Monthly Archives: July 2008

Bahstahn, part II

Fen. Way. PARK.

Yeah, that’s right, I have finally seen the Big Green Monster with my very own eyes. As we walked from the T station to the ballpark, the conversation with my dad went something like:

Ohmigod, it’s the Citgo sign! I need to get a photo.
Of what?
THE CITGO SIGN, Dad!
I don’t get it.

If you haven’t yet figured it out, I was not personally surrounded by baseball fans. I didn’t buy any memorabilia, because the “Big Green Monstah” T-shirt that I wanted didn’t come in a girlie cut. I took a bunch of photos, and I’ll keep the ticket stub. We left after the 4th inning (again, I was not with baseball fans) and piled 6 people into Laura’s car for the drive back to base camp.

Tomorrow, I return home to the land of Coors Field and the Rockies. Also, my hair should calm down to a point where it is no longer swelling into a sentient being and trying to kill me. This humidity is enough to make a gal want to shave her head entirely. Okay, that might be the humidity, combined with the sweltering heat. Every time someone asks me why I moved to Colorado when I neither ski nor snowboard, this very weather is the thought that runs through my head.

I would like to send a shout out, right here and now, to Dave & Jessi. My neighbors, who are also my friends, took it upon themselves to drive me to (and pick me up from!) the airport for this little trip. I know that their upcoming move to Chicago is the right thing for them to do, but I would like to publicly say: SUCKS FOR COLORADO. The whole gang here is very sad to see them go.

Okay, for tomorrow: photos, links, and more detail about food, some sightseeing, and whatever else I can remember. It’s been wicked cool, kids. Thanks fah havin’ me.

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Filed under family, friends, sports, vacation

Bahstahn, part I

I am unbelievably, and irrationally, tired. As I write this, it’s only 8:30 at “home” and a mere 10:30 here in my borrowed base camp. Under no circumstances should I be as wiped out as I currently feel.

(Excuse me. I was just interrupted by George, a cat who was last seen hissing at me in his best impression of a cobra. He is currently bonking me so hard that his paws are slipping on the hardwood floor. Fickle.)

Okay, so where was I? Ah, yes. Boston. It has been years since I’ve been in Boston, and never for a reasonable length of time. I have an uncle who lives in Boston, and he and his wife have extended an invitation to me numerous times. This time, however, the planets aligned just so, and a flock of friends descended upon them all at once for my uncle’s birthday celebration. Welcome to Tedstock: Three days of peace, music, and Ted. (Yes, my uncle was at Woodstock. 40 years later, a great story came out of it. You should ask him about it if you ever have the chance.)

I won’t download any pics until I get home to my card reader. A more detailed post (and links!) will accompany those. For now, you get:

  • Slushie drinks
  • Lobster and steak
  • Flag Cake and heavenly cheesecake
  • Fireworks
  • Walk around Deer Island
  • Harbor tour on a friend’s lobster boat
  • Slushie drinks
  • Dinner for 34 at La Siesta
  • FOUR pies (and flag cake and heavenly cheesecake)
  • Dim sum
  • Brief walking tour
  • Duck Tour
  • Slushie drinks
  • Big Ass Paella
  • Coconut cake (and four pies and flag cake and heavenly cheesecake)

Yeah, this weekend has been a lot about food. It hasn’t fit in very well with my vegetarian diet, although the lobsters most definitely met my personal requirement of having lived a lobstery life. I met the man who actually caught them, I was able to watch him at work, and while some passengers on his boat were a bit squeamish at the reality of the situation (including, I thought oddly, the two daughters of crabbers), I approve of the general decency and respect that this particular fisherman afforded the creatures involved. I actually felt better about eating lobster after seeing the process first hand. I did feel a little guilty about tossing the more-difficult-to-get-at parts into the trash, until the raccoons broke in overnight and made short work of the remains. I’m glad nothing was wasted.

In closing, I offer you a snippet of Jailbird George’s oral tour from the DUKW boat:

“The Bunker Hill Monument is an Egyptian obelisk in an Irish neighborhood commemorating a battle we lost, and erected on the wrong hill. Heh.”

Tomorrow: Fenway Park. FENWAY FEKKIN’ PARK. Oh yeah, baby.

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Someday, I’ll be dead.

I haven’t had a night to myself since last Tuesday, and it doesn’t look like the socializing and tasks will let up until next Thursday (if I can get my tattoo guy to FIX THE FRIKKIN’ COLOR ALREADY on the 8th). That’s two and a half solid weeks of spending every single night with other people. And while it’s fabulous to see friends, it’s also exhausting. My house is definitely worse for the wear. I still haven’t put away my camping gear, nor have I packed for my upcoming trip to Boston, for which I need to be at the airport in 24 hours. Between now and then, I still need to get in a full (and bound to be stressy) day at work, and take my mom out for her birthday (which I will actually be missing while I’m out of town this weekend).

Here’s the rub: If my dear pal Nova, who is soon moving to a new state, has any free evening to spend with me before she leaves? Oh yeah, I’m so there. I can rest when I’m dead.

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Wonder Wheel, Tillie, and pink popcorn.

While out to dinner with Erin last night (at Bombay Clay Oven, where we sat barefoot in a cozy booth, littered with pillows and enveloped in curtains), she asked about my new header for July. Here’s the scoop, short-story-long:

I’m from New Jersey. That is, I lived there from infancy to the age of 18, and then on and off until I moved to Colorado when I was 24. As a result, summertime reminds me of mosquitos, oppressive heat/humidity, and trips down the shore. Yes, DOWN THE SHORE. Not “to” the shore, thankyouverymuch. The beach I visited most frequently was Seaside Heights (oh please, PLEASE click on the link), though I’d also made trips to Bradley Beach, Wildwood, Cape May, and environs. One beach that I didn’t go to was Asbury Park. At one time a thriving resort, it had become a run-down ghost town filled with derelict buildings and people of dubious moral character. Eventually, my sister moved full-time down to Ocean Grove, the shiny, sparkling, Rockwell-esque town right next door. And started working at the venerable Stone Pony, in good ol’ Asbury Park. On a visit to see her, I finally took a stroll through town. Still derelict, I was able to see first-hand the crumbling remains of what had once been popular beach-side attractions such as the giant carousel and the Palace arcade, complete with the peeling portraits of Tillie, unofficial mascot of the Jersey Shore.

What does all this have to do with anything? Not a helluva lot. I was going to use a photo of Tillie as my July masthead, to honor this most summery of months. But… all of the photos I could find are either too closely cropped to work in my horizontal format, or are too frighteningly run down. So I had to rethink.

Do you know what else is vintage, and beachy, and indicative of summer, especially to this here gal who was born in Brooklyn and spent the “off” part of those previously mentioned age-18-to-24 years there? CONEY ISLAND! Home of the other, original Tillie, also known as Steeplechase Jack. Home of Philip’s Candy (closed in 2001) and their infamous pink popcorn. Home of the Coney Island Aquarium. Home of the annual Mermaid Parade. Home of The Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel.

If you listen to the Wonder Wheel turn, one is likely to hear screams and some sort of rolling sound. That is the devilish charm of the wheel. The Wonder Wheel is unlike most Ferris wheels in that it has eight stationery cars and sixteen that roll along tracks within the wheel’s structure.  In his book The Outdoor Amusement Industry William Mangels said, “In its revolving structure are built-in curved tracks on which small passengers cars operate.  When the wheel is in motion these tracks incline, causing the cars to roll back and forth.”  Each car has two rows of two seats, both facing the same direction.  As the engine turns the wheel, the swinging cars stay stationary until they are a little above the wheel’s axis and then quickly fly down about twenty feet of track until they swing to a stop.

If one looks east down the Bowery it is easy to spot one of the Wheel’s best pieces of advertising. It is a large neon sign that has the words “Wonder Wheel” on top of each other, and the blinking word Thrills! in the middle of an arrow pointing south to the great wheel. There are only two similar Ferris wheels in the world. The first stands in Yokahama, Japan […] (and the) Sunwheel at Disney’s California Adventure.

While I have eaten a bagfull of pink popcorn from Philip’s, I have never actually ridden on the Cyclone or the Wonder Wheel. Who wants to go for a ride?

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Camping Season

Yup, we got our gear together and went camping! It took no fewer than 80 (yes, I counted) email messages during the week leading up to the trip, plus phone, text, IM, and real-life conversations.

EIGHTY.

Somehow, we all managed to converge on one campground (many thanks to Joe and Megan for taking off work and heading up early to snag two beautiful sites!) and nobody got lost or stuck in traffic. The weather was beautiful, the injuries were minor, the bug bites were only two, and the sunburns were kept to a minimum. We did lose two campers whose dogs were unaccustomed to the cold nighttime temps and had to head home early. Jason dropped his bacon in the dirt. The campfire insisted on periodically becoming a mass of choking, blinding smoke. (My favorite quote of the weekend, from Jason: “I just put my contacts back in. It was like putting campfire IN MY EYES.”)

While Jason and Christine hiked a nearby 14er, the rest of us decided to take a more leisurely stroll. So, 2.5 miles and 1800 vertical feet later (and don’t forget a number of snow-covered paths!) we reached Silver Dollar Lake. The 2.5 miles back to our tents was much easier!

Tossing and turning in “bed” one night, I decided that I was too old and creaky for this shit. Of course, by morning I was already mentally shopping for my new campstove. The next trip won’t be until August, so I have a few weeks to gear up.

Click on the photo for more.

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