Monday, May 26, 2008

A tale of two races

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness....we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going the other way..." CHARLES DICKENS


As summer is (finally) easing its way in, I have been busy planning some summery activites for myself. Which means participating in some fun road races, swims, and hikes.

Over the past two weekends, I had the opportunity to participate in two very fun and very different races.


May 25: The Run to Remember: The Boston Police Department's yearly run to commemorate officers killed in the line of duty

May 18: The Bay to Breakers: San Francisco's biggest party of the year


Bay to Breakers: A 7 1/2 mile long trek through hilly San Fran from the Embarcadero to Golden Gate Park.

Run to Remember: A 13.1 mile flat loop through historic Boston, across the Charles River and along Memorial Drive with the turnaround in front of Havaahd.


Run to Remember: 6,000 participants

Bay to Breakers: Over 60,000 participants


R2R: Sunny, clear, with temps of 68 at the start to 76 at the finish. Perfect!

B2B: Slightly overcast with temps of 60 at the start to 50 at the finish. Perfectly cold!


R2R: Ideally, all running with only walking through the water stations.

B2B: Ideally, all walking with no running whatsoever.


B2B: Several weeks of emails to determine the theme for the group, costume prep, float construction, alcohol purchasing, meeting time and place, and money collection. Oh, I was SOOO prepared!

R2R: Prep SHOULD have been a nice several week long schedule of increasing jogging milage and then tapering right before race day. In reality, I spent the weeks before the race first recovering from St. Martin, then walking to dog, then recovering from Bay to Breakers. I was SOOO not prepared!


R2R: The sheer number of running skirts. That does not look comfy.

B2B: The sheer number of completely naked people. That does not look comfy.


R2R: The couple that takes turns pushing the baby jog stroller.

B2B: The couple that dresses up as salt and pepper shakers.


R2R: I always almost cry when running by the Team In Training participants. The ones who are running in memory of a loved one who's name is written on the back of their shirts.

B2B: I always almost cry when I get hit in the face with a flying stale tortilla.


B2B: "Don't Stop Believing" ----Journey

R2R: "Shipping Up to Boston" ----Dropkick Murphy's


R2R: Finding a place to pee. (the lines in front of the port-o-potties were really long)

B2B: Finding a place to pee (the secluded bushes in GGP were hard to find)


R2R: Faster than last year: 2:17:02 (I know. But what can I say? I'm REALLY slow!)

B2B: Faster than any year: about 5 hours (I know. But what can I say? We REALLY like to party!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Missing Pieces


Spring has sprung here in Mass; all the signs are there. The flowers arrived a couple weeks ago in full force --poof--, the leaves are that delicious light green color that only exists in April and May, and every commercial building in New England has the amazingly annoying habit of turning the air conditioning on full-blast whenever the temperature deigns to rise above 70 degrees and then turn the heat on full-blast in the evening if the temperature drops below 65. (Ever hear of hooded sweatshirts people? You can put them on and then take them off again in a matter of seconds!)

But the biggest sign that spring has arrived is when the patients start trying to fix you up with their grandsons, sons, step-sons, nephews, or any other male relative who happens to be single. I guess I should take it as a compliment. But sometimes its just so inappropriately funny.

Take, for instance, a converation I had with a patient last week:

Patient (let's call her Shirley): "Oh, you would just love my step-son. He has been living at home for a while after grad school, but he just got a big promotion and now he's going to move up to Boston and the company is going to pay for him to get his PhD!"

Me: "That is wonderful! You must be very proud of him. Now why don't we review those hamstring stretches we went over last time?"

Shirley: "Yeah, he is getting an apartment in that fancy section of Boston."

Me: "Back Bay? Make sure your toes are pointing straight ahead."

Shirley: "No. It's South Boston. But not the South Boston from that Good Will Hunting movie."

Me: "The South End?"

Shirley: "Yeah! That's it."

Me: "Ok, Shirley, that looked good, but I think there's a little piece of the puzzle that we are missing. I want to check out your gluts and low back for tighness."

Shirley: "One of my son's friends from college is also moving up to Boston for a new job. They've really kept in touch over the years and they're such good friends. They are going to share an apartment to cut down living expenses. "

Me: "Oh, that's good. You definitely have some tightness here. I'm gonna work on that."

Shirley: "Two good-looking young men going out on the town in Boston together. I'd better talk to him about you. I don't want him to miss out on meeting you, when I think you'd hit it off so well together."

Me: "Umm, thanks. Now I'm going to show you some stretches for your gluts and low back to add to those hamstring stretches you've been doing."

Shirley: "Oh, my son just loves going out to bars and clubs. And he's such a snappy dresser! He has very expensive tastes in clothes. I don't know where he gets it from. My husband won't even buy a T-shirt from Old Navy unless it's on clearance."

Me: "Well, with his big promotion in everything, maybe he needs to dress in a certain way at work. I guess if you spend a lot on some nice quality clothing, you can wear it for years and not have to update your wardrobe every year."

Shirley: "Oh, not my step-son! He gets a whole new wardrobe every 6 months! When my husband gets on his case about it, he just says 'I can't wear that. Its so last season!"

Me: "Good job with those stretches, Shirley. Next time we are going to review them and then re-assess the tightness in your low back. I think we'll see a big difference after finding that puzzle piece we were missing."

As for the other big piece of the puzzle that we are missing, I think I'm going to let Shirley discover that one on her own.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

falling into spring

It seems that spring has finally, at long last, arrived. Unfortunately, to me, that has translated into a week of fatigue, difficulty focusing, and--as I found out this morning--an increase in my clumsiness. Just call me Accident Annie.
This morning, I went down to do a load of laundry. On the way, the fabric laundry basket ripped a little, and the wire started to poke out. No biggie. There was no danger of the clothes falling out or anything. I put the clothes in the washer and when poking around at the backet, determined that I should just pull the wire completely out.
As I was walking back to the stairs, I was twisting the wire around, trying to determine if it was recyclable or not. In other words, I wasn't really paying attention to where I was going. But really, is it absolutely necessary to put your full attention into walking up to a set of stairs? Apparently so.
In my wire twisting state, I misjudged the height of the landing at the foot of the stairs. I caught the ball of my foot on the landing and went flying. FLYING. FU-LIE-ING!
Its difficult to wrap my head around how much damage I suffered from a simple trip. I wasn't walking that quickly. I wasn't carrying a bag of glass and nails. I didn't land on a pile of rocks. Nontheless, I wound up with a big chunk of skin ripped from the ball of my foot, a split lip, road rash on the heels of both hands, and bruises on both knees, elbows, and my chin.
I look like I was in a car accident. I can only imagine what kind of damage I will inflict upon myself when I clean out my car tomorrow!

Monday, May 5, 2008

strolling down memory lane

So, of course, since it is Monday and we are all going back to work, the rain cleared up to reveal a beautiful, sunny spring day. (It looked glorious out the window as I toiled away). Of course, they gave us free chips, salsa and guacamole in the cafeteria at work, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Back at the homestead, or rather at mom and dad's homestead where I am taking care of Sully, the wonderdog, I got to take 2 one hour walks and 2 shorter (5 or so minute) walks for Sully to empty his wonderbladder. YEAH, at long last, spring has finally errupted all around. The trees are all in bloom, the leaves are that wonderful yellow-y green color, and it smells so earthy and fresh.

It reminds me of when I was younger, in junior high and high school. When we would walk around the neighborhood at all hours, for lack of anything better to do, and also because it made us feel like we were doing SOMETHING. Something now that would be something really exciting later on in life, when we had things like driver's licenses and jobs. But for that moment in time, it was the coolest thing we could do.

The funny thing is, now it seems like the coolest thing to do again. When my friends with kids are all asleep by 9:00 pm. And when going out with my single friends sometimes seems like a visit to the the back trailers with all the carnies, just walking around the neighboorhood I grew up in with the best yellow lab in the world surrounded by flowers and leaves and the scent of spring is just about the most pleasant way to spend the evening.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


So May is here, and I am a few days late, mainly because I am not home at the moment, I am house and dogsitting for my parents. I enjoy spending time with the dog. One week in October several years ago, I had to take a week off from work or lose earned time. So I spent the entire week hanging out with the dog: going to the beach, walking the canal, doing errands, going out for ice cream together. He is one of the things I missed most when I was living on the west coast.

Anyway, I digress. It looks like April was a half bust in terms of accomplishing goals. May is looking very busy, but that just means I gotta step the effort up a bit more.

1) For 30 days, I will...journal. I used to be so good at this, and like so many other things, it fell by the wayside. But I still enjoy looking back on old journals and remembering things that happened way back. For a couple years now, I have not been keeping that time capsul. Time to remedy that!

2) Read: Revolution from Within

3) I will take a class that has nothing to do with work,

4)Go to a movie (alone, if necessary) Netflix does not count.

5) Do the winter to summer cl0thes switch!

6) Bust into the giant box of craft projects that is sitting under my sofa (formerly my bed). Gotta complete 3 things. Get the ball rolling or they will NEVER get done.

7) swim a mile in the ocean.

8) and any misc unfinished business from last month.

Gotta go dust off my journal.

Friday, May 2, 2008



1) It seems like the first few days back from a vacation are more exhausting that the last few days before. Of course, there is the laundry to do upon returning, the strange smell to identify that you never noticed in your home before, jet lag, the lingering headache from the unhappy 2 year old on the plane, and the wierd GI distress that always hits right as the plane hits the runway. A vacation from the vacation; now there's an idea.

2) That color blue of the ocean in theCarribean...lovely. Is the ocean that color anywhere else in the world?

3) People have really taken the "Pirates of the Carribean" thing and run with it! I saw more pirate stuff on St. Martin than I did in the Disney store. Do you think Johnny Depp had any idea it would get so out of control when he first started staggering around like a drunken transvestite? Did he and Tim Burton sit down together and say "Hey, let's put the whole world under our collective spell"? I guess there's nothing to do but jump on the bandwagon.

4) Of course, I'm 38 years old. Do I really need to own ANYTHING that has a skull and crossbones on it? Probably not.

5) I have decided that swimming in a pool when compared to swimming in the ocean is like watching the food network while eating a hot pocket.

6) Two of the friends I went with tried to talk the rest of us out of going scuba diving because we might get attacked by a shark. I think I would have a much easier time dealing with a shark attack than dealing with the fact that I went to a St. Martin and DIDN'T go diving.

7) Speaking of friends, I have come to the point in my life where my married friends are trying to live vicariously through my singleness. On a sunset cruise last week:friend:

"Hey Heather, that Australian guy driving the boat is really cute."

me: "Umm, yeah."

friend: "Why don't you go talk to him?"

me: "Um, because he's busy, DRIVING THE BOAT."

friend: "Oh, come on. You are on vacation. At least go ask his name!"

later...friend: "No, his name is NOT Aussie McBoatcaptain! You blew it! You could have had a nice evening walk on the beach hand in hand with the cute Australian guy."
(I think I saw this on an episode of Sex and the City)

8) Plus, in light of the fact that they practically poured rum right down your throat on said boat, any moonlit beach stroll would have ended with Heather barfing down the shirt of Aussie McBoatcaptain. As it was, I was mature and responsible enough to go back to my room and barf in the wastebasket. (Did I mention I am 38 years old?)

9) Nothing boosts your self esteem more than going to a clothing-optional beach. (feel free to shudder) I saw more droopy, hanging things than I could possibly identify and I dissected a cadaver in college! (referring back to the pre-vacation thought: the all over tan didn't help matters. at all.)

10) It's funny how two people can look at the same thing or even listen to the same comment and have completely different takes on it:

friend: "Oh, could you imagine living here?" (look of distaste on her face)

me: (wildly trying to remember which of the islands are US territories so as to avoid that pesky change of citizenship thing) "Oh, I could imagine living here. In a heartbeat."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

goodbye april

How the heck did it get to be May already? I go on one measily vacation and its like the entire month slips away. I leave in the perpetual winter that will never end and I come back to flowers and trees erupting everywhere and gas that is 45 cents a gallon higher than when I left. Anyway, having spent the past few days recovering from the vacation, I awoke today to see that I had not updated my life plans and April had slipped away on me. Boo Hoo.

So, one day late, here goes:

1) Lo Carb bit the dust big time. Just can't do it. Love veggies and fruit too much and don't like meat hardly at all. I was swimming around in the bargin bin at the book store and picked up a copy of the Sonoma Diet. Maybe that will be my May plan. That one allows way more veggies and fruit. Even a piece of bread every now and then.

2)Stumbling on Happiness. Done and done. I admit, it didn't really tell me anything helpful that will allow me to steer my life in a happier direction. But it was very entertaining.

3) Got some scrumptious new sheets with a gift card (ha ha. combining goals. how tricky am I?)
Love the new sheets. They are super soft and strangely ultra warm. Not sure how they will work in the summer.

4) WENT SCUBA DIVING IN THE CARRIBEAN!!! I forgot how much I love scuba diving. Need to fit more in over the summer.

5) Had the girl's sleepover. Learned lots from that.

6) Taxes filed. Disturbingly small refund in bank. Wet suit purchased with disturbingly small refund, as I am a bargain shopper at Costco.

7) Spent 2 gift cards on come awesome stuff. More to come as the summer gets closer.

8) I think its time to just admit that the finance thing is going to be an ongoing project. But I am meeting with a bank person Saturday to discuss options for my bank account.

9) No museum. Next month.

10) Talked to so many people in St Marting its ridiculous. Many interesting. None promising. But hey. whatever

New list for May coming soon.