What I Did On My Summer Vacation - Part Deux
or road trip to rural New York with my own Betty White
Okay, so my Mum, Big Mar, hasn't been to see my brother for a proper vacation in about five years. She's almost 89 and doesn't feel comfortable being on a plane by herself. Since I had a week of no plans in the middle of my two weeks off...
Did I tell you I had two weeks off in a row? OMG! Best. Thing. EVA! If you've never taken two weeks off, DO IT! It's the absolute best way to decompress and forget your workplace.
But I digress...
Since I had no plans for the week, Big Mar and I decided to drive up to the Hudson Valley to impose upon...er, visit my brother and sister-in-law. They live in the charming town of New Paltz...a mere stone's throw from my fantasy hubby's domicile.
|"Wait... What?!? You were in my town? Why didn't you tell me?"|
Aaaaa... Look. He's bummed he missed me. What a sweetheart! Sorry, Hon. This visit was all about family time. Next time we'll hook up for sure. Take you out on the river. Promise.
Anywho, we buzzed up north in Rita, our radiant, red, riding machine. We made it in record time--6 1/2 hours, thanks in large part to the NASCAR nature of I-287. Man oh man! That was big FUN! Just keeping up with traffic, I was sailing along at an almost steady clip of 89.
So anyway, this was the first time I ever spent concentrated, one-on-one time with my SIL, Leslie. Weird, but true. She's been a member of our family since 1987, but we've never had the opportunity to hang out at length.
She's an artist in the truest sense of the word. She's a fiber artist and ceramicist by trade, but everything about her--her dress, her home, her meals is a work of art.
|the guest bedroom inspired by pods she found on the road|
|mushrooms in the corner of the dining room|
that's random cutlery affixed and framed on the right
|she even makes crappy lampshades festive and bright|
|Hydra-inspired trees made of plastic bottles and discarded pipes|
I think they look like palms
She's an organic artist using recycled materials (clothes, buttons, bottles) to replicate her visions of nature. Her interest in fiber started after her children grew up and out of their baby clothes. She couldn't bare to part with them, so wove them into tapestries and pillows so they would be with her always. Sweet, isn't it. From there she's gone on to purses, vessels and totems.
Their house unintentionally doubles as an installation of her work. It's everywhere and she's always changing it. There's something interesting to found everywhere, even places you wouldn't expect like those little, boingy doorstops. She can't help it. It's who she is. And it is absolutely delightful!! Her youthful enthusiasm is infectious...in a very good way. She's just plain cool.
You: But wait, what did you guys do while you were there?
Me: Alright I'm getting there. How long have you known me? You haven't noticed I'm verbose and ramble on and on and on, ad nauseum? What are you, new?
So, anywho...She and I are early risers, so we went to a supposed off limits watering hole that has beautiful waterfalls. I say "supposed" because apparently lots of folks trek through the fencing to swim in the stream. It's gorgeous there. Tranquil. Quiet, except for the rush of water. Just us and their puppy, Otto.
|We so naughty|
Surprisingly I didn't fall and crack my ass on the uber slippery rocks. Thank God it was just the two of us, because the sight of me crawling ashore, desperately clawing for purchase is no sight for man nor beast nor...Sasquatch, for that matter. For the record, Grace is not my middle name.
By the time we stopped for breakfast and wandered around the grooviness that is New Paltz, Big Mar was up so we hit the road for Woodstock to meet up with Leslie's Mom. After lunch the old gals hung at the restaurant shooting the shite while Les and I roamed the streets in search of ... whatever. There were so many unique clothes! I could have spent a fortune to look oh-so-groovy chic. Instead, I bought these hilarious BlackBars instant anonymity glasses.
OMG!!! I LOVE these things!! They make the most innocent of photos seem sordid. We are totally taking our next formal family picture with these things on.
|Big Mar and her cohort, Brownie plotting their next heist over a nice cuppa tea|
What the hell are these old gals up to anyway? What's she packing in that cane?
The next morning we dragged Big Mar along with us to a small river. We set her up on shore and dove in to race Otto to the thrown sticks.
|another peaceful morning in the beautiful Hudson Valley|
|Big Mar chilling on the shore|
|Les and Otto|
|We tuckered him out|
On the way home we stopped in the mountains for a scenic look, then home to meet my bro, Buddy. Next stop--a spin on the Hudson in his little boat.
|rock climbing cliff behind us-also filming of Last of the Mohicans took place around here|
mmmm...Daniel Day Lewis!!!
My poor Mum. She was terrified to walk the plank to the boat, but we got her in with little difficulty and off we went. (now the deboarding was a little more...challenging. let's just say we didn't drop her in the drink and leave it at that, shall we. We shall.)
It was a gorgeous day. Barely a cloud in the sky. We buzzed past the Astor property where the tents from Chelsea Clinton's wedding were still standing. Then Bud opened her up to head downstream.
|lighthouse near mouth of marina|
My brother-in-law, David used to have a sail boat we took out on Long Island Sound. Many a day we spent hanging over the edge to counterbalance as the wind zipped us along the open waters. Exhilarating.
|Boating and Beer. A nautical tradition passed down for generations.|
Once we parked, Les and I jumped in the surprisingly clean Hudson giving Big Mar and Bud a chance to spend some quality alone time together.
|Because we can't go anywhere without jumping|
I swear to God I was submerged in water more these two days than the entire summer. HaHa!
Look at Big Mar gazing adoringly at her baby Boi-ee. We always jag her that he's her favorite. But, come on! He totally is. Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that he's charming, funny, successful, generous and handsome.
Wait.. Ewwwww. That sounds like I have a crush on my brother. Ewww. No! He used to torture me when I was a kid, but fortunately now he's just a really good guy. Plus I'm not afraid to give it right back to him. So there's that.
We left the next day, but not before eating exotic poached eggs at the primo Bistro Cafe in town. Oh and stocking up on the most beautifully crafted tie-dye shirts. Apparently I'm a sucker for tie dye as well as joke prop glasses.
Big Mar and I had a great time. It was so wonderful to visit with Bud and Les in their own habit trail for a change. We're going to try to make this an annual event.
Oh Oh... a funny thing from the drive home. I pulled into a gas station in Carlisle so we could stretch our legs. While we were stopped a HUGE semi pulled behind us on his way out to the highway. Big Mar looks at me and says, "Holy Hell. Watch out for that big-ass truck behind you"
Ha Ha!! My 88 year old mother used the term "big-ass"! How awesome is that? It's like traveling with Betty White.