It's been awhile since I've written anything about me. And seeing as how I'm a self-absorbed Aries, I have come to rectify this situation. However, It's 12:20 a.m., and I was supposed to be in bed 45 mins ago, so I'll make this brief.
Long Island by the numbers:
Flat tires: 3
Bottles of anti-freeze purchased: 1
Fingers smashed: 1
Ankles sprained: 1
Hockey games watched: 7
Trips back and forth from Shakes & Co. to The Hamptons: 4
Ferries taken: 6
Faeries on stage: 12
New songs purchased: 25
Books read: 4.5 (I'm in the middle one currently)
Different beers consumed: 15 (I think)
Cupcakes consumed: 10-12 (Best estimate)
Number of good sleep nights: 3
Games of Dodgeball played: 2
Celebrities seen: 2
Celebrities talked with: 1
Highways traveled: 15
Pizzas consumed: ??
Breakfast Burritos consumed: 4
Fires started: 1
Episodes of Freaks & Geeks watched: 4
Episodes of Little Miss Perfect watched: too many to recall (yes, it's really sad)
Episodes of 30 Rock watched: 3
Children made happy: 36
Faculty made happy: 9
Light cues written: 35
Live music themes created: 8
It was an adventure, that's for sure. The Hamptons aren't for me, but at least I can say now that I've been there. I did love the school - it's a truly special place.
I'm flying back to California tomorrow (if you're on the West Coast - Today if you're on the East) - Bradley International (CT) to Hopkins International (OH) to LAX (CA). The very next day I'm attending a grant workshop, and begin my attempts to start raising money for SOC and our production of King Lear. Wow.
On February 11th I'll be flying into Houston, driving to Baton Rouge, attending my best friend from High School's wedding (which I'm in!), and going to New Orleans. These places will all be firsts for me. More photo journalism will ensue. And when I say journalism, I mean not at all.
In other news, I've created a completely separate blog for Gay Rage. I figured that space between my life and the comic book in my head would just be easier to read for everyone involved. You can visit Gay Rage here:
This blog post is brought to you by:
Endurance Vitamin Water
Shakespeare & Company
Sunday, January 31, 2010
It's been awhile since I've written anything about me. And seeing as how I'm a self-absorbed Aries, I have come to rectify this situation. However, It's 12:20 a.m., and I was supposed to be in bed 45 mins ago, so I'll make this brief.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Hello friends ...
I've started writing the Gay Rage world. Please bear with me through this - I've never written anything like this before. But it must be done. The Gay Rage mythology must be told.
Some day, there will be comic book art to go along with the story. Some day.
In other news, I was the designated driver to a party full of teachers last night. There was Jenga. There was Swedish hard alcohol. There was dancing on tables. Sometimes I wish I had a camera in my brain for just these occasions.
Also - this marks the last week of our time here. We perform on Thursday.
This blog post is brought to you by:
Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
Friday, January 22, 2010
My life, to this point, had become about dust and books.
I sat at my desk, thumbing through a late Victorian copy of Tennyson's Idylls of the King, marking passages with ripped fragments of a document; the Dean's last memorandum, inciting the English Department toward recycling and energy conservation. Good employees read memorandums thoroughly and strive to achieve the goals outlined. That's exactly what I was doing. I'm a good employee.
A late afternoon ray of sun silently crept through my office window, casting shadows of branched leaves over my bookshelves. The sunlight accented the dust on my shelves in a highly offensive way, as if to say, "Yo, Angela, you missed a spot."
Fuck off, sun.
I finished marking the last passage of Tennyson with a scrap of torn paper that read:
"...indeed, it is our duty to...
post-consumer materials inherently redu- ...
...my colleagues, we must help one an-..."
I closed the book with a punctuated thwap. Take that sunlight. Take that Dean Warren. I'm going home. I stood up, and reached for the pea coat slung haphazardly on the back of my office chair, and wrapped my scarf around my neck. It might have been sunny, but it was the middle of November - solar heat was a myth. I slung my messenger bag over my chest so that the bag was hanging diagonally down my back, and picked up a stack of papers as tall as my Newfoundlander. I could barely make out the top of my office door over the dead tree carcasses in my arms.
Keys ... I have keys around here somewhere ... on my desk ... next time put the keys in your pocket first, dumb ass ... if I could only find the ring ... maybe if I reach with my middle finger ...
"Hi Professor! I just stopped by to drop off my ter - Professor! You're going to kill yourself! Let me help you!!"
Wendy Windsor stood somewhere in front of me, though I could only see pieces of her nut brown hair frantically swaying from one side to the other of the massive pile in front of my face. She took a large chunk from the middle of the pile before I could tell her that I had arranged the papers alphabetically, by class. Ah well. I'd do it again later. Have English nerd - will alphabetize.
Wendy Windsor was an incredibly petite student of mine, with straight bobbed hair and enthusiastic green eyes. She was the kind of student who lost pens in every pocket, of any article of clothing she happened to be wearing that day. And though sometimes clumsy, she was incredibly bright and well-liked by the other women of the college. She was constantly consuming non-sweetened iced tea in 16 ounce plastic cups with lids and bendy straws, which she purchased from the student coffee shop on the other end of campus. Other Wendy trade marks included a slight hint of jasmine - either from shampoo or lotion; a white and purple polka-dot scarf, worn through all-seasons due to constant coldness, and a navy blue and gold Wellesley College sweatshirt. She was a poster child, and she was my favorite.
"Hi Wendy. Thanks." I managed to blurt out. "I'm sorry, you stopped by to ...?"
"You're welcome, professor. I came by to drop off my end of term paper. I thought I'd turn it in early before you had to grade anything, but it looks like I'm really late!"
"No Wendy. You're not late, I am. These papers are the mid-terms." She stared at me blankly. "From last month. I thought I'd finally grade them over the long weekend. Wishful thinking, maybe."
"Oh Professor! I could come over and help, if you want!"
"Do you mean to tell me you have no plans? Four days of Thanksgiving break, and you're not going home? Are you kidding me?"
"No! I mean, yes, I was driving home after dropping this off, but I can stay! Seriously! A couple of my house mates are here all weekend anyway, and are-"
"But professor, I really can-"
"Wendy. Go home. The next month is going to be rough. Rest. Eat. Sleep. Do something crazy. Go see a movie."
"Are you sure? What are you doing for Thanksgiving, Professor? You're not going to be all alone grading papers and eating microwaved burritos, are you?!" She was referring to a Thanksgiving from two years ago. Wendy also had an impeccable memory.
"What? No. Where did you get that idea?!" She stared at me, and raised an eyebrow. "No. I promise. Ellie will be home, and we're going over to her parents house. I will be very human." Her eyebrow raised itself higher, as if that were possible. "Promise."
"Ellie will be home?"
"On my honor. I'm picking her up at the airport in a few hours."
"Okay. But if you do end up needing my help, send me an e-mail, okay? Home's only a couple of hours away."
"I will. And thank you. That's a very sweet offer."
"Can I at least help you carry these to your car?"
"You sure can. Except that I need to find my keys..." I felt something drop in the left pocket of my pea coat.
I love picking Ellie up at the airport. Movies have worked hard to make airports unshakable symbols of romance - and I was never one to take painstaking symbolism for granted. It's a good thing that I love airports as much as I do - I've spent much of my adult life in them; coming and going, going and coming. But it was different with Ellie - heightened, somehow. We had met at an airport. We spent most of the early part of our relationship traveling back and forth to see each other. We were now spending our married life taxiing each other to and from for work. In essence, we were having a poly-amorous relationship with the airport. And we were okay with that.
Before 9/11, we would meet each other at the terminal, usually with flowers or bottles of water (what? air travel is dehydrating). However, since the drastic change of airport culture, we met each other at baggage claim. Tonight I brought a bottle of water. Best to keep it simple; she has a lot of luggage.
I sat on a bench across from the escalators, people watching. I watch people a lot - ever since I can remember, I would watch and invent imaginary lives for people I didn't know. I still do this. Some of them become quite inventive and intricate, though most only hypothesize at a relationship, and a reason for meeting. I was currently watching a little boy, about 4 or 5 years old, jump from floor tile from floor tile, making thruster-like sounds that came through puffed out cheeks and his top set of teeth biting his lower lip. There was a tall, dark haired man standing a few feet away - his father, I had guessed. They're waiting for Uncle Joe to arrive from a trip to Russia, where little do they know, Uncle Joe fell into some deep trouble with the Moscow Mafia over a gambling snafu, and he would have to surrender himself to the American consolate upon his return ....
"What, no welcoming committee?" said the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I looked up, and saw her standing there, her lithe, tall frame covered by a zip-up fleece and jeans, her silver hair swept back in a pony tail. Her eyes were a dark greenish-blue, and sparkled slightly as she smirked at me.
I didn't say anything right away. Instead I stood up, pulled her against me, wrapping my arms around her, nuzzling my nose against her neck.
"Hi, you." I finally said.
"Hi yourself." She pulled away just enough to look me in the eyes. "Are you okay? You looked lost. I thought I might have to call for a policeman to come take you phrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." I was kissing her, earnestly.
I pulled away to whisper in her ear, "I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you. Can we get my bags, and go home? Now?"
"Yeah. Let's do that." I had forgotten, in my rapture, about the bottle of water still in my right hand. "Oh, I almost forgot. This is for you. Here."
"Thanks," she said, as she took my left hand in her right. We walked over to the baggage carousel, our fingers entwined. "So what were you thinking about back there?"
"You don't have an Uncle Joe. And neither do I."
"You made him up," she looked around, and saw a likely candidate. "For that little girl over there, right? Let me guess, Uncle Joe is running from the cops because he robbed a bank to pay for her very costly heart-surgery, and he won't make it home in time for Thanksgiving, because he'll be in jail?"
"Uh, it was that little boy over there, and for your information, Joe is running from the Russian mob because of a gambling debt." I added, "Smartass."
Ellie chuckled wickedly, squeezed my hand harder, and put her head on my shoulder.
"It's good to be home," she said.
We decided to stop for a drink on our way home. I was constantly guilty of keeping our stores of food and beverages well below humanitarian standards.
As it was the night before Thanksgiving, and seeing as how we were in a small college town currently resembling the waning days of Tombstone, most of the pubs around town were closed. And when I say most, I mean all. Even the liquor stores had decided that procrastinators should be punished austerely, and flaunted their red neon signs as a punishment for bad planning. Heathens.
"It's okay, love. Let's just go home. There will be a lot of drinking tomorrow. I'm sure my father has more than enough."
"I'm sorry. One day I'll get better at grocery shopping, I swear I will."
"No you won't. But it's one of the many reasons I love you."
She smiled at me, teasingly. I turned toward the south side of campus, slowly making our way back home, when Ellie said, "Hey, there's a place back there that looks open."
"In that strip mall on the right, behind the pizza place."
"I don't see - Oh! I do see! Let's just grab a quick beer."
I pulled into the parking lot, which resembled an old mine-field of potholes and asphalt fissures. Most of the buildings around Wellesley were beautiful red brick or wooden frames from the 18th and 19th centuries, full of New England charm and Puritan simplicity. Even if the buildings weren't authentic, they were built to resemble authenticity. This strip mall was one of the few failed architecture ventures of the '70's that hadn't been torn down, for whatever reason. The neon sign on the roof read, "The Gin Joint."
"I feel like I'm about to go slumming with Humphrey Bogart," Ellie quipped.
"You should only be so lucky," I smiled at her. "I've heard some of the girls talk about this place. I think slumming is the general allure of this place. There's not another reason it's survived this long. The WASPs wouldn't stand for it otherwise."
We got out of the car, and I opened the bar door for Ellie. It was dimly lit inside, with chincy red pleather booths lining the walls, and swiveling captains chairs at the bar. The walls were paneled with fake dark wood, and there were yellowed and fading headshots of C list celebrities who, for whatever reason, made their way through Wellesley, Massachusetts. Signed, of course.
A blonde bartender with a buzz cut, and impressively thick facial hair was wiping glasses behind the counter. He didn't look up when we came in. There was one other person in "The Gin Joint," sitting in a corner booth, with an amber glass of something-on-the-rocks. We sat down at the bar.
Only then did the Viking man-child of a bartender look at us. "What'll you have?"
I took a quick glance at the tap selection: PBR, Sam Adams, and Budweiser. I suddenly realized this might be the kind of place that didn't believe in importing beer.
"I'll have a Sam Adams, please."
"And for you?" Viking boy asked Ellie.
"The same, please."
The bartender turned around, and quietly started filling the pint glasses at a diagonal angle.
"Nice place you have here," I said, entirely too cheerful.
Erik the Red's progeny just kind of grunted, and changed out the full pint glass for the empty. Ellie gave me a sideways smile, and pretended to study the headshot of Charles Nelson Reilly above the bar. I opted to look down at the cocktail napkins. They had random trivia questions, with the answers written upside down underneath the question.
"Hey Ellie, what's the capital of Mozambique?"
"What?! How did you know that?"
"I'm brilliant. You should know that by now."
"I do know that, but Mozambique?! I mean, it's not as though it were asking the capital of the US, or even Canada! That's ... that's amazing! I barely knew Mozambique was a country in Africa..."
"I have the same cocktail napkin, my love."
"Whatever." The corners of her mouth twisted upward into a wry smile.
We weren't quite half way done with our beer, but I could tell Ellie was exhausted, and quite frankly, so was I. I took one last, large drink of my beer, took a $20.00 out of my wallet, and placed it on the bar.
"Want change?" The bartender asked me.
"No. Happy Thanksgiving."
He grunted. "Thanks."
"Have a good night," we said, almost in unison. I pulled my coat on, and started wrapping my scarf, when the man in the corner booth shifted in his seat. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. He looked like a cross between a misplaced lumber jack and an angry sailor. He was wearing a simple olive green beenie that folded over onto itself, obscuring his eyes. He looked liked he hadn't had a shave or a haircut in years, long scraggly curls hung around his ears. In the low light, it was impossible to get much other detail. I could, however, tell that he was looking at me, and only me, which made me nervous.
We started to walk for the door, passing as far away from the salty dog's table as was possible, without calling attention to our purposeful distance. We were about 5 feet from the door, when he spoke.
"Leaving so soon?"
"Yep. Have to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Have a good night."
"I said, 'Pity.' Here I've come all this way looking for you, and you don't have the decency to sit down and chat."
"Excuse me? I don't think I know you. You must have me mistaken with someone else."
"Angela Derrick. Associate Professor of English Literature and Poetry at Wellesley College. Born in Portland, Oregon, Jefferson High School, class of 1992, president of the marching band, captain of the girls varsity basketball team, and editor of the Yearbook."
"Look, while I'm sure google is a fascinating way to spend your time, I have no idea who you are, and the fact that you know such private information about me is really unsettling. Please stop before I call the police."
I made for the door quickly, with Ellie right behind me. The man slid out from the booth, and took a few steps toward us.
"You really don't recognize me, do you, Angie."
"What the fuck, dude! No! You look like the love-child of Grizzly Adams and the Ancient Mariner. I've never met you before, and I don't want to meet you now. Get the fuck away from me."
Ellie stepped in between us, and took a step forward. "Back away. Now."
He took a step back, and raised both of his hands, as though Ellie were pointing a gun at him. "This must be Ellie."
This made Ellie angrier, and even more protective, she took a step toward him. She said calmly, but menacingly, "Go away."
I turned to leave one last time, pulling Ellie along with me. As I pushed open the door, he said, "Angie, it's me."
There was something about the way he said me, a morsel of past remembrance I couldn't quite place. I stopped. "Me, who?" I said, skeptically.
He took off his cap, and stepped closer. Ellie went to stop him, but I put my hand on her shoulder. "Hang on, El." He stepped into a pool of light, and looked right in my eyes. I knew those eyes. Or at least I used to...
"Babe, it's me."
I could tell that Ellie didn't like the way he called me babe, but I took a few steps closer, and looked at him as though I had X-Ray vision.
"David? Dave ... is that you?"
"In the flesh, babe."
The last thing I remember was falling sideways.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Okay. Maybe not ever. But it sucked. And here's why.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
When Pat Robertson told the whole world that the tragically devastating earthquake that destroyed Haiti was due to the fact that Haiti had struck a bargain with Satan?
Dear Pat Robertson,
I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.
But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.
You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
---------------------And so to YOU, Lilly Coyle, this Polar Bear bestows my highest honor:[I actually don't know what my highest honor is yet ... but when I do, it's yours ... readers, suggestions wanted]To Lilly Coyle, The First Polar Bear Hero of 2010!-----------------------------------this blog post is brought to you by:Lilly Coyle
Christopher JarvisPS - if you'd like to see it on the NPR website, go here.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
It has been brought to my attention that the word verification on leaving comments on my blog is buried, and therefore, it's impossible to leave comments on my blog.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Here are a few things I've learned since I've been here:
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Since I was so incredibly terrible at taking pictures in Canada, I thought I would make up for it by documenting my time in the Hamptons. We have quite a bit of free time on the weekends; this is an understatement. Every Friday is a half day at school, so after a relatively quick staff meeting, we're out by 12:30-12:45 p.m.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Let me tell you a little bit about the school I'm working at.
When I was hired for this contract, I didn't think much about it at the time - it's on Long Island. Outside of Brooklyn, I had never been to Long Island ... and I didn't even realize that Brooklyn was *on* Long Island, until I was informed, and consequently embarrassed by this fact since I have actually been to Brooklyn, and I generally have a great geographic awareness of where I am.
So Long Island. Here are the things that I know (or, really, assumed) about Long Island. Please bear in mind that all of my information (or lack thereof) comes directly from movies, books, and/or TV shows.
1. It's a huge suburb of NYC.
2. The Great Gatsby was set here - in "West Egg" (which isn't too far away from where I am...)
3. Det. Elliot Stabler from Law & Order: SVU lives in Queens - admittedly, I didn't realize that Queens was on Long Island until we drove through it to get here. Oops.
4. The Islanders Hockey team calls its home here - though again, I didn't realize this until I got here...truth be told, I don't think about the Islanders ... at all.
5. The Hamptons are here. I knew that before I got here. However, having never been to "The Hamptons," the only context I had for it was some far-off, mythological place that rich people go to on television. For all I knew, it was the Eastern American's equivalent of "Malibu." Though truth be told, I've never actually been to Malibu - for all I know it could be cardboard.
6. Camp Half-Blood is here, somewhere. (See the Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series)
7. There's a large Jewish population.
8. Long Islanders have an accent. (I have no concrete evidence of this, yet)
9. Long Island is less cultured/hip than its Big Brother, Manhattan. (Oh TV, how you generalize!)
10. Long Island, like it's name, is Long. Shocking, eh?
Clearly, I'm lacking some savvy. Pop Culture, you have failed me yet again. I shake my fist at you!
The school that I'm at is nothing like the stereotypes would have led me to believe. Why? Well, because it's unlike any school I've ever seen. Ever. Allow me to illustrate. They have about 35 kids - from ages 4-13 - in total. They have three major buildings: The school (which is about 7 class rooms), the kitchen, and the gym. The kitchen is huge - one class cooks lunch for the rest of the school every day. Everyone eats together, everyone cleans up afterward, and much of the produce/eggs are grown and raised at the school. Yep, they have a chicken coop. With chickens. We met them today, in fact.
The school contracted to have a Shakes & Co. residency every year for eight years. They literally drop everything for this program. The school has no delineated grades ... they meet in groups according to ages - 3-5, 6-11, 12-13 - however there is no hard rule regarding classes and ages - if a student is advanced and mature enough to be in the group ahead, then up they go. If a student needs a bit more time, then they stay. The measurement of success is not through competition and documented achievement, but by honest comprehension and teacher intuition. There is no administration - no principal, superintendent, dean, etc. In fact, several of the teachers are original founders. The school has a declared commitment to working closely with the Native communities on the island, and has also pledged a fierce diversity policy. The older kids are responsible for the younger ones, and are expected to help and foster relationships with them. Art is the core aesthetic in which the school is built; not only does S&Co. have a residency, but there are composers, dancers, writers/poets, puppeteers, and chefs. They older students are in what's called an "Apprentice Class" - which means that these 11-13 year olds are expected to participate in apprenticeships all over the island - at museums, art galleries, nurseries - whatever strikes their interest.
These are the most generous, open-minded, kind, and articulate children I've ever seen - and not in a pretentious or precocious way. They are sincere. And they are kids; not kids trying to be adults. They embrace each other (and us) in a way that I've never quite experienced, and I certainly count myself as incredibly fortunate to share a month within this community.
It's so incredibly cool, it could be West Coast. But the fact that it's here makes it even cooler.
In other news:
We have no toaster. I have, evidently, taken toasters for granted my entire life. Well no more, I say! Toasters deserve respect and applause. Untoasted English muffins are just *not* okay.
I notice that when I miss someone (like my beautiful and amazing girlfriend), I have a habit of clinging to things that remind me of them. For example, I have - two nights in a row - watched the only hockey games I could find on our limited cable - The Blackhawks vs. The Wild, and The Islanders vs. The Avalanche. Do I care about any of these teams? Not in the least. But I watch hockey with my monkey ... and since I can't be with her, I'll be with the hockey. Even if I don't care about the players or the outcome. Oh ... and the English Muffins I mentioned above, were purchased as a breakfast comfort food for the same reason. Yeah. I know.
Snow isn't that cold - but the freaking WIND is. I'm getting a little tired of wind.
My parents and my sister are in London right now. I could have been there with them, but I chose to be here. And while I don't regret my choice in the least, I wish I were riding in the Underground right now; for no apparent reason. Though if given the choice between London and Canada, I'll choose Canada every time.
This blog post is brought to you by:
The Islander's Hockey Network
Monday, January 4, 2010
So we finally made it to Long Island, after a 24 hour period of crazy snow, bad road conditions, dead car batteries, and a crazy Australian GPS system named Victoria. Or Veronica. Or Virginia. (Really, any female V name will do...)
I don't really know what I expected Long Island to look like, but this wasn't it. It's quite ... rural. And affluent. All at the same time (Long Island is talented like that). We're staying in the town of Wainscott, which is right next to East Hampton, which is right next to Bridgehampton, which is right next to South Hampton. There are wineries. I mean, seriously, wineries?! Long Island? Huh. (Puts my Californian wine snob away) Interestingly (or not, as you prefer), many of the cities/names along the L.I.E. (The Long Island Expressway) are all Native names: Syosset, Manhasset, Montauk, Nissequogue, Patchogue - Wikipedia says the language of the Natives (which are tribes of the Algonquins) is Narragansett. I know, I know. I'm a wealth of information. Or, well, wikipedia is.
Also, Wainscott is named after town in Kent that was made famous in Dicken's Great Expectations. The town in NY was founded in 1665, which blew my mind for some reason. Why? I don't know. I clearly don't know my American History as well as I should. (Did I mention I've never been to Long Island?)
The drive down was long, but highly delightful. I have two really awesome partners ... Kelley and Allissa. We spent the drive singing, laughing, and making a rather extensive list of things we must do in the 4 weeks we're here. There is, obviously, a conflict of interest in that Allissa and I have similar names. Which can prove problematic for children, let alone adults. We had quite the awkward, laughing moment with the faculty of the school this afternoon, when they mixed us up, twice, after meeting us. We thought maybe we'd go with Rosencrants and Guildenstern, but that just might be too pretentious. And gross. I may just go with Lisa for the month ... no one but my family ever calls me Lisa ... but there it is. I'm taking one for the team.
We're at an incredibly awesome school, and I can't wait to meet the kids. Pictures of the cottage (oh, it's *so* totally a cottage!) and surrounding area to come forthwith.
Here is a list of examples from the list of excursions we decided we'd attempt to pursue:
Visiting Gray Gardens
Going to the seaside
Going to the wineries
Going to Montauk
Getting a Netflix subscription
Getting TWO Netflix subscriptions
(we lead exciting lives)
This blog is brought to you by:
The Long Island Express Way
Australian GPS systems everywhere
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I am currently stuck in Lenox, Massachusetts due to a severe storm warning, which has rendered roads, and therefore cars, totally useless.
Which means no driving to Long Island today. Which means an early morning and a whole heck of a lot of driving tomorrow.
It's not the cold I mind. It's the inconvenience at not being able to keep a schedule and a plan within the realm of my control. Stoopid blizzard.
That is all. Hope you are all warm and happy and undeterred by snow plows and wind.
This blog is brought to you by:
40 mph winds
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I'm back in Lenox for the next 12 hours or so, then make my way to Long Island tomorrow to begin a month-long residency in the Hamptons.
I left Calgary last night/this morning ... my flight was at 1:00 a.m., though we sat on the tarmac for an hour, waiting for bags to be loaded. I was crying into my window seat, trying to sleep, and not sob too loudly at the same time. Don't get me wrong, it was a FABULOUS 15 days. But leaving is getting harder and harder; especially when it involves leaving my loved one for months at a time, and therein, leaving my home. It's been continually surprising to me that I abhor leaving Calgary as much as I do. I mean, I REALLY hate it. And this is coming from a creature who thrives on traveling, and going to new places, and having new experiences. I'm accustomed to a certain buzz whenever I walk into an airport. When I leave Calgary, the buzz is non-existent. In fact, the buzz turns into one of the worst heart-hangovers imaginable; increasing in pain with each departure.
To add insult to injury, I was subject to Homeland Security's most recent creation: personalized pat-downs for every man, woman, and child to enter the airport. Not only do you get your very own Homeland Security guard, it's suited to your specific gender! The problem with this system (besides the embarrassment of being *majorly* felt-up in public, NOT by your consent), is that there tend to be more male security guards than female. So the male line, much like any public restroom ever built, tends to move very quickly.
And the women stand and wait. And get really bitchy.
I stood there, for 45 minutes, unmoving - watching the woman in charge radio desperately for more female security guards; and smiling smugly when the other women in my line started to call her out. Now, the woman was only doing her job. I realize this. The poor management isn't even her fault, since Homeland Security clearly didn't stop to think about the details related to instigating full-on security pat-downs by gender. It was an eventful morning.
Things like this bring out my inner-rebel. My first impulse was to volunteer to get searched by a male guard, but my better angel told me that that course of action probably wouldn't get me very far. When it was finally my turn, arms at full wingspan, casually watching as the female guard took her middle and index fingers to search the outline of my bra (and thereby, my breasts), I really really REALLY wanted to say, "You know, you're not NEARLY as good as my girlfriend."
Again, my anti-jail voice kept my angry inner-monster at bay. It did almost slip again, however, when she then informed me that she would be searching inside the inside of my jeans, at the band. I was very nearly ready to physically stop her hand.
Jail, prison, trial, more prison ... being banned from entering Canada ever again, let alone becoming a citizen ...
I have one sharp grasp on the bigger picture.
After my public physical abuse, I was made to board a bus that took me to the smallest terminal I've ever seen (especially for a major international airport like Toronto...). In fact, the thought that entered my brain as we approached was, "This must be where they keep all the reject planes." And indeed, that's kind of what the terminal was. A panoply of tiny, 18-seater aircrafts bound for the shorter destinations in the US, like Allentown, or Cleveland...or Albany. This flight was also delayed ... again, because of baggage, and also because the plane hadn't been turned on. That's right. The plane needed to be charged and ready to go before they were prepared to let passengers on. And because of that, there was no heat on the plane. In Toronto, it was -13 Celsius. So I will repeat again,
THERE WAS NO HEAT ON THE PLANE.
Not only that, but we had to walk outside to the terminal, Carey Grant style, walk up the built in steps that also served as the plane's door, and sit in seats that felt like plastic fold-able picnic chairs. The plane also had propellers, which I think is becoming more and more of a novelty in flying these days. I don't think I've seen one in awhile, and I'm fairly certain I've never flown in one. To give you an idea of how small it was, when we hit turbulence (and oh BOY, did we hit some turbulence) the plane didn't just do the normal up/down jump. No, it also skidded side-to-side, as though it were skating really badly on the clouds. Airplanes should not remind one of four year olds trying to play peewee hockey.
I really had no other recourse than to put my head down and try to sleep some more. I found this incredibly difficult, however, because it was so cold. My legs in particular were quite cold. Being the resourceful traveler that I am, I thought, "Why don't you just put your head down over your knees, and let yourself keep yourself warm!" Brilliant! I thought to myself (we get along very well, myself and I). And I did just that. And it worked! I was tightly wrapped in my fleece and car-coat, hugging my alpaca wool-wrapped hands across my stomach, my hood-draped head bent low against the seat ahead of me (in case you didn't know, I'm 5'10.5" - small spaces are not my forte). And I slept.
I woke up to my ears popping as we started to make our descent into Albany, NY. There I was, quite snuggly and warm ... and drool all over my coat. Apparently my whole head-against-the-seat-ahead-of-me idea to keep my legs warm came at a price. There was no one sitting next to me. Thank God.
So we arrived in Albany. My bags made it (which they did NOT do on my initial flight to Vancouver), my friend was there to pick me up. I had some coffee and the smallest egg/bacon/cheese wrap that Dunkin' Donuts has ever made, and was feeling quite proud of my major accomplishment of making back to New England alive and (somewhat) intact, when I realized that I had forgotten to arrange housing for myself ... for tonight. And while S&Co. has plenty of company housing, the January month-long training intensive started on Monday. So there's no room at the inn. Have no fear, dear reader. I have commandeered a room in a house off the S&Co. campus. Yep. I'm officially squatting in the house I lived in all Fall. Thank God no one in the Berkshires locks anything.
[Someday, and I'm hoping someday soon, I'll be less spastic and slap-dash. Until then, a bear's gotta do what a bear's gotta do.]
So, here I am, sitting at the Lenox Coffee house, listening to music that makes me think of my love, an empty tea cup with the remnants of Earl Gray, looking out a cold, snowing Lenox. And for the first time, I'm not happy to be here. I'm hoping that my trip to Long Island tomorrow will yield some adventure and excitement, especially neither me nor my partners knows where the hell we're going, as none of us have ever been to the Hamptons ... but somehow, until I'm able to throw myself head-long into the work of Shakespeare and children of greatly varying ages, I think I'll go mope around in the snow, and be incredibly indulgent in the lonely coldness that seems to have infused itself into my bones. (Cheerful little thing, ain't I?)
I will not, however, end with that. Here are the highlights of my trip to Calgary, that was so lovingly, so awe-inspiringly made possibly by you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. Especially that funny little blonde who calls herself my best friend.
1) I got to see my first Canadian hockey game. It was a dirty game, but I will NEVER forget it. All thanks to the best sister-in-law-to-be ever.
2) I met Liz's parents for the first time. And I love them. Of course.
3) I met Janis, Liz's bestie, for the first time - which is bizarre, because we've had several lengthy facebook chats over the course of the past four months or so.
4) I played Buck Hunter for the first time...and didn't do too badly!
5) Canadian beer. Mmmmmmmmm.
6) NYE with one of my all-time favorite families ever. Including three cats, two mice, a dog, and an axolotl. And more beer.
7) Hockey highlights at 6:00 a.m. BOSS AWESOME.
8) Walks in the snow, holding her hand.
9) My first white Christmas. EVER.
10) Getting to spend half a month and two very important holidays with the woman I love.
"I dream a highway back to you, love."
[Okay, okay, I'll stop.]
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Friday, January 1, 2010
I thought maybe I'd try making a list of the past year's 10 Best...and Worst...things...from my point of view. I don't have a focus to this list (obviously), because chaos can be fun too, damn it! Let's see how this goes, eh?
What I've done is googled the heck out of the Top+10+2009, and compiled the items that make *my* elite list, below. Am I poser for googling other lists, stealing from them, and making them fit into my mold??
Oh okay, fine! I'll cite my sources, how's that???
** Great idea, shit-poor execution. It's times like this when I wish Robespierre would rise from the grave, and smite the bourgeois, ineffective leaders of today. Robespierre would OWN them.