Perhaps our last snow day

The Daily Life Text

It was near fifty degrees out yesterday, so Jim and Sprocket and I went for a stroll at a nature preserve that I’ve been reading a lot about, but haven’t actually visited myself.

The Teatown Lake Reservation is in Ossining, New York. They are the hosts of Eaglefest, an annual event celebrating that most noble of carrion-eaters, and have 15 miles worth of hiking trails. They’ve been in our local news quite a bit, as they’re about to acquire another 72 acres of land as part of an open space initiative.

It was such a beautiful day out, bright sunshine everywhere, and, obviously, mud, as all of the snow that was piled up from the previous weekend melted. There were lots of people out everywhere–the overflow parking lot was full–and although we didn’t get to visit the nature center, we did have a really nice day.

I wore my slick-soled Blundstones, which proved to be a big mistake–the snow, which was wet and heavy, was also packed down in enough places where folks had walked earlier that day. Anyone who’s ever skied in the late afternooon knows what that means: mini-berms everywhere, some iced over, some mushy, some hidden under kicked up snow.

I had my twenty-pound pack on, too, all of which combined to make our 2.5-mile walk quite adventurous, at least insofar as my core, hamstrings, ankles, and knees went. Here are some photos.

I love this bridge, although I wasn’t able to capture the running water and the reflections it made on the rocks just above the brook. Jim crossed this bridge stomping at the crusty snowy bits and kicking them off, all in the guise of making it easier for future visitors to walk and not slip, but he inadvertently let loose his true intent by muttering, under his breath, “DESTRUCTOR JIMMY!” Sigh. Boys are so transparent.

I love these trail markers. They were everywhere. I was very tempted to pull them off and use them as coasters in my own home.

There’s apparently a permanent orienteering course at Teatown. Very cool. This marker says that if you turn 96 degrees from looking at the sign and walk 23 paces, you’ll find the next marker. Orienteering. The sport that proves that the universe makes sense, after all.

Why does everyone say “mossy green”? Personally, I prefer this color, which I am calling licheny green. Okay, so they’re two different colors. Still, this one is preferable to me.

Some deer had been before us. I did not take pictures of the deer poo. This was good enough evidence.

Spotted this way-cool underbelly of tree. Looks like a massive star anise. Good for a garnish on a massive cocktail.

Overlook Trail is very very short but very steep and slippery and sometimes treacherous. At some point I slid down on my rear. Stupid pack!

I liked this little wishbone in the snow. Sprocket was completely insane on the ride up there. Now he is lying flat on his side, moaning. He must be pretty pooped, too.

I hope this is not the last of our snow days yet, although it’s supposed to rain later this week, and I must confess that standing outside in nothing but shirt-sleeves was really nice this morning.

In May we will have been here a year. It hardly feels that way…!

Florida, and what I found there

The Daily Life Text

Almost exactly a week ago I began a long trip to Florida via Philadelphia. I met my friend Bill in Philly so we could catch a plane to Florida and ShelterBox USA’s winter workshop meeting. It was terrific to catch up with Bill and spend some quality time with him, and to see other friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some people I’ve been communicating with on the telephone or by e-mail.

Really, really cool stuff. Of course, today the work begins–I’m back to scheduling stuff and just waiting, waiting, to go on deployment while I steal a few moments here and there to devote to my other clients.

“Other clients”–ha! as if ShelterBox is a client! Still, I find the work they’ve set upon me interesting and a natural extension of the work I’d be doing anyway. However, now that I know I have some folks depending on some productive results, there’s an added extension of pressure. At the moment, I’m itching to deploy. It seems all of my friends are going! Agh. Nothing to do but move forward and wait for the call.

In the meantime, here’s some of what I saw in Florida.

nickjimmies

Erica picked me up from the Winter Workshop. We got locked out of her car–it was still running!–and E’s brother Nick tried to make it right. Three older folks (we were in Florida, after all) stopped by to help, and two hours later, the locksmith showed up.

This bird seemed to think it was such a good sight that it stuck around to watch how we did.

birdWe had lunch and then we went back to Erica’s place, where we walked Russell, Erica’s dog, and I met all of Erica’s various pets and friends:

erussellstarThere is no photo of either bunny, the cat, or the fish cos, respectively, I am a bad photographer; the cat and I had a raging fight and I have started to referring to it as North Korea, a la Erica’s boyfriend Kevin; and I did not want to scare the fishies with the flash on my camera.

Anyway, E and K went off to Tampa to celebrate Valentine’s Day and I proceeded to spend the rest of the night editing, watching the Olympics, and fighting with the cat.

I went to volunteer at the ShelterBox USA offices the next day. Good fun. Busy. Crazy.

The following day E and I went to the Ringling museum to check out the Norman Rockwell exhibit. It was way, way cool.

eringlingCool, right?

And then I go to meet Lindy for lunch! Lindy! Lindy! Lindy from my ARFE life! Crazy! She’s started up her own company based around Nordic Walking…we had a really lovely day on Siesta Key, and I realized that I need sunglasses if I’m going to do this kind of thing. I mean, I have them, but I’ve been wearing my spectacles a lot, and I wanted to see everything crystal clear, so I went without on this bright day. What a moron. Needless to say, I went and ordered a pair of photochromic glasses then next morning.

melindyWe walked about five and a half miles along the incredible sands…they were beautiful. I was so grateful and happy to see Lindy. It’s not that I had despaired of ever seeing her again, but I didn’t know if we would stay relevant to each other after she left her job and I left ARFE. But personalities don’t change with jobs, and I always liked Lindy. Along the way we did this:

shadowand saw a bunch of terns lined up like a runway:

ternrunwayand also discovered these things:

seablobLindy says they’re “seablobs.” Jim is informing me over my shoulder that they are actually jellyfish, and that he and his friends used to throw them at each other when he was growing up in Rhode Island. Yuck!

That night I had dinner with some ShelterBox USA board members and then drove home to hang out with Erica, read, watch some Olympics, and have a glass of wine.

Next morning, last day of my stay in FLA, Bev, another SRT, came and picked me up. We had lunch at Simon’s, a lovely little whole-food joint. I had some gorgeous haddock wrap thing with smoked gouda and a mango salsa. Yum.

mebeve

it was an hour ride to the airport filled with terrific conversation, then, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I had a great time. It was well worth the effort to go down there. If I hadn’t, I doubt I’d be either as energized or as overwhelmed by the work ahead. In the end, the added energy and sense of cohesion about the organization–and face time with key folks, friends, and admin alike–make it all worth it.

My brother got married this past weekend

The Daily Life Text

I am ridiculously proud of him. Without getting too much into the gory details, we’ll just say that there were a number of obstacles in the new couple’s way. Some of them were curiously people-shaped.

There’s not much to say here, really. I’ll post what I said during my toast to the happy couple, as best I can remember it.

“Hi. I’m Yi Shun. I’m Bor’s sister. I write for a living: I tell stories. I’ve got a couple of good ones about Bor (some involving some embarrassing bits), but I’ll only limit myself to one tonight. We can talk about the embarrassing ones later.

“When I was nine or ten–that would have made Bor four or five–I considered myself a really cool kid, too cool to be seen with the likes of a little brother. So one day, I was out playing with the way-cool neighborhood kids, and Bor was tagging along, and I told him, in so many words, to Go Away. So he went, all tears and sniffling, and I went on playing with the cool neighborhood kids.

“Not five minutes later, they turned on me. We got into a huge fight, me on one side, them on the other, yelling across the street. I think they did something to my bicycle. Now, if you ever wondered what five-year-olds do when they’re not trying to play with their older sisters, I can tell you: They’re spying on their older sisters. I know this because, suddenly, from around the corner, came Bor.

“You have to picture Bor at age four or five. He was perfectly round. So from around the corner comes this perfectly round little kid, and he’s screaming, ‘HEY! Don’t pick on her! That’s my sister!!’

“That day, I knew. I knew what loyalty meant, and unconditional love. Some four, five-year-old taught me that.

“So when Bor met Laura, years later, and we met Laura, I was so pleased to find someone who not only was deserving of this level of loyalty, this brand of love, but someone who understood it, gave it back, reflected it onto her community, her friends, her family. I am proud to call Laura my sister. I mean, I always wanted one of those anyway.

“At this point in the wedding, someone usually cracks the old joke. They ask the bride to put her hand on the table, and the groom to put his hand over hers, and then they say something like, ‘Oh. Cherish this moment, because this is the last time the groom will have the upper hand.’ That’s funny and all, but it doesn’t work that way for Bor and Laura. They’ll go through life hand in hand, on equal footing, sharing all of their major decisions and as true partners. Congratulations, you two.”

Yeah. That’s about it. Great ceremony, great to see friends and family, great to be a part of the wedding party, great to see them get married and celebrate under a warm California sun.

highfive

In the mud

The Daily Life Text

I have read a lot of words these past few days, working on the local paper doing some copy-editing and writing for them, and then reading a working draft for a friend of mine. Busy is good, but the past few weeks have left me with very little inspiration for my own work, or even my essays, which are due in a work or so for the MFA applications.

So here’s a photo dump.

We went home on the 22nd for the hols and spent the night before going back to Claremont with my brother and his fiancee, Laura, making sugar cookies.

They were not the most perfectly shaped things:

Xmas trees, not shrubs.
Xmas trees, not shrubs.

And then we frosted ’em.

finishApparently I enjoyed myself.

pigI also got smacked down for making this cookie, which was, in Laura’s words, “Not your best work, Yi Shun.” Hmph.

To be fair, Laura added the weird white drizzling.
To be fair, Laura added the weird white drizzling.

Then we went home to Squaremont on the 23rd. We went to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden, where I’d only been once before. I thought it absolutely gorgeous. There is something really magical about a desert garden and the sheer variety of desert plants.

I've forgotten what this is.
I've forgotten what this is.
This is a manzanita berry shrub. Isn't it gorgeous?
This is a manzanita berry shrub. Isn't it gorgeous?
Winter sage, paired with manzanita berries. Love the contrast!
Winter sage, paired with manzanita berries. Love the contrast!
Fishbowl!
Fishbowl!

My town is best known for Mt. Baldy, which serves as our everyday backdrop and has nice bowl skiing when it’s not dusty and dry out. I haven’t been there in years, but the view of it is always in my head.

memtbaldy

Adrianna spent the night on Christmas Eve (we banished mom to the living room and Jim, Adri and I cooked). Mom got drunk later. I didn’t get nearly drunk enough.

testing the tonality of her wine glasses.
testing the tonality of her wine glasses.

We had a very active Christmas Day. We all exchanged presents and then we went for a walk in the hills with like, a gazillion other people who all had the same idea.

pneguinparents

My parents look like bookend penguins in this photo. adorable. I look like a treetrunk.

And then we picked up Kara and went to Laguna Beach to sample some incredible Japanese food. First we had more exercise in the form of a nice walk along the beach.

I love this photo! Two of my favorite people are smiling!
I love this photo! Two of my favorite people are smiling!

When we finally got back to New York, our friend Dave was happily ensconced in our place awaiting our arrival. Then Dave left and Jody arrived. We spent a lot of time doing this:

sitting on the couch in our PJs, I mean, not picking at split ends.
sitting on the couch in our PJs, I mean, not picking at split ends.

And then there was New Year’s Eve. Alan and Helene came up to a very loud place in White Plains. We ate a lot of food and had some margaritas and then we exited the madness, but not before this photo was taken.

NYE2And then the next day we went to Jen’s for a New Year’s Day party

NYD

And I think that’s quite enough photos for today, don’t you think? Meh.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: New person

The Daily Life Text

New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

I am really, really behind on this one. I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time–there are several new people in my life currently, people I’d really like to give a shout-out to here, but I must confess that the person who sticks out like a big bruised thumb is not new at all.

I speak of one Colin True.

typicalcolin
this is colin. yeah, he's my person of the year. you got something to say about that?

Why pick Colin? The answer is manyfold. First, our relationship is indicative of the randomness that makes up the best of friendships. (I met one of my closest friends to date on a subway platform.) Second, I am a firm believer in serendipity. Third, I am also a firm believer in asking for something you want. Fourth, I believe in networking. Finally, I believe in the concept of working on your true passion.

Here’s why Colin fits all of these parameters:

1. Random humor: We met while I was working on ARFE, a not-for-profit dedicated to making the environment a key priority for outdoors athletes. His company, Timberland, was a key sponsor via their SmartWool and GoLite brands, and Colin was a part of that. One day, in confirming a meeting, I riffed off some random old English–something stupid, like “My good sir–I am herewith confirming our rendezvous at the hour of blah blah and at the watering hole of so-and-so…” Imagine my surprise when Colin replied in like fashion, even throwing in a farmboy (The Intern) and signing himself Lord of GoLite. I about crapped in my pants laughing. I wish I’d kept that stupid e-mail.

colinjimyi
Among Colin's favorite activities is mocking dead people!!

2. Serendipity: Years later—and I do mean years—I was sitting at the airport in Phoenix, on my way to Las Vegas for Interbike, when I had a thought: Would GoLite or Timberland, and therefore, Colin, also be going to Interbike? I sent a text message. Alas, Colin was no longer with GoLite or Timberland, but he was in the Phoenix airport. Yeah.

Here is just a glimpse of what happened at Fat Tire Narnia. Don't you wish you were there???
Here is just a glimpse of what happened at Fat Tire Narnia. Don't you wish you were there???

3. Just ask: Colin and his lovely family included Jim and me on an invitation to Fat Tire Narnia. We speak, of course, of the famed weekend that involves mountain biking, good beer, and friendship. Of course we said yes. I never expected that we’d be included in Colin’s initial invitation, but I’m glad it happened. Much hilarity ensued. You never know who’s going to say yes, and what will come of it, but you’ll really never know if you don’t ask. Jim, too, learned a lesson here: Be brave, get to know new people. Perhaps you will meet someone who will kick your ever-lovin’, mountain-biking patootie, finally.

4. Networking: Ours is a winding path–ARFE had its heyday in 2006!–but I’m glad we stayed in touch. There are many new opportunities, some work-related, others not, to be had if you just ensure that you stay in touch, and life is so much richer if you can let your brain free-associate. People are whole packages, gifts to be opened. Everyone out there has something to offer you, and it behooves everyone to consider that in our everyday interactions.

5. Work can be your passion: Colin is a trail-runner, a mountain-biker, a snowshoer. His family shares his passion for all of these things. More important, in the time I’ve known him, Colin has worked on Timberland, GoLite, at CitySports, and now is a key player at a new company called Waterbox. Waterbox is going to be a raging success because Colin and Canice, the founder of Waterbox, live the lifestyle they’re preaching, at the intersection of style, art, and the outdoors.

Family True. Happy! And outdoors! Imagine that!
Family True. Happy! And outdoors! Imagine that!

Colin’s wife Carli is a teacher, and she, too, follows her passion. I hope their daughter Lily does the same with her life. She’s got great role models.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: Word or phrase

The Daily Life Text

December 17: Word or phrase. A word that encapsulates your year. “2009 was _____.”

Yes, please! I know it doesn’t exactly flow. But when I think back over 2009, I specifically remember a post that Lara had up on her site that ended with “Bring it.”

I think that’s such a great phrase. Lara lives in England. She is tall and collected and has terrific posture and is the very epitome of capability. I look upon her life with a certain sense of awe over her many accomplishments. When she says “Bring it,” it sounds cool, like the general challenge to the universe it’s meant to be.

This is Lara. On the other end of the transom, I was ripping my hair out because we couldn't settle on reservations for Ironman. Dyou see how calm she is? Mmhmm.
This is Lara. On the other end of the transom, I was ripping my hair out because we couldn't settle on reservations for Ironman. Dyou see how calm she is? Mmhmm.

I am, in many ways, Lara’s opposite. I leave a trail of things wherever I go. When I unpack, I tend to do it all over the place. I Leave a Mark, as it were. I am messy. When you picture me saying “Bring it,” you must picture me with strands of hair poking out everywhere, quite possibly standing amidst a pile of papers, out of breath from exertion and somewhat red-faced from whatever mess I’ve just created. I look wild-eyed, a little frenetic, even. I have probably preceded “Bring it!” with a dopey-sounding “Hunh? What’d you say?”

Yes, this is me, almost all the time. "Hunh? Wha? Oh!"
Yes, this is me, almost all the time. "Hunh? Wha? Oh!"

In spite of the general mess that is my life, I got a lot done this year. I did Ironman, and fulfilled a lifelong dream to become part of the worldwide disaster-relief community. We moved back to New York. I did a half-Ironman and bought some great artwork. I made some new friends and reinforced ties with others. I made a fair number of meals for friends and hosted some good parties and drove across the country with my Dad. My brother got engaged. I broke my digital camera and bravely bought another one in a foreign airport. I was nice to a lot of strangers and they were nice back.

Life is good, and wide-open. But I think it’s probably only wide open because I make it a point to live this way. So while “Bring it,” doesn’t exactly fit for me, there is a certain propriety to “Yes, please”:

“Hey, Eesh, wanna come to London to visit?”

“Yes, please.”

“Hey Eesh, wanna do this race with me?”

“Yes, please.”

“Hey, Eesh, you should really, really try some of this esargot.”

snails
These are water snails, not escargot. It's what we eat in Taiwan. Meh!

“Um. Yes, please?”

Indeed. Escargot. I ate them, if only to please my aunt.

If eating snails can make everyone this happy, well, um...Bring It. :D
If eating snails can make everyone this happy, well, um...Bring It. πŸ˜€

So there you have it. I’m not cool enough to say “Bring it,” but I’m more than happy to say “Yes, please,” every day of the year. Bring on 2010. I’ll Yes-Please it into the ground.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: Place

The Daily Life Text

December 11 The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

I really had to think about this one. In the end, I picked the most mundane of places: our current apartment. Back in Chicago, we lived in a huge, drafty 1400-square-foot spot. It was a ton of room and badly put together, and, frankly, I didn’t want to be there. Chicago, I mean. I got to like it by the time we left, but it wasn’t my idea to move there and it took me a good long while to just shut up and live in this terrific city for however long I got to experience it.

It's huge! This room isn't even the bulk of it! (New Year's, '05)
It's huge! This room isn't even the bulk of it!

It was in an awesome, post-Victorian-era greystone that had been gutted and re-done. We liked it, but it had so many elements already built in, like an original sideboard dating from 1912, when the building was built, and pocket doors. High ceilings and poor insulation made the place super-chilly, so we ran the fireplace a lot. Perhaps the thing I hated the most was the fact that it was so big that Jim and I just spread out. Things got lost and hidden, and, with the addition of basement storage just below us, it was a recipe for way too much clutter.

We lived on the first floor, where the front door is, of this house.
We lived on the first floor, where the front door is, of this house.

Also, I had a terrible habit of walking around without either my contacts or glasses in, so I probably didn’t see the clutter part of the time. It was awful.
Before the move to Chicago, we lived in a small place in Croton Falls, New York. It was about 750 square feet. It was Jim’s place; I moved in when my Manhattan roommate got married. It felt tiny, expecially for two people who owned two bicycles apiece and, eventually, a 19-foot kayak. But we loved it. It was Sprocket’s first home.

Our back door was arched and exited onto a massive porch. We loved it. So did Sprocket. (Fuzzy!)
Our back door was arched and exited onto a massive porch. We loved it. So did Sprocket. (Fuzzy!)

Anyway, in May this year we moved from Chicago back to New York State, to White Plains. It’s a weird place. The social divide here feels tremendous at times. But our apartment? I love it. We’re back down to 1100 square feet, and the missing 300 square feet has allowed us to regain some of the efficiency we had when we were living in 750 square feet.
Now, when we’re done cooking, we put things away. We store extra things in the storeroom. We keep most stuff stores away in cabinets. It’s not perfect. But it’s closer to the way we want to function.
Perhaps best of all, this new home was a blank slate. Aside from the obnoxious radiators, which stick out of the wall and reduce the published living space by something like 20 square feet in each room, it had no quirky features whatsoever. So it’s truly become a place that we’ve made our own, and in full partnership.

our couch in Chicago was big enough for three hounds & three people! 98 inches!
our couch in Chicago was big enough for three hounds and three people, all at once. 98 inches!

So this is the place I call home. Really, really and truly. Not “Jim’s place, which I crashed into,” or “our Chicago apartment (we had to move for Jim’s job),” but “our place.” Great things will happen here.
Oh, and there is a spare bedroom and a spare bath, and spare keys. Our friends are always welcome.

I have wanted an Arco lamp forever. it's too big for the room, but whatev.
I have wanted an Arco lamp forever. it's too big for the room, but whatev.
galley kitchen; dining table under bar, funky lighting.
galley kitchen; dining table under bar, funky lighting.
elements of a bedroom: lamp, ratty old bear; books; lint brush; 400-count sheets.
elements of a bedroom: lamp, ratty old bear; books; lint brush; 400-count sheets.
elements of an entryway: a Sprocket and a ShelterBox. Um, yeah.
elements of an entryway: a Sprocket and a ShelterBox. Um, yeah.

Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009: Album

The Daily Life Text

December 10: Album of the year. What’s rocking your world?

I have purchased only a few albums this year, and a lot of them aren’t new. I guess I look at music the same way I look at books. There are so many great ones out there already that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on too much if I don’t purchase it right away. Consequently, I still have a copy of Vanity Fair on my bedside table, and most of my book reviews are about books that were published several years ago.
Anyway, I bought one this year that I really like and that I haven’t yet tired of. It’s called Bitter Heart, and it’s by a young artist named Zee Avi
zeeavi_music_cd.
I like this album for its music, sure, but I also like it for its circumstances:
Me and Jim, in a car, on our way someplace.
Bright, sunny day; car humming smoothly under us.
Hound in back seat.

It may have been a day like this...windows open, hound-hair blowing...
It may have been a day like this...windows open, hound-hair blowing...

NPR on the radio, and me reminding myself why I love NPR so much. It makes me feel like I’m learning something, all the time. I especially like it when Jim is with me because he makes noises while listening: “Hunh!” and *snort* and laughing.
As for the music itself, well, I like the fact that it evokes nostalgia and modernity all at the same time. This is a girl on the ukelele, or on the piano, with classic instruments like the horn weighing in at some point. She’s barely even old enough to know anything about life, at a young twenty-something, and she’s singing about age-old things like addiction, unrequited love, fitting in. Her songs have Filofaxes, satellites, mobile phones in them. She recounts these stories in a beguiling island tone, and the lightness and lilt of her music belies the sometimes-heavy subject matter of the songs.
But–yeah. It’s the remembrance of that day, so like many others in my life this year, that makes this my favorite album.
roadtrip. standard view for me. :)
roadtrip. standard view for me. πŸ™‚

Here’s another photo of another good day. This one was filled with good friends and a lake. Wonder what that soundtrack would have been like?

gratuitous hound photo
gratuitous hound photo

Lost: Mo, size large.

The Daily Life Text

Sigh.
I do hate losing my mo. One of my favorite lines to trot out about having chosen writing as a career is that you can find inspiration in whatever you do or say. You wake up every day knowing that something is going to strike you as worthy. Everyone has something to offer you. It’s a very lucky thing, knowing that you’ve got that on your side. Inspiration’s not a problem. It’s motivation that’s the issue, motivation to get up and outside and look for inspiration. You don’t find it in a cubicle, although a good friend mentioned the other day that I am the type of person who would do better in a box, entirely closed up, if I am to really focus. Sigh.
Take today, for instance. We went to bed last night at a reasonable hour and I decided that this week was going to be the week that I get back to being physically fit. Yes, yes, I really have done nothing since Ironman. I did this jog on Monday:
mapgrab
and it took me FOREVER. I ran the loop six times, for a total mileage of 1.8 miles, and it took me 21 minutes. Argh. Speed isn’t really an issue–I’ve become quite pokey since I started distance training, and I’m okay with that–really, really–but what I was really struck by was how much my legs ached on Tuesday.
At any rate, I thought, OK, let’s just get back on the bandwagon, do cardio three days a week this week: Wednesday you’ll do the same loop six more times, maybe 7, do the same thing on Friday. By week two you should be working out six days a week, strength training on the days you don’t run.
Guess what? It’s Wednesday. I have not yet gone for my jog. Later, though, later.
The weekend was strange. Friday night I took Jim to Horsefeathers with Peggy, since he’d never been. We got home kind of late for my 5:15 wake-up call to get to the U.N. in time for U.N.-Rotary Day. It was a nice day representing ShelterBox, but I ran, as predicted, on all six cylinders that day and was totally wasted by the time I got home for dinner with Kate. Still, it was awesome to see her, and nicer still to have yet another friend in our home.
We didn’t take any photos with Kate (why not? why not? morons!), but I’ve been charged with a Flat Stanlina until after Thanksgiving, and she got her photo taken at the U.N.
yi@un
Lucky girl.
I spent all over Sunday on the couch. Totally exhausted. It was a gorgeous day, and I read Wuthering Heights and watched the BBC film version, which was unexpectedly moving.
Anyway. So here I am, flabby and unexercised. In other news, though, I’m finally beginning to wrap my head around finishing my applications for the MFA programs I applied for (really, it’s just sending in manuscripts and essays and things), I wrote close to 3000 words yesterday for NaNoWriMo, I just found out my good friend Jody is going to be Chicago the same time I am over Thanksgiving, and I think I am *this* close to convincing my brother that he needs to come out early for Christmas so we can have some quality time before the holidays take over.
I think I might actually have most of my shopping & making-stuff (I do hate the word “crafting,” don’t you?) done, too, believe it or not. Most of it.
Here’s a gratuitous photo of the United Nations building. I’ve always loved this building. It’s due to be gutted, though, because it’s way out of honking code. Asbestos and everything.
U.N.bldg
I forgot: Flat Stanlina and I had coffee together. She ate most of my egg sandwich, the little so-and-so. coffeeandsandwich
More writing now. Some exercising later. Bleh. I have a horrible hankering, by the way, to be back on Dartmoor. Wannh!
Shelterbox SRT Training 103

Eyeballs in my martini and the woes of a broken camera

The Daily Life Text

My, oh my, oh my.
How time does fly. We’ve done a lot in just a short week. I’ve mentioned our friends Colin, Carli, and Lily before. We went on that incredible Fat Tire Narnia trip with them? Right, anyway, Halloween kicked off a week early for us, as we met the Trues over in Sleepy Hollow for some good graveyard fun. Honestly, it was just us, walking (okay, first driving, ‘cos we weren’t clear on the concept of an unmarked parking lot) through the graveyard, visiting the graves of people more creative, more famous, wealthier than we are. This is where I really regretted not having a camera, since there were actually some really beautiful, very moving monuments to people. But it’s OK. Through the wonder of facebook, i have poached a photo taken by Carli that shows one of our favorites:
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I can’t remember who it was, but I’m going to have to just go back to the cemetery, maybe in winter, and take a few photos of my own.
There was one family that had some very good, very snarky epitaphs on their stones–one of my favorites said something about the adventure of a bargain.
Anyhow, we wandered through Sleepy Hollow for a bit, seeing with dismay that everything was closed on a Sunday, even brunch places and then we went on to Irvington and had lunch at Geordane’s, after which I promptly left my bag on a bench.
Oh well.
Fortunately, the people of Irvington are very nice folks and when we got home there was a message from the Irvington Police department saying that someone had found my entire bag and that I could pick it up whenever I wanted. People are good. When we returned to Irvington, we spotted this in a shop window:
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I really like the plastic-eyeballs in martini-glass detail:
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(That’s some innovative garnish.)
The rest of the week was spent inΒ  panicked preparation for our party, to which we were expecting 20, 25 people in our teeny tiny apartment. In the end, it all worked out OK–people hung out on the balcony and largely away from the over-lit kitchen. I tried to take some photos with my broken camera:
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our neighbor, blake. awesome, nice guy.
our neighbor, blake. awesome, nice guy.

And then I switched to Jim’s camera, which has uber-aggressive flash and does not show the spookiness of our black-lit, scary apartment.

our friend matt the banana.
our friend matt the banana.

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Really, really fun. We had a great time. I, by the way, was the only one who didn’t immediately guess what my friend Tom, who came in the LORD outfit with the FLIES pasted all over him, was. Argh. SO LAME.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have awesome friends. Folks really got into the Halloween concept, and everyone seemed to either be drunk or having a good time. Snort!
And now, the view from my window lately:
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In writing news, on Wednesday afternoon I hit a massive glitch in my most recent manuscript, freaked out, and sent in applications to three MFA programs. Why, yes! I am a spazz! Thank you for asking!
At any rate, the day after I’d paid all the application fees and sent away for my transcripts, I fixed the glitch and sent the novel off to my group, and then I had a ridiculously good HopBack beer and felt lighter than I’ve felt in months. I really like this manuscript, and think it has a good chance, but now I’ve got to wait a month until my critique group gets back to me with what they think.
Fortunately, it is now National Novel Writing Month. So this is what I’ll feel like for the rest of the month.
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Also, I went back to the gym for the first time since Ironman. I guess that should read, “I did something with my body for the first time since Ironman,” ‘cos I haven’t been a gym rat in ages.
At any rate, it’s now gorgeous, gorgeous fall, and I can start looking forward to winter pursuits. Yay!
That’s it for now. I need to be better about keeping up this thing. I always feel better after I’ve posted. Lugging too many memories around in my very small brain can’t be good for me.