OMG, this is way too much for a blog entry, and who wants to read about someone else’s vacation? The topics covered are: climbing Monadnock (Sunday), going to the beach (Monday), the Sex and the City movie (Tuesday), and furniture shopping (Wednesday), in that order, in case you feel like skipping around instead of reading the whole thing. I added subheads to make it easier.
I realized the other day that I really haven’t taken the time to enjoy this summer when I sat on the lounge chair on my deck. I tried to lean it back, and it wouldn’t budge. The joints had rusted over (so that’s why it came with a cover!). And it took me until August 5 to realize this? I guess I needed a vacation. Too bad the weather has pretty much sucked. The best I can say about this vacation weatherwise is at least I didn’t spend money to stay at the beach.
The sun looked like it was peeking out at me today so I was ready to get out and rent a kayak at a local boathouse, but then I heard thunder. Right now it’s raining pretty relentlessly, the type of rain that seems like it’ll go all day. I used to love the first day of this kind of rain at summer camp, but when it stretched on for days, it wasn’t so nice. Playing dodge ball in the rec hall got old fast.
I’ll think of today as that first day of rain at camp, open the windows, and listen to the beautiful music tapping on the leaves.
I’ve tried to take advantage of whatever nice weather there’s been. On Sunday, my sweetie (Mr. S) and I climbed Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. I was ill-prepared for the rigor of the climb. Climbing a mountain for me has always meant hiking on an incline. But I don’t think New Hampshire has mountains you can “climb” that way. Monadnock, for one, is nearly all rock, and it goes seriously uphill. I attacked it too aggressively at the beginning, so by the time we’d gone about a quarter of the way, my legs were like Jello. Climbing what’s essentially a neverending set of oversized stairs is hard on the thighs and rump. After a rest that I really thought I was not going to get up from, I got more conservative, zig-zagging to find the flatter paths that ran between the rocks where possible.
By the time we were about half way, I was exhausted, which was surprising because I run something like 10 miles a week and do stairmaster often. But then there was a brief downpour, which was possibly the day’s savior, as it was a cool, refreshing shower.
We finally came out of the woods to a rocky (of course) clearing and I asked, “Are we at the top?” Mr. S said no, and pointed to a peak way in the distance upon which miniature people stood.
There is no way I am climbing that, I thought. Sheer rock and lots of it stood between us and that peak. But then I looked at those around me who were continuing on—overweight, out-of-shape, very old, very young—and realized that if they could do it, I could do it. Plus I did not want to be a whiner to Mr. S, who had picked the climb. Probably the biggest motivator to finishing was that I didn’t want to disappoint him. I also knew that if I did the climb and was miserable, that would be a disappointment too. So I had some self-dialogue (it’s not like I had the wind to carry on conversation out loud) and pushed on with a positive attitude, and the summit turned out to be not that much further. The last leg was challenging, but well worth it, as you can see from the picture.
The climb down was also tough, but much quicker. We went a different trail, one that is supposed to be a little easier for the descent. It was definitely easier than the one we went up would have been, but going down such a steep mountain, regardless of the path, is tough on the front of the thighs. I fell a bunch of times, too, because the rain had made everything slick and you never knew which rock was going to be a slippery one.
Anyhow, it really did turn out to be fun, and Mr. S agreed I was not that whiny (fortunately, another hiker’s girlfriend provided a nice contrast).
Of course I was sore for days, and missed a run, but man, when I did run, was that a good one!
Monday I went to the beach in the afternoon and managed to see the sun. The ocean was wicked cold (ah, I’ve given myself away as a Bostonian), but I went in anyhow. I got used to it, but it would have felt better if I’d gotten sweaty from the heat, of which there was none. The water wasn’t as cold as, say, Nantasket, which feels like ice, and you start to lose feeling in your limbs after a few minutes.
As you can see from the picture, the weather was weird. The dark area is a storm in the distance. Several storms like that were featured in the 360-degree panorama from the beach.
Mr. S and I had lobsters with summer squash and local corn for dinner that night, with a fruit salad of mango, kiwi, and blueberries for dessert. What a lovely way to end the day.
Tuesday (Sex and the City)
Tuesday was gray and cloudy all day. I was going to go to the lake with Julie R, but it was too cool, so she and I had lunch and a long overdue visit. The rain ended up holding off, so I could have gone kayaking, but it was hard to tell from minute to minute whether the rain would come. So I stayed in and finished my Mirena piece, which may sound like work, but as long as I’m not writing for someone else, it’s not.
That night I went out with Julie G as planned. (As I said to Mr. S, “It’s a Julie holiday”—that’s funny if you get the Mary Poppins reference.) We ate at a weird place in Arlington called Prose that we both enjoyed. Limited menu, but I quite liked my vegetable flan. Dessert was gooseberries, white currants, and blueberries. I had never had gooseberries before, and the compendium was delicious.
Then we saw Sex and the City at the Capitol. I hadn’t read the reviews thoroughly, but I knew the movie had not been well-received by the critics. I am actually quite a film snob myself, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’d heard that most fans who had seen it loved it.
Well, I’m a fan, so count me in. I acknowledge that it’s not a film that stands by itself. It’s meant to be seen by people who watched the show and were invested in the characters. It has no redeeming value as a work of art, except if you like fashion. I don’t even care about fashion and I was impressed with the clothes and costuming.
If I wanted to play critic, I could note that pretty much every plot point and resolution was telegraphed, except for Samantha’s storyline. But the resolution of each of the conflicts—even when you knew what it would be—was completely satisfying, and the steps along the way were entertaining. I think the movie ultimately worked—for its audience—because every person in that theater wanted to write the ending, and the movie’s ending was what everyone wanted to write. As opposed to Mad Men, for which the appeal, for me at least, is that I never know what’s going to happen, Sex and the City is about the characters doing exactly what you want and expect them to do. It’s fantasy. And if the fantasy doesn’t go the way you want, is it really fantasy?
Allow me to make an important distinction about fantasy. Fantasy is what you think you want to happen, not what you actually want to happen. In my fantasies, I’ve wanted to be in Carrie’s Monola Blahnick’s many times. Chris Noth is a hunk, and the character of Big is so bad and sexy. In reality, I would never want a man like that. He would drive me insane in no time. But think of the scene during the series’ run when Carrie and Big are in the elevator, when he’s married and she’s with Aidan. He kisses her and she slaps him and says, “Fuck you”; then he kisses her again and she says, “Fuck you” again. He kisses her one more time, hard and passionately, and she says, breathlessly, “Fuck me…” and kisses him back. That is one hot scene, which I watched that first week as many times as HBO played it.
Really, I didn’t want Carrie to cheat on Aidan or sleep with a married Big. I would never cheat on someone like Aidan for a hot, naughty guy who’s kissing me against my will in an elevator (not now, at least, but more on that another time). But I was completely satisfied when Carrie succumbed to Big. It’s fantasy, and it’s why people liked the show, and why fans of the show liked the movie.
As I’d read, the film played like a really long episode of the TV show (not that it felt long to me or Julie), but something about the size of the thing on the screen and the way I tend to get lost in a movie made it more affecting than the TV show. The emotions were bigger, and I found I reacted much more strongly than I would to the series. I laughed, I hate to admit it but I cried, and I left with a smile on my face.
I don’t even know why they sent the Roger Eberts of the world to review it. A complete waste of time for a film critic or anyone unfamiliar with the show.
After watching the rain for a bit, I decided it would stay dry enough for me to go for a run. Had a great one (four miles!), probably because my legs were so buff after the Monadnock climb. Toyed again with the idea of going kayaking, but the rain was too persistent. I finally went out to pick out the much-needed livingroom furniture both to take advantage of the sales and to reserve my pieces in advance of the Massachusetts “tax holiday” that is happening August 16 and 17.
I started at Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, whose ads I have admired in the Boston Globe Sunday magazine but whose pricing was a mystery to me. I’d seen an ad with some pricing on it that was encouraging, though, so decided to get there before all the floor models and stock were sold out. I was pleased with what I found, including this couch, which was going for $995 in a yummy dark blue/green.
I fell immediately in love with this thing, what they are calling a chair-and-a-half. The floor model of the Jeanie was sold (don’t worry, it wasn’t pink), and the only other one in stock was upholstered in something really boring that just wasn’t going to work, especially not with the couch. I could order it custom, but it was going to cost kind of a lot. Wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on that one. Something to think about.
I liked these chairs, as well, which were in stock upholstered with a fun fabric that went well with the couch. I know, everything from stock. I usually go custom and fuss endlessly over fabrics, but I liked what I was seeing in stock, and it brought some furniture I really liked into my price range.
Then I went to Stickley-Audi, whose pricing had also been a mystery. Well, mystery solved. Very expensive, though I did find an armchair I really liked for, well, for more than the Mitchell Gold Bob Williams couch. And more than two of the Tad chairs. But I was considering it in the configuration that didn’t involve the chair-and-a-half, to have something really kind of special.
Also went to Boston Interiors, which is priced well and the furniture is nice, but it was more like den furniture than what I envisioned for my living room. I did pick out one armchair that I was considering in place of the one from Stickley-Audi. It was not anywhere near as nice or distinctive, but it would have worked.
Had some thinking to do, and today (Thursday) after Bonnie and I had a walk and talk, I brought her back here and showed her the pictures of the pieces and the fabric samples. It was between the couch, two armless chairs, and the Stickley-Audi armchair or the couch, one armless chair, and the Jeanie chair-and-a-half. Hands-down, she said I had to buy the Jeanie. She was right, and I’d known it all along. Boom. Done. That configuration was a few hundred more (for three pieces instead of four) because of the cost of ordering the chair custom, but the last time I bought furniture was 20 years ago, and I’ll never miss the difference in cost over the next 20 years. But I fully expect to love that piece of furniture, and for my family and friends to enjoy it for a long time.
It may not be the Italian Design look I’d dreamed of, but I think it’ll look nice and be appropriate for my house and our lifestyle. Pictures to come when everything’s in place, which’ll be a while because I’m ordering the Jeanie chair.
Batman in IMAX with Mr. S Friday night.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far…