Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kettle Pond for another kinda Fishin'

Catching fish fishing! The Mitch and I scooped up our dear friends over Memorial Day weekend for a four day camping trip in the Groton State Forest. We had planned to perhaps visit some of the other state parks while camping in the forest, but were so keen on our glorious spot and so full of the fish we kept eating that we pretty much stayed put in the one remote tent site at Kettle Pond State Park.

I skipped my yearly expedition to the Groton State Forest last year and was so happy to be returning to this magical crevice of the Earth. With two canoes and the infamous party barge, we paddled across Kettle Pond to our remote site where our closest neighbors were the Loon Family. Equipped with enough stuff for a week, we spent most of the first afternoon setting up camp where I continued to amaze everyone with the copious amounts of camp stuff I consume. I admit, I am addicted to material things. I love toys and camp toys are some of my favorites. Hey, at least I use them all! We had a kitchen, great room, bedrooms, and a library. Oh, and a boat garage - how could I forget?

The fishing began right away and continued throughout the weekend. One day the gals walked the lake while the fellas canoed the lake bringing us back several delicious appetizers. I learned you should always bring a ton of lemons when you camp! Not only are they excellent for flavoring your fish, but they do the best job at cleaning fish off your hands afterward. Check out all this fish activity!!!

We definitely braced some high winds trying to get back across the lake the day we actually left to check out the Groton Forest Store. The Mitch and I really had to work together as a team and definitely mastered some great teamwork canoeing skills - it's good to get scared in nature - makes you feel alive! Our friends also got lost in nature searching for the patch of old growth trees they was yearning to experience somewhere west of Kettle Pond. They did indeed find them and the smiles and energy they exuded was a treat in itself!

The natural landscape in the Groton State Forest and especially around the backside of Kettle Pond is intensely alive, lush, and mystical...it made me think of this lovely passage written by John Muir, Founder of the Sierra Club:

"Gain health from lusty, heroic exercise, from free, firm-nerved adventures without anxiety in them, with rhythmic leg motion in runs over boulders requiring quick decision for every step. Fording streams, tingling with fresh brushes as we slide down white slopes thatched with close snow-pressed chaparral, half swimming or flying or slipping - all these make good counterirritants. Then enjoy the utter peace and solemnity of the trees and stars. Find many a plant and bird living sequestered in hollows and dells - little chambers in the hills. Feel a mysterious presence in a thousand coy hiding things. Go free as the wind, living as true to Nature as those gray and buff people of the sequoias and the pines."

From the fairy hideouts along the edges of Kettle Pond we could only see when in the water to the star splashed evenings we spent beside the orange blazed fire listening to the loons, we felt that mysterious presence John Muir so elegantly speaks of and we drank it in to charge our souls for the summer we are adventuring in at this very moment.

And now I close up shop of my Vermont public relations firm for another several days as The Mitch and I are heading to Emerald Lake State Park for yet another endearing escape to the wonders of the Green Mountain's most precious gems of history and nature - the State Parks - www.vtstateparks.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Was Out Phishin'!

My apologies for the lack of posts - see my Vermont public relations blog for those details. And thank you for voting for the Vermont Vibes Blog to be a Seven Daysies Best Blog! If you haven't yet - vote here!!!

I have been waiting to post about my adventures with Phish so here goes...

It was AWESOME!!! One of my closest friends, Rachael, and I bounced off for our Rachel's Phish Tour in early June. We left on Wednesday evening, June 3rd, for a night at my parent's house in the Berkshires to get a chunk of the drive taken care of so we could arrive earlier rather than later in Jones Beach, Long Island for the June 4th show.

Of course, the reason I feel this post is appropriate for the Vermont Vibes Blog is because Phish is a Vermont band, Phish has been one of the top five influences on my entire existence, and we drove the Vibe for it's most phantastic (out-of-state) Vibe adventure ever!

So, Thursday, off to Jones Beach! En route we stopped for lunch at a rest stop on 84 where an older gentleman commented, "What great traveling clothes you ladies are wearing - you look lovely." This comment was just the start... We met up with our most awesome friend The Grizz, girlified his hotel room, and headed to the Jones Beach lot to meet up with all of the birds of a feather who flock together.

Then off to the show where we had great seats overlooking the entire venue from the balcony. Jones Beach is a wonderful venue! From the minute the sky divided every single conflicting feeling I had about Phish's return dissipated and they split open and melted right into my heart like a lover you finally realize is a best friend soulmate, not a hubby prospect.

There are two things about Phish's return I am mesmerized by:

1.) That they have been listening to their very, very, very demanding fanbase (myself included!) and really took their music back to it's core, played the heck out of it, didn't worry about major improvisation, played multitudes of songs, and played them well!
2.) After playing a grouping of faves, they'd bust into a new song. Watching the crowd that night was one of the highlights of the entire experience. People were listening. The band demanded the respect they deserved with cleaning up, listening to fans, and playing what folks want and in return said, "Now you listen to us, and where we're at, and where we're going." And people did. Never has something made me smile so much. And personally, I love Times Turns Elastic - I even have my own dance to it.

Post show, Rachael and I started being referred to as tour ladies and started to really like this description as opposed to chicks, bitches, or girls - it grew on us...

We had an early night and due to the limited parking lot, had a sleepover with The Grizz, where we tried to not be too girly (although being tour ladies, we soon learned this was not possible).

We awoke with hopes of the sun and a day at the Long Island beaches, but learned it was more of a drenching rain day. Bummer. So us tour ladies packed up and vibed off to a local bakery and coffee shop where we chatted with locals and bought all sorts of treats to compliment the Healthy Hippie tour food we brought in our picnic baskets. Destined to enjoy the beaches, we drove along one of the millions of parkways (everything on Long Island is parkway this or island that - it is very confusing to mountain mamas). We found one beach and while it looked closed due to the rain, learned it was actually open. So we busted out the IPod, beer, and tuna sandwiches and started to hang out in the pavilion. Our fabulous friends Tabar and Seth joined us for some beach fun and were actually invited by a sympathetic police officer to visit the next beach down which he said had a much bigger pavilion and better views. So, we followed him in a private police escort to another beach and sure enough - way better pavilion. Tunes, tuna, and beer have never been sweeter!

Soon the day had past and we were ready for the second night of Jones Beach! And this night the Rachel's had the best seats I have ever had at a show! With our sneaky sally ticket stub moves, Rachael and I, surrounded by all the dudes, rocked out to one stupendous show. (I comment on "all the dudes" because I am always amazed at how many hysterical posts there are on Phantasy Tour about chicks at Phish shows compared to the number of dudes.) I left once at set break to use the ladies room and otherwise didn't move from our terrific seats. Further clarity of the conversation between Phish and its phans was spoken - an understanding that we both need to listen to each other because we have both grown up. I felt a relaxation on Phish's end as they brought some killer funk, understanding that we don't want them to bring us back - we want them to bring us forward because we've all moved forward too. My life was saved by rock-n-roll and I'm gonna lap that up the rest of my life!! At some point I even turned to Rachael and said, "I want to lick Trey." She said, "No kicking!"

By then the glow sticks were cruising overhead and one dropped by our feet. As this unexpected movement caught her eye, Rachael picked it up and tossed it out to the crowd and then whispered, "That was my best throw ever!" A moment later a fellow behind us said, "Did you mean to hit that guy in the head?" And the Rachel's had a case of the giggles to which the fellow flirtingly responded, "I didn't mean to ruin your night ladies." Ladies - bwah!!! We continued rocking out to the show and well...wow. Oh, yeah, it rained most of the show. We didn't care, we had plastic bags in our shoes and thermal underwear under our hippie dresses. While gathering up our belongings after the show, a group of dudes past by and one said, "Nicely done ladies." This was all the ammo we needed - Tour Ladies! We were on fire!

We headed to the lots once again to meet up with friends and figure out how we were all getting back to the same hotel - yeah crew!!! While sharing our exuberance over the show, the most unfortunate experience took place with some completely tooled out noob cops. One of our buddies got arrested and thrown down on the ground by the police for relieving himself against a fence (let's count how many people do that shall we?) Absolutely wrongful use of police force and totally wiped out any positivity we felt towards the Jones Beach PD from our experience earlier in the day. Luckily, he was released from the makeshift cop shop in the middle of some bushes in the parking lot due to the humiliation the noob cops received from the vets. Onward to the hotel with the hilarious assistance of a GPS!

The Rachel's then retired to the Vibe in the hotel parking lot - just like the advertisements said, we laid out the seats where we had a lady tour fort I created before departing Vermont - complete with a tapestry pinned to the ceiling! No time to be foggy rather groggy Saturday morning! We bounced away in the opposite direction of most and enjoyed an absolutely glorious drive across Long Island - what gorgeous farms and wine country - I never thought Long Island was so beautiful. The Mitch and I might need to return for a romantic getaway! Speaking of The Mitch - he and Caitlin were waiting for us in Mansfield, so no time to see if the roses were free!

We got to the Cross Sound Ferry at Orient Point just in time for our 12 noon reservation into New London, CT. We parked the car, met a heady brah who offered, "I can offer you a ride to Camden if you'd like ladies." We responded, "No thanks, we're gonna be Rachel's on Trains, NOT Snakes on Planes" and took naps in the sun while enjoying the ocean views we missed while on Jones Beach.

Less than two hours later, we were Mansfield bound where the biggest contingency of our crew of hippies of good stock were prepping to bounce around the lawn. After two nights of great seats, sights, and sounds, the Rachel's were looking forward to dancing with our friends and getting in a little blow up guitar action! We arrived at the hotel and were ready in a jiffy for night three of Phish!

And we rocked! And Phish rocked! And I saw the Phish ex out of the corner of my eye. And I loved my fiance more than ever! And I loved my friends more than ever! And I realized I cannot rock the blow up guitar at Phish - my Phish dance it too deep in my bones and I must do it. The blow up guitar is saved for moe. and I came to peace with the fact that the two bands I love so much can co-exist happily in my life. Yay!

We caught up with friends in the lot once again, prepared for more upcoming music fun, and had an early night in preparation for our uber lady tour trek to Camden...I kissed The Mitch farewell and we cruised on out in the Vibe Sunday morning, very much looking forward to being Rachel's on Trains, NOT Snakes on Planes to arrive at my 30th show! We left the Vibe at the New Haven, CT train station and took the three and a half hour ride down to Philly where we slept and learned how to use our lady tour fans, since Camden was gonna be a hot one.

The crew was substantially smaller in Camden, but we got to see some great friends we hadn't seen at the previous shows and danced like no one's business. The minute they played Fee (my first place award winning cat), I was in song listening heaven and by the time they played The Lizards, I danced until I ran like an antelope and reprised a tweezer.

With the Vibe safely in Connecticut and the Rachel's in between Jersey and Philly, we quickly departed our beloved friends and bounced off with another crew for some late night snack machine attacks at their hotel following an extensive tour of Philly's historic district without a GPS. We slept in our friend's car, got a ride to the train station, bought some lady magazines, and relaxed on our ride back to New Haven. The Vibe was in good shape and we made the farewell drive back to Vermont while excitedly discussing the possibility of a Tour Lady RV rental and out west excursion next summer...hmmm......

Thank you Thank you Thank you Phish!!! And for all other tour ladies out there - yeah mamas - we all rock!!!!!