That Kind of Misty Green

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Shelton, CT. May 2020.

As a kid our imaginations let us slip into places so far away, that it’s odd that we’d even dream to go there. Parts of the earth farther than a train ride away. However, when we conduct our brains a certain way, the possibilities of where we can go seem endless.

I was walking home from work on one of those misty mornings. The kind where the rain just passed, and you’re left in a daze.  The green in the trees no longer resembled typical Connecticut trees, full of that Tri-State area vibrancy. The kind the movies make a point to capture every time they want to show how grand New England can be for nature watchers.

I could have been in a rain forest for all anyone knew. As long as I ignored the concrete I was walking on. As long as I kept looking up, and of course around in case a car came through from the main street, I was 7 again, dreaming I was somewhere else.

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Central Park Zoo. October 2018.

I’ve never been to anything close to a rain forest, unless you count that first indoor area at the Central Park Zoo. The one that’s hot with all the birds and other creatures. By the end you’re drenched in sweat, and you just want to go to the other indoor area that’s cool inside, and then you get to look through the glass and see where the penguins live.

At 27 I still only know as much as the internet can tell me about an actual rain forest, so it seems strange my imagination let me pretend I was in one. I’m not complaining though. I didn’t need to go there for real, I just needed to escape for a moment.

 

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The Small Things During Social Distance

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For years now I’ve passed the small Tide from the travel section. It’s better to buy the regular size, but it’s just so cute. I want one just because it’s adorable. That’s it. I know it’s a stereotype for girls to love cute things, but you only live once, so I carried that travel size bottle to the check out line with pride. I spent my money shamelessly, and made that  Tide bottle mine.

Every time my wallet told me not to buy this product I listened, but then this pandemic hit. I was traveling around the Connecticut valley. That part of Ansonia and Derby where you can’t remember which store is in which town, so you just call it Ansonia-Derby. At least that’s what I do as a Shelton resident. I was on the hunt for paper towel and a few other things. Target was out, and I was completely fine because I know there’s worse things in life. I continued to move through the aisles. This had been my biggest day out in awhile so I wanted to soak it all up. Eventually I landed in the travel section, with my eyes catching sight of that small Tide bottle, and all it’s 10 ounce glory. I made the decision then. I can’t spend my money on much else right now, so this Tide bottle had to be mine. I know I sound basic. I’m not fighting it. At least I feel fulfilled. That’s not even a joke. That’s a real social distancing life.

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My story borders the line between funny and poor taste. People are actually getting sick and dying, yet I have chosen to fill your time with the tale of an average woman seeking Tide. A snapshot from the crazy life of Katelyn, that is stuck between my need to be sarcastic, and a hard place. That hard place being the part where I know a lot of people are sick, running out of money, and feeling like they’re in a scary Sci-fy movie. Although that last part would be better, because at least you know when the scary part of the movie ends.

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Rereleases

As I settle into my seat, I’m as excited as I would be if this was my first time seeing the movie, but myself and the movie goers around me have all seen it a hundred times. Today’s feature presentation is a rerelease.

While I was born in 1993, rereleases have allowed me to see some of the top films of previous decades on the silver screen. ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), Halloween (1978), The Shining (1980), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), The Breakfast Club (1985), Easy Rider (1969), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), and Jaws (1975), Sleepaway Camp (1983), and Friday the 13th (1980).
It’s fitting that I enjoy classic films reentering the big screen because my first movie was a rerelease. I was 5, and The Little Mermaid had been put back in theaters. Years later a middle school teacher told my class about seeing it as a young child. The math didn’t add up, and a conversation with my Mom lead to the shocking truth that The Little Mermaid is actually from 1989. It was a film older than myself, but in a theater it had seemed brand new.

At one showing of Willy Wonka the crowd was leaving the theater, and a little girl was telling her Mom she thought they would make a sequel. Her Mom seemed a little shocked for a moment, and then preceded to explain, “This is a very old movie.” It’s nice to see the next generation connects so much with the classics, despite everyone saying they can’t picture a world without the latest gadget.
I have my current favorites, as well as classics. I don’t wish us back into a different time, because it wasn’t even my time, and I know things have gotten a lot better for various groups of people. I do however think certain films hold up enough to be shown outside of the home, on the big screen, for future generations to fall in love with them again.

 

 

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The Semi Tourist

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Fifth Ave outside the New York Public Library. December 2018.

Metro North’s glide from Bridgeport to Grand Central is a simple one for me and my one drawstring bag. My 90 minute trip doesn’t feel so long as I sight see out the small train window.

Manhattan is something I enjoy as a semi tourist. The self imposed label for those of us visiting New York from Connecticut. Just close enough to pretend you’re a real New Yorker for the day. Our accents don’t stick out like the ones from down south, out west, England, Australia, or any other place that involves a plane ride, and those trendy travel backpacks that hold “liters” worth of stuff. It’s why real tourists, the ones who paid their dues between travel, multiple nights in a hotel room, and signing up for those bus tours sometimes ask us for directions. We get really excited to explain the grid system we’ve come to love when following the city’s streets. For a moment, as we wear all black because a YouTube video told us that is what New Yorkers do, we get to pretend were home.

I have my favorite sights to see as the train first enters Manhattan. That one brownstone way uptown that lets me know I can enter tourist mode. It’s the equivalent of an adult telling a child, “We’re here,” on vacation. Then there’s soccer field that always has a game going. The field is one soccer game big, but space is limited. We’re officially not in the suburbs anymore. These aren’t the things you would use to sell New York to a tourist, but I can go regularly, so I take solace in the things that real New Yorkers have and the attractions tourists enjoy alike.

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Ice skating in Rockefeller Center. December 2018.

My phone has enough tourist photos so I quickly make my way from the crowded train platform into the main area of the terminal, and out the door that leads to 42nd Street. Connecticut is the preppy part of the tri-state area but you wouldn’t know it as I wear my hoodies and skateboard style sneakers. The slimmer ones, not the chunky ones myself and fellow millennial’s wanted in 2005. I would look like a normal chill New Yorker if I could just stop looking up. Real New Yorkers look forward.

The largest component of my day in New York will be walking. I’ll walk with my dollar slice of pizza, I’ll walk through Times Square, and I’ll walk through Central Park, and so on. I could take a subway for a break, but I’m a cheapskate so I will avoid that metro card fee like pedestrians avoid the pigeons that line the sidewalks. Burning calories also inspires me to walk. There’s a McDonalds everywhere, and I will be stopping at at least one.

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The New York Public Library. December 2018.

The best days feature a lengthy visit to the New York Public Library. As I turn out of Byrant Park and past the lions I feel at home. I’m one of those proud to be a nerd types so the library is always the place to be.

With a deep breath I eventually decide to leave. Back into Grand Central I go. Inside the train the announcements play, telling people to keep their bags off the seat and listing the stops. Myself and other passengers have to accept that we’re actually going home now. We’re not the New Yorkers we can easily pretend to be. As I begin to pass through Westport and the Fairfield stops I slip into my Connecticut vibe again. Suburban chic one day, city dweller another. Somewhere between being a fake New Yorker and proud nutmegger the term semi tourist defines me.

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The walk back into Grand Central. December 2018.

 

-Katelyn Avery

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The Convention Fix

As a high schooler I always wanted to attend Comic Con’s like my friends, but I’m actually grateful I didn’t become a convention goer until my twenties. It’s the appreciation I have for the whole experience as an adult that makes conventions better.

Some of my high school friends have dropped off from the scene, while some attend one or two. It was the summer after college for me, when I first attended a convention. I was 23, and my twin sister and I fell in love with the whole ConnectiCon world. It was also a nice reunion with my college friends. I went to CCSU in New Britain, CT, and most of my friends were from that end of the state. Going up and down the escalators were many of my old classmates. I also caught up with college friends outside of the convention, which topped the whole long weekend.

Conventions aren’t perfect, but honestly the imperfections don’t bother me. Maybe it’s because I’m an adult, and we all need an escape from that adult place.

As an east coaster I spend most of my convention time in my home state of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and in New York. I’ve branched out well past one convention in the past two years as well. So far it’s been ComiCONN when it was in Hartford, and then later at Foxwoods, ConnectiCon, Big Apple Comic-Con, Rhode Island Comic Con, Liberty Anime, and TerrifiCon. There was also a Comic Con night at a Sound Tigers Hockey game in Bridgeport, CT. Mixing hockey and conventioning was the best decision ever by the way.

I never get enough for my convention fix though. Now my season kicks off with Big Apple Comic Con, and then I can’t wait to get to the next convention. There’s a bit of a gap from late spring to summer, when my list of conventions starts up again, and part of that is because I can only attend so many conventions. Dishing out money on the metro north, greyhound bus, peter pan bus, or amtrak, and hotels can be a bit tough, but every dime I save toward expressing my ultimate nerdness is worth it. My sister and I regret nothing, and are pretty good at conventioning on a moderate budget. The trips can’t be recreated any other way. We’ve even taken our parents a long for a few. My Mom’s more of a convention goer than my Dad though. At TerrifiCon he didn’t recognize someone was from Game Thrones, and my sister had to explain that his autograph area wasn’t the information desk. You can’t get that story anywhere else. Also, to be fair to my Dad only my sister watches that show in our family.

My sister wears costumes and I wear “nerd shirts.” Although my sister still thinks we should be The Shining twins. Back to the Future, and The Breakfast Club are some of my favorite graphics to break out. You can’t attend a convention incorrectly. Unless you sneak in without paying, or you’re one of those weird people who says perverted things to cosplayers. Then you are trash, but beyond that almost everything is acceptable. Some people volunteer as staff, some people work at the convention centers, some people cosplay, and some people wear nerd shirts. Some people also come as media guests, artists, or vendors. Shout out to them for making the days fun. Honestly though you could wear a full on business suit, or sweats and sneakers, and no one could stop you. Comic Con’s are a place to release your inner nerd, and take a backseat to the whole adulting thing. The cons, are just fun.

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-Katelyn Avery

 

 

 

 

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Movies and Mozzarella Sticks

Like any normal person I wouldn’t throw $12 in the trash, so I didn’t, but I did accidentally throw it on the movie theater floor.

I was with my twin sister at a local movie theater here in southern Connecticut, catching a double feature. The theater I was at isn’t really near anything fun, so I didn’t want to just go in for one movie. Transformers: The Last Knight, and 47 Meters Down, were some of the films playing, and I wanted to see both. With my offer to pay for the movie tickets on the table, my sister Jen accepted my invitation, and we headed to the local Bow Tie movie theater. I would like to note that we bought tickets for both films. Movie hopping isn’t cool guys.

After seeing Transformers, and then chilling in the lobby for a bit, I needed snacks for the next film. I got my popcorn refill (this theater does refills for a large tub), ordered two orders of mozzarella sticks, and a drink. Sometime during the wait I had mentioned to Jen that she might have to help me carry my food. I had paid for her movie ticket after all, so it was only fair. She said, “Alright,” completely happy to help out, but somehow, I completely forgot the plan, and put the mozzarella sticks in a drink section of the disposable tray I was using. We made it all the way to the theater door without incident, and were about to be the first ones in. A movie theater employee was leaving the room. He had clearly just cleaned the area, and that is when my mozzarella sticks fell to the floor. Both orders. All ten mozzarella sticks, and the sauce packets. Thankfully the sauce was sealed tight.

The movie theater employee guy didn’t bat an eye, and said it was alright, and that he would clean it up. I tried to insist that I would, only for him to insist he would. Finally, I said “Dude, I feel so bad.” He laughed, and again insisted. I just let it go, and went into the theater with my sister. I felt a cross of sadness, and content. Nothing bad had happened. I knew spilling my mozzarella sticks was the best representation of a first world problem, as I had money for more food, and still had popcorn. I felt bad for making the movie theater employees job just a little bit more extra, but I have cleaned spills at both my homeless shelter job, and seafood department job. So much worse has happened at both, so I like to believe he felt the same way.

Inside the theater the lights eventually dimmed, and we listened to that message about silencing our phones. I’m sure the movie would have been more enjoyable with mozzarella sticks, but at least my sister gave me a couple of her fries.

-Katelyn Avery

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A True Alumni

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My diploma from Central Connecticut State University. I now have a B.A. in Journalism, with a minor in History.

So, I picked up my diploma today. My time at CCSU is officially over, and I feel fine. Better than fine I feel great. Walking around campus as a true alumni was everything I dreamed it would be! Just magnificent. It was a fast two years, yet somehow that time is so distant. Was I really a 21 year old transfer student as recent as fall 2014? That seems like 10 years ago. I was a little fish in a really big pond then. Leaving the little community college world, for an extreme experience at CCSU, in a great little city called New Britain. How did that first semester at CCSU turn into me being out of school for three months? Those two years at CCSU were truly a blast, and words can barely describe how awesome it all was. I became very comfortable in my college life, but somehow it didn’t feel awful to leave. It just felt right. The jump from 21 to 23 was a big one, and there was a part of me that wanted to freeze time, and bask in the college experience forever, but it’s also kind of nice to be off the academic hook. Real world here I come. I will get a driver’s license (in the permit stage), a job (any kind at this point), a place of my own, and I will live a happy life. We all will. Every graduate.
-Katelyn Avery

 

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Katelyn Avery’s Vlogs | Summer 2016

This summer I will be vlogging, as well as writing. It’s my first summer after graduating Central Connecticut State University, and I’m so excited. Join me on the journey to a driver’s license, a job, and “down this road that we call life.”

Also, I’m definitely a Boy Meets World Fan.

Check out my vlog playlist for the summer below. Check out my channel for all of my videos as well.

 

 

 

-Katelyn Avery

 

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There’s Something in the Soup

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Homemade chicken noodle soup. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

In college (Central Connecticut State University) I was confined to canned soup, and the hope for a 4 for $5 sale at the Stop & Shop on the Newington and New Britain border. Homemade soup wasn’t an option while living the Vance residence hall life, even if homemade things are cheaper. It was something I accepted though, and would eventually become well known for my different breakfast choice.

My residence hall had ovens, but it didn’t have burners, and we weren’t allowed to have hot plates. Even if we had been able to use them I didn’t have a personal fridge to store things in, and we all know your entire floor raids the communal fridge. With soup cup* in hand I often made chicken or turkey noodle soup, among closely related others. Sometimes it was in my works break room, my [Vance] floors kitchen, or the basement kitchen as the microwave constantly had an out of order sign in front of it. Either way, soup got me through breakfast in one of the cheapest and easiest ways possible for a college student.

My soup obsession started when I received opening shifts at the STC (Marcus White Computer Lab). As a transfer student I spent two years at CCSU, and a year and a half of them were spent working inside that wonderful lab. I actually enjoyed opening as mornings were relatively quiet, the only bad side is that the dining hall didn’t open until after I started working. I wasn’t the biggest fan of dining hall breakfast to begin with though. The staff did their best, and bacon days were my favorite, but my idea of a traditional breakfast is pizza bagels, and their’s was omelet’s and cereal. The clash sent me to buy cereal bars for the first semester of Saturday opening shifts at the STC. I wanted to liven things up for the next semester though, and that’s when I received a free soup cup at a club leadership training workshop. My days in a breakfast rut were over.

Throughout the year I would continue my soup breakfast routine, especially when I had three opening shifts. I became “famous” to other coworkers, and eventually the boss, for my unconventional morning meal. During one Saturday morning I spent a good amount of time googling “soup for breakfast,” explaining to a coworker how awesome soup for breakfast was, and that the internet supported my decision.

It was always a shock to some of my fellow openers if I had Dunkin’ Donuts or Subway (The meal…I know…odd) instead of my usual. It’s a funny identity to have, “Soup girl,” or “Coworker who loves soup,” something like that, my former coworkers and I never really had a title for my workplace role, but I was always happy to be known for my breakfast.

 

-Katelyn Avery

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*The hyperlink does not show the soup cups that I use, it is just an example of what a soup cup is.


 

 

 

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Little Things Deserve No Time

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Broken water fountain. Photo by Katelyn Avery.

Sometimes life hits you with a thirst so strong you just can’t live until you quench it. The pain in your throat just won’t go away, and you can’t imagine having one clear thought until your lips touch water.

This post will eventually get metaphorical, but for now I’m simply describing that regular thirst for water. I’m also describing first world problems, but sometimes privilege escapes your mind. It happens during life’s little obstacle courses. The ones where your floors water fountain breaks, floods into the elevator, but somehow you’re still not fazed. This is college after all, expect the unexpected.

The little things in life can be the most annoying. Somehow they are harder to avoid than actual issues. Maybe it’s because there’s no way to solve them sometimes. In my case I simply had to walk by a trash bag covered machine, down one floor. It feels like giving up in a way, because you’re not in control. Waiting is all you can do, and that just doesn’t seem right.

For anyone else who ever finds themselves overthinking anything, which includes most of us, the solution is to stop thinking. Just keep walking, because no one ever wins by sitting down. Too many things pass you by, and before you know it, everyone else is celebrating at the finish line. That’s right, they made it to another floors water fountain, and their water bottles have been filled.

-Katelyn Avery

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