Archive for November, 2007

contact high

I can’t stop watching Weeds. Lots and lots of Weeds. Yes, I still like it. A lot. I’m four episodes away from the end of Season Two, then, I wait, like I am waiting for 30 Rock.

I was reserving my watching for the T on the way to work and back, but sometimes the sound is too quiet on the train and I can’t hear well enough. So then I’m at home and I want to watch onlyonemore…onlyonemore… Now I want to finish so I can actually get back to a book. I’m beginning to feel high myself…. Maybe it’s a contact high.

So a book next, not just one of my many reference books or magazines (Harpers, VF, The Week (thanks, Mel!), EW and Women’s Health… oy, I think I have too many), but a real novel. I have a number of them in a pile and if the pile had arms they’d be either perched on the pile’s hips or crossed in front of the pile’s chest. And the pile may even be tapping it’s foot at me and shaking it’s head back and forth with a little “tsk tsk tsk.” I really ought to crack the spine on one of them.

Or maybe next I’ll download The Office. HA. There goes any hope for productivity. Since I’ll be traveling to Nashville for Christmas soon enough I’ll want to have something to watch on the plane, right?

Anyway, just wanted to praise Weeds once again. Fantastic writing, fully formed characters that keep revealing more about themselves, completely unbelievably believable plots… And I was never a huge Kevin Nealon fan, but now I am in love. His character is insane and a hoot and a holler. The entire cast is perfect. And that damn theme song will NOT leave my head. I think I’ll do my own version!

razor

My gym has chosen this odd time of year to renovate the “wet area” meaning the shower, hot-tub, sauna and steam room. So no more showering at the gym till next year. Which makes things difficult for me since I use the shower there everytime I work out. They worked out a deal with a nearby school for members to use their showers, but wow, how weird. Not to mention inconvenient. Make me walk over two blocks in the freezing cold post-workout to take a shower?

When I lived in Newton I got a razor scooter to speed up my trip to the bus to get to work. It was great and shortened my commute noticeably. I loved it, actually and have been wanting another one for years. I always thought it’d be great to have a scooter to get to the gym super fast in the mornings, but I just never got around to it.

This gym renovation gave me the perfect excuse. Razor scooters aren’t as easy to get as they were 5-6 years ago so I had to look it up online and find a retailer, but I did and I got one. And this time it’s red instead of blue - bonus!

So far I’ve used it the past two Wednesday mornings for my very early spin class. It was great to get there so quickly (five minutes!) and then again to be able to finish class and ride home to shower. No grade school locker room shower for me. I’m pleased with my genius. hee hee… and I don’t care that I get a lot of funny looks when I ride it. phlphlphlphlbbbttt….

traditions

My best friends Mel, K8 and I have a tradition of spending Thanksgiving together. In college none of us was interested in traveling all the way to Nashville for it since we’d likely be going down for Christmas anyhow. They each have special family recipes they prepare and since I don’t have any of my own, my job has always been the turkey (and the mashed potatoes, of course, a must have!!).

The last few years we haven’t all three been able to be together. Two years ago Mel made other plans, so it was just me and K8T (and her husband, Peter and Todd). Last year none of us could work it out (my terrible memory, I honestly don’t know why this was) so my brother Michael came up to visit me from Greensboro, NC for the holiday. We had a most excellent time, but I made the entire meal myself.

Certainly I have mucho experience with all of our dishes (with the exception of K8’s corn bread stuffing, which is her baby alone. I help making the cornbread from a mix, but other than than… yeah…), but this was quite the undertaking. I’m not a cook. I enjoy cooking, but it’s not my forte and I have little imagination for it, meaning menus don’t occur to me, you know?

So all by myself I made Mel’s pumpkin soup (god, so simple and so delicious), K8’s sweet potato casserole, Mel’s corn and cheese pudding, mashed potatoes and, of course, a small turkey. It tasted as good as it looks.

2006 tgiving meal

I didn’t make any dessert because my friend Sarah was planning to come over later with some of her homemade apple pie. And holy shit, it was the best apple pie I’ve ever had. I think about it a lot, actually, and wonder how the hell she created that masterpiece.

Two days later Michael had to fly home, but we got some pictures taken right before he left.

me & mgp 1

Thanksgivings always go by too fast.

me & mgp 2

Especially when you’re having fun.

This year, Mel is visiting. She’s driving up from Philly today, so I’m not sure when to expect her, holiday traffic is incredibly unpredictable. She’s driving her new (mostly new, a few months) Honda Fit and I am excited to see her and to test drive her car because I recommended she check it out when she told me she was thinking about a Yaris. I’m sure she’d have looked at it at some point anyhow, but in any case, I dig that car.

I’m even more psyched because the plan is for her to stay till Monday - barring the possibility of one of our knock-down, drag-out fights…. HA! Gotcha! Never happens. This means we’ll have plenty of time together. How will we fill this vast amount of time? Eating, most certainly. Shopping, of course. Walking, always always always. Board games, you know it (I’ve been promised Boggle!). Eating, yes, I know I already wrote that, but it bears repeating. Relaxing, assuredly. Mel has been working way too much and too hard lately. Exercising, indubitably, Mel will be my guest at the gym and is looking forward to it.

I am disappointed not to see K8 and Peter and meet their baby, Tillie, but I know they’re going to have a wonderful first Tgiving as a family in the Catskills. And K8 and I have spoken a lot recently (we usually do) and she’s trying something new with the corn and cheese pudding, so I’m interested to find out how that goes.

Yeah, so, have a good turkey day, y’all.

ouch!

I spent the rest of my weekend as I’d antipated; I got a lot done and worked out and watched New England knock the wind out of Buffalo. As it turns out I worked out a little harder than I thought. I did my run/walk then worked on my legs with weights, you know, lunges, squats, etc,… Well, let me tell you, yesterday I was in no small amount of pain. I was making ouchie noises when I got up, when I sat down, when I walked around. It was bad.

I wasn’t sure I should even go to spin last night, but I know active recovery is best so I went. Things were going fine despite my legs being stubbornly stiff. Tra la la, tra la la… Nearing the end of class we move into a sprint and *SPANG* I get a charlie horse in my calf !!!! The pain was incredible and my calf throbbed like it was attached to electricity. I pulled my foot out of the clip and massaged my leg for a minute, then got right back into it. What else could I do?

Worked on upper body afterwards and went home knowing today was going to have to be an off-day, no running. So now I’m off by a full week, but my goal is still in my sights. All day today my legs and butt have still been killing me.

To add insult to injury I had to have my port flushed this afternoon. Not like it’s a terrible inconvenience, just annoying. And a little bit painful.

One good thing, my friend, and work IT specialist, Skip, came over after work and helped me re-set up the bike trainer he’d recommended I get. Yes, re-set up. I did it all by myself over a month ago and things didn’t seem right; I knew I’d effed it up somehow. So now I’ll be able to ride anytime at home, which is most excellent. Thank you, Skip!

busy-ness

I’ve been making lots of plans with friends and watching that whole season of 30 Rock and wow, I realized there were a lot of chores, so to speak, I wasn’t getting done. I’m a list-maker by nature, so I sat down Thursday night (after double spin and weights with Joanne, and after 30 Rock) and made myself a new to do list.

Good god, it’s a long list. I got a lot done last night and today, but there’s plenty left for tomorrow (and Monday and Tuesday…). These things, these chores, they do add up, don’t they? I thought my original list was daunting, but the funny thing (and by funny I mean odd and annoying) about to do lists is that they continue to grow. As you’re doing you find more to do. Which is precisely why I’ve kept my weekend all to myself and made no plans with anyone. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to cross things off and feel that sense of accomplishment.  Plus, I’ll get in plenty of social time next week/weekend with Thanksgiving.

Friday I really got things in gear. After work I did my walk/run on the treadmill at the gym and then did some lifting. I had wanted to run on Tuesday, but I got a pretty bad shinsplint in my right leg from running two days in a row last weekend. The advice I got was to not run till the pain went away, possibly not till Sunday. I was psyched on Thursday when I realized my pain had subsided substantially enough that I could run Friday. Back on schedule and only off by a day. Sweet. I’m at run 3 minutes / walk 2 minutes x 6. I honestly look forward to my runs. This may mean the end of my hatred for running….

So Friday I worked, then worked out, then took the bus out to Trader Joe’s in Arlington for a few more supplies only TJs could provide. (oh, and on the bus I watched Weeds. Yes, I downloaded the 1st season from iTunes and am loving it!!!) Then I got home and did laundry and changed poor Lucy’s litter box and cleaned the bathroom. Aw, yeah, don’t you wish you had my exciting life? You know you do. haw haw haw

If I continue to give such detail about getting my to do list done you’ll most certainly be bored to tears. Suffice to say I crossed off a bunch of stuff and plan to do the same on Sunday. Then in the evening I will relax and enjoy watching the Patriots in Buffalo.

no pats and weeds

I’m so used to having a Patriots game over the weekend I felt kind of lost this bye week-end. I’ve been meaning to hang out with my friend Melissa G and here’s something funny. Last Sunday I was doing my run/walk and ran past her house. Her car wasn’t in the driveway so I kept going. Got home and there was a voicemail from her on my cell phone. Quelle coincidence! I thought, ‘hey, wow, maybe she saw me run past….’ but she hadn’t.

We decided to hang out over the weekend. She did her yoga and I did my run/walk on the treadmill with plans to have lunch afterwards. The Porter Exchange Mall has the best sushi; it’s so wonderful to have such amazing sushi nearby. And I had fresh edamame for the first time; it was deliciousness.

Melissa then drove me to Trader Joe’s where I was able to stock up, not only because she had a vehicle, but her husband works there, so she shared the employee discount. Beautiful. Trader Joe’s is so kick ass.

Sunday I did my run/walk again (wouldn’t normally do 2 days in a row, but I skipped Friday) and did upper body strength work. Supposed to meet up with Tony and Melissa G at her house afterwards and called K8 on my way over. But I guess I still don’t know my neighborhood as well as I could because I got lost. A walk that should have taken 20 minutes took 40. On the bright side I got a double workout and a longer talk with K8T.

Ok, so the weeds reference. Tony and Melissa invited me over to watch a Weeds marathon. I was so late they probably watched 4 episodes before I got there, but I did get to catch one and whaddayaknow? Grrrreat show. I’m thrilled to have a new show to download and watch on the T when I’m done with 30 Rock, which will be soon.

Afterwards Tony and I walked back to Davis, which was another 20 minute walk. Yay, three workouts in a day. I think I can forgive myself for taking today off, too. Anyway my shins are killing me and I’d hate to ruin my running progress. Looking forward to seeing my Pats again this coming Sunday night.

clean scan

Friday morning I had my 2nd mammogram. My first was in May and at the time they saw some extra tissue in my right breast. Since I’d never had a mammogram before they wanted me to get another one in 6 months so they’d have a comparison.

I was nervous. To this point there’s been no sign of my cancer metastasizing, but how can one know for sure? I’ve met with a genetic counselor a few times, my birth parents have filled out a few questionnaires and so far my colon cancer appears to be a fluke. So now every time I have a test of any kind I get uneasy.

Got to the hospital a little late, but I was still the first scan of the morning. My nurse this time, Mimi, was much nicer than the one I got last time. She was quick and didn’t hurt me when she’d adjust my shoulder or press my face against the plexiglass. Yeah, it’s a weird little experience, I tell ya. You have to stand JUST SO or they have to do the scan again. And they really do press and pinch your boob pretty hard. Not pleasant.

Since I was the first scan (and that mini waiting room filled up fast, it did) my results came quickly. And what do you know, the extra tissue they found was just that, extra tissue. No cancer in my breast. Phew! I’ll be meeting with Dr. Jain next month and we’ll discuss when I should have another mammogram, whether I can wait a year or 6 months or 3 months or what. For now, I’m experiencing relief.

30 rock

Ok, so my friend Joanne recommended I try 30 Rock. She and I usually do double spin on Thursday afternoons and then lift weights together. A few weeks ago we were talking about what we’d each be doing afterwards and TV came up. She got a little worked up and animated about the show 30 Rock, which I’d yet to see. I went home and gave it a shot.

I’ve written this in here before and will likely write it again, but where the hell was I?!!?! It’s time for me to share Jo’s enthusiasm. (And my birth father Johnny’s.  He reminded me that we talked about it at the Craft’s Fair in Nashville.)

This show is the funniest thing I’ve seen in years (with the exception of Family Guy, which is hit or miss, and often borderline offensive (which can be great) and Arrested Development) and I am now officially addicted. Tina Fey is 30 Rock-ing my world; she’s insanely funny and talented, her writing is insightful and silly, and the cast is POYfect. Who knew Alec Baldwin was a comedic genius?  Yes, he’s hosted SNL about 8 times, but he can really maintain that crazy character.  It’s fantastic!

I’ve downloaded the entire first season and have been watching episode after episode on my iPod on the way to and from work every day. I know I’m an addict because when an episode is done, even if I only have two stops left on my commute, I’ll still let another episode start. I can’t get enough. Undoubtedly some of my fellow commuters believe me to be a little insane because there are times I’ve burst out laughing, breaking the usual group silence and solemnity.

But now I’m almost done watching Season 1 and there’s no indication as to when Season 2 will be out. And Thursday nights at 8:30PM I am in front of my television soaking up the current season. That’s where I was last night after the gym.

Watch entire episodes from the current season here: 30 Rock

I’ve been feeling pretty low lately, for various sundry reasons, and the laughs provided by this show are helping lift my spirits. I do hope the writers get their demands met because they deserve it, and, selfishly, I’ll be very sad not to get to see new episodes of my show.

OH, and I gave another show a chance on the recommendation of my friend Arvelle at work. He texted me that I should check out The Big Bang Theory and man, was he right. Another winner - and loser, because their writers are on strike as well. We’ll have to wait to see how this all pans out.

a brick

I am proud of myself because I’ve been keeping up with my run/walk schedule. With any luck I will not only no longer hate running, I might even like it. I just now did some calendar calculations and I should be running 30 minutes continuously by the 30th of December. That is if I keep up my 3x week.

Friday after work I ran 2 minutes + walked 2 minutes x8. Something I love about exercising outside is learning all the nooks and crannies of my area of town. Who knew there were so many little neighborhood parks? So cute. Makes me feel like a local. And I caught an amazing sunset, something I will never tire of. There are no two identical sunsets and I love them all.

After my run I settled in and watched my silly Friday night TV after a nice long catch-up phone call with my bff Kate. Her wee one, Matilda, is now 2 months old, and Kate has now started back at the gym. I’m so happy for her (for both). Neither of us were active in high school or college, but I’ve been active for a number of years now. I’m excited for her to take control of her body and health in this way and, of course, it gives us even more to talk about. Not that that was ever a problem.

Fortunately Saturday is now my rest day, major-exercise-wise, because we had a lot of rain and wind from Hurricane Noel. I like weather like that, actually, but I’m not inured to working out in it yet. And I’ve yet to purchase good outdoor weather gear, soooo… I went to the movies. And had a little too much to drink that night. I paid for it on Sunday with exhaustion and a bellyache.

But I wasn’t about to sacrifice my run/walk. No hangover is going to keep me from achieving the goals I’ve set, dadburnit. Plus, it was a beautiful day. I didn’t get going outside until noon (laundry and thingz), and my shins were very unhappy with me for the first 15 minutes or so, but I paused to stretch and soldiered on. Did the whole routine, got home and couldn’t sit still. It was just so dang nice out and, hell, it’s November. Who knew when it’d be that nice out again. Plus I still had a few hours before the Pats game.

Evidently this is called a brick in triathalon-ese. I ran then rode my bike, a brick. If I’d run then swam, or swam then biked, whichever, that’d also be a brick. I don’t see much swimming in my future as I’m a very weak swimmer. But never say never.

So I went for a bit of a ride without a set destination. I only knew I didn’t want to attempt the Minuteman since it’d likely be very popular that day. Rode down Mass Ave to Linnaean and over towards Mt. Auburn. When I realized they still had Memorial closed on Sundays for the season I headed to Watertown. I hadn’t ridden Greenough or that end of the Charles River in years. Made up my mind at that moment to visit my old neighborhood in Newton.

It was very nostalgic and sort of strange. Todd and I lived in Newton (on the edge of Watertown) for 3 years. There were things about it that I loved, but for the most part I felt cut off from the world. We lived just under a mile from the Watertown bus yard - I took a bus to get to work. The fondest memory I have of living over there was the season I got to watch a group of ducklings grow up. It was the sweetest thing ever; I’d pass them gathering together by the river every morning on my way to work, every day getting a little bigger and less yellow.

Here’s a shot of our place. It was attached to a main house, but there wasn’t any connecting entrance. We had our own door - that one on the side. The front door was fairly useless because there was a storm door, then our washer and dryer, then the main front door. It was certainly fantastic to be able to do laundry so easily, I’ll give it that. No tromping up and down 4 flights like I do now.

newton apt

There wasn’t much foot traffic out there, so it was really quiet. Once in a while I’d hear the doppler effect of someone on a motorized scooter. When we moved to Davis Square I remember I couldn’t fall asleep in the bedroom because it faces the street and the noise was overwhelming to me in comparison. For the first few nights I slept on the couch in the livingroom, which faces the back yard.

I did get some exercise in Newton on my adorable cruiser bike. I’d ride around the river. And I belonged to the local gym, but it was nothing like what I do nowadays. Back then I still had my beloved car, the Pontiac T-1000. My friend Tony drove it up from Nashville with me in 1998, if I recall correctly. My dad called it “theft-proof off-brown” which is an apt description.

pontiac

I adored that car. So ugly and lovable. It was the perfect city car because no one wanted it. I swear people would avert their eyes when they walked past. There were nights when I lived in Brighton I accidentally left valuables in it, sometimes on the seat, and the door unlocked. No one ever broke in. No shit.

zack at faxon

Overall I feel like it was a completely different life I was living out there. I am a different person than I was then. As I rode past our old house/apartment I became quite melancholy. This isn’t unlike me, really. But it was a little strange - I just don’t think I was very happy out there and the circumstances under which we ended up there were a little extraordinary. I’m just so glad I made it back to the side of the river I was always meant to be.

Of course, Todd did get Zachary when we lived in Newton, so there’s a silver lining. These were taken when the big sweet fatty was but a wee feisty kitten. Love of my life, that cat. Miss him like the dickens.

zack and roozack and guitar

happy halloween

I don’t like running. In fact, I hate running. But because I don’t want to hate it I’ve been on this “walk to run” schedule. It’s organized to help you build up stamina to handle thirty minutes of running at a stretch without, well, dying. About 3 weeks ago I attempted a 30-40 minute run in the neighborhood and I was a wreck for days afterwards. My shins hurt, my quads hurt and I scolded myself for ruining the week.

I do this walk to run 3x/week and on Sunday I was on a run and “ran” into my friend Danielle Miraglia (www.daniellem.com). She recently moved to an apartment near mine and we’ve been meaning to get together, so I walked with her a bit and we told each other THIS WEEK we’ll hang out.

I called her Tuesday and we invited me to join her for Halloween. Her fiance, Tom Bianchi, was going to be playing with the band Primary Others at the Skellig in Waltham.

We had a nice dinner at her friend Dana’s and then headed over to the Skellig. This was very last minute, of course, but we figured costumes must be worn. Danielle had a black wig and threw together a Cher costume; I had a kitty mask and basically wore black with it. Yes, lame, but I suppose better than nothing. Next year we’ll be ready with this great idea we had, but didn’t have time to execute.

cher and kitty cher and roo

Below is Brendan Hogan as an old curmudgeon. And then there’s Danielle/Cher, Cowboy/Bret and Nurse/Dana.

brendan old mandanielle bret and dana

Then we have Tiger Woods/Jason and Danielle after she got tired of the damn wig. I understood because I kept taking off my kitty mask because it was so hard to see; I had no peripheral vision and the club was dark.

tiger and rootiger and danny

There were some great costumes. I saw a big Scooby Doo talking to Captain Morgan. A Mario Brother kept woo-hooing at us. Marge Simpson had her giant hair intact, there were more Pimps and Hos than I’ve ever seen in one establishment. There was a woman with blood and gore all over her face, a black bird on her shoulder and another on her head. I never determined if she was the embodiment of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven or Hitchcock’s The Birds, but it was impressive either way.

roo and chewy For my money, though, Chewbacca took the cake. Evidently I was not alone in this opinion and he won first prize in the costume contest.

He made this himself. He was on stilts and must have been at least 8 feet tall, maybe taller. Not only that, he was carrying around a recording of Chewy’s cry that he’d play to great effect. Spectacular.

Here he is in the audience of the show towering over even the band members on the stage that’s approximately 2 feet high. Wow.

Primary Others played a ton of awesome, fun covers, like Rockwell’s (I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watchin’ Me and, of course, Thriller. All us girls did the zombie dance from the video when they played that. chewy in the audience

Best Halloween in years.