Archive for December, 2007

the good news

I am adopted. I’ve always known and was told so early in life that I misheard it and for a while there thought I was “a doctor.” In October 2002 I finally met both of my birth parents, Debbie and Johnny. I wanted to find them out of curiosity about my background, my interest in psychology and nature vs nurture. Also because I don’t like loose ends and I had (and still have) questions. There are always more questions. I love them both and my relationship with each of them has evolved into an important and lasting friendship.

Johnny and Debbie never married each other, but have remained friends over the years. They each married, had children and got divorced. For various reasons Debbie did not want to tell her kids, Baker and Bailee, about me and I felt no reason to pressure her. She was the one who would deal with whatever feelings her kids had about it, not me.

Long story short, the Wednesday before I left for Nashville I got a message from Debbie that she’d told her kids, Baker and Bailee, about me. I planned to call her back over the weekend when I’d have more time to dig in. I was a little nervous, too, feeling this undefinable weird pressure or anxiety, I don’t know what. Anyway, I let it sink in a bit, went to bed, and went about my usual Thursday routine.

Thursday night my phone rings and it’s a number I don’t recognize. I didn’t even notice it was 615, not 617, and what-the-hell, I picked it up. I’m not afraid of you, unknown number! “Hello, can I speak to Ruth?” “This is she.” “Hi, this is Bailee.” !!!!! “Well, HI Bailee….!”

We talked for an hour and a half. It was surreal and normal and interesting and … we knew so much about each other already from Debbie and Bailee had done some homework by checking out my blog. The strangest part of it all was how not strange it was, how easy our conversation was, and how much I liked her immediately. We really hit it off. It was hard to get off the phone because I didn’t want to. The good thing was I knew I’d get to meet her in person so soon.

Flash forward to Sunday (the 23rd) in Nashville. Christmas shopping (window shopping) at some of our favorite little stores, getting in some quality time with mommy. That was nice and Christmassy. Then the Titans game with dad and Michael. That game ended and I got to see the last 6 minutes of the Patriots game, too. Can I just say aaahhhh, relief!!! I shuddered and sighed audibly when the broadcast switched over; it was like I was getting my fix - I even slapped the inside of my arm for effect. Michael and I had been tracking the game on NFL.com, but there’s nothing like seeing my boys for reals. I needed my weekly dose of Wes. (YES, I’ve seen that awful, AWFUL mattress commercial. So he can’t act, big deal! He’s a football player. A kick ass one, who’s also adorable. Not my usual type, but what a sweet face. And he shaved the ’stache, thank god!)

ANYway, so I made plans with Bailee to meet her and Baker at the Bound’ry where Baker bartends. I had actually seen Baker in person before in December 2002. Debbie told me he bartended there so an old friend and I went and got drinks.

bailee and roo 1bailee and roo 2

This time they knew who I was and were expecting me. So I arrived and there was Bailee at the bar, looking cute as a button. We hugged, I sat, shook hands with Baker across the bar and I started talking nervously - as though I never do that, ha ha - about how I don’t know Nashville so well anymore and got a little lost on the way over. Started drinking some wine and calmed down. The night was still young, the place was still kinda empty. I don’t even remember what we talked about, but, again, I do remember that once I wasn’t nervous, it was very smooth and casual and… effortless.

hey, man, takin a picture here!

hmmm what to order next…

I’m clearly underdressed for so momentous an occasion and see now how badly I need to update my frickin’ wardrobe. I’m a hoodie girl, I would wear them every single day if I could. Not getting down on myself here, just realizing I could branch out. I love Bailee’s jacket here. Isn’t she adorable?

Here’s something you can’t see in the photos. I’ve got a forehead cowlick, but I part my hair on the opposite side and blow dry the hell of out it to keep it down and covered. Bailee has the same cowlick and does whatever is necessary to tame hers, too. HA! It’s genetic, baby! They both called it the Dempsey cowlick (Debbie’s maiden name). You can see it in Baker’s hairline, too. I was the only one growing up who had one…. wow, I can’t get over that I have more siblings.

I see more resemblance with me and Baker, mostly in the eyes and eyebrow line. We all three have insanely similar skin tone. This really blew my mind. I don’t often meet people with skin as pale as mine.

We’re mean muggin’ here. Good times. mean muggin

Baker’s a good bartender and he totally set us up with our drinks pro bono. hee hee. Even let us order food, so I got this sublime red snapper with risotto. Hands down the best meal I ate whilst in the southern ‘Ville. I recommend.

As the evening wore on many of their friends showed up at the bar, most of whom still didn’t know about me. This wasn’t like some planned unveiling, I believe it’s just the way they roll, esp. with Baker being a bartender, sometimes it’s the best guarantee you’ll get to hang out with him. A little earlier in the evening we convinced Bailee’s boyfriend, Josh, to skip his last minute Christmas shopping and come join us.

Here they are below. And a couple more shots of me and the Bakester. heh.  If you want to see any of these bigger, just click on them.

josh and bailee    wow, another sister?     ok, I guess that’s ah’ight
There was one friend in particular, Chloe, who didn’t know about me, but when she walked in mentioned to Bailee how much her “new friend” looked like Debbie and wasn’t that interesting. Ha. Chloe grew up next door to them and is Baker’s best friend. They’re like siblings themselves and Chloe knows Debbie like her own mother. But the three of them are known to play pranks on each other, so when we let her know the truth, that I’m Baker and Bailee’s half-sister, she said, “No fucking way!! Y’all better not be lying to me or I’ll kill y’all!!” It was hilarious. We did what we could to convince her, I showed her a photo of me and Debbie on mobile, but she was still dubious. Once she was convinced she gave me a huge hug and said she’d gained another sister, too. It was a great night.

Here are some of the three of us. I love my “new” family.

awwww

who knew?

oh, no, really…

nashville for xmas

I use my cell phone as my alarm clock; I’m a pretty light sleeper and unless I’ve got surface noise going (like a fan in the summer) all it takes is the phone on vibrate and I’m up. I set a new alarm to wake me at 4:30AM on Tuesday the 18th because I had a 7AM flight out of Logan. Also set the coffee to start brewing a little before that. Wicked smaht.

When I smelled coffee and heard the noises the coffee maker makes I stirred. Good thing, too. Seems I’d set the alarm, but didn’t enable it. I looked at my phone for the time and it was 4:40AM. ruh-roh! Setting up the coffee was smarter than I’d thought.

So began my fake’ation to Nashville. I can’t call visiting my Nashville a vacation, exactly, so I’m adopting this new word I learned. Seems fitting.

I’ll sum up this trip as briefly as possible, but because of one pretty major event that happened, I’ll likely break it up into two entries. The second entry will be photo heavy. Aw, yeah.

boggleAfter playing a game of frisbee golf with Michael and having supper with the family my first night at home was spent kicking some ass at Boggle with Dad, Michael and Ken. They played as one team against me, de rigueur. After Michael and Dad passed out, Ken and I went head to head. He did remarkably well, but I can’t discount my wine handicap. I just love that he’s so willing to play. It’s great that they’re all willing, but Ken kept playing, and that’s a big deal.

This picture of Ken, Michael and Dad’s hand shaking the game in the living room is from 2005. Since my camera is dead I scrounged and dug up this pic.

Wednesday was warm out, 60 degrees or more. Michael and I went out and got the tree and played another game of frisbee golf on the hill. Once it got dark out I headed over to the Centennial Sportsplex to work out. I’d never tried this place, usually when I visit I go with Michael to the YMCA, but he let his membership lapse and they won’t let you in unless you’re with a member. The Sportsplex let me in to use their facility for 6 bucks and man, I think they overcharged me.

Yes, I’m very spoiled by my gym in Cambridge, but this place was vile. I immediately wanted to turn around and leave, but I’d paid, I had on my workout clothes and I needed to do some work. I guess regarding the Sportplex people mostly avail themselves of the ice rink and swimming pools, which were both enormous.

I won’t go into detail, suffice to say I got my cardio and my weights done. Once home I quickly showered and got ready for our fancy dinner out for mom’s birthday. Stoney River is a fairly new, fairly upscale restaurant down the street from us and the food was fantastic. We had a good time, despite the room being at a decibel level of, I’m guessing here, 120. It was all good, though, we spoke with the long tableful of loud gentlemen behind us after our meal. Turned out they were lawyers, a breed with which I am thoroughly familiar, so we exchanged some witty verbal repartee and bid them a good evening.

Thursday morning I put the lights on the tree and then eschewed the Sportsplex after finding I would be allowed to use Vandy’s student gym for 5 bucks a day. Huge improvement. Got in a good cardio workout, hung out with the family over dinner, then headed over to Ken’s in East Nashville to hang out and get my ass kicked at Scrabble. Many people don’t understand how I can be so good at Boggle and suck at Scrabble. I don’t get it either. I think it’s mostly that I am too lazy to map out a strategy, to attack the board with an eye for points. I just do my best to create words. Ken, though, is strategic (dude takes his TIME, I took a nap during one of his turns!) and overwhelmingly competitive, so … you can guess who won. By a lot.

Friday morning I was back at the gym with Michael in tow. Sadly we found a fairly freshly dead hawk outside their pool area, which is enclosed in big picture windows. We think he was confused and flew into it thinking it was still sky, poor thing. Michael took a box from the trunk of our car, loaded him in and we drove him up to the hill to avoid the dreadful fate of a trash dumpster or worse.  Michael set him somewhere in the woods - back to nature.

By Saturday, the 22nd, I was pretty sure I’d caught a mild cold so I took it easy; didn’t work out and even got in a nap. [An amazing thing I realized is this was my first cold of the entire year. Yes, the entire year. I was so careful throughout my chemotherapy because of the lowered immunity, but once I was done… interesting that I’ve stayed so healthy. Knock on wood!]

I didn’t play frisbee golf that afternoon, but I hung out and watched Michael and two old friends from childhood play. They were the originals, they set up the course on the hill and played all throughout grade school, so it was a nice, nostalgic time.

boned bustard

I have a friend from work who only recently heard about the turducken. He became obsessed with the idea of making one himself. Two days ago he found a butcher who’ll do most of the deboning for him so he’s inviting many people over to feast on Sunday. Many, because that’s a lot of poultry.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, a turducken is a turkey, stuffed w/duck, stuffed w/chicken. Here’s the wiki of it: turducken.

Of course, this doesn’t take the cake in the realm of bird stuffing. Turns out the French really know how to sock it to you with their, as it’s said, wildly impractical “Roti sans Pareil” meaning a meal without equal. Below is the 411.

Take a large olive, stone it and stuff it with a paste made of anchovy, capers and oil.
Put the olive inside a trussed and boned bec-figue (garden warbler).
Put the bec-figue inside a fat ortolan.
Put the ortolan inside a boned lark.
Put the stuffed lark inside a boned thrush.
Put the thrush inside a fat quail.
Put the quail, wrapped in vine-leaves, inside a boned lapwing.
Put the lapwing inside a boned golden plover.
Put the plover inside a fat, boned, red-legged partridge.
Put the partridge inside a young, boned, and well-hung woodcock.
Put the woodcock, rolled in bread-crumbs, inside a boned teal.
Put the teal inside a boned guinea-fowl.
Put the guinea-fowl, well larded, inside a young and boned tame duck.
Put the duck inside a boned and fat fowl.
Put the fowl inside a well-hung pheasant.
Put the pheasant inside a boned and fat wild goose.
Put the goose inside a fine turkey.
Put the turkey in a boned bustard.

Having arranged your roast after this fashion, place it in a saucepan of proper size with onions stuffed with cloves, carrots, small squares of ham, celery, mignonette, several strips of bacon well-seasoned, pepper, salt, spice, coriander seeds, and two cloves of garlic.
Seal the saucepan hermetically by closing it with pastry. Then put it for ten hours over a gentle fire, and arrange it so that the heat penetrates evenly. An oven moderately heated would suit better than the hearth.
Before serving, remove the pastry, put your roast on a hot dish after having removed the grease, if there is any, and serve. It might be difficult to procure so varied an assortment of wild fowls anywhere at one and the same time; difficult, too, to find bustards in Europe nowadays; difficult, too, to stuff a bigger bird like the lapwing into a smaller one like the plover. I observe with sorrow that the common partridge, one of the best of all game birds, is not represented in this aviary.

Tell me that’s not hilarious!!! SEVENTEEN birds. A “well-hung woodcock,”(!?) “well-hung pheasant,”(!?) and my favorite, the “boned bustard.” And the fact they’re mentioning it’d be better to cook it in a moderately heated oven as opposed to a hearth! How quaint and sweet. And ridiculous!

Oh, man, I had to post about this because it’s tickling me so thoroughly (as though with a big feather!) and made my frickin’ day. My goodness I do love funny!!

I may or may not be able to partake of my friend’s turducken on Sunday as I’ll be meeting with the band. We need to organize ourselves; listen to the recordings we did earlier in the year and decide what to keep, what to ditch, what to work on, etc,… essentially get all of our own ducks in a row, so to speak. So we’ll see if I get to stuff my own gullet with dindon, canard et poulet.

sunday

Monday seems to be the universally loathed day, but me, I hate Sundays. Maybe hate is too strong a word. My dislike of Sundays has intensified and cooled off here and there over the years. And it’s more Sunday night than all day Sunday that I dread, something about the time limit (did I get to do everything I wanted to do?) and Monday looming. When I was still in school it was much worse, of course, but that feeling has lingered and clung like a stink.

When I’m not watching a late football game or have other things to do that I procrastinated on all weekend I like to go over the Burren on Sunday nights. My friend Danielle runs the Singer/Songwriter Series over there in the back room and my friends Tim Gearan, Sean Staples, Eric Royer and Dan Kellar play in the front room with various other players. It helps me forget that the next day is Monday. There’ve certainly been times I stayed out so late that I must have truly forgotten I had to get up early. Painful, but worth it.

So Sunday started with my having to brave the elements because I had no half and half for my coffee. The storm that started so pretty Saturday night dropped a significant amount of new snow and sleet. In fact, it was the sleet outside my window woke me up. None of the sidewalks were yet clear so I, and the few others out and about were walking in the street. I love that sense of community you get when your neighborhood’s a ghost town because of snow.

Spent the morning on the phone, first with my parents, then during the Pats/Jets game with K8, then gchatting with my friend Joanne. Then I got on my trainer and did an hour during the fourth quarter. I don’t think I watched more than 5 minutes of that game with the sound up. Funny.

Since I didn’t have to go to work on Monday and there was nothing to hold my interest at home, I headed for the Burren around 8. I mostly hung out with Timmy and the gang, sang some harmonies and drank. It was fantastic, truly. I am always filled with joy to hear, see and have the honor of playing with this group of musicians. It reminds me of my deep love of music and the unbelievable happiness it brings me.

Our friend and percussionist Chris Anzalone came in a little while later in a seemingly poor mood. I sat with him at the bar and did my best to cheer him up and he entertained me with his new magic trick. Once the band was done we all hung out for a long time. They kept buying me more drinks (new favorite shot! “surfer on acid”) and we all stood around making each other laugh and laugh. It was the best. When I got home I saw it was 2am (!!). No problem, Monday was a write off. ha!

And indeed it was. Jiminy Christmas, today wasn’t super great. My head was pounding, I had a beer belly pouch and pained tummy. I announced to no one a few times, “god, I feel like shit!” Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about beer and shots hangovers. yeegch. Not my favorite. Had things to do, though. I packed my suitcase, I ate a little, and I went to the gym. Double spin and weights. By the time I was 15-20 minutes into the 2nd spin class I thought I might die. Of hunger and of exhaustion. My head was all, ‘what the hell are you doing to me?!’ My stomach was all, ‘and you were planning on feeding me when? you bitch.’ I did bring a Cliff Bar with me, so I ate that immediately afterwards. All good. All good. I needed one more awesome workout before I head into the unknown of the gyms in my hometown.

Now I’m in the final stretch and looking forward to flying down to Nashville tomorrow. I’m not excited about my 4:30am alarm, but I’ll get some sleep on the plane or once I get home. I’ve got a bunch of people to get in touch with, so I won’t likely get too too much rest. And much Boggle to be played. Hope you practiced, Ken!!

white weekend

Yes, white, as in snow. Mostly white, that is. It’s getting pretty slushy and dirty right now, but we got a big snowstorm up here on Thursday. My office closed at 2PM, even (said in the voice of Snagglepuss), which doesn’t happen very often. We’ve had all manner of “disaster” in my office and haven’t closed. We’ve been burdened with bizarre floods due to pipes bursting and the like and kept the office open, despite the real possibility of getting sick from mold, etc,…

Figures, too, that I had just recorded the outgoing holiday message for Christmas. Closing early meant I had to record another message over that one and re-record the Xmas msg on Friday. But that’s a small price to pay; I’ll take what I can get regarding closing early.

Went home to eat a little bit and then back out to the gym to lift weights and do double spin. Yee-haw! There’s a special joy to be had riding an indoor cycle and sweating like a maniac whilst watching snow fall outside. Beauty. And there was also a certain pleasure to be had watching cars get stuck. Schadenfraude.

By Friday the snow had been cleared from the streets and the office was open. I made my way over to Beth Israel for my last meeting of 2007 with my Oncologist. Was running late for my 9AM appointment, thanks to T delays (the green line is an embarrassment in my eyes) and slush avoidance, but the nurse/receptionist told me Dr. Jain was running late, too. He wouldn’t be in till 10:30. Go have some breakfast and come back, she suggested. Honey, I had oatmeal before I left and I have to get to work. Even if he were to arrive when she said, no way he’d see me right at 10:30. So I rescheduled. And went to work. My last day and then a week’s vacation.

The gym was closed that night for their holiday party so I got home and immediately got on my trainer. Forty minutes of that, quick shower and a relaxing me’vening. Made myself some pasta and watched my guilty pleasure, Ghost Whisperer, and then a Sopranos. I’m finally watching the 2nd part of the last season via Netflix. Nice.

So, Saturday was bitter cold. I don’t think I even stepped outside until I left for the show at the Lizard at just before 7. I slept late for me (9 or so), did laundry, did a workout at home using resistance bands, did my vocal warm-up, put together stuff for the gig and still somehow let time get ahead of me enough that I had to rush out the door to catch my bus to the venue. Dur. There seem to be some unalterable personality traits, don’t there? I am a putterer. It’s way way WAY too easy for me to waste time. I’d win a wasting time contest. And a procrastinating contest. Maybe I should organize one of those. … I’ll do it later.

Show, the show, how’d the show go? It went great, actually. Got there with plenty of time to relax beforehand. I ordered my sliders, a shot of jager and chilled with Phil, Frank, Tahaney and Joe. Once Todd arrived we did a little harmony rehearsing in the back room. Then we went on at 9:30PM sharp.

I want to thank all of my gym girlfriends who came out. It was fantastic to see such a great turnout, and they brought friends, too! Jo, Deborah, Jenn, Terri, thank you all! My clinical nurse from BIDMC, Sue, came to the show, too! She brought three friends! It was so great to see her, especially not at the hospital. HA. She’s so awesome - her bright, pretty, smiling face and upbeat attitude really helped me through my treatments. I liked her the moment I met her; we just hit it off right away.

The band did a tremendous job, they dressed so nicely!! and the performance felt just about right on. Of course, I’m my own biggest critic and a bit of a perfectionist, so I’ll always find things that need improvement. Considering we had only ONE rehearsal, this show was a real achievement. I didn’t feel nervous, which may have something to do with the jager, but it didn’t hurt that I’ve been a lot more diligent about preparation. Not feeling nervous was amazing. I was able to pay close attention to the reactions of the audience and tune in to both sides of the dial, as it were.

We had some time at the end, so Todd and I did a cover. It went well, if I do say so myself. There was a moment of … I’m not sure what to call it. We started the song and people were having their conversations in spots in the room, which is fine and perfectly understandable. But as we got into the 2nd verse there was a change in the room. Suddenly it was like every-single-person-in-the-room was with us. It was fucking amazing. It was palpable and I was so moved it was like an out of body experience. The words kept coming out of my mouth, but I didn’t even feel like I was the one singing. There is nothing in this world that can match that feeling and I am now determined to feel it again. And again. It was like… the room reached ecstacy, but in the calmest, most serene sense.

I’ve had that feeling before here and there. When Todd and I would busk in Harvard Square there were times we had a nice big group watching/listening and that unity seemed to happen. Especially when we’d do Angel by Sarah McLachlan. In any case, I am now addicted. This could be my new drug.

My apologies for no pictures - my camera died recently and I’ve been meaning to either get it fixed or get a new one. It was such a good show I do wish I had photos…. OH and the snow waited till about midnight or so to start to fall again.

music

Tonight my band is playing at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. I’m pretty excited about the show and looking forward to it. We’ve got the three of us, Todd Russell, Matt Russell and me and then we have Matt Tahaney on bass, Phil Aiken on keys and Frank Marotta on electric guitar. This is a killer line-up. Tahaney has played with us a number of times and engineered the drums on the recording we started just before my diagnosis. Phil played with us at Bill’s Bar (when was that? September?), he has his own music outfit and often plays with Bill Janovitz. This is Frank’s first outing with RUTH; both he and Tahaney play with Anne Heaton. We rehearsed with him last week and he’s a great addition.

I’m having my usual pre-show nerves and in the throes of my last minute mini-panics about whether I remembered everything and am I happy with what I’ve chosen to wear and I hope I don’t miss my bus because it’s cold out there tonight…. Good thing is I think the next bit of snow we get isn’t going to start till well after midnight. Wouldn’t have surprised me if we’d played to an empty room, our audience having stayed home and away from awful weather. But we may squeak by.

Say hi if you come out tonight (and remember we go on early, 9PM)! I’ll post again with a report on how it all went.

busy week/end

This past week I was busier than I’ve been in a while. And the busy-ness affected all aspects of my life. My band (www.myspace.com/ruthband) had two shows coming up in the next two weeks - a benefit Friday the 7th and a show at the Lizard Lounge on December 15th - and since we’ll have three more musicians with us at the Lizard we had a rehearsal on Tuesday night from 6-9PM. Work has been pretty crazy in general and our Holiday Party was Wednesday night. On top of that I’ve not missed any of my workouts.

Rehearsal was great. I’m excited about the players we have and am really looking forward to this Saturday’s show. We usually have one show in December around Christmastime, so I’m very thankful our friend Damian Shiner invited us to play with him that night.

So we played a benefit on Friday up in Billerica. It was interesting and a good cause. We were sort of background music so it was like a live rehearsal, which is always a good thing. What was superduperinsanecool was that Leslie and her husband, two organizers of this benefit, made us a “ruth” banner(!) to hang behind the drum kit. It’s awesome! Todd brought xmas lights with him and we put them up around the banner. They, of course, let us keep it, so we’ll use it at the Lizard Lounge on Saturday night.

Saturday I got things done around the house, went to the gym and lifted weights and did 45 minutes on the elliptical. That afternoon/early evening I decided to head into town. I wanted to return something I purchased at Niketown on Newbury Street when Mel was here and I remembered the Trader Joe’s on Boylston, so I stocked up.

There was also the requisite visit to Sephora as I’m a beauty product junkie, extra-specially lip gloss. It’s a terrible affliction. I have soooo many glosses and I don’t wear them all, but I love them. I squirrel them away or something. I don’t even wear makeup much, but I love it. Andy Warhol wrote that he loved makeup so much because it’s packaged so well, and I must agree. I’ve actually recently gotten into Bare Escentuals - it’s great. The best concealer I’ve ever used and it’s good for your skin, sooo…. why not?

Ok. Sunday, hmmm…. what did I do Sunday? Do you care? Do I care? Oh yeah, I puttered and NPR’d and coffee’d up and got a mani/pedi. Then I rode my trainer inside whilst watching the sad Chargers v Titans game. We were doing so well! Then the damn Chargers tied it up, we went into overtime and … <BANG> the station I was watching was legally obligated to switch to the Pats game. Yes, I wanted to watch that anyhow, but I was really into that game!

I’ve realized I should probably get a pad of some kind for my bike trainer because I managed to drip a few puddles worth of sweat on my hardwood floor. Yes, this is good as it means I was working hard, but they are hardwood floors. It also means I should remember to get my sweat towel ready, but sometimes I like to feel the sweat pouring out. You either understand this completely or you don’t, and that’s fine.

Pats game was great - another excellent match-up.

I’m only sad because I realized that I’ll be missing my first Pats game on December 23rd. I’ll be in Nashville and there’s a Titans game at the same time. My brother suggested we might be able to find a bar where they’ll be showing the Pats game.

run/walk halt + busy week

I noticed some pain near my right ankle when I got home from running outside that Sunday Mel was here. Didn’t think much of it, blamed it on the less sure footing of the out-of-doors. And I didn’t let it stop me from running again on Tuesday morning. It was an exceptionally warm and humid morning - 60 degrees at 6am! - making it very interesting.

Still had some pain, but it was very mild. I figured maybe my running shoes were rubbing my ankle/bumping into it. Felt similar to a bruise.

Continued with my usual schedule of spin Wednesday morning and Thursday night without incident. On Friday evening I ran at the gym on the treadmill and it was fine, just a little niggling, annoying reminder of pain, like I was getting used to it. I was finishing my run 4 minutes/walk 2 minutes x 5 week.

Saturday was frigid and cold out and I was psyched it was my “day off.” But I’d been itching to try my new trainer, so I rode it for about 40 minutes, just a low-impact, base training work-out. It’s awesome, by the way. So nice to be able to ride my road bike inside my apartment. Thank you again, Skip, for recommending this particular trainer and for helping me set it up. Only thing is I have to remember to bring my bike shoes home from the gym. Or else I need to get another pair. Yeah, I’ll probably do the latter….

MAN, I am so behind. Saturday night I met up with Tony and Sean for a movie and dinner. By the way, I must recommend Enchanted. It was adorable and hilarious and just what I needed. We had a ball, despite some of the annoying pre-teens and teens surrounding us in the theater. T’was to be expected. And supper at Ginza was also superb. I found my new favorite sushi roll and intend to go again soon. DEEEEliciousness abounded, which always makes me happy.

It’s interesting how you hear people say that after they have a life-or-death experience or go through something traumatic they have a new appreciation for the little things, the subtle beauty in their lives. I’d like to think I always have, with or without my cancer. I take note of the the major joy I get out of silly, small and/or ridiculous things in life in my journal. But now I have a blog, so I can share it with you. There’s just so much out there! I’m going to make an effort to write more often so I don’t have to do so much catch-up.

Sunday I began the run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute x 6. This was a seemingly insignificant change from run 4/walk 2 x 5, but it felt enormously different. One minute breaks feel very short. And I almost didn’t do my run at all because I’d forgotten my headphones. I rode my scooter over and since it was later in the day and therefore more traffic on the road, I played it safe and didn’t listen to music. When I realized I didn’t have my headphones, my mind could see them clearly on the bureau in my bedroom. D’OH! Fortunately the gym had a pair I could borrow. Crappy ones, but beggars …. you know.

Right, so then Monday I did double spin in the evening and then we’re back the Tuesday morning when I fell on my scooter. What I didn’t mention in that post was how much my ankle hurt that morning. It was as though the pain had accumulated and waited to hit me with a wallop. I completed my run and went home, but the pain continued through the day, a dull throb with a few spikes of sharp pain thrown in here and there.

Decided then that me and my running goal (and training plan) would have to be sidelined for the time being. I wouldn’t run again for at least a week and if the pain continued I’d call my doctor to get it looked at. That night, even in my sleep I found myself aware of my ankle. Weird. But the pain did subside some. Only problem came when I ran to catch the train and exacerbated the problem. The fact that I was running in my Uggs surely didn’t help. I love my Uggs, they’re comfy and warm and soft, but zero arch support…

As you can imagine, this is a real let-down. I set this goal just for me, a side-goal to the ever-enduring aim of independence and self-reliance. I’ve been excited about it and enthusiastically maintaining my training week by week. So, well, what else can I say? ugh.

catch-up

I never wrote about the rest of the holiday weekend I had with Melissa - whoops!

Friday after Thanksgiving we arose leisurely and a little late considering how late we’d gotten to bed and what a day of excess Thanksgiving had been. Coffee, then to the gym and did my walk/run with Mel on the treadmill next to me. Helped her out a little with lunges afterwards, which was fun for me since I’m considering possibly maybe getting certified to be a personal trainer. I’m certified to teach group fitness, but so far I’ve found a little more satisfaction with the one-on-one interaction. There are other ideas fighting for my attention in my little brain right now, so we’ll see what wins.

There was some shopping to do, it being “Black Friday.” So after going back home for showers and lunch we walked back out to Porter Square to one of our favorite stores, The Paper Source. Mel and I share a real weakness for paper products and this place is a gold mine. I like Bob Slate, sure, but the Paper Source has an amazing array of blank notebooks, interesting one-of-a-kind cards, great ink stamps, and, as we found this visit, unique and fantastic calendars. We each bought the same two calendars (she has a special fondness for calendars) and they are awesome. So adorable. Oh! And it was this store where Mel got me that big stuffed polar bear. They had smaller ones this time and it took a lot of self-control for me not to get one of those….

That night we decided to stay in and have a silly nostalgic girl’s night. We ordered Dominoes pizza (the new thin crust, which is YUM) like we used to in high school and watched Weird Science. Fabulous.

Saturday morning we went to the gym again (she’s such a trooper putting up with my schedule…), then met my friends Terri and Leslie for brunch at Sound Bites. Mel got the banana bread pancakes and wow, next time I’m getting those.

It was a Newbury Street day, despite it being a much colder day than we’d been treated to lately. For my self-esteem’s sake I wanted a new pair of Lucky jeans. I’ve gained weight back since my cancer (actually, to be perfectly honest, I blame going back to work in May and the time-line does coincide) and haven’t been able to fit as nicely into the jeans I have. It’s been a real bummer to me, practically tragic.

So I thought, fine, I’ll give in and get a pair one size up. I have no doubt I’ll fit back into the jeans I have, but for now I’d get some that fit. The store was way overheated and it’s not easy to try on jeans in those conditions, but I was determined. And what do you know? I tried one-size-uppers, but they were just too big. I ended up with another pair in my old size. And I love them! Just a tad tight in the belly - what else is new? - but with adorable stitching on the butt. New favorites.

We continued up busy Newbury Street. At one point two people in light blue jogging suits ran by us and I saw that one of them was Cameron Diaz. Huhn. I said, “Hey, Mel, that girl who ran by us was Cameron Diaz.” She said, “I didn’t see any joggers.” So funny, she’s always been very focused and I’ve always been all over the place. Guy walking by said to me that he’d done a triple take when he saw her and believed that yes, it was Diaz. I yelled out, with fist up, “Hey, Cameron, this town ain’t big enough for the both of us!” But seriously, jogging down Newbury? On a busy Saturday? How delightfully conspicuous… Clearly she wanted to be seen or else she’d run somewhere (ANYwhere) more conducive to outdoor exercise. We were not 4 blocks over from the Esplanade. Even one block over in the Commonwealth Mall would have been more appropriate.

Mel and I took our walk through the Boston Garden and up to Charles Street where we stopped for some wine at Enoteca. Their liquor license required that we order something to eat as well, so since we were still pretty full from brunch we ordered an appetizer of olives and had various wines. We ended up eating the entire large bowl of olives, too, even after we named them. … don’t ask.

That night we continued in our nostalgic vein and watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and ate leftover pizza and Annie’s Mac’n'Cheese. Then watched again with John Hughes’ commentary. I know, twice in a row, but it’s Ferris Bueller! And the commentary was really interesting and enlightening.

Sunday we played the Will Shortz game on NPR, then I did my run/walk outside. After a shower and coffee, Mel and I took a walk to Target in Somerville and back. I had described it as being only about a mile or so away, but when I gmapped it later I saw our walk was a total of 4 and a half miles. Mel got lotses o’ exercise in her visit and didn’t complain once.

After taking her up on the offer of using her awesome Honda FIT to stock up on big groceries, we played Boggle (my best opponent, she is, it was a close one), ate chicken nuggets and watched the Pats game. Speaking of close ones…. YIKES. The Pats maintained their winning streak, though, and Mel was such a trooper, so willing to learn a little more about a sport she didn’t quite understand - she’s a basketball and baseball fan.

Monday morning, Mel took off before I left for work. Another great visit, relaxing, exercising, hanging with friends, eating yummy food, shopping, and talking till we dropped off to sleep. Good times, good times.

first fall

Ok, so the weather has been a little wintry lately. And we actually got some snow, though not enough to go sledding or anything…. But it’s been quite cold. And there was enough snow on the ground for it to get smushed into groupings on the ground, tough nuggets that become dirty with exhaust and compressed and reshaped with footfalls and cars.

I rode my razor scooter to the gym this morning to do my run/walk. I almost didn’t go because I was so tired from doing double spin last night.  I got up, but got back in bed intending to get more sleep. Pretty sure my brain was awake, though. You know that feeling? Weighing the value of just that little bit more sleep versus what you’d intended and hoped to do that morning? My eyes opened and stayed open, so I got up.

Had no problem on the way, even though it was later than I usually head out and I managed to avoid any real bumps in the road. But on the way back I took a slight shortcut through the VFW parking lot and ran into some lovely snow kernels that were perfectly camouflaged and ready to attack. My wheels hit, the razor stopped abruptly, and over I went. It was almost funny because it felt like I was moving in slow motion and was doing a drawn out push-up on the pavement. Then the rest of me made contact.

I stood up fast and found I wasn’t in pain so much as covered with dirt and muddy snow. Go figure I had JUST washed my winter jacket 2 days earlier. Don’t that beat all?

The bright side? I have now crossed that bridge: I’ve had my first fall on the new scooter so I know what to expect. And there was no one around to witness this silly girl going ass over teakettle in the parking lot. Unless they saw it from a window in one of the houses nearby. If so, I hope they enjoyed it. I’m here to entertain.