Lost In Brooklyn

Way back when the weather went back and forth between freezing and not–kind of like what it’s still like right now–I went to see S. She was like, I have to go to this printing shop. I was like, let’s do it. She was like, it’s a bit of a walk. I was like, Yesssss. She was like, no, really, it’s a mile and… I was like, the longer the better let’s goooooo.

Can you tell I’d had enough of inside?

It wasn’t nature walking. It was sidewalk walking. Crossing streets walking. Dodging people rushing the other way, including children on scooters with their mother not caring that their children were literally aiming for oncoming pedestrian walking. That is a very specific kind of walking, I suppose, but it was there. It was all there.

There was no snow fort to climb over at each corner. There were no large puddles of leftover mystery moisture. It was brisk when the sun went in, and that offered relief from the over-doing-it all-out sort of foot race I’d turned our walk into.

Then we got to one of those corners that isn’t simply two streets crossing each other but it’s a web of weirdness. You can’t tell which light is for who. There are crosswalks that seem to link one side of the street with a cloud by way of the sewer. You know, those places where you have no idea who decided it was a good idea to make all roads lead to that one point where nothing special lives except for confusion. We got out our phone maps. We walked a little. We checked the map. We walked a little. We checked the map.

S realized: We overshot it. I was like, Yassss.

If you can’t tell, I was really enjoying the walk outside not in my house.

We double backed and found the shop and it was small and about a billion degrees so I waited outside. The scooter children wheeled by followed by their mother who clearly saw them making pedestrians jump out of the way and said absolutely nothing. When S was done, we headed to Starbucks because I had points that I didn’t want to lose. (If you don’t know what that means, I feel sad and need you to contact me so I can explain the wonders of free things).

At the Starbucks, my first notion was, This music is too loud. My second notion was, I am an old lady. I ordered a tall Emperor’s cloud green tea and asked to use my points. After a short wait, one of the baristas practically had to shout to get my attention, and then asked, Did you want a regular tea or a latte? I was like, Just a hot tea. Then the manager called me over to the register and explained that she had to scan my app again because the wrong amount of points were taken. She said the points would show up later and the drink was on her. I thanked her, and then realized my whole use-them-or-lose-them points issue had not been resolved. Also, this debacle proves that am not an old lady and the music was indeed too loud.

Not that this is a story about reading comprehension, but here’s the follow up. The points never appeared back in my app, so I sent a message to customer service explaining exactly what happened as I have here (minus the music being loud). The response I got was this: We are sorry you experienced this. We have read your email very carefully. We are sorry you did not like the taste of your dragon fruit latte. Please be aware that this latte is a different amount of points from a regular tea. We will contact the store and give you your points back.

Let me point out their second statement: We have read your email very carefully. Really? Did I ever mention a dragon fruit something or other? I don’t even know if that’s a thing. I have no idea what they were talking about and I never tasted anything I didn’t like. I mean, in this instance. I’m sure I’ve tasted things in my life I haven’t liked. Like the first time I had cilantro. It was bad. Real bad. But I’ve grown accustomed to it, now. Anyway.

I was out! S and I took that long walk back, and it was a brilliant day of catching up. That’s why we’d totally missed the place the first go around. Walking and talking and feeling like the world was a normal place. That’s what friendship is all about. That and making fun of the response I got back from Starbucks because when I told S, she was like, You totally didn’t say any of that! Thanks, friend.

Microblogging Part 2

I don’t know if this is a cop out, microblogging instead of blogging here. I’m writing. I suppose that’s all that matters.

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I’m sitting on this bench, my dad’s bench, right now with a stop-the-spread-of-COVID mask over my face and sunglasses on. I’m typing on my phone, something I rarely do to write, and I’m sobbing. The plus of masks is that no one knows you’re crying. Though it’s probably obvious. These are body wracking sobs. But I keep typing because somehow writing is going to make it okay. That’s not true. Nothing is going to make it okay. My wasband used to talk about losing a parent, how it changes you. The morning he left, one thing he wailed was, “and I’m still sad about my dad“. He’d passed years before. One night when my dad was in the hospital with a high fever, my wasband came into the bedroom in a sob. “I don’t want to make you upset but” he started crying. I took him into a hug on the edge of the bed. “It’s okay” I said. “You can be upset, too. You guys are buddies. “ “I’ve tried to keep thinking he’s going to make it, but tonight I really think he might not.” “I know, I know.” My dad made it through that night and the next few weeks. Now, my dad’s still gone. That’s how death works. It’s permanent. It changes you. It’s never okay. The life we live before we die is the main thing. That’s a dad phrase: that’s the main thing. Getting therapy when we need it. Facing terror when we must. Sharing our feelings and not apologizing for having emotions. These are the actions we can take so that the rest of what we live is worth the life we are gifted. #gettingthroughit #grief #heartbreak #gratitude #grateful #missyoudad #longisland #hendricksonpark #911survivor #september11 #endalz #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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A little over two weeks ago, I shared this in my story with the eloquent caption, “ok fuck it. The bod is back and I’m shouting it out. I don’t care who sees. Quarantine, in this way, has been good to me.” I was coming off a night of no sleep. I’d been blindsided. I fell into despair pretty quickly. (I’m still climbing out.) Quarantine has not been good. It’s not good for humans. I lasted a bit longer in not climbing the walls because I’m an introvert. Yes, folks, I’m debilitatingly shy. This may surprise some people—most likely the people I thought about before saying “fuck it” and posting this. I’ve got a crowd of recent students still following, and who knows what they’re stopping to read. (And they’re amazing—as students and as human beings). But as I always say, I’m a person, too, not just a professor. So here’s me, being a person who’s lived her whole life not looking at mirrors. Avoiding any reflective surfaces. Right now I’m in the best shape of my life, and I still feel like hiding the chub. And it doesn’t help when people tell me I’m skinny. It doesn’t matter what you think; it matters how I feel. Which doesn’t make sense because how I feel is based on what I think people think of how I look. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve been left. I’ve been lonely. I’ve felt insecure. Also, in my moments of feeling ugly and sad, I’ve seen the strength and perseverance of friendship in all its many colors. Though lonely and vulnerable, I feel loved. Knowing that, I can get through anything. #gettingthroughit #gratitude #grateful #heartbreak #grief #bodyimage #bodydysmorphia #friendshipismyfavoriteship #fitspo #microblogging #essayist #englishprofessor #introvert #piyo #piyobod #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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I met David and Stephanie right after @sip_this opened their doors, fliers in hand, talking all about the poetry scene. They welcomed Poets In Nassau quickly, truly welcoming the poets and writers to run amok on the mic. They opened their walls to artists (I was honored to have my work shown years ago and my brother’s just last year). They opened the floor to musicians and comedians and drag queens. Then there was that one time we won music trivia. And there were those many times we lost trivia. And there were all those days in between of first dates, writing meet ups, grabbing a snack and a chat with a friend. Sip This hasn’t simply supported the community. They’ve been the community, standing as the common thread among all walks of life locally and from afar. Anyone who walked through that door belonged just by being there. I am so thankful that this place has existed, and I wish everyone much light and love. #longisland #valleystream #sipthis #grateful #gratitude #gettingthroughit #Repost @sip_this with @get_repost ・・・ We regret to inform you that this Friday 6/26 will be our last night in operation. For nine years we have enjoyed serving you. We thought Sip This would last much longer and we, our staff, and our families, are deeply saddened by this outcome. That said, there are wonderful memories and friendships that will continue. We know our time here was not for naught. There is so much good that was created in our time at Sip This: new love, countless hours of fun, business deals, random connections, shared art, and community coming together through events we helped facilitate. If we don’t see you Friday (4pm to 11pm), we hope to see you again soon. Thank you for all the support. -David and Stephanie ✌🏼❤️☕️

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“Will this bring up sad memories for you?” L&B Spumoni Gardens—memories of that place for sure. She was referring to the time we went on July 4th with my dad. We stopped at L&B for pizza. Then we went to the pier for fireworks. There’s a photo I share often of me and my dad in which I’m holding a full cup of froyo and he’s holding the nub of an already eaten ice cream cone, which is from that night. It was so crowded, and at one point I was like, “Dad, I’m more comfortable if you walk in front of me,” and my other friend at that time said, “Don’t worry—I was watching him too.” Because it takes a village to raise a dad. I love talking about my dad and remembering him. Those are not sad memories. Today in the car, S added, “Sad memories or bad memories.” Because my wasband is from Brooklyn. L&B was part of my life with him and with the couple who went with us to the pier and whom we called our children because of our age difference. And even though they are gone from my life now, the memories don’t make me sad or feel bad. Sometimes I feel angry. Sometimes I feel nothing. And then sometimes, I smile. Moments are moments. If something is really really good in the moment, it’s a good good moment. Today was filled with good good moments, and even with a mask hanging off of my ear, for a small moment, the world was a normal, safe place. Thanks, S, for always making it seem that way. #friendshipismyfavoriteship #thankyouforbeingafriend #gettingthroughit #grief #gratitude #grateful #brooklyn #spumonigardens @lbspumonigardens @southpawsweets @candyisart #lifecoach #lifecoaching #lifecoachingtips #reikipractitioner #yogalife #Buddhistlife

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Seinclones

Seinclones 2018 (23)My brother took me to my first Brooklyn Cyclones game and it was Seinfeld night, so my brother wins Best Sibling Of The Year.

Also, we drove from Long Island to Coney Island on the Belt Parkway in 40-something minutes. I know, guys, I know. We won the Traveling The Belt Parkway Award, too.

Also, we got there so early that the gates weren’t open yet and there were lines. We got a Keith Hernandez Cyclones alarm clock. Across the face is Keith Hernandez’s face with Nice Game Pretty Boy written under it. They were already selling on Ebay before the game started.

When we got to our seats, we listened to the episodes of Seinfeld they were playing over the loud speakers. We laughed out loud a lot. Also laughable–the team was called the Seinclones for the evening.

The festivities included some of the usual games like the hot dog race (Relish won) and throwing a bean bag through the hole in a cardboard sign that said Dime. These I know are usual games because this is the kind of thing that happens at a lot of minor league games. I wish all baseball games were like this.

In addition, we witnessed some of the greatest Seinfeld-themed games like The .5K Inagural Mr. Bellavaqua Run. The games had the greatest names and I can’t remember them all, but the rest included: Mr. Pitt’s eating Snickers with a knife and fork contest; eating eclairs out of garbage pails; throwing golf balls into an inflatable whale’s blow hole; flip cup with Ovaltine; running the bases on a toy horse while scarfing down beefarino.

Before each contest, they showed a clip that inspired them. Also, Bania and Jean Paul Jean Paul were there. They threw out ceremonial pitches. Jean Paul Jean Paul set off the .5K run. Bania set off the Ovaltine contest. They both sang during the 7th Inning Stretch.

After the game was over, one more contest unfolded. It’s the one I would  have been in had I known how to enter and now I know for next year so I have to go again. It’s the Elaine Dancing Contest. About 8 women walked out onto the field and let their little kicks go.

Three of them were wearing the early-Elaine attire of long flowery frocks and glasses. One of those women also had the Elaine-bag and Elaine-hair. Her get up was impressive. I did make a comment to my brother, though, that Elaine wore a black outfit when she danced. Sure enough, she came on the screen in the outfit I described as they played the clip. Still, the flowery frocks were amusing.

The woman who went from head to toe Elaine also danced the Elaine dance with sheer abandon. Several of them did, throwing their heads back and kicking and flicking around. The woman with the Elaine-everything won. When the emcee handed her the trophy, she didn’t take it. Instead, she shoved him–Get Out!

As far as baseball games go, I’d say this is surely my top experience by far. Next year, I wear black and offer some little kicks of my own.

Retropost: Brooklyn, Gulliver, and Bull Riding (Sept2017)

I slacked on blogging for the past few months even though I had some fine adventures. So here’s the first of a few retrospectives on the events that unfolded.

I read for the Brownstone Poets series in Brooklyn where I wore heels and walked on cobblestones and did not break anything. With the boys in tow, it made for a sweet afternoon of poetry and diner food and everyone knows I love both.

September also brought about my birthday. Big plans! Plans that did not happen because I went for a massage from which I got a dent in my head that lasted a few hours, got diner food (see? I like it), and then was sick for the next four days, not from the food but like a nose head watery eye cough kind of thing. Only four days–that’s not that bad–but it killed my birthday weekend.

The most fun in September was one day packed with seeing Gulliver’s Gate and then witnessing bull riding in person.

Gulliver’s Gate is all things wee. Since I am wee, I fit right in. The layout is massive and some of it is interactive. They give you a key and you can make some of the little statues move–like Don Qixote chasing a windmill– or you can step into a waterfall. You can also touch things that you aren’t supposed to touch without getting thrown out, but only if you’re slick. There are also some Easter eggs like at Stonehenge, there’s the Dr. Who booth (I know that’s not what it’s called but that’s what it looks like).

On Channel 15 as a kid, I watched bull riding. I don’t know how this happened. So when PBR came to town, we went. It was very patriotic, and we got free stuff, and there was fire.

In the miscellaneous category, I rode a whale.

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Wave Walk, or To Complete A List

S likes to finish lists. I like to find public art. La Mer’s Wave Walk seemed to be essential to live our lives happily. A way to promote the UN’s focus on clean oceans, La Mer Blue Heart Ocean Fund teamed up with Project O to find celebrities to create pieces of artwork about the ocean. Most are circular waves. A few are surf boards. La Mer posted an interactive map on their website to boast these sculptures.

Fact: This interactive map is the worst map. No matter when or how you open it, it always starts on the sculpture in the Bronx in Yankee Stadium. When you click on it, it sometimes goes to where you want it to go, but mostly, it does whatever it feels like doing.

Fact: The waves are numbered in a way that seems random. I’m guessing they are numbered by how they were commissioned, and then they were placed across the city. However, the placement and the numbers don’t line up, so like #1 is near #45.

Fact: One of the waves listed is not the wave that exists. The lobby of the James Hotel has a fabulous sculpture, but it’s not the one listed on the site.

So the goal to see all the waves also became a project I’m very fond of: map making. I stepped away from using maps for a while–I used to use them in creative writing and literature classes but because the Google and the Flickr change how their map tech works often, I stopped because relearning and reteaching how to make a map takes too much time. Now, however, it was me, the Google, S’s neat organized list of wave sculptures, and a dream.

I saw my first wave by accident. When Eddie and I waited for the right bagels at JFK, I found one. It’s past security, which means public art in this case is open to all those who might have a plane ticket and are flying out of Terminal 4. Finding it was a delight, though.

St Aug Day 1 (113)

Only a few days later, S found some on her own at Albee Square.

Then came our first jaunt out into the wild together. First stop, Sugartarium at Unix Gallery. This has nothing to do with waves and everything to do with her love of sweets and my love of free things to do.

Next stop? Well, that’s when we were using the terrible interactive map that barely works on a desktop computer let alone a cell phone. So we zig zagged through the city and found some near the Flatiron, Brookfield Place, the Oculus, FIT, Wall Street, and Whole Foods on Greenwich. It took hours of confused subway rides and turned around street crossing.

FIT

Near the Flatiron, basically hidden next to a large truck. Also, we couldn’t find the subway downtown after seeing this one so we crossed the same street maybe five times.

At Brookfield. Walked in, out, around, down the promenade, and then across the patio. It’s clearly inside but not on the side where we were inside.

Wave Walk 1 Brookfield (4)

Down on Wall Street, we made a friend. (The wave is actually outside of the front of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian).

We walked by the Oculus and then back by it again. We went inside because S said I should see inside. Then we went outside. Then we looked at the picture on the interactive map and saw that they were actually inside. The address didn’t say that.

Oh sweet magnificent Whole Foods. They had a sign explaining the entire Wave Walk and Project 0 as well as where to find the wave.

The next week, we embarked on Day 2 armed with a better list of our own, a better map of our own, and pure moxie. Day 2 was about 100 degrees.  Thank you, summer, for arriving on the very day we’d be running around from north to south. First stop, Harlem.

It’s 125 under the tressle and not the address they give, but close.

Into the lobby of Sotheby’s where this surf board doesn’t look like the photo on the map.

We then made our way to the UN. We walked uphill and downhill and across streets and back across. We looked at the map. We looked through fences and gates. Finally, S climbed the stairs and peeked inside beyond security to find that they were actually inside the complex.

The security guard told us to simply go across the street and get a pass. It would take five minutes tops. Then we could get inside to see them. Ohhh. Okay. We went across the street, and S went inside while I waited outside as per the guard’s instructions. She came back out holding a blue paper bracelet and said, You wear the wristband, and I get this. She indicated the sticker on her shirt. Hahahahhahahahaaaa.

Wave Walk 2 UN Visit (1)

We went back across the street and the guard smiled and welcomed us through. Security was quick. The waves were right there along with the other permanent sculptures. Also, there’s a ghost in one of these photos.

As aforementioned, the sun blazed, I sweated a lot, and so the memory of where we went and how we got there drifts fuzzily in my head. At one point, we got on a subway car that was not air conditioned, but we got to sit for a while. A balanced trade. So here are some waves we saw, possibly not in the order we saw them, but since the official map is terrible, this is still better.

Three waves along Madison.

Inside Vivienne Westwood

This one is called Mushball. It’s on either Madison or 3rd. It’s a blur. If it’s on Madison, then one of the ones above listed at Madison is on 3rd. This is very helpful, I know.

The one listed at 611 5th Ave is actually inside Saks. Why not just say “inside Saks?”

We did the hotels together: The James and then Crosby. As indicated before, the one in the lobby of the James is not listed, and the one listed on the map as the one in the lobby is not apparent anywhere in real life. The guys at The James Hotel were really helpful in simply offering up how to see the other two without our asking.

Three at The James Hotel

One at Crosby Hotel

There was also this one outside of the American Folk Art Museum.

Six at the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle. Oh sweet mercy of air conditioning.

Drenched, thirsty, starving, we headed to Cooper Square at some point. Along the way, I bought some fruit and a protein bar that had chocolate because I was craving both along with a third or fourth bottle of water. We sat in Cooper Square while I ate. The sun had started to set, so it was around only 90 degrees at this point.

S found a 7-11 to get a Coke slurpie. I saw a Vivi’s and got a bubble tea. Oh sweet mercy of air conditioning and ice cold drinks. We also saw some typical NYC scenes along the way.

The Tide Is High wave is listed at The Kimmel Center NYU. We found the Kimmel Center. We walked around the Kimmel Center. I suggested we go into the park across from the Kimmel Center, but the map on the phone told us we were going the wrong way. We went into the Kimmel Center. I sat on the stairs of the Kimmel Center as S climbed them to look around. One of the guards spoke to her about the waves and he was like, I’ll show you. She beckoned me, and I climbed up after her. He took us up the escalator and indicated, It’s through there.

We walked down a hall and entered a room and there it stood. It wasn’t a special wave or THE wave we were looking for. However, something felt magical about it. Maybe because I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion. Maybe because it didn’t have a rope around it as most of the indoor ones do. Maybe because it’s orange and I like orange. Maybe because in the fading light, it glimmered. Again, that could be the onset of dehydration, but still. Magnificent.

We thanked the guard, who had seen quite a few on his own, and called it a day. We’d spent about ten hours searching for waves in NYC summer heat. It was time to pack it in for  now.

As a follow up, S got to see more in Brooklyn, on Roosevelt Island, and in other parts of Manhattan. The outliers are the ones in Yankee Stadium and Staten Island. The list may not have all checks by the time the sculptures come down, but it was an honest and determined effort to finish it.

I realize it’s for a bigger cause. However. The next time anyone wants to set up statues across NYC, call us. We’ll make a map and checklist and maybe we’ll offer prizes. Okay, we’re not offering prizes, but we can make a list and a map. It’s really simple. See?

Remember Zumba and Personal Space?

I texted my mom, “I’m going to Zumba with S.” She answered, “Personal space!” She’s never done Zumba, yet she knows of the woes of sweaty strangers touching. It’s pretty much why I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back to Zumba; also, it’s now $5 instead of $4, which seems to be a big leap. Anyway, I’ve thought about going to the Tuesday night class with a different instructor, but there’s not guarantee that instructor won’t be touchy or maybe even more touchy.

S’s Zumba class is taught by a non-touchy instructor, so I headed out, excited. Not exciting was the two hour traffic jam on the Belt which lead me to having to quickly parallel park. I am not a parallel parker, so doing it quickly is not even a notion usually. However, three tries and I was in! Then I was rushing to the class where S met me. As I filled out the “It’s okay if I die from this I won’t sue you” paperwork, S filled up her water bottle and informed me that we’d missed only the warmup. I was like, “My walk from the car was my warmup.” She was like, “Mine too.”

We wound up on the side of the room S doesn’t really like, but there was space there. Personal space. Sweet lovely personal space. Even in a crowded room, I basked in the no-touching zone.

And then we were in it. Jumping, sliding, dipping, shaking. For the past three weeks, I’ve done none of this kind of thing. I wanted to change up my workout completely, so I bought the PiYO workout (and did not pay that ridiculous price of over $70 for it). Those workouts are little to no impact from 18 to 36 minutes. After the shorter routines, I go on the elliptical. There has been no dancing or aerobics. Jumping back into Zumba made me realize how much I miss the dancing aerobics. (So much so that the next day after PiYO, I did a Just Dance workout).

I caught onto most of the choreography by watching the instructor and then by watching S.  Whatever I couldn’t catch onto, I made up. That’s allowed as long as you don’t screw up the people around you, and since I had all this personal space, I wasn’t screwing anyone up. Plus, a lot of people in the class were about a beat behind, so making it your own seemed to be a common occurrence.

Sweating profusely, I asked S what time the class ended. We had about a half hour left. However, that half hour went really quickly.  After a few more salsas and stretches, we were done. S flushed pink and I, of course, dripped.

We got iced teas! Oooh, a nice post-Zumba refresher!

So now I’m thinking I should try the local five-dollar-Zumba one more time. I can do it at home, for sure, but sometimes, getting out into a class makes it even better.

 

A Panel, Some Readings, & A Presentation For NPM 17

Every day is poetry day for a poet, but April is National Poetry Month for everyone, so I’ve been going out into the world for poetic reasons. The Oceanside Public Library asked me to be on a panel for How To Put Your Poetry Collection Together. It morphed into a discussion about publishing poetry collections rather than organizing poems, but we hit upon a lot of different important points.

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My face says, “I’m sleepy” but my hands say, “I’m holding this pen.” Which I later broke.

A really neat thing was that one of my former students was there, asking questions, being intrigued. He came up to me afterwards while someone else was talking to me (and asking to buy my book! and I hadn’t even been hocking them!), so I was like, Don’t go anywhere I know you, and he was like, Oh you remember. I remembered him but not his name, and that’s okay because he was my student more than a few years ago, so many names have passed my desk (and failed, ha!. okay, not funny, but true) since then. We chatted about poetry and then he told the guy who bought my book that he liked my class because I made them do different things that they wouldn’t normally do. Aww, sweet!

The next night, I was off to Long Island City for a reading at The Local for Boundless Tales. Yeah, that’s right. This old lady went out two nights in a row. Eddie and I drove in early, got a parking space right across the street from the venue — that never happens ever– and then walked in larger concentric circles until finding an Italian restaurant and agreeing to split a personal pizza which was one of the best personal pizzas we’d ever had. A server came to clear our plates, and then he took the remaining slices of our pizza, and we never saw them again. We didn’t say we wanted them, but he also didn’t ask if we wanted them. He simply asked if we were finished, and since we were, we said yes. Lesson Learned.

We walked back more directly to The Local which we found easily. The inside is kind of funky. Silhouettes on the walls. Pennies on the floor. There weren’t chairs. Rather, there were these large rolling cushion things to sit on. It was a great place for poetry.

The host kindly asked if I would like to change the order of readers since I was set to read first and my brother hadn’t arrived yet. We changed it up since it was just a handful of us there anyway and very informal. These are my favorite kinds of readings. No pressure. A few folks. There were also people coming in and out, standing to listen for a while and then leaving and then coming back. There was a bar, and the place is a hostel, so lots of people were around.

My brother arrived in time for my reading. He’d taken the 7 train and then walked. I swear, he can get anywhere via any subway. Meanwhile, Eddie and I walk in circles to find things that are two blocks away. Anyway, the reading ran the gamut of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry about all sorts of things. When it was my turn

I did my usual dog and pony show with astronaut ice cream and space stickers. At the end, the host was like, The giveaway is a fun idea. I was like, yeah, I’ve learned that at any age, people love stickers. It’s a fact, y’all.

The next week, I read as part of the faculty sabbatical reading at work for our Lit, Live! series. My poetry workshop class was there, a captive audience, but I think they enjoyed it. The next day, I discussed my sabbatical of writing poetry for the Women’s Faculty Association, sandwiched between a talk about chemistry that flew over my head and a talk about total well-being given by a chiropractor. In my experience, chiropractors are the most intense motivated people alive, and this presentation proved it. When I went to Faculty Development Day the next day, someone who had attended the WFA presentations told me she enjoyed my talk. Aw, shucks. I thought my talk went not so great because I’d forgotten to click on stuff during the presentation. Apparently, my bubbly personality makes for a strong presentation no matter what’s happening as proven by the guy at the presentation who told me I was not only informative but entertaining. I refrained from handing out stickers and astro ice cream at that presentation (though I did hand them out at the sabbatical reading, and one of my colleagues said that the prizes are unexpected, which makes for an interesting twist at a reading).

I do have to be careful. I feel like I’m walking a fine line between kitschy and sideshow. Like, if I ever show up to a reading in an actual space suit, do not let me read until I change. Then again, with these two on my team, we could take a show on the road.

Boundless Tales Reading (11)

Still Shaking

Tea and coffee and honey and knives and cookies and Geico and more tea. That’s what you find at the Coffee & Tea Festival. First stop, Queens to pick up B. Fun Fact: Queens a week after a snow storm looks like Queens the day after a snow storm. Narrow roads, no parking, me and my nonsense of direction even with a GPS all made for an interesting venture. Fun Fact: Siri wanted me to go the wrong way down a One Way and then wanted me to make a U-Turn by going on a highway. I did neither and still found B

Second stop, Brooklyn to meet SD and have tea and coffee. Fun Fact: Brooklyn a week after a snow storm looks like Brooklyn the day after a snow storm. After making wider and wider circles around blocks, we found a parking space in which I wedged my car and asked B to climb over the driver side to get out.

We’d made it to the mecca of free samples concerning hot beverages. The first thing we grabbed: free water enhanced with electrolytes. The second thing we grabbed: chicken with a spicy rub. Neither of these had anything to do with coffee or tea, but what a way to start!

Then came Kombucha and some tea and some coffee. Then came the lemonade coffee drink thing that sounds incredibly scary and tastes fantastically refreshing. Yes, these are the risks you take when you have free samples staring you in the face.

Tom's Lemon Coffee business card

I talked to pretty much every table, tasting anything that they offered. At one point, I had a small plastic cup of flavored sugar granules in my hand. That’s when I thought, Hey, maybe it’s better to think before snacking. I mean, in what world does one carry around a cup of sugar and eat it? I suppose in the world of free samples for all.

Whenever I caught sight of SD, she’d found a new snack. Once I also saw her talking to a man wielding a knife, and he let her demonstrate her new knowledge of how to use said knife to me.

Every time I saw some coffee, I called over B, which once ended with her having a tiny very strong espresso. I didn’t have any espresso, but I did have maybe every other kind of coffee you could have.

I also tasted almost every tea available. Then I tasted some kind of pumpkin seed milk. That’s probably where one should draw the line. I did not. I had more things, signed up for things, tasted some sort of hot sauce that clearly had no place being at festival for coffee and tea, and then I bought some very cute tea from a company called Oh You TEAse because their table was like being at a tea party. Oh, and the tea is yummy.

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We called it a day after we’d exhausted every turn and aisle including navigating around the Geico table that was giving away gekkos and sunglasses. Again, why were they there?

So, like, I drink green tea every day. I don’t drink coffee often, nor do I indulge in caffeine much. That means, by the time I got to the car, I was wondering if I could find a coffee shop for a bathroom break because I was  not walking back seven blocks to go. Eh, no biggie, it could wait.

Except that it couldn’t and I was like, B, I usually don’t do things like this, but I’ve gotta make a pit stop. And so I found a gas station that had a bathroom “outside around to the left.” It was a perfectly acceptable alternative to going in my pants.

When I got home, I was all shaky and hyped up on sugar and caffeine. I looked up how to counterbalance caffeine. Vitamin C and water. So I had some clementines and drank maybe a gallon of water. By that night, I was almost back to baseline.

Since then, I’ve been having my green tea in the morning and then trying a sample tea in the afternoon, and I’ll keep doing that until all the teas are gone. Which means I’ll have to go back for more when the festival returns. Or I could just find and buy it, but what fun is that?