Thursday, July 8, 2010

Return to the blogosphere

Holy Crap! Has it really been that long since I wrote anything? Where have I been? Missed the whole fall and winter. And spring. I guess real life has been more important. But since my girls + Tara recommended that I start blogging again, I decided maybe that was a good idea. Not because I think anyone is even mildly interested in my thoughts, but because it's a good way to remember the things that [maybe] were important during a certain point in time. Or at least capture the ramblings of a somewhat demented woman.

Much already captured in some way on FB, which I guess pre-empts a lot of blogging unless you're a very prolific writer about all things YOURSELF. A little narcissistic, blogging and facebook, right? Kind of screams "LOOK AT ME!" and "I'M SO INTERESTING!" Do you really care how many hours people slept last night? How about headaches? Hangovers? Actually, those can be funny. How Friday can't come soon enough? Oh, wait, I'm sure my FB status at many times or other has said something about any one of those things.

Anyway, the things I forgot to record since last September (and in some cases forgot many of the details about...) the untouchable Bruce Springstini weekend, the fab NH O'Connell reunion, the very sad loss of dear Gram, family Christmas fun at the Bosstones show, Amyfest with cake and pie, a great ski season with the peeps, an awesome Alta trip, the Dropkicks St. Patrick's day show, yet another epic Sugarloaf trip, an incredible Patriot's Day breakfast-Red Sox- marathon watching-and pre-Bruins game celebration, and the merry month of May. Add in fundraising for the MS Cape Cod Getaway ride (with many thanks to all my generous friends), training, spinning, a fabulous trip to NYC for Lucy's birthday, the Ride itself, July 3 and 4 at Gull Point, Lucy C's beautiful wedding, the World Cup, and that brings us and enjoying summer vacation in the North Country. I can not complain. Life is very, very good.

Ow, my shoulder hurts. So I took up biking indoors 5+ years ago, received some terrific coaching and encouragement (thanks Scott, Lucy, and Michael!), and got hooked on the bike thing. Decided that 2007 was my year to get a road bike, so I did. After test riding and falling off 9 different models, I picked up a Specialized Sequoia Elite. Which I thought was pretty special(ized ha) indeed, until I started reading reviews, and found out it was designed for middle aged people who wanted a more relaxed geometry. Which I guess is me, although I deny it. Cue
Blink 182. It was just a real comfy bike. Took lots of rides, fell lots of times, twice badly enough to have scars and lingering injuries, and despite that realized I finally found a sport that my body was capable of doing fairly well, considering my advanced age (again, I deny). Since then I did one century ride, and recently completed the two day MS Ride from Quincy to Provincetown. Now the serious cyclists I know think nothing of doing either of those things regularly and just for fun, and don't understand my enthusiasm for completing both of those, but they are all decades younger. These were both big milestones for me. Now I have to come up with something new. Any suggestions?

The reason for the shoulder pain (big owie on the lateral raise) is a stupid and unnecessary tumble I took this morning on my new mountain bike, a gift from my awesome siblings. Unfortunately I haven't quite cottoned to it as much as my road or spin bike quite yet. I need to ride it ONCE without falling off, I guess. Last fall was a couple weeks ago in Hough's Neck on a rocky driveway/street, this time was on a bridge when I stopped to miss the big gap at the end of the bridge. Both of those falls and injuries were due to my pedals being set too tight to release quickly. Dope. I thought I adjusted them properly. Wrong again, honey.

Did I mention how much I love riding a bike that goes nowhere, doesn't crash (well you'd have to try pretty hard), and blows no tires? So I got certified to teach spinning, picked up a couple of jobs, some regular, some subbing. Still love it. That makes me wonder, is there a mandatory age for retirement from the fitness profession? When will I look in the mirror and realize I've aged out of it? Look at Jack and Elaine Lalanne! Maybe I should get cracking on an invention that sells as well as Jack's juicer. I was in an NY hotel watching his infomercial on a Sunday morning and I was so intrigued and inspired, I came THIS close to buying one. It may have been the delirium from the Springstini event a few nights prior, or the broken rib I suffered at that show, but I really thought my life would improve if I went with Jack. I'm glad I saved my money. I'm not sure I would enjoy a cool glass of green stuff as much as the people on TV. That small appliance would be either in my cellar, sold on eBay, or on top of my fridge, gathering dust with my blender. It'd be different if it brewed beer, or at least coffee.

Alrighty then. No juicer. I'll go ice my shoulder, and get back to relaxing on the front porch, and deciding what we do next. Ice cream? Strawberries? Nap? Just like last year, I LOVE vacation.

Oh, and go Netherlands!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Work Time, Play Time

Which is more important?

Work time is when your brain is at its best, and you are solving problems, directing others, and working "up to your potential". Reach for the heights!!!

Play time, or relaxo time, is my favorite time. I'm at the point where I truly enjoy the diversion from work, when I can spend time with family and friends and not have to worry about doing or saying the wrong thing. Don't get me wrong, play time is when I make most of my mistakes, because I let my guard down and go with the flow. Is it worth it? Do you enjoy spring without winter? Or if you have summer all year 'round, do you turn into a Real Housewife of OC?

I think, sometimes, that we don't enjoy play time without work stress. I think I've mentioned this before, but I think we need the yin and yang, the positive and negative, of the stress from work and the enjoyment of non-work. I think that's why I enjoy my gym time, and my time away on weekends so much. It's kind of like the old New England gritty personality can't enjoy summer without enduring winter. But I love winter. And I love summer. So there.

Right now, our Boston summer is going out with a big whimper. Cool, rainy and chilly. I was hoping that we were having a belated summer, and we would reap the hot weather benefits big time in September, but so far, that's not been the case. I was cold all day in the office. Time to put away the sandals and cropped pants? I am afraid so, but I'm not ready for wool. Yet. I amready to head to Walmart and buy a little heater for under my desk. Hope I don't cause it to shoot sparks like the last one!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gerald Ford, dead today

I know, bad taste. Dana Carvey doing Tom Brokaw always cracks me up though. Unfortunate that Gerald Ford wasn't alive to get to go to Ted Kennedy's funeral. He was conspicuous by his absence.

I didn't really think too much about Teddy's passing. After all, he'd been very sick for a while, and it's not as though I knew him. But there was something about seeing yet another Kennedy funeral that I found moving. Maybe having lost both of my parents and having been through tough funerals has something to do with it. It's just that feeling of grief and loss that families have to go through.

What I did think about, though, was all of the pomp that took place back when JFK was killed. I'm guessing that was the first presidential funeralizing that was shown on tv, and it was ALL that was on TV back then. Granted, we only had four stations (2,4,5, and 7) in Boston at the time, but I remember it being on TV for the entire week. And that's where kids around the country learned about military processionals, caissons and the horse with the backwards boots in the stirrups, and how quickly life can end. JFK, Jackie's blood spattered pink Chanel suit, LBJ and his giant earlobes (I know, I should have been mourning, but those things were enormous), Oswald getting shot by Jack Ruby on tv. It was all so surreal.

I was impressed that Teddy had Placido Domingo and Yo Yo Ma perform at his funeral. I will probably have an iPod or a boom box at mine. Makes me shudder to think about it but I am getting on in age. One of these days I'll figure out what I believe in and then plan what I want people to do for me when I'm gone.

So what's my point.....? I'm not sure. I guess it's yet another musing on what's real, what's important, what's it all about. That's why I keep moving, keep going, keep it up. If I stop for too long, I just might think about all of that too much.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer of 09

Wow, there's pressure with a blog.

When did I last update it? Is anyone reading it (uh, so far only one person that I know about)? Did I miss something?

It's been a banner two week summer for activity. Long bike rides, which I LOVE, lots of teaching spin classes, ditto, some most excellent NH time, a little beach, a little Cape, a little of everything else. It's been wonderful.

That's the only's been wonderful but doled out in pieces. Is that better? Do we enjoy summer when we have to pay for it? I tend to think so. Being from a place where good weather comes in small doses, you make the best of it while you can.

I digress. Got to spend a delightful day in Falmouth, watching the road race and seeing my daughter run her personal best, then a cookout with family and friends. Spent the day at the beach with my good friend. Had drinks with many. Enjoyed brunch on the deck with my sisters. Enjoyed a cookout with my soccer pals. Friday night deck with a small group of old friends. Saw one of my favorite bands, bought tickets for another show in September. Missed a bunch of soccer games. Saw live theater, twice!

Then there were the sad moments, thinking of those who lost loved ones. Fathers, grandmothers, friends. Always sad, and as I age, more frequent. On the other hand, we had births and toddlers in abundance.

Ahhh, summertime. By the calendar almost over. By my calendar, still has a bit to go. September can be one of the most beautiful months of the year. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Ugh, now you have that awful song stuck in your head, dontcha?

Quandary 1: How to do all the things you want to do in a given day.
Quandary 2: How to do only the things you need to do and not worry about the rest of it.

Do I go the "pleasant" route and do the things I want to do? Or go the practical route and do the things I need to do (like pack my suitcase for a business trip that starts later today) and then do the fun things.

It's Sunday. It's the weekend. The game I attended last night was frustrating, at best. I haven't accomplished much this weekend. I think it's time to head out for a nice Tour de Peninsulas, and then tackle the rest.

At what age will I learn to just relax and not try to pack too much into a day? At what age will I finally learn to enjoy a nice day with family and not feel like I need to accomplish something? What will matter, when I'm at the end of my days? Oh, sorry, didn't mean to get maudlin. Where are the mimosas?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Folks and fests

Today we went with my brother in law Robb to the Lowell Folk Festival. I haven't been for a few years, but it's always a fun take if the weather is agreeable. There is not only interesting music, but people of all stripes, from the geezer in daisy dukes to the guy in the leather kilt to the gorgeous young girls staffing the Laotian booths. We spotted a lot of aging hippies as well as black sock and sandal wearing nerds, and I figure someone probably thought we were South Shore oddballs too.

I'm not sure whether the music, the food, or the beer made me feel best. I think it was a combo of all of those things. I'm not a big fan of bluegrass, but Sierra Hull and Highway 111 were fantastic...she's a kid who whales away on the mandolin, and had a 17 year old fiddler who was as good as anyone I've heard. We were inspired by the Brotherhood Singers, who reminded me how much I love "People Get Ready" acapella, and then entertained by DL Menard's cajun music. I didn't know about him but apparently he's a legend. It was a blast to watch people dancing cajun-style, gliding around in a rag tag waltz in a big circle. We wandered around, collecting yummy food like pad thai, baklava, and pierogies, visited a gallery and bought a crazy dog painting, and finally took in the Glen David Andrews band, also from New Orleans, but more on the funky side. They got everyone up and dancing. Until the thunder began and the skies opened, that is. We ducked for cover but quick! Surprisingly, we hit no more rain on the way home.

Given it's a free festival, the big turnout shouldn't have been a surprise, but it seemed to me, anyway, that there were more people than usual there. With the wide variety of folks at the folk fest (and very little of what I'd consider folk music), it made me wonder what they all listen to when they're home. I always want to ask people what's on their iPods or in their home stereo or CD players.

Good times. Listening to music outside is one of my favorite things to do in the summer. We'll see what my next show is like (Rancid on Wednesday).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hot Saturday

Interesting day. Attended an old friend's father's wake last night and saw lots of other old friends and their families. It's interesting to see all of the people who have grown out of a core group of friends, especially now that our kids are adults.

Today was finally hot and sunny after much rain and cold weather. After a lot of deliberation, rode my bike to the gym where I was scheduled to teach a spin class this morning. I had already spent a bit of time compiling just the right music mix for the class.....not knowing what age group I'd be teaching....and hadn't had enough water, especially after downing a few glasses of vino last night. Decided to hop on my bike and ride to class...but left late so I had to power myself there! 40 minutes later I arrived, a bit winded but not exhausted. After an hour spin class, hopped back on my bikey bike and rode back home again. Man, I was hungry when I got home! It was a very pleasant ride, other than the Boston traffic, potholes, and debris.

After a quick shower headed back out to the bike shop to pick up a couple of tubes and also found myself a nice pair of Tifosi sunglasses for riding. Then to Stoppie to pick up food. Used one of those scanners for the very first time. I felt like Grandma in the store because I had no clue. I even had trouble with the bagging in the cart. And produce is a bear. Having to come up with labels for everything (with a problematic printer at that) was a challenge. As I picked up my Eight O'Clock coffee I had memories of going to the supermarket with my mother when I was little. There was no "shopping buddy" or scanner, no scanners at all, but I do remember her buying that same bag of coffee. Back then, the coffee grinder was at the checkout, and the clerk would pour the beans into the hopper. I'd get a boost up to watch them go down and smell the delicious aroma. What a thrill! Actually, the real thrill was getting a 5 cent bottle of Coke out of the vending machine. Cold and delicious.

If my mother were alive she would shake her head at what grocery shopping has become.

Back to the house, unloaded, made brownies and a rice salad, laundry, and headed back out for a much needed pedicure. Too bad the nail tech sawed the skin off my feet. It'll grow.

Tonight there's a neighborhood pot luck down the beach. I hope there's a jello salad.

Tomorrow is another day...we may go to the Lowell Folk fest, weather permitting. And of course there is a USA Men's National Soccer Team Gold Cup final, which I need to at least record if not watch. I have become a soccer slacker, I'm sorry to say. USA USA USA.