Friday, May 27, 2005

Opening Weekend

Silver Gull Club
Originally uploaded by jlyn1267.
It's that time of year again - opening weekend at the beach club. I always enjoy opening weekend at Silver Gull Club, because it's really not a beach weekend at all, but something else entirely.

It is almost always too cold for the beach on Memorial Day weekend, and I find that its rainy and cloudy on many of them anyway. Yet we flocked to the club because its opening weekend. You throw open your cabanas, your lockers, you smell the ocean for the first time in nine months. You remember the uneven feeling of walking on cold sand.

We sit up on the patio, in sweatshirts and sweatpants. My family, the Kress family, the Prusak family. The wind blows cold. But we don't care. We drink wine, eat cheese and crackers and Philly Fluff cake! (don't ask). They hire these oldie doo wop bands to play, so you end up listening to "There's A Moon Out Tonight" all weekend, while we laugh and toast and try to stay warm.

Welcome back to the beach club everybody. Summer has officially begun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Jenn & Beth go country

So I went to visit Beth in Allentown this weekend - always a delight and a pleasure. On these visits we'll sometimes make it a point to try a new bar or restaurant, as was the case with this past weekend.

We ended up going to this bar called "Montana Wild". And boy was it hilarious. It was a country music bar, complete with line dancing, people wearing Stetson and cowboy boots, Western saddle bar stools, and a bonafide mechanical bull, surrounded by a puffy red boxing ring of sorts.

I have to say - as far away as I feel from this type of culture, the evening was quite entertaining. The line dancing is really interesting - singles dancing in the middle, and couples whirling around on the outer circle. All of them new the dances for each song, some of them complicated stepping routines - but everyone looked like they were having fun. I always enjoy watching people who know how to dance - especially from a Western saddle barstool. Then when you get bored with the dancing, you can watch drunk people ride the mechanical bull! They climb on with big smiles, grab on with one hand and raise the other high in the air. They spin and get jerked up and down until the bull is spinning and bucking so fast that they go flying across the ring and into the red puffy wall. Great entertainment for the bar patrons.

Beth and I are in agreement. Next time we're going in our cowboy boots and we're getting there early for a line dancing lesson.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

No Standing Anytime

My gripe for the day: No Standing Anytime signs. They recently put a few of these up on Caldwell Avenue, right off the street where I live, where me and everyone else who lives there parks their cars. What this means is we've now lost two perfectly good parking spots for absolutely no reason.

My message to Community Board 5: (and they will be getting a real complaint letter) stop putting up no parking, no standing and no stopping signs just because you can. Just because one person makes a complaint or witnesses a fender bender doesn't mean that a corner is in need of no standing anytime signs. You're only making parking more of a nuisance and adding one more annoyance to everybody's day.

My message to the traffic authority: do not even think about driving down Caldwell Avenue just to see if anyone's parked there to give them a ticket. Give us all a break and head up to Queens Boulevard where the traffic authority is actually needed - 24 hours a day.

My message to the noisy person who probably wrote a letter to Community Board 5 and got the signs put up: get a job, a hobby, a boyfriend, whatever. Stop looking out the window and worrying about what everyone else is doing.


Originally uploaded by jlyn1267.
Once in awhile you get really lucky in life. Like this week - my friend Mandy won tickets to see a VH1 Storytellers episode filmed, and invited me to come with her. And the episode happened to be featuring my favorite favorite band - Coldplay. COLDPLAY!

I love Coldplay. I listen to them when I'm sad, when I'm happy - when I feel like no one understands. When we were in Iceland - we had hours of driving across the countryside ahead of us. We realized that our van had a CD player, but there were no CDs. "Does anybody have a CD?" I had one on me - "A Rush of Blood to the Head". With that, Coldplay quickly became the soundtrack to Iceland, as we drove past the waterfalls and the volcanoes and the glaciers.

Last night, the concert was at a small theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was a fairly small theater, I would say no more than two hundred people were at this concert. The stage was set with lighted globes, hanging at different lengths, and a huge sign that said COLDPLAY, in all caps. Mandy and I waited in great anticipation.

The band came out, and slammed right into Square One - off their album X&Y, about to be released. Nobody knew the song but it didn't matter - it was good and we were into it. Then after that song they slammed right into "Politik" and everybody went crazy. The lights flashed hard, they played and sang hard, and oh it was good.

We were on our feet for the first two songs, but then we sat when Chris Martin started 'storytelling'. He talked about when they were writing a song, and they had basically the whole thing, but there was a key word missing. So they were in a bar and shooting darts, and all of a sudden he looked over and saw the "Yellow Pages". And the song "Yellow" was born. They played that, and the crowd was on their feet again.

This concert was so good. After "Yellow" they played another new song "Speed of Sound" which was also great - I can't wait to get the new album. Then they told a story about "Clocks" and played that. The drummer said that when Chris first brought him that song he said "This was rubbish", and apparently some others thought it would never be a hit on the radio. Ha! "The Scientist", "Warning Sign", it was all great. When they sang "In My Place" they made all of us sing the chorus with them, and it sounded and felt so good that it became my favorite part of the concert.

Mandy, thank you so much for bestowing upon me the gift of Coldplay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A Visit with Abbey, Max and Asia

Originally uploaded by jlyn1267.
After Texas, I happily boarded a plane bound for Tampa, FL. I was going to visit Abbey and Max and new baby Asia for a quick weekend. They were good enough to pick me up from the airport, and I have to say - I barely spent a dime or lifted a finger the whole time I was in Florida.

Abbey and Max have a beautiful split level home in Zephyrhills, Florida, about a half an hour from Tampa. They've got a nice backyard for the dogs, and lots of room for themselves, baby and guests like me.

Highlights: Baby Asia. I could barely put her down the whole time I was there. She is a good baby - doesn't cry much, only when she needs something. And even then, she sometimes just fusses.

Seeing Abbey and Max doing so well. I miss having Abbey in NY, but I was happy to see them so settled in FL. There was a harmony within this family that I couldn't really describe, and don't really want to. It just made me really happy to see and feel.

Shopping! Abbey and I always go outlet shopping - our friendship is partially based on it. Max was good enough to drive us to Orlando and we spent all day Saturday shopping. Yay!

Watching Abbey and Max trying to keep the dogs apart. They have two pit bulls, Shine and Trinity. Trinity was in heat, so every time the two got in the backyard together - you guessed it - doggie porn! Shine couldn't always make it happen and Trinity would shake him off. I told Abbey I knew what Trinity meant - sometimes when things aren't going exactly as they should, you feel like saying, "Dude, just get off me".

Barbecues! Max barbecued for us both nights, and Abbey cooked up rice to go with the meat. I am on meat overload from TX and FL, but it was worth it. I was sorry to leave on Sunday. Max and Abbey drove me to the airport really early in the morning (thanks for that guys!) and saw me off.

Can't wait to go back again.

San Antonio

Originally uploaded by jlyn1267.
So last week my travels brought me to San Antonio, TX for the 50th Annual IRA Convention. I got to spend six days in TX - lots of them working, but I still got to have a lot of fun in Texas. Here are the highlights:

We caught the first ever concert in front of the Alamo - which is what you see in the photo. They were showing slides on the Alamo - pretty cool. We saw a bit of Lyle Lovett, the Archangels, and my favorite, the Gypsy Kings. Humor: several geeky looking people were dancing wildly in the aisles, which earned them the right to be escorted out of the park for excessive rowdiness. One man danced all the way out as the Ranger held him by the arm to take him out. We laughed at the severity of the Rnagers - "What is this, Footloose? You can't dance in this town?". The first man to be escorted out hopped the fence, snuck back in and started dancing again. That earned him a second escort out - this time in cuffs.

Mad Dog's British Pub. It's on the Riverwalk, and I ate there twice. They make this double decker grilled cheese sandwich that I just love - so I happily had it while I was there. Abe dined with me one night, shaking his head saying "Jenn, no matter where we are, it amazes me how you find someplace that feels European to settle yourself in."

The Riverwalk. Each night after the conference - walking down the stone paths, the green trees rustling in the breeze. The river lapping quietly against the stone edges, and the noisiness of the people and restaurants.

Barbecue. Craig, Abe and I did dinner at the County Line and ate ourselves sick. Big thick slices of bread, breaded cheese balls, steak, potatoes, sausage, and drinks on top of it all. Yum. But ugh.

Rocking chairs at the Menger. On Thursday when it was all over, I met Heather, Kate and some others at the Menger and we took a few minutes to sit in the white rockers in the courtyard of the Menger Hotel. The courtyard looks and feels (and is) old-fashioned, and the trimmed greenery in the late afternooon sunshine is very relaxing. Then I went to the Riverwalk and ate barbecue again. Yum. But ugh.

It was great to see all my publishing friends again, and I can't wait to do it again in Chicago! See you soon!