Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Five @ 5

Boat Run. Boat portion.
1. I started a new morning exercise routine this week and I think it's kind of wonderful. Boat run. What? Boat run. I've done it four times now. I live about a 7-minute walk from Long Wharf. There's a ferry that goes from there to the Charlestown Navy Yard. My T pass covers this ferry so, no charge really. I get on the ferry at 6:30AM, take a very scenic 10-minute ride across the water to the Navy Yard, and then run the mile and a half back to the North End. Well, let's be honest. I run/walk. Running is hard, man. What do I look like, a fitness instructor? Psh. Sometimes my run/walk back to the North End includes a stop for breakfast or coffee and several pauses to take pictures. Early morning Boston is pretty. I guess this routine isn't exactly exercise. Maybe it's exercise for the soul.

2. The new season of Bachelor in Paradise started this week and I don't know what to do with all of my happiness about it. I really don't. I was so filled with joy watching the premiere this week that every time someone new arrived in Paradise I had to stop myself from actually, physically waving at the screen and saying, "Heyyyyyy!" I don't know what it is about the Bachelor franchise that I love so much. It's completely ridiculous. Maybe it's that I've watched it for so long. The love I have for all the Bachelor shows is similar to the love I have for Matty in the Morning on Kiss 108. I've listened to Matty almost every morning since 7th grade. I'm listening right now. I've seen every episode of every season of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and let's not forget, Bachelor Pad since the premiere of The Bachelor more than 15 years ago. It just makes me so happy. We are entering into a dark time, though. After Paradise we have to wait until JANUARY for a new season of The Bachelor. We don't even know who the next Bachelor is yet. My money is on Dean, Kenny, or Eric, though I'd LOVE to see it be Wells who is serving as the bartender on this season of Paradise because Jorge left to start his own business.

3. Speaking of bartenders, I've stopped drinking alcohol. Plenty of people don't drink alcohol, and now I'm one of them. It's not a big deal. I'm not going to hide in my apartment for the rest of my life, I'm not going to stop eating in restaurants I can't afford multiple times a week, I'm not going to stop going to the Four Seasons when I have a bad day, I'm not going to get all smug and judge you if you drink alcohol. I'm just not going to drink it anymore. I'll drink other things. Now. Of course, there's always more to a story. I didn't just decide this out of the blue and for no reason, but I've only just started to unpack the 13 years that came before this one and that led to this decision, and I'm going to keep that story to myself. For now.

4. It's feast season in the North End. This weekend is the Fisherman's Feast. My favorite. The best part is Sunday night's Flight of the Angel. Two young North End residents (I think they are 8 years old? 10 years old?) in angel costumes stand way up high on balconies over North Street and recite an Italian devotion. Then, a third little girl "flies" from a window and is lowered to meet a statue of the Madonna below. The street is FILLED with people and when the ceremony is over there is a huge celebration with confetti like an actual blizzard, you can barely see. It's so fantastic. Am I going this year? Nope. Because I'm terrified that someone is going to drive a car through the crowd. I was walking home last night and saw the set-up for the Fisherman's Feast and stopped to take a picture. Nice moment. Then I remembered what happened in Spain earlier that day, immediately felt terrified, changed my mind about going, and sent a message to my mother asking her if she and my dad could please skip the feast this year. I know we're supposed to be brave and continue with our lives, and that if we stop doing the things we normally do because we're afraid then we are letting "them" win. But I have to be honest, I'm scared. Way too scared. I admire those of you who still show up for things like the Fisherman's Feast. I really admire those of you who go to marches and protests, and if you're going to the Common this weekend all I can say is thank you for doing the thing that my anxiety keeps me from doing and saying the things that need to be said, but please be careful. Last night I watched the Vice documentary on what happened in Charlottesville last weekend and I don't think I've cried that hard since 3am on November 9, 2016. I can't believe this is where we live now.

5. Instead of going to the Flight of the Angel on Sunday night, I'll go to a double header at the yoga studio to chill my anxious self out and then make THIS amazing recipe I found yesterday: Heirloom Tomato Garlic Toast with Basil Whipped Feta. It's not a confetti-filled dance party in the streets of my beloved neighborhood, but it'll do.

Happy weekend, you guys.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Tale of Two Lemons

For years I've quietly refused to shop at two places: Haymarket and lululemon. They don't have anything to do with each other and I didn't swear them off on the exact same day, I've just had them both on my "nope" list for 3+ years. I have no idea why this happened, but they both returned to my "okay" list this weekend within 14 hours of each other. I thought I'd write a little review of each since my feelings have changed towards both.

Haymarket. Sigh. One night several years ago, some girl who was part of a group of individuals I was only socializing with because they were friends of my then boyfriend was going on and on about being thrifty and responsible and saving money. On. And on. And on. And on. Grocery stores were so overpriced and blah blah blah Haymarket Haymarket, yay Haymarket. I didn't like her. (I didn't like my boyfriend either, ha!) Anyway, regardless of the fact that I didn't like a single person who was influencing my behavior and decisions at the time,  I was desperate to fit in and be thrifty and responsible, so I tried to make myself shop at Haymarket. Long story short, the last time I tried this one of the vendors screamed at me and told me to go to Whole Foods and pay four times the price if I wanted to choose my own peppers. I just sort of looked at him and said, "You're right." End of story. Off to Whole Foods. Fast forward to this morning. I needed a lemon. I needed limes. I didn't feel like leaving the neighborhood today. I was sitting on the Greenway. I slipped some dollar bills into my fist and casually and cautiously meandered towards Haymarket. Well well well, look at you, jerk face. I mean, I have refused for years to even walk through it. I walked around it. Full on shunning. But the lemons looked pretty good. And they were six for $1. Last week in this same situation I paid $1.29 for a creepy looking lemon at 7-11. Nope. So I shyly approached the vendor with the good lemons. Get this. He took my dollar and I jumped backwards figuring he had to pick the (shittiest possible) lemons and give them to me. He smiled, handed me a bag and said, "Go ahead, honey." Seriously?! Psh. Okay....? Same deal at the lime guy a few vendors down. $2 for six. #goaheadhoney Maybe I was going to the wrong vendors before. Maybe everyone at Haymarket just got nicer. Maybe I got nicer. I have no idea what changed. But my bowl of citrus looks tremendous on my table and for $3? I'll go ahead, honey.

lululemon. I mean. Do I own items from lululemon? Yes. Five. (Well, six after last night.) Do I like them? I try not to. Did I buy them between three and six years ago and are they all still in pretty great shape after being pulled and stretched and sweated on and hurriedly rolled up into balls and shoved into bags multiple times a week? Yes. DAMN them. But I hit a point with that place three or four years ago where I couldn't do it anymore. Too much. Too expensive. Too fake. Too in-my-face in the store. Then the pants were rumored to be sheer. The CEO apparently didn't like anyone over a size 0. Screw you. Goodbye forever. Fast forward again. I started taking yoga regularly seven months ago. I really REALLY enjoy it. I also teach multiple fitness classes each week. I've tried to love my Old Navy leggings, but this week in class I spotted another hole in another pair. (I still love you, Old Navy. For $15 the fact that your leggings last as long as they do is a miracle and you should be proud of yourselves.) Last night I was leaving the Prudential and passed lululemon and thought I'd just take a look. The experience of the store was largely the same. "HI I'M AMY ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH OUR PANT WALL?!!?!?! WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE DO YOU DO?!?!?!" Various. Can you stop yelling? Thanks. "DO YOU WANT TO TRY THOSE ON?!?!?!?! WHAT'S YOUR NAME??????????????????????" Ugh. Simmer down. So annoying, but I have to hand it to them, the Wunder Under Hi-Rise Tight was everything I'd ever wanted. Perfect length. Zero chance of the waistband rolling, that thing is locked in way up high. Soft but SUPER compression-y. These tights literally make you feel like you're naked AND you have no fat on your body. That is the only way I can describe them. I had to get them. I walked to the register and told the girl that I was an instructor and that I'd been part of their discount program several years ago and I'd like to re-enroll. Thunderclap. Scream. Carmina Burana plays. So many personalities at lululemon. She glared at me and demanded to know where I worked as an instructor as if to say, "They let YOU teach?" Well yes they do, sweetheart. Come to Brookline on Monday night, oh wait you won't be able to get a ticket. I regained focus and suffered through the speech she gave me, "The PROGRAM has changed. And it's not just for anyone who considers themselves an athlete anymore. It's way more serious now. Way more serious. And the discount............ is now 25%." She paused for my reaction. Stone face. Paid. Left. Those pants were one hundred dollars. One hundred. Dollars. And yes, the discount helped and I love them and literally could not wait to wear them to class this afternoon but, damn. Get it together, lululemon. Your products are ridiculously high quality and over the years have gotten better and better and I will begin to buy them more regularly again, but your stores are completely psychotic. Take a page from the kinder, gentler vendors at Haymarket.

Happy Saturday, all.