Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On my way home

As I walked along Commonwealth Avenue on my way home early last evening, I felt inspired to make a little video to show the beauty of the blossoming magnolia trees. I hope you enjoy it!

Love is all around . . . I embrace it, cherish it and honor it.
My heart is forever grateful for the love that surrounds me.
My mind is at peace, clear as the blue sky.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

After the Marathon

Those of us who live or work around Boston’s Back Bay could never forget the tragedies that took place around the Boston Marathon two years ago. The amazing spirit of our beautiful city however has made this event more illustrious than ever. Thousands of enthusiastic spectators lined the 26.2 course despite the inclement weather this year. My husband and I didn’t attend in person, but watched on live TV at a local brew pub. Normally I like to watch it at home, where I can be emotional in private, but somehow I was able to hold it together.

One of the heartwarming stories I heard on Tuesday was about a runner who had to drop out at mile five, and a kind policeman gave her his jacket without hesitation. Like an angel, he soon disappeared, but thanks to social media, he was later found. And another story was about a gentleman with Muscular Dystrophy who walked the entire route, and finished at 5AM to chanting admirers. 

I always see lots of runners in their official jackets for several days after the race. The restaurants are packed at lunchtime, and I notice them greet each other outside the bar next to my office, which always has the front open during nice weather. Thankfully Monday’s conditions didn’t last, and flowers are blooming everywhere, telling us that spring is truly here.

I’ve attended the marathon in person just three times, when my father ran in it. He’s an extremely motivated guy who started running when he was about 50. I remember that year,1996, and it being the hundredth anniversary. My mother and siblings and I had a long, chilly wait on the Boston Common. Later on we waited at the finish line, cheering him as he crossed. The poor guy looked like he was about to drop. I can’t even imagine accomplishing what he did, and then he went on to do it two more times. I am so proud of him.

Getting back to two years ago, I’m in awe of those brave souls who jumped in to help victims, especially employees at the Marathon Sports store, where the first bomb went off. My husband and I were in complete shock when we saw it happen on TV. It’s impossible to not think of what happened whenever I walk down that area of Boylston street. One of the victims, Krystle Campbell was a friend of dear friends, whom we met once over beers at Bukowski’s. The sudden, violent loss of of someone you love must be the worst thing a person could possibly endure. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with all those affected, including the family of MIT Officer Sean Collier.

I’m certain that in the years to come, the memorials will continue, and so will the “Boston Strong” spirit. My father won’t be running in future marathons, but he will stay active, and continue to inspire me, as does this wonderful city.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Barriers to Being

Today I walked by the Boston Public Library during my lunch hour, and noticed that they already have a stack of barriers ready for the Marathon. It got me thinking about barriers in general. First of all, I think our thoughts are so much more powerful than most people realize.
If we think we can’t do something, then chances are pretty good that we won’t do it.

Everyone knows the saying, “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. I think for the most part, that’s true. But I also think that we’re not meant to always have all the things that we we wish for, or at least not at the time we necessarily wish for those things to happen. Sometimes it takes a long time for dreams to come true. And dreams change a lot of times, too.

I think something that’s very important is listening to our inner guidance. When we get busy living our lives, it’s so easy to forget to slow down and just be aware. Whenever I’m out walking, this is when I truly am aware. I love to look at the sky, and notice what patterns the clouds are making. I love seeing and hearing beautiful things, such as birds. If they’re tweeting in a tree or bush as I’m walking by, I talk to them, or just feel grateful for their presence. This morning there was a male cardinal singing on Cardinal Medeiros Avenue. My husband and I like telling each other sometimes how we heard or saw “Cardinal Medeiros”.

For years I’ve worked on becoming more aware of my thoughts, and try to notice when they’re negative. Negative thoughts tend to just lead to more negative thoughts. They don’t help anything. My new year’s resolution this year was to be kinder to myself, and it’s really challenging sometimes. It’s so easy to feel discouraged for example when you get on the scale in the morning, and see that instead of losing, you’ve actually gained weight. Today when this happened, at first I was disappointed, but then I decided that this is the weight I’m supposed to be. I know that the times in my life when I decided to accept myself the way I am, and to appreciate my body the way it is, these are the times when I feel the best and actually lose weight. I think constantly dwelling on something in a negative way has a counter effect. So if I don’t lose weight for awhile, I will be okay with that.

My goal is to be aware as much as I possibly can, and to eliminate any and all barriers to my life’s purpose. I hope that when I reach the end someday, I’ll be able to look back and see some great accomplishments. Sometimes beautiful things I see take my breath away. I can only hope that the things I share with the world have that kind of effect on others as well.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Angels in the Neighborhood

Every Saturday I get up early in the morning to go to the laundromat. My husband kindly prepares the two laundry bags and heavy duty folding metal cart for me, and I schlep it behind me down the sidewalk a few blocks or so. I like to think of my Saturday mornings as my “fun Saturday adventures”.
For a while I really dreaded this chore, but then realized after I got to know so many people in my neighborhood that this was actually a gift. My neighborhood is an interesting place with wonderfully diverse people. Not everyone I’ve met is someone I’ve met at the laundromat, but I’ve gotten to know quite a few from just being out and about. I think Mr. Rogers would love the people in my neighborhood. I’m also grateful for the fact that I don’t have to go down to the Charles River and bang my clothes on rocks.
For years I have wanted to take photos of some of the people I’ve gotten to know, and perhaps someday I will . . . But for one thing, I personally don’t like my photo taken, and know lots of others feel the same way. It also would be difficult for me to lug my good camera with me to do laundry. I’ve spoken about this with one neighbor friend, and she thinks it’s a good idea, but the timing would have to be just right. Karen is one who I usually see every Saturday. She and I are both the same age, and have different lives and backgrounds. She is originally from Venezuela and speaks very softly, so it can be a challenge understanding what she’s saying sometimes with her accent and with the washers and dryers making so much noise.
One day when Karen was at the laundromat before me, there was a friendly junkie guy loitering there who was hitting on her, so we decided to go out for “coffee”. Since it was raining out, and the coffee shop wasn’t open yet we decided to go to her apartment. I enjoyed seeing her place, which made my place seem big in comparison, and I got to meet her pet turtle. We hung out for a bit, and went to the pastry shop together before heading back to the laundromat. Thankfully the guy had split. This is someone I saw on the bus one day. He actually greeted everyone who got on, and loudly blessed the sneezers.
There have been times when homeless men have camped out overnight in the laundromat. Or they show up while I’m there to put their stuff in a dryer. There are also people who need help with the machines. If I see that they don’t have enough quarters or something, I like to help them out. I feel that there’s a reason for me being there, other than just to do my laundry.

It’s amazing to me how many people I get to see on any given Saturday. There’s Jeff next door, who will yell across a busy street to inquire as to how you’re doing. There’s Jim with his walker who always stops to say hello on his way to get his scratch tickets. And Kevin, the Vietnam vet who laughed with me about the froufrou restaurant that just opened down the street. One of my very favorite neighbors is Reyes, with whom I mostly communicate through smiles and handshakes. Seeing his smile always makes my day. And it’s always a treat to see Mac the school crossing guard. He probably knows more about the people in the neighborhood than anyone else. If it weren’t for him I also wouldn’t have met Theresa, and her little pug, Ben.

I actually asked Mac once if I could take his photo, but he said no. I can respect that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Walking in Boston

Walking everywhere can be nice and relaxing. I’m always noticing the sound of the birds, and how pretty the raindrops look on branches and shit. No, really – you gotta watch out for the shit on the sidewalks. It’s everywhere. Seriously though, I really do enjoy walking to and from work when the weather isn’t too bad. After sitting at a desk for much of the day, walking the two miles home is a great way to destress.
I think people all over the world heard about the insanely cold and snowy winter that Boston had this year. As a pedestrian I had it quite easy compared to people with cars, or the poor people that depend on public transportation. And god bless the souls who rode their bikes around here all winter. The only thing that was challenging for me, other than having to dress up basically like an Eskimo every day, was maneuvering the sidewalks. There were times when I wished I had snowshoes or those traction things that mountain climbers wear on their feet. On my way to and from work sometimes I’d have to stand and wait for a minute for someone to come up the extremely narrow path on the sidewalk. This was actually quite nice because I’d get to do something nice for a stranger or neighbor I didn’t know. The nice people would always say “thank you”, or we’d strike up a brief conversation. You’d get to see people walking their cute dogs wearing adorable jackets with little hoods on them. Or a lady with a little kid strapped to her back. Kudos to the lady I saw do that every day in below zero weather.
The only thing I truly dread about walking in the winter, other than non-existent crosswalk entrances, are when these spots have epically long and deep puddles, and there’s really no way around them. One time when I was approaching one of these lakes at Beacon Street, and was considering how to get through it, a guy suddenly ran by me – this was a tall and very husky young guy, I mean running like he was in the Olympics – and his did this amazing hurdle jump over the puddle. I was so excited for the guy, I’m pretty sure I went, “YEAHHH!” He turned around and looked like “Did I really do that?” Unfortunately I wasn’t so successful with that puddle. I tried to do a jump, and missed by about a foot. It didn’t really matter though, since I had my ugly boots on. These boots are so ugly that no one else would be caught dead in them, but they always keep my feet nice and warm and dry. I’m not talking about Ugg boots, by the way. I would not be caught dead or alive in those things.

The thing that can be really annoying working and living in a place filled with students and tourists is dealing with people who don’t respect the rules of the sidewalk. These rules are (according to me): Always keep to the right; be respectful of others and not take up the entire sidewalk, and don’t stop suddenly. The first rule about keeping to the right was something I was taught in the first grade. Our teacher took us for a walk through the school, and taught us some kind of chant about keeping to the right  So this was ingrained in me. For some reason, people don’t know this rule. When I’m feeling particularly bold, if I see someone walking towards me, and not move out of the way, I’ll imagine a force field around me, and force them to move. Other times though I wimp out, and think, “whatever, dude”, and let them go on their oblivious way on the wrong side of the sidewalk.

I get super annoyed with groups of people that not only take up an entire sidewalk (no matter how wide it is, it doesn’t matter to them), but they go s l o w. I love rainy days when this happens so I can hit them with my umbrella. I’ve only done this a couple of times, but it was extremely satisfying. Hey, I can’t be nice 100% of the time.

The people who are walking in front of you, who have a momentum going, and then suddenly stop need to be kicked in the ass. I’m sorry if you suddenly got a wedgie, or whatever, but don’t be doing that unless you want to be bodyslammed from behind, buddy. The people who have done this in front of me have so far been lucky. Most of the time it’s somebody who’s looking at their cell phone, and just not aware of anything around them. People. Be aware. The end.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bikes in Boston

So walking around Boston all the time, you see a lot of people riding bikes everywhere.

A lot of girls for some reason ride antique bicycles . . . they’re usually bright powder blue, and make clunking noises like they’ve never been upgraded to the 21st Century. Whenever I see one, I’m like, “cool! That’s a cool bike!” But then I see the girl’s face, and she’s making a scrunched up face like she’s severely constipated, and grunting.

I got a bike about five years ago, because I thought it would be fun to ride a bike for the first time in about 25 years (eye-roll). I also thought, “Hey, I’d never have to ride public transportation again!” Yeah, that lasted for about a year and a half. My blood pressure couldn’t take it. Don’t get me wrong, once I got my bike muscles used to it, it was kind of fun . . . when there were no cars or no people or no other bicyclists . . . which was like, never.

Seriously, I would get terrible road rage. Now understand that I wasn’t one of the many Masshole bicyclists who do whatever they want, running red lights, or riding on the sidewalk. I stopped at every light and every stop sign. I always rode in the bike lanes whenever there were bike lanes. And Boston & Cambridge has quite a few of those now. But anyway, cars would sometimes randomly veer over into the bike lane right in front of me, or right next to me. I’d ding my little bell – ding ding! Yeah, that bell didn’t do shit. Pedestrians would appear out of nowhere by parked cars and run in front of you. Those people suck. And don’t even get me started on some of the other bicyclists.

One time I was riding home from a long day at work, and I was in Cambridge over by the Stata Center, which is a fancy building designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry. It’s on the MIT campus, and attracts a lot of tourists. Anyway, I was in the bike lane, and there was a middle-aged woman just walking right in the middle of it. As I approached – ding ding! Ding ding! Ding ding! She doesn’t move.  I got very angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. I start yelling, “You’re in the bike lane!” She turns around and screams at me in a Southern accent, “I’m not from around here!” Me again: “Get out of the BIKE LANE!” Her: “I’M NOT FROM AROUND HEAH!” I’m not sure what else I yelled at her, but I’m sure it wasn’t nice. I should have just calmly ridden around her, but I totally lost it. Why can’t people read the giant picture of the stick man riding a bicycle and the word “ONLY” on the bright blue painted lane? (Takes deep breath). Anyway, I hope you like my picture I took two winters ago of the parked bicycles outside the Stata Center.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 is here!

Happy New Year . . . I have high hopes for 2008. We plan on moving at the end of May, which is the biggest thing on my mind. We haven't found a new place yet, but we desperately want to end our long commutes to and from work. We've lived in Bridgewater for about 15 years now, which is a really long time! The house in which I grew up I lived in for 15 years before we moved down the street to our new house. It's amazing how old I am now... I'm proud of some things I did in 2007, and I'm excited about the upcoming year. I hope to do much more photography, more yoga and other wonderful things. I also hope to make new friends. May the winding road lead to all that's good.