Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Ridge

I have said it before and I will say it again and again I am so enchanted by that ridge! I was told yesterday that whatever you are doing on New Years you will be doing for the year. In this case, I spent the evening with m favorite people and then I spent the day skiing the ridge with my one of my favorite friends and coach. I am wondering if that means I will be spending my year with my favorite people and in my favorite places? This makes me really excited.

The snow was almost gone as you can see. In places it was as if we were water skiing. I found it intriguing that as tired and sore as I was from a week on the oval (2x a day) I really wanted to be out there moving. I woke up thinking I would ride. I was so happy to get the offer to ski. Jon has coached me on the bike for a few years now, although last year I kind of blew him and my BIKE off using the excuse that I needed to be in the studio. Maybe this year will afford me more time trials, long rides and impeccable fitness. Jon if you read this my goal is a double century by the end of the summer. I would also like to conquer that stupid Mtn Rest Tt in less than 35 min and without having to hurl because I hate loosing my cookies, I am so claustrophobic. Steve if you are reading this I am not riding with you until I can get you to slow down and enjoy the beautiful glaze palette we are riding by. (John D. it just might work, or at the very least we will have something more to contemplate at the kiln). Kelly and Alison, what else am I going to be training for?

On another note, I was thinking about my upcoming week. I am back to school and its the end of the semester. This means lots of firing and stress this week. I am hoping that this means I am not caught up in it. We will be off to Lake Placid again next weekend. I so wish Pete could come with us. I really think he would like to see that side of my current life but then again I think he would be as bored as Kenny often is. I found myself daydreaming about what they might do while we skated, after all, one can only watch speedskating practice so much. But then again? Here's more from the adventures of Pete. If the days are at all like the last 3 on the oval and the snow, we would be right back where we were all those years ago, catching those rays.

The Beach
Everything about life from the first really warm days in April until the last of those days in October was about the sun and the sand. Fortunately, we lived within an hour of several.  Sometimes we would even create our own long weekends, finding an excuse to cut out of school and head to Sherwood Island State Park, stopping at a nearby grocery for the essentials, lunch, beverages, ice and baby oil or if we had the funds, a fresh supply of Ban de Soleil for that tan only achievable in the South of France. What I find ironic is that there was a park with a chivalrous name for us to rob ourselves of rote knowledge and skin cells.  Our education in social skills grew by leaps and bounds. The beach was the place to be, period.

My grandparents lived close to Jones Beach and there was a bike path to get there, so essentially, from the time I was about 12, Pete and I used to bring our bikes to Bellmore and ride the 10 miles to field 6. We would carry our lunch, water, a small radio, a towel, sun tan oil, and a few dollars for french-fries dawn our sun-glasses and head out for the day. We would find a spot as close to the water as we possibly cold get without getting wet. This way we could run in and cool off at will without breaking up the conversation too much. We would people watch, this was a necessary part of our day. There was always the old guy wearing a Speedo that was six sizes too small and the wrinkly woman with a cigarette hanging out of her lips and her chest among other things hanging out of her suit. We would try to coax the seagulls by throwing French fries to them and laugh hysterically when they would poop on someone. Sometimes we  would head to the pool for a bit, it was a way to get wet without getting the sand in places where it would make the ride home uncomfortable. This was always an interesting endeavor as well. We wondered why the pool at the East Bathhouse was always so cold and the one at the West bathhouse was always so warm? We would spend a good hour or so swimming in the lap lane, racing back and forth across the long course. Eventually we would call it a day and head for home, often not arriving until the last bit of light was hitting Merrick Road and the street-lights would light the rest of the way. Once there, we would compare our degrees of lobster, take showers with Yardley’s oatmeal soap and then proceed to indulge in the cool, yet highly mentholated, contents of a whole jar of Noxema, eat the dinner my grandmother slaved over and then walk to the ice cream stand on Sunrise Highway to get black raspberry soft-serve and sneak the cigarettes we would swipe from either my grandmother, my uncle or my mother. We would also be sure to grab a pack of the Trident Spearmint from the cabinet to cover up our smoky breath.

Life around my grand parents house was always an adventure in itself. They lived in this 200 year old colonial on Washington Ave. The house had a lot of secret rooms, this giant copper beech in front, a chicken coop and detached garage in the back, a tire swing, a tree fort, and plenty of population surrounding them to make life interesting. It was a quite acre in an urban setting.

We would often climb that copper beach to the point of being higher than the roof of the house. We were so high into the canopy that we would often go unnoticed by the pedestrians that would pass by. Of course we took great advantage of that situation, making strange noises and watching them look around trying to locate the source. Sometimes they would laugh with us but often we would be messing with this one up-tight lady who had the little ankle-biter dog. She was insistent on the fact that she knew my grandparents well enough to know that they did not have grandchildren even though there were 5 of us. This woman would often yell at us to get out of that tree and off that property or she would call the police on us. We were, after-all, trespassing in her mind.

Inevitably, she would walk up the path and knock on the door with such vigor that my grandmother would think we had fallen out of the tree or there was some other grave emergency. My grandmother would assure her that we did in fact belong to her and summon us to terra-firma to introduce us to her, hoping that maybe this time she would get a good look at us and never scare the bejesus out of her again. We would be begged to make better use of our voices than animal sounds, handed a few dollars and encouraged to go to the country store for candy.  Of course we would go get our Old Fashioned Lozenges and candy necklaces before heading right back up that incredible tree.

Eventually all this time spent with Pete at the beach would turn into a major crush. I went to great lengths to be noticed. I remember this one rust colored string bikini I purchased. It was skimpy enough to come in a small bag. It barely held anything in and the front was held to the back by ties that often came undone. I was a devastated 14 year old when Pete’s reaction was not what I expected but like a true gentlemen he was so afraid it would somehow fail and I would be embarrassed on a beach that had no public facility and be a ferry ride away from the safety of the car. He marveled at the fact that my mom had nothing to say about the apparel, matter of fact she even purchased it for me in one of her make her daughter happy moments. Poor Pete, I held onto that suit for way longer than I should have and he had to endure the stress for two years. The strings finally met their demise in a game of Frisbee at Sherwood Island as I ran past a picnic table to catch the disc and caught the string on a nail. With a quick rip it fell loose. Thankfully the beach was nearly empty, a towel, my change of clothing and the bathhouse were right there, not that my really short jean shorts with all the holes in it were any better. 

Now that I have spent a week working on a resolution, breaking it into small chunks, enjoying the ice, and the sun, and the town, and skiing the ridge ...eating soba and grapes at midnight and talking to Anna who is on the farm (bring me home some hickory syrup!) ...HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 

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