Yesterday was another dose of the outdoors – this time an almost 5 mile walk on Bethpage Path. Lots of trees and Bat Houses in those trees. I?m so dumb when it comes to hiking through nature. I?m walking, making sure I don?t trip on roots and sticks, chatting away with a jewelry artist I just met, and I was Convinced that we were walking in a straight line headed south. It was a nice walk but I was wondering when it would end – we were walking for a looong time. My chat mate told me we were at the end but, no, I was convinced that we had to turn around and walk back. I even tried to use the position of the sun as an argument in my favor. Turns out we walked in a big circle. Duh.
Silly & Her Sister during belly expansion (Rayna’s iPhone did this all by itself).
Rayna Gillman (she snapped the pic) picked us up. She didn’t realize how many of us there would be so it was Back Seat Squashville.
This is after lunch when our stomachs mysteriously expanded. Not everyone could fit. It took the missing one awhile to walk to the train station and meet up with us. It was a good thing she arrived before the train did – no guarantees as to what we would have done if she was still puffing up the hill.
Everyone around me is dropping from one thing or another. The latest is ?S? The Intern. He sits at the desk next to where I usually work at the place I volunteer twice a week. Last Wednesday I had the misfortune to glance over. Yikes. He had THREE bandaids on his forehead, his eye was swollen almost shut and was leaking like my bathroom sink was last winter. What a horror. He surmised that it was due to a spider bite since he was in the woods (seems he was climbing things) the previous weekend.
But, I know the true cause of all that red puffiness.
I was very subtly reminded that I have been neglecting the blog this week. It?s satisfying to know that someone other than myself reads it (and actually misses it!!!). I?ve been distracted with a Top Secret Project. I make lists and then ignore them. I get sidetracked by all sorts of things – important and trivial nonsense – makes no difference. Procrastination is equal opportunity.
Plus, I received Suspicious e-mails – one came the other day and the latest arrived just this afternoon. The first one wanted me to believe that the ?Classy Lady? was in Pennsylvania. What kind of fool do they take me for. Why, I saw, with my own eyes, as she was airlifted by stealth helicopter and dropped off in the Alps. Now, I got a very good mark in geography in the Fourth Grade and I know that the Alps are nowhere near Pennsylvania, never mind Wayne. Fishy Business is afoot. It is very upsetting and is the main reason why the Top Secret Project keeps getting stalled.
I found myself so distraught over the Classy Lady Dilemma and the resultant Top Secret Project Unavoidable Procrastination that I ate lunch this morning at breakfast time and then subjected myself to Nature. Again. What is that, three times this month, already. I met 25 other people at Caumsett State Park and walked/hiked (?) for close to 5 miles. The park is loaded with trees, flowers, rocks, a little lake and the Long Island Sound which included sand, more rocks and loads of shells at the high tide mark. And, don’t forget, the “Danger! Keep Off” stairway episode. Horses and historical buildings to top off the experience. Getting to the park involves driving through an area on the North Shore where ?the other half live?. You know – mansions. Not the McMansions. These are the real deal. Think Rockefeller, Whitney, The Great Gatsby.
Anyway, I came home tired and relaxed and ready to deal with anything – deceit and procrastination and whatever else comes my way. Here is a journal page with a couple of my attempts from last week?s brush with nature when I sketched at the Central Park Conservancy Garden and a reference to the Great Train Wait Episode.
I didn’t hear from her until just a little while ago.
Now we get to MY drama (yawn):
There was a double-decker type of tourist bus next to the one I rode in. A variety of people were on top taking pictures of the tall buildings (I know that because they were pointing their cameras up up up). People in shirt sleeves and people bundled up in coats. As my bus pulled past this one I spotted four (costumed? ethnically dressed?) people – 3 men and 1 woman – playing bagpipes(!) in the front of the bus as it drove down 7th Avenue. I got off at 33rd, last stop, and entered Penn Station.
First, I headed for the ladies room (because, of course, I missed the 3:24 train), and then went to Au Bon Pain to get an asiago cheese bagel since I am allowed to get one of them when I cross a bridge or go under a river – personal rule (don’t ask) – and I wanted to have it for dinner with tuna and swiss cheese and mucho gusto veggies on the side and an orange and grapes for desert – but the lone asiago cheese bagel was hard (I wrapped it in deli paper and squeezed) so I got another favorite which is kinda maple syrup tasting with oats and grains on it instead (it will get the tuna and swiss cheese treatment also). Debated w/myself about getting a coffee there but I really don’t enjoy their coffee very much so decided to wait for Dunkin’ at home. Went to the waiting area and sat and watched the screen with the train list and read my book. Track 15. Everyone jumps up and runs (don’t know why – we had 10 minutes). I got a good seat (I’ve finally learned how to tell which direction the train will go in – there’s a big sign on the platform with an arrow saying “Front of Train” – DUH).
Then, uh oh, a mother and little girl come in the compartment and the little girl sits next to me (5, 6 yrs old? 4??). OMG! Mother stands in the aisle. Earlier, Scott and I were discussing children in public. During our Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait episodes there were instances of Crying Kids. We discussed our feelings about that. I shared with him that I’ve been known to get on another car if I see “them” getting on the train. So, now, I have one of “them” sitting next to me and at this point I am exhausted. Thank goodness for nice people ’cause a man across the aisle gave up his seat to the mother and she sat down and took the Child with her. I certainly was not giving up my window-facing-in-the-right-direction seat. Nosiree. So now a very tall young man (skinny, phew) with a magazine sticking out of his back pocket sits next to me – first goring me with said magazine. I’m wearing my winter coat, sweater, long sleeved shirt. He is in a white short sleeved t-shirt. He is a normal guy but for some reason his bare arms touching my three layered covered arm is creeping me out. I think he was too pale. So we get to first stop. Loads of people get on. All the seats are taken. A 60ish attractive blonde woman and her bearded husband are standing. Pale arms gives her his seat. She sits next to me and comments on how nice and warm the seat is. I turn and smile at her. She looks through me. Sigh. Now I’m falling asleep. I’m trying to fight it and pay attention to the stations. All of a sudden I hear: blcchlgllbl, blchdlldlls, blchdllslsl. The husband bent down and was doing a noisy kissing-baby’s-stomach-to-make-baby-laugh kinda thing to his wife’s neck. Ohhhhhhhhhh. Help. Me. Quick. We reach the next station and lots of people get off so Husb and blonde wife move to where they can sit together. Ah. Pale Arms sits down next to me. Next Station is approaching. Pale Arms squirms and twists around and looks behind him. Ah. Maybe he is getting off. No. He changes seats. Ah. Phew. Sleepy, sleepy. stay awake. Next Station. Stay awake. Yay. My Stop. Look out of window as train slows down – yes! – car is still parked where I left it. Hmm. I’m later than I expected – the meter ran out – I wonder if I have a ticket.
The End. (bet you thought it would never end. I understand, really, I do – too bad.)
Have you been to the Central Park Conservancy Garden? Wow. For an anti-natureist who thinks dandelions are a nice pick-me-up addition to a lawn – I was flabbergasted with how beautiful the gardens are. And I only saw a small segment. And I probably only noticed a tiny bit of the segments. I saw a teeny (ask Shirley) flower that was the most beautiful, purist blue I have ever seen. Flawless, Heavenly. Such a rich solid hearty blue in a tiny tiny flower. That made it all worthwhile – that BLUE. Have no idea what the name of the flower is – but boy oh boy that blue!
The weather started out cold and very windy but ended up sunny and the most perfect temperature. I wore my winter coat, sweater and long sleeved shirt and was thankful. There was track construction further up on the railroad line so my train into the city was 14 minutes late thereby putting the kibosh on my idea of a leisurely breakfast in the station (I would have had time to kill). Instead, I scoffed down a yogurt with rubbbery blueberries and stopped in the ladies room – one had nothing to do with the other. I took the #3 up to 110th Street & Lenox (instead of taking the other three-train east side ride) and walked to 5th and 105 where I met the group. About 30 – maybe more (50?) people. Lots of fantastic artists and then there was me. My friends Scott and Shirley were there. Scott and I got tired and skipped the last sketching session and just walked around and admired all the flowering trees with the tall posh apartment houses on 5th in the background. Shirley did a series of nice delicate, intimate drawings, adding watercolor. Scott likes her technique/style. I like how she can zero in on the subject. I get too confused with the riot of elements and here, there and everywhere things – I try to draw it all even though I know I do better if I just pick out a small bit and do that. Oh well. I can do cartoons and a mean zig zag stitch.
Scott and I left at 2 (the thing broke up at about 2:15 or 2:30). He wanted to get to the Port Authority because he was going Upstate. Bus was leaving at 3:30. So now the fun begins. He came on the multiple subway route in the morning and got off at 103 and Lex and walked to fifth & 105. I told him I walked from 110. Now, I was in no hurry because I knew that my trains only ran once ever hour at 24 min after the hour. I already knew I wouldn’t get the 2:24 train so I relaxed. Scott is a bit of a drama-tist so I was subjected to mucho drama when the following occurred: We walk up to 110 & Lenox, go through the turnstile, #3 train comes right away. We get on, sit down. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Announcement – Police activity at 96th Station – train will resume shortly. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Same Announcement. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Clock is ticking. Same Announcement. Scot starts to squirm. I, as I’m wont to do, make fun of his drama. New Announcement: Train will not be moving – it is put out of service because of Police Activity at 96th Station. Sigh. We get out. Scott & I get in line to get a transfer and all of a sudden I see a new side of Scott. He makes the ticket lady in the booth yell at him because he is yelling at her because he wants her to tell him what he will do with a flimsy paper transfer if he goes to an unmanned station and she keeps telling him about buses. Whew.
We climb up to street level, walk West and get on the C train. No ticket booth person and we have flimsy blue paper transfers. Scott sweeps his Metrocard for both of us ’cause the train was there and I exhausted mine. At each station it stops for quite a while but not overly long -just a smidge longer than usual. We get to 86th or was it 79th? Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Announcement: There is an emergency we will be moving shortly. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Same Announcement. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Same Announcement. People here and there getting off. Scott really squirming. Same Announcement. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Same Announcement. More people getting off. Announcement saying we should get off, take the A train uptown one stop and then take the downtown A train. Scott looks at me. We get off. Climb to the street. He toys with the idea of a taxi. Lots of full taxis pass by. We walk a bit and I say maybe the bus goes to the Port Authority. We go to a bus stop – Hey! the #10 bus stops at Penn Station (makes me happy). So: we, with our flimsy blue transfers in our hot sticky hands, stand on the bus stop and Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Finally it comes. It took so long to get to us – we could see it in the far off distance stopping at every block (it seemed). But – surprise – it wasn’t crowded, in fact nearly empty. Whew. Got seats. Bus proceeded to stop on every block and at every light. On 63rd the bus turned right. Oh no. We looked at each other. Ok. It turned onto Broadway. Ok. Then it turned again. I remembered that there was a Bagpipe parade today and wondered if we were diverting?? Nope, seems just a usual route – we went around a circle (Columbus??) and headed down 7th in the right direction. Scott said that he hoped he would be able to get the 5:00 bus. At 42nd Street he gave me a big hug, wished me a safe trip home and ran out the door. So fast I didn?t even see him do it – just a flash of light and a puff of smoke.