Archive for July, 2003

Wow… things change so drastically…

Thursday, July 31st, 2003

Today I went over my older sister’s house. During the 20-minute drive, I slept, then woke up, still very tired, when we got to the house. When I got out of the car, I saw my 11-year-old nephew Zach, a 13-year-old female friend, and an 11-year-old male friend sitting on the grass.

Zach: ‘Manda, you looked stoned
Me: I just woke up… and how the hell do you know what a stoned person looks like?
Zach: *laughs* Some of my friends smoke pot
Me: How old are you? Didn’t you just turn 11?
Zach: Uh-huh!
Group: *laughs hysterically while I stand there speechless*
Female, to Zach: Haha, my aunt would have lectured me if I told her that!

I really didn’t know what to say! Then, my sister was telling me how she brought Zach to a friend’s birthday party in the afternoon, some girl (also 11), yelled, “Hey, Zach’s here! Zach, I hope you brought a condom!” Both her and the mother of the birthday boy’s jaws dropped.

When I was 11, I was concerned with what I thought were 11-year-old sort of things: freeze tag, playing Manhunt, bike riding, making friendship bracelets, having sleepover parties where we would talk about our “crushes,” etc. I wore what most 11-year-olds wore… jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers.

These kids, at age 11, talk about who’s “sexy,” dress, act, walk, and talk like they’re 18. They’ve got bellybuttons, cleavage, and boxers showing. They carry around cell phones, and have lots of things peirced.

When I was 11, I knew about the birds and the bees. However, it wasn’t a raunchy knowledge for an 11-year-old… I didn’t know the meaning of things like fellatio, cunnilingus, orgy, or deep-throat. Kids my age weren’t having sex. The farthest anyone I knew went was French kissing.

These kids, at age 11, are talking about condoms at a birthday party? I’m quite sure they can also define the above terms for me, because I’ve overheard them talking about similar things.

When I was 11, the “bad” kids were bad because the cussed, missed curfew by an hour, and played stupid pranks like “Ding-Dong-Run.” Most experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana began in junior high, when we were 14 or so.

These “bad” kids, at age 11, are already doing drugs, staying out late, getting kicked out of their houses, having sex, and being public nuisances.

Now, I know this isn’t just my nephew’s friends, because I’ve asked my friends if they’ve known 11-year-olds like this, and most of the time, they have. I think I can safely say the younger generation knows and has experienced a LOT more than my generation did when we were their age.

Both my nephews (Zach, and his 14-year-old brother Joey) have good heads on their shoulders and I know they wouldn’t resort to such things, but I am surprised at the knowledge they already have of what’s going on around them.

How could things be so different in just ten years?

Blame Canada…

Wednesday, July 30th, 2003

… for my sunburn!

I’m back, with Mom, from my quite long vacation!

Saturday, we took the ferry over to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where I got sunburned on the boat. We got a little lost, but eventually found Boston and slept at a hotel with really comfy pillows. Pillows are important.

Sunday, we drove up to Maine, and saw lots of cows and antique shops on the way up. We also saw streets with really interesting names, like “Wit’s End.” Maine is beautiful, the water is freezing! Their beaches are also very rocky. We ate a lobster dinner at our friends Maureen and Gene’s house, where I learned how to properly eat a lobster (which included a flying claw). The coast was so foggy that it took us almost 30 minutes to complete a 10 minute drive from their house to the Dreamcatcher Bed and Breakfast. Met very nice people at Dreamcatcher.

Monday, we drove up to Prince Edward Island. The drive through New Brunswick was long and boring, but we amused ourselves with the French signs, Canadian accents, and “ATTENTION! Moose Crossing” signs. We encountered our first looney and tooney, which is Canadian slang for their one dollar and two dollar coins, respectivley. We crossed the Confederation Bridge, which is this huge bridge connecting PEI and New Brunswick, and takes 15 minutes to cross. We got to our hotel, where we were promptly served a four course dinner. The food was the best part about the hotel… gourmet four course dinners every night, and breakfast! The room was alright; although it was pretty, it was small. And the toilet overflowed. Cute guy came and plunged it. We then went to the beach, which was absoultely gorgeous; the sand is red, the water is clear, and it is the warmest water north of the Carolinas!

Tuesday, we went to Cavendish, PEI, which is the base of everything Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you don’t know who she is, she’s the author of the “Anne of Green Gables” series. We toured all the historical houses and the recreation of the town of Avonlea, which was quite fun. We then took a horse and carriage through corn fields of barley, down to the beach. By the time we got home, our legs hurt so much from walking. So, we decide to go to the supermarket for Ben-Gay. Canadians do not have Ben-Gay, but some other weird stuff that made my legs feel like they were on fire. It was pretty good stuff, though! I also got *quite* sunburned.

Wednesday, it poured, so we spent the day in Charlottetown, PEI and shopped. A lot. And it rained. A lot. And we got wet. And my sandals squeaked in the historical cathedral we visited. When we went back to the hotel, the toilet flooded. Cute boy came and plunged it.

Thursday, we went down to the harbor town of Summerside, PEI, where we did more shopping, and went on top of a pretend lighthouse that felt like it was going to collapse underneath us. We then went to the College of Piping and watched a Ceiledh, which is a show featuring Irish stepdancers, Highland dancers, bagpipers, and drummers. We also met this quirky Irish guy who told us his whole life story in five minutes, including how his father-in-law has a bum leg and his mother is lonely in Ireland. Afterwards, we went to the beach, where we poked and proded at dinner-plate sized jellyfish and I found a huge piece of seaweed that looked like giant lasagna. Everyone crowded around me and wanted to touch it. I took it home because I thought it was so cool.

Friday, we left PEI, but went to the beach one last time. I found another piece of lasagna seaweed and took it home. We drove back to Maine, where we stayed at the Dreamcatcher again. I found a toad on the ground and picked it up, but it jumped out of my hand and into the car… took a while to catch it again!

Saturday, we went on a three-hour boat ride around the Maine coast, where we saw bald eagles, seals, a heron, and heard a whale. It was so awesome… Maine is so different from Long Island! We then went blueberry picking with Maureen, Gene, and their dog Elsa. I had a huge handful of blueberries ready to eat and Else trotted over and *SLURP,* ate my whole stash. The blueberries were like no other blueberry I’ve tasted before! We stayed at Maureen and Gene’s Bed and Breakfast, where they had comfy, comfy pillows. And the toilet flooded.

Sunday, we left Maine and headed towards Binghamton. It was too far a drive, so we slept in a hotel in New Hampshire. The hotel did not have comfy pillows. And the tub was dirty. And the air conditioner was noisy. The toilet flooded. Mom complained. We got a free night.

Monday, we drove to my brother Aaron’s house and stayed the night. My nephew and neice Aidan and Alexia were so happy to see us. Sunday, we went to a huge candle store with my sister-in-law Jodi. This store had at least 100 different candle scents… it was crazy! We then ordered Chinese food for lunch that had horrible spelling errors on their menu, including “crispy noodies,” “marrated beef,” and “Chinase vegetables with babycom.”

Finally, we came home. I’m tired. I know this is not *everything* we did, but it somewhat summerizes the awesome vacation. Pictures soon to follow! And a few things I’ve learned:

1) There are no restrooms in Canada; they are called “washrooms”
2) Canadians are amused by our currency… “What do you mean it only comes in one color? Don’t you have looneys and tooneys?”
3) Suave shampoo is called “Pears” shampoo in Canada
4) Toilets like to flood
5) You cannot find a tuna-fish sandwich easily in Canada.
6) Maine radio is made up of 25% Christian music, 50% country music, and 25% talk radio. Bring CDs to Maine, if possible.
7) Canadians don’t use corn syrup in their food products. Corn syrup is in everything in the U.S.
8) Nabisco doesn’t exist in Canda, it’s called “Christie” instead

Oh my God, Amanda is updating her journal!

Monday, July 14th, 2003

Well, hello there everyone! It’s your old pal Amanda, finally updating.

My summer is going pretty well, I’ve been very busy with work and such. But that’s not interesting, now, is that? So I’ll update you from Wednesday on.

First off, we got a new kitten named Pippin! Well, actually, it’s Alyse’s kitten, but he’s adorable!

Wednesday was my first Journey/Styx/REO concert at Nassau Coliseum. I went with Mom, Tara, Nicole, and Chrissy, who came down from Connecticut to stay with me. Pre-show, we went to Monterey’s Bar and grill near the Coliseum, where we met up with Diane, Christina, Mary, Ken, and I met Frank, the manager for World’s Apart, a Journey tribute band from New Jersey.

We went to the concert, where Chrissy introduced me to Maureen and Greg, her drumming buddies. I was sitting on the floor, 16 rows from stage.

Styx went on first, and they were amazing! I was totally impressed with their musicianship. Lawrence Gowan sounds exactly like Denis DeYoung, JY was rockin’, Tommy Shaw is so damn hot, Glen Burtnik is just CRAZY, and their drummer looks like he can be Deen Castronovo’s twin. My favorite songs were “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye” (with Burtnik going into the audience, shaking his ass on camera), and “Come Sail Away,” of course. In the middle of their set, this drunken woman in front of me was dancing on her chair and proceeding to whack me on the chin, turn around, and laugh. Tara threatened to push her off the chair, but didn’t want to upset Mom, lol.

REO Speedwagon was next, and they weren’t too great. Besides their hits, like “Keep on Lovin’ You” and “Can’t Fight this Feeling,” they didn’t get the audience moving as much as Styx did. And Kevin Cronin talks WAY TOO MUCH. In the meantime, Chrissy snuck me up to 7th row center, where I stayed the rest of the concert!

Journey was amazing, as usual (am I just being biased?) It was nice that they brought some old material, such as “Where Were You,” and “Feelin’ This Way/Anytime” into the set (especially since Jon Cain sings on the latter!) They also played “State of Grace,” which, unfortunately, not many people in the audience knew. I wished they played the “Precious Time” medley they played earlier in the time, but the concert was great enough. And the way they ended with “Faithfully” made me sniffle a little… on the back screen, they showed all the band members and roadies with their families. Steve Augeri really belted out the music tonight, Ross Valory was hilarious, Jon was amazing on his solo, as well as the harmonica, Deen Castronovo was all over the drums (and he lost a LOT of weight), and I never saw Neal Schon get so much applause for “Star Spangled Banner.”

I also saw a lot of people I knew at the show, including Kim, Greg, Donna, and Chris. Lydia Augeri said hello to me… it was so cool that she remembered me, including my name! She said, “I always remember my East Coast people.” (Been to one too many Journey concerts, Amanda?)

After the concert, me, Mom, Chrissy, Maureen, Greg, Kim, Greg, Chris, and Chris’ friend went to go hang out at the Radisson next door, to see if the band would show up. An hour later they didn’t, so we left. As we were leaving the parking lot, we heard something like a potato chip bag blow up. I got out of the car and saw that our tire was totally flat. And there were exactly TWO other cars in the whole damned parking lot. After an, “Oh shit, what are we going to do?” session, Mom called the tow truck. As she was on the phone, one of the other cars pulled behind them, and it was none other than my friends Kristin and Betty Jo. Betty Jo changed our tire for us, then we were on our merry way. We got home about 2 a.m, because we had to drive slowly home.

On Thursday, I went back up to Connecticut to stay with Chrissy before the show in Worcester. We took the LIRR to Penn Station, two subways to Grand Central, then the Metro-North to New Haven. Needless to say, we were on the train for *quite* a long time. So, the next two days I hung out with Chrissy, her husband Glenn, and Rox the cat.

On Friday, Chrissy, Glenn, Tanya and I went to the Worcester show. We went to the pre-show party at Irish Times bar, which was nuts! We had no clue how many people were going to show up, and Shirley didn’t make the reservations, so there weren’t any tables left after about 15 people in our group showed up. There, I met three guys from England, Maureen, Matt, Shirley, and a whole bunch of other people who I can’t remember right off. I also met Bonnie, Mia, and Glenn, who are as nice in real life as they are online!

I’m going to keep the Friday review short, because it was essentially the same set-list as Wednesday night, except all three bands were 100% better. Steve’s pants almost fell down during the set, and Chrissy handed Deen the lobster with the drumsticks, which he loved! And I’ve never seen so much underwear and bras thrown up on stage as I saw thrown at Styx. There were also some drunken chicks at this show… one woman kept giving Neal the finger and saying, “Bring back Steve Perry,” and another picked a fight with Chrissy and Glenn, who got *quite* pissed off.

After the show, we waited out by the buses for the band to come out, and Centrum Arena security kept shooing us away, so we stood in the street near the buses, which *is* public property. We waited. And waited. Chrissy and Glenn decide to go back to the bar. We wait some more. And more. Finally, the garage door opened up, and Journey drove away in *their* buses… we were tricked; they were inside the whole time! We were actually standing next to the roadie buses! At least they waved to us, and yelled back.

On Saturday, I went to my cousins Adrienn and Dirk’s house, in Connecticut. There were lots of my cousins there, and we celebrated my cousin Mikey’s seventh birthday. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone again. The most hilarious part is how my three-year-old cousin Doug is in love with me. He told Adrienn, “She’s the one I love,” and pointed at me. He showered me with gifts of pretzels, would only hug me goodnight, and had to sit next to me at every meal.

So, that’s my week in a (quite large) nutshell!

One week until the Canada trip! Woohoo!