Yuuuuup! It was back to Central New York again this past weekend! This time it was not for hotshop fun times, graduations, or camping, it was for my cousin’s bridal shower! I even left behind Brazilian Helicopter Pilot so that I could help my mom handle everything. I got in late Thursday night and had a meatball sub that my mom had made me while talking about my day and generally catching up with the Mom. We both went to bed pretty quickly because we knew that the next day was going to be a long, but fun, one.
We got up at a decent time Friday morning and after nomming down some yummy bagel, egg, and cheese sandwiches we scooted out the door for the Great New York State Fair!!!! Now keep in mind that my FB posts about the NY State Fair from two years ago revolved around these themes:
“Something ’bout a truck….damn. So many trucks here at the fair.”
“This is what summer is all about – fat people, jingoism, fried food, hot beef sundaes, moonshine slushies, and hot hot hawt country boys riding the mechanical bull shirtless. Thank you God I can die happy now.”
“Fried green beans. Healthy food is not to be found here at the fair. Hell yeah”
“It’s tradition. Chocolate milk for .25”
If you could not tell, I was very much single at that time and was enjoying oogling all the boys. This year was a little different. We got there at 10:30 am and knew we had to go set up a bridal shower afterwards so there was no drinking! I was also taking pictures of food signs left and right so I could share them with my therapist in order to convince her to take the four hour drive north in order to have an amazing time stuffing her face next year.
Our first stop was at a tent where I got to pet one of the horses. I am not usually one to run around and pet strange animals, but this horse was being walked by her owner who encouraged us to pet her. I learned that horses’ only blind spot is directly in front of them. I also made sure to try to let the horse smell me and telegraphed all of my movements when I was going in to pet her. There were too many people just walking by and trying to quickly lean in and pet her instead of letting her see them, smell them, and then pet her. I do not think I will ever want to own a horse, but it was nice to pet her and talk to her owner about random things.
The next booth we spent any time at was the National Guard booth because they had a Blackhawk that you could look at and climb up into. I, of course, tried to engage in meaningful conversation with the two men at the helicopter and was quite pleased with what we talked about. The older man was funny and candid about how he got into being in charge of the helicopter and how he was actually terrified of heights. He said when he sits in the helicopter and it is flying around or he is on the cable being lifted up, he feels completely safe, but as soon as you put him on a ladder he is scared out of his mind. I admitted that my main understanding of war and military was from movies and I told him I was sure that he had probably been asked about Blackhawk Down a few times. He said that yes, a lot of the questions they got revolved around movies, but funnily enough, not a lot of questions about Blackhawk Down the past two days (read: YOU OLD WATCH NEW MOVIES). I mentioned that the last “military” movie I had watched was Tropic Thunder. He laughed and explained that on his first tour of Iraq his COs would quote that movie back and forth and he never understood what the hell they were quoting until a while later when he finally watched the movie. The second man was a pilot who was also easy to talk to and helped elucidate why it is that this war/conflict in Iraq required more National Guard and Reserve forces to fight. I sent Brazilian Helicopter Pilot a picture of me sitting in the jump seat of the helicopter and got this in response:
BHP: What happened? Are you ok? WHY DID THEY HAVE TO HELICOPTER YOU AWAY?!?
Me: It was a demo at the National Guard booth! They had a real blackhawk that you could climb in. How the hell did you know it was a helicopter?
BHP: I have adequate knowledge of many things!! I’m glad you are ok and having fun!!!
It didn’t hit me until just now that OF COURSE Brazilian Helicopter Pilot would know I was in a helicopter HE IS BRAZILIAN HELICOPTER PILOT. Duh.
We popped into the horse Colosseum to watch a few of the horse shows and then wandered through some of the buildings including the Dairy building (.25 cent cups of chocolate milk, hot beef sundae, and the butter sculpture), the Center of Progress Building, the Health Building (I got a massage with an electronic pulse thingy that was freaking me out, we supported the mental health booth, I got a bunch of condoms from the PreP people, got a ribbon from the ovarian cancer booth), and the Women’s Building. In the Women’s Building I found the Domestic Abuse booth (Vera House in Syracuse) and just started crying. I can’t even really put my finger on it, but it was so overwhelming. That we even need a booth like this, that domestic abuse is so prevalent in our country, that rape, sexual assault, molestation, and harassment happen every day to all women. The woman at the booth was so very kind and we talked about how when I was in the right position I would be able to help and volunteer more. She explained how she volunteers at prisons and with parolees to help them break the cycle of abuse, assault, and to better understand how to treat women. The crowning moment was of course fried dough from the Villa.
Setting up the shower went smoothly because it was Mom, my aunt, and I and we are bosses when it comes to these things. We got everything straightened around and ready while drinking wine and eating salsa, guac, and chips. After that was done I made pork chops in a red wine sauce with garlic and a side dish of summer squash, bell peppers, and onion. It was a raving success. It was another chill evening after that because the shower was the next day.
The shower was a whirl of quiche, mimosas, coffee cake, and questions/jokes about if I was going to be next. I unfortunately was suffering from dehydration and travel fatigue so I had to retire for a nap in the back before the bride to be even opened my gift. But the entire party was a smashing success and when I finally came back out I had a lovely chat with my mom and two of my older cousins about feminism, women’s rights, daughters, sex education, and open communication. It was very empowering. My favorite exchange from the shower:
Family Member: Michelle! Do you know what ALSO happened on the 29th of October? (this is the day my cousin is getting married)
Me: I was born
FM: Do you know what ELSE happened on the 29th of October?
Me: The stock market crashed.
FM:…..do you know the OTHER THING that happened on the 29th of October
FM: Superstorm Sandy hit NYC
Me: Yeah, I know all the bad things that happened on my birthday
Mom and I got home fairly early and ordered a pizza that we demolished and then I put on Amélie and fell in love with it all over again.
Thankfully the ride back to the city on Sunday was highly uneventful and Brazilian Helicopter Pilot met me at Port Authority to give me hugs and kisses and see me off to my apartment.