Sunday, March 8, 2015


Song of the Day: Lapsley, Falling Short

Fun Fact: Juneau, Alaska, is larger than Rhode Island.

After experiencing the consequences of last semester's schedule, I decided it would be a good idea to plan a weekend "away" before Kenz got back into school for the spring semester. If she was going to be spending upward of eighty hours per week in the studio, I figured I'd try and soak up as much "together time" as I could before it began. We booked a hotel room in NYC, contacted a few friends, purchased some theatre tickets, secured a pet-sitter, and made the three hour drive down I-95. 

Friday night was spent catching up with my cousin and her boyfriend over some dinner. The last time we saw her, it was in London; this time, we were in her city. We got to meet her boyfriend (he's been granted my approval - not that it's needed) over tappas, right around the corner from the show we'd be seeing. 

Our Providence friend, Jasmine, who'd moved to NYC a few months prior, met up with us for the play as well. We had tickets to Sleep No More, the production put on by Punchdrunk, the company responsible for The Drowned Man - you know, that play Kenz and I loved wherein the participants wore masks and walked around for three hours (that garnered a mixed response from readers and visitors). Sleep No More was similar to Drowned Man in that we all wore masks, had free reign of the (albeit smaller) venue, and followed cast members throughout the warehouse, however this production is loosely based on Hamlet so there was a bit more of a structured story to experience.

Blurry pictures on a cold night.
We'd all grown tired by the end of the show and wound up saying our goodbyes right outside the venue rather than going out for a drink. There may have been little snow on the island, but it was much colder than we'd expected (in the teens; no one likes teens - especially when it comes to Fahrenheit). Everyone scurried away, bundled up and ready for bed.

Jasmine came by the hotel room on Saturday morning to walk with us to brunch. We were meeting with some old camp friends of mine. Rob, Russell, and Michael are all decades-long Pinnacle alumni; the three of them were a generation behind me, but we spent the better part of fifteen summers together. They are, essentially, the little brothers I never had, but with none of the sibling rivalry junk.

Just a casual 15 degree, 15 minute stroll. 

Michael, Russell, Rob, Jasmine, and Kenz

I had warned Kenz and Jasmine that, once we sat down with the group, the conversation would likely descend into old camp stories. It took less than three minutes for that to happen. It was glorious. We spent the better part of an hour and a half catching up on old and new times as if a day hadn't passed. Kenz and Jasmine were troopers for enduring it.

Michael claims to always wear a Pinnacle shirt when he sees camp friends. 

The three of them are doing well: Michael is a big time corporate lawyer, Russell works for Yelp, and Rob is putting the final touches on his first solo album (his previous band was a favorite of Kenz and mine - we lucked out by getting them to play our wedding just a few months before they disbanded). They all commented that it took a lot to get them down to Manhattan on such a cold morning. I was grateful they did.

Jasmine came back to the hotel with us, but once it was clear that Kenz had her afternoon sorted out, she left, planning on meeting up with us in the early evening.

She was ready to read the paper and take a nap. 
We eventually made it back out to visit the Guggenheim. Kenz was especially excited to see the Kawara exhibit and, as her luck would have it, we were one day early. Yup. We had to simply peer over the handrails and watch the curators setting up the exhibit. Despite the disappointment, we still got to take in some neat art and enjoy the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

I stood outside in the freezing cold for way too long for a crepe from that food truck on the right.

Jasmine arrived, too cool for school, and clowned the art with me as Kenz immersed herself in every single placard.  

It being Saturday and our first trip to NYC, Kenz and I made sure to hit a second show. We brought Jasmine along to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, wherein John Cameron Mitchell was reprising his role as Hedwig (he wrote the book for the play). I wasn't entirely sure I'd enjoy the show but quickly found out that my expectations were wildly incorrect. It's exceptional; we all fully recommend it.


We finished the trip by acting like true New Yorkers: brunch. It was high time for us to get up with perennial blog appearer, Nye, and his girlfriend Tanya. It being our first time meeting her, we were sure to give Tanya the 20-questions treatment. She passed inspection as well.  

All in all, it was a successful whirlwind of a weekend. There are many more folks to visit in the city, so I imagine we'll return once the weather warms up a bit.


As for the rest of the month, there were really only two notable events: Kenz had surgery on her wrist and we got 32" of snow. Yup. Thirty-two inches. 

If you'll remember last month's post, I'd mentioned that the first blizzard was an endearing event - one that felt like an induction to the New England winters, complete with a regionally specific block party - that lost some of its romance by the end of the first weekend. After all, we needed to get back to work, which required heavy amounts of snow shoveling, ice negotiation, and layered clothing.

Well, that was a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday blizzard, wherein we saw 10 inches of snow. The following Sunday and Monday we saw another 10". The Sunday and Monday after that? Another 10". The city ran out of places to put the snow. I ran out of places as well. There's a pile of snow in our back yard that, at one point, was taller than I am. Even though I'm teaching Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes, I'd gone three weeks into the semester without having a single Monday class. The students weren't fussed. 

Apollo checks out the second snowstorm. 

I was still enamored with photographing what would become a less...novel sight.

Piles of plowed snow beside the faculty parking lot. 

Despite the weather, Kenz's surgery moved ahead. Many of you know that her wrist had gone from bad to worse over the course of her final semester at Camberwell and first semester at RISD. I'll spare you the details, but, essentially, the doctor had to open her tendon sheath for the tendons to be able to move around; they'd been bunched up in one area of her wrist, causing sometimes-crippling pain. The surgery went well, everything is fine now (still recovering), but it wasn't without a weekend of heavy medication and concern about the recovery timeline. 

Pre-surgery supper.

That's a complementary ginger ale in the jacket pocket (and a cameo of her table in the back of the car!). 

She spent that entire first weekend laid up in bed.

Bruce Bruce was inspired. 

Emily and Pauline, fantastic friends, sent a care package! 

Kenz's surgery: Friday. Ten more inches: Sunday.

Shoveling snow saps the energy.

I'd say that nine out of every ten pictures of snow include yard furniture, no?

The dogs are still getting used to their booties.

Providence had to bring out the big guns.

By mid-month, it was time to take some accumulation photos with people for scale.

My neighbor's front yard. He said he was going to reseed the grass, but that it's not going to melt till June.

Our little walkway.

Kenz even made it out of the house to get a breath of fresh air.

Bruce Bruce was uninterested.

After a week of putting Kenz's hair in buns myself, it was time to wash it.

The washing wasn't so bad. The brushing afterward? That wasn't nearly as pleasant - for either of us.

I wonder who the New England rookie is?

After a while, the dogs got used to the snow...

...even to the point wherein they'd play in it, burying their snouts and sniffing around.

Kenz eventually got her stitches out but was told not to do anything stressful with the hand for 6-8 weeks.

Valentine's weekend saw the last "big" snow of the month (we've had several 4-8 inch "showers" since then). I made the mistake of going to the grocery store (a) while the snow was falling and (b) on Valentine's Day. It was my own fault that the trip, which usually takes twenty minutes, wound up taking over an hour. And that doesn't include negotiating the parking lot.

"At least it's pretty"

I spent most of the month worried that the roof of the shed would collapse. 

That used to be a grill.

Dog, cat, dog.

It's kinda crazy to be in a situation where one has to shovel the snow just so the dogs can walk around in the back yard.

There's that pile of snow - before I added the final touches to it.

Me and my icicle 

Kenz, partially recovered, found that she could play video games (and search for more sloth pictures on the Internet).

Now that it appears the worst is over, life has begun to return to normal. There are still no signs of spring outside, but our day-to-day resembles the mid-semester slog.

Rhode Island has a love affair with Dunkin'.

I spend my days at the "office"

Kenz spends her in the studio

The pets wait patiently for their food

And, from time to time, we get to sit back and enjoy the view. 

That's it for this month. Thanks for reading. Check back at the end of March for another update.