Sunday, January 20, 2013

#4 Spend The Night In A Luxurious Hotel

It occurred to me in November that I have spent every one of my 39 years celebrating New Years in the Hazleton Area. In fact, I've never gone anywhere for New Year's Eve other than a house party, usually at my father's. Don't get me wrong, the parties were always a good time but I was curious as to what it would be like to go out and party on New Years Eve.

The Sayre Mansion, Bethlehem, PA
My wonderful friend Becky and her lovely friends, whom I am also proud to call friends, had mentioned late in November about going to Sayre Mansion for an overnighter on New Year's Eve. Sayre Mansion is a luxury Bed and Breakfast in the historic part of Bethlehem, PA. I was so excited at the opportunity to go. It was a chance to ring in the New Year in a new way.

I realized starting the New Year somewhere other than Hazleton is exactly what I needed. It was a chance to create a different, positive vibe for what could be the best year yet! Maybe I will end the year somewhere different too. Ya never know. I don't want too get to far ahead of myself though. Baby steps.

Crystal, the hostess of this awesome event, mentioned it was going to be potluck. Everyone was going to bring some type of food and alcohol. Loved the idea. Potlucks are so much fun. You never know what is going to be on the menu but I will say I have yet to be disappointed with all the variety of home cooked foods potlucks provide. Becky was going to cover the cost of the room since Christmas is always very tight for me. I told her I would make the food. I decided on Cannoli Bites, Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly with crackers and Haluski.

Cannoli Bites

I had to work New Years Eve so I made my food the day before. I also decided on an outfit. I shoved everything into this tiny little Samsonite bag I stole from my neighbor in the nursing home. ( Ok, so I didn't steal it from her. She gave my mother a few things and since my mother is storing some of it in my house, technically, I stole it from her, permanently. Also got some cool black ankle boots and a few handbags and perhaps a Christmas wreath and then there was the snowman. I'll just stop here. )

The Infamous Red Bag!
After work I ran home, grabbed my bag and a bottle of Nearly Naked wine. My son helped me load the food into my car and off I went to Becky's. An hour an a half later we were in historic Bethlehem.

I had only been to Bethlehem once before, back in April, so I had no idea just how nice parts of this city were. The mansion sat up on a hill in the historic district of Bethlehem overlooking downtown Bethlehem and the Steelworks.

After Becky and I both made sure she did not park in a handicap spot we hopped out of the jeep. Then we got right back in it because it turns out we just suck and have become blind in our old age. It was a handicap spot.

I asked her if a mental handicap counted but realized I did not have a special sign signifying I am mentally handicapped. I mean, within five minutes of meeting me it usually becomes obvious that I am just not right in the head.

But, enough about me. Once we verified she was not in a handicapped spot, again, we made our way to the mansion. It was absolutely gorgeous inside. We spotted Becky's friend Norm, whom was already loaded and very much sleep deprived, giving a little friendly harassment to the sweet manager of the B&B. She was very patient and quite amused by him. As Becky was checking in, I began exploring the downstairs.

The view of the pretty bridge from Sayre Mansion

Sayre Mansion
The sitting room at the Sayre Mansion

The mansion was very old yet in pristine condition. Great care went into the preservation of this mansion. I noticed the steps leading to the second floor were slighted slanted which is normal in very old homes. I laughed a little because I am also the owner of a very old home and have learned to appreciate the quirks that come with owning one. Nothing is straight or flush in an old home. But nothing compares to the details and construction of an old home. They were built to last.

Sayre Mansion Christmas
The decorated marble fireplace. 
There were numerous little rooms, tons of staircases and perhaps a few landings I may have almost tripped on. I noticed there were so many stunning little details in each room. Ornate crown molding, cream colored curtains, shiny hardwood floors, marble fireplaces, tastefully upholstered antique furniture, colorful area rugs, hurricane jars glowing with candles, vases of berries and pine trimmings and little dishes of peppermint candy decorated the mansion. It was crafted thoughtfully and with great detail. There was not a speck of dust to be found anywhere. It was truly beautiful.

After some more friendly banter with Norm, the funny guy, the manager showed us to our room. It happened to be right at the top of the stairs. Good thing too because this place was huge. I knew once inebriated, I would have difficulty finding my room. And I wouldn't be quiet about it either. It was fate that we got such an easy to find room. As we turned the key and opened the door, Becky and I both let out a gasp. It was gorgeous and decorated in shades of blue!! Blue is my favorite color. I find it so calming and relaxing. With each step I made, I was falling more in love with this place.

We walked into the room and immediately began taking in every nook and cranny. There were two baby champagnes in an iced bucket. Champagne flutes and New Years Eve party supplies were neatly displayed on an old wooden secretary desk near the door. The bed was covered in down comforters with goose down pillows and a feather top mattress. I was so envious of the bathroom. It was beautiful. Wish mine were as cool.

We both took turns sitting at the black lacquer vanity. I declared to Becky that I was going to sit and put on my make up just like the ladies did back in the day. I found amusement in the little glass decanter on a tray on the dresser. I immediately filled it with Farmer's diet ice tea. I poured both Becky and myself a glass of diet ice tea with orange cream vodka because why wouldn't I? Let the party start.

Sayre Mansion Christmas
A voluptuous Christmas tree decorated in gold. 

Sayre Mansion
An inviting sitting area to relax and enjoy the fire. 

The stunning Oriental vanity. Always wanted one of these!
Sayre Mansion
The bathroom of the blue room. Love!
Such a comfy bed!

Happy New Years to me!! And Becky too! 

Ice tea and vodka is served. 
After we explored our room and drank some spirits, Becky and I headed down to the party room to unpack the food and chill the alcohol. Of course ours was already nice and cold. You see, one of the little "benefits", if you will, about living in the North is that we don't always have to pay for a bag of ice to keep the cooler chilled. Handfuls of snow shoved into the beer cooler works just as well. In fact, we discovered, the snow actually lasts way longer than ice.

That $1.50 we would have spent on ice can now be utilized to defer the cost of the ridiculous tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Sure, you get to drive through the ultra-cool Lehigh Tunnel as part of the admission. Yes, instead of hitting seventy potholes your vehicle only has to endure about 40 on the turnpike. However, the features and benefits of the PA Turnpike are not enough to justify the cost. Welcome to Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, AKA the state that has the nerve to charge you to drive on it's shitty roads.

As we walked to the Jeep to retrieve our stuff, Bethlehem was putting on a New Year's Eve fireworks display for the children of the city. Becky and I stopped in our tracks, fixated on the large glittery showers of ignited sparks lighting up the dark New Year's sky. "And standing there in the dark, eyes gazing into the infinite sky, I found myself at once the little girl that had so much hope and passion for the life she was going to live......."

Redneck ice aka the Pennsylvania outdoor ice machine!

After the fireworks dispersed, we began hauling the food and alcohol down to the party room. It was absolutely gorgeous. I have always found stone walls to be aesthetically beautiful. The ceiling was brick and wood and also architecturally charming in it's own right. As I walked around this room, taking in it's beauty, I was curious as to what purpose it held when Robert Sayre had lived there.

I could not wait to hang in this room later that night. Becky and I put our food with the tons of other food provided by the party goers. Perhaps we sampled some of the food because it was there. Why wouldn't we? Chicken Scampi, Meatballs, Ziti, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Barbecue, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Taco Salad, a huge Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple and so many other delicious food things were on display. The samples proved very delish!

Sayre Mansion
The Party Room in the cellar.

As we walked back to our room we were not sure if we were dressing up. We heard others say they were just wearing comfy clothes. I told Becky I never get to dress up so I was going to dress up even if I stood out like a sore thumb. I could change into comfy clothes later on if necessary. She said she was going to dress up as well.

After I put on my outfit, I go for my heels. I became perplexed. They were too big on me. I haven't worn this pair since April. They were a little looser than usual back in April but tonight, even on the last hole in the strap my feet were slipping in them. I am too young to be shrinking quite yet I hope. The thought just aggravates me that we shrink because I am a shorty to begin with. I cannot spare even an inch.

Getting my make up did.

The only thing I could think of is that I lost about 20 lbs since the beginning of the year. I never surmised you could lose weight in your feet but I guess you can because the heels I brought to wear for the night were suddenly too big for my feet. Frustrated, I look at what else I packed. It wasn't much because this was just an overnighter. My winter boots do not go with my outfit at all. My only other alternative are the Steelers slippers my friend Jacy bought me. They won't match my outfit either although but they are pretty damn cool.

I decided to suck it up and wear the heels. I will be fine. After getting all gussied up, I decided I needed a smoke. I realized I was wearing my really short gold sequin skirt. I had to make sure the attached slip was pulled all the way down otherwise my skirt was pretty much see through. I knew this because last spring on my way to the casino for the Kentucky Derby, I wore this skirt. I proceeded to stop at a Turkey Hill for cigarettes. I noticed people were checking me out. A few men even stopped to get a glance at me, smiling.

I thought "Wow, I must really look good." It wasn't until I made my way back to my car after my purchase that I realized the slip attached to the skirt was hiked up around my waist. I let out a little laugh and just shook my head. "Awww.... fuck it." I said. I am wearing nylons anyway. I don't think anyone really saw anything, I just looked that good I tell myself. Misguided confidence. Whatever. That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Cliche self pic in a mirror. 
As I stepped outside my room and walked down the steps to have a smoke, I was reminded of the movie Jurassic Park. Why you ask? Because that is what I looked and sounded like walking down the steps in five inch heels that my feet kept slipping in. You could hear me coming a mile away.

I had a death grip on the banister to keep from falling down the charming, crooked stairs while my other hand was tugging at my skirt, making sure my slip was all the way down since there was a crowd of people at the bottom of the stairs.

Yes, Sayre Mansion had been invaded by a little dinosaur. You would have thought this would have detered me from walking around the hotel for the rest of the night or perhaps make me want to remove my shoes and walk around in my stockings. But no, it didn't.

I knew how to walk in heels. Hell. I had danced in heels since I was young. So, due to one woman's stubbornness, every 45 minutes to an hour the hotel was treated to the thunderous plodding of a drunken T-Rex with blonde hair who needed a nicotine fix. An elderly couple that spent most of the evening chillin' in the sitting room would start cracking up every time they heard me coming up the stairs from the party room. I smiled, waved and said Happy New Year each time I passed them. They laughed and waved back. Glad I was amusing someone. It was all good.

The stairway where Jurassic Park happened hourly. 
It was Party Time! Around 7:00 PM we all started gathering in the party room. Everyone was so friendly. We all started talking and getting to know each other as we enjoyed some delicious food. There was a mass amount of alcohol to enjoy as well. Crystal made pudding shots. They were wonderful. They made me smile. My friend Nadalie's father and his girlfriend Freda helped me diminish the supply of Bailey's pudding shots.

I did not care that it was not ladylike to lick the containers clean. I don't waste. A few of the party goers started playing Asshole, which is a card game that confused the hell out of me. I sat there, drunkenly mesmerized, watching them play. All I know is there was a President, a VP, lots of cards being thrown and picked up off the table and Nadalie was not allowed to have a turn because the President said so. I felt so bad for her. She is a nice girl. Why couldn't she have a turn?

Becky and Myself ready to ring in the New Year Pennsylvania Style!

Becky's sister Caryn and her husband John. 
Caryn is also like a sister to me. Love her! 
Soon everyone was lining up to do pop rock shots. I did not get in line. I was afraid of choking to death. It's funny how even after 26 years, the residuals of some of things my mother used to tell me still linger into my head. Later in evening when I was brave enough to put my fear of choking to death on the crackly candy aside, I did try a pop rocks shot. I knew I would. It was very good and a fun time. Also, I didn't choke to death which was an added bonus.

Another party goer named Linda had made about 2000 jello shots. She asked me if I would like to have some. I said yes. She asked which ones would I like to try. I grinned at her devilishly and said all of them. She happily obliged. The thing with jello shots is this. On their own, they are just glorified pussy shots.

However, when you decide to taste the rainbow, and you do so in under three minutes, and the lovely lady that made them did not skimp on the quality of alcohol, they are in fact not at all pussy shots but a one way ticket to drunken euphoria. In fact they were so good that the following morning a few of us decided to taste the rainbow again. Good job Linda and Happy New Year!

Jello shot rainbow
So pretty and colorful they brought a tear to these Irish eyes.
After Jurassic Park in heels went for a smoke, she came back to witness an epic battle over a Twilight popcorn bucket. God that sparkly Edward guy is everywhere I swear! Screw him. Where is Lestat? Now that guy was one bad ass vampire. I'd hang with him any day. Anyway, Nadalie brought the bucket to give to Kristin, whom is quite hilarious and kept us laughing all night.

Becky tried to steal the bucket with that whore Kristen Stewart on it. Kristen was not having it though. That was her Edward bucket. The banter that ensued slayed me. I had to use the bathroom for the 87th time because I kept laughing so hard. It became murder on my bladder. I believe I woke to sore ribs the next day from laughing so hard. I like that! It's always good waking up sore after a fun night. It's a good sore.

Kristen Stewart is a whore.

Kristin, our comedienne. Love her!!

After I returned from my 100th bathroom visit, I was cornered by Norm whom was swigging from two champagne bottles while telling me his life story. Becky turned to me and said she could not believe I had made it this far. It was after eleven and I had not fallen asleep yet. The fact that I kept going outside to get a slap in the face with the cold night air had helped. I also found a wine cellar in the hotel during my travels. I may have tried to unlock the door with my hotel room key but discovered it did not work on the wine cellar door much to my disappointment. Smart move on the Mansion people's part. I could do some damage in there. It's for the best.

Eventually midnight crept closer. More fireworks were going to be on display. We all raced up the stairs ( me being the the loudest of course) and out the front door of the mansion to eagerly await the stroke of midnight. Someone had the ball dropping in Times Square on their phone and was counting down with the ball. Their phone was lagging though. Another member of our party said "Oh, look, it's already midnight." The crowd went wild. Everyone was hugging, kissing, making toasts, and throwing confetti as fireworks boomed in the night sky.

I texted both my children a Happy New Years although in Oklahoma, where my daughter was, it was still an hour away. I began texting or responding to all my friends and family wishing everyone a Happy New Years as was everyone around me. I entered this New Years happy, excited and full of hope. Such a huge difference from the year before.

And while I hadn't completely lost my passion for life, 2012 definitely diminished it. Just two months before this night, I remember sitting in my boss's office having a breakdown. I felt sorry for doing it, especially at work, but by that point I was hanging by a thread and I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I had my cry, wiped away my tears, then got back to work but in the back of my mind all I could think was, life just may break me this time. I was so tired, so very tired. That day, I decided I was not going to allow that to happen. That wasn't who I am.

I know this year is going to have many challenges as well and some remaining residuals from 2012 still need to be mopped up. Broken pieces will still need to be picked up and glued back together. This year is about recovery. Each day a little part of me, the woman I am so proud to be, makes it's way back to the surface. She's still there. She never left me even though there were days I felt she had. My spirit, while bruised and scarred was not broken. I don't think there is much that can break me at this point.

People are still going to disappoint me. Negativity is still going to try and permeate me. Life is still going to keep throwing punches at me no matter how tired and bruised I am. It's on me as to how I react to all of this. I will chose to be the better person. I will chose to keep the positivism and passion in my life. I will chose to keep being myself and not an imitation of someone else. I do not envy anyone else. I am a good person, no wait, scratch that, I am an excellent person. I don't want nor desire to be anyone else.

I choose not to compete. I shouldn't have to. I don't need to. It's not my problem if people don't like me. If someone wants to try to put me down or make me feel small, disposable or insignificant, have at it because some of the best out there have tried yet I'm still here, and even I'm better for it. I just don't care anymore. I am one of the most honest and real people you will ever meet. And it is so liberating. It is why I am generally a happy, spirited, positive person.

There are people that live their life true and there are people that live their life like one of those awful talk shows or whatever they are called. I was never a fan of Jerry Springer. Why would I live my life like a Jerry Springer episode? I am not a sideshow. I am the headliner, the real deal. Took me 34 years to start seeing that, took me a little longer to start believing it and no matter what life throws at me anymore, I will not think any less of myself. I am not being arrogant. I do not have a god complex. I am just secure in myself. There is a big difference.

I am Fess, hear me roar! LOL! Okay, okay, so I did a lot of reflecting during the midnight hour on the dawn of the New Year. I know I am going to be okay. I just forgot that for a little while, well, for a long while. Sometimes we have to lose ourselves for a bit to find ourselves again. I know this. I was just so happy and relaxed and decided to give myself a pep talk to start off the New Year strong and positive unlike last year.

And I did all of this deep thinking while I was alone in my hotel room changing into more comfy clothes. I wasn't in the mood to sleep just yet. I had gotten my second wind. Some of the party goers had retired for the night while others returned to the party room for a few more drinks and some midnight snacking. I was game for one more drink, a little more socializing and perhaps one more piece of the giant Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple. So yummy!!

I made my way back down to the stunning brick and stone room. No more Jurassic park. For the next two hours we all enjoyed each other's company. So many laughs were had and perhaps a few more pop rocks shots. By the second hour the retired waitress in me starting coming out so I began cleaning up a little bit so Crystal would not have as much to do in the morning. Some people got up to help me but I told them not to take my cleaning fun away from me. I told them they should keep enjoying the night because I still was.

Becky, Caryn and Kristin went to the kitchen and were cleaning up too. They enjoyed cleaning as well. We had such a blast. We may have stuck to the floor a little bit too. Alcohol spills sometimes. It's a shame but it does happen. After cleaning, Becky and I say our goodnights to everyone. She falls asleep almost immediately but I am wide awake. I decide to watch the Law and Order SUV marathon on one of the goofy cable channels on RCN.

Sayre Mansion
The Breakfast Room

I don't remember when I fell asleep but it did happen eventually. And for the few hours I did sleep the bed was so incredibly comfortable. When I woke I was super excited for our delicious breakfast. Becky and I headed down to the breakfast room. I took one of the bananas in the display on the fireplace mantle. Not sure if they were supposed to be eaten since they weren't with the rest of the food but I took it anyway. Everything was homemade. The French toast was amazing. All the food was very good! They even provided real cream for the coffee. I had three decafs because the cream tasted heavenly in the coffee.

Goodbye Sayre Mansion. Thanx for a wonderful New Years!! 
Sayre Mansion

Sayre Mansion

After breakfast we finished cleaning the party room and packing up. I did a few jello shots. Why not? We said our goodbyes to everyone then headed to the Sands Casino which was only two minutes away. As I was waiting for Becky to use the restroom I put a twenty in the slot machine. I didn't notice it was a dollar machine at first. I figured I would do one spin. I only made the minimum bet and ended up winning $9.00. I am already a winner in 2013! Woohoo! Of course, it doesn't last long. I end up giving $30.00 to the house but I had fun. As we walk by the roulette tables I wished I had more money. Would have loved to play a few rounds. Next time.

The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA.
Becky was in the mood for a Bloody Mary. She is feisty like that. We head to the Cobalt Cafe to watch the Rose Bowl parade. As we walked towards the bar we noticed all of these elderly people with plates and plates of lobsters. I love lobster. It is such a treat.

I was tempted to ask them which machine they were playing because they had to have hit it big to have two and three whole lobsters on their plates. Instead I almost tripped over a high top table because I was enchanted by all the bright red crustaceans. Maybe that old lady won't notice if I rip the huge claw off the lobster on her plate and make a dash for the exit.

Once at the bar, Becky ordered herself  a Bloody Mary and a Mimosa for me. A couple joined us at the bar. The lady asked the bartender what was up with all the lobsters. She told the lady they were on the buffet. When asked about the price my ears prick up. I could have sworn she said $16.95. Becky must have been reading my mind because while her eyes never leave the big screen TV she says to me "The bartender just said the buffet is $16.95 with the lobsters." I do a double take at her. How does she do that? She really knows me and how my mind works.

So, instead of the traditional dinner of Pork and Kraut on New Years Day, I enjoyed an all you can eat lobster buffet for $16.95. Talk about a score! I was so mad I could only eat two lobsters but I was so full and making a complete mess of the bar. Becky was also enjoying some lovely lobsters. Every time I turned to talk to her, I would catch her subconsciously snickering at my homemade napkin bib which was dripping with butter and shards of lobster shell.

I think I began singing a song about how much I loved eating lobster. I was no longer 39. I was a 4 year old bib wearing, chatterbox that was having the time of her life. I realized I was totally rebelling against my traditional New Years Eve/Day customs and was loving every minute of it. This was the best New Years ever and I had my amazing friend Becky to thank for making it all possible. Check another item off the Bucket List! Can't wait to rebel and step outside of my comfort zone even more this year. The possibilities are endless!! Happy 2013 Everyone!!

I freakin love lobster!!


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