Monday, September 01, 2008

Exile in Guyville (or this weekend's update)

It's 5 p.m. on Labor Day and the church bells are ringing next door, signaling the end of the lovely weekend. YG is leaving for Canada tomorrow and I have to go back to work and none of us are happy. Let's recap:

On Friday, I decided to work from home to avoid the holiday traffic and other humans in general. I got out early and managed to do my first 6 mile run, ensuring that I'll be pretty much ready when the 10K rolls around in October. I recently discovered MapMyRun, and it's the perfect tool for an anal-retentive freakshow like myself. I can input all my miles and calories and keep monthly totals. In August, I logged 103.4 miles. That included a 22 mile bike ride and a half mile swim, but still -- all of that on foot. Awesome.

I worked for most of the day and caught up on a bunch of nagging things I've been putting off for weeks. Our babysitter came around 6:30 and then YG and I headed into Boston to see Liz Phair performing all the songs from Exile in Guyville. We had noodles at a Thai place and then joined a bunch of people around our age at The Paradise. That should have been my first inkling that it was going to be an awesome night. Every time we go to shows anymore, we're among the oldest people in the audience. The Liz Phair crowd seemed like a bunch of people who had bought the album when it first came out in 1993. Say what you will about Liz Phair and how her later albums sucked ass, Exile in Guyville was incredible and pretty much the soundtrack to my late high school, early college existence. I thought she was speaking for ME, and I remember being in Syracuse that crazy summer in 1996 driving around in my Lebaron with Erica and Becky and listening to 6'1" on a mix tape that Erica had made. This was before I thought she sucked and was still girl crushing on her. Anyway, it was amazing how many of the lyrics I knew and how much the audience knew. One girl got to sing back ups on "Flower" and it rocked. AND, Liz Phair still looks wicked hot. I didn't look that hot at 20, never mind 40.

On Saturday, I got up early again and went out running. I was trying for 4 miles, but my stomach wasn't cooperating and I had to settle for the Tufts loop, watching all the students move back in, lugging cars full of futon mattresses and cds and plastic totes filled with clothes. We spent some time reading and then took the train into Boston to go to The Feast of St. Anthony in the North End. It's celebrated each year in the North End of Boston on the weekend of the last Sunday of August. Begun by Italian immigrants from Montefalcione, Italy, in 1919, it has become the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England.

We walked around and visited the Old North Church and through the stands of Sicilian rice balls and ziti and zeppoles, and oh my God, it smelled so good. It was hot and crowded, though, so we decided not to eat on the street and ate at a tiny restaurant off the main Hanover Street path. YG and I drank a bottle of Proseco and the MG had the pasta with alfredo sauce she's wanted for months. On the way back to Haymarket, we stopped at North End Park and watched people play in the fountains. It was warm and beautiful out, so we kicked off our shoes and splashed around too. There are probably people in this world who will never let their kids play in a city fountain because they're concerned about germs or some shit like that. I hope I'm never one of them.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the beach. I guess YG was tired of hearing me bitch about no beach time this summer or he was dying for some water himself, but we got up early, left the house at 7:30 and were sitting at a breakfast place on the beach in York, Maine by 9 a.m. After coffee and pancakes, we drove over to Short Sands Beach and set up our blanket and umbrella. To use every cliche in the book, it was a bright blue day without a cloud in the sky. We read books and alternated taking the MG in the water. It was so cold that it made my face and ears ache every time I jumped under water, but I managed to go in a few times. It's probably the last time this year that I'll swim in the ocean, and I wanted to savor it. The MG played too, staying in with me until our lips turned blue.

We stayed about four hours, and then drove up and down the strip, before stopping at Brown's Ice Cream where I had the root beer float I've been craving all summer. More pictures are here. We left around 4 and were back in Cambridge by 5:30. We all took showers and then walked up to Greek Corner for dinner. YG and I were tired and giddy and spent some time on Operation:Undo Stupid Things Your Mother Has Told You before getting the MG home and in bed. We watched Fight Club with my boyfriend, Edward Norton, and passed out.

This morning, YG got up first and went for a twenty mile bike ride. I went out next, running first down Mass Ave to the Charles where I ran along the river and watched all the people in kayaks and row boats before heading back up Sparks Street and all the pretty mansions in Huron Village. 6.17 miles in all, my first run registered on my September calendar.

We decided to have a big lunch, rather than dinner and YG barbecued a steak and we cooked up corn on the cob and heirloom tomatoes and laid out a spread of cheese and fancy jellies we bought up at Stonewall Kitchen in Maine. We ate out on the porch with glasses of wine and flip flops. YG worked on some school stuff. I finished the book, Local Girls, that I started yesterday. Overall, it was pretty awful, but short enough for me not to care.

We took naps and then walked up to Diesel where YG journaled and I worked on my story for class. This week's assignment is to write a character sketch. I'm writing about one of my old bosses. I had iced tea and a lemon square, and the MG played Nintendo. And now we're all back here, wishing the weekend wasn't over.

I realize that I'm not very interesting when I'm relatively sane and happy, but I'm thankful for the good weekend and am sure that sane and happy won't last long. Although this week is my birthday so that promises to be fun.

Other things I am working on:

* I am officially embarking on what I'm naming, "The Quarter of No Spending." YG and I are trying to save money so that we have options for any number of things -- new home, new jobs, new family members, etc. I have somehow gotten the idea that I am an insane overspender, throwing away my family's fortune on material goods in an attempt to buy happiness that cannot replace the big, gaping hole in my soul. This may or may not be true, but I have been feeling unhappy about the amount of money I spend on clothes and shoes and books, when I have closets spilling out clothes with tags on them and books lined up on bookshelves actually made of books I haven't read yet. Crazy, no?

So I'm not spending. For a quarter. I read Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping when I was still living in NJ and I was alternately impressed and horrified, considering not shopping for a year akin to psychological torture. So I'm shortening my experiment to 3 months, and I'm limiting my "not spending" to new clothes, shoes, books, and cds. I will still spend mightily on my hair, my waxing, pedicures and fancy champagne at Clink because I am not a martyr and/or crazy. Plus, I need to reap some kind of reward from having a corporate sell out job. Loopholes include gift cards, so if you're reading this and plan on giving me a birthday present, gift cards would be oh so nice.

I want to see where this goes and how much exactly I can save in 3 months.

* The other thing I'm doing is trying to make do with the very much I have. I'm trying to get rid of everything that makes me feel like a fat lard ass, and I'm taking pictures of myself in things that I've liked and feel good in and have gotten compliments in. I've started posting them in Outfits I Have Enjoyed. Right now there are no pants. I hate pants. I will not buy new pants.

And yes, I am aware that posting photos of myself on the Internet in clothes I like is the height of narcissism.

* Trying to formulate a brilliant post about Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters:The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body. This book was such a revelation. I think everyone should read it. Still trying to write about it.

* Listening to: The two covers albums by Cat Power and The Weepies' Hideaway. I am so old and lame and never get exposed to good music anymore. The Weepies have been around since 2004? Why did I not know this?

* Hoping for: another month or so of good weather. I can't believe it's September 1 already.