Friday, May 30, 2014

From a peaceful Organic Farm out East to the Magical Spectacle of Walt Disney World!

5/30/14 06:57

Last Monday we flew back from Orlando.  Ever get nervous with the slightest turbulence?  I was like that on the way back to Long Island, and there was no reason for the nerves - the flight was fairly smooth.  We spent a total of four days at the Disney Parks.  Left last Thursday on a 6:15 flight from Islip.  It was the first time flying for the whole family in about ten years.  Joe was nervous as well as Bella who sat next to me on both legs since I have more experience flying.  The time together at Disney was a graduation gift for Emma Tess who is graduating from high school, as well as Ali and I celebrating our twentieth anniversary.  I took the week off from work since it was…time to take a week off.  The first day of vacation was volunteering almost a full day out at Quill Hill Farm in Amagansett where the stoic poet and noble farmer, Scott Chaskey warmly welcomed us.  The organic farm is on the Southern fork on Long Island.  It was a beautiful day, a good gust of wind as I worked side to side with female graduate students from Stony Brook.  After a few hours my left knee begged for mercy, but I still huffed it out, listened and partook in the folk song the young organic farmers were singing - as we pushed our fingers through the soil and planted the seedlings.  The following day I was back at the Sharing Garden with Iman and a student from Stony Brook.  We planted seedlings, added mulch, and I learned some basic yoga poses which I have been curious about.  In a little while I will head back down to the garden and work for an hour or so before starting my real work…

Before I wrap this up I have to share some of the experiences at Disney.  We stayed in a suite at the Art of Animation Resort.  There was a large pool in the center which had a good crowd, you can hear music playing under the water and I was struck by the various sizes and shapes of the parents and children who could care less.  We were half asleep as we swam.  And what an easy transition from the airport to the resort, don’t worry about the bags – they get from the airport to your room.  Walt Disney World is a good place to get a perspective on what sort of tattoos strangers will imprint into their flesh for eternity.  Super heroes, Superman crests, dragons and Mickey’s ears which were oval shaped and not centered.  Why?  The crazed eyes especially on the mothers who use their strollers like tanks as they zip through the pockets of people who may be strolling and taking it too slow since there is some place these mothers have to be at…character signing?  Speed pass?  The bathroom?  Who knows and who cares just get out of the way or you will be roadside casualty.  I fell into the role of the quiet father who follows the orders his wife commands at Disney, you know, the yes dear whatever you’d like to do dear.  And I am perfectly fine with this role.  I don’t need to think.  My wife loves Disney…and so do I…but she knows what she wants like the mothers with the strollers.  Got to see the Belle show, it starts in five minutes and we are here and there it is.  We need to get past the Muppets area, the big hat and past the Star Wars and then we can make it.  With the new apps Disney has, you can know in advance what the lines are like for the rides.   The apps are great but were a little slow.  We did not make it to Animal Kingdom, darn we did not do the rapids or the Everest roller coaster, but Emma and I did take the rocknroll roller coaster and again it scared the shit out of me.  There is the countdown, three to one and I was slammed into the back of my seat roaring down the tracks at 60 miles an hour and directly into a loop…and more loops and dives.  It was a blast.  Amanda and Emma and I rode the Tower of Terror. Amanda screamed in my air, clutched my arm, digging her nails into my flesh as we dropped stories in pitch dark.  It was a scary and more intense than I recalled.  We rode the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Roller Coaster which was less severe and yet fun.  Also last Friday Magic Kingdom was open 24 hours which is a rare event.  Ali and Amanda and Emma and Joe stayed out late…got back at 03:30…and we started out late on Saturday.  Since we stayed in a resort, well this was an economy one, we were able to take the shuttle buses which make life easier, we could go to the park, bask in the heat, get exhausted and go back to the suite and take a nap.  The suite slept all of us and had two full bathrooms.  It was a good size.  We had the meal plan and again this made life easier, we had good meals and snacks and refillable cups for the resort.  After four days at Disney, we woke up, finished packing and slowly waited in the lobby for the bus back to Orlando International.  We did it and we survived and what was most impressive we did not have to use our credit card.  We actually saved money each week for this trip which is a responsible act for us – the credit card was our choice in the past…with the goal: eventually we’d pay it off…slowly and painful…but not this time.  The primary reason, we didn’t have little ones who wanted everything.  Still, while riding the shuttle bus after visiting Magic Kingdom, I looked at the young families and felt the longing.  Not missing folding the strollers which are huge.  And these days, the seats are side to side instead of front and back.  Not missing the cries or the exhausted and dazed eyes who may look up at you and ask…when are we leaving and you’d think we just spent $350 to walk in here and you want to leave?  What?!  So, you try distractions.  Look at the castle and the fireworks and listen to the music…and you wrestle with this banter within your mind; is this really for the kids or are am I trying to escape from the real world and discover the magic I abandoned decades ago…the distraction…wishes do come true; well only at Walt Disney World.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Raising dollars for the American Cancer Society

May 17, 2014 19:20

This morning I was up early.  I washed the dishes and cleaned and mopped the floors downstairs, all before Ali came downstairs.  I promised her last night I’d take care of the dishes since she was exhausted putting together a yard sale we had today.  All of the money will be donated to The American cancer society.  I donated some ties and baseballs to the sale, in fact a signed John McCain which I can’t sell on EBay or even the yard sale.  I can understand, the senator lost the election and seems bitter, but his signature has to be worth…$20?  Last week we had an art auction at our church; this was also for the American Cancer Society.   Eric, my talented brother-in-law played his guitar and sang.  I donated some paintings and printed poems which I wrote…none were purchased.  Just as well, since Ali said she wanted to keep one of my poems, not that she felt the same for my paintings.  I can see why.  One of the paintings was bizarre.  All of the money is part of the Relay for Life for American Cancer Society which is an all-night event.  It will take place in a few weeks at JFK Middle School.   We have a team, The Gordon Gang and have met our goal to raise $2,000.  Ali would like to make it $2,500.  If you’d like to donate to the team, send me an email or a message on Facebook, Twitter or send me a text and I’ll send a link. 

A few thoughts on the Sharing Garden; watching the plants rise from the dark soil, the stiff potato leaves bask in the sun and after the heavy rains from last night… life radiates in the green.  Last week we had a few hands in the garden as I was picking up Amanda in Boston.  Today, Jeff and I were out there weeding and pulling up the last of the plastic patch, weed block and laying down the mulch.  His daughters helped and we called it a day after a couple of hours.  I can say, at this point, we have an organic garden.

This week I am on vacation.  I’m looking towards working in our yard, and the Sharing Garden as well as assisting at a real organic farm out East on Monday.  I’m looking forward to not checking work emails. I want to engage in the edits of my completed novel which I've been procrastinating.  I may paint and open one of the books I have collected over the years.  I may not and just…be…present…in the moment I have been blessed with.

It's 66 degrees, the birds are singing and calling it a day as I wrap this up at 20:00...

Thank you for reading this.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bill Weld, former MASS. Gov flies on Pen Air from Islip

5/5/14 Woburn, MA 21:37

This morning I flew to Logan from Islip.  I wrote about the new airlines on a previous blog and can say with certainty there are more passengers flying with this airline.  Even a former governor of Massachusetts is flying Pen Air from Long Island to Logan.  It’s true.  After I pass through security I’m putting on my belt and tying my shoes. I notice Bill Weld, the governor who was in front of me in the security line, and there he was getting his belt back on after he passed through.  Now, I should have said something there, but I was not sure if it was him.  It could have been an Irishman on a trip.  I let it go.  I bought water and walked to the gate.  There was Bill in front of me and after a quick check on the Google, I walked over and introduced myself.  This is a republican who I wrote a letter to the editor at Newsday.  I thought he’d be a great governor for New York and was willing (2005) to go out and knock on some doors.  Up in the clouds he sat in a different row and I thought of what else I can say.  We land.  The stewardess tells me; our flight was the first of 6 that day for her.  Next was Plattsburgh.  Bill said as he leaned down to avoid hitting his head on the ceiling, “Give my regards to Plattsburgh, that’s God’s country.”  The stewardess looked confused and I told her as he walked down the narrow metal stair case, he’s the former governor of Massachusetts.  “I thought he looked familiar.”  I approached him and he looked me dead in the eye.  Are you still writing books?  “I’m working on a memoir, but the agents feel it’s too didactic.”  Really?  I’m curious.  He said he’s out of politics and working 12 hour days and doesn’t have the time to write.  We exchanged cards and went our ways and I was thinking as he passed through the terminal in Boston, how come no one recognizes this man? We can all fade away into anonymous worlds… if we let the details blur from pale memories.

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