Saturday, November 30, 2013

Life in the Cold, part deux

What else to do in the cold: grab a hot drink and bring the fun indoors.
Thanksgiving break has given me over a week to come home, rest up, meet with friends, and catch up on work (ha!).  

 Caitlan, Brad, and Kristen at Caitlan's house~ yes, a house!  She's rented a quaint home down the road from her parents, with one bedroom and bath, plus a woodstove and charming front and back enclosed patios.  She's decorated it with donations, thrifted furniture, and Etsy-inspired crafts to create a country cottage feel.  I was just reeling at the possibilities of living in my own space one day, while she's already there.
 Brad and I left the Finger Lakes early to spend the day in Rochester.  It was freezing but worth visiting the east side of the city in the arts district!  We nursed coffees and worked on papers in Java's cafe, then toured the Memorial Art Gallery.  This was my first time visiting the museum, which celebrated it's 100th anniversary this year!  I was pleasantly surprised at the survey of art that is on display, yet in a space that's small enough not to seem tiring or unmanageable.  The collection includes a fair scope of American artists, especially those from Rochester, Renaissance and Baroque art, 19th and 20th century European impressionists and modernists, classical art, ancient works of South America, Egypt, Asia, and Africa, and a special exhibit on human memory.  
 There's me, posing on the sidewalk outside of Java's in my new coat from Asos and shockingly bright hat that I salvaged from my friend Mary this summer in China when she was ditching clothes to lighten her suitcase (I did not lighten anything).  Outside the MAG there were these little bronze sculptures and I told Brad to imitate one of them; he picked the giant concrete one lying down!

I especially enjoyed that our high school art teacher/mentor/friend Mr. Williams was available to meet us!  It was a completely last-minute invitation, but I sure love his commentary, stories, and whacked out-wisdom. 
The memory exhibit had an interactive wall where you posted answers to sticky notes that asked things such as "My first memory was..." or "What I wish I could remember is...".
 Real or faux Rembrandt?  Even the gallery curators can't be sure...
Mr. Williams' favorite Monet in the gallery.

Another take on "American Gothic," this time out of spools of yarn.
And some views from my house:

Thanksgiving included my brothers and their families and was quiet, as usual.  We didn't have too many leftovers because everyone scarfed the sweet potatoes and twice-baked cheese potatoes, but I'm returning to school with leftover turkey meat and stock (so much for vegetarianism!).
I'm thankful for a healthy family and magnificent set of friends, the support at school in between manic work loads, all the experiences of this year!  Between travelling up and down the East Coast, then throughout China, some of Asia, and all the incredible people I've encountered.  Although our paths may not cross again, the impressions are lasting.  I hope everyone else had a safe, delicious, and happy Thanksgiving! 

Listening: "Dark Paradise" by Lana del Rey

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life in the Cold

The weather was teetering on the edge, then finally dropped a few weeks ago.  Farewell fall, hello winter.
What to do when the cold hits the North Country?  

You go on a hike!
A few Saturdays ago I went with my school's Outing Club to Mount Ampersand, taking respite from work and the scratchy air of my townhouse.  Ampersands elevation isn't tall enough to be classified as a High Peak, but it's still in the Adirondack Park about five miles outside Tupper Lake.  Despite balmy weather on campus, the trails already had snow!  That didn't make the ascent any easier-- I'm not accustomed to hiking in the snow.  My shoes didn't have proper traction, so my measured steps were basically useless, as I slipped on my rear the entire way back down the mountain. 

  An early winter wonderland, with gusting winds and endless views at the peak.  We could see all of Tupper and Saranac Lakes, then for miles across the High Peaks.  Seeing the south side of Whiteface Mountain, towering above the others ... that was one of those moments that I regret never learning how to alpine ski or snowboard.  It must be such an enthralling sensation to gun down that slope!  Although it's not too late, I'm not sure if I can make the time or financial commitment to figure it out this year. 

With the change of time in the higher latitudes, the sun really starts setting by 4 PM.  The light was glorious on the way out of the woods.

It was definitely worth a Saturday to absorb a bit of life off-campus.  Next time, I'll remember the crampons that I don't have, some skis, perhaps snow shoes and definitely a change of shoes at the bottom...

Listening: "Vanessa" by Grimes

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekend Views

Frost in the North Country, Halloween, my birthday, academic endeavors, and lots of dancing. 

 Porch views from the townhouse.


Night 1 of Halloween: Have you ever seen a cat in space?
Sponsored by my roommate's absurd/awesome royal purple rhistone-embellished figure skating leotard, my friend's galactic leggings, sneakers for dancing, and Marg's cat mask.

 Dinner party with frisbee friends.

Night 2: Mother nature, zombie animals, Pikachu, and a hi-liter.

 Night 3: A fish that can fly (including a blue sequined blazer), skeleton babes, and a sassy cat!

 The proceeding Ruckus Bus party, of course with many crowded around the table playing quarters.  Same story, different appearance.


 These dear friends trooped out into the cold with me for my first trip to the bar.  We were the only seven patrons at 12:30 AM, aside from a local resident.  We passed around a bottle of Andre champagne and took Hornitos tequila shots with the bartender, and I giddily went to sleep.

 Wahoo!  21 year old me, trying to keep it classy for senior portraits.  A typical Monday, though more exciting and significantly less regard for school work.


 Almost every week, some of my classmates from my Global Studies Theories of Cultural Studies course meet to discuss the theory from the week, and topics that have diverged into marriage, migration, identity, Russell Brand, and even cats on the internet.  We are champions of social justice, Marxist theory, and will seek to restructure the world ... or at least contribute more sense.  (Not pictured: Tommy)


  One of my favorite bands to come to Java is Thunderbody, who are from Rochester, performed Friday night.  Good roots and reggae with a leading percussion.  They even brought their thunder baby that was born this past summer!

 Alex, Evan, and... mustached Andrew.

 Set break dancing madness.

Karoke with Kat and my favorite theme house friends the night night the Java Barn!  We were keeping things smooth with some Frank Ocean.

 And the sweetest ending to a week of my 21st year of life: a pumpkin-chocolate cheesecake made from scratch from my roommate, Courtney, and help from Laura.

Listening: Arcade Fire's new album, Reflektor.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Socially Constructed Rites of Passage

A final shot of my U.S.-sanctioned underage self
... in a new dress & shoes from Asos!
I'm sitting alone in my townhouse bedroom with the lights low, wearing a new black dress with gold-beaded straps underneath blankets.  I'm listening to a beautifully morose Lykee Li on spotify, sipping on a whiskey sour made with Red Stag and homemade sour syrup, and there are traces of this past Halloweekend strewn about: angel wings, sequins, glitter, a cat mask, and a Pokemon mudkip.. on a leash.  I can't decide if this is amusing or pitiful-- probably a conflation of both.

Although I don't know my actual time of birth, I'm turning 21 years old in less than two hours.  And more than anything, I feel tired.  It's been a long weekend, and several weeks of hype building to this rite of passage, mainly in the form of me grumbling when all my friends bailed on parties and headed to the bar, while I was left behind.  To a definite degree of selfishness, I have begged as many as possible to join me tonight in my first trek to the Hoot Owl, despite A) it's a Sunday night and B) it's below freezing temperatures!  Ha, we'll see; I'm not admonishing any of them if they decide otherwise..!

I haven't given the proper reflection to my mere lifetime, but my dad has pointed out more than once the outstanding experiences I have collected!  I wish I could articulate every moment, travel, turn, taste, project, game, person, place that has enriched, ruptured, and altered my life.  Before I went to China, I never really bought into serendipity, but more and more I believe that things happen and there are people in this world that we intersect for a reason.

Against the daily grind and flitting emotions, I know that this life has been good to me.  And I trust that it will only accelerate, and excel, from here.

Listening: "Tonight" by Lykke Li