Tag Archives: summer

Forgive Me Pink Blanket, for I Have Sinned

I’ve been so busy with the kid and life transitions, I have committed 2 summer Boston sins: The first was I forgot to look up the Free Friday Flicks list, as in, forgot it existed. Thanks to dancing Mike for picking up the slack! The 2nd was worse: once I was alerted to the movie list, I actually forgot about it again. This past Friday night was the first one. We were not there. Mike mentioned it when he saw me on Saturday night. Ugh.

I know there are far worse things, but right now these traditions feel even more important to help keep us grounded, so forgetting them seems really bad. But If I’ve learned anything during my 50+ years on the planet, it’s get over your damn self and keep going freak. Or maybe that’s what I yell at other drivers. Anywho, the movies take a 2 week hiatus to make way for the Fourth of July Pops festivities and I will be there on July 14 when they return.

While I sit in a corner to think about what I’ve done, here’s a post from a few years ago about how it should have happened. It will happen, but  just a little late. Unless I forget again. Middle age can be a real pain in the ass.

I walked to the Hatch Shell in Boston for my first Free Friday Flicks of the season—it’s my 29th year of watching movies there; the first one I remember was “Batman”— not the one with Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. No, this was the made-for-TV Batman movie with Adam West (who has recently moved on to the bat cave in the sky) and Burt Ward, complete with the “Pow,” “Bam” and “Smash” hand drawn exclamation bubbles. (Young ones, Google it or just watch the SpongeBob episodes with Mermaid Man—same diff). Back then they also showed lots of classic movies. FFF, as we like to call it, was where I first saw Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and Citizen Kane. I’m sure they were cheap for the city to get and the crowd was easy to please. It was a handful of mostly people like me—broke post-college and college students who were happy to find something—anything—free to do on a Friday night.

I’ve seen a lot of things come and go at FFF. But nearly always, at the core has been my pink blanket, aka F*cking Pink Blanket. For years, it has been the centerpiece, nay, the very FFF raison d’être, welcoming newcomers and seasoned attendees alike. Until last night. As usual, I had arrived early, unveiled the FP Blanket and secured the area. Something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until my friends came and pointed out, there were not one, not two but at least THREE other pink blankets around us. Of course, they were not nearly as amazing as the FP Blanket, but still, they were not pastel posers. I was concerned. I see you are puzzled; let me explain.

The FP Blanket, pictured above on Friday night, is at least 40 years old, and like all good things from the 70s, it’s made from an indestructible synthetic material that defies physics and logic. It hasn’t gotten any more worn, nor has the color faded. It’s just as f*cking pink now as it was when it was on the bed of whichever of my unlucky family members had it. Or maybe it was a guest blanket, which would explain our lack of guests growing up.

Before cell phones, meeting up with friends at the Hatch Shell was a challenge, as most of us left our carrier pigeons and tin cans with string at home. Thus, the neon pink blanket became an important feature for spotting our group amongst the sea of particularly unremarkable, yet confusing blankets. In the 90s, I met my friend Becky and invited her to FFF. She’s the one who dubbed the blanket the F*cking Pink Blanket. She‘s not profane, mind you—other than the blanket, I’d be hard pressed to tell you that last time I heard her swear. But she is an excellent story teller and that summer, on the blanket, she told a story about her friends who were trying to buy a tandem bike, an unusual item. They found an ad for one (in a print publication no doubt) and called the number (this was before the internet and before there were readily available photos. If you think it’s tiresome to keep reading about these stories that happened before the internet, imagine how tiresome it was to live this way — barbaric!) When they reached the seller, he said,in his pure Boston accent, “I gotta warn you, it’s f*cking pink.” The rest, as they say, is history, and ever after the blanket became the F*cking Pink Blanket.

So, you must understand, there can be no others. Because of my longevity and good nature, I have decided to give you, Other Pink Blanket Owners, a friendly warning.  I understand you must be new to FFF, so please know that I own the FP Blanket and you need to find another blanket to bring. I’m sure you will. Your flimsy, natural fiber blanket won’t last anyway, so I’m saving you a lot trouble. Maybe you can use yours for a sick dog or to cover up your IKEA furniture when you move out of Boston. Need some hints of what else you could bring? Low chairs, sleeping bags, and really any kind of blanket is acceptable. Except pink. That’s my blanket and how people find me, not you. No one wants to sit with you, who has the fake, non-F*cking Pink Blanket. And don’t think for a minute little girl with the square pink blanket that I’m going to go any easier on you than I will on the others. Cute doesn’t play in my town, sister, and make no mistake, this is my town and my FFF. Thank you for attention to this matter, and I look forward to not seeing you next week.

Sincerely,

Sandy, owner of the true and only F*cking Pink Blanket.

Paying It Forward

Another quick one, my chickadees. Yours truly had too much fun this weekend, and you know what that means. The facade I like to cultivate that I’m a dedicated, organized blogger gets blown to Cheeto land. I did get to see my best friend from childhood and her delightful, funny husband. They live in the desert, and I don’t get to see them very much, so that was completely awesome.

Back at work today, I got a text message from the kid to tell me his friends were over again and that they’d used my card to get food. I sighed heavily. They have been frequenting my house several times a week for the past few months. I get it, this is their last summer together before college changes everything. But today I got crabby. Where are the other parents? I muttered to myself. Why is my house where everyone gathers? No one offers to pay for anything. We end up driving everyone one home. Grumble, bitch. I checked my account for the food delivery damage. $60 bucks. Sigh.

But then I thought about my childhood friend. Her house was the gathering house. It had a yard all around it and had the advantage of not having a dad who yelled, like I had at my house. In the summers, we practically lived at her house, showing up before lunch and staying way past sunset to play hide and seek. And all day we inhaled immeasurable amounts of ice cream, Popsicles, sandwiches, snacks, and Kool-Aid. True, there were 7 kids who actually lived there, so what was a couple more, but still. I never heard her mom complain about us being there, sprawling all over the furniture, running around the yard, or consuming mass quantities of food.

So as I sit and listen to the kid and his friends laughing and talking trash (OK, it’s Dungeons & Dragons trash talking), I realize, I’m paying it forward for all those summers of freeloading as only kids can do — freely, without malice, and with gusto. Thank you summer second mom, I’m honored to carry on your tradition.

Yo, Winter, What Else You Got?

This past weekend was the first official weekend of fall. Being a lover of summer, by now I’m usually wringing my hands, bemoaning its loss as if it were mine alone, and annoying all my friends about how much I hate the transition from summer to fall. As if they haven’t heard this from me for the past ten, 20, and god bless them, 30 years. This year? I’m good, and I’m not sure why. I think part of this anomaly is that we actually got to have a bona fide summer here in New England. Not the half-assed one where June is cold and rainy, we get six-weeks of mostly sun and swampy humidity from mid-July to the end of August with temperatures from 80 to 100 degrees, and then the 50-degree days swoop in on August 30. That’s our usual good summer, which explains a certain amount of our lack of friendliness. This year, June was warm and sunny, followed by sun and warmth and more sun and warmth. Through July, August, all the way until last week. Into September. I was still wearing sun dresses up until a week ago. Around here, that’s some crazy shit.

It was kind of shocking, all of this summer, but because I’m a Leo, I knew exactly what to do. I summered the hell out of this summer. Beaching, swimming, canoeing, jumping off high rocks, parading around Provincetown. There was actually enough summer to go around this year, so I’m OK letting it go.

I think the other reason I can say goodbye more easily is because I survived the worst winter since I came to Boston in 1983. And yes, it was worse than the Blizzard of ’78. I experienced that one in Connecticut, and it was bad there too; there and here it is the measuring stick of worst. ’78 was one really awful snowstorm that people weren’t prepared for, and it shut everything down for about a week. Last winter we were shut down on a weekly basis, three times in a month, and received nearly double our usual annual snow fall. It seemed to push a lot of people over the edge—the people who usually joke about moving south for the winter were diligently checking job and real estate listings in the South and on the West Coast.

Me? Two things happened after last winter:

First, I never took this summer for granted. In fact, I’m marveling that the trees are still green and am trying to burn the image into my retinas. Usually by early July, I forget winter ever happened, and trip along as if it will be summer forever. Hence, the hand-wringing in September.

Second, last winter ignited some hard-core New Englander reaction in me. I do pride myself on being a New Englander, but let’s face it, as far as nature toughness, I live in Boston, not the wilds of Maine. So I lean more towards, the crabby, I-hate-California kind of New England “tough.”  In the depths of storm three, though, there was already two feet of snow on the ground and shoveling involved being able to toss it high enough or walk far enough to find an emptier space to dump it. And lots of people were giving up, but I got pissed. And tough. And I took each shovel full and said a silent eff you to winter with every calorie-burning toss. I drove in the crazy snow-clogged, one-lane roads, dodging oncoming cars and potholes that could swallow a Hummer. I slogged through the snow-choked sidewalks and knee-deep puddles. I didn’t leave my house when the T stopped running. I laughed. I knew I would win.

Any of my friends could tell you this is so not me. But it is now.

Fall is coming, the air is crisp, and the leaves will turn. Snow is stalking me, but I’m not afraid. I got my shovel, my snow melt, and the best weapon of all, New England resiliency with a side of Bostonian attitude. Bring it, Winter. I’m fixin’ for a wicked good fight.