Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The great outdoors

October has always been my favorite time of the year, and not just for the aforementioned reasons concerning love. It's also the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the smell of autumn, when the temperatures drop and there's still a decent amount of sunshine to light the way. So this autumn, since my energies aren't being sapped by working, I've been out every weekend on adventures with my loved ones.

On the 18th Puck and Natalia met up with Chris at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, the first time I've been since 2012. We didn't have very long to spend there, and it rained heavily for about an hour during the day but the weather was lovely when the sun came out. We had hot cider and turkey legs and it seemed like we were constantly finding new foods to try, like funnel cake sticks and crepes stuffed with pears and cheese.

My most interesting find was at a medieval bookstore where I found a large pewter seal of a unicorn, something I've never seen before. It was a unique piece to add to my growing collection of seals that I use for my Free Love Letter project.

On Tuesday of that week we had a women's group meeting at Natalia's place. I went to meet up with a new friend, Chrissy, whom I met at the Pride March this summer (she carried my "Marriage is just one form of family" sign) at the Argo Tea before heading to the meeting. On the ride up we happened to be riding in the same car as my other friend Lauren, who was also attending the group for the first time. Lauren only realized we were there as we were leaving the train.

I first met Lauren in person at the 2012 Stony Brook LGBTA drag show but we actually have a much more interesting first meeting story. When I marched in SlutWalk back in 2011 I snapped this photo of her sign (below), which caught the top of her head. Puck's friend Em recognized her and introduced us online through my posting of the photo on Facebook.

On Thursday that week I attended a free tasting of Macallan Scotch Whiskey that was quite an interesting production. They offered samples of their 10-, 12-, 15- and 18-year aged Scotches, along with orange chocolate truffles. In the blind nose test, I picked out the 18-year as my favorite, so clearly I have expensive taste! Afterward I met up with Kacey and Becker at TSMC to watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1.

On Friday Katie M came over after work and we watched Heroes until Puck joined us and we all went down to the PIT to watch Josh perform as Riff Raff in the Rocky Whore-er PIT-ure Show. Katie's friend and my new acquaintance Amelia played Janet. And I just learned that Victoria is dating the actor who played Rocky, but I can't remember his name. It was Puck's second time to see RHPS but I think they enjoyed it a little more than when we saw it at Wicked Faire in 2012. Aside from knowing people in the cast, this "shadow cast" was done in real-time without stopping the film for skits. However, it wasn't as much fun as years past without Liz present, because she actually knows some of the audience lines.

Saturday I went back to Staten Island with Puck to get Yoshi while leaving Katie to fend for herself for the day at TSMC. Sunday morning Katie and I drove out to Springwood, the family home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a lovely spot I visited back in 2006. We took a walk down the trail toward the Hudson River but didn't make it too far before we had to turn back to make our tour time for the house. There was one beautiful moment when the wind swirled up, like an orchestra tuning up before a concert, and blew leaves into the crisp autumn air.

After touring the house and taking in the gorgeous view from the rear balcony, we took a quick tour through the museum, but we could only stay long enough to realize that we had to come back again someday to really take it all in, as Katie had to get back to the city for a prior engagement.

On Monday I attended the opening night of the play that Liz is stage managing called "Veritas," based on the true story of homosexual students at Harvard in the 1920s.  Josh and Victoria also came and it was quite a production. The cast members served as hosts, seating groups of the audience and complimentary drinks were offered (although I can't remember when I've had a more undrinkable wine). The first part of the play was a little hard to follow (partly because we were seated in a far corner) but the second and third parts were very powerful and very crisply choreographed with lights and movement. Liz even got to make a brief, non-speaking appearance as the future wife of one of the cast. The play seems to come off like Orwellian satire, but in truth it shows us that even though we've come a long way, we continue to damage and destroy lives because they don't conform to our conventional ideas.

Last Saturday was Samhain, pagan new year, and I celebrated alone as I always do. It's one of the strongest reminders of being in Tara's family that I left in 2009 that I continue to celebrate my beliefs this particular way. I had found a new amulet at the Ren Faire, a tree icon that I want to symbolize growth and the growing connectedness with the people closest to me. 

In the evening I went to the Met as I did last year and thankfully this year they didn't have any kiddie art stations set up so it was much quieter, just the way I like it. I found a striking sculpture (below) in the modern art collection entitled "Lilith" (appropriate for the sabbat) and my usual spaces were delightfully empty, making for some wonderful photos.