Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tale of Two Cities

Okay, I'm reclining on the queen-size bed in the back of this RV in Long Island. It use to be our's, the RV, and now it belongs to Freddy's son and his wife and sits in their yard in East Northport, New York (the above picture is from a previous trip...a gas station in the Pocanos). They took over the payments. We asked to stay in it during this trip...the youngest son, Brooke's wedding is this weekend...and they said we could. So we arrived here, yesterday. Went to their restaurant and had lobster.

I'm not gonna do that, again. It was my first actual whole lobster experience and not one bit like what I got in a platter of lobster (something and pasta) at Di Nico's in Little Italy last trip.

Those were just unidentifiable peices, some even shelled and mixed with scallops and shrimp and things in cream sauce over angel hair. Only the claws were whole but that doesn't seem like an animal, somehow, nor do tails that aren't connected to bodies with eyes. This last night was different.
There's not a live lobster back there that they're going to have to kill for this, is there?

No. No
I'm sure he was lying.

When it came out, I had no idea how to eat it. Freddy turned it over and handed me a little fork and nutcracker and nods at me as if to say, There, go ahead, assuming I had the slightest idea how to proceed.

I sat looking down at the spiny underside, little curled-up legs undoubtedly drawn in an attempt to protect the crustacean's beneath parts from the onslaught of boiling water and probably just a few minutes ago, too. I looked away and began applying large quantities of butter and sour cream to my baked potato, a more familiar fare not associated with a violent death. Freddy, whose job it is to make my life perfect, plucked the red shelled monster from my plate and went to work on it.

I did eat it and it was good, I suppose. But I won't do it again. I'll have crab cakes or carbonara next time. And I don't want to think about an entire lobster's life sacrificed for a scant few mouths full of meat, again. Shame on me. Damn my very soul to firey hell.

I got my hair fixed before I left Arkansas. I never do that. Resistent to change, I. And I never spend money on my hair which would set you into a fit of hysteria to hear me say if you knew what my hair usually looks like.

The very thought that I'd have to tell you I don't spend money on my hair. Except once a year, or so, when I get a perm. And then it's a spiral, despite concerned glances from my hairdresser. Just do it and I'll pay you, so she does, but it's not in my best interest. She knows it and I sense it.

So I made an appointment and she cut it and colored and highlighted it and then showed me how to blow dry it straight. It was flattering.

I looked like Jessica Rabbit and I received lots of complements on it...until it had to be washed again. I simply can't reproduce it. I try but I just can't.

It's okay though because Saturday before the wedding, we're all going to a salon and get our hair done. "We", being my husband's ex-wife, his two daughter's-in-law and their two daughters, my granddaughters I should get used to saying.

And tomorrow is nails. I've never done that, either. I've gone to the beauty college for pedicures a couple of times but never an out and out manicure at a regular salon and certainly never, ever in New York. Apparently, I don't have to remove the nail polish before we go. They'll take it off at the salon, according to one of the Carols (approximately 48% of our female friends and relatives are named Carol, for some reason, including Freddy's ex-wife). So I'm going to walk into the hotsy-totsy New York salon with my cheap ass Walmart nail polish, what's left of it, clinging to my raggedy nails and I'm going to have them...well...whatever they do to them, filed I suppose and painted, right?

I miss this RV, especially right now still on the bed in the back, listening to the rain hit the metal roof and drinking coffee from a 7-Eleven cup. The payments are $500 a month. Add to that, insurance and taxes and we're looking at around $700 a month BEFORE you buy gas and take off work to go anywhere. That's why it's up in New York in the yard of our son who owns a thriving seafood restaurant instead of in our RV barn being eaten up by the pack rat who destroyed the vacuum lines and something else three times for about $300 per incident. Not practical but I've never been accused of being practical. What I have been accused of is spending more money than I make so the RV stays here unless I get a lucky LOTTO ticket which I'm thinking might be worth doing. Buying a ticket, I mean. Who knows? I could win and if I do, we're going to pay off the RV and buy a trailer for my Mercury and drive this big bitch on back to Arkansas. Word.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reflections on Intercourse

We spent the night in Lancaster County Pennsylvania night before last. First we ate at an old farmhouse, turned restaurant (and obligatory gift shop, of course) where they seated several couples or families at large, farm tables together. This was clearly my husband's idea. I lack the people-person gene but I went along. Probably a result of all that submissive female Amish air up there.

The food came out in courses and was served family-style in bowls which were passed around amongst the diners. As it turns out, eating with strangers can be added to the list of things my husband knows best about and it was a delightful experience. With lots of food (there are no delightful experiences that don't include lots of food, you know). Meatloaf, fried chicken, ham, mashed potatoes touted as "real", green beans that looked like they just came in from a farm next door, gravy, stuffing (made with white bread and not so great as it turns out), corn with brown butter (?), coleslaw, cottage cheese, chow chow, homemade bread cut in thick slices served with butter and apple butter. There was more but I can't remember it all. And the whole orgy culminated with 5 desserts: Shoo Fly Pie, red jello cut in large cubes which were made by substituting applesauce for water in the recipe, coconut cream pudding, homemade chocolate or vanilla ice cream and orange sherbert. Is there suppose to be an "r" in that word? I mean, I always pronounce it "sherbert" but should I? I'm thinking probably not. But we ate it like hungry, little pigs and then set out into the night for this motel.

We stayed here once before when we passed through Intercourse, Pennsylvania and had what I remember to be a restful and rejuvenating stay which included pumpernickle dinner rolls at a nearby German restaurant.

In the morning, we headed out and saw this...

and this...

and this punkin' field...

and this farm complete with horse dookie in the lane...

It's always refreshing to visit that area. A part of me, and that of a throng of embroidered sweatshirt-wearing old women, rejoices in the knowledge that people actually live like the Amish. No electricity, growing their own food, helping each other in activities of daily living, dressing's reassuring, somehow. And we think we'd like to do it, but I'm a little too stressed right now to make any life changes because my laptop screen is cracked and I need to wait till it comes back from Dell. But maybe after that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Visiting Virginia

I've done something for most of my adult life. Whenever I visit somewhere cool, I start planning to move there. And every time I come through Virginia or West Virginia, the area where my father was born, I start making plans. Today I even convinced my husband...almost.

We stopped off at Staunton, Virginia for breakfast on our way to New York for my step-son's wedding. My Dad was born about 40 miles from Staunton in the tiny hamlet of Blue Grass. Every summer of my childhood, we visited this area for a two-week vacation. His family still lives here, though those I knew are mostly all dead.

So, it was innocent enough. I just said, "Let's stop in Staunton real quick for breakfast" and he took the exit. Soon enough he found the Beverly Restaurant in the historic downtown district and we went in and had a nice breakfast. We'd been there before on a previous trip.

The cook was a black man, quite funny, who sang and the waitress began dancing which sent the cook into a fit of laughter that he had to go outside to stop. We watched him through the tall front windows.

I started noticing some very interesting, characters: People walking down the street who were just obviously open-minded, you know? You can tell. A tall guy with a faded, blue do-rag on his head. Two 30-ish business men who smiled at me through the window as they passed because I happened to be smiling at something Freddy had just said. A mother with three kids dressed in a style I admire (I even took their picture).

You have to understand something, first. I'm stifled. I live in a small-minded little town in Arkansas where everybody loves guns and drives 4-wheelers and hates Obama. And, though I dearly love some of them, and I mean really and truly love them as much as I love my family, I feel like I'm drowning in...conservatism (is that a word? Somehow it looks really weird, right now.)

So we leave the restaurant and walk down the street and we see art galleries and a vintage clothing store and Fair Trade Coffee shops and places like this...

...and this:

And I stop in a health food store to look for one of those free papers that list the local happenings and which give you a feel for the grassroots of a place and I start talking to the owner, a friendly, red-headed guy with a baby on his shoulder. And then a trio of young people follow me out to the street to tell me where the Shakespeare Center is and other attractions. One girl, rather butchy, had a myriad of tattoos and one huge, quite exquisite one of Jesus on the left side of her neck. You don't see people like that where I live. And you don't see any black people, or not many. And I'm getting older and I'm tired and I've been through a tornado now and I just want to get on with my life. I did this and I'm ready to do some new stuff. Only, that's probably not gonna happen because my husband only stayed convinced to move to Staunton for about 45 minutes, and then he began to crawdad on me.

He did say he could live in Eureka Springs, though........