Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saying Goodbye

This song has been playing on a loop in my head for the last several days:


The part that really makes me bawl: when Gonzo says "Sometimes it's better to go" and Camilla the chicken makes a sad chicken sound. 

I have reached the tough part of moving -- saying goodbye to some really good friends. And unlike my last move, wherein I knew I would be visiting easily and frequently since my new home was only a 4-hour drive from my old home, this time it may be a while before I see some of these folks again. And they're good folks, trust me.

To Graham, Nicholas, Josh, Suzanne, Joelle, Peter, Charlene, Mo, Joe, Alexis, Pincus, Liz, Mike, Akshay, Amy, Matt, Elizabeth, Ben, Grace, Kira, Darien, Michael, Thuy, Mariel, Moses, Kevin, Dr. Frank, Tim, Holly, Rich, Kirsten, Alex, T.A., Bruno, Brink, Chef, Shannon, Megan, Ryan, Gabi, Dave, Emily, Sarah, Tina and others I love but might be forgetting (it is almost 3 a.m.): please stay in touch. I miss you already. Thanks for making my four years in Boston amazing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I have just returned from a one-day camping trip to Unity, ME. I haven't done a lot of camping in my day -- prior to this, my last camping trip back in 2007 to the Berkshires only differed from normal life in that my friends and I drank beers in a tent as opposed to someone's living room. We didn't hike, swim, or fish. We ate a lot of marshmellows and listened to music from a wireless ipod dock. It wasn't really roughing it; we were at a camping site, so there were even public restrooms nearby. It's not really camping if you don't urinate outside, in my opinion. And by that standard, this recent trip definitely qualifies.

I journeyed to the northern reaches of the northern-most state in the union to take part in the annual staff trip at the restaurant where I work, Lineage. Every year we close the restaurant for a day in order to partake in some morale building/staff bonding (and binge drinking). In years past, we've gone to Duxbury, MA to visit Island Creek's oyster farm. This year we went to Sparrow Arc Farm (after a quick stop at the Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth, NH) to see where most of our produce comes from. We toured the farm, learned about their methods, and actually got to pick some vegetables (summer squash, cucumbers, carrots) for dinner. 

I ate a raw radish right out of the ground and swore never to go hungry again. Well, the first half of that is true.

 As is tradition, the kitchen staff prepared a truly epic feast. We brought with us, via refrigerated truck, an entire small pig to roast. We also brought about two dozen lobsters.

And two cases of wine (Elk Cove pinot gris and pinot noir) and 24 six-packs of beer. We always budget 1 six-pack and a bottle of wine per person, roughly. And we always manage to consume it all, this time plus a few vodka-infused watermelons. After the farm tour/labor portion of the trip, we spent the next eight hours playing lawn games (our chef has a real knack for the beanbag tossing game, Cornhole), throwing water balloons, getting sunburned, snacking, drinking, and relaxing. It was, even for a non-outdoorsy person such as myself, fantastic. I know I complain sometimes on this blog about the trials and thankless tribulations of waiting tables, but the staff I have gotten to work with for the past 2.5 years couldn't be better. We truly get along famously even outside of work. Only two people were not able to come this year (record attendance) and one person even invented a fictional uncle death in order to get out of her day job to come.

I don't know whose tent I eventually ended up in, but I did manage to get in a few hours of sleep -- it started raining around 11:30 pm and after it stopped, I was too tired to rally. In my defense, we met at the restaurant at 6 am in order to get on the road and be at camp by noon. When I woke up at 2:45 am to pee, many people were still around the campfire arguing about Disney movies and using pie-irons to make hotdog sandwiches. And at 7 am this morning, we cleaned and packed and hit the road again. I fortunately don't have to work tonight, but to my comrades-in-arms working on little to no sleep: finish strong.

"Finish strong" is one of our staff sayings, coined by our chef. Every year on the staff trip, we get some sort of memoriabilia. Last year, we got shirts bearing another great chef quote: "Less force, more finesse," which is his advice to newbie oyster shuckers. This year we got beer koozies that say "What happens in Maine stays in Maine." And in order to honor that sentiment, I will wrap things up by saying that a great time was had by all, and thankfully no one had to use the established safe word (waffles). And since a reporter from the Boston Globe witnessed part of the adventure, certain events will soon be made public. (Luckily he left right before one of the cooks decided to semi-streak across a field wearing nothing but this thong.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strippers and Sausages

Happy Belated 4th of July! Did you listen to Katy Perry's "Firework" on repeat all day?

 The 4th, or Independence Day as some prefer to call it, is one of those holidays I often feel is overrated. Like New Year's, it never seems like my plans come together in time and I end up drinking joylessly somewhere, concerns about the hangover I'm working toward killing my buzz.

But this year, I had fun! I was with people I like! I ate grilled sausages (3) and watched stripper movies (2)!

The day started off with a viewing of the greatest comedy of the 90s, Showgirls. I own the special collector's edition of the film, thanks to my mom, who is also a huge fan. In addition to the DVD, the box came with:

--a blindfold
--shot glasses
--a giant poster of naked Elizabeth Berkeley

I have probably seen Showgirls 20 times, but it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I notice something new and terrible about it with every viewing. Also excellent: this hilarious mash-up of Showgirls and the Black Swan trailer.

So I commenced my day-drinking (very American) around 1:30 pm, ate sausage #1 and watched 2 hours and 11 minutes of big-budget softcore, peppered with some of the worse dialogue ever written ("You look better than a 10" dick and you know it!")

Then I headed out to Somerville for more drinks and food. And, unbeknownst to me, more sausage. To be fair, had I known that grilled sausages were the planned meal for dinner, I probably would have not eaten a sausage for lunch. But when life hands you multiple sausages, you just eat them.

Sitting outside with some delightful Davis Square residents, sipping basil gimlets, I started to understand what the 4th of July is all about. Unfortunately, the second gimlet erased this epiphany. I think it had something to do with the freedom to spend a Wednesday drinking outside and consuming cased meats and countless tortilla chips.

As it began to get dark, we contemplated going somewhere to watch fireworks, but the sky was already lit up with lightning, so we decided to rely instead on our fond memories of fireworks, since all fireworks basically look the same.

And then I went to see "Magic Mike." For the second time.  

That, my friends, is how I spent my last 4th of July in Boston.