Category Archives: Andy

Auto Erotica, Take Two

Andy’s last car radio show was bumped for a hockey game, so he and Dr. Ray Werking were given a slot from 12 to 8 PM today, during which they will be discussing all things automobiles. If you have a thing for cars, or just want to hear my husband talk about what he knows best, check out 91.5 FM or the online stream at www.wrpi.org

As per his usual gift for scintillating hyperbole, here is the press release from Dr. Ray himself:

Previously scheduled special entitled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Automobiles but Were Afraid to Ask” will occur live on Monday, January 15th, Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, between noon and 8 pm. The landmark broadcast will be heard live on 91.5 fm and streamed on www.wrpi.org. The 8 hour marathon will also be available on iTunes, Apple TV, and 27 other apps. For anyone who has ever ridden in a car, driven a vehicle, owned an auto, or yearned to do so, this mega-marathon special will entertain, educate, motivate, and surprise you all at once! World renowned automobile enthusiast and car collector, Andy Van Wagenen, will join Dr. Ray Werking, Sean McLaughlin, and Ryan Smith for the “mother” of all car shows! From a plethora of rich “car tunes” to a round table discussion of everything auto, the show will contain rich personal anecdotes and riveting tall tale car stories! Join us as we make our way down the long and winding road all Monday long…

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A Bone-&-Body-Chilling Recap

Pull your long underwear on, batten down the hatches, and hang on for the roller coaster of winter weather that the northeast has been delivering of late. The week that came before was brutally frigid, but it afforded opportunities for coziness and warmth. In upstate New York, when the outside gets cruel we band together on the inside. A look back at the last week (and a few photos of Andy in car-related poses for his upcoming radio show

We entered the New Year with a bang, as one does if at all possible. 

David Beckham greeted us with a few shirtless push-ups, as David Beckham does. 

Have you taken the #KyloRenChallenge as posited by John Mayer yet?

The breathtaking brilliance of ‘Troop Beverly Hills’… or not. 

Winter beauty is there for the finding, you need only look. 

A love-affair with CreateTV continues with the inspiring endeavors of Pati Jinich

A surprising, and energizing, fragrance for winter: Geranium Pour Monsieur

Michael Phelps and his bulge

Will this great freeze ever release its grip?

Auto Erotica with Andy.

Justin Timberlake, a.k.a. TrouserSnake, returns with an offering of his beast meat

To keep everyone warm, Hunks of the Day included Gorka Marquez, Armie HammerDurrell ‘Tank’ Babbs and Blake Postma.

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Andy & Automobiles & Auto Erotica

Today, right after this is being posted in fact, Andy will be on the radio again with his friend Dr. Ray Werking talking about their upcoming marathon appearance on WRPI 91.5 FM this Tuesday, from 4 PM to who knows how late/early, entitled “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Cars and More”. That’s quite an impressive endeavor, but they will veer into all sorts of interesting avenues on automobiles and beyond, and always worth a listen. As I said, it’s scheduled from 4 PM until midnight on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, but if they’re into their car groove they may extend it into the wee hours of the night. Tune in to WRPI 91.5 FM – The Upstate Underground – to hear all about the cars and automobiles and moving vehicles their hearts desire. 

Also check out the rare photo below, in which a youthful and mustachioed Andy stands beside his 1988 Ford (Fox Body) Mustang LX 5.0 – the 5 speed manual in Bright Regatta Blue. Not sure what I just wrote (it was copied down from something Andy printed out for me) but it sure sounds auto-erotic. (I will address his pants privately.)

 

 

 

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A French Toast Triumph

Egg nog.

Bring on the egg nog.

Preferably the Stewart’s egg nog, but in this situation any will do.

Last weekend Andy surprised me with this insanely delicious pile of French toast made with egg nog instead of milk, and the results were decadent and to-die-for. There is now no other way for me to abide French toast. It must be made in an egg nog batter.

Andy still knows how to make everything better.

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A HighBall With Andy’s Mom

It was the first and only Christmas I’d get to see Andy’s Mom. The year was 2000 – which in many ways seems a lifetime ago, and then again just like yesterday, so vivid is my memory of this night. We were stopping by Andy’s parents’ home to drop off gifts and wish them a Merry Christmas. It was my first time meeting his mother – I’d only just corresponded with her via a shared love for reading at that point (I’d given her a copy of ‘The God in Flight’ by Laura Argiri and she wrote back her notes and opinion of it. A rather bold choice of mine, considering all the gay sex in it, but she was unbothered and unfazed by it – only remarking that some of the more graphic moments might be better left out.) I knew then that we’d get along famously. Though I may have jumped the gun a little on that first meeting.

We sat down at their little kitchen table. Andy’s Mom asked if we wanted anything to drink. (He’d told me it would be ok to request an adult beverage, or I never would have suggested it.) I said a highball would be great, then proceeded to take it a little too far. What I planned on saying, and the sentence that was formulated in my head was, ‘Andy says you enjoy a good drink’ but what came out was, “Andy said you liked to drink!”

She looked at me for a second, then bent down to her son and whispered, “I’ll let that go since it’s Christmas.”

It was the perfect first meeting, and sadly one of our last, but it remains a fond Christmas memory, a way of holding onto our past, of bridging our time with lost loved ones. And it still makes Andy and I chuckle whenever we think about it.

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Andy Getting Dog-Kissed

 

This is one of my favorite photos of Andy. He is in the red, getting kissed by the dog. It’s a veritable winter wonderland, and would make a lovely vintage Christmas card if he sent any out. (A far cry from the cards I typically send out…) I love the red building in the background, lit up by the sun and echoing Andy’s red coat. It’s the perfect encapsulation of holiday warmth, childhood innocence, and snow-day exuberance. I even like the scratches on it – they prove that this photo was much beloved by others as well, perhaps held in their hands and passed around with joy and laughter.

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Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past

Next week will mark the first Thanksgiving that Andy will be without both his parents, which will make it one of the more difficult years to give thanks. I still remember the Thanksgiving we had the year his Mom died. It was Andy’s second holiday with my family, and he’d already won everyone over. We sat in the Ko house, where I’d spent almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas since I was born, and it was one of the last times both our families were relatively intact. 

I think back to those who were still with us then – Andy’s parents, my grandmother, my Uncle Roberto – and I wonder if we did our best to realize how lucky we were. Suzie’s brothers were talking to Andy when we got the call that his Mom had taken a turn for the worse and we had to leave early to get back to the hospital. Our Thanksgivings would never be the same. 

As much as we once loved the holidays, there is always a slight dampening of the festivities when you think back on what has been lost, and what we’re always in danger of losing. More than a dampening of the eyes, it’s a dampening of the spirit and the happiness that is often afforded innocence and youth. 

In the darkness of the early morning, before the sun has risen and the world feels a little lighter, I watch in vain for the cardinal to visit our backyard. I hope it returns by the time Andy wakes. I hope he finds it, and that he finds some small comfort in the season. 

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Some Birthdays Are Quiet

A cardinal has been visiting our seven-sons flower tree for the past week, alighting among its salmon seed-heads. We’ve never seen them feast on this plant before, but there it was, a little crimson beacon against a bright but sky. Andy’s Mom must be watching over him during his birthday month. There are always signs that lost loved ones are around, and as I watched the magnificent bird come back for a few days I realized that this will be a difficult time for Andy.

He has never been one for a big birthday celebration. He’d prefer dinner with a select few at his favorite restaurant. This year he wanted something even more low-key: a dinner at home with no one. As it was his birthday, I obliged, even though I was a bit puzzled because he usually wants at least a dinner out. Then I understood: this was his first birthday without his father too. 

I did what I could. A big bouquet of pink roses. Tickets to a show at Proctor’s. A slew of birthday cards. A cake and a lemon pie. And a shrimp cocktail – a favorite of his. He was appreciative, but I could tell he was down. The first birthday as an orphan, no matter how old one gets, must make for a conflicting state of emotions. I felt a profound sadness in being so helpless to make anything better for him. 

The next day he was in better spirits. Temperatures had risen. The sun was out. Our pool was heated and might just give us one more day of use. A chipmunk sat on the back patio, perched on a lawn chair. Life continued on, and I realized that Andy must feel a sense of relief that another birthday was done. Sometimes the pressure and expectation of a day to be happy and fun takes away all of its genuine joy. 

We moved on with the hope that next year will be better. 

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A Husband’s Birthday

Two score and a decade and half of years ago, a baby was born who would give his parents, myself, and everyone who knows him much joy. This is Andy’s birthday and, as is his desire, it will be a low-key event, without fanfare or pomp, but I’m still going to make some ado about it here because while he may not want a big bash, he’s more than worthy of some public gushing and online accolades. (He’s on Twitter and Instagram – @drewvanwagenen – so show him some birthday love and tell him I sent you.)

Since he’s not big on having his photo taken, he’s not on this site as often as he should be, but his spirit imbues just about everything I do, informing all of these posts in ways not often seen or blatantly explained. The truth is that I wouldn’t be half of who I am without him in my life, and maybe that should be said a little more often. Perhaps somewhat carelessly on my part, I’ve always assumed that everyone knew that. On this, his birthday, I’m taking a moment to confirm it.

Happy Birthday Drew – and many happy returns of the day!

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A Father’s New Journey

My father-in-law passed away early on the morning of June 14. He will be buried on what would have been his 91st birthday, and there’s a beautiful bit of poetry in that. A small glimmer of hope and celebration in this ultimate rebirth, and I hope there’s a sliver of healing in the midst of such profound sadness.

He had always been kind to me, no matter what was going on in the world, and that meant more than I could ever fully express. Andy used to take him to see the car shows at the Saratoga Automobile Museum. On those mornings I would gratefully step aside while father and son spent the day together. One year they brought back a photo of a ridiculous Country Squire station wagon – and told me that the monstrously wood-paneled beast was ours. I didn’t believe it until it arrived a few days later. (Despite my pleas for burglary, it still resides in our side-yard.)

The following year, they attended another show, and when they came back they had a photo of Andy’s father pointing to another car, as if Andy was getting a bride for his Frankenstein. I was mustering every ounce of self-control to not lose my shit in front of his Dad when he said that he got me. Every time they went to a car show thereafter, Tom would pose with a crazy car and Andy would send the pic to me. Once I got his sense of humor, and he had a wonderful one, I felt like we bonded.

He got along swimmingly with my own father, and at gatherings at our home they would often sit together and talk. There was lots of laughter between them, right until the last days, and I know that my Dad will miss his friend.

He remembered me every Christmas and birthday, and he treated me as well as he treated his own children. He didn’t have to say anything to make me chuckle. It was a roll of his eyes, or a hysterically incredulous ‘are you crazy?’ look that could elicit a howl of laughter. He was sly in his digs, and witty when he wanted to be. There was a thoughtfulness in the way he spoke, and in the way he interacted with people. By the time he reached 90, he took it all with a grain of salt, but even in his last days there were glimmers of the hard-working man who brought my husband into the world.

On his last night, his father showed Andy a glimpse of who he had been. He mustered the energy to pull his Boston Red Sox cap onto his head. He tugged on the bill a bit, as if he was about to throw a pitch, and let a quick smile cross his face. He was ready for a new inning.

We will miss you, Dad.

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Boston Wedding Anniversary #7 – Part 9

We remained on the bench soaking in the scene for a little while. We still had a few minutes until brunch at Bistro du midi (whose tables overlooked the Public Garden) and neither of us wanted to rush away from a scene so perfectly reminiscent of our original wedding day. To our left, a path led to the Taj Hotel and the grand suite we were lucky enough to have lived in for that special weekend. (For our ten year anniversary we may have to recreate such luxury, and 2020 isn’t that far off…)

Ahead of us, the foot bridge connected both sides of the small pond. Sweetly-scented fruit trees bloomed on each side, and the bridge seemed to float on clouds of beauty. What a difference a day makes, though there had been beauty in the rain too.

After brunch we walked along Boylston Street, with Andy indulging a few quick shopping stops, before making our way back along the Southwest Corridor walkway. It was also in bloom – the bright white of the native American dogwood, with its enchanting “blooms” resting elegantly against leafless bark, and the deep purple of a hybrid lilac, just finishing up its season. Frittilaria nodded its widely varying flowers, and a few tulips opened wide for the sun. Everything was starting over again.

Back at the condo, we packed everything up for the ride home, including our anniversary peony.

I didn’t want to leave, but we did, with the memory of a perfect weekend in our pockets.

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Boston Wedding Anniversary #7 – Part 8

Our actual wedding anniversary dawned as it did seven years ago: a brilliant blue sky, a few puffy clouds, and something that had been missing most of this anniversary weekend – the sun! A strong breeze shook off the dampness of the previous days, and we headed out for a brunch. On the way, the Boston Public Garden was resplendent in the sunshine, and we meandered through its beauty to the sounds of an erhu.

The pale pink petals of flowering cherries fluttered in the breeze. We sat on a bench near the trio of cherry trees next to which our wedding ceremony had taken place. In the pond nearby, a family of ducks swam. Three small ducklings made their way in the water. One of the adults was teaching them how to take off, and the little ones mimicked the quick flapping of wings and made small motions into the air right above the water. It was thrilling to see.

There was not a more perfect place to have a wedding, if one was lucky enough to get a day like this. The edge of the pond was covered with cherry blossom petals, and more ducks floated in the water. A few dogs and children watched the scene with keenly-interested eyes. In the distance, the swan’s head bobbed in and out of the water – half of the time its graceful neck curved elegantly above the water, the other half saw its rump rising skyward. This was happiness.

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Boston Wedding Anniversary #7 – Part 7

The show was amazing – perhaps even more powerful than its original Broadway inception, which is no easy feat. By all means get your tickets now and go. When we emerged from the theater, the sun was out, and just about to go down. The breeze had turned cooler, and as dinner wasn’t scheduled for a while, we ducked into the newly-redone Aquitaine and sidled up to the handsome bar.

The friendly gentlemen who was welcoming guests ordered us two short champagne glasses in honor of our anniversary, in one smooth, dapper motion, and we toasted a day that was turning into one very happy affair. A happily tipsy affair too, as I followed it up with a sidecar. When the weather teeters between cool and cold, and a spring snap tugs us closer to winter than summer, I love a stomach-warming sidecar, with the heat of its cognac, and the reassuring zest of its citrus kiss. We had them at the Taj on the night of our rehearsal dinner, and I save them for special occasions like this so as to preserve their meaning.

It was the day of the Kentucky Derby, and women in fascinators and men in bow ties prowled the beautiful space. We said our thanks to the gentleman who was kind enough to offer champagne, and headed over to Boston Chops, where more fascinators and boat hats awaited us.

In the dim light of an intimate table, we clinked glasses before our perfectly-rendered steaks arrived. On this Boston night, the world felt like a magical, sparkling dream of carefree fancy and elegant delight. I realigned the beaded bracelets on my wrist, adjusted the sequin-embroidered edge of a scarf, and gave up silent gratitude to our good fortune.

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Boston Wedding Anniversary #7 – Part 1

It began in the rain, but that’s usually an auspicious sign, particularly for wedding-related items, such as 7th anniversaries. We traveled to Boston to celebrate ours, and arrived in a downpour of badly-needed wet stuff. For me, it was mostly an annoyance, and it was so heavy that my Friday shopping plans were put on hold. Instead, we padded around the cozy condo before it was time to head to drinks and dinner.

There were cheese and crackers, and a pear that was just ripe enough to eat. There was also a perfect peony just beginning to open up on the table, left for us by my Mom. Somehow, and often in the most unlikely of ways, the peony returns to help us celebrate this weekend. This one was almost magical in the way it unfurled its color-shifting beauty – gradually shifting from the deep pink hue you see here to a range of gorgeous shades that I’ll reveal as we go along.

A special night calls for a special statement necklace. The statement I wanted to make, however, didn’t shout, so I pulled just a few strands of turquoise stones from the pile. It’s so much better than a tie.

As Cole Porter standards played on the stereo, and the light inside became brighter than the fading light outside, and the continuous sound of rain pittered and pattered on the windows, Andy ordered an Uber to bring us to Kenmore for our dining adventures. Our wedding anniversary weekend had begun…

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A Car Radio Show

Today Andy is headed back on the air for a bonus radio show on his favorite topic: cars and automobiles. After the usual 10 AM -2 PM airing of HomoRadio, tune in to WRPI 91.5 FM until 5 PM or so to hear Dr. Ray Werking, Sean McLaughlin and Andy discussing all things related to vintage cars and the like. The last time he did a five hour stretch or so on the radio, it was actually much mor interesting, and enlightening, than I anticipated, so I look forward to more of the same. You should too.

(As per usual, I have but one Madonna request – ‘Body Shop‘ – her only car-themed tune in three decades of great songs.)

Pictured is a 1976 MGB convertible, courtesy of Andy’s historical record of all the cars he’s ever owned.

 

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