Adventure, Dogs, Family, FUN!, Life, Memory Lane, New York City, Opinion, Overload, Photo Blog, Resolution, Road Trip, small joy, Social Media, South Bronx

The Hiatus

Thank the fucking stars that winter is, at last, over. For the most part, so is Spring. Although Springtime in New York City is generally a week of really great weather followed by either cold and rainy weather or hot and humid days that will never end because your office has yet to turn on the Air Conditioning. I read my last post, dated October 13, 2014, and wonder why the hell I was ever so excited for the end of summer 2014. I must also apologize, once again, for my absence. I had a few complaints from friends and their mom’s wondering if I might be dead. I am not dead, although after the past few cold, cold months, I feel a little corpse-like. With June upon us now I am basking in the hot, humid sun, getting ready to complain about different awful weather.

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I am cold just looking at this.

So, what have I been up to? October was an amazing month of visitors and travel. I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico (both destination wedding related). Captain Clam and I visited 5 airports in the span of 10 days that month. We were exhausted and happy from adventure and catching up with old friends and family. Plus, I got to see Northern California, and I cannot wait to get back!

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Pacific Coast Highway

November was another month of bustle, traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and celebrating my 33rd year. I am getting old. Fuck! Captain Clam and I adopted a foster dog, Nena, who slowly made us realize that we don’t want a dog, or probably children… eek!

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Hey! Watch your hands buddy!

December was a little more peaceful. We celebrated at home and cooked for about 13 friends on Christmas Day. We invented Bronx Fries, which is just essentially asparagus wrapped in bacon and scorched with garlic. We spent the New Year in my old Loft building with my good Friend Paul and his girlfriend, Ebonie.

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An extremely accurate representation of Ebonie & Paul from the Guest Book.

January is a month that I have forgotten most of. All I can remember was my New Year Resolution of replacing my mascara tube, which I have managed to procrastinate for 5 1/2 months. February is the worst month of them all, and this winter really gave it to us. If the temperature was above 20 degrees, I experience some sort of relief, like maybe I didn’t need to bundle up so much. But then the wind would blow and I’d immediately regret not wearing a butt scarf (essentially just a scarf that is tied around the butt).

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The First Day of Spring 2015, New York City.

At some point, we were able to find a home for a little kitten that our neighbor found. She had been smashed up a bit and needed some serious snuggling. Our friend Josh, who is the biggest softy ever, came by in the middle of the night, serenaded her with music on a broken guitar, and fell in love. He took her home that night and named her Prudence.

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Contrary to popular belief, Captain Clam and I are NOT an animal rescue!

During the winter, I became bored and switched my instagram name a zillion times. I settled on CommutersOnTheGreenLine, and have dedicated the majority of my posts to stalking strangers on the 4, 5, and 6 trains. Follow Me!

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February 19, 2015

In early March, I found myself shopping for a dress for an old friend’s funeral. That sucked more than I ever thought anything ever could possibly suck. The joy of March was driving down to MD to drop off the foster dog to her new owner, Rich. We (and by “we” I mean “the kitties”) finally regained control over the apartment. Hooray! We were also blessed with a trip to Wisconsin to visit the Captain’s Family Farm and B&B for his dad’s 70th Birthday. If you are ever in Wisconsin, in the little town of La Farge, please stop in and visit Trillium Cottage B&B. It is one of the most magical places I have ever been to and I can’t wait to get back there (they have miniature donkeys!).

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See? Magic!

May proved to be the busiest month yet, with almost every weekend spent out of town. Captain Clam and I went to Long Island for Mother’s Day and a spectacular family reunion where both of my sisters and their kids (and husbands) were gathered in one place, talking loudly with intense accents. At one point my dad pulled us aside and told us that my mom hasn’t looked this happy in a long time. I looked over to see her playing monkey in the middle with two of my nephews. She was giggling in her usual tickled fashion and was completely kicking their little butts at the game. She was genuinely, unabashedly happy.

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That is one Happy Momma!

The following weekend, one of my Best Pals since forever got married in Baltimore, so we road tripped out there and Airbnb’d it 2 blocks from where the Baltimore riots had taken place a few weeks earlier (Captain Clam and I are gluttons for adventure). Of course I cried at the wedding because I am a wimp, but Elyse BFF was certainly the prettiest bride since Cleopatra married Mark Anthony (or since J-Lo Married Marc Anthony…).

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Meet the Meyers!

I would also like to take this time to brag about what a hunk my Clam is in a suit!

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The cutest clam in town!

Memorial Day Weekend was spent in the woods camping at Clarence Fahnestock State Park, as an early Birthday Gift to the Clam. He’ll be 32 in a few weeks! The last weekend was spent prepping for a Jumble Sale that we have been organizing with some friends in our Community, presented by the South Bronx Yard Exchange and hosted by the Mott Haven Bar. The Sale coincides with the Mott Haven’s killer Brunch, so feel free to come by for the sale (June 6 & 7) and stay for some Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary Specials!

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Subliminal Message.

So, what’s coming up for these summer months? Well, June is filling up with the Jumble Sale, Shakespeare in the Park, Groupons for a Yankees Game, Clam’s Birthday, an illegal rooftop garden, and a bunch of other blog posts that I have had in the works for a very long time. As promised, Like a Truck Driver is set to be published within the next week or so, and I am working on another gem The Noise Hole to keep you entertained while you are supposed to be doing paper work or checking emails at your boring job. Early July boasts an epic camping trip in New Hampshire and Acadia Nation Park in Maine, so that should keep my brain from exploding for a little bit longer. Stay tuned!

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Adventure, Dogs, Family, FUN!, joy, Life, Love, Nephews, New York City, Nieces, Road Trip, Spring, Virginia

Road Trip: King George, VA

My biggest sister has a little slice of Horsie Heaven down in Va, where the Potomac River separates Maryland from Virginia. A few times a year, captain Clam and I hop on a Megabus and clunk our way  down to DC where Annie and Jeff pick us up in the middle of the night. Since being blessed with Dino Gadget (pictured way down below), we have abandoned the luxuries of the Megabus and decided to clunk down there at our own leisure.

The trip was planned for a few weeks, since we had been talking about heading down for a little R&R and Junk Shopping. We had visited my family the previous week and were bringing a little surprise down to VA. His name is Max.

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Maximus Spero Beuche

Friday was such a gross day, but we knew we wanted to spend an entire day in VA, and not have to worry about getting up early to make the trek. As I came home from work, I could tell how bad the weather would be based on how low the planes were coming into LaGuardia. It felt like you could just pull the aircraft out of the sky, which was kinda awesome.

We headed out around 7pm on Friday. And, as dictated by luck, the skies opened up as soon as we hit the NJ Turnpike. Between apocalyptic downpour and traffic from a “lane merge” it took much longer than expected to get anywhere. By the time we finally stopped to rest, we were about and hour and a half behind schedule. The line for starbucks was it’s own traffic jam, so I opted for Burger King coffee. I also purchased the BEST postcard for my parents. It had a giant red pepper on it. Who knew that New Jersey was known for it’s red peppers!

After the horror show that is the NJ TPKE finally ended, we zoomed over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and skirted towards Baltimore and through that cool little tunnel on 895A. The sky had started to clear and a big, delicious Waning Gibbous framed in storm clouds shone through, lighting the way for us. The moon looked like a giant flower petal in the sky, waiting to be plucked. The stars started coming out, too. It’s been too long since I have seen a star that isn’t an airplane.

There’s a funny thing about driving for so long at night. The dark tends to play tricks on tired eyes. We were cruising down 301 and I swore that a yield sign was a 7′ tall deer. It was moving and prancing and I panicked at the thought of it darting in from of the truck. But it was, seriously, just a sign rattling in the breeze. When I did see a deer, I pointed to it and asked the Captain if it was real. He said that he didn’t see anything. I am questioning my sanity.

We rolled down Annie’s 1/2 mile long dirt driveway in the middle of the woods just a little before 2am. Max was amazing in the car and snuggled with the Clam most of the way. Of course, I got to drive the full 7 hours, which was a first for me. I was exhausted and somehow ridiculously proud for making the entire ride behind the wheel. We went  to bed immediately and slept like rocks sleeping in a rock pile.

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The Beuche Farm, King George, VA

We “slept in” until about 8:15, and woke up to a screaming nephew and a dog that really had to go pee.  Ann was out on a trail ride, so my niece offered to drive us around to some of the local antique malls so we could find some junk to bring back to New York City. If you read my post entitled Sixteen Years Ago Today, you will understand how close my niece and I are. She is just so cool. Jeff took the top and windows of her Bright yellow Jeep (name: Jessica), and we flew all over King George with a 16 year old at the wheel. She is actually a very good driver, just needs to be a little more patient when shifting into 4th gear.

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Teenager at the wheel!

Our first stop was Wal-Mart. I don’t usually patronize WM because I don’t believe in how they treat their employees, there are no WM’s in the City, and Captain Clam is banned for life. I reluctantly went anyway… and spent $80… on clothing. Who am I?

Our next stop was the Discount Tobacco Center in the Wal-Mart parking Lot. Captain Clam can smoke under water. Crazy, right?

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Next, Gabby took us up and down 301 to all the antique shops. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but had our hopes set on coming home with some sort of sofa or settee for our living room. Our Fancy Futon needed to be moved to the second bedroom to accommodate some house guests the following weekend (although Captain Clam and I ended up sleeping on it), and we wanted to set up a nice sitting area, since we don’t have a TV and futons are for college kids.

We ended up at A Unique House Antique Mall, where we perused the endless booths of bric-a-brac, junk, antiques, collectibles, etc. We were also fortunate enough to go there on the 3rd Saturday of the month, which meant they had an outdoor flea market and some bad ass barbecue. We spied a few items that we wanted to purchase, and some we might be interested in next time, if they are still available.

After three hours of browsing, we thanked Jessie the Jeep for our amazing new windblown hair-do’s, hopped back in Dino-Gadget, and set out to find some Road-side BBQ and discuss the goodies that we wanted to drag home with us. Of course, we headed back to the antique mall, but all of the food was gone (gasp!). So we popped in to this Crazy Cajun place to get some grub. Captain Clam ordered something or other, which was made from a frozen pork Chop, and I ordered a BBQ Rib Sammy bathed in the House Sauce. The Captain’s  meal tasted like a flash fried frozen patty, and mine tasted like pure piggy heaven. We topped it off with Lemonade flavored purely by chemicals and some Cajun fries (which were delicious). And while the Clam pulled the Gadget around, I laid on the grass and took pictures of the paper-machete pig out front.

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The food did us good, even if half of it was kinda yuck. We U-turned a few times and found ourselves back at the Antique Mall purchasing an old Church Pew and a Mid-Century Night Table. Jackpot! These items now grace our Living room where the Futon used to sit.

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Some awesome finds, Koali, and Mr. T.

Thank goodness for Pick-up Trucks! After a long day of junk shopping, we returned to the farm, ready for a nap. Instead, we got a Horse Party. I had prepared well for the Preakness event (or so I thought) by purchasing a horse print dress. What I forgot was a giant, gawdy hat. At some point, I realized that I had forgotten my ENTIRE make-up bag (and also neglected to pack socks or t-shirts for Le Captain), so I had to use Gabby’s goods. And suddenly I was 16 years old again getting ready for an awesome party. I had washed my hair again (since it was so windblown I couldn’t get a brush through it), and just moseyed on up to the mirror with the other gals and started playing dress up.

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Horse Party Dress.

The guests began arriving and I helped my sister set up food… and then I helped myself to the bar… and then I helped myself to the yummy offerings of their guests (pumpkin cookies? yes,please!). The race lasted less than 2 minutes, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all of the carrying on that the guests were doing. Yelling. Hooting. Hollering. I couldn’t believe just how much they were all into it. I mean Horse enthusiasts… it’s a thing!

So after the fanatics calmed down, Captain Clam and I roused everyone into collecting firewood for an impromptu Bon-Fire. Whenever I visit my VA family, I insist on a fire. We then just sit around, play with fire, listen to  my brother in-law’s political tirades (this particular tirade was about how Global Warming is fake), drink beer, and just shoot the shit. Captain Clam, for being a sea creature, is particularly good at lighting fires. He was quite diligent in stoking the flames and inspiring the teenagers to go get wood and kindling.

We stayed out watching the flame lick the night until half past 2. I’m pretty sure us grown ups had a little too much to drink, but not enough to pay dearly in the morning. I woke up to a pancake breakfast, just like my mom’s: thin and buttery instant pancakes fresh off the griddle. Any hangover was sure to be diverted by all that magic.

After breakfast, we piled into my sister’s new monster truck and headed off for more antiquing. We visited some new places that I had never been to and scouted all sorts of junk that I wanted but couldn’t fit in the truck.

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Makes for some interesting jewelry making, eh?

Then we headed off to Colonial Beach for some ice cream, driftwood, baby duck sightings, and window shopping. As tradition would have it, we popped into Nancy’s Ice Cream Shop for some sweets. Lo and Behold, standing in front of us was the following:

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Annie gets photo bombed pretty hard.

This woman stood there for about 5 minutes with her hands down the back of her pants. I know it’s mean to post this (as I have been told by some of my Facebook friends), but seriously. What the hell?

Now, here is another wonder… it’s my brother-in-law smiling. This never happens:

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See, he CAN smile!

Well, after all that commotion, I needed the feeling of sand beneath my toes. The lot of us headed to the River. I wasted no time in removing my shoes and digging my dogs into the sand. Captain Clam and I read each others minds brilliantly and started collecting uniquely shaped pieces of driftwood.

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We headed down to the pier and found a “raft” of baby ducks. They were so little and cute and completely cautious of us.

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After all that fun, we headed into the local Pottery Shop to steal a plastic bag for our driftwood bounty and check out the wares. It was nice to see the pottery items, as well as the photography and art pieces. There were also some cool driftwood sculptures, and loose pieces of driftwood for sale. We ended up spending $2 on a note card to send along to my parents (which I still have  yet to mail since I am staggering this card with the postcard from New Jersey). Then I got to take a picture of these faces::

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Tyler! ❤

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Gabby! ❤

After our beach adventure, we ventured back to the homestead for what would be our last meal of dried out leftovers from the night before. We kissed Max goodbye, who looked like he was so sad, yet so happy, and headed down the long driveway for the journey back to the greatest city in the world.

We hit a Dunkin’ Donuts to fuel our exhausted bodies and saw this in the garbage can:

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huh?

All was well until we hit the Turnpike. As usual, New Jersey has the magic of a toilet bowl on taco night. Captain Clam almost made the entire drive back, but gave up once dusk hit, so I finished the final leg of the journey.

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Captain Clam gettin’ his road trip on.

We did run into this:

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Hanging Tough in NJ.

which made part of the traffic through hell only slightly amusing. We finally re-entered our home-state, reluctantly paying a ghastly toll on the GWB. All we wanted to do was get to sleep, but we had nearly forgotten about all of the stuff needing to be carried up five flights of stairs.

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Dino Gadget and our Treasures.

We were so exhausted that we couldn’t get the damn church pew up the stairs. I went up to the building Super’s apartment to beg for help, but no one was able to  help except his wife, a 60-something grandma ANIMAL! She pretty much single handedly dragged that beast up the stairs. I mean Captain Clam was there to help carry the heaviest part and all, and I was supervising, doing my best to hold up the middle of the bench and boost morale, of course.

We finally made it. It was a little after mid-night when we pulled our shoes off and collapsed into our bed. Exhausted but happy, we bid the day goodbye. Of course we were a little sad about leaving Max with his new family, but we were happy that he was finally happy. Now, if we could only learn to take a proper selfie, all the world would be right.

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Another Captain Clam and StephaJane selfie fail.

 

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Adventure, Food, FUN!, Life, New York, Road Trip, Spring

Road Trip: Beacon, NY

How quickly things are changing.

A few weeks after Captain Clam and I moved, we started talking about buying a pick-up truck. We didn’t want anything fancy, just a little clunker that could make it to Virginia and back a half a dozen times a year. We started stalking Craigslist for a few days just to daydream about what our options were. Then the dream faded and we got on with trying to finish organizing our new apartment. Eventually, we forgot about the truck, but the wish was already released to the universe.

At some point, my dad called asking us if we wanted his old pick-up. And just like that, we are drivers again. We named our Little Mazda “Dino Gadget”, and have been whipping all over the place lately (especially the laundromat). A few weekends ago, Le Clam scrawled an invitation on a torn envelope. He wanted to take me to the DIA: Beacon and stay overnight in a hotel yet-to-be-chosen (his treat). Our first road trip had been planned!

My first course of action was to go shopping. I needed an awesome springtime outfit for our 2 day extravaganza. So I bought 4 different outfits and 6 pairs of shoes. A girl needs to be prepared! I “modeled” my clothes for the Captain and he said I looked like I was from Connecticut. What an outrage! I wore crazy Chevron Shoes and green eyeshadow, just in case anyone thought I was a CT resident (I am still insulted and completely grossed out that he even said that).

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The road out of the city was almost painless. We got turned around before we even made it back to the apartment with last minute necessities (like cat food and kitty litter). Once were were all set, there was one more small directional panic, and then we were off.

Once we reached Westchester, we cheered out hearts out! We had made it out of the city on our first grand adventure. As we headed North (avoiding all tolls) the scenery started to change; the air became fresher and warmer. We followed the hand written directions from the Clam, and eventually ended up on Route 9D. The scenery was unbelievable. I had almost forgotten what the mountains and the sky looked like. My ears popped like crazy and we cheered yet again as we entered Beacon, NY on the back roads.

Then we exited Beacon and headed through all sorts of other lovely towns in search of a cheap hotel. We ended up on Route 9, and found that this was a place that looked like it could be anywhere in America. Strip malls with chain stores and a ton of car dealerships full of cars that will never be sold. I hate places like that.

Low and behold, we finally found a hotel. You would think that a place with the name “Mercury Grand Hotel & Convention Center” would be, well, grand. It was everything but. The place was falling apart. I was almost excited about there being a bar and kitchen, since I have never eaten at such an establishment at a hotel before, but the bar was closed (GASP!). The place looks like something that would have been nice in it’s heyday. We booked a room for the night and wandered down a hall lined with books and large empty conference rooms. It was as if the place itself were the ghost.

And there it was. Room 217. What a fucking beauty. It was a double queen with typical hotel art. The bed closest to the door had been made rather poorly, and I wondered if someone had taken a nap in it on their lunch break and had forgotten to straighten the comforter. The room was alright, but had some gross stuff on the ceiling above the shower. The toilet was about 8″ from the floor and tucked under the sink, which is okay by me, but Captain Clam has long legs. Eek! Nevertheless, the room was livable for one night.

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Sleep in me…. just for one night-prepaid.

After we dropped our bags off, we hopped back into Dino Gadget and sped off towards our big date at the DIA: Beacon. We snacked on $14 Turkey Sandwiches and $12 hummus while drinking $4 water from fancy glass bottles (which we kept for a future art project, of course). It was more expensive to have lunch than to get into the museum. Next time, we bring a picnic with us. And a tent.

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This place is cool. The museum is situated in an old Nabisco Printing factory near the Hudson. The gallery spaces are huge and roomy, allowing for 360 degree visuals of the sculptures. The first gallery we walked into was inspiring, with twisted metal pieces by John Chamberlain (check it HERE & HERE). That’s where we encountered THEM. The know-it-all-artsy-fartsy-late-20-something-art-history-minors. Those people who just don’t let you enjoy the museum. For me, a museum is like a library. You should keep your mouth shut and absorb what is in front of you in peace.

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Captain Clam at peace.

There were, however, a few large groups with professors trolling about. Those groups were interesting to eaves drop on, especially at the Sol LeWitt exhibit. One of the installations has inspired a little project for the wall above our bed. Anyway, being around the field trip crew made me realize just how much I miss school and being surrounded by creative people and new ideas.

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Fred Sandback String Installation

Captain Clam and I adventured all over the museum and grounds. We made sure to kiss inside each of Richard Serra‘s overwhelmingly huge metal sculptures and explore the simple elegance of a string connected from floor to ceiling. It was important to walk around and view the pieces from all angles. I have got to be honest. Some of the art was crap. It wasn’t even aesthetically pleasing. Some of it was just penises. It made me uncomfortable just how many penises were in this one piece. Where did they come from? Who did they belong to? Why were they at all? I just didn’t get it.

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Penis Art

Crappy art is not uncommon, especially with Modern Art. A lot of the time art isn’t about the visual aspect of a piece. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the piece, but rather the viewer or the artist’s process. Like, maybe they made it with their eyes closed while they were drunk or sad? Who knows. Modern Art as pure expression is hit or miss for me, and I assume for most people.

After 2 hours, we hit the gift shop and bought the mandatory DIA: BEACON post card to send my parents (as I promised them post cards from all of our adventures with Dino Gadget). Then we gallivanted around Beacon and perused a few shops along the longest Main Street I have ever driven down! We popped into a bunch of junk and antique shops just to browse. Not looking for anything in particular can be a dangerous game to play. We ended up buying a $5 white marble doorknob with the hopes of replacing the gear shift knob in Dino Gadget. Not too bad of a price for a quick and easy project.

We eventually went into Hudson Beach Glass, which was having an artist reception in their upstairs gallery space. The space featured four artists, whose works complimented each other quite well. We wandered around a bit, pretending to be hoity-toity, unsure if we were being pretentious or if it was just everyone else.

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Since it was too early for wine (as if that is such a thing), we went back to the glass gallery to see if we could afford any of the beautiful pieces on display. Some of the pieces were quite exquisite. Even Captain Clam was commenting on some tall and sexy vases. If I had $230 to start a new collection of something, this piece might be my inspiration:

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Dodeka Bowl

Captain Clam had a great idea for the next part of our adventure: Newburgh. He read somewhere that Newburgh is the sister City to Beacon, just on the other side of the Hudson. Apparently, crossing the Hudson to Newburgh is like crossing the train tracks to the bad part of town. We live in the South Bronx and kinda understand what a rough neighborhood might feel like. Newburgh was a little scarier. As Captain Clam is quoted as saying, “Newburgh is like being in Tijuana on a bad donkey night.” I have never felt so uneasy in a place. Perhaps we made a wrong turn somewhere. Nevertheless, we got the fuck out of there as soon as we could. Newburgh sucked, as did the surrounding area. After we successfully fled, Captain Clam told me that he just wanted to go there so we could see the view from the bridge. I made him pay the toll back.

After a small stint in a place I hope to never go again, we decided that we needed to eat. We found a “mexican” restaurant with live music. Cascadas Mexican Restaurant was certainly not authentic, but it was good enough. All I can say is, thank the stars for BEER! The food was so bland that it was hard to believe the restaurant thought it was making Mexican Food. Regardless we ate until we couldn’t move and then adventured off to buy discount Beer and Tobacco at the Discount Beer and Tobacco Center.

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I have never seen so much beer in my life. They had every kind of beer in the universe (well, except for the one beer that I wanted). So we picked up way too much beer and a package of cigarettes, as well as 2 lotto tickets. I have since misplaced the lottery tickets, which makes me certain that they are million dollar winners.

Upon arriving back to the Hotel and Convention Center, we settled into our cozy cave and I went in search of ice. The ice machine was from 1972 and did not work. Of course I stood there holding the button for a minute before giving up and heading for the front desk. I don’t normally go to the front desk to complain, but I also don’t like to drink warm beer. As I approached the counter the gal in charge said “I LOVE your shoes! Do you need ice?” What!? The Chevron Shoes were a success!! It was now clear that I was not from Connecticut.

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Creek View Suite.

While waiting for her to return, I noted a giant leak in the ceiling. The entire ceiling was covered in dark orange water spots, and the carpet had old stains on it from previous damage.  I thought, “what the fuck happened here?” She returned and  handed me the bucket of ice and I asked her “Are you renovating the hotel?” She laughed and said “Oh no. The hotel is actually foreclosed and owned by a bank. They are just waiting for someone to purchase it.” I wish I could remember the joke I cracked, because it was awesome and we laughed and laughed…. sigh.

I returned to our room 20 minutes after I departed for the ice machine. My original plan had been to retrieve enough ice to cover a large portion of the bathtub so we could ice down all of our beer. Of course now I had a tiny bucket of ice and too many beers. We thought the garbage can might be a good cooler, but it was so disgusting! So we opted for a few beers in the bucket and the rest in a plastic bag with some ice.

Then we  proceeded to drink. We played a drinking game to a news program covering the Missing Malaysian Flight. We drank whenever anyone said “Ping” or “Black Box.” Needless to say, the beer disappeared rather quickly. Looking back on it, I do believe that game may have been a little insensitive.

After a few beers, we decided to rearrange the furniture. It was a great idea that quickly backfired. After we moved the desk and lamp and chair, we discovered that when we turned the heater on, we disturbed the stink bug family that was living inside. There were stink bugs EVERYWHERE. Ok, I am lying. There were only about 3 or 4. But still. It was gross. We quickly moved our suitcase off the other bed and checked anywhere else there might be bugs. After monitoring their activities for half an hour, we realized they were probably just as scared as we were. Or they were dead.

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The next morning, we woke up refreshed and happy that some of the beer never made it to our lips. The shower was just like home, with irregular water temperatures and varying pressure. We packed up our belongings (beer and all) and headed to the dining area for our free continental breakfast. We went to the food service area and there it was: a Waffle Machine. It was so awesome. I made my own waffle at a bank owned continental breakfast!

So we feasted on free breakfast and checked out. I felt bad about stealing the toiletries, but it is a tradition for all hotel patrons, so I did it anyway. We headed back to Beacon to peruse the Sunday Flea Market behind the post office on Main Street. What fun! We bought a whole bunch of crap that we didn’t need (including a mask, a wooden box, a jump rope, some stained glass, a compound miter saw, and a pewter whale key chain that reads “I ❤ Whales”). We must have gone into Rite Aid to get Cash back at least three times.

We eventually wandered in to this amazing little shop Lord of the Strings, where we met the proprietor, John Vergara. He was one of the most interesting people I have ever met. His insights were smooth and important. He talked to us about how he got involved in making musical instruments, how precision was important in all parts of life, and how mistakes need to be made so they can be lessons in learning. He was much deeper than I can articulate, but you get the point.

John Vergara, luthier

John Vergara, Luthier http://www.johnvergaramusic.com/

 

A few minutes of chatting made it quite clear the we were not from Beacon. We told him we live in the South Bronx, which is apparently where he is from. He actually grew up about 5 blocks from where we currently live. What are the odds? We finally excused ourselves, as he looked very intent on getting back to his beautiful woodworking.

On our journey down the back roads, we came across this quaint little furniture shop that we just had to visit. By the time we had driven by it 3 or 4 times, we knew a few markers that indicated we were almost there. Most of the markers, however, were dead animals. If you see the dead deer, you’re almost there, but if you pass the splattered raccoon, you have gone too far.

At last, the deer directed us to At Home in the Woods, this great little country furniture showroom. Captain Clam and I are self proclaimed furniture nerds, which made this place a tiny nook of heaven. We felt the need to have to buy something, so we opted for the $11 cutting board. It was on sale.

Beacon and her surrounding towns were quite charming (except Newburgh, of course), but we were ready to move on…. or shall I say up? We headed towards Bear Mountain, hoping to get a bumper sticker for Dino Gadget. We headed around the loop and up the mountain. We went higher and higher until we could drive no more. And what a sight! Part of the drive was a tiny bit scary, since I thought we might fly off the mountain at some point, but it was all worth the fear. We weren’t able to stop at the gift shop because $8 is too much to spend to park long enough to go buy a $5 sticker. No thanks! The bumper stick was not meant to be.

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After a successful drive up and down, we started to head home. We kept to the scenic route, hoping to find a cute little somewhere for lunch. We found THIS cute little place in Peekskill, which boasted a zillion Craft Beers and a delicious looking menu. Clam wanted a burger and I opted for a grilled cheese. After what seemed like forever, we received our food. My sandwich looked amazing, but Captain Clam opened his burger, and the entire patty was made of beets. BEETS! I still have no idea why he ordered it (he claimed he thought is was just going to be a topping). The Captain HATES beets in mass quantity. Since I don’t mind them (even though I wanted a grilled cheese since I saw the sign for Craft Beer), I took one for the team and traded lunches.

At first the burger was alright, mixed with goat cheese and a little homemade honey mustard on the side. Then I almost threw up. It was just too much beet! I hated it. I stole some grilled cheese while the Clam as blinking. It would have not been such a bad experience if we could have actually had a few beers, but one of us had to drive and it would have certainly not been fair to the other. Of course having to eat the beet burger wasn’t fair, but there would be beers in our immediate future. So I suffered.

We continued on the scenic route, not knowing our way home. We kept the Hudson to our right, knowing full well that the River would bring us safely back to the Bronx. Ultimately we made it to Yonkers, which is not the coolest place to be on a Sunday evening, but we were almost home and were exhausted from our weekend adventure. We finally found the highway, and were climbing the stairs to the homestead in no time.

The weekend felt so long. It was a perfect weekend, with weather in the upper 60’s. The trees had yet to bloom, but it made way for the imagination. I learned a lot about people. While everyone was nice, most people were so self-involved and important. I kept thinking, “Wow, I really dislike most people.” And that might be true, even if I don’t truly believe it. Captain Calm and I would definitely go back to Beacon, NY. I think we might even stay in the same little shit hole, requesting room 217, just for fun. And now to go find those scratch offs. I am feeling lucky.

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