Vignettes: Vacation!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Greetings from my long-awaited, and badly needed, vacation! I got back late Monday evening from the Newport Folk Festival, which was wonderful as always.

I plan to write a longer post about my experiences, because in addition to wanting to share some of my impressions of the performers I saw, I want to write about what was an important weekend in my transition:

I spent the entire weekend as myself for the first time.

:-p


In fact, I have been living as myself since Thursday evening, when, mercifully, my work week ended.

I cannot describe how wonderful it felt, and feels, to simply get to live as myself at long last for more than a few hours.

I wore no makeup the entire weekend, as it was brutally hot and humid the entire time. J and I had discussed experimenting with different looks for my hair and makeup, but then reality set in, and we accepted that we simply did not have time.

Nonetheless, I passed the entire weekend as far as I could tell. (Then again, I *was* overtired in the extreme - perhaps I imagined the entire weekend! lol)

I am only aware of being read twice, and both of those occurred on the first day I went out for a full day in early July. It feels so, so affirming to be addressed as "Miss" and "she" when out and about, particularly since I do not look or feel my best right now.

I am still exhausted from 18 months of non-stop stress on the work and home front, on top of the stress of transitioning. And I am also beyond frustrated at my inability to get a workout routine going.

As T noted, I have run into the perfect storm to prevent me from getting one going: a stressful job with long, irregular hours that often change with no notice, topped off with a long, tiring, stressful commute.

And that does not even include all of the health issues I have encountered since starting this job 18 months ago (including those horrid steroids for my hip injury), nor does it in include the ongoing horrid weather we have been enduring seemingly for that entire time.

I told my manager L that I simply had to address this when I return from vacation; I hate feeling out of shape, and right now I am. I need to exercise to relieve stress - and ensure I can fit into some of the cute clothes I've picked up. lol

I *will* get a routine established, and I *will* get back to my usual level of conditioning. When I make up my mind to do something, I do not stop until I achieve it. This is no different. I am going to do it the right way - slowly but consistently. 18 months of stop-start activity is not overcome in a few weeks, but I see no reason I can't be well on my way back by the end of the year.

So I will be. :c)

More on my experiences as myself in my next post.

For the remainder of this post, though, I thought I would share a few tales from my time down there.

Oh, and a few pictures of yours truly and of a few of my favorite acts from the weekend.

Not all of them - just enough to serve as a cliffhanger. (Hey, blogs have sweeps months too, you know!)

So, as Mr. Gleason used to say, "And away we go!!!"

***

In my last post, I had just arrived in Newport RI for the Folk Festival.

We had monsoon-like rain that day, the first day of the festival, although I didn't attend.


T and J traditionally go out to dinner together on the Friday we all arrive in Newport. F was arriving later in the evening, so I went out on my own. 

I was dressed casually, as you will see below (a camisole, striped top, capris, and sneakers), and I was quite tired, so I basically stopped as soon as I reached the first restaurant I found, literally a minute from our hotel.

I wound up seated across from a large party of at least a dozen, ranging in age from six or seven to a gentleman who appeared to be well into his 80s. 

There seemed to be only one waitress on duty as far as I could tell. Needless to say, she had her hands full dealing with a party that size. so much so that I sat unattended for what turned out to be nearly 15 minutes. I didn't mind; I had a spectacular view of Newport Harbor and Thames Street, so there was plenty to keep me occupied.

Eventually someone I assume was the manager came over and apologized for the long wait. As she took my order herself, I told her (truthfully) that no apology was needed. I could see how busy the waitress was, and assured her she didn't need to rush on my account.

When she came over a few minutes later, she thanked me for understanding. We struck up a conversation about the festival as she came back and forth with my dinner. It turned out we were both planning to attend the festival the following day, so we were comparing notes on who we planned to see.

When she brought me my check, she leaned in close.

"I don't usually do this," she said, "But you've been very nice, and I get the feeling you would appreciate knowing this. Did you notice the older gentleman at the table next to us?"

I told her I had.

"That's George Wein and his family," she told me, then laughed when my eyes opened wide.

I am not easily impressed, but "awe"is the proper word to describe how I felt at that moment. 


George Wein founded both the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals in the 1950s, and ran them until the early 2000s, when he retired. 

When the Folk Festival was in danger of going under after a disastrous 2008 (total attendance for two days was less than 4500; the maximum capacity is 12,000 per day), he stepped in again - at the age of 87! - and saved both events. The Folk Festival has sold out in advance in each of the past two years, something it had never done in its storied history.

I thanked her for telling me as I paid my bill. I said I didn't want to disturb his family at dinner, but asked her to pass along thanks from a fan for all he has done for the arts in his life. She said she would be happy to do so.

It was a lovely way to end my first day in Newport, needless to say!


***

I thought I would provide a few pictures of myself as well, although I have other ones I need to transfer from my camera. Hopefully these can serve as adequate placeholders.

Here I am on Friday evening, post-dinner.


Amazing what some soup, a beer (actually, 3/4 of a beer; any more and I would be on the floor!), and being seated next to a living legend can do to a gal's mood, is it not?

***

Here I am in Cranky Cass mode, Saturday morning. 

A sleepless night plus a 90 minute wait standing under the sun in stifling heat and humidity leave me looking a bit bedraggled as I finally settled in to my seat at the Harbor Stage. For some reason, no one but F wanted to sit next to me. Hmm...

***

And here I am back in Cheery Cass mode, approximately one hour later:

Give me a Del's frozen lemonade (thank you again, F!) and let me listen to Sarah Jarosz under a tent with a refreshing breeze wafting through and life is looking up. 

Even if I am still excessively "dewy." :D

***

Here is a carefully crafted, CGI-enhanced shot to give the impression I am standing amidst 12,000 people waiting for the Avett Brothers to take the stage to close out Saturday's schedule. Note the utter indifference of the crowd to my presence, as well as the continued non-appearance of "the girls":


Oh wait... those things prove it IS real, don't they? lol

This shot gives you some feel of what a beautiful setting this is for a festival. Ft. Adams is a Civil War-era fort in Newport Harbor (Newport was, and is, the home of the Naval War College).

The bridge you see in the background is the Newport Bridge (officially known as the Pell Bridge), which connects Newport to Jamestown, which is then connected to the mainland by the Jamestown Bridge. (Newport is on Aquidneck Island; Jamestown is on Conanicut Island.)

I was lucky enough to live in Newport for several years; it is a magical place. I think you can see why I feel that way.

***

Here is Cass on Sunday morning, in full-on sleepless, sweaty, be-freckled mode.



As J advised me shortly after taking this shot, "Hair clips and bandanas are your friends on days like this, sweetie." :c) 

***

Ravenous Cass on Sunday night, pre-dinner:


I'm actually wearing a sundress, but the air conditioning in our hotel suite was apparently set at such sub-Arctic levels that I had to wear a sweater to avoid frostbite.

Still looking a bit peaked; it was a long, tiring week on the personal and work fronts. In addition, I never sleep well in hotel rooms.

Shortly after this was taken I went out to the living room, where T, J, and F were chatting before heading out to our dinner reservation. I struggled valiantly to stay awake, trying to will myself to join the conversation.

Alas, apparently I failed, because I heard J say, "OK, boys, which one of you is slinging Cass over your shoulder and carrying her to the restaurant?"lol

The answer, for the record: neither. I managed to remain ambulatory both to and from the Brick Alley Pub - and in my girl shoes, no less. Oh, and did I mention cobblestoned streets?

Hmm... I think that alone qualifies me to go full-time, does it not? ;c)

***

I wanted to end up with a quick shot of my new sunhat that I picked up on Monday, which I proceeded to wear for the rest of the day:


I really like it, which is a good thing; as Gillian Welch once observed on stage at Newport, "Wearing a hat is an all-day commitment." ;-p

***

Seeing as how this post is about the Folk Fest, I would be remiss if I did not include some photos I took at the festival itself.

Here is Jason Isbell, performing on Saturday:


His new album Southeastern is easily the best I have heard this year. He is a triple threat: great singer, even better songwriter, and a transcendent guitar player. I like this shot because it seems to catch his intensity particularly well.

Check out his performance on David Letterman a few days before the Festival:


The stunningly beautiful fiddle player is his wife, Amanda Shires, who is a formidable songwriter in her own right. Her most recent album, Carrying Lightning, had one of the best songs I have heard in years: "When You Need A Train It Never Comes."

Here she is performing at NPR's Tiny Desk series:


The entire set is worth watching, but you can go here to listen to "When You Need A Train...". You won't regret it. It is haunting, in the best way.


***


And here is Andrew Bird, along with his surprise guest (well, it was a surprise to me, at least!) Tift Merritt.


They apparently are dear friends, which I think comes across in this shot. Here they are performing Townes Van Zandt's classic "If I Needed You":


More to follow in my next post! :c)

4 comments:

April on July 31, 2013 at 11:31 AM said...

You know who happy and proud I am of you sis!!!!

Love

April

Cassidy on July 31, 2013 at 12:47 PM said...

Aww... thank you, sweetie! :') I am lucky to have such a good sister to show me the way!

Love,
Cass

Jenna on August 1, 2013 at 1:23 AM said...

Totally love the sunhat.
I bought one a few months back because it had gotten too warm to wear the hats I was wearing during autumn and winter but the wind was blowing my hair around too much for me to not wear something.
Glad you had a great time at the festival.

Now go get that exercise regime started so that I can feel guilty about my lack of exercise at the moment :-)

Cassidy on August 1, 2013 at 7:10 PM said...

Hi Jenna!

One of my friends has been telling me for several months I need to purchase a sunhat; needless to say, she was very happy to see that particular photo!

My hair is at that annoying in-between stage now where it falls into my face but isn't quite long enough to put up yet. Looks like I need to invest in some bandanas for the time being. :c)

I've gone for several long walks the past two days. A more consistent, relatively sane schedule at work would help matters considerably, as would a less arduous commute. I have the worst of all worlds right now. Watch this space for details. :c)

Hugs,
Cass

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