I'm walking at Graduation this weekend. I'll be recieving a blank piece of paper in lieu of a diploma. Pending six classes.
Regardless, it's exciting. My whole family is coming up, including one of my aunts, and even some of my friends said they'd come up, without me inviting them or anything. Which is such a nice thing - someone else making a to-do about you, unprovoked. I made reservations at some fancy restaurants, and I bought a pretty dress.
It will be fun and I will try not to feel like a phony.
Mona and I have been to the dog park everyday for the last 8 days. We're going again today, and I don't know who's more excited - me or the dog. I wish wish wish I didn't leave my camera in NY two weeks ago, but I'm due to have it back this coming Friday.
I have a hard time making friends since I'm so shy, but there's a strange sort of subculture at the dog park that makes it oddly easy to talk to other people. There are, after all, built-in icebreakers: "I'm sorry he won't stop humping her;" "so, what breed is she?;" "hey, your dog is pooping behind the hill!;" and the ever-popular "yea, he's been constipated/diarrheal lately." It takes a few meetings before anyone knows the owners names - they're always referred to as "Sparky's Dad" or "Darla's Mom."
It's also funny how merely being a dog owner (and a dog park frequenter) brings people together who probably never would have spoken otherwise. The middle-aged, khaki-wearing mother-of-three and the ruby-haired, tattooed-and-pierced make-up artist come together with the single, young, Paris-Hiltony blonde and the adorable elderly couple. Fascinating, don't you think?.
Our dog park is a good size, but while it was once all grass, it's now all sandy, dusty dirt. Although, while I was talking to some other people about it, there really isn't anything better. In NYC, many of the dog parks are covered in a crushed-granite gravel. But that traps the urine and things and just becomes stinky. In my hometown, the dog park is covered with wood chips and small sticks. But then the dogs chew on them and get splinters. Our dog park, when grass, became too-easily muddy. Now, after all the running and storms and things it's been through, the sandy dirt is so packed that there's never any mud, and it's back in commission the next day after a rain - sometimes even the same day.
It has a place for plastic bags to clean up after the dogs, and it has a trash can. It doesn't have - but needs desperately - a water fountain or hose of some sort. Right now, we're taking recycled gallon jugs to the Dunkin' Donuts on the corner, and using the spigot on the side of their building. But that means someone has to leave their dog unattended. And, you never know...
The picture is from opening day. I never got to see it looking that nice - Although, they do have some baby trees in a small fenced off area of the park, so there will be some nice shade in... oh, about a decade. It overlooks the water, too, so even on the hottest days, there has been a nice breeze.
I'm so happy to have this place. They're becoming some type of extended family for Mona and me. And we needed that.
So, I don't drink. Not really ever. I have had a sip on less than a handful of occasions, and the future seems to hold no booze for me. Mostly I drink water. Really, I barely drink anything else: I rarely have juices, I'm not so big on sodas, and I hate coffee. Although, I'll admit I do occasionally drink a cup of tea (Irish Breakfast, please!). Mostly social. Social tea drinker. Anyway, on the occasion [word of the day?] I do have a soda, my absolute favorite by leaps and bounds is Boylan's Black Cherry. Drink it, it's so yummy.
My sophmore year at college, I attended a trip to the Mass MoCA with the Art Dept. The showcased exhibit was Gregory Crewdson's Twilight photographs. I had never heard of him before, and certainly wouldn't have called myself too much a fan of contemporary art. But, with him, I was enthralled!
His photos are of suburban American life, but are very surreal: creepy. I actually hadn't realized they were photographs until after the third or fourth one; I assumed they were realistic paintings - they couldn't have been photographs, they were too involved to have been staged on an ordinary street (I thought). They are large-scale staged photographs. And, they're often called 'production stills' because he approaches them much like a director to a film set. The lighting in each one is probably the most stunning part, but it's the scenes that make them stand out.
I was thinking of entering AT's Smallest Coolest Contest. I decided against it, since all the apartments featured so far are 1000 times cooler than mine, though not necessarily smaller. They're all so magazine-worthy! I started preparing my entry, though. So, to let it not go to waste, I thought I'd share the floorplan I made in MS Paint - I'm so proud of myself, hahah.
So, I opened up an Etsy shop: The Beahive Shop. It's empty for now, but I signed up anyway since it is free until you actually list something for sale. It's for motivational purposes. If I actually have somewhere to sell my things, I'll actually make them, you know?
Well, Easter has passed. Our trip to NY went... okay. Reilly - apparently - hates puppies. Mona had an absolute ball nipping at his ears, and rolling around him, taking his toys and laying in his bed; Reilly had a miserable holiday hiding from her and growling at her, and occasionally barking at her. I'm sure, though, that they'll get along fine once she's grown out of the whole rambunctious puppy-thing. I got only one picture of the two of them together.
This past weekend, I had a visitor! My friend Caitlin came by bus from NY to see me and to meet Mona. We ended up, by chance, staying in both Friday and Saturday nights and cooking for ourselves and a guest (a different third party joined us on each night). And, if you don't mind, I'd love to tell you about our dinners. They were each so close to unbelievable - especially for a couple of novices.
Friday had begun as a Mediterranean-style idea. I was thinking stuffed pork chops with feta and pesto, some kind of a rice or couscous side and a greek salad. But, it turned into a night of tag-team cooking and experimenting and included some green wine. When we finally sat for our meal at around 9:30, we had quite a spread: feta and pesto stuffed (delicious) pork chops for the two non-vegie's; a yummy tomato, cucumber, and feta salad; a stuffed artichoke each, which had a tasty stuffing, but were altogether a flop; and a plate of sliced, breaded, and fried-up eggplants (yuck), which ended up being thrown out. But it was fun!
Saturday had a slightly different crowd, with a much different dynamic. I did most of the cooking, with some help in preparations from my friends. Everything was a lot less rowdy. We ended up having grilled steaks with some compound butter melted on top. Spectacular! Really, there is absolutely nothing better than a chive/garlic/sage/rosemary/whatever (we had chive) compounded butter on a medium-rare steak. Nothing. We amended the meal with crispy roasted asparagus (yum!) and a big big salad with Brianna's dressings: Ginger Mandarin and the New American dressing. Too much yum.
Everyone loved Mona, of course, and Caitlin took a video of her on her camera playing with Genie from Staten Island, without anyone knowing. It's poor lighting, and sideways, but it's still a video of Mona in my living room!
Although, we didn't only cook and entertain ourselves with a puppy. We shopped too. It was such a nice day Saturday, almost 60 degrees, and sunny. Totally unlike today: our Nor'Easter has arrived. So we trotted aroud town. I bought, and am thrilled with, some new shoes. They're Vans Slip-Ons. Checkered (throw back to high school, no?), only not rudeboy black-white, they're multi. I love them on my feet. I haven't worn Vans in years and years...