Overeating Member of Red Sox Nation

Red Sox LogoRight now I wish I was back in Boston. Back in the heart of Red Sox Nation, to celebrate with a whole city and state full of excited happy people, dancing in the streets over last night’s World Series win.

Instead, I’m here in Connecticut. There are Red Sox people here, too, of course, but we’re dangerously close to Yankee territory and we’re definitely outnumbered. Larry Lucchino said three years ago that we were the point of the sword deep into Yankee territory – but we were still part of Red Sox Nation. Last night was a late night and when the game was over, everyone was too excited and happy to sleep. That’s not a good plan when we have a whole work week ahead.

I’m trying not to think about all the food I’ve consumed in the last three days. Everything not nailed down that had sugar and fat managed to find their way into my mouth – cookies, Halloween candy, ice cream. I didn’t journal, I didn’t drink my water (well, some but not all), I didn’t get enough veggies or fruit. I was totally out of control.

It didn’t help and probably was exacerbated by the fact that I was home doing as little as possible. I felt totally drained and mindless, without energy for doing much of anything. Those days don’t come often but when they do, I just need to recharge. Usually I can do it without stuffing my face the whole day. I’m not really sure why this time it was bad, perhaps because I’d forced myself not to snack while my parents were here and it blew out in bad ways.

I know that I’ll be up at the scale on Wednesday and I really don’t care. Actions have consequences and when I eat more of the things outside the program, I gain weight. That’s actually a cautionary truth, a hard reality that I see with my eyes as much as I feel it in the tightness of my pants.

Tomorrow is Tuesday and I’m going to water aerobics after playing hooky for two weeks. I need the workout and hope the water isn’t freezing. My new car heating pad is here and I’ll give it a whirl out in the parking lot before class.

Endings and beginnings

Freedom TrailYesterday was my last day of work at Big Urban University. I’ve had the longest lame-duck period in history and was ready to get to this point; no matter how much time there is, there’s always more that can be done to tweak files, contact people, make adjustments, train, yada yada yada. At some point it just has to end and yesterday was it.

The whole week was full of goodbyes and food and closure, spreading out the long farewell into five days instead of just one. That was actually a really good thing, since I had time to actually say goodbye to people individually and in private and not just in one big mega-event, though we had one of those, too.

We’re known for our parties and my going away party was a very festive event, made more so for me because for a change I wasn’t planning, setting up, or cleaning up. My friends know me well so there was chocolate cake but also a big fresh fruit salad, cheese and crackers, and even homemade chocolate covered strawberries (thanks, Raquel!). I’d been asked for a guest list of people outside the usual suspects and was so pleased – and surprised – at the turnout. There were even flowers from the dean.

I didn’t cry yesterday when I left and just teared up a little bit here and there in saying goodbye to staff and colleagues. On the one hand, that surprised me, but then, I’ve known for months that I was leaving and have had time to come to terms with it and to be prepared to move on. I hope I left things well organized but if I didn’t, well, they’ll find things and make good choices.

The new job starts July 2 and I move on Monday, giving me two weeks in CT to get settled a bit and learn my way around. Now I’m sort of in limbo time for these two days. I’ve run out of packing paper and boxes so am leaving the rest for the movers to do. Instead, I’m giving myself the weekend to say goodbye to Boston.

This morning – as soon as I finish writing and get dressed, actually – I’m off to explore the Freedom Trail one last time. I’ve done this a dozen times, last year while hunting painted cows, but it’s a quintessential Boston thing to do so I’m doing it again, this time without visiting the museum parts. The trail is a focused walk through historic Boston including the North End with its taste of Italy. I’ll see sites, do some shopping, and take pictures on a pretty day in a city I love.

Transition

Trinity Church tower in the fogThe streets of the Back Bay were quiet this morning as I walked down Newbury Street. It was too early for shoppers, too raw and chilly for coffee drinkers to be festive and chatty outside of Starbucks. The air was heavy and damp with layers of fog hiding the top of the Pru, making it look sawed off and chunky.

This was probably the last time I’d take this walk, at least as a resident, and I was glad to have the private time. Normally Newbury Street is bustling and crowded, with crazy drivers slowly snaking down the street past double-parked cars in front of high-priced stores. Today though was for the locals and not tourists and it was a balm for my crazied spirit.

It’s starting to hit me that I’m really leaving here, not just moving to something new. I have goodbyes to say to places as well as people. Today was the Back Bay and Copley Square, an area where I’ve spent a lot of time. Tomorrow is about WW, packing and cleaning. But next weekend I want to be able to just drive around and soak it in. If the weather’s good, maybe I’ll walk some of the Freedom Trail. I wish you blogging friends were here so I could share it with you.

Today is Patriots’ Day

Paul Revere Statue in the North EndEveryone knows about the Boston Marathon running today in the horrible weather. Many people I talked to here in CT thought the Marathon was transferred to Monday because of the wicked Nor’easter that ripped through our region yesterday.

No, that’s not it.

The third Monday in April is when Massachusetts celebrates Patriots’ Day – the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Paul Revere’s Ride.

“Listen my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the 18th of April, in Seventy Five,
Hardly a man is now alive
who remembers that famous day and year.”

Maine celebrates it, too, since they used to be part of Mass. I think they just wanted another holiday.

Boston and its surroundings mark this day in important ways other than closed schools. At the Old North Church in the North End of Boston, they recreate the raising of the lanterns to the bell tower, and across the river, riders reenact the rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes. At dawn, the battles themselves are reenacted on the village greens, surrounded by tourists. It’s all very patriotic and historic, reminding us of the humanity that gave birth to freedom.

We also run the Marathon and play a home Red Sox game, just because it’s a good idea. The race, which begins in Hopkinton, runs right past Fenway Stadium and the game is usually timed so the happy throngs (because of course the Sox will win on this day) come out and cheer the runners.

So what about this Marathon? It’s the world’s oldest annual marathon and was inspired by the success of the first modern Olympic marathon in Greece in 1896. The US coach was so impressed by what the marathon meant to the Greek people that he vowed to begin one back in his home. We’ve been running it since 1897.

I’ve lived near the marathon route all my years in Boston, albeit in different places on the way. The crowds are huge all along the way, for hours, there to support and cheer on those who labor long and hard to complete the race. The elite runners will do it, of course, but those who take 5 hours to make it need encouragement and they get it in spades.

I can’t conceive of running 26.2 miles, especially the ones on our route which have hills – Heartbreak Hill is near where I live – and this year, horrendous rain and strong headwinds at 42 degrees. I heard this morning that some 20-30% of runners were expected to skip running because of the conditions. Even qualifying to run is an achievement; I hope they are back next year to complete the dream.

The race is wonderful and puts an active sports face on our city. But those of us who live there don’t forget that the day of the race is also a time to remember our history, and to give thanks for those who gave our lives then – and now.

Baby, it’s cold outside

Man freezingThis morning when we ventured out to go to church, the temperature was 9 degrees with a windchill of -5. Let me tell you, it was nippy. But yesterday somehow felt worse. Today at least we didn’t have much wind blowing; yesterday my brother and I were wandering around with temperatures about 20 with winds whipping at 30 mph and gusts even higher. Standing on the top deck of the U.S.S. Constitution, on the water with that wind and at that temperature, we froze into little popsicles in no time. The sailors were properly attired but all of the tourists looked as cold as we did. And we didn’t actually last long enough for the tour to start — we retreated to the car and headed for lunch.

I wore weirdo clothes yesterday in an effort to stay warm. My long underwear has gone missing but I knew I didn’t have anything warm enough to withstand being outside for any length of time without freezing to death. So I wore two pairs of pants at the same time, one on the small/close fitting side and the other a bit loose. And I had a silk turtleneck under a bulkier heavy knit turtleneck, thick socks and sturdy shoes. My coat is down-filled with a fur-trimmed hood and I have a Polartec hat and comfort-temp gloves to keep my ears and fingers warm. I looked like a dark version of the Michelin man but I was warm.

I had a wonderful visit with my brother, who relished being in a place with sunshine and cool weather (though he hadn’t expected it to be quite THIS cold) after all the gray and rain of Houston. We did a little sightseeing but not as much as we might have done, had the weather been warmer. Thanks to the warmth of my little car, we did cover a lot of ground to see as much as possible, talking as we went.

Saturday we had lunch in Harvard Square at John Harvard’s Brew House – a very Cambridge thing to do, if not particularly points-friendly. I had a Bleu Burger with fries and a small glass of home-brewed ale, and split an apple crisp. It was all yummy and I only had a small yogurt for dinner to make up. We also went to the movies and saw “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller and set in the Museum of Natural History in NYC. It’s not going to win any major prizes but it was fun and it really did make you think about what actually happens with all those museum displays when the lights go out.

Today we started with church, instead of my usual Sunday morning WW meeting. It was weird to be there since I don’t usually go, but at the same time, there was a comfort. Something to think about. We thought about trying to go to the North End to have Italian there before heading to the airport, but parking is such a nightmare when you try to go there and it would mean planning walking (and freezing) so we moved to Plan B – Sunday brunch at The Elephant Walk, a Cambodian-French restaurant that’s one of my favorites – with parking right in front of the door. Yayy! The food was yummy and very different from your average eatery. I’m not sure how to count the food but I recorded it.

All too soon it was time to take my brother off to the airport. I just hate driving there – they have been redesigning and renovating that space since I moved here in 1990. But now that the tunnels have been reopened, I can go from being parked at my house to parked at the airport in 20 minutes, which is amazing. I’ve been tracking his little plane on the airline website, moving its way back to Texas, so thankful for the chance to have this visit and to share my home and my life with my only sibling. Usually we are surrounded by so many other family members and demands on time and attention; this weekend was just for us and it was wonderful.

But now it’s time to get back to my routine. I’m feeling much better but there is still a throat tickle that leads to a nasty cough, and my nose clogs and runs periodically so I need Puffs with me all the time, though not surgically attached to my hand. So that’s an improvement. I’m going to the gym after work tomorrow to do a brief warmup on elliptical and then to work with weights – I have T’ai Chi on Tuesday and standing up for that takes a toll. I missed exercising all last week because I didn’t feel well so I will be careful not to overdo – but my body needs to move!