I just realized I took a two week blogging hiatus. Totally unintentional, but the few who read are probably glad I stopped whining for a while, LOL.
Hmmm what have I been doing?
We-ell, I've been playing hard during the week so I can play on the weekends.
I spent the last weekend in July in NH with family. That was great fun and very relaxing. Some of the activities included knitting, cross stitching, kayaking, bird watching (when not chased by the neighbor's foul dog), and card playing. Oh, we also ate a lot and spent 13 hours putting together a 1,000 piece puzzle. Yes, we can entertain ourselves when it's raining outside!
Our little cottage on an island in the middle of a big lake is rustic and cozy. It's comfortable. I've been going there since I was two weeks old (though my mother told me that like my sister, I too had visited as a fetus, ha ha ha. I hope one of the old biddies asks me again one day how long I've been coming up to the island, just so I can say "since I was a fetus. BEAT YA!"). I am content to stay put in our one spot on Bear Island the whole weekend. For the first time this summer though, I had the urge to move off and explore in my kayak. There are so many little islands here and there (253 apparently) waiting to be explored. The rain kept me from truly exploring the last time I was there, but we're planning a bit of an extended trip in August, so maybe then I can truly head out into the lake. Last time I only paddled to East Bear Island, which is on the map below, beautifully altered by me in MS Paint:
This past weekend was spent in NYC to celebrate the birthdays of my favorite Leo's, the fiance and the sister. We indulged in a hotel for the weekend and it was such a treat, mainly because we were able to avoid the long trek back to Brooklyn, which after a 7 1/2 hour bus ride (the most horrendous inexplicable traffic I've ever seen EXCEPT for the time I drove to Freehold NJ in the midst of Yankees game traffic and it took me 12 hours) was a godsend. We had dinner and literally passed out, but hauled ass around Manhattan the following day, covering a chunk of Central Park, the Central Park Zoo and Fifth Avenue - Jam even made us go into Tiffany's, which was a special treat. I really wanted to see his wedding gift from me in person, but it wasn't around and I couldn't exactly ask with him there. Maybe when we head down in November I'll snatch it up, depending on the budget :)
Saturday night we partied at Mixx Lounge, which was fun, especially when the DJ showed up!! I think I drank six mojitos. This is what my doctor never understands when I go to yearly physicals. I tell her that I have about 30 drinks a year. She says "so about two to three a month?" and I say, no more like six drinks at five large parties dispersed throughout the year. She just shakes her head. The thing of it is, when I'm up dancing (and sweating) like I was on Saturday night, I don't even feel it! I did wake up a bit squidgy Saturday morning, but I think that more than anything, it had to do with dehydration and lack of sleep. Oh I'm getting old. But not as old as my 32-year old fiance. Heh heh heh.
Sunday morning was not as kind to Amy who did NOT get much sleep at all. We were packing up in the Embassy Suites when we came to the collective decision that God (and Chase) gave a girl a credit card for a reason: to take the Acela back to Boston in case of hangover. Yes indeed. This bought us not only significant comfort for the ride home, but also an extra hour in the city for brunching and buying magazines and books. Hurrah! After brunching it at the Tick Tock Diner (highly recommended for hangover food!! brioche french toast, yum yum!) we headed to Penn. I cannot be controlled at the Penn Station Hudson News. Everytime I go there, I spend so much frickin' money that I get a free bag. Seriously. It starts innocently with a bottle of water and pack of gum, followed by a couple of magazines....then it expands to three magazines....then I hit up the paperback section. That's where the trouble really starts. I was casually browsing and saw The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I've READ IT. "Ohhhh" I sigh "I just loved this. It's the perfect summer read and re-read" I snatch it. Then the name "Kate Furnivall" catches my eye. "Wait" I say alound (thank goodness my sister was traveling with me because normally I just look like a crazy person talking to myself) "She has another....wait...it's about....ohmygod...it's the SEQUEL! And it's the ONLY ONE LEFT!" So off the shelf flies The Girl from Junchow into my hot little hands. Two books in one go? That is a record for a library wh*re like me! The good thing is that I know books are an excellent investment :) We don't have to talk about the fact I actually had two unread books in my bag. Heh.
So to shift gears a bit (we got home to Boston safely, blah blah): The Girl from Junchow. Yes. I did not realize how much I enjoyed The Russian Concubine until I saw there was a sequel. Then I realized that I had fallen in love with Lydia and Chang Lo and their stories. Gah. I am usually not ridiculous about book characters and it has been a while since I've felt so strongly about a pair of them -I snuck reading at work just to finish the book and discover their fate, then lamented that the book ended and a sequel is not securely in the future (though a visit to the author's blog revealed a prequel, which is great). Anyways, I can pretty much list on one hand the characters to which I have a deep bond. I mean there are always those that I like and enjoy, but "bond"? Yeah that's not the norm for me. Lydia and Chang Lo have officially joined the elite status of "Characters Allison likes so much she will reread the books in which they appear year after year after year" the list includes: Mma Ramotswe and Mr. JLB Matekoni of No. Ladies Detective Agency fame, Leah and Anatole from The Poisonwood Bible, Griffin and Sabine - who are still such a mystery to me, Henry and Clare from The Time Traveler's Wife, and of course, Eliza and Tao Chi'en from Daughter of Fortune. Of course there are others whose stories I read and reread, but these are the favorites. Yes, they're not exactly literary classics, but they're the stories I find captivating. Lydia and Chang Lo are in good company I think.
It's interesting to me that several of these pairs face a common roadblock, which is the issue of their interracial-ness. I wonder if I have a special sort of empathy for these couples, or find a certain deliciousness in their rejection of society's "expectations" or in these literary cases, practically society's laws about being together. I loved most of them long before I ever met Jamaal and found myself ready to marry outside my race, but it's interesting to me that I find them so appealing, so willing to sacrifice for love, so willing to cast aside what the world may think of them. It sounds a bit cheesy, but there it is - I love the dangerous edge of it all too. I think it must be my personality. Sometimes I say to Jam "what if we had met 150 years ago - we couldn't have been together!!" He always always laughs and says "Oh I am sure you would've found a way." Then I say "I hope I would've lived in Massachusetts where slavery was illegal and had been an abolitionist and independent-thinking feminist who would've rejected all the rules of society and marriage and expectations to be with you!" Again, he laughs at the ridiculousness of it all but always reassures me that we would've ended up together. Maybe he's just appeasing me, but I know him well enough to believe that he wouldn't tell me these things unless he thought they were true.
Well what a digression. I'm afraid its time to go back to work.
I think I caught some hideous cold in NYC or on Amtrak and feel just rotten :( We'll see what tomorrow brings. Maybe a long run will clear my sinuses, LOL.