Tag Archives: upstate new york

Tomorrow is Christmas!

Hi!  Tomorrow is Christmas which is very exciting.  I finally get to open the gifts sent from my parents.  My mother sent me home with a few gifts back in November when I visited, but then a few days ago she also sent a gigantic box to Durham full of even more gifts.  She went a little crazy.  I think she misses me.

Daniel and I have had a busy couple of days.  We went back to Taberna with his parents on Thursday, and we all shared some of their amazing bacon wrapped dates, flamenquín, gambas a la plancha, and paella, with their molten chocolate cake for dessert.  It was phenomenal.  Again, I highly recommend it.

Today, we went to see The Hobbit.  Daniel and I sat through The Lord of the Rings trilogy a few months ago, which was fine except for the fact that I really can’t stand Elijah Wood.  I might have discussed this before, but I just feel like they are movies that appeal more to males.  Here’s the thing:  I am a girl that loves action movies.  Give me any Die Hard or James Bond film, and I’m all in.  But with movies like The Hobbit, it’s a lot of fantasy and sword fights.  Also, there’s dragons, and over the years I’ve realized that dragons just ruin movies for me.  I don’t know why, but if there is a dragon involved, I’m probably not going to like the movie.  Maybe it’s because my dad tried to make me sit through Reign of Fire at 13 or 14 years old, and that is a bad movie all about dragons.  Despite the fact that it starred Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, and Gerard Butler (in this instance, a sexy trifecta full of rippling muscles and bad acting), I could not even make it half-way through.   Anyway, The Hobbit was actually good, it’s very entertaining, but I certainly felt every minute of that 3 hours.  Okay, fine, to be fair, it was only 2 hours and 40 minutes, give or take.  I will definitely try to finish watching the rest of this trilogy, although I am having a very hard time understanding how they could even remotely have enough source material to make 2 more films.  We will see.

We also went to his parents’ house this evening to watch It’s a Wonderful Life.  It’s a great movie, but watching James Stewart running around in the snow didn’t make me miss Upstate New York even a little bit.

I hope everybody has a Merry Christmas.  I will share what I got on Wednesday.  I’m also hoping to have a post up soon about some scarves I’ve made recently.  🙂

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On the Way Home…

As this post is being published, I am driving to Upstate New York to visit my family.  I haven’t been back since February, but I’m sure it hasn’t changed much.

I just want to take this moment to add onto my last R. Kelly post.  He added more chapters to “Trapped in the Closet”!  As I feared, it answered absolutely none of the questions left from the previous chapters, but it did introduce some bizarre new characters, including one that had R. Kelly in blackface.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  Well, I will just post the link to the video.

 

A Good Weekend and The Avengers

Happy Sunday!  This weekend was excellent.  Daniel and I went to the Duke Faculty Club pool with his dad this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to do a little swimming and tan, of course.  I’m still not used to the fact that there are just more beautiful days here than in Upstate New York.  Yesterday we went for a hike at West Pointe on the Eno.  It was a real hike that included climbing up rocks and walking on narrow banks next to the river.  I probably almost fell into the river at least twice.  It was a spectacular day and I did snap a few pictures.

The Eno River

A Daniel in the wild.

It’s not the Genesee, obviously.

The majority of this post is going to be dedicated to The Avengers.  Now, Daniel and I actually saw this movie a few weeks ago, but it’s one that I needed to write about.  I personally thought the movie was brilliant.  It was scripted and directed by Joss Whedon, who you may know as the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I think few people realize how much involvement he has also had in the comic book industry, making him extremely qualified to write and direct a film like this.  Even if you didn’t know he wrote the script for The Avengers, I think it became pretty obvious throughout the film.  He made Tony Stark’s/Iron Man’s character entirely like his character of Xander in Buffy.  (This witty character archetype is one that he uses in probably all of his films and t.v. shows, and I believe that in interviews he has claimed it is based off of himself.)  And it worked perfectly with the previous film depictions of Iron Man, and matched the comics as well.

I’ve noticed he also likes to build up tension, usually during a monologue of a villain, but that monologue is then cut short by a protagonist beating the crap out of the guy trying to give his speech, followed by the protagonist saying something witty.  I feel like that was in every other episode of Buffy, and at least in the Angel pilot, which I happened to have watched recently.  If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know to which scene with Loki and The Hulk I am referring.  If not…well, WHEN you go see it, you will understand.  It was hilarious.

I think some previous movies based on comic books have failed because the writers couldn’t get the pacing right.  At least, this is what Daniel always says, and he would know, right?  This movie was unique because all of the back-stories of the members of The Avengers had already been established in four previous films, respectively:  Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.  Whedon didn’t need to waste any time establishing the characters, but could jump right in to the assembly of the group.  And, like I said, he’s a comic book writer, so he just gets it.  The script sounded just like a comic book.  It was perfect for comic fans like Daniel for that reason, but it was also just really well written, which would appeal to the rest of the population.

Overall, I get why it’s been so successful.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it, but not before you watch the other movies.  And be sure to stick around after the credits.  It was by far the best movie I’ve seen in a couple of years.

Living the Good Life

Hello again.  I am actually writing this post from our new townhouse in downtown Durham.  I talked a little bit about it in my last post.  I am extremely pleased with how it has turned out.  We pay a little bit more than we did in Rochester for a lot more stuff, including a washer, dryer, and dishwasher.

So, where do I start?  Daniel graduated two weeks ago with his Bachelor’s degree (finally).  I’m really proud of him, he did great.  I ended up flying to Rochester on Saturday night, and he graduated the following morning.  By the way, I’ve decided that I actually really like flying.  This may be a problem for Daniel, because he hates it.  I can’t stress the word “hate” enough, because he just won’t do it.  I thought it was kind of fun, personally.  But, anyway, I digress.  We moved all of our stuff into a van on Sunday, after graduation, and started out for North Carolina that night.  That was not our original intention, but it worked out.  We spent the night in Harrisburg, PA, and arrived in Durham in the early afternoon on Monday.  I’m so happy he’s finally here, and we’re done moving for a while.

The townhouse looks amazing.  I’m sure there will be pictures coming soon.  We are still kind of settling in.  I’m enjoying Durham quite a bit now that I have Daniel to show me around to all the cool places.  We’ve even been doing some partying.  Last weekend we met up with Daniel’s best friend Jeremiah, and we got to meet his girlfriend Mae.  On that Friday we went to Fullsteam, and then to Bull City Burger and Brewery to eat dinner with Jeremiah’s parents.  I had met Jeremiah’s mom before, but I’d never met his dad.  His dad was adorable.  I don’t know how else to describe him.  He has a beard and glasses and wears plaid shirts and loafers.  He was just an adorable man.  It was great to meet and chat with him.  The following Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, we went to Mae’s parents’ house for a little party.  That was…interesting.  There was a lot of tequila that I wouldn’t go near.  Daniel and I only knew Jeremiah and Mae, but Daniel’s friend Forest did show up later and they all had a little jam session on a makeshift stage in the backyard.  It was good to see them back together making music.  I’m still calling for an Acoustic Satan reunion.  So, that was a fun night.

Last night we were invited to a party being held in our own backyard, which was awesome.  Our neighbors Glenn and Mary were throwing a party, and invited everyone in the 6 townhomes that make up our little complex.  Glenn and Mary are actually University of Rochester alumni, which is crazy and very small world.  I swear we didn’t plan that out.  At the party we also met another guy named Luke, who majored in Optics at the U of R, and his girlfriend Carrie who is from Pittsford.  I was extremely drunk, since I’d had an entire bottle of wine, plus two cups of beer.  I came upstairs to grab something and ended up passing out in bed.  I felt a little bad about that because I missed the rest of the party and totally left without even telling Daniel where I was going.  Oops.  The good news is that I think we are going to meet up with Luke and his girlfriend sometime this week at Bull City Burger and Brewery for dinner and drinks.  He seemed like a cool guy and we both need friends here since we all just moved from Upstate New York (except for Daniel, who’s from Durham).

So, in the few weeks we’ve been here, we’ve met some cool people and done some cool things.  I can’t wait for more.  I should not have waited so long to make this update, because there is definitely more that I want to talk about.  Like The Avengers.  That one really deserves its own post.  And I will have some pictures in my next post.  There are just too many things to do now that I live here.

It Takes a Village Idiot

‎”But there is one travel destination that you will never, never, never, ever, ever, ever read about in the Travel Section of the New York Times. It is a place so remote, so uncivilized, so unknown, so dangerous that even their most adventurous travel writers avoid it. That place is upstate New York.”

I just finished a book called It Takes a Village Idiot by Jim Mullen.  It is a memoir about a man and his wife who live and work in New York City, but after a weekend visit to the Hamptons, his wife decides that they, too, need a weekend home.  She decides to buy a home over 3 hours away from the city, in the Catskills.  Now, while Mullen describes “fictional” places and people, everything that he writes about holds very true for the area in which I grew up.  The stereotypes of the farmers and other small town folks are there and so very accurate that it’s almost scary.  It was a hilarious book because it’s so spot on.  The whole book is about the adjustment necessary to move from Manhattan to the middle-of-nowhere Upstate New York.  And trust me, it’s quite an adjustment, especially for a man who wanted nothing to do with weekend homes.  While he tries to ignore the fact that his wife is making him drive hours every week to reach this weekend home, he does end up becoming attached to it.  It takes a few years, but he somehow ends up enjoying his life there.  This, despite the problems with the septic tank, the farmer neighbor who spreads manure across his fields every day (resulting in a foul odor permeating all nearby areas), and the complete lack of culture.  Manhattan life includes restaurants, plays, musicals, parties.  Upstate New York life means diners that almost only serve various pork products and bedtimes before midnight.

Despite using a fictional name for the county in which they purchase the house, based on the other location names that he uses (Sidney, Oneonta, Bovina, Trout Creek, etc.), I accurately placed him somewhere in Delaware County.  My mother says originally he lived near Meredith, and currently resides outside of Franklin.  While I live in Rochester now, I grew up almost on the border of Otsego and Delaware Counties.  So his book hit very close to home (literally) for me.

If you are from a small town (especially one that still relies heavily on a farm economy), you will find this book hysterical because of Mullen’s description of all the characters and his accuracy.  If you are from a city, you will be able to laugh with Mullen at the small town people and crazy farmers.  Both types of people will enjoy his inner commentary on how he thinks city and country living should work.

You are literally staring at the border of Otsego and Delaware Counties.