Tuesday, November 14, 2006

AAAAH! What new version? AAAAAH! plus best 80th birthday party ever

Well there you go - I go trotting off and get insanely busy and don't blog for a week, and I come back and Blogger's saying "Woohoo, welcome to the new version!"

Bleah! I was fine with the old version! Oh well. Ooh, on second thought maybe they got the picture problems under control.

Anyways. Cripes. What've I been so busy with?

Mostly work. Work work work. Have to pay for that lovely relaxing week in PA. Actually I had a couple of big projects I had to wipe out & I chose to sacrifice Saturday to having an uninterrupted block of time. When I say sacrifice, it was one, too - Saturday was a stunningly beautiful day. We've been having some awfully nice days. It was a work day out at the Sebago Canoe Club, and a perfect one for it, too, but the day job comes first. The big project at hand is sort of an orphan I got when our old business manager left, goes to an outside organization, so none of the 3 higher-ups in my department (me being the only lower-down these days) really look for it to get done, so it's up to me to carve out a chunk of time, and with forecast requests raining down, an inbox full of invoices, and October books to be closed, I finally just decided that this was one of those rare occasions when giving up a few hours on a weekend day, even a nice one, would be worth the peace of mind I'd be afforded by getting this thing out the door. Well, got to work and the shared drive where I store ALL the information I needed to finish this report was DOWN. Augh.

Got a lot of other stuff done instead, and was able to collect the raw data for the report, which let me tie it up in not much time on Monday - but it was frustrating to have passed up a beautiful outside work day and then find out that I couldn't do the work I wanted to do. Worked late last night instead, and as of today I'm feeling momentarily caught up. We'll see how long that lasts.

Besides that, it's been a mix of good stuff & bad stuff keeping me busy. Bad stuff included 2 pairs of office trousers suddenly becoming unwearable simultaneously, lowering the number of slacks wearable to the office to 2 - one presentable, one barely so. This rather forced the issue I'd addressed back in my pants rant a while back - no time to wait for delivery - I did eventually discover that Talbot's makes slacks that are suitable for a person who's not into navel display, but that took a couple of nights of running around. Got a few tops too so now hopefully I won't have to go shopping again for a looooong time.

Think the high point of the good stuff (aside from another nice Saturday evening date with TQ - always good to have time with him) was attending an 80th birthday party for the fabulous gentleman who was the drama department chair at my college - he's looking just great, same as he did when I was in college a frighteningly long time ago. The party was absolutely marvelous - it was upstairs at a 100-year-old Italian restaurant, Barbetta on Restaurant Row; beautiful old rooms in a classic, late 1800's townhouse. Lots of actors, including a few who were classmates of mine (such fun to catch up & reminisce - and a couple of them are actually making it as actors, and not just doing cereal commercials either). The cake was decorated to look like a Stagebill with a photo of Jack on the cover, and unless you sing with a professional choir, you've never heard such a beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday To You". Full harmony, you betcha, and followed by a full-on operatic rendition by the head waiter (who'd been busy all night accosting people with pasta, in some cases before they could even get their coats off).

There were also a number of people there due to a new hobby of Jack's. One of my classmates & I found this out in a very entertaining way. Jack's been important to a lot of people in different circles, and one of the fun things about this party was talking to people & figuring out how all those circles fit together. I was talking to one of my friends from college, when a woman walked up to us & asked us the question that must've been repeated a hundred times that night.

"Where do you know Jack from?"
"We were students of his in college. How about you?"
"Oh, I met him through gay square dancing!"
L & I, in stereo:
"Gay square dancing?!"

The surprise was twofold -
We had no idea Jack was a square dancer, and we've known Jack for a fairly long time. And -
We had no idea that square dancing was at all popular among the gay community! Well, that was quite an icebreaker. Only in New York...well, and San Francisco...and Denver, and Copenhagen, and Tokyo, and Madison, and Portland, and Pittsburgh, and a whole bunch of other places, too.

The NYC gay square dance club is called the Times Squares.

That I think that's one of the reasons Jack seems so much like he did back when I was in college - stays active, tries new things. I hope I've still got it in me to pick up a new hobby when I'm his age. Not gay square dancing specifically, although the dancer we got to talking to said that straightness wasn't a disqualifier, their club is non-exclusionary & they've got straight members who enjoy it because they're fun, relaxed, and don't make anybody wear those silly petticoats (unless they really want to photo courtesy of Eric Wagner at Basetree.com, thanks Eric!)..hm, on second thought maybe that would be a fun thing to take up at 75... but something active.

Actually that's one of the good points about my particular hobby - sea kayaking is something you can keep doing for a long, long time.

Actually I've got a lot of good role models. Can't resist telling this one - my mom & dad like to ski, and one year my maternal aunt & uncle were joining them for the year's skiing adventure. Now, my uncle turned 80 not too long ago, and I guess my aunt has to be in her late 70's (there's a big age gap between my mom & her sister - I have the best old picture of my grandmother holding little baby mom, and looking so happy) - but they have a nice little tree farm, with horses and dogs and cats, they volunteer for their local Humane Society, regular churchgoers, uncle hunts & fishes, etc., etc., and the result of all of this outdoorsiness & activity, I guess, is that although they are definitely of the AARP demographic, I just don't think of them as "old". They don't act old, they act like themselves. For that matter, so do my folks, and all the paternal aunts & uncles - I picked a good family to be part of. Anyways, there was this one time when they were all getting ready to go skiing. I was on the phone with my mom and she made some comment about hoping that my aunt would be able to ski.

I immediately got concerned. I hadn't heard anything about my aunt being unwell, but maybe she'd slipped & fell, or had some sort of ailment I hadn't heard about yet. I asked.

Turned out the only thing wrong with her was that she'd gotten bucked off her horse one afternoon while they were working on a little jumping and he got a little exuberant.

To which I can only grin & say "You go, auntie!"

Oh, yes, and she did ski.

Anyways, been busy, will continue to be busy, but hope to have more to say about paddling Jamaica Bay this weekend. Fun having someplace new to learn about. I've been feeling underexercised & antsy (they closed our company gym - argh!), walked across the Manhattan Bridge tonight (fortuitously running into Mr. SeaLevel, who's alive & well although SeaLevel is on hiatus & being reworked - nice to see him), did a lot of situps & weights & stuff last night, and am seriously hoping to get out in my boat for a good solid couple of hours this weekend. That way I will burn off all the dim sum I eat at the Chinatown dim sum feast I'm trying to cajole a few friends into joining me for. Got to say, I love my schooner - but at the end of the schooner season, this business of having 2 whole days in the weekend feels like such a incredible luxury!

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