For the record, and because I realize I forgot to post this earlier, I am pretty sure that the New Years party (well, parties, to be more accurate…) I went to was not only the best New Year’s party I’ve ever gone to (it was enough fun to make me forget that I wasn’t at the Bakoven pirate cove!) but possibly the most fun I have ever had at any party, ever.
Another thing I forgot to mention was my utter shock at Shaq playing for the Celtics. I first discovered this at Hennessy’s I think last week, I wasn’t watching the game but I saw him on the post-game press conference in a green Celtics hat and I had quite a “topsy-turvy world” moment. But anyway, cool! He is apparently doing this out of choice for practically no money and is very active in the community. So, good for him!
Moving on. This week featured a lot of waiting, for a couple of things (including getting fully well, my throat remains a little bit irritated), but, most critically, to get my passport back from the South African Consulate, who were processing my work permit. And by processing, what I think I mean was they were waiting to get around to reviewing it: after a week and a half they hadn’t touched it. But in the final analysis everything was in order and while the delay (they were a few days past the 10 day turnaround time listed on the web site which apparently is only an “estimate”) caused me to have to reschedule my flights, the work permit was approved for three years so that was actually the important thing. Now I can actually be paid for the work I am doing – very exciting!
While I’m on the subject: been thinking a lot about the ability we have to affect the world around us (whether or not we’re living in a computer simulation; still haven’t read that article!). But one thing I will comment on is the utter truth of first accepting the reality of the situation before you can make any attempt to change it. For example if you are going to beat cancer you either need to be in complete denial, or, accept that you have cancer, that yes, it did in fact happen to YOU, and then decide you are going to beat it. You can’t beat it by straddling both camps and being half in denial that it’s actually happening and half deciding you’re going to beat it. Nope. Doesn’t work like that.
I actually didn’t really do a lot this week other than catch up with friends & family (the latter mainly over lunches). Monday night I was at Dylan’s with ex-co-workers chatting about such topics as the new CEO of Exit41. Tuesday was dinner with my best friend from Babson, followed by watching Scotty D at Hennessy’s for a while (he even dedicated a song to me!). Wednesday was a bit of a night off.
By Thursday I was feeling well enough to go into CrossFit Fenway for a workout, mainly because they were doing cleans that day. I feel like I did actually get some good pointers on technique; it’s always good to talk to different coaches from time to time. I also love CrossFit Fenway: it’s small, the coaches are good, they limit class sizes, and they take the time to make sure everyone is doing things properly. But anyway although I felt fine when we got to the metcon part of the workout I realised I was not – my throat was still ticklish and what this translated to was painful breathing. At least I’m getting way better at double-unders when I am tired!
Thursday was pub night at Cambridge Common. This was supposed to be a going away party but since I wasn’t actually leaving the next day (and in fact had no idea when I would be leaving) it was basically just a party, except that it happened to be the last time I saw a bunch of people. So, going away party indeed! The first time I had a going away party here in April a bunch of us got very drunk, thanks to shots of tequila. Multiple. And that was the worst hangover I think I have ever had: it took me over an hour to eat half a sandwich the next day. Needless to say, when someone suggested tequila shots on this night, especially since I was driving, I took a bit of persuading. But heck a sewing machine had just showed up in the bar, so clearly this was going to be an unusual evening. In any event I only had one, and then actually wound up staying a few more hours at the bar so it was all well and good. The party was thinning out around midnight and I was about ready to head home when my friend texted me that she was coming by, so to make a long story short by the time I finally got home it was nearly 3am!
After getting the call from the SA Consulate Friday morning I “celebrated” by doing 100 burpees by the fire. Unfortunately the floor was cold so my feet started to feel a bit frozen which made the last 20 or so particularly difficult. I think the first 20 or so were easy, then by about 40 I started to wonder what the heck I was doing. Well, on the plus side my workout for the day was over in 6:40!
Friday night was family birthday dinner for Robert at the BraeBurn Country Club, where I had a lovely braised lamb shank, a nice Californian Cabernet and some very sub-par Pinotage. Winter food! It was actually snowing a little bit. On the way over there I had stopped by CFNE to pick up a pair of Innov-8 shoes (one of the people who trains there is the local distributor so you can get them cheaply). I was hoping for pink or red but the only ones in my size were green (BRIGHT green), and beggars can’t be choosers, and I do like green. I tell you what, these shoes make a statement; can’t wait to try them out! They have a flatter sole than most running shoes, and are very lightweight so they are a good all-around CrossFit shoe (apparently you must not use them for rope climbing however or you can ruin the sole), and can also use them for sprinting. I mean I guess you can use them for longer distance too but they will wear out quickly. If I like them, may need to stock up next time I’m back!
Before trying on the shoes I was goofing around a little bit and decided to practice to see if I could get my 2 consecutive pullups which is the first of my 2011 goals that I felt ready to attempt. My problems with pullups are just with technique; if you lose your momentum you can’t really get it back. So: boom, first goal of 2011 done on the 7th of January. Some of them (400m run sub-1:05) are going to take a bit longer! Now on to 5 consecutive pullups. CFNE were doing CrossFit Total for the workout on that day, and boy if I had actually been feeling 100% I would love to have done that (it’s 1RM deadlift, press, and back squat, you add the weights together for your total score).
Following dinner I headed to Everett where a friend runs karaoke on Friday nights, and she texted some other friends to come hang out for a few beers once I got there. I am ashamed to admit two facts: 1. I did not actually know where Main Street Everett was (the road I thought it was turned out to be Broadway), and I used to live in Everett. Sad. 2. I brought one of my new shoes into the bar to show it off. But, hey, Katie apparently drove someone out of the bar by singing “I’m on a Boat” so at least that was pretty funny!
Saturday morning I packed and then we headed to Quincy for a hash through the Blue Hills. That was really awesome! Running through the uneven surface was pretty challenging, but super fun. And this is where I learned that it’s pretty smart to follow Jimmy CW wherever it is he goes! Well, at least until he’s drunk … more on this later!
So the walkers apparently felt the need to stay at the beer check and drink all the remaining beer, so as a result we runners waited for them for literally an hour. I was cold. I was actually so cold that I went inside. Yes, I’m starting to feel like a real wuss … then happily when everyone got back we went into the basement instead of remaining outside. And then two people ate durians and I had some of one of them. I like durians, I don’t know what the problem is. Corpse fruit? Banned on the Singapore subway? Even the dog won’t eat it? Well there’s no accounting for my taste. Maybe it was addled by PBR.
Dinner was at a superb local pub where they had the football game on every TV (!) good beer by the pitcher, and did not serve us Irish car bombs (er, um, …). Had a bit of déjà vu after drinking the car bomb when I was talking to a friend who was apologising for how he thought he came across the other night (odd because another friend had also done the exact same thing a few nights before at Cambridge Common). I found both of these situations strange because in both cases I had a very positive memory of the conversation they were apologising for. Not to mention that I don’t really think you should ever apologise for saying what you think: if someone gets their feelings hurt, they should probably grow a thicker skin, I mean ignorance may be bliss but if someone is going to think something about me best they tell me to my face rather than just think it or, worse, talk behind your back. Of course do I always practice this one myself? No … but trying to get better. Nobody is perfect, and after all our souls are here to progress, right?
Most of us headed back to Ryan’s place to continue drinking. I was actually pretty stupid because I drank so much that I fell asleep before the end of the Jets-Colts game which was actually probably the best football game I would have been able to watch on all of my trips to the States. Oops. Well, on the plus side the Jets won. Not that it matters, the Pats are going to smash them next week. Oh, so on the way a few of us are driving back over and we see Jimmy in the parking lot wandering aimlessly, so we tell him to get in the car. So he gets in the car. Next thing his phone rings and the side of the conversation we hear goes something like: “I’m in a car.” “I don’t know.” “Well they told me to get in!” Apparently he had abandoned the guy who was supposed to be giving him a ride back! Then he upped this an hour or so later by not leaving with his ride back to Western Mass. He must have had some great faith in the universe that he would get home eventually! Oh, the hilarity …
The hilarity continued the next morning when we realised there was no heat or hot water, and we couldn’t actually find the hot water heater. Peppermint did find a gauge on the oil tank that read EMTY, so we assumed that was the problem and headed out to breakfast at a local diner. Turns out someone had just accidentally flicked the emergency off switch. Not sure about the EMTY gauge!
So we were all a bit tired and punchy and so the breakfast conversations went something like this:
“Have you ever been to a Springboks game?”
“Cool. … What the fuck is up with Zimbabwe?”
… and …
“Wow, that’s bigger than I expected it to be.”
“That’s what she said.”
And so goes the hash. I was disappointed that no one else ordered the hash special; I thought it was great, if a bit salty.
Since I was going to be getting on a long plane ride after the afternoon’s run, I really needed a shower so I went to my friend’s place in Somerville and hung out there for the rest of the afternoon until it was time to head to Alewife and participate in some mass stunt where people took their pants off on the T. I was wearing a lion costume anyway so this wasn’t so dramatic for me but boy it was cold and I tell you what, some of these people are really nuts. Pants for the color blind anyone?
Unfortunately it was cold out (maybe mid-20s F) so my ideas of running around without my sweatshirt on were stymied but it was a really fun trail and the sunset was absolutely stunning. I wound up near the back of the pack for a while because I was so busy taking pictures! But what a way to end my last day in Boston. This was some emotional goodbye, and yes, I do love this city. It’s beautiful and I have some wonderful, beautiful, supportive friends who I miss terribly. But North America is not for me, not for now at least.
There’s a mountain called my life /
What’s on the other side I cannot see /
And it’s a road that just keeps on winding /
Keeps on winding forever it seems
• “Darn that Consulate.” – Peter
• “i didn’t realise that you were theeee ellie” – Kath (God only knows what she’s heard about “theeee ellie”)
• “Patron is always a good decision.” – Ben
• “You are too cocky for a girl.” – Dimitry (I’m leaving out what he said next … but you can probably guess)
• “Ok, wow, yeah, you kicked my ass. That was pretty sad.” – Dimitry (second guy in a week that I beat doing pushups while drinking … I really must learn not to do that but unfortunately when you challenge me I’m very competitive!)
• “I haven’t let a closed tab stop me from drinking.” – Ben (or maybe Melvin??)
• “I think I may have, um, left my sewing machine at the bar …” – Ben
• “I can’t believe you ate that!” – Jimmy
• “Ever feel like you’re going in a basement to be murdered?” – Jack
• “It’s like a South African bank!” – Ellie (in reference to the one-at-a-time entrance procedure for the basement we were trying to get into)
• “It tastes like a milkshake!” – Katie (in reference to the Irish car bomb we had just drunk)
• “Don’t open it, just throw it.” – Jack (I think he was talking about a can of beer)
• “I don’t even remember being here.” – 2nd
• “My chicken suit is with Maid of Honor.” – Katie