Saturday, April 28, 2012


Busy. Tired. Brain Dead.

That's me.

I just stayed at the office until 9:30.

I just biked home into the wind.

I just ate 3 servings of pasta and black beans.

It's been a long week.

I'm feeling unable to collate sentences longer than 10 words.

I keep thinking ..... I'll just sleep more.  And then I don't.  Usually it's because I want to take some of that time to talk to MSF.  Other times, I'm just too jacked to put my head on the pillow.

Oh well.  Aprils are often this way.  The end is soon.  Although May comes shortly thereafter.  After which there is a marathon to run.

Cousin J provided some needed perspective a few nights ago, though.  She was e-mailing helpfully with ideas for planning the Sweden trip.  At the end of which she said:
"So...big hug to you in this crazy week, I see you are at the apex!  Hang in and enjoy the ride!"
I appreciate the hug.  I more appreciate that I should enjoy myself more. Be it a 13-mile run tomorrow morning or the chance to practice on a real live piano some very fun music.   Fatigue is often the reward for a life well-lived, right?

Soldier on!  BTBD or not.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Procrastination is O.K.

I've known my friend Joy for many years and as speech-language pathologist, wife and mother of 2 toddlers, she's as bright and as practical as they come and rarely not on-the-go.  If not in the midst of cooking for friends or working weekends or making her own yogurt, she's organizing large-scale group activities for charitable organizations or her daughters' pre-school.  When she began blogging at Bundles of Joy earlier this year -- writing about her lif e as it is, much as I write about the down and dirty of mine --  I was unsurprised that the medium suited both her opinions and writing skills well.  It's been a lot of fun to read .... and keeps me up on her family's life when all of us are running in a million directions.

Joy is a busy lady. 

I'm usually not as busy as her .... but currently, in a way, I am.  This is the week in April that pops up every year and   I love so much:  the apex of time-sensitive deadlines at work and piles of pending reports-to-mail are as high as my head .... plus the point in marathon training where Saturday runs are 20-plus miles (and this year including trip-planning for Sweden that has been inexcusably back-burnered already) ... plus the point in the musical production where it's all coming together (open in 10 days!) and rehearsal is every night to 10:30 and that doesn't include the bike-ride home or making dinner after. 

Yeah. The week where I feel I don't know my friends anymore and realized I haven't spoken with my parents since mid-March or my younger sister since mid-February and my hands are swollen and my body over-caffeinated and it's only 10 a.m. and already I kinda wish this day was over and I was flat on my back under the covers

That said, I'm not now suggesting that I'm glad to read this entry from Joy's blog from a few days ago. (Joy set herself up promising a weekly Sunday post about her stewardship of various personal details.)  Just relieved that other busy people aren't shy about letting their fatigue show and relaxing the self-improvement regimen we often all impose on ourselves:
Sunday Procrastination Again

I should be writing a blog entry. But instead I'm watching back episodes of GCB and giving a doll a new hairstyle. Actually, I'm trying to make the doll look like she has hair again instead of a nasty frizz puff on her head. I promise to try to write more tomorrow....
And, most nights in the past 10 days, I've been playing Facebook Tetris and Solitaire Blitz instead of writing blog entries. 

So Joy ...... it's OK. 

I absolve you.  :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Running long

Stockholm on June 2 is (hopefully) my ninth marathon in 10 years.

I've logged between 400 and 500 miles in preparation for each, not including the races themselves.

Still, though....the first time in any training I successfully manage more than 20 miles on an outing (which was, today) running the length of Newton and then the length of Brookline and back out the entire length of the Emerald Necklace, starting and finishing uphill, avoiding sunburn and windburn and dehydration and boredom ... 

That this happens, and that life can continue after, still humbles the f*%& out of me.  

Find more Run in Boston, MA

(As does the water of Southie's Pleasure Bay in April.  Holy f@#$, indeed.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shameless plug

You know you want to come see my show.

It opens 2 weeks from tonight. 
There are 6 performances to choose from:
weeknights, weekends, matinees, evenings.

The music is awesome.
The singers are awesome.
The band is awesome.

Parking is not difficult. 
Or expensive.

I'd love to have you.

Please come!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The return; the remembering.

Longtime readers in this space will be familiar with C-2 .... my slight, bespectacled Somervillian who was first my OKC story-swapping friend and then my stay-out-all-night-on-Kingston-Street friend and then someone I craved desperately because of his kissing and cleverness and daring.  And then despaired over when he got clueless and distant and sad and left me feeling same, just before leaving town in a rush.

That was a year ago.  I stayed up until 5 a.m. on the morning of my 38th birthday to help him pack a moving truck and wave him onto the freeway.   His move was good for me in its finality .... forcing a closure his behavior had long-before forecast but I wasn't accepting;  I stopped thinking he was more to me than he was.   While we met up on a Sunday last June for a Foley's-fueled fling, it was in the spirit of heedlessness, temporary and gluttonous, with no consequences.  Since then, he reached out every couple months with an e-mail or text if back in town for work, and I've largely not reached out, and only occasionally responded.  I'd moved past him, realized I didn't have to stand patsy, didn't quite care either way.

Last night, C-2 and I hung out at a bar on Beacon Hill.  At his request.  He wrote me on Good Friday, noted he was in town for a couple weeks prospecting (he's a political consultant, election season is gearing up, this is his home turf), wanting to meet for a beer.  I thought again I'd ignore him, then thought better.  Something broke in my cynicism.  We spent a few days crossing paths in futility; then I realized I was fairly dying to know how he was.  When he texted last night at 10:30 and trained down from Davis, I drove over and it was easy, like the first time we met.  Shooting politics, gulping Guinness, chatting the other barflys, standing in the bar entryway after close while he smoked Camels, sharing our respective dating foibles of the last 18 months.  It was a conversation we really hadn't had in that long, I realized near its end, and I had missed having it.

The night ended as it often used to .... very late on a very deserted downtown street in the front seat of my parked car.  But there was no imminent hook-up or window-steaming.   We talked about the times we had hooked up and had steamed the windows and chuckled, fondly, noting how we both remembered all of them ... the time he tossed one of my shoes out the sunroof and a sock to the back window that I found only months later.   He then explained that the entire year of 2010 had been a wash for him:  he shared a personal experience that was the primary source of pain.  I could only nod, but had not known his troubles.  In 2 years he had breathed no such explanation, and now it explained so much about him, my frustration with him, and why he did things he did ...  yet I couldn't be angry at either it or his reaction to it.  Just clarity, and a relief for an angst in my past I now have no good reason to mourn.

I knew we would eventually kiss, because we used to kiss so well and we had started talking about how well we did, so then we did.   We kissed in that way we always used to .... him leaning over the gearshift and reaching to pull my chin in, laughing, gripping my hair, me pressing towards him and tilting my head back with the pull of his hands, our breathing rising.   It escalated, but plateaued .... as if sensed it was just a remembering of something sweet that needed a fresh taste for the memory banks.  And then we parted.

4:30 a.m., and morning birds were chirping as I got out of my car in Southie. I texted him, as I always used to at his request, heralding safe return ... "Home.  It was good to see you." 

"You too. :-)"  he texted back. 

For the first time in a long time I believed that when he said that he meant it.  It was the first time in a long time, too, in taking leave from him, that I knew for sure I didn't want from him anything more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Will sun salute for food

Hey campers!  It's that time once again where I tell you something that I'm planning to do so I actually do it. 

In this case it is getting my decidedly non-bikini-shape torso muscles into enough shape so that after 3 months of hard and heavy eating, I'll survive this fool marathon I'm (hopefully still) going to run in 46 x 24 hours.

Each day between now and Saturday, June 2 (in addition to whatever else may be going on, including work, long runs, all-day musical rehearsals, Guinness binges at 2 a.m. or red-eye flights to San Francisco) I will complete either:

Option A:   Core Bomb

Various abdominal strengtheners (5 min) +
Lower back strengthener (1 min) +
Face-down planks (2 x 1 min) +
Rolling side planks w/out stopping (5 each side x 30 sec) +
Push-ups (3 x 12) +
Tricep-dips (3 x 12)


Option B:  30 minutes of Yoga

(This morning at 6:30 I did 60 minutes. Thank you,
free David Farmar Baptiste podcasts from iTunes.)

Yes.  This is my kitchen. 
Yes.  That is my cat eating breakfast next to my block.

Incidentally, I may or may not post an "after"  picture. 

No way, this time, am I posting a "before."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear God...

.... please be with the marathoners today.

Thanks for the summer weather, but I know the type of runner who runs Boston.  He will be a serious runner.   He has earned his trip and his chance to PR a very difficult race and, while he is not dumb and will be Type A and have planned every mile-split and water stop and gel-inhalation, he will have pride and will want to say he ran a very difficult race on a very difficult day very well, even if much of that race unfolds on shadeless concrete boulevards -- both the downhill in Framingham and the uphill over Rt 128 in Newton (why, God, why?) -- full of other sweaty, heaving, gasping strivers.

Please do your best to convince him, should his pride trump his physical and mental capabilities, that it ain't worth heat stroke.  Even if he prays to you otherwise.

Thanks, by the way, for not trying to convince me that, last fall when registration rolled around, I should run it too. Running a mile in 85 degrees is a challenge.  Running any more than that is a special form of hell. You've seen to that.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

I haven't griped about parking in Southie for a pretty long time....

(since November 2009, actually)

.....which makes it OK to point out today the existence of this sign taped to all markers running on both sides of the length of the street that runs past my apartment:

And, point out the existence of this sign on the closest cross street next to my apartment.

(And I'm not even getting into these signs being posted starting the very week that street cleaning rules go into effect.  I'm not showing you the signs that abut the (not 1 or 2 or 3 but) 4 multi-unit condominium construction projects in a 3-block radius around me that also have "no parking" signs taking up 5-6 parking spots per site, with indefinite end-dates in 2013.)

Let's sum up:  for 6 weeks I cannot park my car on the street during the day on any street within reasonable vicinity of my apartment.  This also means the 40 or so other cars that might park on those streets also need to find other places for these 6 weeks.  And they can't park in front of any condo construction sites until 2013, just like me.

So (score) last week I came across a spot just in front of this sign and put down stakes.  Woo-hoo!

So, naturally on Friday morning I head out to find this slid under my windshield wiper.

Which tells me I'm parked in a "No Parking 3/17 to 4/15" spot.  Which clearly tells me the City of Boston wants me to pay $55 for their failure to correctly update a sign.

Damn straight this one is getting appealed.  Damn straight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When in doubt .... a song.

On Facebook this morning, my eye was caught by a post from a man about about my parents' age ... someone I've known since 1985, when he first directed me and my classmates in "Bye Bye Birdie" in the Cando Summer Arts program. Larry wrote:

"I'm old, I know, but this is still just an awesome piece of music."

It's a Gordon Lightfoot number from the early 60s about a bum watching a plane take off and feeling regret for a hard-living past. I could think of no good reason to post this song ... we did have heavy clouds earlier today, but the skies have cleared. I'm not making any imminent plane trips. I'm not craving drink and (at least at this moment this morning) I'm not filled with regret. I'm actually not even in a foul mood.

But I could think of no good reason not to post it either. That's some awesome guitar playing and some awesome harmony. It inexplicably makes me want to play it on repeat. And it was good to know Larry still has good taste.

Monday, April 9, 2012


(At the risk of revealing something I'll likely later regret, never having done that in 5 years of blogging of course) I confess that for the first time in the history of my financial-services career, I took a nap at work. During work. At my desk. While sitting up, with my hands on the keyboard.

In fact, I confess I took 2 naps .... about 5 minutes apiece, both in similar fashion. I was not totally asleep either time. But I was definitely resting my eyes. During the second one, I woke myself up with a little snore.

Yes, I am 39 years old and I napped at work.

Today I am tired, and I wish not to intrude on your joyous post-Easter thoughts with what might emerge from this brain on such a day.

Instead, I give you this:  a review in this coming week's New Yorker of the new book by Eric Klinenberg: “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone."  A sample:
"At one point, Klinenberg suggests that living alone provides “restorative solitude”; it may be “exactly what we need to reconnect.” But most of the people he introduces seem neither especially restored nor vigorously connected. They are insecure, proud of their freedoms but hungry for contact, anxious, frisky, smug, occasionally scared—in short, they experience a mixture of emotions that many people, even those who do not live alone, are apt to recognize.
"Take, for example, Kimberly, a New Yorker who’s in the film business, and who underwent a sort of crisis when she found herself past thirty and living alone. She threw herself into her work, but at night she numbed herself with epic sessions of TV. “It took me a long time to figure out that it wasn’t gonna happen the way it happened in college,” she tells Klinenberg. “People didn’t just drop by.”

"Things changed when she made the decision to buy an apartment, committing to a future alone. She renovated, began hosting parties, went freelance, tried Internet dating, and made contact with Single Mothers by Choice, a support organization for unattached women hoping to raise a child. Was this self-realization or resignation? Kimberly confesses, “I didn’t want to hang curtains by myself. I’d always thought I would do it with a partner and a lover.” Yet autonomy as an ideal brought her happiness, she says, partly because it freed her from the shame of falling short."
This is a blog about living alone and the pains and various joys thereof.  Therefore, go forth and learn.

Then read this Tumblr, Text from Dog, and pee your pants.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blogoliloquy: Boston! (and, we open...)

After walking the long route to work followed by a day preparing for quarter-end client reporting and a treadmill run and an orange juice and honey-roasted peanut supper and accompanying the first full run of the  hand-pounding musical that opens a month from today (that's 2 straight hours of JRB piano stylings, baby) and a half-hour nursing an Ultimat Mule (mmm, ginger beer....) and the saltiest french fries known to this city while waiting, I met Justin at Franklin Cafe Southie last night just before 11 so he could find room for post-rehearsal supper (direct quote when asked the last time he had eaten: "I know had breakfast and I think I might have had something about 4....") and a couple pints of Brooklyn Lager to unwind from the last rehearsal for the Boston blogs performance extravaganza he (naturally) conceived and wrote and directed and produced (and even re-hung the lights in a black box theatre just before the final run when the seating arrangement required unexpected readjustment) while doing things like having a full-time job in Manhattan that requires regular cross-country air travel and enjoying a lovely wife and 9-month-old son and moving from Plainfield to Jersey City and asking someone on Etsy to build him a kitchen table the new place and, hell, simply living in New Jersey and coming to Boston to direct and produce and hang lights for a show that he wrote and conceived when he also has an organ-playing gig on the Thursday after the Wednesday opening and and the Sunday morning after the Saturday close in, of course, New Jersey, and while we were unwinding early into this morning (did we just about close the place?) he was kind enough to say to me (exhausted and tipsy and over-sodiumed  and articulating the inertia of having lived in the same apartment for nearly 6 years and having the same job for almost 9 and going to the same church for more than 12)  that one of the things he most appreciates about me after nearly 10 years of solid friendship is that I have this way of "creating home" wherever I end up (including in this blog, which he has read from the beginning almost 5 years ago), to the point where maybe my inertia is simply not wanting to leave the comfort of something good and to some degree, that isn't the worst thing in the world, and I was reminded that the things I appreciate most about Justin are how he always finds a bigger picture in my smaller gripes, how he makes a big world feel manageable, and how he lives large and, even though I may kick and scream on the way, how he insists on trying to take me with him.

Thanks, friend. Break a leg.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No more p***** pics! (Can I get an A-men?)

This was sent my way today. It's from 2010. Considering how many penis photos have been gifted to me by men from OKCupid in my lifetime (including this winner), I'm amazed I didn't stumble across this myself already. It says everything I've ever said to the screen in response.

Choice quotes:
0:45: "Come on. Enough with the tricky camera angles on that baloney pony. Man, it is UGLY!"

0:57: "And, yes. Sometimes we save the pictures. But just to show our friends how weird yours looks. And make fun of how much of a douchebag you are."
Please share with a loved one. Man or woman, depending on their needs.

(PS: Thanks, MSF.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I've lived in Boston long enough that I know I take it for granted at how easy it is to travel a short distance and/or pay a minimal fee to hear some pretty spectacular music.  A week ago Saturday, I was privileged to hear J.S. Bach's St. John Passion performed at Marsh Chapel on the Boston University campus.  This past Friday, the Handel & Haydn Society did the other great Passion of Bach, St. Matthew's, at Symphony Hall.

How fortunate. Both were brilliant productions. And to get into Marsh Chapel I paid 10 bucks .... Symphony Hall, 25.

Since today is Passion Sunday in the Christian calendar, seems quite appropriate to share my favorite pieces from each of these venerable works -- both bass solos:

Betrachte, meine Seel (St. John)

Betrachte, meine Seel, mit ängstlichem Vergnügen,
     Observe now, O my soul, with fearful satisfaction,
Mit bittrer Lust und halb beklemmtem Herzen
     With bitter joy and with a heart half-anguished
Dein höchstes Gut in Jesu Schmerzen,
     Thy highest good in Jesus' torments:
Wie dir auf Dornen, so ihn stechen,
     For thee the thorns there which have pierced him
Die Himmelsschlüsselblumen blühn!
     As keys to heaven's flowers bloom!
Du kannst viel süße Frucht von seiner Wermut brechen
     Thou canst pluck much sweet fruit from his most bitter wormwood,
Drum sieh ohn Unterlass auf ihn!
     So look unceasingly on him!

Mache dich, mein Herze rein (St. Matthew)

Mache dich, mein Herze, rein,
     Make thyself, my heart, now pure,
Ich will Jesum selbst begraben.
     I myself would Jesus bury.
Denn er soll nunmehr in mir
     For he shall henceforth in me
Für und für Seine süße Ruhe haben.
     More and more find in sweet repose his dwelling.
Welt, geh aus, lass Jesum ein!
     World, depart, let Jesus in!