Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Graduation days

It doesn't feel much like it, but I'm at the end of a six-day vacation weekend tonight - I took the last three days of last week off to attend the graduations of Natalia and Puck.

Tuesday night I brought a birthday cake to Katie M's apartment for our women's group meeting - it's the first time I've been there, and it will be the last since she's moving out of there this week. We had a nice group turnout, including two new members. I actually had a full 27 candles on her tiny cake, plus two more for the big 2 and 7 candles - it took about four tries for her to blow them all out.

Wednesday I worked a little in the morning, getting people used to the idea that I wasn't actually working (I don't take many vacation days, so there's an adjustment period) and then headed up to the Beacon Theater with a bouquet of flowers for Natalia's graduation from Columbia University's School of Social Work, where she received her MSW degree.

Afterwards, Kat, Natalia, Melissa, Matt and I went to have an early dinner at Sarabeth's West, a lovely little seafood place near Papacookie on the Upper West Side. I had the prix fixe lobster special, which was a spicy spaghetti served with shrimp and lobster, a Caesar salad and a chocolate tart for dessert.

Thursday I took the train out to Nearing and worked for about an hour before driving Yoshi out to Stony Brook University for possibly the last time (unless Puck wants to take me to a homecoming, but somehow I doubt that will happen). We had lunch at a charming cafe in Port Jefferson, then went back to Cat Mansion to pack some boxes for Puck's move to Boston, where they will be spending the summer at an internship.

In the evening Puck dressed in the cap and gown of a college graduate, adding Phi Beta Kappa cords to signify their membership in that august honor society, and a plastic Dalek adorning their mortarboard for the honors convocation. They received their gold academic stole to signify their summa cum laude status for highest academic honors.

After the ceremony we went to Carrabba's for a late dinner, where we enjoyed the traditional Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream they fly in from Texas every day on a hot apple tart and also with candied pecans.

The next morning we woke up early to attend the Linguistics ceremony with Puck's parents, grandmother, sister Ella and niece Maya. After that, we went to the football stadium for the full graduating class of over 5,000 students. As I sat in the stands, I recalled the exciting finish of one of the first SBU football games I attended versus Brown University ("SBU football, Thriller and Rosh Hashanah" - September 22, 2009). Luckily, the rain held off until after the ceremonies were done, but then it came down like cats and dogs!

We ended up going to a seafood joint called The Steam Room for lunch, a casual place with a view of Long Island Sound at the ferry terminal. I rode that ferry when I visited for Humans vs. Zombies on SBU campus back in 2010 ("HvZ at SBU" - October 18, 2010), one of our more memorable college visits that are now a thing of the past. 

I left after lunch to make my way back to Princeton to drop off Yoshi and take the train home, but since it was early rush hour on a holiday Friday, it took five hours to get there, and then I had to walk a half-hour from Nearing to the train station, so I didn't actually get home until after 11 pm. That was a really long day, but it was nice to be a part of Puck's important rite of passage in a place that has been the scene for a lot of our ups and downs, including our transition into frubbles ("Fourth anniversary" - October 7, 2012).

Saturday I spent the whole day recovering from all the traveling, then met up with Beth to see Kacey and Joan's play, "The Tragedy of Dandelion" that included an talkback afterward. I didn't realize I had met the playwright, Duncan, at the PIT once - he's a good friend of Liz's. Joan's husband Bruce was there doing tech and lighting, and Chelsea showed up too, so we sat together in the front row, and my OLNY competition director/friend Melissa appeared late and sat next to Beth. Revay, a musician I met at the Whimsy party, opened the play, which was very good - the first half was excellent, while the second half was a little less so. But it was a very accomplished play and enjoyable overall, and in fact I'm going to try and see it again with other people before it closes on June 8.

Sunday was Katie M's birthday brunch where I got to meet many of her friends whom she talks about but I've never met - Jasmine, Kiersten, Gabe, and her new roommate Amy. We had brunch at Gracie's Corner and then we went up to the rooftop of Katie's old apartment building, Post Toscano, which boasts sweeping views of Queens and the Upper East Side.

Sunday evening I met up with my friend Angel to attend a queer women's "Meet Your First Kiss" party at the Delancey. We had dinner at Yunnan Kitchen around the corner from the bar, and one of Angel's friends Ronni joined us late. We met up with two more friends, Monica and Elisha at the party. Even though it was great catching up with Angel and her friends are nice, this was so not my thing so I didn't stay very long. It was fun watching Angel make out on camera with a woman she met on the dance floor at the party. There was also a kissing contest and a kissing booth ($3 a kiss) which obviously I didn't partake in.

Anyhoo, I had another quiet day today of laundry and cleaning before going out in the late afternoon to Battery Park City to meet up with Kacey and Becker for dinner at Shake Shack and to watch the next X-Men movie. I was a little disappointed in the movie, but it was lovely to see my friends and stroll outside in the park (I saw Kacey briefly at the Saturday night play, but she was working of course). 

You know what's interesting about this week? I think I've met more people and added more Facebook friends than I can ever remember before in a six-day period. Sometimes I should stretch myself, but I'll always snap back to my introverted form eventually.