Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

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.

thanksgiving 2007

Now that I have photos of the day itself, courtesy of Melissa, here’s a little run-down of the weekend:

Mel made good time and got to my place ’round 7PM. We hung out a while drinking wine and talking, talking, talking. Finally we realized we were hungry, so what else would we do, buy more wine! Got that and the missing ingredients in the tomato sauce I make for pasta. Made that, ate, drank more, and eventually passed out from exhaustion.

Thursday, Thanksgiving. We had a leisurely morning: had much coffee, ate some of the carrot brake (I always called it that because it’s like a cross between bread and cake - only needs some cream cheese frosting…) my mom sends me every year, made the corn and cheese pudding and listened to some NPR.

Got to Tony and Sean’s at approximately 2:30pm and once Celine and her mom, Rayhan, arrived we basically sat around drinking glass after glass of wine and eating the enormous amounts of cheese they’d brought. All manner of soft and medium cheeses as well as pate. And I’d cut most cheeses out of my diet! For Thanksgiving I made an exception. A delicious exception. Yeah.

We ate dinner at suppertime, about 8pm. It wasn’t the latest Thanksgiving meal I’d ever eaten, but it was certainly non-traditional. Having gone through a ton of trial and error over the years of making our own turkey day meals, there’ve been times we ate around 8, maybe even 9pm before. It’s a lot of work to get the timing of all the different foods right, and usually I don’t get it all done till 5 anyhow. To my mind, a traditional time to eat would be between 2 and 3pm.

Tony went a few non-traditional routes, actually, at least for me. He even brined the turkey and let it sit out until it was room temp before baking it. The stuffing was very non-traditional and very interesting replete with cranberries and other fruit. And let me say, that turkey was the best I’ve ever had. I never understood people fighting over the skin till now. I’d have put a real hurt on someone if they hadn’t let me have a little more. wow.

Here’s stuffing and veggies on the sideboard and a plate loaded up.

stuffing and veggies plateful

And the table with all of us but Celine, who took the picture. I think Mel and I look a little demented. I might have had a bit much wine at this point…

most at table

and here’s just me and Sean.

sean and roo

The meal was amazing. We had coffee and retired to the livingroom for a bit afterwards and ate a few of the champagne truffles Mel brought. Here’s a shot of me and Celine.

celine and roo

Ute, Tony and Sean’s mini dachshund joined us. She wondered why she didn’t get her own truffle.

tony, ute and mel

ahhh… and one of me and the Mel-ster. Both of us wine-eyed and happy. Sometimes I can’t believe we’ve known each other as long we have.

mel and roo

There are no pictures of the pies that did me in, but believe me, they were beautiful. The pecan pie was the end, I believe. Suddenly I was down for the count. Celine and I went back in the livingroom and the adjacent tv room and set up camp each on our own couch. I could barely move.

We did make it to the T in time to catch the last train home, but I didn’t realize it would take so effing long. We didn’t get back to Somerville till 1:30, possibly 1:45am. Yowza. Didn’t do much except say goodnight and crawl into bed with our overstuffed bellies. It was grand.

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.

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.

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.

this is an alarm call (so wake up, wake up now)

It’s always nice when you expect to be able to sleep in (especially after staying up late watching Sopranos episodes in bed on your laptop) to be awoken by the piercing cry of an alarm. That was my Friday morning wake-up call. I sat bolt upright, grabbed my jeans and sandals and ran down the stairs wondering WTF!?!! There were these women cleaning the second floor apartment going about their business seemingly oblivious to the alarm that was continuing to blare. I could smell some kind of burning and realized they must have done something to set it off, but no one was springing to action to stop the deafening sound. Again, WTF?!!

I rang my landlord’s doorbell a few times and ran back up the stairs searching for the source so I could remove the batteries or something. Found an alarm going in my back stairwell, but ran back to put in earplugs first because otherwise I’m sure my ears would have bled, it was that loud. By the time I got back to attempt to fix the problem the alarm stopped and I could hear my landlord speaking to the cleaning crew.

WELL, good morning to you, too.

What I still don’t get is, what were they doing that something ended up burning? When I saw them they were standing around with rags and mops and buckets full of what I found to be foul smelling cleaning fluids. (That’s another concern altogether. I went in the 2nd floor apt the next day and cannot understand why after a thorough cleaning the place still smells like it needs a cleaning.) Did they decide to have a little breakfast, too, and things simply got out of hand? Was there some kind of throwdown regarding dark rye v. pumpernickel? Did they come to blows over whether to have kielbasa or spanish sausage with their toast? Were there beans involved?

I spent the rest of my day laundering my quilt down the street, writing, reading, watching Sopranos and then lifting some weights listening to music.

Later I met Anthony and Sean in Dorchester for supper. They both got new colognes over the tax-free weekend, too, and smelled fantastic. (If you know me at all you know smell is of the utmost importance to me.) We ate at the Ashmont Grill, just up the street from their condo. We sat in the back patio where it was comfortable despite the heat from earlier. Once the sun went down it was cool and the moon was waning and gorgeous. The food there is smashing and the carrot cake I got for dessert was absolute divine. I couldn’t eat the entire piece so I took it home - treat for Saturday! They took care of the bill and called it a birthday dinner - so sweet. I felt fortunate to have found a night we could see each other because with Tony back in school, he’s quite busy.

We went back to their place so they could show me some of the changes they’d made and I noticed I’d missed a call on my mobile. I was waiting for this call and since I didn’t hear the phone ring we must have been in an AT&T dead spot.

Anyway, it was Kate calling to tell me she had her baby!! Yes, Matilda Marshall Tomassi was born at 7:38PM and weighed 7lbs 7oz. The preferred nicknames are Tilly/Tillie and Maude/Maudie, please not Maddy. Congratulations to the new parents!

drugs and nyc - an odd combo?

Since my Oncologist, Dr. Jain, was going to be in India for my Monday treatment I met with him on Friday morning. I met his new doctor assistant who was very nice. We had a good discussion about the drugs that we discontinued, the Oxaliplatin (which had given me that sudden bad allergic reaction) and the Avastin (we stopped when my period re-reared its ugly head because a side-effect of Avastin is slower healing of wounds and there’s no real research done on pre-menopausal women with colon cancer).

After much research he deemed it best not to reintroduce the Oxaliplatin. His findings weren’t very encouraging regarding my reactions; the line between them being treatable with Benadryl and getting worse to the point of coma or even death is a delicate one and he thought it best not to test my limits. He said the Flourourocil, or 5FU, is doing most of the work (along with the Leucovorin (vitamin E) which helps prolong the effect of 5FU on my cancer cells). Plus, 5FU has a long track record for treating cancer whereas Oxaliplatin is a relatively new chemo drug.

I’m fine with this for a number of reasons. Not interested in dying from the cure and to be honest, the strongest side-effects I got were from the Oxali. That cold sensitivity was beyond annoying, it went from unpleasant to painful and with summer in full swing it sure is nice to able to enjoy the little things like my morning ice coffee. ahhhh…

So enough about the cancer stuff for the moment.

This past weekend we down to Hoboken to visit with K8 and Peter. Todd and I shared our ride with a new co-worker of his at Avid, Sabena. It was a pretty good time and having a third person in the car with whom to have interesting conversations made the wall to wall traffic on the Cross Bronx bearable. That’s just what happens when you have to leave at one in the afternoon instead of 11AM, which was my original solo plan. But I was glad Todd decided to accompany me.

We had a nice evening in Hoboken and Saturday K8 and I decided to take the ferry over to NYC instead of the PATH train. It was certainly more scenic if slightly overpriced. We met Melissa at one end of SOHO as we walked and chatted discussing where to eat lunch, Melissa mentioned it was Bastille Day. We decided we ought to have a French meal and ended up at Le Jardin Bistro. I’ve put in a link because not only was the meal we had amazing, but their grape arbor covered back patio was a perfect oasis in the middle of the crazy SOHO pedestrian traffic and the cloudless heat we were dealing with.

Here’s Mel w/her lovely steak, K8 w/her duck and me looking insane w/my crocque monsieur.

Mel at le jardin bistro   kate at le jardin bistro

roo-insane-crocque.jpg

We spent the rest of the day in a crazed mercantile frenzy going from Pearl River (at least an hour there alone) to Pearl Paint and onward to Jo Malone and Sephora. The City Bakery provided a coffee and cookie break and we ended our shopping day at a children’s book store called Books of Wonder which was incredibly thorough. I loved that they had Maurice Sendak in Spanish, Italian, French and German. The French title for Where the Wild Things Are is Max et les Maximonstres. Love it!

where the wild things are

Kate and I saw Mel off at the subway and headed back to Hoboken on the PATH to meet Todd and Peter for dinner at Zafra, a Cuban place in their neighborhood. This place is usually packed, but there was a water main break in Jersey City and for a while they had no water and were closed. We totally lucked out because by the time we got there they were open again and empty. Disco.

And I had to include this shot of what is normally called a speed bump.  Evidently that’s not what it’s called in New Jersey.  Maybe they mean something else…?

speed bump

Sunday was K8’s Baby Shower, so I attended that while Todd and all the boys hung out at a bar nearby. The food was excellent (the polenta was especially delectable and I just cannot say no to eggs benedict) and I had a great time catching up with Kate’s friend Maria (the one who was texting us from the her labor room when Kate was last in Boston) and her new baby William, Ronna and Kim, K8’s sister-in-law.

We didn’t leave till 3PM to drive back to Boston because I wanted to watch the presents get opened and take photos. As it happens we didn’t hit much traffic and the only real holdup was some heavy rain outside Hartford, CT.

In summary, a wonderful weekend. We just got so lucky in so many ways, not the least of which was with regard to the weather. The last few times Todd and I have ventured to NYC in the summer we’ve been hit with the nastiest heat and humidity you can imagine. One August we visited Kate and Peter when they were living up on 110th and we got record breaking heat. The temperature in the park reached 114 degrees! Oy, I tell you, this was very different. Very different indeed.

bike, fun and bikefun

Boy, it’s been a while since I last posted. The week after 8th chemo was uneventful despite being a holiday week. Had Wednesday off for 4th of July, but did nothing special except get unhooked. If the rain had held off I might’ve gone for a short bike ride, but this is New England and you can’t count on weather. I check weather.com religiously, but I don’t bother with any forecast longer than 2 days out because it will inevitably change.

Anyway, I’ll skip to the weekend. On Saturday I rode my bike around my neighborhood and up and down the hills around Tufts for an hour and lifted weights at home. Then Todd and I drove south to my friend Melissa’s cookout in Weymouth. It was a beautiful day and a real treat to hang out with some ex-work friends (Nathan, Greg and his wife Laura, and Bob and his wife Deanne). I hadn’t seen most of them since before the chemo. It was a good time. I really missed them and I really love hot dogs, so it was a win-win.

If I could go back to that Saturday night and do one thing differently I’d have remembered to put Todd’s TomTom back in the glove compartment. Sunday morning we left the apartment to find his car had been broken into and TomTom was gone. Figured we’d been praising the device so highly at Lissa’s cookout, one might decide we jinxed ourselves. By now you know I try to see the glass half full, so I was glad that was all they took. They didn’t steal the radio (complete w/Sirius satellite) and Todd’s guitar and rollerblades were still in the trunk. Things could’ve been much worse.

We spent a few hours dealing with cleaning up all the glass from the broken driver’s side window, which involved going to a carwash and using their heavy duty vacuum as well as buying a plastic dropcloth and tape to cover the window. Fun day. Eh, it was far too windy to play frisbee anyhow…

Monday morning I had another stomachache so I stayed home, but by 2 o’clock I felt better and was itching to get some exercise. 4:30PM spin sounded like a plan, but when I stepped outside to get the mail I realized it was beautiful out. How could I waste wonderful weather on my indoor bicycle to nowhere? Don’t get me wrong, I love Jon’s spin classes, but it was gorgeous out. So for the first time this year I rode the Minuteman Trail - the whole thing. That’s 24 miles.

I made it in just under two hours and had a fantastic time. It was early enough in the day that the trail was mostly empty - just how I like it. The sun was out, but there was a cool breeze with many clouds for shade (also just how I like it) and I got to see a rabbit, a chipmunk and several squirrels. It smelled amazing, too, very lush but not too overpowering.

My mental plan was to get to Concord and see how I felt, but likely turn around there. By the time I got to Concord I was feeling good and strong. Plus, that last portion of the trail is my favorite, so I kept riding. It was awesome. I stopped in Bedford long enough to drink some more water and check out my dirt covered calves, then headed back the way I came.

Seems no matter what I tell myself about riding nice and easy and not pushing myself hard or “competing” with anyone else on the trail, I ignore my rules. Things were going smoothly enough when with only about 4-5 miles to go I found myself behind what I would call a serious bicyclist. This is my judgment based solely on speed, getup and bike gear and this chick fit the bill. I was having a fine time just keeping up behind her when she slowed down enough and her leg speed was such that I got fed up. I picked up my own pace, sped by her and continued in this manner till Arlington, which was a few miles. When I reached Alewife it felt as though I were biking underwater; every pedal stroke was a struggle and it became painfully evident how exhausted I was.

Like I said, though, it was worth it.

college friends

Friday was a day off for me, so two of my best friends from college came for a visit. It was a less than 24 hours kind of thing, but it was fun.

Su arrived first around 2PM. I got the requisite “I’m lost” phone call so google mapped her over as best I could. “Google maps is the BEST.” “True dat.” “DOUBLE TRUE!”

We had some lunch at Diesel and hung out waiting for Jan, who had been the main instigator of this trip. Go figure, right? But she’s a very busy, very pregnant woman, so, to be honest, that she could fit this excursion into her crazy schedule was a boon. I wanted to see her before she pops, (hopefully on my birthday!!:)) in August.

jan and su at my kitchen table

There they are at my kitchen table. I’m sitting where Jan is sitting in the picture right now.

We had a great time catching up and chilling. Made a trip to Chinatown to our favorite Chinese restaurant, Brezhnev’s. Clearly this isn’t the real name, I think it may be King Fung Garden or something, but who can remember that? Another friend from college named it Brezhnev’s because the cook at the time bore an uncanny resemblance to Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

It’s a tiny place with only four booths, two tables and the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten. And I don’t really care for Chinese, so this is saying something. The Shanghai Noodles are to die for. We totally over-ordered yet still ate everything because we continued to chat and pick. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the table full of food, that would have made a great shot. dang!

jan and su at breshnevs ru and su at breshnevs

Post feeding frenzy required more than the short walk back to South Station. Since neither Jan nor Su had been in Boston much recently, we walked through the Commons all the way to the newly renovated Charles Street stop. A much needed constitutional. I haven’t been that full in years and man, my belly was pushing at my jeans. It was actually painful and I had to undo the top button. augh! I have a tendency to eat small meals throughout the day instead of the usual 3 squares. My friend Kim does the same and she calls it “grazing.” Grazing works for me, but this, this felt like I’d competed in an eating contest.

YET, we got to Davis and JP Licks called to us. I got some frozen yogurt (the oatmeal cookie is outstanding and next time I’m getting it with chocolate chips so it’ll taste more like the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which is insanely deelish) and they got small ice creams. Su got the mud pie and Jan got some peanut butter thing that was amazing.

Can you tell I like food? It’s nice to be able to enjoy it again.

We stayed up pretty late talking even though we knew we had to get up early if we wanted to have a nice breakfast before Jan left at 10:30AM. We went to Rosebud, which was fine, nothing amazing, then Su and I rode with Jan to JFK Street so as to direct her more clearly to the Mass Pike. And this would help Su when she left a little later.

Su and I walked around Harvard Square a bit then back to my place. I ripped about 6 of her CDs while we chatted and snacked on fresh cherries. She had to go around 1:30PM and once she left, I was suddenly not sure what to do with myself. I felt depressed and bereft. Huhn. Odd. So after phoning Todd (who purchased an iPhone on Friday!!! I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.) I took a nap and was still out of it afterwards. Huhn.

I debated napping more after doing some reading and decided to go to the gym instead. You know what? It worked like a charm. I got on the elliptical and about 20 minutes into my workout the endorphins kicked in and I kept going a full hour. It was great. And as I disembarked from the machine Su called to let me know she’d arrived safely and I told her how great it was to have her and Jan here.

Then I went home after stopping at Shaw’s and the video store for 3 discs of Freaks and Geeks. I knew that’d be a big help in keeping my mood up and I was right. That show ruled. I can’t believe none of Judd Apatow’s TV series’ made it beyond a season. I own MSCL (My So Called Life) and also really dug Undeclared. Oh well. Thank goodness for DVD. And good friends.