Thursday, September 29, 2011

How I Spent My Summer

Like a sticky, 90+ degree whirlwind, summer has already come and gone.  Looking back, I'd have to say it was a pretty odd summer for me.  It began with a burst of awesomeness and spun into a blur of inactivity.
So, let's start with the (mostly) high note that kicked off my summer.

For the past couple years, I've been friends with the fantastic Teal Sherer (whom you might recognize from The Guild).  Earlier this year, an idea became a discussion, a discussion became plans, and Teal and I agreed to finally meet and hang out for a few days in Niagara Falls.
Everything was arranged quickly and before too long, the end of June had arrived and I was ready.  Well, almost.

On the morning of Thursday, June 23rd, I was up at 7 AM. The original plan was to hit the road at 10 AM, but it was becoming increasingly apparent that things weren't going according to plan. Despite everything being booked and ready so far in advance, my dad didn't take our van in to get checked until the day before I was supposed to leave. Our van is a few years old and has a bit of rust on the bottom. As a result, every time this guy fixed something, something else would break. He kept the van overnight on Wednesday and kept working through Thursday.  So, I sat in my living room as the hours passed by, tracked Teal's flight all the way across the country (LA to Buffalo), and it started to look like we weren't getting the van back. Dad finally brought the van back at 8 PM.  Mom and I debated what to do and decided to leave that night, so we didn't lose half of Friday traveling. We packed up and left at 9:45 PM, picked up my aunt, and arrived in Niagara Falls around 2:30 AM. By the time we got unpacked, settled in, and in bed, it was 4 AM.

I woke up to my phone ringing around noon on Friday, it was Teal checking in to make sure we arrived safely. I quickly got into my chair and a little while later, Teal made her way up to my room.  After two years of friendship, we finally got to meet face to face.

We went to a late breakfast at Friday's, then basically just wandered around the area for a while.

We made our way down to the Maid of the Mist, and hopped aboard.  Sure, we got a bit waterlogged, definitely moreso than Teal expected, but I couldn't, in all good conscience, let her miss out on the Maid of the Mist experience, could I?

After the boat, we wandered back to the hotel and had dinner at The Keg.

All of us ended the night just hanging out in the room and watching the fireworks over the Falls.
Despite the craziness of Thursday, Friday was great.

Saturday started with another late breakfast, this time at Tony Roma's, and then it was time for the big event.  A lot of my Niagara trips are planned around Chantal Kreviazuk concerts, as was the case this time, but this one was raising the bar of awesomeness. Not only was it another show at the excellent Jackson-Triggs Winery, but this time, Chantal was being accompanied by the Niagara Symphony Orchestra.  As if that wasn't cool enough, the concert was also being filmed for a DVD/Bluray, etc.
So, Mom, Aunt Karen, Teal, and I packed into the van and headed to the winery early to meet up with some friends before the show.  It was fun, as always, to visit with Terence, Deb, Shelly, Chris, Russell, Mitch, Sandy, and a very pregnant Kathy.  People came and went, we hung out and chatted for a bit, then made our way down to the amphitheater for the show.

In reviewing the concert, I would end up mostly echoing my own comments about past shows, so I'll just say the show was incredible, Chantal sounded and looked wonderful, the orchestra really enhanced the sound into a whole new experience, the venue was beautiful, the wine was outstanding, and we had perfect seats (Thanks, Del!).

After the show, we said our see-you-laters, snapped some pictures, and headed back to the hotel.

The awesome Karen Graves
The gang

Unfortunately, this is where the whole thing went downhill for me.
Around 4 AM on Sunday morning, I woke up feeling awful.  The best I can guess is the mixture of wine and what I'm assuming was a kidney stone episode hit me at the same time and threw me for a loop, leaving me stuck in the hotel bed for the next couple days. I stayed in bed from Saturday night until we left on Monday morning, slept the whole way home, then got in my own bed for a couple more days.
For the last bit of vacation, my aunt and Teal bonded as they hung out and wandered around Niagara while Mom stayed in the room with me. I consider the "end" of the trip to be Sunday night. They had fireworks again and I could see them from my bed, so everyone gathered and watched. Teal had an early flight back to LA on Monday, so after the fireworks, she hugged me and was off.

After we got back, it took me about a week before I started to feel back to normal. Plus, I was laid up for so long, I got a bit weak and it took me about a month to fully feel like myself again.
So, the trip started and ended badly, but the concert and spending time with Teal were worth it.

That was the start of summer, and honestly, the rest of the summer whooshed by.  It was an exceptionally hot summer, so I really didn't go out much.  Everyone was busy, so I didn't see many people, though I did spend some good time with Bridget and Sarah.  I even got to catch up a bit with Cathy and Nikki, neither of whom I'd seen in ages.
And, of course, I'm always hanging out with my ever-growing and scarily smart nephew, Matthew.

Before I knew it, my birthday was upon me and summer was nearing it's end.  I had a pre-birthday visit from Corey, Eric, and Brendan, and then had a blast celebrating at Corks with Bridget the following weekend.

Me & Bridget

The weekend was topped off by a great hang out session with Marisa.

So, here we are.  Fall has arrived and it looks like it'll be a busy one.  I'm just about to embark on another Canadian adventure, I'm working on a big screenplay, I'm prepping a short film I love, and I'm working on a comic strip.
Let's go, fall!