Friday, November 23, 2007

It's A Long, Long, Island

Yesterday was the annual family trek out to a remote spit of Long Island, way out there, exit 60 something or other. We went into Manhattan to pick up some city relatives, then out onto the island, where, on a beautiful warm and sunny day, we whiled away what should have been several hours of drinks in front of a fireplace in some of the worst traffic we have ever hit, right out of the Queens Midtown Tunnel. Arrived at last, we sensed, rightly or wrongly, as we slugged down our wine, snarfed cheese and crackers, and huddled near the fire (the warmth had gone out of the day in more ways than one) that we were being secretly held at fault. We had arrived before the stated dinner hour, but not in the usual timeframe of leaving several hours before it to watch a game, kick back on their enormous couch (= size of flatscreen), and refuse voluminous trays of appetizers (the best, alas, had seen a better hour by the time we made it through the door). I did, in a way, miss that precious time to relax, but did have a much better appetite for the real feast, and that it was, traditional turkey, stuffing, too many scrumptious side dishes, and seven pies to choose from for dessert. Then a repeat return trip, minus most of the traffic. Many of the local relatives were talking of going out to outlet stores at midnight or getting up at three to shop at four, whereas my immediate branch of the family, being hibernators instead of hunter-gatherers, had a) already shopped in October; b) lightning-quick dsl and a shopping list set to go; c) no intention of shopping until a few weeks before Christmas.
I love the Friday after Thanksgiving for a reason that is apparently disappearing: it is a beautiful quiet day. To wake up in one's own bed, have cappuccinos and breakfast slowly, call friends, read the paper section by section; by afternoon, a little Christmas music, a little lazy cleaning, maybe. The sun was streaming in through the windows, my Thanksgiving cactus had opened two pink flowers, cats were playing and then contentedly dozing.... marvelous. Now, time to write, call another friend for a telephone tea time, and maybe, just maybe, a little internet shopping/browsing. Manhattan reminded me that I do miss living in a city. If I were living in a good walking city, I'd be out tonight, probably would have been out today, just walking and looking. It was fine, though, to slip into a late afternoon nap with the cats nearby, an option in city or country. How is everyone else's day after going ?

A later PS: And I learned a new word that I like a lot, via a blog called "Ankle Biter:" kleptocrats. According to the blog, these are the folk who confiscate the security risk objets du jour at the airport, and, yes, sell them on ebay.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Delocation, Dyslocation, Dissed Location

That is, "dys-" from the Greek, meaning "bad." Burned your tongue lately at the 21st century's equivalent of Chock Full O' Nuts ? (Actually, Chock is looking better and better these days. Look here.) Before their rampant ubiquity and super-size mentality took hold, Starbucks had great coffee. I lived in the Pacific Northwest when Starbucks essentially was the local coffee shop. Now, alas, far from its native home, it seems to serve up milky diluted brews and scalding teas in only paper cups (Starbucks used to have real plates, real cups, real silverware). So:

How did I not know about this, a "Delocator" that will take you away from the neighborhood Starbucks (not that there is anything wrong with some rare Starbucks, where they still know how to make coffee, but when, you know, you need a real cappucino made by independent folk who want to make good coffee and a living), and to a list of real neighborhood coffee shops ? Its content is user-created, and it includes cinemas and bookstores, too. You can go mobile with it, perfect for long days in unfamiliar towns. Found via Slate. I sense that my few readers are coffee hounds. Get to it, you folks, and add some content. I'm counting on you !