The last few days have been not quite a haze of jet lag, but I certainly know I've hopped time zones.

Germany was fantastic - I hope we go back!  I got to see the Victory Column (totally near the hotel - we were on that end of the Tiergarten) along with random men-killing-things statues (they used to hunt wild boar on the lands of the Tiergarten, so it really isn't a surprise). And the Deutches Technikmuseum (social event for the win with train cars!) and the Checkpoint Charlie museum - right at Checkpoint Charlie - the guardhouse is still there with taxis and buses whizzing by it.

Lots of things I didn't get a chance to see - like the Brandenburg Gates - they were on the opposite end of the Tiergarten from where we were and I just didn't have that much free time to try to go see them.  I went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum instead.

I am gearing up to go on vacation - which is my next big ADVENTUR!  Hopefully a ton of relaxation and driving around the area dorking about small history bits with friends.  Low key.  And maybe there will be enough breezes to fly a kite or two.

I find as I get older I care less and less about what "people" think.  Introvert that I am people wear me out, but it used to be paired with social anxiety where I would push to do something even knowing I would maybe have a good time doing it, but would pay for it later with exhaustion because people tend to suck my energy dry (except for when I am on stage, where, oddly, the exchange works the other way).  I have less anxiety about saying no.  Maybe it is age.
etakyma: (Technobabble SG1)
( Jul. 8th, 2013 12:31 pm)
I've avoided Domino's Pizza since I was in college due to their anti-women's choice/health stance and monetary support.

I've never eaten at a Chik-fil-A and won't ever now because of what has been publicized about their exclusionary politics.

I have never liked Ambercrombie and Fitch (however that is really spelled - I can't be bothered to look it up) even before their CEO was nasty to just about everybody in public.

And I have no trouble choosing to boycott Ender's Game no matter who is in it and ho matter how good a movie they make it.  When I was a teenager I loved OSC books.  I have a ton of them - and I read them all numerous times.  But the man's narrow view of "acceptable" cultural behavior has soured me on anything to do with his work. That he actively and publicly spews his hatred of huge segments of the people of the world is reprehensible and unconscionable. So no, I will not be going to see Ender's Game.  I will not buy any tie-ins.  I will actively avoid anything to do with the marketing of the movie or any other books he will ever write.

Ender's Game was a favorite book for YEARS - but I can't say I will ever read it again - and it leaves a bitter taste that I spent years when I was a bookstore manager suggesting it to HS students because it was on their summer reading list and I had loved it.

So there is a boycott movement out there to not see the movie when it opens (currently scheduled for November 1).  I think it should go a step farther - to actively go out to the movies that weekend and specifically choose any other movie to see but Ender's Game.

For more information on the boycott:

Also, I am kinda glad I stopped reading comic books in 2002 (I spent too much money on them and decided taking an actual vacation occasionally was a worthier cause than reading comic books) - because OSC is now writing for Superman.  I'd stop giving my money to DC for that as well.
And still recovering! Vacation this year was the western shore of Chesapeake Bay in a beach house in Maryland. It is so awesome to get together with good friends and not have to worry about personality conflicts.

We are also way way WAY interested in history - so our day trips in the area are focused on things like state and national parks, historical sites, lighthouse tours and museums. My mother teased me about our "wild ways." I supposed five thirty and forty-something women don't usually do this sort of "lets go somewhere and take in as much history as we can" kind of vacation. We got asked if we were all teachers! None of us are - KM is the closest as she is employed by a school - just not as a traditional teacher.

Some highlights of what can be found in southern Maryland include (when asked, ALWAYS WATCH THE VIDEO!):

The Belair Mansion, and Belair Stables (both take donations but do not cost $ to tour). Belair had been a working plantation, and the Stables had produced many many many fine thoroughbred horses. Two which won the triple crown - Gallant Fox in 1930, and Gallant Fox's son Omaha in 1935 (the only father-son triple crown winners ever).

The Thomas Stone House National Historic Site (no fee, donations only). Manned by the National Park Service, this house was built in 1740 by Thomas Stone for his family. It was also a working plantation. Thomas Stone was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence - he was a moderate, wanting peace with England, but when push came to shove believed in breaking with England rather than surrender rights. He was not as much a hot-head radical as some of them, so he is a lesser known signer.

The Dr. Samuel Mudd House (tour costs $ - not a lot, but some). The docent and docent-in-training that conducted our tour were personable (Dr. Mudd was the doctor John Wilkes Booth went to when he broke his leg after assassinating President Lincoln - Dr. Mudd was tried and jailed for being part of the conspiracy, although evidence leans toward him not being quite that black-hearted. Not a choirboy, but not a killer, either). The house was interesting to see, and they had a lot of the ACTUALFAX stuff from the Mudd family - and quite a number of pretty wooden furniture pieces Dr. Mudd made in prison. Dr. Mudd spent nearly four years in prison before he was pardoned, and he came home and he and his wife had five more children (to join the four they already had).

Calvert Marine Museum and the Drum Point Lighthouse.

Cove Point Lighthouse.

Piney Point Lighthouse.

...Not very many Dairy Queens :(

It was awesome, and low-key. We beach combed, watched the sunrise and the blue heron fish. We puzzled - and completed three the week we were there. No kite flying - sadly the winds were not with us. We watched ships go by. We ate delicious food (possibly way too much food, but hey - it was vacation!)

It was exactly what a vacation is supposed to be... It was restful and lovely and I could have used another week! ♥
etakyma: (Default)
( Jan. 3rd, 2012 12:11 am)
I got home from New Years in New York City (awesome time, avoided Times Square like whoa, and hung out in Central Park for fireworks at midnight. Sadly we ended up next to the Asshat Hipsters Who Were Loud and Annoying. We moved away from them finally (omg if I had to listen to one of them congratulate himself for having a passing resemblance to Eric Stoltz one more time I might have killed him. With a book. Because apparently, that is something I seem to be capable of).

Fireworks were spectacular, Central Park was wall to wall people (the night was fairly mild, so people were all over the city).

Bergdorf Goodman's holiday windows were far and above the absolute best in the city. Macy's kind of were a let down and looked amaturish, and Saks Fifth Avenue's out and out sucked.

I got the bus home and arrived Just in Time to have cake with my brother's family for G's TENTH birthday. She got her ears pierced today as part of her birthday. Lovely end to a wonderful holiday weekend. Back to work tomorrow. Ugh!
etakyma: (Default)
( Dec. 6th, 2010 03:05 pm)
Spent a lovely weekend in NYC with friends. Wandering the city all decked out for the holidays was fun - if crowded.

Mostly dorked out with multitudes of stories and conversation. Hopefully, we'll be able to get together again soon! Perhaps April...

A couple of pictures from our travels around the city together: )

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
etakyma: (Default)
( Sep. 2nd, 2010 12:05 pm)
So, Hurricane Earl is still bearing down. I expect we'll see some rain, but not much else. We're too far inland to get much more than a glancing blow.

Very glad I was on vacation at the Delaware Beach LAST week, and not this week. And I have a ton of things to say about vacation, travel, and life in general, but I don't really know where to start. Perhaps with the fact I put 1270 miles on my car in my Adventuring - and it was totally awesome!

The beach house we rented was almost smack dab in the middle of the Delaware coastline. Just north of Rohoboth Beach. And about fifty yards from the water. We spent most of the time while IN the house in the three-season porch, which had a picnic table, two Adirondack chairs, a small occasional table, and three other chairs. We moved in another cushy chair, the kitchen table, three kitchen chairs, and a floor lamp - completely rearranging the space so we had a table to do puzzles on right in front of the wall of windows.

We spent a number of hours out on the beach flying kites (both the ones [ profile] drvsilla and I brought with us, and two others we purchased at a beach shop), picking up shells and ocean-washed pebbles, taking pictures, and generally goofing off. We also went exploring in Delaware. Not a heck of a lot there but agriculture and beaches. But we did tour Nemours Mansion and Gardens which was the home Alfred du Pont built for his second wife in 1910. It was well worth the $17 each price tag - they really showed a LOT of the house and grounds in the three hours we were there - although I could have used about another half hour wandering the grounds - they are not used to folks who really want to wander as freely and see as much as us.

We played an EPIC game of trivial pursuit - although the original is quite dated now - lots of the answers are now incorrect or OBE (overtaken by events, or obsolete by events) - especially history and geography. But we had fun. And by the end, we all had either all six wedges, or were one short, so we were pretty well matched as well ([ profile] purestoneworker won!).

We had picnic lunches and home-made dinners, and watched sunrises and sunsets. Saw a double rainbow (what does it MEAN?), and a surprise giant Indian Head in Bethany Beach.

So. Summer vacation over. I am currently looking to get my tickets to Beijing for work. Hopefully I'll have my LOI soon so I can get my travel visa. Which I think I have to send away for (PITA!). Never a dull moment!
etakyma: (Anton and Steffan MofRD)
( Aug. 18th, 2010 01:35 pm)
I leave for vacation - real, live, not-masquerading-as-vacation-but-is-really-work, vacation in two days. All I have to do for this vacation is pack and show up ready for a good time.

If I remember to, I'm planning to bring a couple of kites, in hopes the weather will let me fly them on the beach. Because one of my favorite memories of my maternal grandmother, before Alzheimer's or dementia took her, is a very hazy memory of flying kites on the beach - I must have been about four or five. She was not a sun-lover, but she did love the beach and the ocean (and she had a wonderful array of hats). I don't think she was ever really *at peace* anywhere but the beach. Hopefully, there is a beach where she is now.

I had the car checked over this morning, because I am driving and wanted to make sure my baby is okay to go, and they did a thorough check, state inspection, changed the oil. They also checked all four tires and told me the same thing as last year (and that I kept putting off) - I should probably get new ones before winter, but while they have wear, they are safe in dry and wet weather - but ice and snow may prove too much. I thought for sure I was going the shell out for new tires this time, but if I can put it off a little longer to after the Beijing trip, well, I am going to do that. Instead, they replaced a belt that was cracking, and I got new brake pads on the front brakes, and they cleaned up the back brakes. Bonus, I spent less than I expected to today - so I have a couple hundred to sock away for new tires in early December. In fact, I think I have almost enough already in my savings account to pay for the new tires, so anything extra I can add to my long term savings at this point is a Good Thing. Plus I am going to be reimbursed for the Maastricht trip, which will help to "prepay" for Beijing, since Maastricht will be completely paid for by the time the reimbursement check comes in.

What is it about an impending road trip that makes me so happy? Maybe it is the promise of the open road. Maybe it is the promise of friends, and no stresses beyond what to do each day, and relaxing by the ocean each evening. Ah, I can't wait to be on the road. ♥
etakyma: (BandB Crumbling!)
( Jul. 10th, 2010 12:18 am)
I leave in the morning. And except for a twenty-four hour period between July 19 and 20th I won't be back until August 1st. July 31st? It'll be August 1st in the time zone I'll be used to. So call it August 1st.

So, while I will have Internet access for almost the whole of the time I will be gone, I will be concentrating on other things.

I'm tired already.
Day five

Began as most of our days began in the very early morning. Out of the house we decided to beat the crowds and go see Watch Hill, the lighthouse, the kitschy little shops and the "flying horse merry-go-round" We got there and there were very few people wandering about, and only the places that had breakfast on offer were open. Plus some very tanned teenagers directing people to park at the marina. A small class of children were learning sailing basics. We spent some time taking pictures of the merry-go-round horses while it was off. We wandered out on the beach and over a spit of land to get a good view of Watch Hill Lighthouse. Then we wandered back and shopped - although not much caught our eyes. We decided to cap the experience off with ice creams - each of us got a single scoop - I chose the black raspberry frozen yogurt in a cup (some chose cones).

From there we went on an adventure in back roads to find the Tomaqoag Indian Museum. It only involved turning around once when we figured out one road seemlessly became another and the addresses were going down instead of up as we'd overshot our destination. The executive director of this tiny Indian museum showed us around and talked to us for over an hour an d a half. We were taken outside to see the garden the children in the school next door had put in, and proudly tended a few days a week. There is no other museum dedicated to the indigenous peoples wholly put together and run but the people and culture it is about. There is something un-museumly about it - five stars. But be warned it is slightly hard to find (not the hardest thing we went in search of, though).

We had planned to lunch in Goddard Park at a picnic table. Well, it was pouring by the time we got there, so we drove around the park and found that the best place would be to quickly make sandwiches from the tailgate of the car (small sport wagon, the hatchback trunk provided excellent cover) and run to the overhang for the public toilets and eat under the roof cover there. Thankfully, the toilets were clean (the park was deserted in the rain) and did not smell, so we stood and ate quickly before getting back on the road.

We trucked along to Foster to see the Swamp Meadow Covered Bridge - the only wooden covered bridge left in Rhode Island, took pictures and made friends with the cocker spaniel that lives next to it. And then went to see the Foster Town House which is the oldest building still in use as a town hall in the country. It was built in the early 1700's I think? And has been a town hall in some form or another since it was built, and it is still used for town meetings.

Then we were tired, and went home to recharge on the deck - thankfully the rain held off so we could eat on the deck, but moved in later that night to chase us inside.

Day six (our last full day together):

We started at the William Blackstone Monument in Cumberland. It is his grave marker set in a little park, but his grave is not there. In fact his body was moved so many times after he was dead, they lost the body. But it is a pretty little park and the monument was interesting to read.

We drove to the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket as it opened at the shockingly early time of 9:30am! The front desk/gift shop attendant gave us a little speech and set us loose to tour the museum, ring the "doorbells" to activate the audio bits of the tour, and see films of life and culture during the industrial revolution. From there we went to...

...Slater Mill in Pawtucket, which was a collection of three houses, Slater Mill, Wilkinson Mill and the Brown House - a pre-industrial homestead that had been moved to the property. The Slater Mill made spools of thread - and employed many children, some as young as six years old, working twelve hours a day (from "can't see" to "can't see" spinning cotton into thread. Wilkinson Mill has a working water wheel, and a machine shop that works on water power. We each got a chance to drill with the drill press using the water power. So cool!

Slow day, so we got to go home for lunch on the deck, and naps in the afternoon. Late afternoon went out to Judith Point Lighthouse, and in to Galilee for ice cream at Goody's. Leftovers for dinner, and relaxing last evening together sitting out on the deck watching the stars.

Leaving Day :(

Fog obscured the sunrise in the morning, but it was warmish and still lovely. With the fog in, it seemed as if we were the only people in the whole world - as the only houses we could see clearly were the ones next door. We spent as much time as we could in the house, on the deck, and together. We left the house at 10am - check out time. Hugs all around in the yard, and then we were gone. Vacation over.

I then went straight to auditions for a show - which I was cast in, but that is a story for another day.
Tuesday we were up and out fairly early, and tried to find a specific scenic overlook - which we eventually found, but the "overlook" wasn't anything spectacular. We had plenty of time, so we parked at the Cliff Walk instead, and walked out the first mile and back in the hot hot hot sun. Suitably sweaty, we proceeded into Newport to Bowen's Wharf to our sailing boat tour on the Adirondack II. The Adirondack II is an 80-foot schooner, and she was lower to the waves than I expected, but she gives a very gentle sail.

We took the Mimosa Sail and it was an hour and a half out on the bay. I was really glad to come back in off the water, because even with my sunglasses, the glare was starting to hurt my eyes. But we saw many things, although the more interesting things pointed out by our captain were things in the harbor - Athena, the largest sailing yacht owned privately (also the most expensive at a cool $200 million). You can charter it for a mere $500,000 per week. There was a boat that won the America's Cup with a titanium mast. There was a very pretty sailing ship called the tree of life (according to Captain Chris, the ship is owned by a husband and wife, the wife was diagnosed with cancer and they bought the boat to take their world-round trip they'd been dreaming about. Long story short, she no longer has cancer).

Back in Newport, we got back into the car and drove north to Green Animals, the last of the Newport Preservation Properties we were going to tour (we'd bought the five house package). A quick lunch in the shade of the 130 year old copper beach tree, and we proceeded onto the grounds. Green Animals is a topiary garden, and other than the fact it was hotter than the face of the sun, it was enjoyable to wander the grounds to identify the various topiary animals. I liked the elephant the best, I think. It was being shaved as we wandered, and it was interesting to see the guys working to "trim" and clean up the privet and boxwood.

After we rested on the wide, deeply shaded porch, gazing out over Narragansett Bay, we decided to see if we could find the butterfly farm - which we did. It was very hot inside the structure, but the butterflies were so worth the effort! They had a huge number of amazing species of butterflies - some brilliantly colored, and some that fade into the background. All were fascinating, even the one drunk fellow who didn't want to leave one of our party alone.

Then, we wound our way to Little Compton to find the oldest general store in the country called Gray's Store. We came upon it rather suddenly - but we wandered inside and [ profile] drvsilla found a MOXIE - which seems to be a carbonated beverage from her childhood (smelled like root beer candy, and tasted sweeter, but similar to root beer). Fortified, we set off to see if we could find the grave marker monument of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie, considered the first white girl born in New England to John Alden and Priscilla Mullin, both who came to America on the Mayflower. We spent some time wandering the graveyard wondering at the folks who lived in the area during the 17 and 18 hundreds. Lots of Pardons, Rebekahs, Lizzies, and even one Wanton.

Wednesday we had a leisurely start to the day, getting on the road by about 8:30. Our first stop was to be the Museum of Rhode Island History at the Aldrich House, but that was a bust, as the house is the headquarters of the Historical Society of Providence, and only administrative offices were housed there.

Denied that we tried to find the Culinary Arts Archive and Museum - which after some circling and the questioning of a helpful person, we eventually found! We spent a good amount of time there, wandering the hall. I loved the stoves - large and small cast iron to white enamel. The vast array of cooking implements on display were dizzying - I wish the tools for cooking over an open fire had some explanation to what they were actually used for. Other favorite items were the mustache cups - coffee cups that have a guard so the mustache of the drinker of the coffee does not soak his mustache in his beverage - the exhibit of industrial size pasta makers, and the fruit crate art exhibit. Also appreciated were the two cooking-inspired Mr Potato Heads that flank the front doors ("Baking Potato" on the left as you entered, "Italian Chef" on the right).

Then we went off to find the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center - which was deceptively difficult to get to. But we persevered, and with a little circling, we made it. A nominal fee, and we were in! Lots of tropical and subtropical plants. They had all the doors and windows wide open, and it was likely because the humidity was so high, the plants could use the fresh air. Also inside was a container "bog" filled with carnivorous plants - itty bitty venus fly traps, pretty, but sinister pitcher plants, and sticky fly-paper traps. Fascinating! We walked the labyrinth of a rose garden, and wandered about before deciding it was time for lunch.

Lunch in the Roger Williams Park near the Temple of Music underneath a great ginkgo tree that seem to have had a healthy appetite for kites (it had at least five in it's upper branches). A local skunk wandered close to our picnicking spot, but must have been on a mission, because it did not tarry and was quickly gone.

One more try for the Historical Preservation Society of Providence - we stopped by their main offices to pick up a guide to the Benefit Street Mile of History - which we toured ourselves, and saw a whole lot of houses built in the early 1800s. Also passed by quite a bit of RISD, as well as either a pack of prospective students, or a herd of new freshmen. On the way back down into the city, we stopped to see the Roger Williams monument from the back (he is in a really silly pose - kinda looks like he is vogue-ing) in the upper bit to Prospect Terrace.

Then down to Waterplace Park, and the General Ambrose Burnside Statue - neither of which we really spent a whole lot of time, as we were tired, and more interested in going home.

Overcast and rainy tonight, but we still had dinner on the deck - the rain didn't begin 'til we were well and truly finished. It is quite a bit windier than it has been, and we watched another tanker (car transporter we *think* but it is dark, and overcast, so who knows what it actually was) going out to sea. Plus a couple of ocean kayakers went by one way, and then came back. Rhode Islanders seem to take their leisure time seriously, as most attractions have weird hours (11am-3pm, not open Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays). We've gotten the odd "how did you hear about us?" question, usually paired with a look of surprise or shock. We are all of us geeks - and we love the strange and ridiculous. I mean, we spent an hour reading headstones in an old cemetery yesterday afternoon, and we actually sought out the oldest continuously operating general store - we drove by the oldest continually operating tavern *twice* - once purely by accident! The tavern was constructed in 1652 as a home, and has been operating as a tavern since 1673.

Tomorrow we'll be looking at villages and parks. Possibly a covered bridge. Big plans!
This is mainly here just for me, since our week is so damned full, I want to be able to remember in what order we saw stuff. We arrived at our house on Judith Point on Saturday, midafternoon. We went up the road to the Stop and Shop to buy food for the week to fill the refrigerator. Ate dinner on the deck watching the tide come it. Stayed out on the deck all evening. Basically, a very calm and relaxed evening. We kicked around the idea of going to Providence to see the waterfire, but decided the view from the balcony was really too good to leave.

The house is a cute three-bedroom, with WiFi. So I can post from the deck, watching the tide come in and go out.

Woke with the sun pouring through the house as we face directly east.

Sunday we began our travels by going northish to Smith's Castle. We did not tour the house, as it was closed until later in the day. But the grounds were lovely, if possessing a slightly morbid bent as there was a "grave marker" for forty men who were buried in a mass grave on the site. They all fell during the "Great Swamp Fight" of 1675 (King Philip's War).

Second stop was the General Nathaniel Greene House. Which we found with the assistance of the Garmin one of us had along, and without it we would never have found it, because we have discovered Rhode Island doesn't believe in historical marker signs. Nathaniel Greene was a revolutionary war general, and his house is on ten acres, and they are slowly restoring it. One of his cannons is set in front of the house, and the caretaker, who spent an hour with us taking us through the house, talked fairly excitedly about the period "junk" they keep digging up from midden heaps.

Then we went on to look at the Varnum House, since our tour guide at the Greene house mentioned the Varnum house as a house built around the same time in a completely different style - much more ornate than Greene's aesthetic.

Again with Garmin we found, down a rocky steep dirt road, Step Stone Falls. Which was a lovely little bug-ridden walk in the woods. I startled a very pretty toad as I was scrambling over some of the massive granite slabs (that make the "step stones").

Back to the house for dinner (yum, roast beast).

Today we woke with the sun (again, seems to be the theme here). After stopping by the Narragansett Indian Monument in Narragansett. This is a 23 foot tall sculpture carved from a single Douglas fir by Peter Toth. Very odd, but kind of cool to see. Short stop at the post office and we went off to Newport.

We started at Kingscote and we had the docent to ourselves, and she was terrific with just answering off the cuff questions, and showing the house. Of course, Stanford White did some of the renovating to the original house, and I had Ragtime running through my head for the rest of the day (as he was mentioned about eight more times). With the Kingscote ticket we also got to see the Isaac Bell House for "free". This is a Shingle Style summer cottage. The preservation society is currently restoring meticulously, and the house has very few bits of furniture in it.  But even if the walls are fairly bare, you can see where they are working on getting reproduction materials to bring it back.  I loved the "sleeping porch" the best os all of the house.  It was bigger than the bedroom, but it was an open air covered area.  I've read about sleeping porches, but even then, it is difficult to imagine with no point of reference.  This house has given me my point of reference.  Why don't we have sleeping proches any more?

Then we walked up to The Elms and took the first of three audio tours- each of which we only did the "basic" tour of each property.  The Elms was built in 1899-1901, and was the summer home of the Berwind family.  They were in coal - and their fortune was fairly new for the time.  The dining room impressed me as being bigger than my whole house.

From The Elms we drove to Marble House, which was a monument to Alva Vanderbilt's vision.  Oddly, the family only spent three summers at their $11 million dollar summer "cotage (with $7 million dollars of imported marble) before Alva divorced her husband, and moved down the street into her second husband's home, Belcourt.  Strangely, for a woman who was so concerned with getting women the vote and having a woman's right to have a say in her own life, she gave her daughter Consuelo none of the freedom to choose in her own life.  Consuelo was forced into an arranged marriage with a Duke (a marriage which was later annulled).  The house is more a showplace, and not really a "home" by any stretch of the imagination.  It is completely over-the-top, and by the end it was a relief to go downstairs to the fabulous, obviously lovingly kept (and enormous) kitchen, just to get away from the gilded tschochkies. 

Then, a bit late in the day, and growing tired, we stopped at The Breakers.  Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt built this stone, brick and marble summer home (boasting seventy rooms).  This mansion is still opulescent, and over-the-top, but this Vanderbilt family imbued in the house a sense of home missing in Marble House.

What is interesting to note in all these properties, the husbands and wives have seperate bedrooms.  One of the audio tours mentioned that this was because the wives would entertain their friends in their bedrooms and it would be awkward for the husband to come in to change his clothing to see his wife hosting tea.  They also mentioned that the women would change clothing a number of times a day - almost from the skin out - because a lady of the time would be embarrassed to be seen in her morning gown in the afternoon.  Can you imagine changing clothing up to seven times a day?  Yeah.  Ridiculous.

So the Gilded Age mansions were built at a time before income taxes, and each of the mansions we saw had staffs of about forty people who lived on site, with more who came in to do day labor.  Also interestingly, the only servants seen in the "living areas" by family and guests were men.  Valets, footmen, and butlers.  One fun factoid from Marble House was in the formal dining room, the chairs were made of bronze, and each chair weighs seventy pounds.  Footmen were required to assist guests in moving the chairs close enough to the table to eat.  And the end chairs weighed a hundred pounds each. 

After these last couple of properties (and as the day went on the houses got more and more crowded, until by The Breakers we were having to dodge tourists and elbow our way though. 

If the weather cooperates, tomorrow we will have our boating tour of the coast line, and we'll try to see a few things we missed today.  I will say the Garmin devce has been incredibly helpful (most of the time).
Home from Orlando. The weekend had a bit of multiple personality going on - And we stuffed a hell of a lot into three days. Friday afternoon was lunch at the Royal Pacific Universal property. Then [ profile] gwendolyngrace, [ profile] jennclack, and I wandered the property to do a little preliminary space planning for Infinitus. There is a lovely outdoor area where the hotel does Luaus and it can be a great little party spot for the event.

Afterwords, we took the water taxi to CityWalk and wandered around and did a little shopping. I got a lovely sun hat in a pretty blue. Then we took the water taxi to the Portofino - the other hotel property we have a big block of rooms at. The Portofino is a lovely property - nicer, I think than the Royal Pacific. It was definitely Venice inspired, and has a lot of that old world charm, with courtyards, plazas, and terraces throughout the property. Really nice.

Then we took the water taxi back to the Royal Pacific (about twenty minutes - but we had to change taxis at CityWalk), where we left [ profile] jennclack and took a taxi to our hotel where we registered for the event that brought us to Orlando.

That evening Gwen went out and I stayed in. It was a long day of travel for me, and I wasn't feeling particularly well. So I watched the debate with one of my roommates and another con attendee. They didn't last through the whole thing, and we talked through a lot of it. But I guess I got a little angry at the TV. Hopefully I didn't freak out the friend-of-roommate too too much. Why I generally don't watch anything political with anyone else in the room. I stress out, and I hate feeling stressed out.

I got to bed around 11. My roommates (we had two adjoining rooms, so there were six of us all together) trickled in between midnight and two am. Saturday, we were up and out early. [ profile] heidi8 drove Gwen and I back to the Royal Pacific so we could have breakfast with [ profile] jennclack, [ profile] keytothecage, and [ profile] sap_78. Then we went back to the event in time for the first Q and A session.

We snuck out of the last Q and A session of the afternoon because we had VIP passes to the client party at Universal Studios and "RIP Tour" for their Halloween happenings opening weekend. The party was a lot of fun, our sales rep is fantastic, and our tour group was the most fun (two different Universal folks defected from their tour groups to play with us, because we're so damn awesome). We were fast tracked through the events of the evening, so we wandered through three haunted houses, and the Bill and Ted stage show (this year's show? Bill and Ted Meet Hellboy). The Bill and Ted show was a mixed bag of pop culture references. Some of it was funner than other bits of it. The haunted houses were a hell of a lot of fun. [ profile] keytothecage only lasted through one, but I am so proud of her for doing that one! We knew way ahead of time that haunted houses freak her right out, and she made it through a couple of rooms before tucking herself between me and Gwen and focusing on my back and nothing else.

I *loved* the theatrics of the haunted houses, and I am sure the wide-eyed excitement and compliments were not quite what the monster actors were going for. I didn't scream or shy away from any of them. I think the Zombie house was my favorite, closely followed by the Hallows. I thought the pack of traveling Prison Zombies were hysterical. And then we veered away from the tour group because we were all a little on overload. They tried to get back-doored onto the Mummy ride, but it was down due to technical difficulties, so instead we wandered down some of the streets and saw the flying monkeys - right near the wicked witch of the west's tower.

Sunday was up for some photo ops (Gwen and I got one only because [ profile] heidi8 couldn't use one of hers), and more Q and As. Last night was mostly relaxing with new friends. The travel home today was uneventful, and I napped most of the afternoon to make up for very little sleep the last three days.

The con was... well, for me, kinda disappointing. I am used to a lot of things going on all the time. I am used to having to pick and choose carefully what you go see and do. I am used to lots and lots of people doing lots of different things all at the same time. I am used to way more bustle and less standing around waiting for an event to begin. So while it was an interesting experience, and I loved my roommates (wow, so damn fun!), I don't think I'll go to an event following this model again.

But I met some really cool people. And had some fun at Universal Studios. And saw some really good friends. So I count the weekend a great big win.
etakyma: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 11:33 am)
And I have finally sort of caught up (oy! email out the wazoo)...

The Adventure Along the Rocky Coast of Maine was incredible. Pre-sunrise dash to the eastern tip of the USA to see the sun crest over the horizon. Sonogram-the-humpback-whale. No moose. Deer, grouse, wee snake, tiny school of tiny fish. Watching the tide come in and go out again. Rocky beaches. Hiking up mountains and not falling off. Wild blueberries. Salt water as far as the eye can see and beyond. Mussels and barnacles, and seaweed, oh my! Driving, driving, driving. Evening rituals like talking round the fireplace. Cooking, picnics, and lobster. Puffins! Port-a-pusses! Shifty-eyed Sea Gulls! Birds of prey of indeterminite species! Almost killing Ang daily. Being out of signal range and offline for seven days and *not* *missing* the tech a bit. Daily postcards!

Yeah. Too much, and not enough. Next year can't come soon enough - and this time our intrepid seventh will be with us (we missed you, sweetie, so much). Good times.

So anything I missed that I absolutely *must* know? Catch me up!!!
etakyma: (Default)
( Aug. 15th, 2008 02:25 pm)
I'm hangin' out the virtual "gone fishin'" sign. Tomorrow morning I am headed to the wilds of Maine for a whole week. I will (likely) not be online again until late August 23. There will be hiking, and a whale watch, and wild blueberries. I can't wait!

Catch you all when I get back!!!
Life has been tremendously busy the last two weeks. I actually took a vacation. Shocking, I know. And it was a real go-somewhere-and-gawk-like-a-tourist vacation. I even saw a BEAR! And in his natural habitat, too. He was wholly un-interested in the dozens of us snapping his photo, it was like he'd arrived on stage right at his proper cue, wandered into his scene, did his thing, and wandered off again. Too cool.

Anyway, when traveling with a large group, always be open to change your plans at the last minute. The only thing we *had* to do was the rafting. We'd already paid for that. Anything else we did was a "we've planned for this, but you want to get ice cream first? Cool. Let's do that. Yum... sundaes..." Very nice, ladies. I had a blast. Hope you all come back next year!

I get home to find my amazon order had arrived! Huzzah! The CDs of "Color Purple" and "Dessa Rose" - very nice! Can totally see why LaChanze got the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical this year. If this is what she is capable of, man, Audra McDonald and Heather Hedley have legacy in her. She is *amazing.* I would LOVE to see the Color Purple - and yes, I am aware of the problems with the book, but the love song between Shug and Celie is the best love song I've heard come out of Broadway in a while. And it doesn't seem like they gloss over the lesbian relationship between the two like the movie does.

Anyway, work was crazy trying to clear it up after having been gone, but I spent a good part of this past weekend doing stuff for LUMOS - 2006... Countdown, one month to the event, and I have so much to do and finish and I'll be in Montreal for a week in July - before Lumos. I am counting on July 4 to get all the decorating stuff finished, and then I just have the commission work to complete. An 8 foot banner - no problem!

I had dinner with [ profile] gwendolyngrace and [ profile] heidi8 and Heidi's family yesterday. Heidi et al had been in Maine and were on their way back to Florida when they stopped for the night in Boston before catching a really early flight. Her daughter is a complete cutie at 18 months. Wanting to walk all over the lobby of the hotel. Rocks are good eatin'! Specially if you're teething! Her boys were incredibly high energy. I understand they'd been cooped up in the car for the five+ hour drive, so I didn't think much of it. My nieces would probably be just as wiggly, if a bit quieter about it.

We talked about Lumos and the recent wankage. I am so far removed from that whole kerfuffle, that all I have to say is "hindsight is 20/20, and if you all keep raking all this *ancient* history up, she still wins. So learn from it and *move on.*" And now I am humming from "Sunday in the Park with George."

Good lord, life really is a musical. And my own little soundtrack for today includes the 2005 concert South Pacific, The Color Purple, Dessa Rose, and the song "Easter Island Head." Brought to you by the color green, the letters O and X, and the number 7.


etakyma: (Default)


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags