• new york,  ocean

    Fish Loss

    In aquarium keeping, there’s a term for what happened to my fish during the power outage after Hurricane Sandy. They call it fish loss, which is a very technical term for the sad event. My fish have survived previous power outages, but we were out for twelve days through some freezing temperatures, so the temperature of the water in the aquarium fell below where the aquarium temperature meter begins to measure. I had four fish two weeks ago and now I have one. Last night I came home to the return of power and the bodies of my two gouramis, large, bloated, bleached of their beautiful blue pigment.

    It is no one’s fault. In the scheme of things, the loss of my two gourami and tricolor shark is very little. I know people who still have no power, who have sent their kids away to live with relatives until conditions improve. There are people whose entire homes flooded. I heard of someone whose dog drowned during the storm, because the water came in so fast into the home. I know of many people whose houses were covered in raw sewage who still can’t go home, because it’s not sanitary. And there are the entire communities that our power company has removed from their numbers, because the power infrastructure is so damaged that it will take more than a month to repair.

    All the same, these are small creatures whose entire well-being was in my hands and I couldn’t keep them safe. It’s a loss that lays heavy on my heart. It will probably be a while before we add any more fish to the tank, as sad as it is to look at the full containers of fish food that are no longer required, as the remaining fish is an algae eater.

    Life is slowly getting back to normal here. Trash pick-up happened for me today, for the first time since the storm hit. My train line is out for the foreseeable future, but other than the two hour commute, my life is about to be much the same as it ever was. I wish that all of my neighbors and friends could say as much.

  • nature,  new york,  ocean

    Running Crabs



    Horseshoe crabs, that is.

    We spent the day on a boat puttering around Jones Inlet, which was developed in the 20s to be one of the more famous bits of Long Island shoreline. There’s an ampitheater and miniature golf and all variety of entertainments that make a day at the beach where you’re stuck with your family a little more entertaining.

    It is one of my more favorite places in the world. It is also where they do a huge Memorial Day show with lots of fighter planes. Unfortunately, getting good photography of fighter jets while on a bobbing boat is more or less impossible, as both move at a rather rapid pace. (There was Ginger Ale. Oh yes, there was. Puking was avoided.)

    Still, there is something about being underneath a fighter jet. They move so much faster than the speed of sound that I kept getting confused and looking in the wrong place. We weren’t close enough to really appreciate their acrobatics the way that people on the beach undoubtedly did, but it was still pretty awesome.

    After a while, we ran the boat over to a little island that’s mostly underwater at high tide and jumped off for a little wander. I took my camera, which is when we met these two fellas. The beach was covered in horseshoe crabs (two of which we interrupted in coitus, oops), many of who had landed the wrong side up. As seagulls rather enjoy the delicacy of horseshoe crab gills (perhaps it is the seagull version of goose paté?), we helped a few of them out by returning them to the sea.

  • amusement,  nature,  new york,  ocean

    The Ides of May

    It’s been an amazingly full weekend.  On Friday, I started off right by reorganizing my office at work.  I’ve long felt unproductive in there, because my desk was oriented towards the wall, leaving my back to the office.  In order to see what was going on, I had to sit with my feet propped up on another chair (working for a dot com has perks) and ignore my desk completely.  So I turned one of my tables and voila, I can do both, which will undoubtedly help resolve some backaches I’ve been having.

    On Saturday, I took the train into Manhattan to take a professional test.  Having passed that and acquired some new letters after my professional signature, I went over to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.  I made it there five minutes before noon, so snuck in through the gates for free, which was nice.  It was a beautiful day and I snapped a lot of photos.  My best one was of a bee landed on an ornamental onion, but now that I’ve looked at it on a computer, I can see some areas for improving.  So I’m thinking about whether or not to go back this weekend and try again with a little more knowledge.

    Sunday I took my new kayak out for her maiden voyage, which was a great deal of fun until the wind picked up.  It was at this point where being on an inflatable boat wasn’t such a great thing.  I paddled myself over to a beach and was resting (and waiting for the wind to die down) when another kayaker decided I needed rescuing.  It was a little silly, since I could have easily deflated my kayak and walked back to the car from where I was (perhaps 300 feet away from where I’d parked), but I hitched a ride back and had some fun kayak conversation.  I have blisters now, because I stupidly forgot my gloves,  but the freedom of moving around on the water was just amazing.  I think I’m addicted, which is unfortunate, because I’m meant to be training for a bike ride, not a paddling event.

    They do have kayak races in my neighborhood, though…so it might be worth thinking about for next year.  With a hard shell kayak!

  • new york,  ocean,  relationships

    The Season

    New York has something called The Season, which I’d never experienced before moving here. It starts on Memorial Day, lasts until Labor Day, and means that you go to the beach as much as possible. You sip teas and take things slower. You go to your timeshare on Fire Island or in the Hamptons or Montauk. You wear white and walk the streets of Manhattan slowly, languorously, browsing sales and famers’ markets.

    You smile a lot more.

    But still, I think the thing I love best about The Season in the town where I live are little things like going out to fancy restaurants and finding that everyone is still in sandals and flip flops, because you just can’t bother to put on socks for any occasion.

    I just adore this time of year.

  • nature,  new york,  ocean

    The Lonely Road

    It’s been a misty sort of day here, which translates into thick fog when I’m near home, since I’m so close to the ocean. We’ve been covered in fog for most of the last week, a very soft fog, the sort that covers you over like a soft blanket. You can see, but perhaps not much further than a block. Standing on the boardwalk, you can only hear the ocean.

    It is the most comforting solitude I could imagine. You are alone, sequestered in fog, but not alone, since someone can be around every corner.

    Tonight my walk home was absolutely lovely, as the fog caught the chirps of the birds that have returned and pushed the sound down and around my head. I wandered through my neighborhood, absently reading a book as I walk, as usual, but comforted by the presence of spring all around me.

  • art,  feminism,  new york,  ocean,  relationships,  travel

    Patton Oswalt, Stomp and the Opening Comedian

    red-wineThis weekend was very busy, since I was entertaining a friend that was visiting from out of town. The highlight was seeing Patton Oswalt who is an absolutely brilliant comedian from Sterling, Virginia (Virginia pride, whoo!). You probably wouldn’t like him if crude language offends you, but he has some very smart things to say. It was cool to see him live.

    Less cool was the opening comedian, who referred to all the women in his jokes as bitches, which was particularly depressing since most of the audience responded well to it. Apparently jokes about how completely stupid and useless women are are still in. I’m prefer smart comedy, not just meanness, so he was kind of a boring boor. But a boor with a very happy audience, which made me want to hide my head in the sand for the rest of my life. It made me drink far too much Shiraz, too.

    Fortunately, we went to see Stomp before my hangover, which was pretty cool. The idea behind it is that you can make rhythm from the most ordinary objects. Once you have enough people involved, this becomes really cool. Rhythm is such an essential part of being alive and is absolutely everywhere when you stop to listen for it – in language, in the sounds of our vehicles, in the waves of the ocean. Being able to hear and respond to rhythm is so intrinsic to what makes us such amazing creatures — when we can manage to treat each other with respect, that is.

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