Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crossing boundaries

What a wild and wonderful weekend it was! Counting Friday and Monday, it’s been a non-stop whirlwind of activity, crossing boundaries that had never been crossed before.

Of course the most meaningful was Puck finally meeting my work colleagues at Nearing in Princeton Friday night when we had our annual company picnic and fundraiser. The theme of the event was Country Fair, so we dressed up the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton with a barnyard theme:


Puck took the train out from Stony Brook all the way to Princeton and I picked them up from the train station to bring them back to the office. We met most of my co-workers in Communications, and some of the other people I work with here. Then we drove down to Trenton in Yoshi to attend the party, which had a petting zoo, inflatable slide, games and face painting for kids, plus a mechanical bull that threw Puck twice – this second time causing them to tear their jeans from knee to crotch:

Luckily I had brought a skirt with an elastic waist they could wear, and they changed their shirt to the “Dance Your Ass Off!” shirt to match the blue, but I asked them to put their nametag over the “Ass” since there were children at the party.

Wardrobe malfunction sorted, we proceeded to have some food and place bids at the silent auction (we tried to get tickets to a Mets baseball game, but were quickly outbid):


I also bought $100 worth of raffle tickets, but we didn’t win anything. There are way too many people at Nearing who make a lot more money than I do, so we were pretty doomed from the start. But we had fun hoping anyway, because some of the prizes were pretty cool (iPads, dinner at Nobu, round-trip first class tickets to anywhere in the world, etc.) After all the raffle prizes were drawn, we drove back to Staten Island and crashed at their house.

In the morning we got up early to buy stuff for the Poly Picnic at Prospect Park, an Open Love NY event we’ve been planning together for the past few weeks. We got drinks and ice at the local grocery store, then drove to a Subway near the park to order 40 sandwiches. Then I accidentally locked myself out of Yoshi, so we had to call a locksmith, which made us late for the party. But we managed to have a good time anyway, and it was only the second time we got to use our banner publicly:


I was especially happy to see my friend Stephanie there – we haven’t seen each other for a couple years now (last time was at a Shanghai Mermaid party). She’s married now and living in Brooklyn near the park.

Leon, my vice president, was sporting an Open Love NY shirt of his own design, which has the web site on the back and the symbols “+ > ^” on the front (“and” is greater than “or”). I think it would make more sense if we added “f<3” to indicate “as a function of love.” But he’s the Mensa member, not me. That’s also Puck’s kinky fellow student Danielle over Leon’s shoulder, who came all the way from SBU to attend and turned out to be a delightful person (there were actually three Danielles at the picnic):


It was my first time visiting Prospect Park and it’s a gorgeous place, especially our spot near the Audubon Boathouse on the lake. A pair of newlyweds was getting wedding photos taken at various places, and the best moment of the picnic came when Puck ran up to them and offered them cupcakes, baked by my friend Adele. The irony of poly people giving treats to a (presumably) monogamous couple was not lost on any of us:


As the shadows lengthened, we packed up our stuff and drove to Puck’s grandparents’ place nearby to say hi to them and Puck’s parents before shooting off to Manhattan to pick up Kacey from her workplace on the Upper East Side and drive to Astoria for House PNJ’s “Sketchy Night,” a party for people to come and make art together.

Of significance for me is that it’s the first time I've brought someone from the Papacookie crowd (Kacey) to meet the young queer kinky crowd. And it turned out to be the right party for a successful visit. Whenever people from different communities mingle, I think of the “Dancin’” musical scene in one of my worst guilty-pleasure movies Xanadu, where the bandstand performers merge with the heavy metal band.

During the party I did origami figures while Kacey sketched, Elisa worked at her drafting table and Jet painted on 10-foot wide canvases. Ilan, Dave, Beth and Kiwi also showed up to socialize while Piper baked cookies and played hostess. As we started getting tired, we said goodnight and drove Kacey back home to Brooklyn, then turned around and went home to Manhattan to sleep.

Sunday morning Puck and I had brunch at Petit Abeille on 20th Street, a much larger one than where we took Ben and Dale over Labor Day. We had a cheese board, a baguette with homemade jam, a tasty omlette and blueberry pancakes.


Then we drove back to Staten Island to do laundry and spend some time with the family until they had to go back to SBU. We made the long drive out to Long Island, but I didn’t stay long before a fire alarm drove us outside to the parking lot, so I just went home rather than wait around for it to end.

Monday night was the next Papacookie event, another fundraiser for Kacey’s film project. Since I was coming from work, I couldn’t bring a lot of food, so I got some five-year aged gouda cheese from Holland at my local Wegmanns store, along with some blackberry cobbler candy corn and organic crackers, plus a food-safe piece of slate to serve it. I cut the cheese into little blocks and made a rough pyramid to match the candy corn shape, and served it like so with colored toothpicks:


I was the first guest to arrive since I was only 15 minutes late (which is early by New York standards) so I had time to set up my dish. I chatted with Mary, one of Kacey’s roommates, who is leaving in November to vagabond indefinitely in Europe with a friend. I also bid on a tour of Coney Island and a visit to the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog stand there, a place I’ve always wanted to go after seeing it on countless hot dog shows I’ve seen over the years. While $100 doesn’t get you to first base at Nearing’s auctions, for the Papacookie crowd of minstrels, artists and bohemians, that’s a lot of money. I didn’t stay until the end to see if I’d won, but I doubt anyone outbid me for that prize.

The guitarist Plus Aziz who played at my last visit was back, this time with a backup singer and a percussionist playing a hand drum and shakers on his feet. They did a set of four wonderful songs and that was all we had time for in the program because we got started so late.


So I’m also currently tearing through The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, which I’m enjoying immensely, but they are so light and short compared to the Kushiel’s Legacy books. I wish they would last longer. Still, there’s plenty other books on my shelves that need to be read.