Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Nautical life on "The Island"

Me strolling down a deserted Zillion dollar beach in the Hamptons
I've been living the nautical life for the last few days on Long Island...strolling on beaches (who would believe in late September it would be 80+degrees outside) visiting towns next to the Sound or the Ocean.

It's fascinating yet a tinge uncomfortable.

Boats, fish nets, ferries...fisherman.....I'm a Midwestern girl living in the South....I don't know the difference between a clam and a mussel ....and what the hell is a scallop anyways?

Sometimes while strolling on the beach....I would ask a fisherman what he was trying to catch with his long poles stuck in the beach sand...hmmmm.....sea bass? and blue fins? Not only did I not know the fish....I often couldn't decipher what the guys were saying because of their Long Island accents.

And let's face it....putting a car on a boat is damn unnatural. I squeaked when I had to drive the rented Gangsta car onto a ferry. You want me to drive this car on this bobbing boat and park it here...right next to the rail? Are you sure about this?

A large part of the Island is also dominated by quaintness......little villages with cute little awnings and cute little shops with cute little women wearing the Long Island Uniform for Females Living Next to the Water: capri's....with a black v-neck top (often sleeveless)...sandals and hefty diamond ring. (I had a black top but no capri's so I knew I would be recognized as a alien.)

There's also lots of farm stands with Norman Rockwell-Life Magazine type displays.....fat crimson tomatoes in bushel baskets, pumpkins, yellow gourds and green and red apples. The produce looked so fresh and so perfect....even I.....the ultimate non-cook.....felt an almost irresistible urge to find a recipe book and a stove. (Thank god neither one was available.)

We succumbed to LI quaintness and stayed in a cute little cottage in a cute little hamlet.

We visited the very tips of island because we're thinking about renting a house next summer on the water and bringing our kids together for a family vacation ( 2 out of 3 are living at home right now but they will be scattering least we are hoping they will scatter soon)

Both houses we looked at were home was built at the turn of the last century....a craftsman cottage with its own private beach (it even has its own name).....and the other one was on the ocean side in a busy resort town.

At one point I turned to hub and said....."Can we handle this?" The house with its own name was so idyllic and calm and there would consist of reading...bird watching....and beach combing.....the other house would also require a laid back life style.... a drive into town for ice cream (apparently this is a mandatory daily task) might be the climax of the day......more beach sitting.....more relaxing.

Okay....maybe the real question is....can Gina handle this? v-neck sleeveless tops?

I even proposed to hub that we consider Florida....the infamous Destin Beach which all good Southerns make a pilgrimage to in the summer...the town specializes in wave runner rentals, miniature golf, go-carts and movie theaters......these are things I know and recognize as a parent of teens.

But this morning I woke up and said to myself...what the hell?'s wonderful to travel to the familiar places that make you happy....but why not try and live someplace different and understand a different type of life?

I can buy carpi's...I can even Google mussels and scallops and find out what they are....I can relax....(okay.... I'm not absolutely sure of this) and maybe the fishy watery quaint life has goodness and beauty in it.....I will never understand unless I slip into it.

Of course....I can also consider the option my daughter suggested......can we rent something for a few days in New York City too?

I think that's what you would call vacation insurance.

No need to fear the nautical life mates.....if you don't like ice cream there's always a can of spinach at the deli.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Full the end of Long Island.

I am sitting right now on a small blue couch in a beach cottage at the end of Long Island.

It's windy out....white roses clustered on the bush underneath my window are dancing back and forth in the steady breeze.

I've cranked the tall picture window wide I can hear the thundering surf.

Crickets are chirping non-stop....trying for one last mating before their life and time is ended..... hub has gone to bed already.

I feel like I'm the only one keeping vigil with the surf....there are no cars on the two lane road that runs next to the people moving about.....and only a few porch lights are turned the cottages surrounding mine.

I met this part of the ocean a couple hours ago....we pulled in from a day of exploring....and a nice dinner next to the harbor...there are tall bushes on the other side of the road across from the cottage....I could see a break....a small opening and a thin sand trail.

I followed the narrow footpath...grateful for the moonlight.... nervous about what might be in the bushes.....and hoping the trail went to the beach instead of over a cliff.

It ended at the beach.

The beach here is long and narrow with soft soft the hazy light I couldn't see anything or anyone moving on the entire stretch of sand....which must have spread a mile in each direction.

There were fresh tire tracks close to the water so I assumed the police or some other agency patrols this section of beach. I thought a saw a man laying on the sand in a sleeping bag....but it turned out to be a long dark log.

The wind off the ocean was damp and cool and fishy. It turned my sweatshirt slightly soggy and made my hair feel thick and sticky. The 3-4 foot waves crashed on the beach with such intensity....I wondered if there was a storm "out there" and the waves were sending a warning for tomorrow's weather.

I sat down on a wet cold ridge of sand a few feet from the surf and watched the wedge of moonlight dance on the wild waves. Sometimes....I had to lift my feet up avoid the cold slap of salt water from a big wave. The tide was obviously coming in....and I realized that soon the ridge I was sitting on would be taken down by the waves.

The longer I sat there....the more amnesia settled in's almost as if the surf was an eraser....wiping away my identity ....clearing me of a past and future......making my little thoughts and petty hopes and hurts insignificant in contrast to the primordial majesty in front of me.

Even my heartbeat forgot its own rhythm and seemed to synchronize itself with the powerful beat in front of it .....slowing down...pounding harder....realigning the master blueprint.

I wondered if people who lived next to an ocean were more enlightened that the rest of us.......would you be calmer? more steady? smoother? if the waves tumbled you every day ....if the ocean erased everything but the present?

Perhaps there were Buddhas living in these condos and cottages along the coast......perhaps the night policeman who drove his car back and forth across the dark shore was one of the happiest men on earth....perhaps there were saints in the making...right here on Long Island.

My wet feet and soggy clothes started sending chills through I dusted off my butt, picked my way up the path......came back to the cottage....

....where I immediately starting worrying about whether my suitcase hit the 50lb limit with the last book I bought....if I brought along a copy of the itinerary for my class reunion this weekend....and if....

But I did google the sunrise.....

Sometimes we don't have everything we want or need or dream of....but I'm here to a magnificent beach and a frisky ocean....and perhaps I won't attain holy card status with a few hours of amnesia....but maybe I can smooth an edge...fill a crack....plant a seed.

Tragedy is saying no to opportunities.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Indian Summer in NYC and Fire Island, Long Island

Think Indian Summer.

Picture cloudless blue skies....a gentle but warm sun .....a slight breeze...the perfect combination of warmth, wind and heat on your beautiful that when you walk involuntarily sigh.

That's how beautiful it was here in NYC on Sunday.

I exited the hotel....and stood there....soaking up perfection.....I didn't even want to go inside a cafe to grab a coffee....I wanted to walk and walk and feel the combination of sunlight and temperature and breeze on my body and psyche.

Hub and I split up for the day.....he wanted to see the Natural History Museum.....I wanted to walk around and look at street art near the Metropolitan Art Museum. So we coordinated times....and departed on our own paths.

I strolled through Central Park....sat on park benches and watched the people go by........serious spandex-clad bike guys, casual bikers on old upright bikes, roller skaters and roller bladers, folks walking with various types of big and little dogs....children.....couples hand-in-hand.....prim older women....laissez-faire students.....pigeons.....dive bombing sparrows intent on picking up some small crumb from the asphalt.....curious squirrels waiting for a hand out.....everyone was out on the trails.

When I hit the front of the Met....I sat on the stairs with a throng of folks... overwhelmed by the gorgeous day and the city.....Finally, I forced myself to saunter along the row of artists....and purchased a couple of pieces...all original.....and all wanting to go home with me.

Later when I joined up with hub..... we actually opted to do a tourist thing....we caught a ride on a double-decker bus...the ones which have seats on the top open to the sky.....and toured the whole city for a couple of hours.

It was ...enchanting.....sitting high above the cars and traffic....ducking tree limbs ...sitting back and studying the architecture of the buildings, feeling the ambiance of neighborhoods and of course....sneaking a peek into people's second floor apartments through the windows.

Afterwards, we walked over to a little Italian restaurant the concierge had recommended.....sat outside with a bottle of wine....and watched New York and New Yorkers go by....I plotted winning a lottery ticket and living on the upper east or west side......the first or second floor of a brownstone.....with my cat.......having friends and family visit I self-actualized and read tons of book and strolled daily to various art galleries and lectures.

It was hard to leave day dreams and return to the hotel....and since New York really doesn't seem to sleep.....we continued to walk up and down Broadway till midnight...window shopping and people watching.

Monday....we rushed to get out of NYC....our hotel was only a few miles from Columbia University and many of the streets were going to be shut down for the Iranian President and for the expected throng of protesters.

I was relieved to get to Long Island. Our first stop....picking up a car. The attendant in the parking lot....tossed me the keys but I wasn't sure he meant to give me this car.

"Is this my car?"

" reserved a full-sized car."

"It's not what I expected."

"What do you mean?"

"It looks like a Gangsta car and it even has New Jersey plates."

The attendant turned around because he was laughing so hard.

" certainly aren't going to have trouble in this car."

Honest to god.....a Gangsta car.....a big black bulbous thing with those funny squarish tinted windows and New Jersey plates.

I feel like a member of the Soprano family. When someone cut in front of me on the Long Island freeway....I wanted to lean out the window and shout, "My boys are gonna look you up Mister."

When I pulled up to the Plainview diner and parked.....heads turned in the window. Of course, after that saw me......heads returned to their original position. But still......for a moment I gave everyone a reason to

After a most excellent omelet....we headed for the beach. Somehow I had convinced hub....not only that we should go to Fire Island....but that we should go to the Clothing Optional section of the beach.

He had no plans to remove his clothing.....and I wasn't going to go completely naked either......feeling the need to have a few inches of cover over the private triangle.

I had been to this beach twice before....and thought it was a can take your clothes off....and nothing happens (the first time I went to this beach I thought the clouds would part and god's finger would poke out and point at me and I would hear his voice say...Gina you are almost naked...but I never saw his finger nor heard his voice so I assumed he didn't care).

Folks simply lounge around in their birthday suit.....nothing seems perverted or sexual or problematic....bodies comes in all shapes...sizes and colors.....grab your book....or your i polite and that's that.

The beach, the waves, the temperature, the breeze.....all were perfect...I picked out a nice quiet spot ......and I can tell you it was delicious to lay there.... and delicious is exactly the right word and feeling.....a ten out of ten.....not too hot....not cold....warm breeze....pounding surf.....and not many folks around.

On occasion....a clothed man seemed to appear out of nowhere and get a bit too close....I would interrupt hub's reading and say...."honey would you growl him".....he'd look up ....glare....and the man moved on...hub had to do this only a few times in the course of the whole afternoon.

I was so comfortable and happy and purring.....sometimes I would interrupt hub's reading to explain to me.....why clothing optional places are thought of as perverted or improper......because as you looked around......with the exception of folks having their clothes off or most of their clothes off......they looked exactly like the folks who were enjoying the beach about twenty feet from this section....reading, talking, soaking up the sun...sitting with friends.

Hub would recite a whole list of reasons people could or would get jiggy about a place like this...but somehow....all the rationales seemed rather strained and artificial.

Finally the sun was getting low and the breeze turned cool. We packed up our things.....and headed for our Gangsta car. The beach in the low light seemed much so.....we plan to come out at dawn to walk it one more time before we head further east to the North and South forks.....the very tip of the island.

She wore an itsy bitsy teen weeny leopard polka dot bikini ....and carefully cropped the

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Couple of Days in NYC>>>Art, Bagel fights and New Neighborhoods

NYC. Love it. Still Love it.

Made it out of Witch town and into Boston with only one wrong turn and a few minor scuffles with hub over which way to turn...we did make one wrong turn and ended up over the Charles river and on MIT's campus....but hey I can say I've been to MIT.

I felt rather pensive heading into the city.......but by the time we got into a cab---- darting and almost colliding into buses and cars......with a the usual foreign cab driver who spoke minimal English.....I smiled.

This is a crazy city....Boston seems so brainy and composed.... NYC is just plain nutty and gritty. A place that tests you....and I like being tested.

Our hotel is cool. A small boutique hotel on the upper west side....which roughly translates to the west side of Central Park. I've stayed at such wonderful hotels in New York, it's hard not to return to them, but if I don't change hotels...I'll never learn about different neighborhoods so I forced myself to consider something north of Midtown.

I prepped my husband for the size of the room....old unique hotels have rooms about the size of a closet....but the decor is modern and airy.......with all kinds of cubby holes in the furniture so you can stash your stuff plus the obligatory floor to ceiling mirror ......the old mirror you think your room is bigger than it actually is.

My only regret......perfect views of brick walls out each window. But if I strain and look up through the wood blinds.... I can see the sky which has been mostly blue since we arrived.

Our first night here we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Looking at art, being surrounded by art.....walking through art.....always enlarges me...I can feel my intellectual and emotional boundaries expand.....but then again....that's the job of art.

I thought Friday night at the Met would be quiet...nope...teaming with folks. There was a ensemble of musicians on the second floor balcony of the museum (piano and violins) playing classical music which echoed so beautifully through the elegant marble arches .....I actually felt weepy.

On the first floor, I walked past a nervous but elegantly dressed middle aged couple who were preparing to get married by the Justice of the Peace...right there in the entry foyer. Their friends and family ...grinning ear to could feel the happiness and excitement....emanating from them.

There were children running around.....people in wheelchairs....tourists from around the world filling the galleries with French, German, Italian and Chinese words of astonishment.

I just walked quietly through the galleries until something pulled at me...something called my come over and look. I entered one small gallery with a few sculptures from an obscure island and felt like doing the Snoopy god it hit a nerve!! When I return....I'll post some of those photos.....and perhaps do a little research on this art so I can share.

Walking through NYC is equivalent to walking through a museum ...a gallery of people and sociology. After the Met.....we hoofed it through Central Park and then strolled the upper west side. Temple must have just gotten out....there were tons of families, the men in their yamakas...walking home with a gaggle of children around them. Stylish women...young and high heels and little black students in jeans and t-shirts walking hand in hand or else in large walking Scotties and labs.....women walking...Chihuahuas and Yorkies...some of them dressed in little hats. It was like some type of grand movie.....that I was viewing and participating in at the same time.

We stumbled upon Fairway Grocery store which is the same grocery store that wowed me on Long Island. Even though it was late in the evening...people were shopping vigorously....holding hand baskets full of fruits and veggies and interesting cheeses and wine......I suggested to hub we grab some bagels and take it with us for the morning since we have a coffee machine in our room.

I grabbed a set of tongs.....and turned....only to find a man....had grabbed tongs from the opposite side and had already opened the bin.

But no worries there were at least 16 or 17 bagels left. He looked at me and started filling his plastic bag.....8, 9, 10 this point I was getting a little pissed at this short nicely dressed man. I mean it was obvious I too was waiting to get a bagel or two.

I clacked my tongs....and smiled...hoping he would get the message. 12...13....14.....I couldn't believe it he was emptying the entire bin of bagels.......15 ...16.....empty. He turned....let the lid slam and walk away. I stood there ready to plummet him....what could a person do with 17 bagels at 11pm on a Friday night? I threw my tongs back in the bin.

In the cheese section....I met him again.....with his bulging bag of bagels....he saw me.... I gave him the most evil eye I could muster. He scampered away. By accident, we bumped into each other again in now he probably thought I was stalking him.....I urged hub to hurry so we could get in the check out line a few folks down from him....okay so I wasn't going to beat him up....but at least I could make him nervous...worry that I might be some deranged woman who might pounce on him and his bagels. He kept looking back and me.....then hit the exit....with a quick step out the door.

The gorgeous entrance of the Metropolitan Art Museum
Saturday....we spent most of the day on the Lower East Side. I knew nothing about this side of town....except it was historic and had the Tenement Museum in it. So we hopped on the train.....and got off. Tougher neighborhood....but it was wonderful. I totally forgot it was the many of the shops were closed. Historically, this has been an immigrant neighborhood....first the Germans, then the Irish....but it was probably most known for the huge Jewish population which lived here for many years. It's about 50% Jewish now....China town has moved in and also immigrants from the Dominican Republic. So a new group comes yet again to a neighborhood of apartments built around the turn of the last century.

I loved strolling around this old place and the tours of the museum takes you into a couple of apartments. Apparently, one of the owners of the buildings...had stopped renting out apartments around 1930 and for the last 70 years the only thing that was renovated and occupied was the store fronts on the first floor. A person discovered this building and their earnestly began trying to preserve it and turn in into a museum.

It's one thing to stroll through a clean tidy museum; it's quite another thing to actually go into these apartments with their peeling wallpaper, their old wood floors and feel the heat....and the humidity in non ventilated imagine living in three rooms with a family of perhaps 8 people. Three rooms.....a bedroom....a kitchen....a living room often turned into a sewing or work room. Men, women, children....everyone crammed in....working, loving, laughing, cooking, eating, dying, birthing. Amazing.

I couldn't help think of my grandparents....both sets from the old country who experienced similar living conditions at first when they arrived. How tough and resilient and strong-willed these people must have work so hard and still dream.

We did more strolling in the evening and came across a wonderful Asian fusion restaurant called Ruby Foo. From the street it looked like a small one story restaurant. When we walked in....we were shocked to find it was three floors large....with gorgeous red walls....decorated with Asian artifacts and beautiful golden Buddhas. The food incredible....dim sum in a delicate dipping sauce.....Peking duck......steak and chili rolls .....and aromatic jasmine green tea.

Just before we made our exit, I looked up and older couple pass by us. "That's that guy...." I whispered to my hub....who prompted named them Jeff Stiller and his wife....he played the dad to George on Seinfeld and they are Ben Stiller's parents. Every time I come to NYC...I've bumped into someone famous. Same

Sitting in a pretty little bistro on the Lower East Side with a rather tough looking city scape as background......I usually don't sport an Afro hairdo....but my hair kinked and curled in celebration of the temperature and humidity outside......which had reached hot wet blanket stage.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ironic Witch...ery

I'm here in Salem, Mass tonight......spent the whole day walking around this historic town. I thought it might be interesting to leave Boston for a day....and Salem....which is only 16 miles away from Boston sounded ideal. I imagined it had a nautical and historical bent and ....oh yeah.... I'm sure they'd have something on those famous witch trials.

What I didn't know is the bulk of commerce in Salem comes from tourism which is based on a town hawking and selling witchcraft. There must be at least 4 witch dungeon museums, ads for several walk-around-town and meet-the-ghosts tours at night, witch supply shops, witch t-shirt shops ....along with several places where you can get a tarot reading, aura interpretation, and your plain old fortune told.

I find it a bit ironic that a town which became hysterical and hung 20 people to rid itself of the draws people who celebrate, promote and make a living off the magical art.

It's an interesting stop with beautiful and architecturally interesting old homes.... but I one day is enough for all this witchy commercialism...and I wouldn't want to be near this place for Halloween.

Today in a magical art shop.....along with the crystals, incense and other equipment ....the owner was offering customers custom make-up application for Halloween.

"We'll create so many scars, wounds and disfigurements on you....your family won't even recognize you." The thoughtful townie.....told the man....he would consider the service. It just gave me the creeps to think of a town full of realistically gored and maimed people walking around asking for treats.

Despite the many offers from people who want to read my future for me....I've declined. A zillion years ago when I was a ICU nurse in girlfriend and I went skiing to Lake Tahoe.

My friend wanted to get a reading but didn't want to go into this small odd fortune teller shop I went with her and had my fortune told too.........I poohed poohed the revelations the fortune teller told me.....although I was bothered about them for days.

Years later......I discovered what she revealed to me about a couple situations were absolutely true.....I just hadn't learned the truth about them yet.

Perhaps it's silly to admit the experience spooked or scared me.....but it did. I believe you can always change the future.....but the past is set and sometimes what you know or don't know....about situations can be surprising.

Wish me luck for tomorrow morning....I'm already nervous....we have to leave super early.....navigate around Boston (yikes), drop off the car, get ourselves to the appointed limo liner spot for our trip to NYC all by 9am.

Geez.....perhaps I should have bought one of those good luck crystals after all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bean town is Brain town

Boston. Incredible. More like "Braintown" versus "Beantown." There's so many universities, colleges and students in Copley square near downtown Boston, I feel like I'm part of a big extended campus.

Yesterday, couldn't resist, went up to Harvard and walked around. First thing we did was hit the bookstore. Hub and I had to use our cell phones to find each other....since we both wandered off into our own little niches and could have stayed there for days.

Harvard is beautiful but much smaller than I envisioned it. Walking through the center of campus.... I expected the students to look really smart....but they just looked like students on any other campus (I did notice a lot of Armani jeans on students though and BMW's parked on the side streets)

We did have some interactions with students in the art museums which we visited on campus . I don't know if they were representative of the student body.....but they could hardly stand being asked such mediocre questions as if there might be a book available on early Chinese bronzes or if their early Egyptian paintings were part of the exhibition now closed. Oh how could we be so pedestrian not to know these things and have to

Decided since my children didn't go to Harvard, I would have to buy my own Harvard t-shirt so hit the Insignia store....where they promptly rejected our credit card. It's always embarrassing to stand there while everyone is looking at you like you are a scum puppy.

The manager called our credit card company and then hub had to get on the phone. Seems like someone had hocked our credit card number and was trying to put big charges through in Amsterdam. Fortunately, the company cut off our account but did allow us this last I could come home with my t-shirt. My sons report there's been two calls on our home phone caller ID since then labeled "United States Government." Great.....

The weather is gorgeous....absolute blue skies, cool, but warm in the sun. Often throughout the day.....I would plunk myself on a park bench and just pretend I was a cat....purring, eyes half open....enjoying the warmth.

Went to a wonderful Thai restaurant last night....a little place down in the basement of one of these old brick apartment buildings which form the neighborhoods around here...the food was fresh, hot and spicy....and such a treat after so much walking and subwaying around the city.

Also making regular trips to the interesting funky grocery store not far from the hotel. As I mentioned before, I just love seeing what locals eat and what food preferences they have in a grocery store. My current favorite find.....a strange local grapefruit soda called Polar Bear....which is tart and tastes like Squirt.

One strange event of the evening....we took a walk down the street and passed what looked like a small exclusive French restaurant with tall black iron gates at the entrance. Suspiciously, there were about 5 men ...all in black business suits, white shirts, silk ties ....carrying laptop briefcases. They were not congregated together like a clump of business men might be....but where spread if forming a line.

Something felt very odd about the situation....and when a limousine pulled up and one of the "business guys" called out to the a Boston/Italian accent...."hey you wanna smoke some pot?".....hub and I decided to cross the street and vacate the neighborhood. I had a strange feeling.... I was in a scene from the Sopranos......and didn't want to find out if there were really laptops in those briefcases.

Here's some photos from the day:

Now this is what you call a proper entrance........this beautiful foyer is part of the Public Library..... you get the feel that people value education and books in this it's fitting to have the central place of knowledge for the community so adorned. one of the art museums....they had some wonderful Buddhas here... I sat and had some conversations with them....nice fellows......and as always.....very enlightening.

Oh I loved this ad on the on it to enlarge it. You'll notice t all the wiggly lines emanating from the dollar sign are sperm heads. Yep....if you're a Ivy League students.....the sperm bank can help you finance those Armani Jeans.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bussing along to Boston

Okay....I'm sitting on a bus blogging. Yep...I'm on the Limo Liner to Boston...and have just made half the bus laugh as I attempted to go to the bathroom.

We're about an hour out of Boston....and traffic is stop and go. Lots of folks coming home from the beach or other weekend adventures because the traffic is heavy.

I open the door to the bathroom and find an elderly man in the "thinker" position on the john. Mortified I quickly close the door....and hang on to a railing secured on the wall the bus does a jerky stop and go routine through a toll booth line.

Finally....after an uncomfortably long time....the gentleman emerges.

My turn. I go in...careful to lock the door....sit down and the bus made a quick stop...causing me to......fall off the toilet. I involuntarily I regain my balance...and replace myself on the seat where I belong.

When I exit....the back end of the bus is chuckling. Obviously my surprised yelp was loud and heard.

Bus veterans (I've learned there are frequent bus travelers on board) give me a compassionate nod. Experienced riders.... know not to go to bathroom in certain traffic situations.....since I'm returning via this bus to NYC ....I'll join the "next time smarter" ranks on the return trip.

I planned to do lots of email and internet work while on the bus. Although the bus is comfy and should see my laptop....the tray table is bouncing with each pothole and bad stretch of road.....I can't keep my hands steady on the trying to type on a mexican jumping bean......jumping bean? you remember mexican jumping beans....that you could buy in the store?.....dang the bus must have shaken loose an old memory.


My First Pictures from the Road!!!

Well finally brought the right cords and the right put some pics online in real time. Yippee!
The luxury bus from NYC to Boston....internet, movies, sandwiches, leather seats.....but oh boy watch the stop and go traffic....especially if you are "going."

I don't think hotels should be taller than say 12 stories.....that's my's a picture out to the sea.....from my room at the Marriott in Boston on the 22nd floor. (Click on the pic and it will get you know this trick?)


Friday, September 14, 2007

Gina's Homeland Tour......

Well I hit the road tomorrow bags mostly packed....just the usual....the electronics....the toiletries....the bills and the last minute tidying up to do.
First stop.....Long Island on Saturday...then head off to Boston on Sunday afternoon.....where I hope to find my hotel and rendevous with hub late in the evening.
Trying a new mode of transportation to get from NYC to Boston.... a luxury limo bus! They tout an Internet connection....(and fresh flowers in the bathroom on so we'll see......Can you blog from a bus? Beep. Beep.
You're coming along.... right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Facing the Behemoth.....

What was I thinking?
This is what happens to a woman when she lives with three guys.
Screw aesthetics.
Buy something, anything, to contain the big pants, stinky stocks and scary underwear.
Meet the Behemoth.
My hub called me while I was working at the bookstore and broke the news.
Our normal-sized washer which had been wheezing and groaning died. Completely. No Hope.
I agreed to meet him after work and buy another washer right on the spot, pay for a rushed delivery, if necessary, anything, to get a working machine back in the house.
The Best Buy salesman wanted to talk about reliability, water efficiency, consumer reports.
I wasn't listening. I wanted big. I wanted something which could spin heavy clothes and towels. Lots of towels. The men folks have mass. They use one towel per square inch of body surface. That's a lot of towels. That's a lot of wet heavy towels.
I picked the machine out and left for Ohio. Hub would need to supervise delivery and installation.
When I returned home, I walked into the laundry and froze.
"Are you kidding me? Is this what we bought?"
"That's what you picked out."
I was scared of it. It has lots of buttons, sings little electronic tunes, asks questions. I found the button which says the door is locked and don't you dare try opening it ....disturbing.
Every time I approached it, I wanted to feed it quarters...give it money for its services. I had strange urges to pull up a plastic chair and watch it with a magazine and coke in hand. I yearned for a cigarette and curlers in my hair and Days of Our Lives on a small black and white TV.
Hub seems to have a good relationship with it. He figured it out and complimented its heavy duty spin. Why the clothes are almost dry when they come out. He admires efficiency. They make a good team.
Me? I'm queasy around it. I offer it clothes then scoot out of the room. A few days ago while I was in the kitchen....I heard this wet flapping sound.... imagine a big wet a pigeon...flapping its wet wings against a wall....
"What's that noise?"
"It's the washer."
I felt nostalgic. Oh for the days of swish swish swish.
And of course, now we have a new problem. Get a Behemoth washer....and guess what's wrong with the dryer. It's too small.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Billy Collin-ness

Who knew...YouTube was animating poetry? Well apparently fellow blogger Jenny did (or blogeur if you are so inclined) ... when I read her blog ( I discovered folks had set Collin's poems to animation.

Billy is interesting (I have pulled enough of his books for customers at the bookstore to feel like I should be on a first name basis with him). Some critics dislike him because they contend he is too easy...his poetry makes you smile or even worse ....makes you feel clever because you "get it." Other critics delight in him. I like feeling clever some I do give him a glance.

I've chosen a couple of poetry animation to share. WARNING: Do not listen to them twice....and don't go on YouTube and find more.

The voice of this particular narrator and the rhythmic way he talks....can and will remain in your head for the rest of the day.....even getting a bite to eat may turn into a poetic adventure.

Thinking about a sandwich
I opened a door to a cold future
I never intended
and listened to the rumblings of my life
down a path froth with magnolias will be something JUST LIKE THAT!!! And god forbid if you have to use the bathroom!

Don't say I didn't warn you! And if you forget what I told's something to think about.....

and if you have a proclivity for little brown druids....this one is for you.

Unfortunately one of the more interesting poetry animations cannot be embedded.....go directly to this's about men and women.....need I say more?


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hawking Life....

Perhaps it's a strange think of a cemetery hawking life...but that's the feeling I had on my recent trip to an old cemetery in our city.

At the beginning of the week...I spent hours ...taking pictures for an article..... reaching a mystic point where I walked and looked and clicked.

I crumbled on my desk when I opened the camera and found no digital card inside. My deadline is this week so I had to plan another visit quickly.

I returned on Friday. As I walked down the lanes .....all I kept thinking was....we don't die like this anymore.....modern least the ones I've been to....are practical and uninteresting places...small flat stone markers.....a blanket of green grass.....trees here and there.... but not too many so it doesn't affect mowing time and maintenance.

These dead folks had very different ideas. They expected to be visited. There are benches to sit on.......neighborhoods to walk through......obelisks and fat cherubs and pensive angels to gaze upon... favorite quotes or endearing messages reach out to you ....and trees and flowers and bushes are planted in all the wrong places....too close...too tight..too many.....a caretaker's nightmare.

These folks thought they would remain important into the future and planned for it.

In contrast, we seem so timid about our deaths now....hoping not too burden anyone, paying people to care and do the work which was once the responsibility of our families and friends.

No, we don't die like this anymore....and when you walk through this old old cemetery you can't help but wonder why?


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Failing the Activa Challenge.....

I failed the Activa Challenge.
In all honesty, I didn't know I was being challenged. At home in Chicago, I innocently ate a wedge of cheddar cheese from my mom's refrigerator.

It tasted "funny" but my mom's refrigerator is a schizophrenic aggregation of food. A no fat-no calories- no additives (and no taste) tub of margarine sits next to a gorgeous slice of New York Cheesecake. Pomegranate juice and lite soy milk stand next to a canister of whip cream. Rummaging through her fridge is disorientating.

An hour after I ate the cheese, my stomach gurgled. I paid a visit to the fridge and found the wedge came from a bag of Activa Cheddar Cheese.

I've seen ads for Activa but had no desire to try the stuff. My intestines work just fine and I'm suspicious of induced bacteria....especially ones named Bifudus Regularis. Everyone knows scientists don't bestow understandable Latin names to the fact that I could decipher what this bacteria was designed to do made me distrust it.

Early the next morning I woke up for my flight to Ohio and reached for my stomach. There was a basketball in it. I actually pulled up my t-shirt and looked down at my tummy to see if there was a visible hump. I couldn't see anything but I felt it.

My Good Morning Basketball thanks to Activa.

Let me be delicate here. If you wake up with the sensation there's a basketball in your stomach there are only two rationale explanations for this phenomena. 1) You have ingested a basketball (and it's time to find the email address for Ripley's Believe it or Not) or 2) Your intestines are bloating is caused by gas...lots of gas...lots and lots of gas. I don't think I need to supply more details.

Personal gas and public places do not mix well. By the time I reached the airport, I felt anxious in addition to being bloated. There are not many isolated places in an airport....bathrooms are crowded....waiting areas are full....and you don't want to hide in a corner and have a bomb-sniffing dog sent your way. I also wasn't sure about the quality of the gas......sometimes you can discreetly release and sometimes you need to quickly leave the scene.

I was miserable...and the thought of boarding an enclosed plane moved me close to feeling panic. I picked an aisle seat, belted myself in and hoped for the best. Fortunately, it was a short flight.

I don't often feel euphoric when I get into a rental car but I admit I felt a sense of ecstasy when I climbed into my car at the back of terminal garage. Thank god, it was the very back of the garage.

When I arrived at my hotel, I pulled out my laptop out and Googled Activa. The bacteria they put in the cheese and yogurt is supposed to set up a "friendly" colony in your intestine in order to "help reduce long intestinal transit time," i.e. make you poop.

I googled past all the company marketing pages and finally found some customer response boards. Yes, Activa was a joy to some folks......but other people had lots of problems with it....bloating, gas.....and many other intestinal side effects.

By this point I was angry. Why don't they plaster a warning on these products?? Why don't they have a disclaimer on TV....the all too familiar....Activa may not be right for everyone hype?

Hub arrived in Ohio and faced a bloated angry wife. I peppered him with questions. "How can these companies not warn the public about side-effects?" Mr. Mensa-MD. launched into a lecture. Probiotics (the bacteria they introduced) aren't considered medicine....aren't companies don't have to discuss all the pros, cons and side effects.

"How do I get this alien colony of bacteria out of my intestines?" was my next question.

"I'm sure they'll all die out in a few days."

A few days.....???????!!!!!!!!!!!

What my hub must have looked like facing my Activa challenge.

Unfortunately....if took four days to feel normal again. Every time I ate, my tummy rumbled. The only time it didn't feel bad was when I drank a martini. I visualized the alcohol killing off the alien colony with each drink. One evening I drank three martinis ....obviously for medicinal purposes only.

So, I must live my life now knowing that a colony of bacteria beat me. I wince every time I see an Activa ad or note the ever increasing number of products carrying this bacteria. Trust me, carrying around a basketball in your gut is not fun.....

If you haven't taken the Activa Challenge may want to think about it......and if you're in the midst of an Activa Challenge.....try a Pomegranate may not kill the bacteria...but you will forget the contest.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Are You Potentially a Diamond in the Rough???

<< This could be you. might end up as a blue, canary, or orange diamond someday on the ring finger of a family member or friend.
In the process of writing a small article on a local cemetery, I discovered a reference to "Lifegems," a company which turns you into a diamond after you're gone.
Diamonds are derived from carbon. If you compress carbon for a zillion years in the bowels of the earth...... you end up with a gemstone. When you're cremated, you end up as a couple pounds of carbon. The Lifegem company takes about 8 ounces of your remains and under extreme heat and pressure over a week or more.....creates a new sparkly you.
After cutting and shaping the can be placed in a ring, brooch, necklace or even a tie clip. Man-made diamonds are often yellow or orange-colored but the company can create a clear you or throw in a little boron and turn you in color not sentiment. (Although there is a possibility that if you knew you family was going to do something odd like this would be blue.)
Although I'm drawn to novel things, I 'm not drawn to this concept. First of all, my hub is not a jewelery- kind of took him a couple of years before he donned a wedding band..... and since he wears bow ties exclusively....a tie clip would be useless.
My children are also notorious for misplacing there's a strong possibility that after forking over $10-20,000 dollars to have me be made into a gemstone....I could easily be left at a rest stop on a sink counter.
I can also imagine awkward moments. What if my hub remarries? I could end up on the ring finger of the other woman. What if one of my children ends up in financial straits and I'm pawned? Or I get mixed up with the costume jewelry and end up at Goodwill?
Nah...I'm not flashy.....and I always enjoyed "space".....I think I'll stick to "The Plan" and have my carbon tossed up into the desert wind ........somehow "blowing in the wind" sounds alot better than being someone's bling bling.