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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Hi friends.  I know it’s been quiet on the blog front, and that is due to a couple of reasons.

1. It is hot.  I don’t do well in extreme weather.  I am a puddle.  Could we somehow rig it so that the world remains at a constant 75 degrees out?

2. It’s summer!  I have better things to do than sit around and blog.  It’s called LIFE, people.

3. This is sort of going on in the same vein as 2, but I’m going on vacation on Saturday.  Because it’s summer, I deserve it, and I want to.

Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get a post from the paradise that is called Long Beach Island (please see my other Jersey-centric post for more info on that).  But more likely than not I”ll be stuff my face with seafood and beer, shopping for summer clothes, and attempting to tan my pale bod without getting 3rd-degree burns (we all have our dreams).  Meaning, no time for typing and being witty.

So this really is just a post warning you that I won’t be posting in the next week or so…

Oh wait!  There is another reason for me posting today:

To Wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the Best Mother in the History of the Planet!

Want another list? Okay!  Here’s why:

1. She has 5 children, and she never forgets any of their names.

2. OK so maybe she confuses names, but definitely never forgets them.

3. She is a very talented art lady!  She paints!  She sculpts!  She makes jewelry!  Which I then steal!

4. She is an expert Finder of Things.  You know the type.  “Mom, do you know where –insert missing item here- is?”  “Oh yeah, I saw it in the family room, underneath the coat rack, to the left of the TV.  It was under 4 winter coats and a couple of magazines.”  AND BOOM.  IT’S THERE.  Magic.

5. She was always supportive, no matter how weird our interests got:  Okay Mary, you want to go to summer camp at the local historical site and dress up like a colonial person?  GO for it, girl!  You are a total freak but I’m okay with it!

6. Sometimes, she just gave up on doing the ‘right’ parental thing, and let us do what we wanted.  Way to pick you battles, Mom (I’m looking at you, little brother who would only eat hot-dogs for the entire 5th year of his life).

7. She knows how to do holidays.  Santa tracks on the roof at Christmas.  Easter baskets & Valentine’s Day candy in the mail during college years.  Always getting the gift you wanted (Little Mermaid sleeping bag…enough said).

8.  She is a baby-whisperer.  They love her, she loves them, it’s a beautiful thing.  This I am holding onto for the future, when I have brats of my own, because they will inevitably be terribly behaved, and I will hold them out to her like, “FIX IT, MOM.” And she will.

I could go on.  And on and on.  But I think you get the point.  Suffice it to say that I am not exaggerating when I say that she is the best mom on the planet.  Sorry guys.  She wins.

Okay, I’d say this is officially the most rambling post I’ve done so far.  The crazy had to come out sometime.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

(See what I did there?)

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I am a big fan of holidays (I mean, who isn’t?).  Give me a nice T-giving, a cozy snowed in Christmas…even the bush league holidays make me smile.  Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, President’s Day, I love you all!

It’s not just because these days occasionally coincide with days off (but that certainly is a big big part of it).  I just like how happy everyone gets, how festive the atmosphere becomes, how suddenly special a random Tuesday is.

But there is a flip side.  The dreaded over-hyped holiday.  Example A: July 4th.

Listen, I love the ole U S of A  as much as the next person.  Apple pie and baseball and corn fields and Bruce Springsteen, hooray!  It’s not what this holiday is celebrating, necessarily (Freedom! Patriots!  AMERICA!).  It’s the way people treat it.

I don’t mean to sound like a 4th of July Grinch, but the stupid day hasn’t even gotten here yet and I’m already Independence-day’d OUT…beacuse people have been talking about it for the last MONTH.  What to do for the 4th?  What are the plans?  Where are you going?  Shore? Mountains? City?  How are you getting there? What are you doing?  Who are you hanging out with? Where are you seeing fireworks? Who’s BBQ’ing? What are you wearing?

AND ON. AND ON.  AND ON.  FOOOREVVVVVERRRRRR (instead Sandlot slo-mo voice here).

It’s the same with Halloween and New Years.  So much hype. So much planning and agonizing over what to do and what would make this the most EPIC TIME EVER.  Argh.  It makes me want to puke red, white, and blue.  Because you know what’s going to happen (or at least, I know).  You’ll do exactly what you did last year because that’s ‘tradition.’  You’ll hang out with the same friends you hang out with all the time…cause they’re your friends, duh.  You’ll get a retarded sunburn and drink lots of beer and eat lots of meat and set things on fire and watch them explode, cause what’s more American than all that?

Me personally, I’ll be going to Duxbury, Massachusetts, virtually the cradle of patriotism.  It rates off the charts on pure American-ness, according to my personal mathematically derived rating scale.

– Historical buildings and homes (+1)

– picturesque beach on the majestic Atlantic (+3.5)

– LOTS of trees and even a Cranberry bog or two (+4 for the bogs)

– Permission to drive your giant gas-guzzling SUV onto said beach for tailgating purposes (+6)

– Statue of Myles Standish benevolently overlooking the entire town (+50) (Miles Standish is like the patron saint of Duxbury.  Everyone loves him.  Not sure why.)

– Home of the Island Creek Oyster Company, purveyors of the finest bivalves on the East Coast (and quintessential American snack). (+65 because I LOVE oysters)

– Quite possibly the most intense concentration of Croakies, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Madras, and boat shoes I’ve ever seen. (+25)

– Annual 4th of July parade that involves vintage vehicles, girl scout troops, firemen, people dressed up in various past war regalia, candy throwing, and, once upon a magical time, my boyfriend’s band (he was the lead singer obviously.  Two words: stage. presence.)  (+100)

It is so classic New England Americana.  H brought a friend who’d grown up partly in the Ukraine and partly in NYC last year for the 4th, and he was flabbergasted.  He simply could not believe that people actually do live like this.  But that’s just how they roll in Duxbury, MA.

*Disclaimer for all my Duxbarian readers: I love Dux.  I love the parade.  Please don’t hate me.  I would very much like to return to your town in the future without being ostracized.

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Confession time: I worry a lot.  About everything.

That’s probably an understatement.  I worry a TON.  It’s my favorite activity, other than sleeping, or eating.  It’s exhausting and I can’t help it and I don’t even notice I do it, most of the time.

I went to Boston this weekend and since I don’t have a car (hint hint, mom & dad…25th b-day present!) I took a bus.  That’s right.  A BUS.  It was my first bus ride EVER, which is pretty impressive since apparently the Northeast Corridor is primo bus-traveling territory.

It wasn’t the dreaded Chinatown bus that I took, but rather the very nice and clean and harmless Megabus.  Nevertheless, my worry over getting myself on said bus kicked in approximately 6 days before I even had to leave.  Example phone conversation with H, on Monday (bus departure time: Friday, 4:50pm).

Me: But I don’t know where it departs.

H: so look at the website.  It will tell you.

Me: BUT I don’t know what time I should leave my office or how early I have to get there or what I have to do once I get there or if I have to print my ticket or an electronic ticket is okay.

H: …

Me: AND WHAT IF I CAN”T FIND THE BUS AND IT LEAVES WITHOUT ME THEN WHAT.

H: (can’t even get a word in edgewise)

Me: AND IT”S DOUBLE-DECKER, YOU KNOW.  WHAT IF IT CRASHES AND I GET CRUSHED OR SOME CRAZY PERSON IS ON THERE WITH ME AND STARTS CUTTING OFF PEOPLE”S HEADS LIKE HOW THAT HAPPENED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.  REMEMBER THAT?!?!

I won’t go on, cause I think you get the point.  I didn’t even get any comfort from my stupid boyfriend.  All I got was an “are you serious right now?” and a prompt adios.  He’s experienced my worrying before…he knows there’s nothing he can do to stop it, and it probably doesn’t matter what he says anyway.  I’ll still worry.

So Friday rolled around, and by this point my worry had climbed up to about an 11 on a scale of 1-10.  It didn’t help that a quick last-minute internet search brought up frightening reviews and horror stories having to do with no A/C, an incompetent driver, a broken-down bus, and pee smells.  It was official: my worry had turned into anxiety.

Anxiety is a fun word that I’ve started to throw around with abandon lately.  Don’t know what to make for my office summer picnic? ANXIETY.  Sad that H travels and I am left home alone? ANXIETY.  Hear a scary noise in the middle of the night? ANXIETY.  ANXIETY.  ANXIETY.

It’s awesome.  H, I think, especially enjoys that I’ve gained a new interest in psychiatric self-diagnosis (thank you, WebMD!).

Anyway: the bus.  I arrive with plenty of time to spare.  Time enough, in fact, to make a last-minute Starbucks trip (why I thought caffeine would help my mindset at that point I have no idea.  Hello, jittery!).  Momentarily distracted by my iced chai-tea latte, I start wandering around the vicinity of Penn Station.  And suddenly I realize that the departure point, which I so meticulously noted on a post-it, is sitting not in my bag, but back on my desk, 35 minutes downtown.

PANIC.ANXIETY.HELP I’M LOST.

Disclaimer: Penn station is where every single bus on the face of the planet departs.  It is a bus orgy.  There are buses on every corner.

As my anxiety-hives start to appear and my heart stats to pound I arbitrarily pick a corner and a bus that looks promising.  I linger near it, trying to look casual.  It is now 4:35.  I see no sign for Megabus, no lines, no nothing.  I am terrified.

Suddenly by God’s grace I spy a woman reading a piece of paper that has the Megabus logo emblazoned on the top.  It takes all my willpower not to hug her.  Instead, I surreptitiously run-walk after her and follow this stranger approximately 3 blocks away to where I am actually supposed to be.  Joy!  The giant two-decker mega bus is sitting waiting for me….

And 100,000 other people.

Here’s the thing.  Megabus departs not IN Penn Station, but on a random sidewalk adjacent to Penn Station.  There are buses going to not only Boston, but to Philly, to DC, to Baltimore…pretty much every city on the East Coast.  There is no organization to speak of.  A destination is announced and there is a mad rush towards the bus door.  Luggage flying.  Sweat-droplets dropping.  Children crying.  Oh, and it was 800 degrees out.

Needless to say my anxiety didn’t dissipate, but instead grew.  After checking with some conveniently non-English speaking fellow passengers I found myself at the very tail end of an extremely ridiculously long line for the bus to Boston (maybe.  I wasn’t positive.  It was an educated guess).  My thought process went something like this as I made my way down to the end:

Oh, this isn’t so bad…wait…it keeps going…wait…it’s still not at the end…WAIT OMG HOW AM I GOING TO GET ON THIS BUS I’LL BE STRANDED HERE FOREVER AND I’LL NEVER GET THERE AND MY WEEKEND IS RUINED AND I HATE MEGABUS AND STARBUCKS AND TRAVELING IN GENERAL.

I am not exaggerating.  Thoughts of this nature actually go through my head.  And apparently, it’s not normal.  Who knew.

Anyway to cut this story short (because who wants to read about my psychotic bus worries) I made it on the bus, it didn’t crash, and I didn’t get brutally murdered by a fellow passenger.  It also didn’t smell like pee.  I made it Boston and had a great weekend with my dear sister.  The end.

…until July 4th rolls around.  And I brave the bus again.

Now who wants to write me a prescription for some Prozac?

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