Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What A Swell Staycation It Was.

Really was, too. I was definitely bummed when the family vacation in Texas idea sort of blew up on me, or vice versa, just ended up being under too much pressure to make it happen fast when it turned out the work schedule was going to be vacation-precludingly crazy here in the back-end of the year and just threw up my hands. I'm not usually the one that plans things, anyways, didn't seem to be working out in the first place.

Anyways, that failed, but I did get one very wonderful staycation out of it, and so far I only wrote up the sailboat race and the Friday Fun, so here's a rundown of the rest.

Kicked things off rather fantastically with a Friday night thank-you dinner at the Oyster Bar that Capri threw for her Ederle crew. I got there late 'cause I was scrambling to wrap things up at the office for a week and the string of "oh, one last thing"s was just ENDLESS - but I did eventually find them & had the BEST time listening to the wild tales of the open-water swimming set. People think I'm a little out there with the 12-months-a-year boating habit but I am a total weenie next to these folks.

I tried a wonderful wonderful thing called a "panroast". They have a menu category that's called "Stews and Panroasts". I asked the waiter what they were and he said a stew was something like a thin chowder and a panroast was thicker and creamier. Oooh. Thick and creamy, that's for me, I had good exercise planned the next day. Next choice was oyster, Ipswich clam, cherrystone clam, shrimp, lobster, sea scallop, or (phew!) combination. Combination, please! Oh my, was that ever unbelievable. We finished the evening with 3 different desserts that we passed around. Waddled out around 10, I think it was.

I walked out of there with the crazy idea in my head that the weekend after the weekend we were entering, I was going to join them for a Saturday morning swim at Coney Island. Just to see what it's like, y'know? I have helped out with SO many cold-water safety workshops, but those are always about protecting yourself from it. I've gone swimming in the ice, but always in full cold-water riot gear. The water's starting to get cold now, I thought it would be really interesting to go see how well I could handle it. The swimmers all said yes, come...and don't wear a wetsuit, it kills the adrenaline rush...oooookay!

Couldn't go the next morning 'cause I already had BIG PLANS!

I left the Oyster Bar, ran home, grabbed my pre-packed bag & went back to TQ's for the night. Next morning at oh-dark-thirty, we called for a car to take us to Red Hook, the launch point for (woohoo!) the official Last Leg of the 5 Years Around Long Island - Red Hook to Canarsie!

I'll do a proper trip report on that one one of these days, but the nutshell version - conditions were PERFECT, the winds were light and cooperative, my honey did not have food poisoning (he did when we did this trip earlier in the summer, it really, really sucked, he tried SO hard to soldier on through it but had to bail at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge), and we had the most insanely wonderful celebratory potluck afterwards. There's still That Darned Ten Miles (Georgica to Napeague) for most of the crew, and John H & I had of course actually both finished our trips around when we'd gone out & picked that stretch off back in October (Saturday was the 3rd time I'd done the Red Hook to Canarsie trip), but we were still all in a very festive mood when we hit the dock.

Sunday was of course the light-air dinghy race - wrote that up on Monday, it was a bit on the silly side at times but it was fun and I did do a bit more respectably than I'd done in any of last year's races, so it was a good day.

Monday...well, that wasn't so good. I'd found out over the weekend that the father of one of the very first friends I made in NYC (the one who introduced me to Irish music and dance, what a gift) had passed away. Am's family is wonderful about practically adopting friends of their kids, especially the ones who are "geographically orphaned" like me & haven't got family in the area. I always have an invitation for Thanksgiving, and these days TQ does too, although we usually end up with his folks.

Anyways - it was a sad way to spend the day, but I was so glad that I happened to be on vacation & was able to just say "Yes, of course I will be there".

Tuesday - Lazy day. A little housecleaning, a little reading, cooked up one of my big one-pot dishes (green beans, potatoes & ham hocks, a simple favorite that I got from my mom), made arrangements for my donation & took some silly "before" pictures of the hair.

And boy, there was a lot of it.

Wednesday was a practically perfect sailing day, so my friend Chris and I went sailing. It was a bit overcast & there was a threat of rain, but we both have drysuits, so that's no big deal.

This is another one I'd like to do a proper writeup on, but for now I'll just say that we had some really nice wind & Chris laid out a nice course for the day - first we sailed up into Mill Basin for some upwind practice then we turned around, sailed on down past Floyd Bennett Field

and then -- on under the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge & out towards Sheepshead Bay, something I'd never done in a dinghy before. Woohoo!

There's something so nice about getting out from under the bridge - everything starts feeling more open, the breeze picks up, the water gets bumpier, it's great. Eventually the sun even came out!

Think we might've stayed out 'til just before dark, except that the basil was looking slightly weatherbeaten & I really wanted to get back with enough light to pick it all before heading home.

Grabbed this tomato and another one that was close to ripe, too.

Went home, made pesto. A perfect day.

Thursday - it poured. I did some more reading & cleaning in the morning, and then around 12:30 went to meet Stevie & Adele at the subway station - we'd made plans to go to the haunted house that our friend John Huntington helps produce every year with the Entertainment Technology students at CUNY Citytech. Part of why he'd been eager to go do the Georgica to Napeague leg the weekend we did was because that was the last free weekend he was going to have before this started requiring his full-time attention (he missed the Red Hook to Canarsie trip of course but he'd done that before). It was tons of fun, all sorts of scary things jumping out at you, Adele and I were screaming like babies before the end, Stevie was being a manly man except that he kept telling me to go before them...:D

I didn't take pictures but John's got some nice ones up on Control Geek.

Oh - try saying this five times fast: "Huntington's haunting".

Friday I already did the full writeup on, that was the one with the hair and the markets and the blowfish. Awesome day.

Saturday...remember how I wanted to go swimming? Ha ha ha...


Yes, this was our big freaky sloppy branchbuster of an October snowstorm. I stayed HOME. 2 main goals of the day were "Finish cleaning" (cleaning was supposed to happen Monday, instead did a little here, a little there), and then there was "Make a good dinner for TQ". Poor guy, with him having dogs & my building not permitting them and our work hours also not meshing too well (he starts & finishes hours before me), he ends up doing a lot of the cooking - he likes cooking & he's good at it, but I really wanted to treat him to a good meal at my place for a change

Accomplished both goals. Another good day.

Sunday, I'd hoped to go participate in Race 6, but with gusts up in the 30's predicted and the water in the bay getting a little too cold to trifle with, that got called off. We slept in instead. Nice. TQ had a short work appointment in the afternoon so he eventually headed off for that. I'd hoped to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden but they were closed because of the hazard of large branches falling on people's heads.

Isn't this just weird? Everything still so green, except where it's white?

I could've gone to Prospect Park, but instead I decided to go catch the end of the Cortelyou Road farmer's market, and then I went home and, yes, I cooked some more (I made a scallop risotto-y thing with my farmer's market purchases and a big pot of chicken broth from the Saturday night roast chicken frame).

As I said on Facebook this afternoon, One nice thing about a staycation - ending up with a refrigerator full of good food, instead of coming home to one you emptied out before you went away. Or worse, coming home to one you forgot to empty out before you went away.

Last act while on Staycation 2011...made that little Halloween stop-motion with one of the tomatoes from the garden. Adding the music ended up being a massive pain with me spacing out on that one tiny step, but I thought it came out cute.

And that was my swell staycation. Not bad, huh?

No painting, no trip to the dentist, but all in all, what a nice, nice week. And as I said on Facebook today, nice to come out of a week off with a refrigerator full of good food, instead of coming home to one you emptied out before you went away. Or worse, coming home to one you forgot to empty out before you went away!


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