Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chicago, Upper Silver Lake, and NYC again

Last week I flew out to Chicago for the week. I went up to Upper Silver Lake in Michigan for most of it. My grandparents have a cottage up there that I've been coming up to since I was a kid, and I hadn't had the chance to visit for two years. That was the highlight of the trip--though I am jealous the 90-100 degree weather in Seattle did go East to Michigan. Although I was limited to my carry-on suitcase, I found some great dishes and a lamp that was TWO DOLLARS. It is an antique milk glass lamp, absolutely gorgeous (though it needs a lampshade, which will cost approximately six times the cost of the lamp, of course). I had been eyeing a lamp that my grandma had like that, so I was thrilled to find my own!

One of the big highlights of the week was my cousins' graduation party. So many of my relatives were there, including ones I hadn't seen for a long time. We kind of grouped off into young and old, and it was fun to talk about more mature things with my cousins and their friends. Growing up I was a couple years (and a few degrees of sheltered) younger than my cousins Katie and Maggie, but now we connect perfectly, which is great. We can just pick up where we left off. My cousin Colleen, who is my age, brought her boyfriend of at least two years (I think three). They both have Down Syndrome, and are a joy to watch together. They were slow dancing in the pool, and just in general really enjoying each other's company. Whenever I see that kind of joy (and how Colleen is so able to brighten my mood), I think about how babies with trisomy 23 are often aborted nowadays. I have really mixed feelings about eliminating people that in my opinion benefit society and bring out the best in people--the ability of those around them to nurture and be compassionate, and the ability of those with Down Syndrome to bring joy to the world by showing us how to revel in its simplicity.

We got to the party at around 5pm, and stayed until 3am. I was shocked. I kept on expecting my Mom to say she was tired and wanted to go home, but I guess the wine and conversation kept her buzzed. When we left, Maggie had already fallen asleep. We seriously were the last people to leave, minus the people who were staying the night. My Mom and some of our relatives got into this long, hilarious, swear-filled diatribe against another one of our relatives right before we left. Kate and I were just laughing in shock. It was worth being tired and hungover the next day on my flight home...

I was so excited to be reunited with Eric. Seriously, it was so great. All week I had been going over our relationship to various relatives, to the point where I was like, is this really how I feel? But being back with him, I was like 'yep.' One of his friends was driving in from Philly so she picked me up from the Marine Air Terminal (a very weird one...) at LaGuardia and we all hung out. I was so dehydrated, and all I could stomach was these amazing New Jersey tomatoes with salt and pepper. I think I ended up eating two tomatoes worth of slices. Amazing. After his friend left Eric made whole red snapper wrapped in all these herbs. I looked on his computer later and he had done all this research about how to tell if the fish was fresh--he bought them in Chinatown for $5 each and apparently there actually was a great degree of difference in freshness. We had that and corn on the cob on the balcony and looked at the city. It was so romantic and I was so happy to be with him again! Later on that evening there was this ridiculous thunderstorm (earlier there was hail). Because it was dark we could see lighting illuminate entire clouds. It was one of the coolest things I'd seen lately. I'm glad I flew in earlier that day...

This week I've been getting back in the swing of things--I went for a run tonight, checked out some books and made plans for a solo weekend (Eric[s in Red Rocks, Colorado :( ). Eric and I booked our flight to COSTA RICA this November (we're going the week of Thanksgiving). I saw Pedro Almodovar's new film Broken Embraces (I like), Funny People (meh), and saw Tim Burton at MoMa. A pretty cool week for work, though I'm waiting to screen footage from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before I interview the directors, and it's not happening, so I've been idle and dreading the fact that my deadline is getting tighter and tighter, and not being able to do anything about it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No need to cry over Wilco; Schroon Lake!

It was funny that Laura posted about being crazy emotional last week. Because yesterday I did that too. And although the level of crying was pretty exceptional, now that I think about it, I have been prone to crying spells, even after I thought I had adjusted to the bc pills. They all feel pretty justified, though, so I'm not sure if it's me or the hormones, or just specific situations I've been in lately. I tend to cry not when something sad happens or if I get hurt, but when I am frustrated or feel helpless or in sympathy to some injustice.

Anyway, one of my pet peeves is lateness. I have gotten in fights with people over being late, because I think it's rude and disrespectful and I also really worry about missing things if I am not somewhere on time, and I hate waiting awkwardly alone by myself. Waiting sucks. So I don't even feel like re-hashing the whole situation, but it involved me waiting for someone, her being significantly late, which made us in turn miss the three other people we were supposed to meet underground in the subway where there was no cell phone access. When we finally got in cell phone touch, my boyfriend started yelling at me (before I handed it off to my friend) and made me think they had in fact waited for us, and we had left without them.

And then, I was sobbing on the subway. I couldn't stop, and then I felt so embarrassed I was crying more. I had actually been trying to be more patient for people lately, and cutting them some slack before I started to get angry, and this had utterly backfired. And I had waited pointlessly, since she was in the bleacher section and I was on the floor, so it didn't even matter if we met up. I think part of the reason I cried so much was because I really needed some kind of expulsion of emotion, and the only other alternative was to yell at my friend, and I just couldn't do that.

So the actual concert (yes, that's where I was going) was fun. Eric & I ended up being by ourselves for the opening set of Yo Lo Tengo, and he really cheered me up, and then two other people showed up and my other friend and all was well. Wilco put on a good show. I like their more lyrical songs, of which they only played a few (maybe there only are a few). Feist and Grizzly Bear showed up towards the end to sing and do maracas, etc. (more indie bands that I actually like a bit more...). The show was at Coney Island, where I'd never been, so we went down to the water after the concert which was fun, and went for a second round of Nathan's, getting a fish platter and a softshell crab sandwich. When I arrived before the show I had part of a cold chili dog (the casing is very firm and you have to punch your teeth through it) and this huge super-size beer that Eric bought. I was surprised that I wasn't hungry after the show (though of course I nibbled on our food), until I saw the posted calorie counts for the beer. The one I had before the show was over 600 calories!! Most chain New York City restaurants are required to do that now, but since I don't frequently eat in chains I haven't seen the damage. Lordy. I can't believe beer is so caloric.

I had a big breakfast today but no lunch...still recovering from a long weekend of overeating.

But, before it becomes too late: Fourth of July at Schroon Lake!!
Eric and I made some last-minute plans for the Fourth last weekend, and came up with an amazing rate for a one-bedroom cottage ($240 for three nights, when normally it goes for at least double). His family friend let us borrow their car, so we took the NJ Transit out to pick it up and made the four-ish hour drive up. We got there at 1am, and almost went into the wrong cabin.

The cottage was decorated the way all cottages should: lots of wildlife references, hand-me-down style furniture and glasses, and wood paneling. It was awesome. We went to some random diner (Black Bear) in the morning, and picked up groceries and alcohol for the trip.

Friday and Saturday (the 4th) were both iffy, weather-wise. The skies would be blue, but every time a huge cumulus cloud would come over, the temperature would drop noticeably. It also rained on and off. Friday night Eric made ribs on the grill, we had some drinks, and went out in a rowboat. There was some kind of Christian Rodeo going on that we could hear from the lake, and we got quite a giggle out of that. And did a little making out, etc., on the lake, in the rowboat, which was wonderful and romantic.

Saturday and Sunday morning we ate breakfast on the deck by the water (bagels one day, eggs the other). On the Fourth of July, Eric made burgers that were the BEST EVER. They were soooo good. We had to use our neighbor's grill because ours wasn't getting hot enough, but in the process they complimented our idea to grill the onions (so necessary) and invited us out on their boat the next day. Fabulous. The night of the fourth it was FREEZING outside. No longer raining so much, but so incredibly cold. I bundled up in front of the fire Eric made for awhile as it got dark, and then he was all childlike and anxious over the fireworks so we went to this park area where we had seen some fireworks the night before. Unfortunately, we couldn't see the town's fireworks from that vantage point, but luckily some pyro teenagers and perhaps their parents had their own fireworks show. I love fireworks shows done homestyle, because people are generally more appreciative, you're RIGHT THERE, and there's always pyro people laughing and saying "dude, that was awesome."

When we got back we made s'mores. Yum. And no mommy telling me how many s'mores to have.

Sunday the weather was fabulous. Eric had been wanting me to play hooky from work on Monday, but I am against using sick days unless you are actually sick (guilt/superstition), and we were closing a big issue and I had stories due. I am actually happy we ended there on such a fabulous, sunny (and for me, sunburned note).

The man next door and his family had been coming to the lake their whole lives, so they took us on a tour and explained all about the area, pointed out places they had stayed, and all the awesome lake houses. One had a water trampoline and one of those air-filled pillow launchers, multiple jet-skis and other boat toys, and a fleet of white SUVs in their driveway. There was something about the white SUVs that really pushed everything over-the-top. Did their family coordinate or something?

I took off my cast and swam that afternoon, which was great, until we asked our neighbors if we could use the water trampoline and I accidentally did a butt jump and supported weight with my hand. It HURT so badly, and I was so upset with injuring myself more. I had to get out of the water a bit after that.

I had such an amazing time with Eric. We got along well the whole time (I think we might have had like a thirty-minute period of disagreement--oh, and did I mention we handled a flat tire (our second) successfully?). The lake was so quiet and romantic and it got me excited for my upcoming trip to Chicago and Michigan, where my grandparents have a cottage on a lake. I didn't think I really needed to get away, but I am so glad that we went. It was just so much fun!