Labor Day 2011

Words coming eventually…

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This Summer I Went Swimming

How do I upload a freakin’ slideshow? Here are the pictures though, my favorite from the whole trip!


And now:trip by the numbers

Books read: 17

Average hours/day at the beach: 5-6

Hours swimming/treading water/discussing sharks in the water per day: 1.5

Percentage of games of Egyptian Ratscrew won by my cousin Billy, he of the freakish pattern recognition: 97

Length of our one Settlers of Catan game, in hours: 2.5

Number of ice cream flavors I tried: 8+

Number of relatives I talked to for more than 30 seconds: 16

Number of hugs I received from a woman I didn’t realize I knew until a few minutes later: 1

Number of awards my dog won: 1 (Best Trick)

Number of awards my dog should have won: 3 (Best Trick, Best in Category, Best in Show)

Number of rainy days: 3ish

Number of movies I took my not yet 13 y.o. cousin to that turned out to be waaaay raunchier than I thought: 1 (Change Up)

Number of overly raunchy movies his parents let him see that allowed me to feel less guilty about that choice: 2343

Shark Weeks watched: 5

Number of unplanned side-of-I 95 stops we made on the way home: 2

Number of those stops that were needed because a bike was starting to slip off: 1

Number needed because the dog was freaking.out: 1

Number of accidental detours made: 1, through the Bronx

Lowest personal safety rating in that area, according to N’s iPhone ap: 5% (/100)


Fun had: priceless (um….does that work in this context? Probably not…)

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Things I’ve done thus far on vacation:

1. gone to the grocery store AND Target. I will not be doing either again: in fact, save for biking to the ice cream place, I plan to not leave NQT again until I drive home.

2. Been heading back from the casino after my latest blog entry to see a double rainbow: grabbing the camera and rushing to the beach with my sister and my cousin Katy to photograph it.

3. Swum out to several large rocks with my sister and cousins. Yesterday my aunt took some great photos of us.

4. Jumped CAREFULLY off the pier, taking off on my non surgery ankle.

5. Picked sap and burs out of the dog’s belly, then shaved the bits that were really irritated by sap.

6. Played many rounds of Egyptian Ratscrew with my sister and cousins: Billy always wins because he can recognize patterns and therefore knows when to slap.

7. Played many rounds of B.S., some of which I actually win.

8. Played a two and a half hour game of Settlers of Catan. Katy got fed up and called us all asshats.

9. Biked to the ice cream place: I got my opening night sundae and after that will have scoops until my last night sundae. I have a plan.

10. Lived and breathed the rhythms of the ocean. I will be turning off my computer after this in hopes that I can get a break from technology for at least a few days.

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Don’t Rain On My Parade

Katy and I are currently sitting on the porch of the casino, which is the gathering place at Nonquitt. We are doing internet stuff. All around us, rain is pelting down. We had to leave the beach when it started to storm, but before that we got in a nice long swim to a rock where one year we  were dive bombed by a seagull a year or two ago. Luckily that did not happen this year.

For my final day with Sarah we went to the Garment District, where one can buy costumes, vintage clothing, and used clothes for a dollar a pound. It was amusing, and we got a terrific romper for Katy that I will take a picture of and post soon.

Meanwhile, here is the rain, and the clothes, and we are relaxing. On sunny days I am going to try not to get on the interwebs much: wish me luck.

P.S. So far, I have read the new Meg Gardiner and am nearly finished with the new Ann Patchett. Life, it is good.

P.P.S. My ankle hurts, which is sad. Here’s hoping it gets better fast.

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Postcards From Milford

I think this is where Bluster Bluth went to school.

I was GOING to stop in Secaucus, NJ, back when I was having some geography troubles and thought it was after the GW bridge. It is not. So I just kept driving. And, I am pleased to say, I drove QUITE CALMLY over the upper level of the bridge. (When I was a kid, I was totally scared of bridges). I did, however, role down the windows, just in case Zoe and I needed to make an escape. I also left our seatbelts on, though, on the theory that we are more likely to get into an accident than to go flying off the George Washington Bridge.

I love driving 95 North. I know! And not ALL of it, and I hate the truckers with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, but it’s kind of reassuring to hit the same landmarks every day. Zoe, I said, here’s the Bronx! Here’s the New Jersey Turnpike! Here’s the Vince Lombardi reststop!

I am a dork, is what I’m saying.

Zoe was a total trooper. For the first bit of the drive, she kept accidently shifting and putting the car in neutral. This was…unnerving at first.

But then we figured it out, and she settled down on her stretched back passenger seat, covered with a sheepskin, wearing her seatbelt. So stinkin’ cute. For realz.

So we went over the bridge and then got stuck in traffic. I had a full tank o’ gas when I left and I kept waiting to find cheap gas to refill…then, in Connecticut, I discovered that I had maybe an 8th of a tank. Do you KNOW how much gas cost? DO YOU KNOW?

Four dollars and thirty three cents a gallon, that’s how much.

I told the guy (it was full service station) that this was a bit pricey, and then we had a little bitch session. He was all, everyone LEFT THE CITY AND NOW WE ARE A SUBURB AND WE USED TO BE A NICE QUIET TOWN. hee.

(I did not fill the tank).

Then I got a little more lost but finally wound up at a hotel. I was very excited to see that it had On Demand, because I LOVE me some On Demand in hotels. But then the TV made this loud buzzing noise that would.not.stop just when I started Cedar Rapids, so I had to call the front desk and ask for a refund. Then I was FURTHER foiled by the lack of good wifi here, and also the lack of Season 1 Veronica Mars streaming on either Netflix OR the WB website, and that made me sad. So now I’m watching Parenthood.

But I had a nice dinner and Zoe is being adorable and tomorrow I will hit my cousin Sarah’s house, and I am excited to see her. And Saturday Then…Sunday I need to find a place to stay, any suggestions near New Bedford, MA? And then Nonquitt. Whoa. Lots and lots of stuff.

Freaky moment of the day: I logged onto facebook and WHO POPS UP BUT MY SHRINK. At a book reading. I happen to be FB fans of the bookstore, and I was all…wait a minute. That’s my shrink. On my facebook page. Because THAT’S not weird or anything.

Also annoying: My Stupid Ankle. Which hurts to drive, and will not let me jump off the diving board, or go for walks on the beach, or basically ANYTHING FUN EVER.

Ho hum.

Oh! Links!

The A.V. Club is reviewing The X-Files, Arrested Development, AND Veronica Mars (“Hi everyone! Say repressed homosexuality!”). This makes me very, very happy. Reasonable discussions FTW!

What Happened That Night in Abbottabad? (New Yorker)

Melissa Summers has an incredibly brave post about her suicide attempt.

“This war on information is a battle. This war on information is injustice. This war on information is a strategically arranged set of operations designed to victimize and control a specific group of people. This war on information is war.”

Obama Turns Fifty Despite Republican Opposition. (GOP Vows to Say No, No, No).

Stephen Colbert Says that Obama is…well just watch. Also watch his Summer’s Eve bit.

Minimalist Posters for Children’s Books! (WANT. ALL OF THEM).

Up there with Spielberg

This vid is by Ashley. It is fucking amazing. The very last few seconds were totes my idea, too, and they are epic.

there was a time…

When I went to Maine, to a small town on the coast, every summer.

I havent been there in years. My grandmother died there in 2007, and the following summer I was there for a day or two, to scatter her ashes with everyone else.

When I was a child, though, I loved it there. It’s true, they are not entirely my people–lots of money, lots of Republicans, lots of pink and lime at the same time. Lots of golf and tennis. Cocktail parties. McMansions. The tennis court featured–I swear–a sign that sad “Whites Only.” Later it was changed to “Whites Preferred.”

They were mostly referring to tennis clothes.

What I did love, what I still would love, probably, is the beach. Beautiful. Miles long, incredible sand, water crisp and cold and lovely, waves high and tumbling. I would spend hours at the beach, swimming and reading. Once I was so still, reading for so long, that a neighbor called my grandmother to ask if I was okay. I read and read and swam and swam. Sometimes I walked on the cliff walk, where Winslow Homer used to stroll, and look at the same seascapes that he saw.

Since my grandmother died it’s been different. The house looks utterly changed, at least it did when I was there in 08. Gone were most of the pictures of the extended family, the casual parts of the house, the random beach stones, the old romance novels of my grandmothers. It has turned into a more “traditional” beach house, for that part of the world, and I can no longer see my grandmother every time I turn a corner. Can no longer see her sitting at the kitchen table, reading a book, eating coleslaw. She ate so much coleslaw, my grandmother, and not much else.

We had some great times. The two summers before she died I came up, took the train to stay with her for a week or ten days. We walked on the beach. She said “oops!” every time she had t0 navigate past a tidepool stretched across the beach. We rode bikes to a beach that had a boardwalk she could walk out on, waving her cane to indicate to the children they should get out of the way, so she could swim. She’d pile on her bathing caps, three or four or five, and she swam. We swam. Out to the boats, the buoys. It was cold and one summer I went with her to a surf shop to get her a wetsuit. She looked like a chicken. I had to ride an old bike, with no brakes, and one memorable day I failed to stop in the sand and instead kept going straight into the water, going in two or three feet before the bike finally stopped. My grandmother laughed and laughed.

I think of this now because I have recently become facebook friends with a number of people, a few mothers but mostly kids that I used to babysit for. One of the girls, who is now–what? A freshman in high school, I think, looking like all the other girls from that area, leggy and lovely, lying on the beach and having fun. When I was 13 I was her nanny. She was perhaps 3.5 and her brother about 15 months. Every morning I woke up, had breakfast with the family, took the girl to camp down the beach (we walked down the beach, to the beach club–there is, of course, a beach club, a yacht club, a country club….)and broke the boy back, put him down for a nap. In the afternoon I picked her up, fed them both lunch, took them to the beach. I was there for a week. My mom was down the street, and I went home to nap sometimes. I babysat for other kids on the lane, too, kids I’ve just friended on facebook. Once who had a major poop explosion. Another whose mother threatened to spank her and it scared me. Another who I took the library, the youngest of four, funny and tough. It’s so odd, to not have seen them for so many years and then to suddenly see pictures of them, looking so grown up. I’m surprised at how well I remember them. I can see them on fb, can see how they are following the paths that my cousins did, that much of my mothers side did: exclusive schools, boarding schools, sometimes with uniforms, special trips, time abroad. Lives that look absolutely perfect on the surface.

And the dogs. The dogs on the beach, only of course at certain times, but the dogs, beautiful dogs, mostly Labs, in and out of the surf.

A place is a strange thing to lose. I was in love with this town. I cried leaving, some years, tears streaming down my face. I wanted to stay there. I didn’t see beneath the veneer, and when I started to I was very bitter. They are still not my people, exactly, but I remember now how kind some of them were. Still are, probably.

Anyway. I miss it. I wish that part of growing up had not been losing it.