Endless Summer

Happy Labor Day!

What a long, hot (& not wet) summer it’s been. The “not wet” part meant for even more pronounced heat in NOLA, where we look forward to those late afternoon tropical thunderstorms to cool us off a couple degrees. What happened to them? I haven’t been able to sleep upstairs in my house more than a handful of times because the a/c window unit up there is no battle for 10 or so hours of intense sunshine. This means that I have to actually sleep on the pullout sofa in the living room, the only room that’s bearable in my house. I’ve traveled a fair amount this summer, but not enough that my back, normally blissfully pain-free, doesn’t have a dull ache on the regular thanks to the lousy mattress. Fall. I need you bad.

Summer 2015 Travels:
Since June, I’ve been to Memphis, Montreal, Ottawa, Baltimore, Toronto, Charleston, San Francisco/Napa Valley, NYC, Nashville and back to Montreal & Memphis again. I’m pretty annoyed with myself that I haven’t kept up this blog, but now I have loads to catch up on and write about. Maybe I was enjoying myself too much. Maybe the layovers weren’t long enough. Maybe I’ve just been too beat by the heat. Or the lack of blogging might be symptom of some other kind of malaise. There’s been stresses that I’m too defeated right now to even write about it, so I’ll leave this here and get to the topic at hand.

It's chilly in California, hence the sweatshirt!
It’s chilly in California, hence the sweatshirt!

Unlike last summer when I had regular trips to Texas on my itinerary, I’m now traveling to parts of North America that involve a weather change, which I really quite like. This means that I don’t have to space bag my entire sweater drawer! I don’t get bored with my dirty South uniform of jeans and black tank tops because I can actually throw on something else and not want to die. Dresses with tights are not out of the question. I will admit that by the end of August I was traveling with such frequency that I didn’t even unpack my clean clothes. I just added a couple layers for Montreal where it’s a good 20+ degrees cooler in the evenings. The great thing about having a 99% pure black wardrobe is that people may or may not think you’re constantly wearing the same thing. I’m trying to stop spending so much money on clothes, so forgive me for looking kind of boring.

Real truth time. I didn’t go the entire summer without buying clothes. Toronto has a boutique carved out of the fashion show of my dreams. They even give customers espresso drinks, if you so desire, while you shop. I landed at this magical place when strolling down Queen West one warm July afternoon looking for a jacket because I was going to be at a boat party that evening and didn’t pack accordingly. The clothes in the window didn’t bore or disgust me, so I walked in and came across some really interesting pieces at a fair price. I strolled past the espresso counter and stopped in my tracks because the back of the store contains the pièces de résistance: offerings of independent, emerging designers. Jackets with asymmetrical zippers. Swoopy bunched skirts. Chic baggy dresses that are too much for my petite hourglass physique, but would look stunning on a tall, willowy type. And corsets. Gorgeous, waist cinching, cleavage-spilling corsets. I already have too many of these and although I used to think you can never have too many corsets, I forced myself to look at the more “practical” items. I found a black silky jacket that’s adjustable so that you can unzip it to make it shorter and even sleeveless, a really cool scarf and a bunchy skirt and vowed that I wouldn’t spend another cent on clothing for at least the rest of the season.

View from a boat
View from a boat

I love many things about Toronto, now that I’ve been there twice recently. The people are nice. The food is divine (they have actual ethnic neighborhoods. I’ve gorged on Chinese food on each visit). The locally-owned shops are really fucking cool and not terribly expensive. Bars are not pretentious. Some areas remind me of the East Village/LES in the 90s (sigh). Hell, I just really really love Toronto. And I can buy stuff that isn’t going to cost me a month’s salary. Some people liken it to Chicago. I’ve only been to Chicago twice and appreciated it, but Toronto really reminds me more of NYC and its gritty/glitzy melting pot vibe.

Speaking of home, I got to go in mid August. I was in town for a millisecond, it seems. I got to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law, who graciously put me up at their home in Commack and I got to see my family, including my folks and cousin, Vinny (yeah, I have several of those) who is like a brother to me, and yet more extended family. I didn’t get to see friends this visit, but I have plans to return in about 6 weeks. I got to swim in my parents’ pool and take a ride on my brother’s friend’s boat to Fire Island.

On the way to Fire Island

Oddly enough, I grew up going to LI beaches but never once went to Fire Island before. It’s uh, really expensive and not at all fancy. Just overpriced food and gift shops. I had a stupid expensive meal and tried Rocket Fuel for the first time. The boat ride was really fantastic, though.

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I even spent a day and night in the city with Danny. Yep, my ultra Southern boyfriend has grown to really dig him some NYC. He even has a few places he wants to go back to like Library Bar, Decibel and although we didn’t have time to get there, my good friends’ bar, Lucky 13 in Downtown Brooklyn. We spent most of the day eating and drinking our way through the city, starting in Williamsburg where we parked, brunched and checked out one of my old hangouts.

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Grand St. Pier… oh, the late night memories!

We ended up crammed in at the packed sushi bar at Decibel in the late night hours where I finished my eating odyssey with edamame gyoza and soba noodle salad.

I can’t even really keep straight these days where I’ve been. Like I have to think real hard (if I don’t consult Trip It, which has been more annoying than it has been useful lately) to remember that I flew from Toronto to Charleston in early July. I really liked Charleston. It reminds me of a much cleaner New Orleans. I was only there for a day and a half, so I’ll save any real impressions for another post. I did visit and pay my respects to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where a sociopathic racist mass murdered a group of innocent people.

Paying My Respects

This has been a violent summer that will go down in infamy no doubt (now that I think about it, it’s been a pretty messed up year). A good amount of the bad shit going down has been racially-motivated. I won’t hesitate to post about any injustices I feel strongly about on social media and if it offends “friends,” well that’s fine (why civil rights should even be an “argument” is absurd). And “friends” lost due to differences of opinion on this matter were never friends to begin with (“but we were Facebook friends!” Cry me a river). My days of keeping quiet about my feelings ended as soon as I hit adulthood and now is not the time to be quiet. Right after the mass shooting, the Sandra Bland tragedy captured a spot in the media, but another article shed light on what seems to be a truly terrifying situation between those in authority and people of color. I have a lot more to write about this, but for now, suffice to say, I can’t recall summer 2015 without wondering if we’ve come so far from the 1960s when it comes to racial injustice. It’s been really weighing on my mind. This summer has been pretty tragic, that’s all.

And this is getting long, so TBC and all that good stuff.

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