Saturday, May 12, 2007

10 Days at the Homestead

First of all, props to to Fran for letting me use her pictures, ones you have already seen if you've read her Rochester entry in her blog (except for the one of the infamous Honeoye Falls, above).

I love the little village of Honeoye Falls, NY, the town I spent a good chunk of my growin' up years back in the 80s. It is about 20 minutes south of Rochester, and even though it has been built up a bit over the years, the village has been able to stay mostly intact, and keep it's Norman Rockwellian charm. Mom and Dad built a home in the village a few years back, and even though it wasn't the house I grew up in, I still feel like I'm at home every time I go back.

I usually only get to go home at Christmas, so when Fran told me her show was gonna hit Rochester this spring, we both thought it would be a chance to see each other and enjoy the loveliness of the Greater Rochester area. My mom came up with the fabulous idea of having both Fran and I stay with them, and even though I gave Fran the awesome bed in the guest room, and I slept on the air mattress in the basement (damn, I wish I had a picture of my little cubby), it is always nice to stay at Kasa de Kissack (heh).

But first! I got to town the weekend before Fran arrived, and it gave me a chance to drive the two hours east to visit my dear friend Karla, her lovely husband Wes, and see their doggies, Max and Grace. They live in a little cabin about an hour east of Syracuse, out in the boonies. Serious boonies, people. Wild turkeys and deer are common sights here. I was woken up in the morning to the sound of a woodpecker drilling holes in a near-by tree.

I had met the husband (Wes), I had met Max, but this was my first meeting of Grace. She is a four year old Great Dane/St. Bernard mix. A huge horse of a dog. I was told to bring old clothes that I didn't mind getting slobber on, and was ushered into the guest bedroom to change before I met the big dog. As soon as I came out, I was handed a towel, "Trust me, you'll need this" and Grace was set free. She came bounding towards me like a long lost friend, and immediately slimed me. Grace has what Karla and Wes call 'slingers'. Long strings of saliva that hang off her jowls, and when she puts her head on her lap, or on the table (an easy feat for her), leaves a trail of slime behind her. And watch out when she shakes her head, because this is when the 'slingers' fly. Karla had told me stories of Grace's saliva, but it is something that needs to be seen to be believed. Remember 'Turner and Hooch'? Like that, but right there in your lap.

It was so nice to finally hang out at Karla's home, and we spent an amazing Sunday afternoon sitting on the deck, grilling some awesome chicken, and getting my first sunburn of the year. The stupidest, worse-than-farmer's tan sunburn. I got burned from wrist to 2/3 up my forearm, and it is now starting to peel. Lovely. But I had a great time out in the middle of nowhere with my friends, drinking wine and eating good food and playing with the giant doggies. Karla, you are a great host.

I got in the car to drive home. Driving is the one thing I really miss about living here in New York. I mean the long stretch driving, not city driving. I got some good driving in while home. Mom and Dad let me use the Subaru, a great car to drive. In the past, Mom and Dad wouldn't let me drive the 'new' car, relegated to the older car, probably because of my short history of car crashes. But apparently, I have gone from the daughter who wrecks cars, to the daughter whose life is worth saving (that's a joke Mom and Dad).

I went to bed early Sunday night, because I needed to get up early to go pick up Fran at the Auditorium Theater. A theater that everyone hates, by the way. We were close to the house on Edmonds St., where I spent a lot of time living while dating one of my dearest friends, Don Bush. I decided to do a drive by to show Fran my old stomping grounds, and she had the brilliant idea of waking up Don. It was around 9:30 in the morning, and Don works nights tending bar, and regularly stays up until four or five in the morning. Needless to say, he was a little cranky and sleepy, but he made some coffee and set up some chairs in the driveway so we could all sit and chat and enjoy the lovely morning weather. This is a picture of me and Morning Don.
Monday and Tuesday was basically hanging out with Fran and my parents. Fran had to work like a mad woman, and I enjoyed having a few days to just be. I watched some baseball with Dad and chatted with Mom. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great, but I can enjoy the rainy stuff as well as the sunny stuff.

Wednesday was The Eye Exam. Dad has examined the eyes of most of my friends and boyfriends over the years. I think he really likes it, and he is always very generous with his time, teaching them stuff they never knew about their eyes. And everyone at the office was charming and funny as usual.

We were also supposed to catch a Red Wings game on Wednesday, but it was rainy and cold, so we improvised. Fran had never seen the wonder of Wegmans, one of the top three tourist destinations in Rochester (no joke, everyone loves this supermarket, and I miss it terribly). So we got in the car and drove out to the biggest, baddest Weggies, in Pittsford. They had even more there than I had remembered. The produce! The beauty products! The bakery! (which carries my most favorite bread ever, San Francisco style sourdough.. yummy). We also ate at a great restaurant next door called Tastings, and then we went over to Shear Ego salon and got our eyebrows waxed. Finally, after all these years, my eyebrows match. My wax lady was funny and she did a great job while telling me she had just learned how to do a Brazilian wax (eeek!). I chose not to see if she knew what she was doing in that area, yo.

On the way home we took a quick detour to my old high school. The place was swarming with kids as classes had just ended for the day, and us two old broads walked around freely. That place is so much smaller than I remember. The hallway where my locker was always seemed so long, but it really is just a quick walk. Funny. This is me at my old locker, feeling all nostalgic.

That evening I went over to Heather's home for dinner. Heather, my awesome roommate at Fredonia, now living with her family in the village I grew up in, which I think is cool. We played with her twin girls Jada and Kara, who are funny and charming gals (just like their momma), and then she made yummy meatloaf and mac 'n' cheese for dinner. Her husband Bob was also at the table, and I enjoyed eating and talking with everyone. Then it was time to put the girls to bed, and Heather invited me into the bed and she read us girls a couple of bedtime stories. It's always nice to visit Heather, she's good people.

Wednesday was also Fran's first experience at the busiest Honeoye Falls tavern, Cosmo's. Back in the day it was called TJ's Lounge, and it has changed a bit since I was 21, but it has cheap cocktails, a nice bartender, and Fran's favorite bar time killer, MegaTouch. I have played this game in several cities with Fran, and we always have a good time. Her skill at the music trivia is unmatched, and she got her all time high score, 54,526,852!! This game is a pure money sucker, and we emptied our wallets of ones and quarters as we closed the bar.

Thursday was Dinosaur BBQ. Those of you from Rochester and Syracuse know this place well. We had a booth overlooking the muddy Genessee River and filled our bellies with chicken and ribs. Then Fran had conspired with the sound guys to let me sit in their booth and watch Spamalot, a much better seat than having to sit in those terrible seats at the Aud. The show is based on my all-time favorite Monty Python Movie, The Holy Grail, and I laughed through the whole thing. It's a great show if you love Python's humor.

After the show Fran and I high-tailed it over to meet Don at his bar, and we drank ourselves silly with him and his friend Lynelle. As a rule, I don't do shots anymore. My old self can't handle the repercussions anymore, but Don has invented one called Sunday Morning, which tastes like a sugared grapefruit, and goes down easy. I was sure I would be sorry in the morning. After hanging out at Acme Bar for most of the evening, we went across the street to the Avenue Pub, a chill gay bar, for last call, and spent some more money on their MegaTouch game. Luckily, Don outfitted an empty room in his home with a place for us to sleep, and we stumbled back and crashed for the night. It's always fun to hang out with Don. He's the man. Here's Don playing us the ever popular 'Huevos'.

Waking up on Friday was better than expected. Just a little woozy feeling instead of full on hangover, thank god! After rousing Don and saying our goodbye's, we got in the car to head back to HF for Fran's follow-up eye exam. As we got off the expressway Dad called and implored us to get to the office since it was closed and he wanted to go home. Her new glasses were ready, and Dad took pictures of her retina's. I love the retina camera, it's always so cool to see those pictures. And then Dad took us to lunch at Critic's Family Restaurant, the local diner. We had breakfast, he had the Friday fish fry. I always forget about the Friday fish fry.

We had passed a church rummage sale on the way to Dad's, so after lunch we went back to check it out. It was called a Super Sale, and there certainly was a lot of stuff, but I'm thinking 'Super' was a little misleading. But I love a bargain, and I found a couple of t-shirts for $1 each.

Friday night was another night at Cosmo's, only this time it was finally time for Deanna and Fran to meet. Two of my favorite people in the whole wide world. After all this time, they had never met! That's crazy. I met Deanna at the bar before Fran got there, and Todd, a guy I had graduated high school with, was sitting at the bar with his wife. It was interesting hearing his stories about people we had gone to school with, and Deanna and I finally found out what group everyone else in school had put us in, a question that we had never been able to figure out the answer to. Todd informed us that we were the Good Girls. Which is hilarious and so obvious, I can't believe we hadn't figured it out ourselves.

Fran arrived, and my two friends hugged and chatted and I am so happy that these two finally have a glimpse at what the other is like. All my people are so great, it is important to me that they know each other. I want everyone to love each other as much as I love them! So far, so good. Unfortunately, Todd stuck around a little too long, and monopolized the conversation, and Fran and Deanna and I didn't get to really talk as much as I would have liked, but I think it was a successful meeting anyway.

Saturday Karla was supposed to come to town and catch the Spamalot matinee and join us for a between show meal. She never made it due to some kind of evil stomach bug. Poor Karla! I went over to meet Don at his other job, working at the gay porn store. Funny stuff. I walked over to get Fran, swung back and got Don, and we went out for mexican food at Selena's. Their mole sauce is hard to beat. YUM. After the food and some goodbye's, I dropped Fran back at the theater, and I took my opportunity of being alone and having a car and drove around while listening to the Yankees/Red Sox game that Rhonda just happened to be attending (jealous). I drove all over, revisiting all the places we used to go, and the places I used to live, and had a really nice afternoon, even if it was cold and rainy (again).

Sunday I met Deanna at her sweet little home. On the way there, I passed the Presbyterian church and wondered what was going on, the place was swamped with cars and people were everywhere. Then it dawned on me, church was going on at church! Sometimes I am so stupid.

I got to Deanna's and we went for a walk on the canal trail into Pittsford and had lunch at Aladdin's. I ordered the falafel salad, as usual. We walked back and then spent a little time sitting on the driveway drinking Fresca's and chatting. As is usual when I get to spend time with a friend I never get to see, just hanging out and catching up and talking about all the little stuff is enormously satisfying. I have the best friends (have I said this before?).

I had a late flight home on Monday, so I went down to Dad's office and had lunch with him and Jane and my brother, Zach, at Critic's. I finally got to just hang with my brother. He's so funny. When will you come and visit again, Zach? I was nervous about flying, as always, but a relaxing lunch helped.

The flight back to NYC was quick (jetBlue is so great for a nervous flier like me, the TVs make it all better), and I got a funny, new cabbie to take me home. We were both sketchy on how to get to Brooklyn (I am terrible about directions from JFK after all this time), and he was nice enough to knock ten dollars off my fare because we did such a poor job of navigating our way.

I was so darned happy to be back in Brooklyn. But I had such a good time in Rochester. It really is a nice place to live, and there is a part of me that misses the small town life I had there. But I was walking around my neighborhood today, and I really, really love it here. Maybe one day I will be able to have both. My city and my small town. Hmm, sounds like a good long-term goal...

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