Saturday, May 30, 2009

Balancing Act

We go to the lodge every morning at 6:00 to exercise before going to work. Everyone else there is retired...why do they come so early??? The other day I walked in and 3 of the 4 treadmills were in use, so I quickly staked my claim by putting my iphone, headphones and water bottle on the last available machine before putting my gear in the locker room. When I came back out, a diminutive Asian man was standing near the foot of "my" treadmill, stretching, as if he was about to step onto it. I moved around him, hopped on, and began my workout. Yes, just like when you pull ahead of a parking space to back in, and someone pulls into it behind you...I was that person. I didn't even say anything to him, like, "I already called 'dibs' on this..." He walked away and got on a stationary bike. So, my workout was ruined as I stewed about my bad behavior. I thought I had a chance to redeem myself, when a woman came over to the fan that was running in front of me and took it away to place in front of her treadmill.  I didn't say anything, though I was thinking indignant thoughts ("What am I, chopped liver??"). She then looked at me like she just realized what she'd done and asked, "Do you want to share this? I can put it in the middle and set it to oscillate..." But I said, "No, I'm here to sweat, you take it," thinking my magnanimous gesture would redeem me from my previous rudeness. It didn't. *sigh*. I was going to have to apologize.  By now, Little Asian Man had gone into the locker room. I waited, my eyes on the door, for him to appear. When he did, I hopped down, went over to him and said, "I need to apologize for my rudeness in cutting in front of you earlier--that wasn't very nice of me." "No pwoblem...no pwoblem...", he bowed. 
Every day, just gotta try to be a little bit better than the day before...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Luckiest girl in the world

In 1967 I went to a Carnival and got my fortune from the "Madame Zelda" automated booth. A slip of paper spewed out with the guiding words that the onyx stone was my lucky stone, and I should wear it and good fortune would follow. So I began badgering my parents to get me the needed ring; which they did, for my 12th birthday at the Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster. It was put in my water glass when I went to the Ladies' Room, and when I came back and saw it, I thought our waitress must have accidently lost it.
Fast-forward to 2009 right before Valentines' Day. We were in the jeweler's shop getting my engagement ring repaired and I saw this fabulous onyx ring. I REALLY wanted it, but knew it was a luxury I didn't need--I already had all the luck and good fortune anyone could want! But I kept thinking about it (ok, obsessing about it) over the next few months...("This ring I'm wearing now is only a place-holder for the onyx..." "maybe we could spend 10 days instead of 2 weeks in London and get my ring with the savings...").
Unbeknownst to me, Rich had purchased it almost immediately after I first saw it, and was saving it for our 33rd anniversary trip. The dilemma for him was when to present it, so he ended up carrying it around in his pocket for almost the whole week. (I should have guessed something was up when he was burdened with luggage and asked me to get the hotel key out of his pocket, then as I went to reach in, he immediately jumped back and said, "Nevermind! I've got it!" as he remembered what else was in that same pocket...)
We actually went to the Old Mill Restaurant of family tradition, but it wasn't quite our anniversary yet...We ate in the Singapore where we got engaged, but it wasn't quite classy enough. Finally, the Longfellow's Wayside Inn was both the right date and the right tone for the romantic gesture. Perfect! I was so excited! I'm so lucky to have married my thoughtful, romantic sweetheart!

Monday, May 25, 2009

33 Places

This was a real trip down Memory Lane! With some fudging (see #8) we visited 33 places on our 33rd anniversary trip to Boston and points NE.

1. Quincy, MA/John Adams’ house

2. Plimoth plantation

3. Mayflower 2

4. Walden Pond (tried to re-read Thoreau for the occasion but got bogged down...)

5. Old Mill Restaurant--a family favorite in Westminster.

6. Ft. Devens, now just Devens, where we lived when we were first married. Our 2 homes no longer exist.

7. Townsend harbour/Warren Rd.: my first childhood home. Floods of memories: my crush on the boy next door; where I was standing when I learned my grandmother had died; go-carts my dad made.

8. Townsend Center: my 2nd home on Riverbank terrace; the library--my favorite place!; secret hideouts with my detecting partner, Sara; Spaulding Memorial School, McNabb Pharmacy (traumatic story); St. John’s Catholic Church (more religious trauma that shaped my future in a profound way); Town Common: band-concerts and bazaars.

9. Fitchurg High School--we went inside--very oppressive, like a prison. No wonder I still have nightmares about being a student again and not being able to find my locker and being late for class. The only highlight was Mr. Boyle and Latin class.

10. Rollstone Hill--all the "cool" kids (the ones who went there to drink and party) climbed it each year to whitewash the hillside with FHS and their year. I never went then, so made Rich climb the hill with me now. It's a great view...

11. Marshall Rd--My Grampa "Candy Man's" home.

12. Ashby west Rd--The idyllic teen years of joining the Church, riding my horse on the (now prohibited) Crocker Trails.

13. Melansons--Long-time family friends; fun to hear stories of my parents

14. Don's garage. An entrepreneurial venture of my Dad's. Got a photo of the spot, but the garage is long-gone.

15. Memorial JR High school--met my friend, Holly here, who introduced me to the Church.

16. Leominster church--where the LDS met, and where I met Richard for the first time.

17. Singapore restaurant--where Rich and I got engaged. My fortune cookie said, "You will marry the one you love." Rich's said, "If you don't want anyone to know, don't do it."

18. Coggshall park (pictured at top). Lot's of birthday parties and picnics here. The trail around the pond seemed a lot longer (and scarier) when I was a kid!

19. Boston temple--we spend the morning of our 33rd anniversary doing family sealings here. It's our favorite temple now!

20. Kimballs ice cream--a tourist destination. Pint-sized cones for $4. I'd planned on getting the Grapenut flavor for months--a real highlight!

21. Massachusetts Archives--did some genealogy research and was intrigued to learn that the family member we sought listed herself as a physician back in 1891 on her marriage registry. Warrants checking into...

22. Kennedy library

23. JFK birthplace

24. Longfellow’s Wayside Inn/Gristmill--fabulous old tavern and inn made famous by a visit from Longfellow and his subsequent book based on his visit: Tales of a Wayside Inn. (Yes, we bought a copy of the book.) Rich gave me a gorgeous onyx ring to celebrate our anniversary; it has a "33" engraved inside.

25. Mary’s Schoolhouse--Mary actually did have a little lamb and it did actually follow her to her one-room school house, in Sterling, MA. The school house is long gone, but recreated from its lumber by Henry Ford when he purchased the Wayside Inn and surrounding property. He created a tableau of the Inn, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Grist Mill and white-steepled church on the hill. Very picturesque.

26. Boston museum of fine art--Impressionists, Rembrandts. Very fine.

27. Gardner museum--The building itself was a big part of the "collection." We came out to find we'd been parked for 2 hrs in front of a hydrant. Dodged that bullet!

28. Harvard yard/The coop. Here they really do say, "Paak the caa in Haavid Yaad." I'm so glad I managed to rid myself of the accent!

29. Durgin park/Fanueil hall. Lunch and shopping.

30. Nichols' house--a peek inside the life of 1800s Boston Brahmins.

31. Boston Common. Bigger than we remembered. Lots of joggers, dog-walkers, families enjoying the day.

32. Paul Revere house/Freedom Trail

33. Newbery Street--wished we had more time to stop and browse this upscale shopping district. The one store I wanted to see, "Sugar Heaven" seems to have gone out of business or moved. Oh, well, with all the ice cream and elaborate meals I had on this trip, I really didn't need any candy, but the concept was intriguing.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One of those dreams


I had a dream the other night that I had to write a paper for a class about a gas station and how the owner came to have the business. In the dream I decided to write the paper on the gas station my dad ran in Fitchburg so I could use it as a family history vignette as well. I woke up and made a note on my cell phone to remember that I actually did want to write about it. Then I called my mom to get some details about that venture. I'm sure the dream was triggered by my newly renewed interest in family history via my calling a couple months ago (and release as Relief Society Pres) as a Ward Family History Consultant. I've raced through all the online training modules and spent 6+ hours at the computer last Sunday on new.familysearch.org ((BTW, in the process, I discovered that is a fabulously effective low-cal diet: when I am engrossed in family history, I don't even think about food). Another tie-in is the upcoming trip to Boston and environs where my family tree is rooted. I've added the gas-station site to my list of 33 (now I have to find something to drop in its place...)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Browsing

Short-staffed today so I am shelving books awhile. I make a really poor page, as I get easily distracted by titles in the stacks. Like this one by Amy Sedaris entitled I Like You. Here's a quote from page 47 on how to entertain a blind date in your own home:

"I once agreed to have a first date over for dinner and found out I had to work that day. I pressed my pantsuit, got my apartment spic-and-span, and decided on a meal that I felt confident I could prepare in an hour: porterhouse steak, mashed potatoes, salad, and watermelon wedges for dessert. I also planned on serving sangria, bcause I had a pile of fuit that was beginning to turn. I put out some unshelled walnuts in a bowl to complement the sangria. When I got home from work I immediately boiled water for the potatoes, turned on the broiler and threw my steak in. I only had an hour, but because I had preplanned well, I knew I would make it just under the deadline. Unfortunately, my date showed up fifteen minutes early...with a friend that wasn't invited. They had stopped for a slice of pizza on the way so they didn't want to eat "until all that cheese settled." My date then turned on the tv so he could catch the last few minutes of the Hornets game. He and his buddy drank multiple glasses of sangria, ate fistfuls of caramels, and emptied my nut bowl as those few minutes dragged on for more than an hour and a half. By the time dinner was on the table the sangria was gone, the potatoes were cold, the salad was limp, and my steak was not only exhausted, it was humiliated. When we got around to dessert, he insisted on carving the watermelon, but dropped it on the floor. Too drunk to hail a cab, he sent his friend home, fell asleep on my bed and woke up in his own vomit. We dated for two years."
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