Sunday, June 26, 2011

Look out, Rosalee. Imma trade your man for some cheap-ass almonds

Okay, so this post introduces another writer into the Posse of Authors Who Make Mill Girl Dance A Jig (PAWMMGDAJ). [Author's note: Still working out a few kinks in the group name.]

Joining the ranks of Marlon James and Cornel West on this blog, I introduce to you Mr. David McCullough. Author of much historical nonfiction, including this new one about Americans in Paris from 1830-1900:
Who knew cholera could be so spell-binding?
McCullough came to the Portsmouth Music Hall last Thursday, as part of the Writers on a New England Stage series. Allow me, in bullet form, to explain why he's marvelous.
An interview with Virginia Prescott of NPR.
  • In the first five minutes, he gave a shout-out to his copyeditor. *swoon*
  • He asked his adorable wife, Rosalee, to stand up so the packed auditorium could see her. She had a cute little gray bob, held back with a barrette.
  • He then lovingly mentioned her throughout the night.
  • He picked up the book, I believe, only twice: once to state that it was his most beautifully designed book, and once to read a direct quote. This was no typical reading.
  • He spoke with a passion that was infectious, like a professor who ignites something deep within.
  • He explained, with force, the duty we have to our children in the way of education.
  • "History is not about politics and the military." Art and culture must be acknowledged.
  • He confidently explain the relationship between France and the U.S.--how much France has done for us, what they have given to us, and how interwoven our histories are. Fuck freedom fries. 
  • During the interview segment with NPR's Virginia Prescott, he frankly discussed politics. Not left vs. right; just what's what. In essence: The people are always ahead of the government; we vote people into office in hopes they can catch up with us. Also: If you say you love your country, and you want to run for office, it would be a damn good idea to understand the history of your beloved country. Like, say, the ride of Paul Revere...

It was inspirational. Genius. A rally cry. I was ready to DO SOMETHING! I wanted to burn some shit and make time stand still. But it was also 9:30 on a Thursday and I was tired. So I just drove home excited as hell with no one to talk to.

In my search for people who might agree that we need to change the world STAT, I headed to Salem, MA, on Friday night to hang with some intellectual ladies. I listened to discussion on all the requisite topics. And then, at just the right moment, I pulled McCullough out of my holster and babbled like a new cult inductee. I'm sure the difficult-to-open-hence-looking-ghetto-on-nice-furniture Relax Resiling helped me make my case.
I think this is categorized under "Where there's a will (and a corkscrew), . . . "
Feeling I'd done my part to support local libraries and defend France, I let go my talons and we all moseyed over to Thai Place for dinner. No, really, that's what it's called. And they're working to keep Salem beautiful.
The decor, well, what's not to love? Myriad fake roses. A shrine containing a dim strobe light. Sad American music. But no matter--I just wanted a mai tai--but then the awful news: Thai Place just acquired its liquor license. So "mai tai next weekend, no this weekend." I ordered shiraz with my curry.  And somewhere in the world, a sommelier wept without knowing why.

But then, a miracle. The lovely and spastic proprietor brought over an illicit mai tai. The fixins happened to be behind the counter. With much commotion and excitement, we each took turns sipping and exclaiming love and happiness. The scene was actually pretty awesome. But we didn't know at that very moment that Thai Place had more in store for us.

This dinner was an extension of Heather's birthday tour, and we, being the only ones in the restaurant and a couple drinks in, sang Happy Birthday. Loudly. Then we stuffed ourselves with all kinds of Thai goodness. When the proprietor brought over the bill, she brought over about 7 lbs of pineapple. (Mmmm, pineapple.) AND...  a gift for Heather:
Happy birthday, Buttons.
A can of CVS almonds!? With a bow on top!? STFU!! What the hell do they have going on behind that counter? Lady, we will so be back for your sinful mai tais and MY birthday almonds...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Classy girls weekend

Allow me to present to you the Kon-Tiki:

This is our second annual boathouse weekend aboard the Kon-Tiki at the Charlestown Navy Yard Marina. This lil beaut sleeps 6, has front and top decks, a captain's chair (more on that later), and an incredible amount of kitsch, including LOTS of animal print. Kitsch exhibit A, candle holders:

From the Kon-Tiki, one can see the Tobin Bridge, enormous liners escorted by tugboats, a bit of Boston, and men in Speedos watering plants on the decks of $1m+ condos:
One is also SURROUNDED by jellyfish:


The weather was incredible. I woke on Saturday and immediately settled on the top deck for some quality leisure time in my jammies.

I enjoyed the sound of gulls and people slowly getting up in the other boats.

And eventually, we got dressed and headed for the city. The marina is on Boston's HarborWalk, and close to Old Ironsides. Because it was the day of the Bruins parade, we weren't in a hurry to get into town. So we stopped for lunch at the Tavern on the Water, which has good views of Boston and great staff, but really so-so food.

After lunch, we took the water ferry to Long Wharf. We got hit by a passing shower, checked out the seals at the Aquarium, met up with another friend, and headed to Faneuil Hall, where it was, of course, insane with tourists, Bruins fans, and other colorful people...
You, sir, have been blogged.

After making the mistake of going to FH, we quickly went to the North End, passing through Haymarket, which has been selling food streetside since 1830.  
Along the way is this clever installation: a crosswalk containing artist renditions of  the Haymarket scene.
Busted crate of potatoes.
Lone lobster claw.
Finally, the North End, where people were just so fucking excited about the Bruins that they forgot they were supposed to be cold New Englanders who love NO ONE.
The sentiments expressed in this photo are not endorsed by New England at large.
We stopped at a favorite haunt: Caffe Vittoria,an old-timey cafe that is elegant and chill. And here, I may have indulged just a touch. Chocolate mousse cake and a cosmo. And it was fucking decadent. Also, I was able to fly home afterward. Wheeeee...
Melanie was all adult-like, getting a proper coffee beverage. Whatevs.
Then it was back to the ferry. Next to the ferry stop is Codzilla. "Mommy, why does this boat have teeth?" "Sweetie, just shut the fuck up and put on the raincoat the nice man handed you." Hmmm. Me thinks not.
Bye, hazy Boston.
If you have a couple million to spare, you too can have a luxury condo that features private tugboat parking.
A squirrelly Charlestown ruffian gave us a hard time on the way back to the marina. We threw a pack of Marlboro Lights at him and ran for our lives.
Ah, back on the Kon-Tiki, safe and sound. But then a rowdy ladybug stopped by and demanded some prosecco. Luckily, we had an obscene number of bottles onboard. She got a little loud after a while and we had to call her a cab.
Cheryl and Melanie, content after a long day in the sun.
Me and Noelle, quoting honey badger and gearing up for a moving performance of Don't Stop Believin' (okay, truthfully, Noelle sang the whole thing; I did what I do in my car--sing some lines and the chorus and hum the rest, sadly but with PASSION).
Just a couple small town girls...
Late night, things got, well, silly. It's hard to see, but I took the boat for a serious cruise around the harbor. Melanie flew toward me in an effort to stop the insanity, and Cheryl fell off the boat. I'm Kelly, dammit, and I won't be stopped!
It was a fabulous weekend. I am tired and dopey and now sporting a fantastic tan line:
See, I get reaaaalllly seasick. But with my magic acupuncture wristbands, I am totally okay. And because acupuncture sounds so dull, I refer to them as my ***RICK SPRINGFIELD WRISTBANDS***. Fuck, yeah! Much sexier. Lightning bolts emit from my awesome cuffs. "Pew Pew!" I am invincible on the open seas.

Friday, June 10, 2011

When life goes to pot, you need good friends

I'm adjusting to normal, stationary life again. It's got some perks, but no one comes to make the bed or offer me breakfast in the morning. I find this unacceptable.

Early in the week, I had dinner at the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham. And while I dig the charm . . .

. . . I'm not sure about all of the decor. "Hi, Shannon. I'd like to reserve a table for two this Friday night. It's our anniversary. Can you possibly seat us under the series of chamber pots hanging from the ceiling? Yes? Fantastic!"
But the work week ended on a tough note. In the 90s there was a video game called Mortal Kombat. When you won, you could gnash all of the controller buttons at once and somehow have your character approach your opponent, stick your fist into its chest, pull out its heart, and hold it up, still beating. Work sort of felt like that. 

Wow, you really can Google anything
And that's the time when you need an off-the-cuff email from a good friend who tells you to meet her in Newburyport for dinner. Yay, kids, it's Agave time! We were lucky to get a fantastic table, open right to the sidewalk.

Noelle approves of the chicken enchiladas with mole. I do too. Bravo also on the margaritas.
We both were tickled by such a stylish shot of tequila, which comes with its own salt shaker.
After dinner, we headed out to Plum Island. The sun was fading, kids were trudging up from the beach, men were fishing. And we kicked off our shoes and walked right to the water.
When it's been a week like this, I cherish the fabulous people in my life who can hold deep conversation, interspersed with humor and intellect. We talked about what it means to be a strong woman and how every decision leads you down a path you had better be pretty sure of. We shared what we're reading and writing. We talked about insecurities, victories, and madness, and how even the bravest woman cries. We talked while the sea lapped our ankles, then feet, then toes, as the tide went out. 
It felt good to feel the ocean and smell the tide. And it felt good to know that the whole summer is before us all.
Hmm, my feet look a little hobbit-esque here