Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back to the Meadow

So I had slightly better luck with my camera this visit to East Meadow to see Jess and Marc .
After only two tries managed to get this shot of the two of them. It's not quite in focus, I fear, but it still gives you a nice sense of their collective and respective energies.

I arrived around 1pm, and we headed off to Flo's Luncheonette, a great sandwich shop that was new to all three of us (right, guys?) but undoubtedly an old Summer tradition for lots of folks we saw there. It was fun for me to be in a town that looked an awful lot like my hometown, seeing people who looked a lot like folks I grew up with... but when they spoke, I knew I was not in Indiana anymore.

After lunch we headed further east on the island to go to a wine-tasting. Believe it or not, the Long Island landscape reminded me of the mid-west too (and in my book, that's good thing, before anyone gets huffy), though the trees are scrubbier, with more evergreens, and, get this, the land is actually flatter, at least the part I saw on Sunday. This is a giant sandbar after all. We were also in wine country, so I imagine much has been done to level the ground. This day trip gave me a chance to soak up some sky (saw one hawk, two rabbits, and one possible oriole), and it was made all the better not only be the company, but by the soundtrack. Since Jess, Marc, and I are close in age, we grew up listening to the same pop music, so this was a real road trip, complete with music. Listening to earphones on the subway just is NOT the same. You gotta have the scenery streaming past and the surround sound.
The photo above is from the tasting at Pindar Wineries; Jess actually knows how to use a camera, and took this shot, along with several others I stole for this post (go to his link for the full collection). I asked him to decipher and interpret my camera for me, but we both forgot about it. Next time we'll do it, assuming I haven't broken the code (or the camera) by then.

Marc is a fellow purple proponent with the garden to show it. Before I get to my (limited number of) successful garden photos though, I wanted you to see the eggplant splendor that is the guest bedroom (left). This shot doesn't do the room justice, giving you only one corner. Unfortunately the photo I took that gives you a full view of the room was the day after I had slept there. I was in the room for maybe twelve hours, tops, unconscious for the vast majority of it, and I still managed to make the place look like my suitcase exploded. I won't do that to Marc, so we'll have to make due with this sub-par shot. I think it still gives you some sense of how fancy the accommodations were. I didn't get a shot of the incredible shower, but I asked if I could sleep there the next time I visited. They seemed amenable.
I told Marc that the plethora of purple put the blackberry cosmos from my first visit into a deeper context.

I couldn't get the color of this purple rhododendron correct if I was too close. Actually I seemed unable to get the color or the focus right until I got some distance. Jess has a much better close-up of this bush, though I might humbly suggest my meager photo more accurately captures the color. What the hell is it about purple?
Left is one of several planters Marc has placed around the yard, and filled with several members of the viola family. None of my photos of the actual beds turned out well at all. I can't blame Marc this time either, I was completely sober when I took them. I know I look half-lit at the Winery, but I wasn't. Two sips of alcohol and my face lights up like a Christmas tree.
To the right is a fairly successful close-up of one of Marc's irises. I think the color is close, if not quite right. I wonder if these are the same ones you mentioned, Greg? Marc and I agreed they were almost black. They also had an amazing fragrance. Why was I not informed that irises smelled good? Honestly, I didn't have a CLUE. This one smelled fantastic. Maybe the ones in the stores suffer from the same problem most store-bought roses do, scent having been sacrificed in the breeding for color, but I also grew up with irises in my parents' backyard, and if I ever knew they smelled good, I forgot. I've mentioned before, here or maybe on Greg's blog, that I look forward to violets and lilacs for weeks, if not months, but irises take me by surprise almost every year. Now that I know to give them a sniff, I might start anticipating them too. I think they're still going strong in the parks. Must check.

It is comical how badly my photos of the puppies turned out. Blurry shots of their heads, remarkably well-focused shots of their asses, that was the best I did. So here again I poached Jess's shots. To the right is Mandy, the pretty pretty princess. She and Bernice made me feel special by fighting for my attention, frequently taking it to the level of a rousing brawl. This eventually would expand to include still-convalescing Dodger, whose bark, in timbre, resonance and readiness of use, hints at possible beagle heritage. So for the sake of his leg and our ears, we usually had to calm things down at that point. Bernice is alpha, but often would give way to the princess when it came to sitting on my lap. By the end of the weekend though, they seemed to have worked out some sort of equitable arrangement. I felt I got good cuddling time with both of them.
Each dog has his or her own ways of expressing affection. Bernice likes to kiss, especially on the nose (see right for non-nose kiss; yes I know I'm kissing her, but she started it). Mandy is the one most likely to want to lie on or next to you, but she's also fond of sniffing your hair, forehead, and occasionally giving a peck on the ear. Dodger likes to fall onto your feet, starting with his shoulder, in a move that looks like an Akiido roll. Then he playfully mouths your shoes, ankles and hands. Actually he and Bernice both often look like they're laughing, when they're at their most playful. Mandy just always looks pretty. We agreed that sometimes her face reminds us of a seal's. Bernice is half shepherd and half doberman, with one ear for each. One always sticks straight up, the other always flops over. It's adorable.
It's too bad I didn't take any pictures of the meals, nor of the new gas grill that provided two of them for us, but I'm sure I wouldn't have done justice to the taste: grilled salmon, broccoli with cheese sauce, teriyaki chicken, garlic green beans. Marc even created a special homemade ice cream called Cherry Cobbler. I feel it's not my place to share the recipe however. You'll have to ask the artist himself.
Thanks again guys, for your gracious hospitality and lovely company.


Marc said...

Sorry that some of your pictures didn't turn out as you wanted! You are too kind. We do love making our guests comfortable, though.

I'll be posting the recipe for the ice cream on my blog a little later this week! I have to get some more pictures to finish the post.

Come back again soon!

Jess said...

Yes, you're correct. Flo's was new to all of us. I read about it and thought it would be fun to try.

And you may be right about the color of the rhododendron. I find it very tricky to get any camera to accurately render such colors, and I suspect your view is correct!

We enjoyed your visit. We'll have to do it again soon! (Perhaps we can bore you with Dublin photos in a few weeks!) :)

Birdie said...

What a great mini-vacation. Your room was sumptuous. And the pups! It's easy to see you were loved by all of your hosts. Thanks for sharing your visit with us.

somewhere joe said...

It certainly does. The whole vicinity lights up. And I want that stripey T shirt.

Greg said...

(What is it with Joe and the T shirts?)

So glad to see you escaped the bonds of the city for the long weekend! And as a bonus got to enjoy some serious dog time, too!

I've decided that blue and red, and thus purple, as the colors most difficult to capture, depending on the light. Nice job with the iris (that does look similar to the one I wrote about) and rhodo, though!

Marc and Jess are obviously great hosts (I'm still laughing about the exploding suitcase...). I'm not yet sure if its a drink or a flower, but the blackberry cosmos sounds delightful, either way!

somewhere joe said...

It's about the green stripes, Greg. Sigh.

Java said...

Those green stripes jumped out at me, too. It makes you look even more Irish, IMHO. Joe, do you look Irish in green?

What a lovely visit, and so nicely chronicled. Now I'm hungry!

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Why do most Irish guys have such hairy arms! ;P

Still very handsome though Patrick!

Butch said...

What a great time you all had! Wine tasting can be fun and I know what you mean about "lighting up" after a few sips. You all look very relaxed and the dogs are adorable. Thanks for sharing some of your pictures.

somewhere joe said...

I'm too swarthy to look Irish, java, but I do favor green - it brings out that color in my eyes, hazel, which in real life tend toward an oxidized bronze but in photos look green or even blue.

Patrick can turn that stripey T into any article of clothing he wants. It's magic.

Birdie said...

I like the stripey T, too.

We're still waiting to see that magic T of yours, Joe. :)

Greg said...

Oh, and yes...(I forgot the other day)...that does look a lot like that purple-black iris at work--I'm keeping my eye on it and I see it's set buds...won't be long now!

Meanwhile, another purple iris variety has appeared in our yard! I haven't yet noticed that they are scented...I'll be paying better attention now, tho!

oscar said...

So how's the wine in Long Island? I went on a tour in the Shenandoah region of Virginia last week. Had a ot of fun, but did not really appreciate the wines, though. I thought they were all a bit to sweet and fruity. I love everything fruity ( ;-) ) except my wines...
Sounds like you had a great time! I would definitely want to sleep in THAT guest room!

Patrick said...

Jess and Marc: Dublin will be such a blast, and yes, I look forward to seeing the photos.

Joe: H&M, Baby. It's my most recent discovery; they have size smalls that actually fit me, and don't make me look like an eleven year old wearing his older brother's hand-me-downs. I think you're right that the shirt is magic, and I think it was specifically was waiting for me. It called to me from a sea of grey, black, and white clothing. I'm told different stores stock different merchandise though, so maybe the Florida branches would have more of these in stock. Couldn't hurt to look. I forget to check for socks, will you do that if you go?

Oh and Joe, you could still pass for black Irish, if you so chose, some of them tan almost as well as you do.

Greg: glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't know irises smelled good! That information has bumped irises even further up my love list.

Steven: I'm just counting my blessings that my ears and nose aren't hairy. Yet. I have to accept that it's only a matter of time though. I have not ruled out laser hair removal. I already have to take a weed whacker to my eyebrows on a regular basis. So does my sister, poor woman. We try not to hold it against Dad. He's real furry.

Oscar: I deliberately chose the (red) wines most likely to be on the dry side, since that's what I prefer too, and was not disappointed. I did have some dessert wines though that were quite tasty. Dessert wines are a special category, after all, so I like them sweet.