so far. The camera is amazing. The photos above – and below, actually – were all taken with my phone. Pretty incredible when your Google phone outperforms your Nikon DSLR. What’s really funny is, the first time I bought a cellphone, I specifically asked for one without a camera. I couldn’t imagine ever taking pictures with my phone!

Thursday was Tara’s company Christmas party at the bank. It was a nice little gathering. PSI, the company I’ve been contracting with locally, has invited me to their party on 12/26, which I thought was a very nice gesture.

Being new to town we didn’t know where the good Christmas light displays were, so Tara asked her coworkers and they all unanimously agreed that Storybook Island was the place to be. I’d never been before, because it’s a children’s theme park and even when we lived here in the 80s I was too old to enjoy it, but every Christmas they string up thousands of lights – and that’s fun for any age. So we headed out there Friday evening, and the place did not disappoint. We enjoyed walking around even if it was freezing cold.

Yesterday morning, we drove to Pierre for our rescheduled weekend getaway. The main attraction was Christmas at the Capitol, a monthlong festival in which the South Dakota capitol building is decorated with 90 or so Christmas trees. We’d seen photos on Instagram last year and they looked stunning, so we wanted to check it out in person. I’m pretty sure this might become an annual tradition for us now, because…wow.

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We actually ended up going twice: when we first arrived Saturday, right around noon, and again this morning right when they opened at 8:00. Yesterday when we got there the place was crawling with hundreds of visitors, but sunrise on a Sunday morning was a different story. .We ended up having the entire capitol building practically to ourselves.

After checking into our motel Saturday afternoon, we took a nice stroll along the Missouri River and around La Framboise Island. The weather was unusually warm, in the lower 50s, and we had lots of sunshine.

After dark, we drove to a sports bar in Fort Pierre to watch the Broncos lose to the Browns (ugh).

I’m sensing a theme here. Maybe we’d better stop watching the games.

Despite the final football score, we had a great time in Pierre. The three-hour drive home might feature a lot of empty prairie, but there are a few cool things to see along the way. Like this dinosaur sculpture just off I-90 near Midland.

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Roadside kitsch doesn’t get any better than that!

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8 thoughts on “Capitol-izing on Our Weekends

  1. Mark, your photos are gorgeous. The first one looking down over Deadwood Gulch is freaking STUNNING!

    Your Google Pixel 3 phone camera is quite impressive. Those pics are awesome! Isn’t it something how cell phone cameras are becoming just as good as an actual camera? When I was in New York two weeks ago, I had both my Canon and cell phone. I kept switching back and forth with them, but I have to say that MANY of those photographs were taken with my cell phone because it was so much easier to just point and click the phone, which was always in my hands.

    Christmas at the Capital looks amazing. WOW…they certainly go way out with their decorations. It almost looks like a Christmas museum.

    “Roadside kitsch doesn’t get any better than that!”

    That is a faaaaabulous shot!

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    • Thanks, Ron! I did the same thing last weekend, switching back and forth between my Nikon and phone. And in this case, the phone outperformed the camera. Go figure!

      Isn’t the Capitol display amazing? If you’re ever out this way between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, be sure to check it out!

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  2. That phone really does take great pictures! And those are some great tv shows to watch again. I swear, The Brady Bunch never gets old for me. I can turn the channel on Family Ties, but never on Peter Brady!

    I have been lucky to go to tree festivals around here every year. This year, we went to one sponsored by a local children’s hospital. 200 trees, each with its own theme, for sale. I could do without a Star Wars tree, but many were quite unique and lovely.

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    • 200 trees? That’s more than twice the number in Pierre – must be pretty spectacular! “Family Ties” is another great show from that time period. I loved Alex P. Keaton. Then again, so did everybody else.

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  3. I wish I was smart enough to work one of those phone things you got. I bought one and despite hours on the phone with the phone tech and then Geek Squad could not get hook up to internet or email. I don’t do texting. I sent it back because I could not even turn it on or off correctly. The camera is cool too. I have an old flip phone that must do other stuff but the only reason I have it is in care I get in a car wreck, get lost, or am traveling. My talk phone is right here on my desk. They call it a land line for some reason. My cell phone takes pictures but I can’t bring them up on my computer screen to print them when I plug it in. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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