Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New York (I mean, New Year)!

a new year, new beginnings - hopefully, the chance to put the past emotional traumas behind me - crosby's death, uncle buster's death, the other personal stuff that's been so devastating to my spirit. so, here's to new beginnings! fresh starts! no resolutions, only a hopeful outlook!

so much to blog about that i don't know where to start. after finals, i did the puttering around, shopping, etc. we went down to gvegas on the wednesday evening before christmas. the next 6 days were spent with the family, doing various, enjoyable family things - including lots of eating (generic, i know) and game playing. on christmas, we divided the day more or less evenly between jim's family and mine. we played hardcore mudball. the goodson clan (my side) plays football every year on thanksgiving and christmas. of course, this year, it rained god awfully hard the day before. the ground looked relatively dry. chyeah. right. i wound up coated in mud from head to toe - wearing, as alison put it, my 'good clothes'. eh, mud washes out, right? that was one highlight of the week (this was christmas morning, so we showed up to the ashe christmas dinner mud-splattered and grinning). another highlight was a beautiful afternoon we spent outside shooting guns. jim's dad is quite the gun collector. we went out and shot for about 3 hours on a gorgeous day. unfortunatley, SOMEONE forgot a couple of guns, so we only wound up using the .45s. no complaint here, i love .45s. and i'm actually a good shot. so that was fun. and of course, the final highlight was the food. my mother-in-law prepared not just a christmas ham but a standing rib roast the likes of which i had not previously seen. so the food was unbelievable, as usual when mom part 2 is involved.

christmas day was hectic and enjoyable but a wee bit stressful. our flight to laguardia left on the day after christmas at 6am. so, we had to leave gvegas and come home to pack rapidly. i was having such fun gambling away worthless poker chips and losing badly at texas hold 'em that i lost track of time. my husband was playing with alison's new nintendo wii, so he was no help. we left way later than we intended and didn't get home to kvegas until around 10pm. needless to say, we didn't get to bed until around 2am or later. only to be dragged from sleep at around 4am to get ready and get to the airport. we had an uneventful - if disappointing flight. the fog was so bad in NYC that we didn't get to see even a tiny shadow of manhattan as we flew over. in fact, when we came out of the clouds/fog finally, we were LITERALLY about 25 feet above the runway. a bit disconcerting for the uneasy flier (read: ME!). but it was a good flight.

our time in NYC was packed with activity - and so many new things for both of us. mass transportation for one thing. god, the subway is the BEST idea ever. i wish to god every city had mass transport. it was so absolutely ROCKING to be able to jump on the subway and go anywhere in the city anytime. of course, it took a while to figure out the subways, as they aren't the most clearly designated things on earth. but once you got the hang of it -- it wasn't too bad. and it only cost $4 from queens to NYC and back. once inside the subway system, you can transfer back and forth between trains, no charge. so that was great. cheap. we got to take a cab ride, too - when we visited the museum of natural history. which wasn't nearly as far from the met as it appeared on the handy NYC map we got for free from the subway people. so that was a walk we wasted (through the park no less).

we did the usual things - walked around the city a great deal. saw times square, the statue of liberty (from battery park, we didn't do the ferry), saw the empire state building and chrysler building (from a distance, we didn't go in either, they actually charge!), ground zero, 5th avenue, madison avenue, central park, the met, the museum of natural history, greenwich village (most of our time was spent there), chinatown, st patrick's cathedral (awe inspiring). we ate at a few different restaurants - 2 of note - monte's italian bistro in the village and caffe dante, an espresso bar/dessert bar/cafe type place. both were excellent. i've now developed a sick affinity for not just coffee but ESPRESSO. no wonder they serve it in such small cups. that shit is strong. but the stuff at caffe dante was really really really really good. it left such an amazing aftertaste in your mouth. warm and beany and rich.

it was great to spend so much time with good friends. on new year's, jeremy toasted to us and said that there were no better people with which to spend the passing of the old year.

what else, what else? we got to see david lynch's new movie, inland empire. it was only released in NY(currently). lynch is hand distributing the film. after sitting through all 3 excruciatingly painful hours, i now understand why. i'm not a hardcore lyncho-phile or whatever you want to call it. but twin peaks: fire walk with me and mulholland drive are 2 of my favorite movies ever. i have a healthy appreciation and respect for blue velvet, and i'm dying to see lost highway but can't find it around here on DVD. wild at heart wasn't great, but i enjoyed it. i call myself a lynch fan. not a FANatic. but a fan. and inland empire sucked. it was 3 freaking hours and lacked any coherency. i'm okay with incoherent, it's the lynch style. but you always trust, when watching his - dare i call them art? - movies, that there is some underlying key that will unlock the door. and generally, this is true. with inland empire, there was no sense of this. and, as it turns out, lynch lacked a script for this movie. he made it up as he went along, with the hope that it would all pull together in the end. and it didn't. i want my $11 back. and those 3 lost hours.

jim's birthday was fun. we hit a pub called the slaughtered lamb. it was a theme bar - with haunted stuff all over - neat grotesque displays all over the place - life-sized. one was a werewolf and his prey (a lovely, tall, blonde girl), another was a hanging skeleton that had been tortured. the place had a ton of character. we were there for about 4 hours and met a crowd of brits (hailing from ireland, scotland, and england). they were generous enough to get my husband drunk, since it was his 29th birthday (his 3rd 29th birthday that is). i got drunk by innocent (if hanging out in a bar with your husband and 4 friends could be called innocent) association. if you buy drinks for one person, you buy drinks for everybody. we had to ride the subway back, and i was feeling good. really really drunk, but good. it wasn't till 10am the next morning that all the beer and the shot of vodka caught up with me. let's put it this way, AFTER throwing up pure beer, the hour commute to the village was palm-sweatingly, teeth-grindingly awful. but - as ALWAYS - once i got a bit of super-greasy food in me (a corndog and fries from papaya dog on the corner of 6th ave and cornelia in the village), i felt 1000% better. i still don't understand the physiological explanation behind that - but it's got to be greasy food. nothing else suffices. i was the only one who apparently didn't know her limit. no one else had a hangover.

wow, after reliving that night in my head, i can't remember what else i did. oh yes, shopped in chinatown for knock-off prada and D&G. that was fun. i actually went into the fendi store on 5th ave. but i felt so out of place, i had to leave. it might have been the proximity of the $1400 purses and shoes. but hey, they actually had boots moderately priced at $500-$600.

the last day we spent in NYC was new year's eve. we didn't go to time's square. everyone told us not to because of the masses of crowds, the lack of public restrooms, etc. so we stayed in with amanda's family, played games (vigorously!) and drank champagne, wine, and rum. we rang in the new year happily (and mostly soberly, especially me - i was totally abstaining).

today was interesting. we arrived at laguardia promptly at 6am for our 8:15am (so i thought) flight to knoxville. when we went to check our bags, the uber-friendly (NOT) dude insisted we had no flight. he wasn't helpful at all, so i tried the delta self-service kiosk. no flight registration for us. and, in a previous stupid moment, i hadn't printed out our itinerary. but i was sure we were to fly on delta. no wi-fi in the airport either, for some reason. so the laptop was useless. in despair, i woke up my mother via phone to check my itinerary online. only to find that our flight was at 8:15pm. definitely one of my prouder moments. we were stranded at the airport (we took a cab, as our hosts also flew out the same morning, from JFK). i joined the HUGE line to the check-in counter and finally made it to the front. we were lucky enough (so i thought) to switch our flight to a 9am flight to atlanta and from there to kvegas. plenty of time, phew. we made it to our gate, hung around, and our plane didn't show up. when it finally did, we boarded around 20 minutes late. jim really wanted to watch the outback bowl today. it was a big deal. he'd hoped we'd make it. no such luck, of course. at any rate, after our late departure, we arrived in atlanta. the flight was bumpy, due to the weather. it was the first time i'd ever experienced real turbulence on climbing. the plane swayed a lot side to side on take off and during the ascent. it was a little disconcerting. but the stewardess had said it was expected, so my palms only sweated a teeny bit. at any rate, we landed at 11:40. our connecting flight to kvegas was at 12:30-boarding started at 12:00. when we landed (late), of course there was a malfunction with our jetbridge. so, we had to sit on our tarmac and look out the window at our next plane - which was sitting one concourse over. so tantalizingly close, so far away. deplaning took forever. we were on a boeing 757 that was PACKED to the gills. not an empty seat. and we sat in the very LAST row. did i mention jim and i are both sick with what his dad described as a 'walking pneumonia' - type bug that everyone in our hometown has? no? how could i not? jim's been far, far sicker than i, but on the first leg of the flight, i was feverish, weak, and lightheaded. it sucked. then, when we deplaned, we had to run to catch our connecting flight. and i mean run - because it was a train ride away. but we made it. that flight was on an MD-88, and of the 150 or so seats, perhaps 40 were taken. sparsely populated and smooth sailing. a nice flight home. and we made it. but jim missed the game, and he was none too happy. so i felt like a load of poo for screwing up the itinerary. as i said, not one of my prouder non-blonde moments.

and now, now, now we're home. after 12 days away. it feels really good to be here. i missed my animals, my house, the normalcy of my life. i loved NYC. i thought it was a great city. contrary to popular southern belief, not everyone in NY is an asshole. in fact, no one was. we met a lot of really nice people. on our first train ride from queens to manhattan proper, we met a lovely young guy named giovanni finishing his aerospace engineering degree at NYIT. friendly as hell, showed us the train we needed to be on to transfer over to the village. not one person was rude to us. we did see a couple of crazy people, and we did see some true NY flavor when people hung out the windows and cursed at each other while driving, but over all - i loved the city. it was clean, beautiful, friendly, and offered an abundance of diversions. i wouldn't want to live there, because i would miss the mountains and small town life, in some ways. but it was a great place, all the same.

i have tons of pictures (400 or so....) of our adventures in the big city. but i'll have to transfer them to my computer from my laptop, so those will come later. in the meantime, here are some christmas pictures.

merry christmas and happy new year to all!!!

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