On how I got sun, sleep, and a new superpower

2 August, 2009 at 9:06 am (Travel, Weekend Update)

Last week was vacation – yay! What did I do for said vacation? Went to Fire Island.

This pic is actually from last year, as I didn't take any this week.

This pic is actually from last year, as I didn't take any this week.

See, Robert and Kevin have been out at the island all summer. Now, I’m not going to lie: I much prefer it when they’re just a few blocks away. I miss our weekly drinks/food/game nights! However, the one upside (for me) to their being at Fire Island for the summer is that they let me come there to stay with them. Such is what happened last week – and it couldn’t have come at a better time! The week was fairly low-key, but that is exactly what I wanted/needed. I’d been having some insomnia issues, getting maybe three hours of sleep a night. So a few days away from work and the city was a perfect remedy to that!

I got there last Monday, midday – in fact, just in time for the infamous “noon whistle”. First things first: Robert & Kevin had purchased a pair of sunglasses for me at an event on the island back in late June, and so they finally gave me those…

Super cute - thanks, boys!

Super cute - thanks, boys!


Kevin had some work to do that afternoon at the island’s community house, so Robert and I went with him. Hung out there for a bit, and even in the brief amount of time that I was outdoors walking and then sitting in the sun on the deck at the community house, my skin started to get some color! Yay! Monday evening we ate (and drank…and drank…) at home, and then walked over to Cherry Grove (the next community over on the island from where R&K stay, in Fire Island Pines) to see a drag show. It was actually a good drag show, too – the first one I’ve been to in awhile! The hostess is named Shequida and she’s pretty hilarious, plus does a pretty wide range of numbers (everything from traditional dancey stuff to singing opera. Random, but it works). The show went a bit long, as it was Shequida’s birthday and she proceeded to get drunk on stage and kept doing “…one last number”, so we didn’t get home til after 4:00.

Tuesday woke up late-ish and the sun was out! (So much for the week of rain that had been forecast). So, since the sun was out and Kevin didn’t have any work that needed to be done, we went to the beach.

Yes, I'm reusing a pic that I posted last year. I didn't take any pictures this time. Whoops.

Yes, another 2008 pic - and this one has actually already been in a blog, from September '08. Sue me.


The water wasn’t too cold, but it WAS very choppy, so I didn’t get in the water past my knees, nor did Kevin. Robert did, though, so good for him; he’s a braver man than I. After that, we went back to the house and swam in the pool some, then back out to Cherry Grove for dinner. (Cherry Grove apparently has some of the best corn dogs ever, but they had run out, so we had to have hamburgers. Bastards!). We left Cherry Grove just after midnight and walked back to the Pines, got home around 1:00. Kevin went to bed, but Robert and I decided to stay up for awhile longer, talking and walking around and, to use Robert’s term, “being ridiculous”. It was a lot of fun! – and a lot of going to bed after 4:00 again.

On Wednesday the promised rains finally came, so it was definitely a relaxed sort of day. Hung around at home, read a bit…I think “recovering” is the best word for it. So, of course, by Wednesday evening it was time to get started again! This time we stayed in the Pines. We went to get Planter’s Punches (a deadly combination of about 80 kinds of rum with a touch of something that makes it taste like punch and not like rum at ALL), and it was at this point that I realized I had my superpower: invisibility. See, Fire Island Pines is, oh, 99.997% gay men (most of the ladies are at Cherry Grove). And while many of these men are nice to me, most will not acknowledge my existence unless forced to do so. For example, R&K may stop and talk to someone they know, and that person will not even look over at me until either Robert or Kevin say, “…and this is Joey, our lesbian friend”. It’s kind of funny, actually. And it must be said that this is not true for every guy on the island: some are perfectly nice and even talkative, and I even met a guy who had gone to see Paul McCartney last week as well, and we totally bonded over love of Paul. But I digress. After the Planter’s Punches we ate dinner at home and then hung out with a couple of guys R&K know (and yes, they were ones that actually talked to me :-)). Nothing too extraordinary happened, and I think we were even in bed by 2:00! Crazy.

Thursday: sun was back out! Robert and Kevin had things to do around the house, and thankfully Robert had me “help” (“help” in that he would’ve been perfectly fine doing it himself, but knows that I get bored just sitting doing nothing). So while Kevin trimmed trees around the yard, Robert and I cleaned the pool and watered the plants – they’re growing their own herbs, as well as tomatoes, and strawberries (though sadly none of the tomatoes nor strawberries were ripe yet when I was there! C’est la vie). We swam in the freshly cleaned pool that afternoon, and then Thursday evening one of the other housemates came back to the island with a load of things from the “real world”, so we met him to bring stuff back to the house, and had a late dinner. After eating I went to bed “early”, which is to say midnight. I was exhausted!

Friday was time to go home (and for the best, as the rain was coming back and Kevin had work to do!). So I left that afternoon, not long after the same noon whistle that had greeted me Monday. It was altogether a great week: relaxing, entertaining, and it was SO good to get to spend time with Robert and Kevin! Though I realized on my way home that we never played a single game while I was on the island. Quelle horreur! I suppose it will have to wait until they’re back in Manhattan…um, you are coming back eventually – right, guys? 😉

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The Oklahoma/Texas Recap – FINALLY

27 May, 2009 at 10:16 pm (Travel, Weekend Update)

Okay, so a month ago I left for a 10-day trip to Dallas, Waxahachie, Duncan, and Tulsa. I have yet to blog about this trip. In fact, I have yet to blog about anything, really, since that trip! I don’t know what my deal is. I guess I go through blogging phases. Sometimes, I share every damn thing I find on the interweb on this site…and then sometimes, all of a sudden three weeks have flown by and I realize I haven’t posted anything. Such is life, I suppose!

I could blog about my trip now, though I’m not sure it really needs to be done at this point. And yet… so here it goes. The highlights:

1. Hanging out with Kristen in Dallas First on my trip was seeing Kristen! She was kind enough to pick me up from the airport, and then we spent the day together. Plus, I finally got to eat at her father’s fabulous Italian restaurant in Arlington…I’ve been hearing about the place for a decade now! Totally lived up to the hype. I also had the “pleasure” of helping Kristen create paper turtles…it had something to do with keeping kindergartners from going postal. Also, Dr. C_________ (no last names in this blog!) has asked me to be in her wedding, so I’ll be making a return to Dallas next spring, complete with bridesmaid dress. Stay tuned for that…

2. Hanging out with Leslie in Waxahachie It’s okay if you don’t know where Waxahachie is; I didn’t, either. Leslie has been one of my best friends for nearly 15 years now, and is pregnant with her first kid, so I had to make time to spend with her! In fact, the timing of my visit had a lot to do with her – going during this time meant I could go to her baby shower. Yay! But before that, we had a lot of good downtime in Waxahachie. I don’t get to see Leslie enough, and I doubt she’ll be visiting me anytime soon…but I can’t wait til her little boy is born! The ‘nephew’ will make up for less Les time in NYC 🙂

3. Hanging out with family in Duncan Since I’ve moved away from Oklahoma – holy crap, I just realized – that was THREE YEARS AGO TODAY! Weird. Anyway…since I left Oklahoma three years ago, I’ve made 4 trips back, but typically stuck to Tulsa during those visits; family in Duncan was often neglected. I promised myself that this time, I would spend quality time with the fam! So that’s what I did. And it was a good time! Baked cake with Gran, watched movies with Dad, dinners with Gran and Granddad – it was nice. Also, while I went to Duncan I got to attend Leslie’s aforementioned baby-shower. I won’t lie – it was a little foreign at first. It was held at a Baptist church, and (save Leslie’s family), most of the other attendees weren’t really chummy with me…BUT! I didn’t go there for them, I went there for Leslie (and for myself!) and it was great to be a part of it. Honestly, Leslie cracking up at me picking “engorged breasts” during a pregnancy-themed Memory game almost made the entire trip worth it!

4. Hanging out with friends in Tulsa Though I tried to make this trip more SW-Oklahoma centric, I realized I couldn’t be in that part of the world for 10 days and not make a trip to Tulsa. And frankly, spending more than 72-hours straight in Duncan makes me a little nuts. So to Tulsa I went! This time, I had the luxury of a car – the first time since I moved (THREE YEARS AGO!) that I’ve been able to drive myself around. It was great! I got to see [the outside of] Karen’s new house; discovered that Tulsa has an actual, almost-Chinatown-ick-worthy Asian Market; ate a fanfuckingtastic meal with Mike in Utica Square; lunched with Christopher and realized that Halim & Mimi’s (or whatever it’s named now) is just as good as it used to be; attended a drag show at Renegades and discovered that, save Catia, it’s nowhere near as good as it used to be; and got to do a game night with Karen and Mike (I almost won Phase 10, damnit!). It was a pretty great time.

5. Hanging out with Lyndsie in OKC This was brief, but memorable. Why? Well first of all, Lyndsie is pregnant! That’s right, both of my BFFs from high school are pregnant with their first kids at the same time. Crazy! Lyndsie is just now hitting 12 weeks, so I’m [fairly certain] at liberty to share this news widely. Anyway, we hadn’t been able to see each other much in Duncan the previous weekend, so I stopped in OKC to grab lunch with her on my way from T-Town to Duncan. It was excellent to see her again, though it didn’t feel so long since I’d seen her, since she and Kevin (her husband) came to visit me in October. What made this leg of the trip even more exciting? The driving tribulations I had to endure: I was stopped in traffic on the turnpike driving to OKC (good thing I paid all that money for the privilege of going 20 mph!), and after being made to stop without warning was almost rear-ended by a semi (it was fishtailing and burning rubber on its tires. Not cool). I finally made it to OKC and had lunch, and while driving back to the highway was stopped in a neighborhood, “city-within-a-city” in OKC called Nichols Hills, whereby I was given a $79 ticket (okay: I was driving WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC, I live OUT OF STATE, was going 37 in a 25, and was pulled over 20 feet away from the 40 mph sign. COME ON). Left the officer, continued on my way to Duncan, and as I was entering Duncan, had an old man pull out in front of me, while I was going 60 on the highway, and was (barely) able to swerve and miss him. I was SO ready to get back to NYC by this point. But I couldn’t yet, because I still had one last bit of my vacation to go…

6. Hanging out with Brent in Dallas
My flight back to NYC was leaving from Dallas (I bought my roundtrip, NYC-Dallas flight, for $140! I KNOW!), which would’ve been fine – except I was suddenly without a way to get from Duncan to Dallas. I ended up taking Amtrak (yes, they have trains in that part of the country. Barely), and made it there earlier than planned. Once I arrived, Brent came and picked me up, and we were off. He lives right by Dallas’s gayborhood (Oaklawn), so we lunched there, then did the uber-nerd thing and saw Star Trek. On IMAX. On opening night. Yeah, I know. But it was awesome! Totally worth it. After that, back out in Oaklawn. We went to Sue Ellen’s, the one lesbian bar I know of in Dallas, and I was able to meet up with a girl I know there, someone I’d met 2 1/2 years earlier at an Indigo Girls concert in SF (random!). The next day Brent made me a hungover breakfast, and then drove me to the airport.

So, that was that. My Oklahoma/Texas adventure. It really was a great trip – but a lot of traveling-while-traveling, which meant I returned from vacation pretty damn tired. As soon as I returned, I had to jump straight into apartment hunting…but I’ll cover that in another blog post 🙂 (and I swear, it will be posted sooner than June!)

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Babies, Beaches, and Birthdays!

1 April, 2009 at 6:14 pm (Food, Travel, Weekend Update)

Yes, yes, I know. I haven’t blogged in AGES. I’ve been traveling a lot for work, and frankly not been in the bloggiest of moods! But that’s all changing now…and i have a whole month’s worth of blogs to catch up on.

So, lets start with a month ago. The last weekend of February I went to West Palm Beach, Florida to see Rachel and Lili, and their 7-month-old twin girls, Casey and Marley. It was so great! I hadn’t seen Rachel and Lili in five years (crazy!), and it was nice to catch up. It was a fairly low-key, homebody-ish weekend – which was EXACTLY what I wanted. It couldn’t have been better! Rachel and Lili claim the girls were fussy and just beginning teething, but I thought they were great. I also learned that it’s probably for the best that I live far away, because I would spoil them rotten. They stop crying when you hold them! And those smiles! How could I just let them lay there? Yeah, it was like that. But who could resist? I mean, look at these two!

Marley is on the left; Casey, on the right

Marley is on the left; Casey, on the right


Other than spoiling babies, we went to the beach (Lili caught fish, the rest of us chilled on the blanket)…
Check out that hair!

Check out that hair!


Rachel with Casey who was refusing to sleep

Rachel with Casey, who was refusing to sleep


I’d put a picture of the fish Lili caught, but the Rachel I’m related to would kill me…
We (we being Rachel and Lili) made a seafood feast…and I finally saw crabs being cooked while still alive.
Poor guy. But he sure was delicious!

Poor guy. But he sure was delicious!


We also played games, went to the library…like I said, low-key. And so fun. I can’t wait to go back! But don’t worry, girls – I’ll come visit even if you move to Texas 🙂

———————————————

The weekend after I returned from Florida, it was Robert’s birthday! He decided to do his birthday in…and make his own seafood feast. No complaints from me! We had mussels, shrimp, and lobster – and Tucker made a new friend!

Tucker and Lenny

Tucker and Lenny


Robert bought Lenny, a 2 1/2 pound behemoth, for the meal. And once again, I was educated to the ways of cooking shellfish. It seems that putting still-living lobsters into the boiling water is actually bad: they, well…they urinate when you put them into the water, and it changes the taste of the meat. (and Robert, feel free to correct me in the comments if I didn’t get that right!) So, what to do? You stab them square in the brain, and then you cook them. Note: watching a lobster stabbed in the head was much more traumatic than watching a crab being thrown into a pot. When Lenny was impaled I screamed like a girl. But the end result? Well, I’d never had lobster meat before – and it was delish 🙂
Lenny before...

Lenny before...


...and Lenny after.

...and Lenny after.

So, all-in-all, the first week of March was pretty fantastic! Much more happened in March, of course – but those posts will come later…

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Sitting, Waiting, Wishing in Phoenix

12 February, 2009 at 8:21 pm (This Can't Be Good, Travel)

So last week I was in Chicago…

Surprisingly close to BoysTown

Surprisingly close to BoysTown

…and this week my job has brought me to Phoenix. It’s been a quickie trip, so not much to report – except that apparently NYC had crazy winds today (confidential to NYC: 35 mph would be considered a light breeze in Stillwater, OK), so my flight is delayed. 3 1/2 hours delayed. On the plus side, this airport has free wifi! Shocking. So, here I am. Highlights from the trip:

– our hotel was near our office, both of which are in a nice part of Phoenix. However, this was next door to our hotel:

This makes me giggle; I have the maturity of a 12-year-old.

This makes me giggle; I have the maturity of a 12-year-old.

– Phoenix is surrounded by mountains, and you could see them from our office here (which, by the way, is MUCH nicer than our home office in NYC).

These looked closer in real life. And the building didn't seem so obtrusive.

These looked closer in real life. And the building didn't seem so obtrusive.

– Phoenix doesn’t do daylight savings time, so it doesn’t get dark til after 7:00 in February (!). Also, it’s really warm here. (Deserts! Who knew?) It wasn’t too warm while I was here – in the 60s; it was actually warmer in NYC yesterday. However, it IS already springtime here!

This was taken from a cab.  Not that you needed to know that.

This was taken from a cab. Not that you needed to know that.

So that’s that; in 6 1/2 hours (fingers crossed!) I’ll be home. For now, I’ll drink my overpriced beer and count down the minutes…only two hours to go…

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Dear Jet Blue T5 (aka JFK Terminal 5),

4 February, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Miscellaneous, Travel)

Thank you for being the best airport terminal I’ve ever traveled through. So many self-check-in kiosks! Free WiFi! And an appealing, modern interior! Even space for me to plug in my laptop, with an available touch-screen to order food and have it brought to me so I won’t have to cart around my bag! Not to mention that this is all before a flight that was inexpensive and provides personal DirectTV. Oh, T5, you’ve made my day so much better, I’ll even forgive you for that $9 turkey wrap I just bought (and picked up myself).

Yours in business travel geekdom,

Joey

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Conferencing in South Carolina

17 November, 2008 at 11:48 pm (Miscellaneous, This Can't Be Good, Travel)

I’m with Sandy at a Blackbaud Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. (note: Blackbaud is the company that makes the database we use to track our donors where I work, and part of Sandy and my job is to teach our fundraising staff how to use the database.)

So far, it’s been alright. Charleston is apparently a big tourist city, but I don’t get it. There’s really not much to do here, and the city isn’t all that beautiful (if you really need to vacation in the Carolinas, I suggest Charlotte). There’s a few shops, yes, but…eh. It’s definitely the Deep South, though…just this morning we were driving to the conference and heard the DJs on the radio telling a racist joke involving an Indian and Smallpox…sigh.

The only other thing to note is me whacking myself in the nose with the heavy part of my laptop charger. It’s not really worth taking the time trying to explain how that happened…but it did, and we needed to put something cold on it right away, just in case. Since we’re in a hotel we didn’t have ice…and then Sandy had this brilliant idea…

I'm endorsing no particular brand of soda for icing one's nose

Please note: I'm endorsing no particular brand of soda for icing one's nose


You have to give Sandy credit: she’s creative in a pinch!

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Getting Out the Vote in Philly

3 November, 2008 at 12:14 pm (2008 Election, Barack Obama, Politics, Travel, Weekend Update)

Yesterday, Rachel and I went to Philadelphia to canvas for Barack Obama. We went to about 400 houses, leaving door hangers that tell newly registered and registered-but-haven’t-voted-in-a-long-time Democrats where they can vote, and what different voting laws are.

When we were out, we didn’t talk to too many people (we were just leaving the door hangers!), but those we did talk to were pretty excited. However, I also learned how unaware some people are about the voting process. A 19-year-old thought she couldn’t register because she didn’t have the card they sent her when she registered. I told her that wasn’t true, explained what she needed…and this morning I was telling a coworker that, and it turns out her husband (a lawyer!) thought the same thing! So, for the 2-or-3 of you who read this that may not know, here’s a list of what you can use to go vote (taken from the Vote For Change website):

If you are a new voter who is registering by mail, you will be required to show identification when you go to vote for the first time. If you are already registered at the board of elections or a state agency, you should not have to show identification at the polls. It is advisable for all new voters to bring identification when voting for the first time. Acceptable IDs to vote are:

– Driver’s License or motor vehicles non-driver photo ID card
– Passport
– Government photo ID card, including public housing ID card and military ID card
– Other current and valid photo ID card, including student ID card
– Any ID specified by HAVA and New York State law as acceptable
– Utility bill
– Bank statement
– Paycheck
– Government check (Social Security, tax refund, military paycheck or paycheck stub)
– Other government documents with your name and address including, but not limited to, a voter registration card, hunting, fishing, or trapping license or firearm permit.

To find out where your polling place is, get directions to it, and find out other info about voting in your state, visit voteforchange.com.

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The Return to San Francisco

27 October, 2008 at 9:52 am (Travel, Weekend Update)

Finally, at long last, I’m blogging about the last few weeks. A non-political blog (you’re welcome, Robert!) I know, I know – everyone was just holding their collective breaths for this! Where to begin…

About three weeks ago, I went to Sonoma for work (we were told we were going to Napa, but they were wrong – not that there’s a big difference between the two, but still). Two of our “teams” (gotta love that cheesy corporate lingo) that have people working in four different cities all got together to actually work on projects together, plan for the 2009 fiscal year, etc. Fun stuff. They rented three different lodges for us to stay in, and the one I was in faced a river. It was quiet and relaxing, no cell phone service, in the middle of nowhere…needless to say, I was ready to get out of there after about six hours. Well, I was there a bit longer than six hours…after three nights in Sonoma – back to San Francisco!

Yeah, yeah, it's off-center...you try taking a picture from a car!

Yeah, yeah, it's off-center...you try taking a picture from a car!

While the rest of my “team” (there’s that word again…) headed back to NYC, I stayed behind. There was work I could do with our Bay area development staff, and my friend Michelle had a spare room where I could stay, so I thought, why not? Let’s hang around SF for a week. I hadn’t been back since I moved nearly two years ago, and I was curious. You know what they say about curiosity killing the cat, right?

Nah, it wasn’t that bad. Truth be told, though, I was really ready to get back to NY! When I lived in SF, someone told me that it was a “small town masquerading as a big city”. That seemed preposterous to me at the time, as San Francisco was so much more urban than Tulsa (the largest city I’d lived in to date). But I realize now that New York has totally ruined me for other cities. SF seemed so slow paced! And the city basically shut down around midnight. And don’t even get me started on the public transit there…

However, I shan’t bitch about SF. It is a beautiful city, and it certainly has a lot of perks. Who knows, maybe I’ll even live there again someday, when I finally tire of NY (i’m sure that will happen…eventually). And anyway, I did have fun the week I was there. Highlights:

Fleet Week I’m not a big Fleet Week fan; I could give a damn about the sailors, and the loud planes annoy me. But I was only there for the end of it, so three friends (hey, Michelle, Josie, and Rasha!) and I went to Fort Mason park to watch the air show my first full day in town. It was a beautiful day, and the park is nice and has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Granted, the day was more about the food/wine/conversation than the air show, but it was still a great time!

Cheap Drinks I was able to buy a round of drinks for three of us for $13. Enough said.

Ocean Beach San Francisco has a weird, late-season summer, and I was there to enjoy that. 80 degrees in SF – that rarely happens! And, the area by Ocean Beach is typically cool and foggy…but on the day I decided to go to the beach, it was actually warm and sunny. That afternoon in itself would have justified my staying in SF for so long!

Red Bull Soap Box Derby Yes, I know. It sounds cheesy and ridiculous. But the derby was happening my last day in the city, and it was another beautiful day, so it seemed like as good a reason as any to go sit in Dolores Park. And I have to say, it was actually a lot of fun! There were around 60,000 people at the park, and you had to watch everything happening on giant monitors – but it was a lot more fun than you’d imagine! (I tried to find a youtube video of all this, but there was nothing worth posting)

So, that’s that. My big return to San Francisco, complete. It was nice to go back – and nice that it was only for a vacation 🙂

I have more to tell…about Lyndsie and Kevin coming to visit, among other things! But that blog shall have to wait for later…my job expects me to come in at some point today…

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