Monday, 8 March 2010

Thawing out - and watching the Oscars (just)


Spring is most definitely in the air on Long Island. This time last week there was still thick snow on the ground; I was still wearing a hat and gloves every time I left the house; the Littleboys were trying to turn parts of the garden into a luge track.

Now, the snow is all but gone; the birds are singing; I went for a run this morning and actually felt hot, rather than just not-as-numb-with-cold-as-when-I-started.

On Saturday we took the Littleboys to a local beach. In our stoic British way we have continued to frequent this beach all winter, but we've been, on most occasions, the only people there, save the odd grim-faced dog walker. But this weekend, all change - there were cars in the carpark, rowing teams putting their boats into the water, even a few other children playing in the sand. As we walked along, an elderly couple beamed at the boys and said, as if emerging from a lengthy hibernation: "Isn't it nice to be OUT?"

Yesterday we went for a walk on the beach at the beautiful Sunken Meadow State Park (pictured, with Littleboy1 in the far distance) on the North Shore of Long Island. The boardwalk was swarming with people; children were eating ice creams and adults sipping coffees.

Back home, I was looking forward to sitting down and watching the Oscars - something I would never normally do in the UK, but the thought of watching them live was rather appealing (and despite hardly having seen any of the nominated films, I've read so much coverage of them in the media here that I feel as I have....).

But there was just one problem. ABC, the network that shows the Oscars, had pulled their channel from our cable provider, Cablevision, in a dispute over fees at midnight on Saturday. That meant three million New Yorkers lost access to the Academy Awards; you can imagine the outrage.

The Doctor, despite not being particularly thrilled by the prospect of the Oscars (he has no interest in celebrities, as proved by his comment about Sarah-Jessica Parker the other night: "Never heard of her"), was wonderfully helpful, setting up my laptop with speakers and wifi so we could watch it online sitting on our sofa. But at 8.30PM, when the show started, we still couldn't actually find any coverage of the actual ceremony on the internet - it was all rubbishy red-carpet interviews.

Just at the point when I was starting to spit and curse about ABC, Cablevision and American TV in general, I happened to read on an obscure TV blog that at 8.50PM the two parties had finally reached an agreement. ABC was restored, and I was able to watch the rest of the Awards (which were suitably self-congratulatory and smug, but the dresses were amazing and it's always fun to see so many celebrities packed into one room). And, long after The Doctor had gone to bed, I saw history being made as Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win as best director.
Some things are definitely worth staying up for.


16 comments:

Dumdad said...

I would watch the Oscars, as ridiculous as the whole thing is really, but it doesn't start until about 1am here. It's quite a sight to see all the stars in one room. But no Brit Oscars this year...

Mwa said...

That dispute sounds too freaky - especially the way they were holding the Oscars for ransom. I thought we were getting Spring over here as well, and then it snowed all day. It's not lying, though.

Nicola said...

Ha ha! I am sure we are just being fooled that it is nearly spring...the weather is pretty mild in Chicago right now too and people are so hopeful that winter is over that you can almost taste the anticipation.

Me? I'll believe it when I see it. I will savour each mild day but not be a bit surprised if the weather suddenly shifts back to single digits and more snow hits the ground. I'm guessing around easter. You wouldn't believe how many easter hunts we have had, in the freezing cold, trying to dislodge eggs from the snow.

As for the Oscars - I love watching them live. I had my bottle of wine all ready last night and my phone on hand for dress-text-appraisal with my girlfriend. But then there was a loud cough from upstairs. Followed by another. Then a shout. Then the distinct sound of projectile barfing.

So my very last Oscars in the US was nixed last night.

Gah!

Emma said...

That's a cool picture...the beach looks much nicer than Skegness!! I think Spring may finally be on the way to England too. We had a beautiful sunny one today, let's hope it continues!!

Expat mum said...

I was going to blog about how I've put my ski jacket away - hopefully till about November, but like Nicola, I'll believe it when I see it in Chicago.

nappy valley girl said...

Dumdad - no, indeed. A bad year for the Brits, although Colin Firth was rather wonderful as a presenter.

Mwa - unfortunatley it's not the first time it's happened - the cable companies seem to be at war with the networks here. But the first time it's been with such a major show. Very bad for both companies' brands, I reckon.

Nicola - sorry to hear about the barfing! What a shame. And yes, I doubt that spring is here to stay either - I have heard that it often snows the first week of April here.

Emma - I haven't been to Skeggy, so I can't compare, but it is certainly a very nice beach!

Expat Mum - my ski jacket is still very much out.....

Sharon Fried-Jones said...

OMG - I want to be on that beach!

Tanya (Bump2Basics) said...

Ahh Sunken Meadow! I know it well. Totally with you on how NYers will not be found at the beach throughout the winter - I am still impressed and touched by how the Brits persevere with their "walk on the front" in all weather conditions! I'm pleased to say this has rubbed off on my parents who are now prone to the occasional winter beach walk. Sunken Meadow is great for walking...the problem on the North Shore of LI is there is too much private property and that cuts a lot of would be beautiful walks short!

Glad you got to see the Oscar's in the end.

Liz (LivingwithKids) said...

Ohhh that beach looks just awesome.

I watched the Oscars yesterday avo (thankfully sky plus-ed so could ffwrd the ads). There were some really brilliant moments - particulary Mo'Nique winning for Precious, Kathryn Bigelow winning and Sandra Bullock's acceptance speech. But on the whole I found it a bit flat. And what was up with George Clooney's face? Was he pretending not to find anything funny?

Nota Bene said...

Please send Spring this way....

Calif Lorna said...

I love watching the Oscars and it always feels very strange that it's happening just up the road. I was very happy for Kathryn Bigelow, much deserved I thought.

Loved Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin too!

nappy valley girl said...

Sharon - there are plenty like it on Long Island. Come for a holiday sometime!

Tany - you're right, there is a lot of private property on the North Shore. But there are also some beautiful parks and preserves, so we've managed to find a lot of places to walk. And the South shore is just stunning as well. It's one of the best things about being here.

Liz - agree about George Clooney. I thought he was probably just trying to be cool and not take it too seriously - I guess he's a bit of a maverick. He looked quite pleased at Vera Farmiga's speech about him, though.

NB - It may come your way soon - meanwhile we're due for rain.....

Calif Lorna - yes, they were a good double act. And I was so pleased Avatar didn't win - I still haven't seen it but I am a Brit and always root for the underdog!

Michelloui said...

I have taken up the British habit of getting out in all weathers and I have discovered that one benefit of this is a lot of empty spaces--so I always resent the first throngs of people in the spring (as much as I am very pleased to see spring!). Can you imagine how grumpy I will sound as an old lady? Sheesh. Im not that bad in person, I promise ;)

I saw some highlights of the Oscars with a friend the next day (my Dr hubby is similarly unimpressed with celebs, unless they're sports personalities) and all I could think of was 'Sandra Bullock looks so much better with less make up (and isnt she lucky to be like that!) and George Clooney looked like he was being force fed cactus.

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

My husband is like that too about celebs. no idea.....I think it's quit e endearing!
How lovely to live near the sea. I hope I will some day. At present we live in sight of the mountains & I just love it. mountains do my soul good. I love watching their separate weather going on seeing clouds rolling in, an overnight dustign of snow etc. Never tire of observing them.

nappy valley girl said...

Michelloui - my husband probably wouldn't know the sports personalities either! Unless they were skiers....

Paradise - I would love to live near mountains too. I love the mountain air, so dry and crisp, and as you say the dramatic weather. Unfortunately there are none on Long Island, but I guess you can't have everything....

Muddling Along Mummy said...

My husband is similar and wouldn't know a celebrity if he tripped over one (perhaps with the exception of Jeremy Clarkson)