Archive for ‘I Do Stuff!’

September 1, 2011

Time to Unwind

 

So … Irene. Depending on your location (Vermont, I’m hurting so hard for you, DC, notsomuch) it was QUITE the storm.

The headlines read “Irene Shuts Down The City That Never Sleeps”. Broadway, shuttered for 2 days (and I had tickets to see MASTER CLASS with Tyne Daly! BOOOOO!!). MTA, closed down from noon on Saturday. Shops boarded up, restaurants closed. KA‘s bachelorette was cancelled (BOOO!!!).

For some reason, Applebee’s in Astoria was open. Go figure.

Considering I was going to be stuck for a few days, I holed up at my friend Paul’s … he of the Applebee’s late shift. And what began as wow-this-is-boring-I-wish-I-had-something-to-do turned into a lovely time by myself to reflect. Time to think, to nap, to pray and refocus. Time to read Harry Potter again (partially) and think I really SHOULD see the movies already. Time to really just let myself heal, both physically and mentally.

 

Being a long weekend, there was ALSO time to have some fun. Venture out for last-minute sugar* and discover one last 6-pack of my favorite beer … the one you can’t get in DC. ** Drink said beer, along with mimosas and some really fabulous wine. (Paul’s roommate is a professional sommelier and a fantastic cook … wine pairings FTW!) Play a few rockus games of Speed Monopoly (damn that Mr Monopoly dice!) and Phase 10.*** And tell stories only four theater kids can really tell.****

Sunday afternoon, after the storm blew through, we went out to survey the damage.

 

The river had risen about three feet. There were branches everywhere. The wind was still blowing everything – us included – around. And this monster thing had been ripped up from … somewhere.

 

You guys … this was a FULL ON TREE. No idea where it came from. We searched all over, and could not find the stump. And it didn’t match the other trees in the area. Talk about eerie.

We headed in at twilight to begin another game of Phase 10 … and to sleep like the dead. What is it about doing nothing, or doing not much that is so exhausting?

 

All in all … perfect weekend. I hadn’t realized how much I needed to be able to just sit, be quiet, and have some fun at home.

 

*Come on, you ALL know you ate nothing but sugar while you were cooped up. Fess up.

**PALM. Oh my dear lord, wonderful. I may have to plan trips to NY just to pick some up.

*** This MUST be added to my collection of games. We started off laughing and ended with death threats. As all good games should.

**** There may or may not have been humiliating reenactments happening. Guess you’ll never know. ::winks::

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August 30, 2011

I Was There, I Swear!!

So … Hurricane Irene. That happened. Cut me off from the world for a few days, leading to a severe lack in blog posts. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.

Today … vain thoughts on Yay New York!

1. Dude, you people are HAWT.

2. And you can seriously dance.

3. I must have Confetti Systems pinatas at every party from now on. MUST.

4. Zan makes a mean emergency dinner.

5. Rachel‘s last minute shopping skills are BEYOND AMAZING.

6. I think I may have to stalk Lauren and Ang.

7. The popsicles were DELICIOUS. But, of course, I would end up with one of the handful of avocado ones … me being allergic and all. Phooey!

8. WHY AM I NOT FULLY IN ANY OF THE PHOTOS??????

*HANDS

*BACK

*HAIR

*TOES

What gives?!

Serious thoughts coming later this week, when I have time to process and type.

** ALL PHOTOS VIA  APW

August 19, 2011

Adventuring: Into the Storm

So. Kayaking. Sounds like fun, yah? Especially when you’ll be launching from here:

Pretty picturesque, hmm?

Suzann told us Fishing Creek (pictured above) was a little dry … and that we’d have to lift the kayaks over logs in the creek. Um … ok? She said the kayaks were super light, so not to worry.  So we didn’t.

Well, the morning dawned bright and clear, but by the time we were going to head out, it was dripping. We get to the mill and see that they have bright red single rider kayaks, with mostly open tops. Perfect. But now it’s raining harder. Uh oh.

The three boys jump out to unload, and discuss if they can convince their respective girls to brave the rain. I have to confess, guys … I ALMOST wimped out. The rain, plus the idea of being in a single-seater that I would have to lug over logs did not sound like my idea of fun. But both of the other girls were game, so I said sure.

I AM SO GLAD I DID.

Within 10 minutes of being on the water, the rain stopped … we floated along, laughing as one or the other of us got stuck every few minutes in the lower-than-normal water level, and basically just having a good time. The rain kicked back up now and then, but lightly, so all was well.

An hour and a half into it we hit the 2nd place where we’d need to get out and haul our kayaks over the logs. The first trip had resulted in screaming and running from the gigantic spiders that had made the unusually dry spot their home, and a snake that no one could identify as non-poisonious. Faced with the idea of finding a few other “friends” … and based on the fact that I could see a third blockage less than 50 yards away … I decided to turn back. *

Half way back, with the husband tagging along to “make sure (I) got back safe” **, it began to rain again. And then picked up. And THEN picked up some more. Half a mile from the cars the storm hit us full force … complete with rain so hard you could barely see, thunder, lightning, and wind strong enough that no matter how hard you paddled, you were NOT going to move.

Paddle paddle paddle paddle …. nothing.

Finally I said “Eff THIS!” and jumped out. *** The water was only four feet deep there, but dang it, I used to do SWIM MEETS in pools 3.5 feet deep (we did NOT like swimming against that team when they hosted. Talk about home court advantage!). So I grabbed the handle of the kayak and swam that last bit. Against the wind. Hellooooooo workout!

A couple of the mill workers took pity on me as I was trying to figure out how to get in the car and dried off without soaking the interior, and let me take shelter in the mill. The husband headed back out to help anyone else who was stuck. Meanwhile, the storm just kept getting worse.

Half an hour later everyone shows up. Apparently the storm had knocked over a few MORE trees, and they had a hard time getting back. We packed up and headed back to the b&b … jumping into warm showers as soon as possible. Naturally.

No one could have predicted the dangers of what was supposed to be a lazy 3-hour paddle. Heck, we hadn’t even signed the waivers! But in the end we were all unharmed … if a bit exhausted.

And I want to do it again. ::grins::

 

* Apparently, I turned back right at the boat landing where the creek joins with another, faster moving, creek-river hybrid (too small to consider a river, but bigger than most creeks). That was almost 2 miles out. Beyond that point, you would normally hit rapids … it turns out the blockages I’d seen that turned me around were those rapids, exposed due to the low water level. The group that had continued was getting out of their kayaks every couple of minutes. I CHOSE WELL.

** Because I’m going to take a wrong turn on the creek?

*** Note to self … buy a pair of water shoes for next time. I don’t even want to THINK about what I was stepping in. ::shivers::

August 17, 2011

Just a Small Town Girl

… um, yah, not exactly.

I grew up in the “suburbs of LA” (if you count 60 miles out as a suburb … but considering our local airport is now LA-Ontario International, I’m guessing THEY do). All of my family lived in urban and suburban areas. I went to school is a densely populated area, and now live in a city center. Spending time in rural areas is not exactly something I’m familiar with.

Enter Enfield, North Carolina.

With the anniversary a few weeks off, I’d begun looking around for a place we could escape for a weekend. I found Bellamy Manor & Gardens.

A bed and breakfast in the small town of Enfield, offering a package including wine, chocolate, a yoga lesson (something the boy and I both enjoy), and a canoe or kayak rental? I was sold.

A couple of days before we left, I began looking up food in the area … to, you know, eat more than just breakfast. A quick google search revealed a Subway, Hardee’s, Vito’s Italian, and a chinese take out place.  Surely that couldn’t be it. I assumed there were places that the search didn’t find, and moved on.

On the way down, we looked up the town. Turns out … it’s all of 1 mile square. A farming community. Awesome. Their crops are cotton, peanuts, and tobacco. Uh oh. (The boy works for a tobacco control organization, hence the uh oh.) Getting there required driving several miles without seeing so much as a barn, the fields were so plentiful.

Pulling up, we were greeted by Suzann, the owner of the B&B and her cousin Celia. They were pleasant, engaging, and oh-so-southern. =) While Suzann and the boy chatted about where we were from, I checked out the “bible” (as she called it) … the binder giving us the low-down of the area. There really were only 4 restaurants. The recommended restaurants were all “a few towns over” … generally starting at 15 miles out.

Alright then, food may be difficult.* But let’s do this.

The house itself was GORGEOUS. You can really tell the owners have taken a huge amount of pride in restoring a house that, while it looks like a plantation home, was actually built after the depression by a local doctor who’d stored away his money. You can tell he wasn’t a popular man. Imagine the audacity of having enough money to build a 3 story home at the END of the depression!

Other than the other couples staying at the B&B (another anniversary couple, and a super young boyfriend-girlfriend pair) and the owners, I think I saw 10 people all weekend. The yoga instructor (we got a private lesson, as no one else showed up), the coffee shop owner, her patron, the two men helping with the kayaks, and the little girls doing a car wash.

It was surreal. And serene. And perfect.

The atmosphere was something I’ve never experienced before. And while I don’t think I could ever live there, it was wonderful to unplug and decompress. We walked the town after our yoga class … it took all of 30 minutes. It was lovely.

Oh, and did I mention on Saturday we got caught in the “worst storm these parts have seen in years”? Or, so said the locals.** More on that tomorrow.

 

* Yah, we broke down Saturday night and drove 18 miles to Logan’s Roadhouse. Two words: YEAST. ROLLS. Don’t judge me, you’d do it, too.

** So said the locals. Verbatim.

August 8, 2011

We’re Too Old For This

Oh man … Saturday. Kirsty’s already made her apologies, but I’m thinking everyone should just be grateful that my drunken ramblings took the form, not of tweets, but texts … to the people I was drinking with. No harm, right?

This weekend I was up in NYC. The plan was to have brunch with my friend Margaret, meet up with Mary for dinner, and see my friend Paul’s workshop show. The remaining hours would be filled as things came up … but no real plans were made. As luck would have it, I was able to meet up with Paul prior to the show, and he requested that we grab a drink afterwards. Standard practice, and I was happy to oblige.

Now, I’m thinking Paul needs a little background. We met when I was 22 and he was 24, and became fast friends … working in the storefront theater scene in the OC leads to  you knowing anyone and everyone and oftentimes feels fairly incestuous. We never dated (though nearly everyone we knew assumed we did), and in hindsight, that’s a good thing.

Now, being in our early twenties, we were … idiots. Alcohol was easy to come by, and we took full advantage of it. This weekend we laughingly reminisced about the nights we were gather a bunch of people at his place, and basically just drink our faces off, trying out new recipes and games. One particular night involved all but three of us (me, Paul, his roommate) leaving early. Paul got trashed, got sick on the lawn, and proceeded to drunkenly hose off said lawn. His roommate got drunk, got pissy and locked himself in his room. I looked around, realized I was the only one NOT drunk, and proceeded to fix that.

Like I said, idiots.

In any case, years have passed, and we’ve remained close. I’m pretty sure I’ve only missed one of his shows (due to being on the wrong side of the country), and he’s never missed one of mine. He stuck around and helped me when I had my accident (not many people did that … nothing like a major crisis to really sort out your life), and was the ONLY person who made an effort to see me before I left California for good. He made the move to NYC in early February, and I could not be more thrilled to have him only a few hours away. This year we’ll be 28 and 30.

So let’s get back to Saturday night. The plan was to find a place we could grab a drink and catch up, but after the show, his cast decided they wanted to GO. OUT. This being the first time they’d ever done so, we were totally tagging along.

Problem #1: With one exception, the cast is all under 24.

Problem #2: Being under 24, many of them are college students. As such, they wanted to go to “this awesome bar” across the street from NYU.

Problem #3: Being under 24, and mainly female, they were not looking for a ring on my hand, and as such DID. NOT. SEE. IT. (This also held true for the many 21-year-old NYU boys in the bar. Even when I practically waved it in their faces. Honestly, I got a kick out of it.) This led to both of us having to field “Is she (are you) your (his) girlfriend?!” several times throughout the night. ::headdesk::

In any case, to the college bar we went. And started off with whiskey … as you do.* 4 hours later the following had happened:

– Upon observing the college kids, the joke “we are too old for this” was made several times.

– One of the bartenders had decided she wanted one of the cast members (the only other one over 24). He, of course, second guessed that she was actually flirting, and came to me for advice. Apparently my advice worked, they let me know last night that they have a date this week.

– The object of Paul’s affection had made it clear she was put of by my being there. “Is she your girlfriend.” “No, I’ve known her for years and she’s married to a good friend of mine.”** “Are you SURE? She’s really pretty.”*** “I’m sure, don’t worry.” ::laughs:: It must be said, the girls were all genuinely friendly all night, just put off by the idea that he wasn’t single. He is, sweetie, flirt on. =)

– Much whiskey, rum, and beer were consumed.

– I was proclaimed the BEST WINGMAN EVAR, and Paul was proclaimed a “lucky bastard” for being able to reap the benefits. Reasons I gained this title included:

     1. The fact that being a straight female, I wasn’t going to change my mind and run off with the girl he liked.

     2. I was giving good girl advice … you know, being a girl myself and all.

     3. I explained the “jealousy game” to the boy who gave me the title. “You know how it goes … you think you might 
        like a girl, but aren’t really sure. Then she shows up with some random guy and is clearly close to him. And you 
        think “THAT ASSHOLE! Back off buddy!”. But it turns out he’s a good friend, or a cousin or something, and 
        therefore safe. But NOW you are SURE you like her. See what I mean? If my being here drums up a little jealousy 
        on her part, so much the better for Paul.”

Yah, that last one earned me a look of awe, and a drink. You’re welcome boy-who-now-understands-women-a-tiny-bit-more.

It was a good night.

Paul and I left at 2, as yet ANOTHER wave of students was stumbling in. (Side note … I’m from California … last call is at 1:30 … 1:45 if you’re LUCKY. What’s this 4am nonsense?) Street food (gyro and rice FTW) and 2 subway rides later, I (gracefully, of course) let myself into my friend’s apartment, inhaled half a pint of ice cream while sitting in front of the air conditioner’s window box, and then passed out.

I woke up at 12:30pm Sunday. Texted Paul to make sure he was alive (we were supposed to be getting brunch). He responded with “Alive, but definitely staying in. You?”

“I hurt. Paul, seriously, we are too old for this shit.”

“INDEED.”

Ah, growing up. =)

 

* It must be noted, we were the only ones drinking anything other than beer. I’m pretty sure our group finished the keg of Blue Moon. At least their taste in beer is decent!

** Good friend NOTHING. They’ve met ONCE. But, it helped ease her fears.

*** Ok, that was super sweet of her. Totally made my night.

**** The aftermath: I actually made it out the door, but only because I had to catch a bus back to DC. 4 bottles of water, some Motrin, and a big burger later, I was hurting less, but EXHAUSTED. Paul eventually made it out of the house as well … but I beat him by about 3 hours. Clearly, I win. ::winks::