Tag Archives: Summer

Sailing Homeward.

Home is an interesting concept to someone in transition. From college, to my parents’ house, to summerstock, to college, back to my parents’ house-I’ve bounced around quite a bit in these past four years. And now, it seems, I’m just biding my time until I move to my next location. I have my family in one location, and my chosen, extended family in about ten others. So, it’s been awhile since I’ve felt truly at home- where all my possessions and all of my life’s loose ends come to rest, neatly tied up and put away.

For the past three summers, I had the incredible opportunity of working at a Renaissance Festival in upstate NY. This entailed living in the woods for three months of improv training, character creating, and laughing at and with my insanely talented castmates. It was, in one word, magical.

This summer, it was time for a change;  however, I have missed my little corner of the woods more than I can say. So last weekend, two of my college friends (Toby and Kate ) and I piled into my car and roadtripped it to their opening weekend.

I’ll admit it: I was a little apprehensive about visiting. Firstly, I had no idea how it would feel to not be acting in the festival. Would I play along (it’s interactive improv-which is creating scenarios that you can pull audience members into)? What shows would I see? And, most terrifyingly, would it be less -well- magical as a guest? Secondly, it holds a lot of memories. And, really, any place that holds that many memories can either be a joy to visit or a painful sinkhole of moments. (I know, that was a little too 14-year old goth chick, but go with me.) Anyway, I was nervous. And immensely excited.

I could spend this blog post commenting on the awesome shows I saw, and this quirky conversation I had with a character, or that hilarious scene I saw played out in front of me, or what it was like to be carried through the mid-day parade over the shoulder of a once alchemist, now pirate, but I’m gonna go ahead and skip to the pivotal moment of my trip: the pub sing.

PUBSING!

Now, every faire day ends with a half-hour sing along with the entire cast, all of the musicians, and every guest that is within the gates. I cannot accurately explain  how moving this is, but I’m gonna give myself fifteen words in which to try (lest I spend the next twenty minutes writing some epic poem about it that no one, not even myself, will want to read afterwards): It’s like that moment when you first light a sparkler as a kid…awe-inspiring. Anyway, the songs vary from day to day, but it always ends with the same two songs: Auld Lang Syne and Mingulay. Preceding Auld Lang Syne, one character gives a speech- a moment in which he can reveal something about himself, the actor. The speeches are usually moving and therefore usually bring me to tears (A lot of things bring me to tears. I am not generally able to not cry when things move me, or I, you know, breathe. Or walk. Or eat a particularly good sandwich.)

It wouldn’t be a pubsing without a song about drinking far too much.

On this day, my dear friend Lenny Burrows got up to speak. So, of course, my eyes welled up. He began to talk about returning to the festival-of how leaving for a period of time will make the return mean that much more. Great. Thanks, Lenny. Let’s talk about that today-when I’m returning. Thanks for that. By the end of his two-minute (if that) speech, I am hysterical. Kate and Toby are sitting next to me, I’m assuming wondering if they can sneak away slowly so as not to become associated with this madwoman. But I know, oh boy do I know: this is just the beginning.

Love is pretty much what it comes down to. Love and Music.

The minute the song begins, I fall entirely apart. Sobbing. Not really breathing because I would rather refrain for a few minutes than start wheezing. I can see cast members looking at me, sobbing about 8 rows from the stage, and smiling in that way people do. More tears. Then comes the line, “And here’s a hand my trusted friend…” Traditionally, during this line, the cast will offer hands to each other, then to the first two or three rows of the audience. I look up from my lap, which I have been studying quite determinedly for the past 30 seconds or so, and see about ten of my friends in the cast traversing down the aisle towards me. They grasp my hand, one by one, share a tearful smile, and run back to the stage.  I cannot express, or even begin to make sense, of the amount of love I felt in that moment. But more than that, I felt at home. It all clicked into place- I was entirely and happily home.

And as the cast sang the last song, “Mingulay,” I heard my own voice join in. It was a song about coming home, about returning to loved ones after time away- how could I not sing along?

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My Fourth of July (or how I learned to drown in a kayak.)

Fireworks, of any variety (romantic or, you know, the kind that actually explode in the sky), are quite possibly my favorite thing in the world. Top five at least. There’s always been something about lights for me, whether they be twinkle lights, Christmas lights, sparklers, or good ole’ fashioned stars. I’m immediately enthralled. In fact, I have a habit of picking restaurants based on who has the best string of lights decorating the outside of their building- but I digress. Fireworks. They’re fucking awesome. And so, when one of my best friends from high school asked me if I wanted to kayak down the Charles River to watch Boston’s 4th of July fireworks from the water, I said “yes.” Actually, I think I squealed, jumped around a bit, and then said, “Are you serious?!,”  about 500 times…but “yes” is pretty much what all that conveys.

So, Wednesday morning I made the trek to Boston, armed with a flashlight, sneakers, and little to no knowledge of how to kayak. The day passed in a happy blur of window shopping, book store browsing, and some really strong margaritas, until finally, it was time to make our way to the launch point. (Side note-how cool is it to get to say that? “It was time to make our way to the launch point.” Bad ass. I feel like an astronaut. Or someone who kayaks. Either way-  bad ass.) After the quickest safety course I have ever been a part of (“Here’s where you go to see the fireworks, don’t get too close to the barge, stay to the sides or you’ll get run over by rich people on boats.”), I was given a life jacket, an oar, and, finally, a kayak. My friend ( let’s call her Specs- she has awesome glasses) and I were going to be rocking out in a double kayak for the night, so we jumped in and started trying to steer away from the launch point (again, bad ass). After a few minutes (around 30 or so), we got the hang of it, and sped along the Charles toward some point that was approximately 4 miles away.

Let me pause for a moment here to talk about upper body strength. You don’t want to wait until you’re in the middle of a river in a kayak to start thinking about incorporating some push ups into your daily routine. Lesson painfully learned. Now, back to the story.

After about an hour of rowing, Specs and I arrived at the viewing point.  Clusters of boats, kayaks and canoes sat in the water, waiting for the show to begin. As we reclined in our kayak, I started to notice bursts of light out of the corner of my eye. Lightning. Oh goody. It was around this time that we thought to ask a fellow water dweller what the estimated start time was: 10:30. It was 9.

Thunder began to start echoing across the water. we paddled forward to look for Specs’ friends, who had fallen behind in a four-person kayak. As we passed under a bridge, I became aware of the crowd: thousands of people lining the shore. I couldn’t help but smile. We had the absolute best seats in the house- the barge that held the fireworks was directly in front of us. We sat, listening to the Boston Pops, floating back and forth, waiting. And then, about five minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to begin, it started to sprinkle. Tiny droplets of warm rain. Now, we were already soaked from the decent amount of flailing it had taken us to reach our destination, so a little bit of rain was nothing. Child’s play. I turned to joke with Specs about the ridiculousness of the situation- sitting in a slowly filling kayak in the middle of a crowd of equally endangered kayaks and canoes- when a burst of color made my head snap back to the front. Without any

I cannot even put into words how gorgeous these fireworks were…so here’s a picture!

forewarning, the fireworks had begun to fill the sky. My jaw subsequently dropped. I had never seen anything like it. The sheer size of the fireworks was stunning, not to mention the variety of shapes and colors that exploded across the the harbor in a continuous stream. (Heart-shaped fireworks. HEARTS!) As I stared, slack-jawed, up at the show, the rain started getting heavier. And heavier. A torrential downpour of lukewarm rain pummeled our little kayak (and my face), creating a wall between me and the fireworks. The sane reaction would have been annoyance, concern for the kayak, or even a shuffling of clothing to try to slow the attack. But me? I laughed. I doubled over in the kayak, overcome with the insanity of my evening. Kayaking 4 miles to sit in a rain-filled kayak, watching the most beautiful fireworks I had ever seen.

The rain eventually slowed, and then stopped, while the fireworks continued to get better and better. As I watched the finale, a barrage of colors that literally filled the sky, I felt a wave of gratitude and awe crash over me. How lucky was I to be experiencing this?

And then I remembered…I still had to paddle 4 miles back. My arms became dead weight at the thought, silently protesting the hour-long rowing party that was about to begin.  Needless to say, Pocahontas was lying when she sang “just around the river bend.” Bitch.

Operation Track is a Go.

I am not a runner. Not by anyone’s standards. Igor from “Young Frankenstein” could easily beat me in a race. After he had a few Jager Bombs. And twisted his ankle.

I am also not a patient person, especially when it comes to myself. If I think I should be able to do something, then I should be able to do it by the end of the day. Gradually building up to things, making reasonable short term goals to climb towards long-term ones…these concepts do not work well with my general state of being.

And yet, I have always been fascinated by running. The passion this sport ignites in people is incredibly seductive, especially when you’ve never experienced it. It’s also one of those things that you have to start slowly and work at continuously, gradually pushing yourself past your original limitations, onward… clearly, this was made for me.

Regardless of my obvious short-comings in the world of running, this fascination has led me to my most recent endeavor. Let’s call it Operation Don’t Look Like an Asshole on the Track- or Operation Track, for short. Recently, I was introduced to a 6-week running plan for new runners. And since I know nothing about how to do this (if you have ever had the misfortune to see me run, you understand how true that statement is), I thought perhaps it would be best to turn to someone who knows what they’re talking about before I end up on crutches. Or just out of breath and no closer to being able to run two miles in one go.

I wish I could say I was writing this at the conclusion of week one, and boy do I love it, how could I have waited so long to start, yada yada yada. Nope. Day 1. And it’s just as wheeze-inducing as it’s always been. But this time, there’s a determination that I have never experienced with running, a need to prove to myself that I can do this. I am capable of doing this. And so, as much as I would love to wake up a runner tomorrow, or just stick with pilates and call it a day, I’m going to commit to this. It’s something I can control, hold myself accountable for, and feel good about doing. I mean, the last time I started something that covered all of those, I started writing a blog. Pretty good motivation, if you ask me.

So, any tips for new runners?

Dead Like George.

Have you ever seen the fantastic show, “Dead Like Me” ? It follows Georgia “George” Lass, a 20-something college drop-out who dies suddenly (killed by an airborne toilet. Yup.) After she dies, she is recruited to become a Grim Reaper, one of many. In this particular version of the legend, Grim Reapers still have all of the responsibilities of the living, they just have a second, unpaid and unchosen job. The show’s been off the air for a few years, but is free on Hulu if I’ve peaked your interest. (Meaning- Go. Now. Watch the first two episodes. Get addicted. Stop sleeping until you’ve finished the entire series. I mean, it was only on for a couple seasons, and you can function on much less than 8 hours of sleep. You have no excuse.)

Anyway, Georgie’s day job is at a temp agency, where she is a file clerk. And after about a week of my own temping, I have to say this show gets it. Right on the nose. My trainer, much like Mrs. Herbig, is overly nice, and loves to make my duties seem much more dire than they actually are (although I am funding people’s retail and lease contracts for their cars, so I guess it’s a little important. But still, the world will not end.) The job is just as dull and full of sifting through mountains of paper as Georgie’s own, and it definitely makes me wish I had a side job as a kick-ass Grim Reaper. At least it would spice things up (and my blog would be so much more exciting).

Although I will say I’ve begun to fall into a comfortable sort of schedule for my workday, complete with break buddies (mainly Temp Guy. Fifteen minutes of making each other crack up in the break room? I’ll take it.), a lunch group (hah. I’m back in high school. But these girls are hilarious.), and a 3 pm realization that there’s still two hours to go, quickly followed by a silent but emphatic plea to the universe to free me from this paper prison. Finally, I’ve gotten the nickname “Team Awesome, Member #1” to stick (I don’t understand it either, but check that off the bucket list), and I have the best cubicle neighbors a girl could ask for.

Along with this happy little bubble of conformity and complacency, there is this need to not lose sight of why I’m working in the first place. Luckily, I haven’t gone so far down the rabbit hole that I am forgetting. Yet. I still smile like a drunkard when I think about NYC, and I can still feel the purpose behind the drive that makes me get up and go to work every morning-the promise that it’ll all be worth it in a few months. Because, after all, George Lass and I do have one pretty important thing separating us-I’ve managed to avoid free-falling plumbing…

…for now.

The Ever-Glowing, Deadly Dull, Temp Agency Turned Dating Service

There are so many guys here. Yes, this is my first thought as I enter the building where I will be working for the next two months. (Hey. Don’t judge me.  That is exactly what any single, twenty-something girl who hasn’t been on a good date in a while would think when faced with the sheer number of attractive men in one place that I, myself, faced upon entering that prison…I mean fine place of business.) That, and what the hell did I get myself into?

Working at a financial corporation was not something I ever saw in my future, but there I was, sitting in a conference room with two other newly graduated employees, waiting to learn exactly what we were going to be asked to do.

Which brings me to my new friend. We’ll call him temp guy. He graduated with an English degree, can recite Shakespearean sonnets on command, and sky-dives on the weekends for fun. Oh, and he has a fondness for Spongebob Squarepants ice cream pops. Temp guy and I have been hanging out since training started at the beginning of this week, and the more I get to know him, the more intrigued I become. He is insanely good at brain teasers, can make me laugh in .2 seconds, and somehow has the built-in ability to follow my circular speaking patterns with ease. And did I mention he’s got killer eyes and this really dazzling smile that crops up whenever he sees me (quickly matched by my own..)? uh oh…

Yesterday was free jeans/free ice cream truck day at work. (I think they have to bribe their employees to stay. The job is insanely dull. I can literally feel any creative spark or will to live I ever housed within me seeping out of my fingertips and into the computer at my desk. I think that’s how they can afford to have so many lights on. God-awful florescent lights.) This means that we were able to wear jeans without having to pay for the privilege, and an ice cream truck would be parked outside of our building, serving up free ice cream for two hours. I won’t go into how much of a poor choice this is for a company in which most of its’ employees are already forced to live sedentary lifestyles due to the nature of their work, mostly because I am still excited that I got free ice cream.

I was outside, weighing my free ice cream options, when I heard a teasing voice from behind me. “Still deciding?” I turned around to find temp guy, proudly wearing his free jeans and smirking at me. “Hey, it’s a big choice. I don’t want to get the spiderman pop only to realize that I wanted the ice cream sandwich.”

Temp guy chuckled as he confidently went up the window, and returned seconds later with a Spongebob Squarepants pop. “I always get these. Ever since I was a kid.” He was smiling so freely, and standing so contentedly on the sidewalk with his pop that I couldn’t help smiling. This is going to be one interesting summer.