Wednesday, August 31, 2011

(Another) Random Wednesday...

....without much to add to it.

Hopefully that's OK.

It's OK with me, anyway. 

I wanted a place and/or reason to post this video of
Johannes Brahms' Sonatensatz for viola and piano
here played via cello transcription, which has been driving through my brain lately. 
First played it in college; wish I still could play it and/or had someone to play it with.
Last week it seemed like the
perfect piece which which to await a hurricane.
Indeed, it is pretty perfect, whenever.

Speaking of (with Tropical Storm Katia threatening in the far east),
did you know that Karen (spelled incorrectly as it is)
is one of the only 6 "K" names on the Atlantic hurricane naming convention list?

And, speaking of years, it's this dude's 3rd time to rock today. 

¡Feliz cumpleaños!, popsicle man.

I told you Henry takes after me...

Monday, August 29, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Unprepared

Tonight I was all set to go to yoga at 7:00 .... until, at 6:42, standing in the locker room, stripped down to change, finding that what I thought was a pair of red shorts was actually a red tank top. And since it isn't exactly practical or in any good taste to do a standing split (or nearly any other pose) while wearing a knee-lenth Ann Taylor professional-line skirt, my plans rightly had to change. So instead I just rode for 60 minutes on the elliptical machine ... wearing the red tank top, my blue Asics and the green-flowered Ann Taylor professional-line (and now sweat-soaked) skirt.

Oh, to ever feel properly prepared. To have pulled together my yoga clothes last night instead of just before running out the door this morning. To have, maybe, even unfolded the red tank top enough to notice it wasn't something with a waistband. Or, to keep tank tops and shorts not in the same drawer so the odds of mixing them up might decrease.

What if. Perhaps if I were prepared I wouldn't be sitting here in the bucolic Boston Public Library courtyard, with its arched columns and lighted fountain resembling that of an ancient Greek tycoon's weekend home,

Here I sit.
(Copyright Tom Christiansen, 2001)

wearing the blue Asics, the green-flowered skirt, and the red, sweaty tank top covered with plum cardigan, college backpack at my feet, looking for all the world (particularly to the woman walking by right now in a, yes, Ann Taylor skirt with a blouse and heels) like a vagabond camp-out, rather than who I really am, which is an unprepared yogi with procrastination issues and only a minor sense of style but, perhaps, also enough chutzpah to not care about either presentation.

Monday, August 29, 2011 (8:31-8:51 p.m.)
Boston Public Library

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Notes from Irene (Day 2)

Neighborly, Again (Sunday, 9:30 a.m.) Thanks to morning goggles, difficult to tell if things are worse or better than last night: raining then and raining now. (When, exactly, were we supposed to get the worst of the worst, again?) Windbursts, capable of knocking over a person who only wants to walk to Dunkin' Donuts, are new. Coffee shop is open, natch, as is 7-11 and there indeed is a Sunday New York Times to be purchased. Clerk there looks both lonely and friendly. He asks how long I think the storm is going to last; 5 minutes later, we're still klatching. Weather .... now officially the best method to get to know your neighbors

Bad Attitude (Sunday, 11:15 a.m.) NYT website reports storm has officially moved through that hood. Manhattanites already noted to be bitching about overreacting city officials and resulting inconvenience. Wonder aloud to cat curled next to me on bed: why it is necessary for anyone to be an asshole in this particular scenario, and if this is specific to New Yorkers.

Unexpected Companion (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Still puzzling about what to most responsibly do with full day of unfettered house arrest when Man from San Francisco awakes and greets the morn, and me, via IM. Converse on chat and phone through brunch, lunch, the brunt of the wind and the better part of an afternoon. Bad news for the much-anticipated now-unopened Sunday Times. Good for warm fuzzies everywhere.

Good Attitude (Sunday, 12-2 p.m.) Bill, out in Holliston, just posted on Facebook: "And we have trees down in the yard." Within 2 hours, a fresh post, this time accompanying a photo of a half-drunk pint of beer: "Yup, when you watch a tree fall on your car, it's that time." Noble.

Running 2 (Sunday, 7:30 p.m.) No rain since mid-afternoon and the space between windbursts has stretched, rather like labor pains in reverse. No excuse to not head out for the 7-miler. Met by dozens of dogwalkers and their charges, most likely to shake off cabin fever much like myself. Streets curiously free of puddles. Yet why, pray tell, does a street sweeper run down the center of Broadway, in sweep mode?

Tree Death (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.) There are fewer finer and sadder ways to spend a Sunday evening than walking through the Back Bay with Claudia, surveying storm damage. And standing on Beacon Street next to the Public Garden, posing with fallen trees already chainsawed down to stumps.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Notes from Irene (Day 1)

Irene approaches and the fun's just begun.

1) Batteries (Friday 6 p.m.)   Two days before landfall and the slots for Cs and Ds are bare in all stores visited along Broadway.  Realize about this time that I don't actually own a flashlight and that I'm not actually going to find one of those anywhere in this city, either.  Briefly consider going door-to-door to see who in the hood is hoarding.

2) Running (Saturday, 11 a.m.)  Sky benignly covered in low clouds, as if in sympathy for our neighbors in North Carolina currently enjoying the eye of the storm. Amazingly, since wind damage is set to be biggest adversary, the air is lifeless, thick and muggy; running on Day Boulevard, notice Carson and M Street beaches fully-staffed with lifeguards and absolutely zero beachgoers. Even though not in the mood for a 16-mile training run, know running in a downpour later in the day is less appealing. Glad for the opening.

3) Highway Driving (Saturday, 3 p.m.)  Heading north on 93 for errand in Wilmington; combination of haze and downpour and kicked-up spray is good for a summer-variety white-out. Drive over Zakim Bridge and don't even realize it's a bridge because side cables are fogged out. What a great idea to run this errand on this day.

4) Friends to the South (Saturday, 4 p.m.)    Text Justin in coastal New Jersey, who had said yesterday he and wife and newborn son were most likely evacuating rather than waiting for potential power outages. Reply:  "Just made it to our hotel in Harrisburg, PA....Long 24 hrs. :-)"   Does not seem like a conversation he and I should ever realistically be having.

5) Neighborly  (Saturday, 5 p.m.)  Rain continues, but less so.  Decide to use the slowdown to stash the plastic chairs and table, along with the impatiens, basil and mint plants from on top of the patio to underneath.  On last trip up for last pot, step in puddle with slippery boots and go ass-over-teakettle and back onto ass.   Before a "S@#$!" even emerges, hear someone from 4 patios over yell, "My God, you OK?" Might be a more effective way to greet neighbors for the first time, but today this is it.

6) Power Outage Etiquette  (Saturday, 8 p.m.)  Talking with a friend, who explains how to treat a freezer and refrigerator in case of loss of electricity.  Learn that I should stock a cooler (note: don't own one) with ice and the fridge food I'm most likely to need, fill the freezer with bowls of water, and don't, in any instance, open either door once the power goes, if it does.   Stuff in the freezer should last 48 hours; stuff in the fridge 24 hours long as the doors aren't opened.  This seems both less and more complicated than possibly imaginable.

7) Drinking  (Saturday, 11 p.m.)  Peruse Facebook.  Note that any friend along the North Atlantic Coast has a status that involves alcohol.   Concoctions at The Foundry in Davis, waiting, with friends. Drinking wine, and waiting.  Photos of bleary-eyed women with tequila nearly pouring out their eyes, waiting. Peach, sour mix and soda in a cartoon-character glass, waiting.   Trying to figure out why I have no desire to drink my way through this.

7) Anticipating Tomorrow  (Saturday, 11:30 p.m.)  Church cancelled -- yay.  T shutting down at noon -- oh my.   Gym closing at noon, and am I going to drag butt out of bed, losing current rock-star parking spot, to go there before that hour for the Sunday training run I can't possibly do outside? -- eh, know I should and somehow can't imagine it.   Fantasy about how nice it would be to have a warm body other than a cat to spend a day inside with? -- sadly, just a fantasy.   Fantasy about sleeping in, walking to corner for DD coffee, coming back with Sunday Times for a day of chillness marred by concern that with New York shutting down for the day, will there even be a Sunday Times tomorrow? -- another question both unrealistic and totally relevant.  

8)  Seriously?  (Saturday, 11:45 p.m.)  Have always known that by being at the end of Irene's path, Massachusetts will get the storm at its least vigorous.  Realize that by being at the end of Irene's path, the wait for if this is really going to kick our asses or not is all the more excruciating.  Sixteen hours to potential impact, and still can't decide how seriously to take this. Kind of wish I could go somewhere and watch waves. Don't know how or where.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BBC 11: Old friend

It was only because I had gone to run TMIRCE track workouts at Harvard Stadium last night after which I really needed a fresh bottle of Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea and thusly stopped at Cambridgeport Whole Foods, where I lingered in the bulk food display sampling the 10 varieties of granola (and buying none), and then decided to walk the beer aisle even though beer doesn't fit in my backpack when I'm biking, that I could come around the corner and lock eyes with the 50-something match I went out with 4 times in May 2009 so we could say each other's names at the same time and, after a hug, run down each other's checklists to make sure we were both working the same jobs and running routines and piano music (we were) and enquire as to each other's dating lives without providing any real details, then ride the escalator out together and wish each other well without pretending we wanted to make future plans, and as I rode down Putnam Ave on quiet streets, could once again be glad that a) this city is small enough that I can be somewhere I'm normally not and so can someone else I know and b) sometimes I let things that shouldn't go on end, but amiably enough, and that's always better than any other alternative.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deep Thought: More chaos, please

So, let's review recent happenings, in order of happening:

Stock market drops.

More nothing.

Stock market drops more.

Rebel forces storm Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli

Hurricane Irene forecast to reach Category 4 and head for North Carolina.

5.9 Earthquake hits the East Coast, evacuating DC and NY high rises, felt in Boston and beyond.

US Commerce Department releases poor housing numbers; survey from the Richmond Federal Reserve bank shows a drop in manufacturing activity; economists pare back on economic growth forecasts

Stock market has best day in 2 weeks.
Popular opinion is that today's 3% rise came because bargain hunters were picking up under-priced offerings due to the crappy conditions of the last month.

Eh. I'd say we just need more chaos.

Monday, August 22, 2011

20-Minute Monday: (Cor)related

It's my Mom's 66th birthday today. I just tried phoning to wish her the best, but she's not home.

So I can't know for certain, but my guess is she has made note of turning 66 on the 22nd, will be able to find the number 3 somewhere in her day, and will have gleaned an extra layer of meaning out of the correlation.  Like a triple Golden Birthday.  Or, she might, at some point today, happen to be driving down a 66th Street or County Road 33. Or the hymn she'll be practicing for next Sunday's church service will be #822 or #845, or she'll notice the composer of the tune was born in 1945, too, or the lyricist was known to be born in she was.

This is just how Mom rolls. She always finds these things, God bless her. Thrives on finding the small details of others' lives and their correlating meaning in the details of hers. 

3 generations
Post-first-marathon -- St. Paul MN, October 2002

She might, for example, just believe that the reason I am the most physically similar to her (5-foot-3, chest prominent, potato nose and button chin) of the 3 daughters is because I, too, was born on the 22nd of a month. (And the 2nd child, too!) Could be how we share the same mad piano skills and the same desire to tell any story, written or verbal, with every rich detail and self-deprecating foible it deserves. Enjoying the relative embarrassment, as if we want to make people laugh with us before laughing at us so we can be in on the joke first ... without really trying to be. Could be how we're both iron-certain of our musical opinions and not afraid to share. Sensitive to criticism but eventually brought around to see the truth. And both often told we are leaving our own relative well-beings behind in our quests to plan other people's we would see it.

But of course it is only conjecture. She knows she's her own woman, I'm my own woman. Besides, my sisters, more than me by a long stretch, share Mom's desire to shower generosity and love on others when they sense others need it the most, for no other reason than because they have it to give. It's a fine quality, and numeric relativism has nothing to do with it.

Monday, August 22, 2011 (3:47-4:07 p.m.)
Copley Square

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday numbers

that I rose from the dead at 
6 a.m. 
and drove to Gloucester to 
(alongside Anne and Chris)
complete a
8 a.m. in
62 minutes flat and in
80 degrees and 81% humidity,
that produced approximately 
8 liters of sweat
(from me alone).

Pretend fisher(wo)men
as I dodged the
100s of tourists
to get out of town for
the 43-mile drive home,
my car stereo quit.
One minute on,
one minute off.

Should have seen it coming:
for 2 weeks
I couldn't switch stations;
( WUMB 91.9 Folk Radio,
all the time, baby!)
it was original to the car,
and the car is 20.

I can't decide why I'm
10 times more upset
over this loss than
the impending demise of
the rest of the vehicle.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Early anniversary

Tonight over happy hour cocktails, I asked my manager if he thought the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks would cause the financial markets to panic (like they did, screamingly, again today, natch) and he suggested most likely not because a) the markets of recent years have not been reacting to terrorist activity like they used to and b) the markets already have enough to be panicky about (or think they do, anyway), but by bringing up the topic I was reminded I'll be returning to BOS via an AirTran flight from MSP on that anniversary, which caused me to declare in a beer voice that I was not going to fall into the trap of thinking bad thoughts about doing so, which led him to tell me what it was like to be in midtown Manhattan at a conference on that morning in 2001 and watch Broadway go empty and traffic cease and ash-covered people stumble past his hotel and how no one could reach him because cell phone service was overloaded and how his hotel wouldn't let him leave town until the next day because the roads were closed down, and I was reminded of that same day in the town the planes came from, of walking through the Back Bay only to encounter Copley Square doing the same as Times Square and getting to work only to get sent home and sitting on a bench in the deserted Common under the bluest (and most deserted) sky ever and hearing the birds chirp because cars had deserted the city and that it was that silence I can't forget, more than the potential panic of not being able to imagine what was going to happen next, and as we were discussing these things I realized these kinds of stories are going to fill the air for the next 24 days, and that I found it a relief to get my reminiscing out of the way early so I can get on to enjoying the rest of my summer without fear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

True statistics

2/24/11:  date of most recent Asics Landreths purchase.

406.01: running miles logged on most recent Asics Landreths as of 8/17/11.
29:  roughly estimated number of pairs of Asics purchased since the year 2000.
499.02: running miles logged in 2011 to date.
7.4:  training weeks, out of 18, completed for Marine Corps Marathon.

0:  current number of running injuries.

246:  number of times I will knock on wood for the rest of the day because I commented, in the middle of marathon training, that I currently have no running injuries, a statement that traditionally results in me getting an injury shortly thereafter.

7.18:   average minutes-per-mile pace achieved Tuesday, over 3.1 miles, running half-mile repeats at a TMIRCE track workout.

(7.50:  personal record road race average minute-per-mile pace, over 4 miles, in 2007).

12number of times Tuesday I headed west, while looping the Harvard Stadium track, and thanked God for the gorgeous sunset.

172:  my weight, in pounds, when I moved to Boston in 1999.
100:  estimated total miles run in the 26 years of life prior to 1999.
132:  my weight, in pounds, today.

Infinite:  number of times per day I thank God for the ability, desire, and health to run.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

(Yet Another) Good Poem

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

--Mary Oliver 

Monday, August 15, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Coffee dream

Yesterday afternoon it was drizzling and muggy outside and I was on Newbury Street and inside L'Aroma Cafe, ordering an iced red eye and looking at the help wanted sign.  At that moment I really, really wanted to just say, "I'll do it.  I'll pull espressos and dish quiche for 9 bucks an hour alongside a bevy of open-faced college kids, all completely hipper than thou (and me)."

The place is cozy and bustling.  The manual labor once again -- says she of the years of table-waiting provenance -- seemed like it might be cathartic and relaxing all at once.  My feet would probably blister over from standing long shifts like that again ... my back too.  (Student Driver, who works in hospitality and would love to get out, confirms this job doesn't get better with age.)

But I've always envisioned working as a barista, especially in a pseudo-European stop-off like L'Aroma, as a great romantic ideal:  tossing a decent (and decent-paying) job for cheap living and the adrenaline and good company of a coffee shop.  Kind of like in the movie In Her Shoes ... when Toni Collette's dowdy, uptight corporate lawyer quits the firm and hurls into life as a dog walker.   A move that puts apples in her cheeks, loses her 20 pounds, and gives her courage to relax and persuade her (extremely) hot male friend to date and marry her.

Yeah. It's a chick flick: idealized, unrealistic in its happy ending.  I still kind of want it, though.  Even if could physically walk 5 dogs at once.  Even I could afford to do it.

This afternoon I took a break at Starbucks for a hang with Claudia ... and, otherwise lacking a notebook, thought it would be cute to steal recyclable beverage napkins to write this post on. Then Claudia and I got (predictably) chatty and I had to get back to the office without doing so. Now I'm sitting here after the closing bell, in my office's 28th floor lobby, its windows covered in water, the Charles obscured by the mist rising from the downpour coming down for hours already.  Starbucks naps are not only proving impractical (lots of ballpoint drag), but now feel precious and not worth the effort.  So I'm writing my wanna-be-barista post on a corporate-themed notepad, in a leather armchair, dry, mentally preparing for yoga, enjoying the comfortable view, and realizing I'm also kind of OK where I'm at.

The napkins will do fine with tomorrow's oatmeal.
-- Monday, August 15 (5:20 - 5:37 p.m.)
the 28th Floor

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Market basket (o' quotables)

Even if you're weary of reading about it, it's hard to avoid the screaming headlines on the recent stock market gyrations: down 600 points, up 400, down 400 again, up 400 again.  After today's improbable uptick, no surprise that (even the) New York Times compared this week to (the obvious metaphor of) riding a yo-yo.

I myself am seasick here at the OK Finance Corral.  It's the stomach-churn of 2 NFL teams in overtime: one offense driving 80 yards, then missing a field goal; the other driving 40 yards before turning it over; the other team reaching the one-yard line and not converting a third down; and so on.

But the day ended up.  Not complaining about that.  Also, since I don't have much choice but to read things online all day at work, I've come to cherish the rare brilliance of certain bloggers, friends and journalists whose quotes cut through the millions.

My favorites ... because it's an up day:

Nico Muhly, writing today on his eponymous blog:
"I had a crazy thing where I got back from London and immediately flew to Iceland and then flew home, and all the while, this debt ceiling thing has been raging. I got kind of obsessed with it, because it seems like both sides are working with entirely different sets of facts, rather than interpretations of the facts. I have never seen so many people shout at each other, “that’s just not true!” on television before! We are having a problem of definitions. I am normally used to arguments being about interpretation ... "

Joe Nocera, yesterday in his Times column "When the Markets Swoon":
"I know that there are limits to what any government can do to create jobs. But what one yearns for is a little imagination from this White House. Someone suggested to me recently that the government could create a $50 billion fund for small business, and use it to pay, say, 20 percent of the wages of new hires for two years — first come, first served. Why doesn’t Obama suggest something like that?"

Bob Collins, posting on (the severely down) Monday morning, for MPR:
Market Meltdown: Traders Looking Worried
"One question: If the stock market is so all-fire important to everyone, how come news organizations can only figure out one kind of photograph when covering it?"

Albert Einstein, via my friend Thea's Facebook wall today:
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

And finally, San Francisco Man, via G-chat last night:
K: Since I've seen you, though, work has also been crazy for me. F***ing politicians....European and American both! The upside is that the drama is kind of adrenalizing.

SFM: Oh dear... financials. Ooogg.

K: My managers and I are jacked, running around, trying to solve problems.

SFM: I've been trying to ignore what's been going on in the stock market et al.

K: Yeah, me too. Today, particularly. The NYT likes to do these big shouting headlines and a minute-by-minute Dow Jones tally. I can't watch it or follow it.

SFM: sensationalism isn't all that sensual.

PS:  I myself am rather chuffed to have thought of
putting all these related/not-related quotes in one handy locale.
Just saying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Midnight rain

Just walked home from the Broadway T station in the rain.  Totally not dressed for the occasion, free of umbrella or jacket or even a shirt with sleeves, but it was only that wispy rain that lands rather quietly on hair and skin and clothes and creates a layer so fine that the wetness doesn't really register until I'm standing at home in the entryway, making a puddle on the rug while sorting through mail. Walked with glasses pushed up on my head because it was easier to walk blind than to walk uphill without windshield wipers. Only certain nights feel this kind of necessary, getting wet and cold and weary at an hour later than it should be. It was part the bourbon, mint and ginger beer mash-up (on the rocks) drank over salmon and duck confit and conversation in Davis Square. Part the quiet that is a summer Tuesday at midnight, and the minor awe felt when it actually IS quiet in this city, when the Southie teenagers are either at home or on some other street, and patio windows of bars are closed, and the squeak of sandals can't be heard over the hum of water as it lands rather quietly, not only on hair and skin and clothes, but on the sidewalks and the street lamps and the parked cars and the other people walking towards me, heads down, hoods up, and respecting their choice to go about it that way, even as I couldn't help but walk with head up, bare arms out, glasses off, water in the eyes, breathing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Trust

Had to stay late at the gym tonight -- extra yoga, extra cardio -- because work today ran late, because it became one of those days that makes me not want to go in tomorrow.

FYI - needed the extra exercise to forcibly chill out.

I think about how I have these new found powers of relaxation ... calm ... the power to control my own actions and thoughts in a positive way.  And then comes yet another market crash of a day, on top of an already bad market week. To compound: my portfolio-manager boss is mid-vacation, and though he's dialing in non-stop from the Cape (in what I see as a noble, with young daughters and the beach in August), I'm still on the front line to field calls from the people -- our shared clients -- in panic over an irrational panic.

So here I sit, again in Copley, this time on the steps of the library, trying to stay focused on controlling what I can control ... and I can't control another human's choice to panic.

This afternoon at 3:30, as the market kept ticking downward and I kept ticking down every minute to the closing bell, I kept thinking ..... oh, for another bad day to just be over.  To hand a deep breath and a pleasant, self-serving memory to every investor dumping a portfolio at the worst possible moment over things he, too, can't control.  To send those investors into 5 minutes of the Relaxation Response!  To make every cable news anchor close her eyes and envision climbing to the top of a mountain to find wisdom ... instead of provoking her listeners to go up there with her and jump off the cliff.

But of course, right, I can only control myself and my own calm.

Can only force myself to get up tomorrow morning, go in to my desk with strong coffee, deep breathe, and not let the bile rise at every phone ring. Make my clients feel as watched-over as my manager and I can manage.  I mean, if we've been trusted by them for, say, the last 5 years, why not make them keep trusting us now?  For 5 years I've worked hard to build this trust .... an investment I myself should learn to trust.

-- Monday, August 8 (9:42-10:02 p.m.)
Boston Public Library, Copley Square

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dateline: The High Line 8/7/11

Looking down
26th Street in Chelsea
(4:28 on a Sunday afternoon,
88 degrees and sweaty and
pressed on all sides by
the normal, vast humanity of

as if it wasn't enough to be
seduced already by
Hudson breeze
and third-story perspective
(which I never thought necessary
until now),

there needed to be
this unnecessarily-suited cellist
this Bach cello suite
and this man in a scally cap
taking out his earphones
to record a new tune.


It was kind of perfect.

Friday, August 5, 2011

He who can't be loved.

My friend Student Driver has been writing about a man she calls Type Geek for as long as I've known her writing.   This morning she wrote about him again in a post titled "One Last Time."  Because after 14 months of pushing and pulling, he's pushed her away again because he feels he has to, and this time is the (ostensibly) true end.
"We had an intensely passionate last few hours, we held each other tightly afterwards and slept for an hour, curled into each other, hands touching. In my hallway, we hugged. Longer and tighter and with more emotion than I have ever felt from him. He thanked me for everything. I told him that while I knew he wouldn’t, he knew where to find me, if ever…   Last night was the most senseless loss I have ever experienced. All because one little boy grew up thinking he was inherently not worth loving."
I'm sad for him ... that he knows that he holds people at length and can't get around it.  I'm sad for her more -- because she had to acknowledge that she was capable of loving someone unconditionally but that doesn't mean he's capable of loving back. 

I give Student Driver props; she's taken nothing about this situation lightly. Or for granted. For 14 months she's lived it from all angles -- as the aggressor, as the patient one, as caretaker and lover and sounding board and compatriot and in the end, the heartbroken one. 

And she writes so eloquently about her heartbreak it's difficult to not be heartbroken for her, especially as she walks away with grace.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Self-Portrait (Redux)

Chaos, all is chaos.

(And this without even getting into the stock market's demise. Yuck.  Don't anyone say "2008" to me.  Ever again.)

A bustling Boston is especially odd for a random Thursday in August before the college students return. I've rarely felt the uncertainty biking city streets the way I did today, both morning commute and crossing downtown just before noon for a doctor's appointment.  It was relentless ... teenagers in matching t-shirts, crossing en masse against lights.

.... a beer-delivery truck double-parked behind a bottled-water delivery truck double-parked behind an MBTA van discharging passengers double-parked behind a UPS truck double-parked behind a ....

.... Duck Boats doing 40 mph down the one-lane cow path known as School Street.

.... tourists, tourists, tourists in packs in pairs on steps on corners in jaywalking mode.

.... if a corner had room for a jackhammer, utility truck and police detail, it had all 3.

.... if a block was solid with cars, it had an ambulance stuck at the back of it.
As I dodged and dodged and dodged, I forced my brain to repeat the mantra, "Be the island of calm in the midst of chaos.  Be the island of calm in the midst of chaos."

Could this be my new Zenness from 8 weeks of BHI class, completed last night?  Might that be why, at my doctor's office, the blood-pressure tech commented on my 90/40 reading with, "Hm, a bit low."

Cool. And weird.

Speaking of, you might recall my Self-Portrait from the start of things;  here is the post-course attempt:

(Let's all agree 1:05 is an improvement....)

So for the record, I DID make more toned legs .... and shoulders and arms. 

Evidently my blood pressure was low enough -- yesterday too -- that I didn't press hard enough with my apricot-colored crayon.

A girl could have worse problems.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The CFO (Redux)

From the Single in the City archives (2/2/09):
"So....we left it with a kiss and a goodnight and I wrote him a note that night to say thanks.....but I haven't heard back yet. Not worried about it, either, and that itself is a weight off. Really. It seems important that we had a reunion....for me to realize that I still liked being with him but could live without him."
I know I wanted to tell you yesterday all about the boy from San Francisco, who dominated the weekend and deserved the space.

But I didn't mean to not tell you the details of my CFO date on Sunday afternoon, our first since November 2009.

(We reconnected via e-mail after I thought July 4th was his birthday -- it isn't -- and wrote to wish him a happy one.)

I saw his apartment, saw photos of his 2 sons for the first time ever (one recently graduated from college and one from high school), and he gave me the book I picked up while browsing his bookshelf, not expecting its return.   We then cruised out towards the Lynn Woods Reservation for pajama brunch at the place of his longtime female friend.   Him indeed wearing pajamas. Me too, recalling this is how he rolls: taking one woman he used to date to a party given by another woman he used to date -- everyone wearing pajamas, everyone totally fine with everything.

Brunch was decadent and tasty and the afternoon quite nice.   The CFO still oozes joie de vivre and ranks as a gregarious and giving conversationalist. Unchanged in his conviction that he's already been married and raised his kids and wants to date as many women as he has time and energy for without commitment. Still as frank as ever about his (still) varied dating life and skilled at drawing frank details about sex and other assorted wildness out of mine.

What our "date" came down to be was the equivalent of a couple hours of road-trip girlfriend chat. He asked for my take on perplexing females in their 50s. I bemoaned men in their 40s who had never settled down and didn't seem to ever want to. He drove me home and we left it with a kiss and a goodnight again -- followed with a solid, lingering hug -- and I went off to go running and watch the sunset with the boy from San Francisco. It was the CFO who wrote me later that night, saying thanks for making the date. We haven't (yet) made another.

With all due respect to my past self, it amuses me now to read how I wrote about the CFO in 2009 with such heartbreak because we weren't working.  (We certainly wouldn't work today, either, despite his being a guy who commits to reading the Sunday Times cover to cover.)  Three years younger, yes.  But that level of naïveté doesn't feel like an emotion I remember having. 

Of course, though, I did.

Am I more laid-back since then? More circumspect? More seasoned?

Maybe more of a realist, most of all?

Monday, August 1, 2011

20-Minute Monday: Pay-off

It was set to be a good weekend anyway.  Beach weather.  Brunch in Ball Square on Saturday.  Reunion (has it been 2 years?) with the CFO on his turf on Sunday.  These things all happened and were good. 

But, too, on Thursday night I answered a (yes, true) OKC message from a man from San Francisco who had traveled to Boston for a week, whose original travel companion couldn't make the trip after all, who was weary of playing solo tourist, who wanted at the very least a one-night drink special with someone new.

The cliché pickup of the century, no doubt.

So ask me this afternoon how I feel about having said to self, "Self:  why the hell not?"

Could I have anticipated the rejuvenation resulting from our 3 evenings together? A casual encounter that instead became a gelling of tastes, wants, compassions? Of walking the greenway at 2 a.m..... of the beers and sunset at Thomas Park?   Of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery (Longfellow's grave!) and foie gras at the gastropub and the free tickets to The Donkey Show and being able to do it all with someone, and then the breakfast over bittersweet goodbyes? The kissing? The laying-next-to? His skill at knowing I'd feel good about being called sexy and even better, sans sleaze factor, about being treated as if I were? Knowing that had we not gone in that direction that companionship, as fleeting as it would (and necessarily has to) be, would still have been worth it? The sex serving as not the ends but as the the proverbial frosting on this cake, and that it would be the truth?

I just took the elevator down from the office to sit at the Copley Square fountain.   In the reflection of the Hancock tower doors, I definitely look like I had a weekend of being loved. Maybe my own knowledge of what I enjoyed makes me see myself as satisfied. But then, the man who passed me in the doorway as I exited smiled right at me for no reason, as if he knew something too. It has be the calm on my face transmitting my discovery that, occasionally, the risk of temporary pleasure is worth taking.

-- Monday, August 1 (3:31-3:51 p.m.)
Copley Square Fountain