Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Almost Bikram In Times Square

I have taken hot yoga classes before, but I have not taken any Bikram classes.  I suppose I still haven't since the temperature in Times Square did not reach 105 on June 21 for the Summer Solstice Mind Over Madness celebration.  I'm kind of happy it didn't.  It was a good way to ease myself back into the idea of doing yoga in desert-like heat, except that this was not the desert.  It was New York City.  That meant it was not a dry desert heat.  It was more of a urine humid heat.  You know, summer in the city.  I spent my time on line fanning myself, sipping cold water I'd brought along with me, eating a cold apple I'd brought along with me, and trying to stand in the shadow of the man in front of me.  I was there for the 1 PM class, which meant I had to get on line at around 11:20.  They let us in a bit before noon.  While I waited, I got my first free item of the day.

I saved it since my water from home was actually colder.  When the line started moving, I picked up more free stuff like a mat and a bag of magazines, coupons, and Luna bars.

So now I had two bags full of heavy stuff -- the one with the free stuff and the other one I'd brought along that had snacks and books to keep me occupied while I waited for class to begin.  Since the sun was moving into high noon position, I was happy I'd brought along a towel.

In addition to reading and hiding from the sun, I also kept myself occupied by watching the big screen where lots of yogis were being broadcast.

The class was fun.  Instead of following one instructor, we followed a bunch of them from the Bikram NYC studios.  The one who astounded me most was the woman who seemed to be in her 60s (knowing how my age-guessing is always off, she could have also been 55 or 83).  Following the Bikram sequence was easy.  Getting into the poses with people not even two inches away on either side was a bit tricky.  At one point, I saw a girl in the row behind me accidentally plant her face in the ass of the girl next to her when we were facing the side and bending forwards.  She had her eyes closed.  Good for concentration but bad for avoiding asses of strangers. 

Towards the middle of the sequence, we were in Savasana (corpse pose in the middle of the practice--a good idea!), and I was thinking, wow someone smells really bad.  I did the next few poses and we came back to Savasana and I realized, wow I'm the one who smells really bad.  It was the result of the train ride, subway ride, walk to the line, wait on line, wait on the mat, and the first half of the class all coming together.  Then I figured, everyone smells in New York, so I was okay with that.  Plus, the class was almost over, so we could all deal with it.

At the end, I went through the yoga village and collected more free stuff: hummus, pita chips (that were stale--gross), a t-shirt that I won't wear in public because it's an advertisement for Tampax, more coupons, protein powder, more Luna bars, SmartWater, and Athleta hair ties/bracelets (no one was really sure of what they were, but we took them because they were free).  For some reason, all the calm yoga people turned into greedy pushy people, crowding the lines and being very unorganized.  Very un-Zen-like.  Maybe they were hungry or hot or both.  In any case, I decided I did not need another Luna bar that badly to get crushed by smelly, sweaty yoga people.  I picked my places wisely, grabbed at least two of everything (once on the sweep in and once on the sweep out), and got my ass back to Penn for the last off-Peak train home on which I kept my arms down and my bags close as to not offend anyone with my pungency.  And if they were offended, well, maybe they should stand in the hot sun for three hours and do some Bikram and find out just why it's so great to smell so bad.  Namaste.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hair Care and Other Products

John Frieda + Target + FREE = Me, happy

I also got a box of free Tena pads for incontinence in the mail yesterday.  Not as excited about those.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soup's On

Since the days of Greg Kinnear, I've been watching The Soup.  Back then, it was Talk Soup.  These days, just The Soup. That's a lot of soup.  E! has had me hooked since 1991.  When S asked if I wanted to attend a free taping in NYC, there was no way I was turning it down.  I would've even paid to go (okay, probably not, but I can say that I would have now that I went and didn't have to).

When I turned the corner to find the building, I saw a long line, so I walked to it, thinking it had something to do with the show.  Nope.  Big sign out front said WENDY on it.  Ah, so this is where Wendy Williams tapes.  A very short line formed back down the street, so I went to that one.  Very few people lingered around.  Then S showed up.  We were on a very short list.  Ah, this was my kind of event--small where people can't knock into you. 

We went into a holding room that had a kitchen in it and a television.  S was slightly worried that we were there for a Soup Investigates taping that would focus on zombies.  I suggested that maybe we were simply going to watch the whole thing on the small tv up front.  We were both wrong.  After the room filled with no more than 30 people (since I'm bad with counting, give that a leeway of 10), we sat and waited for something to happen.  Then a peppy woman came in and said, Let's go watch The Soup!  Some people clapped and hooted.  We were instructed to go single file up the stairs.  Upon leaving the room, some very tall gentleman lunged in front of us and threw out his gum in the garbage.  Why he couldn't go around, I'm not sure.  I was like, Thanks for that, all sarcastic, and then he turned around and was like, Sorry, and then S was like, You ruined his day.  Not really.  He could've walked around instead of lunging in front of a bunch of people with a wad of chewed gum.

Once we went into the taping room, we found a bunch of orange chairs set up and the guy from the door outside was telling us to have a seat, relax, and enjoy.  I wish he'd meant "have a seat" as "have it, to own, take it home" because they were these fantastic orange cushy chairs that I wanted to have really badly and I knew that dragging one out and down the stairs was not going to be an option that would get me invited back.  In fact, it could have gotten me arrested. 

We found out that this was Rachael Ray's studio.  Ohhhh, that's why there was a kitchen!  We also found that the studio was maybe minus 12 degrees.  Really cold. 

The director guy explained to us a little about where to look when and then when and how loud to clap and laugh.  The whole thing was very small, only a few people on set, one camera, and a large green screen.  Then he introduced Joel McHale.  Then Keith Olbermann appeared in a trench coat.  Joel McHale AND a special guest.  AND it wasn't zombies. AND it was FREE. This was working out swell.

Joel McHale bantered with us, said some funny things.  Then Keith Olbermann said some funny things. As the banter progressed, S leaned over and asked, Do you smell gas?  I was thinking the exact same thing, and was like, um yeah where is it coming from?  It didn't go away and we were wondering why no one else smelled it because no one else seemed to be leaning over to each other and asking.  Then JMH asked, Does anyone else smell gas?  And everyone was like, Yes!  He responded, Rachael Ray makes her audience huff gas!  Then they went on with the show, no one really caring about the impending mass passing out that would ensue if the gas remained.  Thankfully, the gas didn't remain.  It came back for a short time, but then disappeared again.  I'm thinking someone left a burner on somewhere in the test kitchen.

 Then it was time to tape The Soup.  We watched clips.  He made sarcastic commentary.  We laughed and clapped.  The first act went pretty smoothly, re-doing only the last part.  The next two acts, well, had a few more bumps, some due to the teleprompter, others due to jokes that didn't land, some due to clips that didn't translate, and then one due to the horrific content of Gigolos that probably wouldn't even make it past the censors (but we did get to watch it un-bleeped which made for a lot of cringing).  Every time there was a pause, we were told to talk amongst ourselves, JMH telling us several times, It's really cold in here--discuss.

The taping ended about the time my limbs were turning frostbitten, so it was pretty good timing.  Though he was running late, they told us to get up and take pictures if we wanted.  S and I stood on the line, waiting.  The gum-lunger took a picture and came back right down the center of the crowd, saying sorry along the way.  The two people in front of us asked if I would take their picture. Sure, I said.  The guy showed me which icon to press.  No problem.  I stood where the last person taking a picture had stood.  I realized that the camera setting made them look really far away.  S was like, get it closer.  I was like, I don't know how.  S was like, Just walk closer to them. 

I'm a teacher.  I'd just thought I'd remind everyone of that.

JMH was like, yes, it's the manual zoom.  I took another picture and handed the phone back over to the people.  Then I walked over to JMH and he said again, that manual zoom can be tricky.  I answered, I don't have a smartphone so I don't know what I'm doing.  Then he put his arm around me and S moved her phone around to get an angle and I was like, Oh this is great, because I pretty much thought she couldn't get us both in the picture at the same time because he's about a foot and a half taller than I am.  He was like, no problem, and then bent down, which made it worse of course, and then he instructed, just take it from the torso up.  S snapped a shot that got us both in the frame. I thanked him in the way that meant thank you for not only taking the picture but also for putting up with a very stupid person.


S and I switched places while he narrated, Now switching photographers.  I stood really close and took a shot.   He thanked S for coming and she responded with, We're both lefties!, pointing at herself and me. He was like, I throw righty.  She asked, Do you have bad hand writing?  He admitted he did.  We're all in the lefty club. 

We left realizing that THAT?  Was kind of Uh. MAZE. ZING!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Low Stakes

Five hours of racing fun equates to sweat, tears, exhaustion, cigar smoke, drunken idiots, horse smell, and empty pockets.  It's my kind of fun.  Instead of watching the Belmont Stakes from home, SMM, AF, Eddie, and I went on over to the track.  When we arrived around 1, the parking lot was on the fuller side.  One of the attendants called out to us, Want to take the bus?  We said sure and climbed aboard the mini school bus they had shuttling people from the parking lot to the race grounds.  Then we were off!  The ride lasted under a minute.  We looked at each other like, That's it?  An older man two rows ahead of us looked back and said, But when you get to my age, there's no shame in it.  True dat.

People swarmed everywhere--on the lawns with picnics, at tables to learn how to bet, in lines for the food carts that sell everything from hummus with too much garlic to tacos to popcorn to pizza to lemonade, to the inside where men and women from all walks of life stared intently at all the monitors to watch races at other tracks.  During the stakes, a highly mixed population attends--the old men who gamble every day, the degenerates who wear stretched-out suspenders that barely hold up their pants, the infants whose parents decided a fun family activity would be to go to the track where people smoke cigars and cigarettes and get so drunk they can't stand, the skanks who pretend to like racing so they can wear dresses so short you can see their hoo-hahs, the rich horse owners in linen suits, the ta-ta women in business suits and Sunday church hats.  And us.  We were there.

Oh, and a guy in a suit was there wearing these on his feet.

So really it was anything goes. 

Time to bet the first race!  SMM, AF, and I were all confused.  Eddie was directing us.  He got everyone programs.  He explained how to read them.  He told us exactly what to say to the people at the betting counter.  He basically held everyone's hand.  Then I made him bet for me because I just couldn't do it.  Maybe next time.  Eddie's a good teacher.  He should open a how to bet the horses school and call it A Class At The Races.






We spent most of the day walking around, checking out the carts, betting, waiting, and then watching the races that took about a minute.  I chose horses the way I usually do.  I chose the best names: Howie's Tiz, Wabbajack, Tenango, Zee Bros, and Finnegans Wake.  Funny thing: the ones with the best names have the worst odds.  Sometimes, that works out all good for me.  This time?  Not so much.  I lost every friggin race.  Not only did I lose, but I'm pretty sure some of my horses simply stopped running and started grazing in the field or napping in the bushes.  It was that bad. 

In the beginning, very few people were outside.  There was some cheering, some shouting, but not much.  As the day wore on, the grounds got more crowded and everything was a little louder.  We watched a bunch of races on the screens out front when we couldn't get through the crowd in time to get back in.



AF found some seats down by the track so we camped out for the last few races, noticing that we didn't understand the tight rules the website lists as to what you can and cannot bring.  It said no coolers and no big bags.  Everyone around us had clearly spent the entire day there with their big insulated cooler bags and huge trays of food. The couple in front of us had printouts of stats on every horse and lots of fruit they peeled and dropped on the floor.   Bringing food was a better idea than buying it considering a bottle of water, a bottle of Coke, and a pretzel was about 20 bucks. 




Oh! Did I mention that Eddie and SMM got free hats?  They'd gone inside because they'd won a race and wanted to get their profits (which they just rolled over into the next race--so not what I would've done), and Eddie saw a booth and was like, They're giving away free things.  I've rubbed off on him.  SMM gave me his hat because neither he nor AF wanted it.  How could they not want a free hat?


For the last race, I chose Freedom Child.  Subconsciously, my mom was probably lurking.  I also thought about Palace Malice, but then remembered that I'd bet two horses on a previous race which made me lose more money than gain it, so I stuck with my first pick.





As we all know, Palace Malice won.  Freedom Child had led the pack the whole way and then finished second to last.  At least he wasn't last.  But that still doesn't get me any profit.  We did not take the mini bus back to the parking lot.  We took the two minute walk.  We got out pretty quickly.  That's what happens when you don't have to wait around on the lines to collect your winnings.  Good for us.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The News On Newsies

Thanks to my brother, I got two free tix to Newsies.  I had vague memories of watching this Disney movie about a newsboy strike, so I figured the Broadway version would be entertaining.  I met S at Party City where you can buy balloons for any occasion--boombox? check. champagne glass? check. dolphin? check.  They have it all.  We waited in the anteroom for the rain to pass as we saw pedestrians filing in to sit down and wait more.  The rain got harder and harder.  I had an umbrella so we decided to share it.  Getting to the subway at the end of the block proved to be a challenge, getting through the umbrella obstacles of others.  My little umbrella barely covered us both so while our heads remained dry, each of us had a very wet side and semi-wet bag.  The rain was coming down and sideways in large drops and then in waterfall like streams. 

This is what you can do with Instagram. 
We'd planned on walking but really, it wasn't an option if we wanted to not be drenched, so we waited on the platform where people were closing umbrellas and walking around with them any which way.  Some people need to learn how to carry an umbrella if they want to use those uncollapsable ones.  Carrying around a long pointy object with the point pointed forward and out at everyone around you is not the way to  make friends.

Once we got to the next stop, we got out.  See?  We would've walked.  The rain was really that bad.  So bad, in fact, that there were pools of water in the subway station.  When S attempted to go up the stairs, she was hit in the face with windy rain.  We went to another wider exit that wouldn't act as a wind/rain tunnel, and there were about fifteen people standing and watching the downpour with more people coming in for cover.  One woman asked someone how long they'd been waiting.  A man answered, about fifteen minutes.  Not wanting to wait since we were on a schedule, we took our chances with our one umbrella. This was a good plan, no?

We got five steps from the subway station and the skies opened. Kiddie pools of water came down at once.  The water was up around our ankles.  We found  a man selling umbrellas at the entrance of the store we were heading to.  He was reaching into the store to get money and give umbrellas.  People were crowding the entrance to buy from him.  But no one was moving either way, so neither of us could get in.  S took a run for it without the umbrella and pushed through.  I said, Excuse me!, twice.  No one moved.  So I collapsed the umbrella and also pushed through.  Rude but effective.  People moved away from my dripping umbrella as if it were covered in acid.  Seriously, if they thought they were not going to get wet, they didn't understand what rain was.


This is where our soak-factor stood: S's bag had one side soaked.  One of her arms was soaked.  Part of her shirt was wet.  Her other arm was slightly wet because I'd accidentally hit it with the umbrella.  Oops.  My bag was damp.  My entire right side from my shoulder to my foot was drenched.  The tips of my hair were wet.  Standing in an air conditioned store felt like standing in a walk-in freezer. 

The rain let up a bit after a few minutes, so we headed out to get pizza.  We couldn't decide if we should use umbrellas because it was a mere drizzle.  Some people were using them, some people were walking around in weapon-umbrella mode, and everyone looked semi-miserable and damp.  The food was good though.  Fast.  Yummy.  And when we headed out, there was a huge line to get in, so we'd timed it just perfectly.  Somehow maybe the rain helped.  Doubtful, but it's some kind of consolation to think so.


Walking out after dinner was a pleasure.  No umbrellas needed.  We found the theatre quickly and stood on a long line but it kept moving.  The ticket scanner people told us to go to the furthest door and take the stairs on the left.  We did so and found that this was the never-ending staircase.  That's fine.  I like sitting high up.  I usually like the front mezzanine, but this theatre had good seats in even the rear mezz.  The usher at the door looked at my ticket--seat 20--and then to S said, You're seat 22?  We were like, No, she's....  But the usher jumped in and then suggested, No? 18?.  No we said again.  Then her face fell a little and she said, Oh, they split you up.  As if it were the worst thing ever to not have seats together.  She told S to go to the next door and then counted how many rows down I needed to go.  I felt bad letting her down about the seating.  So did S.  We met up in the middle of the row until the other people showed up.  Seeing that we split up, the woman next to S suggested we all change seats since she knew the empty seats would be filled by her sister and someone else they knew.  So we wound up sitting next to each other anyway amid a bunch of people next to us and behind us who all knew each other.  If only these people had shown up at the same time as us...the usher at the door would have not lost all hope in happiness.

The people in front of us asked us to take their picture on the sly before getting yelled at.  We did it as quickly as possible even though their camera decided to stop working when they handed it to us.  Then we asked them to do the same for us.  We did not get yelled at.  People around us got yelled at.  Even during the show, one of the ushers needed to go down and yell at someone for taking pictures.  I can see how you'd want to take pics before or after, but during?  Really?  Who does that?
During the first act, they seemed to sing the same three songs over and over.  There was singing and dancing happening at every few minutes.  It was non-stop.  Very entertaining.  Also, very informative about the history of the newspaper and unionizing.  All of this would have been much more of a good time if not for the air conditioning blowing directly on S and me, only S and me.  Seriously.  S was cringing under her semi-wet cardigan and I was hugging myself and hunching over.  The a/c did not stop, and whenever the dancing got intense, the a/c got intense.  Why it was on us and not the dancers, I don't know.

The second half started with a big tap routine that incorporated playing the spoons.  That's when I thought to myself, wow these guys are really really talented.  I mean, it's one thing to know how to dance, but to know how to tap and play the spoons?  That's lots of stuff to know.  Plus, I like clicky noises, so it was the best part. The rest of the show was pretty good, though I couldn't quite get past the juxtaposition of the storyline of a bunch of angry boys striking and the entertainment aspect of their pirouetting.  Angry men simply do not show their rage by twirling.

Overall, it was a bit cheesy, but that's Disney.  We were happy to leave the wintery air and walk in the non-raining night back to Penn behind two women who enjoyed the show so much that they were jumping and twirling down the street.  We did not jump and twirl, but we agreed it was entertaining.

Whose got an awesome brother?  I do.  Thanks for the tix...we owe you.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cooperstown U. S. A. Part III

Three days in Cooperstown offers enough time to do all that is Cooperstown unless you want to learn the more intricate ways of the farmer in The Farmer's Museum or you need to hit up the beer and wine trail, which you can do on your way out of town on the third day anyway.  We did not hit the beer trail nor did we go to a farm to get a free jar of jelly--things I found listed on the back of a map that no one seemed interested in but me, probably because I'm obsessed with getting free things.

I awoke on my last day in Cooperstown at 4:30 AM.  Someone let a door slam.  Then the slamming continued.  Opening and closing of heavy doors ensued for the next 45 minutes.  It started up again along with loud discussions across the parking lot at about 5:30 AM.  Good morning, Cooperstown.  At checkout, the guy behind the counter asked how everything was, and I said it was great except at 4:30 in the morning, I heard lots of commotion from people who might have been going fishing or hunting or whatever it is nature people do.  He gave a thought and then said, Oh, you mean the Canoe Regatta.

Apparently, every Memorial Day weekend, there's a Canoe Regatta in Central New York.  Who knew?  Well, the canoe people knew.  I didn't know because I don't own a canoe.  Canoes are death-traps, almost the most dangerous water crafts, second only to the kayak, aka the boat of death. 

The counter guy was like, I guess if you don't know about it, you might've been wondering if there was some sort of fire that no one told you about.  I agreed that I did have my share of confusion about why everyone knew about the wee-morning party but me.  I reported back to the guys in the car about this regatta thing, and my brother was like, Oh, yeah, that explains all the canoes on everyone's car roofs.  True.  It did.

We drove northward through town and found our first stop on our way back home (which isn't really on the way since we were heading north): Glimmerglass State Park.  Now, there are state parks that have helpful signs and maps all over as well as clearly marked trails.  Then there are state parks that let you head off into nature at your own risk.  Glimmerglass (fun to say!) is a bit of both.  We found parking in a central newly-paved lot, but we did not find any signs directing us to trails we could possibly hike.

We found the primitive camping site that had trails.  We drove into it and found that really, it was a bunch of people waking up after camping out all night.  It was exactly the opposite of anything I wanted.  We walked around the lake a little--it was gorgeous yet cold because of the wind--and then took the car up a hill to see if there was another place to hike.

Up the hill, we found another gorgeous view of the lake.  We also found the opening of a hiking trail that I had seen on the map.  On the map, it looked like a large circular trail that would be tons of fun.  Up close and personal, it looked like a haven for ticks.  Not wearing proper footgear to keep ticks from crawling up, latching on, and infesting me with lyme disease, I talked my brother out of a hike.  Eddie was thankful, adding that he was planning on staying in the car if we'd gone hiking because there were simply too many bugs in nature.










Taken with the timer, hence my idiotic mannequin pose and the boys' bowing down.

One of the too many bugs but this one didn't bother us much


True about the bugs.  As soon as we stepped onto the grassy area above the lake, they went into attack mode and started diving at us from all directions.  Pretty lake to look at from inside a car and through a window.

We also found a house and a bridge.  They were pretty.  Less bugs. 




We also found the covered bridge that we'd tried to find on the outset.  Eddie was amazed that my brother would just walk through the tall weeds to take pictures.




And so began our long ride southeast towards home.  However, we had to make a stop first.  This was the last time I plan to be in that area ever.  None of us could see us heading back upstate that far for any reason.  So we took a short skip over to Oneonta and drove along the campus.  When we hit downtown, we drove down the main drag and I found myself a bit disoriented.  The car barely made it up the long hill past Hartwick College and onto the main entrance road of campus.  Again, I was disoriented.  First off, I never drove when I was in college.  Secondly, when I was in a car, I never came through this main entrance; we always came and went down by the dorms.  So this was really strange.  I did find the union--closed for the holiday as was everything--and I recognized some of the buildings even though I used to see them from the other side, from the quad.  It was weird, very, very weird, not because campus was deserted but because I was back to a place I'd never thought I'd be back to, realizing that this time was really my final time there.


We headed out of upstate.  It was a long drive along many highways and thruways.  In the beginning of it, we caught sight of a lot of cars lined up on the sides of the roads.  I wondered aloud what was going on.  That's when Eddie caught sight of the river next to us.  It's the canoes! he yelled.  I immediately skidded the car over and we jumped out.  I had to see what the 4:30 AM commotion was all about.  This, my friends, is a Canoe Regatta:






I'm not sure what body of water this is.  It could be the Susquehana, so that's what I kept calling it, mostly because it's fun to say, though it is hard to spell (I'm lazy--I didn't look it up--probably didn't spell it right--I'm okay with that).

My day now complete, we climbed back into the car and drove out of town.  Miles and miles of nothingness.  Endless nothingness.  During this nothing, I hit a turtle.  Pretty sure I killed it.  Not too happy about it.  Moving on.  We were taking a different way back from where we came so that we could catch a particular thruway exit to make a final stop before heading home.  This of course took longer than expected and we almost died of starvation, but then we found the Ulster rest stop and I fell in love with Ulster because they had food.

After not dying from malnourishment, we set out another few exits and found Storm King Sculpture Park.  When we pulled up, the guy asked how many.  I said, Three.  He said, Three what? Adults? Students?  So I automatically said, One student, two adults.  He didn't question it.  I paid.  We drove into the parking lot.  The boys were like, Who's a student?  I said, I have my student ID.  They called me a thief.  I called myself a student of life.  Plus, no one questioned my studenthood, meaning, I look like a student from the driver's seat of a car wearing sunglasses and a hoodie.  So there.

I also probably looked really confused as to where to park because there were cars lined up on grass and gravel and men pointing me every which way.  Finally, one guy just called out to me, Turn and park in any of those bays!  I did so.  Thank you, sir, for helping out a poor confused student of life.

The sculpture park is insanely huge with insanely huge sculptures.  The two guys joked about what art is--here's a scribble, so it's art--as we walked through and found sculpture after sculpture.  When we thought we'd seen them all, we saw more.  There were hills upon hills, and at one point, Eddie decided that it was easier to run up the steep hill than climb it.  He and I differ when it comes to logic of inclines.  He also planned to roll down a hill, but after seeing a little boy attempting to do so, decided not to since the kid had to pretty much continue to push off and make himself roll rather than having gravity have at it.


Eddie's idea that anything is art: Man Sleeping

Eddie's idea that anything is art: Tree Branch

Me and Anthony walking

Still walking.  It was a pretty big place.

Breaking the rules




Can anyone translate?



Eddie made me do this.  Not happy about getting into the dirt.









An hour later, not having gotten up close to all of the sculptures but many of them, we headed out.  We couldn't make the turn back towards the thruway, so we wound up on Route 9, which worked out perfectly because we got to the Tappan Zee and stayed in New York without going through NJ and we found our way home pretty quickly after that.  We gathered all the layers we'd stripped off since the cold morning, recognizing the fact that we'd gone through all four seasons in three days, and stumbled through the front door.  As great as vacationing is, home is always a fantastic place to be.