Boston with a 3-year-old: Red Sox Game and a Duck Tour

Bryon and I had plans.  We wanted our daughter and any other children we had to see the world.  I told Bryon that I wanted to take a trip to Boston every summer and take our kids to a Red Sox game at Fenway.  Bryon agreed and he countered that he wanted to take our children to New York City at Christmastime.  I agreed.

But our trips never happened.

We did have a couple of hours in Boston as a family and we did ride the swan boats.

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Boston, 2015
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Boston, 2015

In case anyone is wondering, that is a “P” on Bryon’s hat.  He bought that when we saw the PawSox at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.  He liked it because the hat confused people…except for true Red Sox fans. 

Ironically he is not wearing that hat in the picture from the PawSox game.  Go figure.  But I like the picture and will still share it.

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Pawtucket, R.I., 2015

I always planned to take my daughter to a Boston Red Sox game but I was waiting until she got older.  Then I won some Red Sox tickets and decided that there was no better time than the present.

One of my best friends enthusiastically agreed to attend the game with me.  Even though she grew up in Western New York, she is a hardcore Red Sox fan.  Since I asked her to go, she offered to pay for a hotel room near Fenway Park.  Of all the time I spent in Boston, it dawned on me that I have never spent the night in Boston.  Well, unless you count the first couple days of my life.  But I don’t remember that.  I usually stay out in the suburbs and take the subway, commuter rail, an uber or I drive.    I was excited to stay in the city.

Our drive to Boston was uneventful.  A straight shot on I-90.  We didn’t even need to stop for gas.

My friend booked a room at the Hilton Back Bay which was a 0.4 mile walk to Fenway.   I don’t know the cost of the room but I can tell you that our room was clean and parking was free.  We arrived before check in (meaning we couldn’t check in until after the game) and left the city after check out the next day and the hotel let us keep our car there the whole time.

There also was a pool that was clean and well-kept.

Since we arrived and couldn’t check in before the game, we kept our luggage locked in the car.  The walk went quickly.  Our tickets told us to enter at Gate E on Landsdowne Street but we entered at Gate D, which was Jersey Street (formerly Yawkey Way).

There were employees giving out stickers to small children and they advised us to go to fan relations to pick my daughter up a “first time at Fenway” pin since it was her first time.

Tip #1: The “first time at Fenway” pins are for adults and children alike.  So if you attend a game for the first time- get your pin!

We did some shopping on Jersey Street because I couldn’t resist.  I live in New York where Red Sox merchandise can be scarce.  My daughter wanted a pink Red Sox shirt and a pink Red Sox hat which I obliged.  And a toy Tessie.  I may have also bought her a pink Red Sox hoodie.

Tip #2: When travelling with a fast growing kid, I buy souvenir clothing a size or two bigger so it lasts longer.  Souvenir clothing can be pricey and this method helps me justify spending the money because, hey, she can wear it for a year or two.

The morning of the game, I was tearing apart my house looking for MY Red Sox hat.  I found Bryon’s Red Sox and Paw Sox hats.  I found my daughters infant Red Sox hat.  But no clue where mine is.  I wanted to wear a hat so I was going to buy another and I was pissed about it.  But at the store, I saw so many styles.  I decided not to get another traditional cap and instead I got the seersucker Red Sox cap.

Tip #3: Diversify your Red Sox Wardrobe.

Tip #4: Seersucker is a classic summer style and it is lightweight.  A seersucker baseball cap is an excellent choice for sun protection without the sweat.

My friend did not own a Red Sox cap.  She was hesistant to buy one but ultimately did because…

Tip #5: Everyone looks good in a Red Sox cap.  It is impossible to look bad while wearing a Red Sox hat.  

Our seats were in left field.  We began to walk our way over.  I decided it was a good time to feed my child.  So we stopped for Fenway Franks.

I know it’s not fashionable to like hot dogs but I will always love hot dogs.  To quote doug Heffernan from King of Queens, “If eating hot dogs is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.”

My daughter likes Ketchup on everything (yuck!).  I like mine the way God intended, with mustard and relish.  Now, a perfect hot dog would also have onion but the offerings were ketchup, mustard and relish and I was perfectly happy with mustard and relish.

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Fenway Park, 2018

My daughter’s first Fenway Frank.  I think she liked it.

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Fenway Park, 2018

I have no clue what number Fenway Frank this was for me.

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Fenway Park, 2018

My daughter was apparently going low-carb on this meal because she didn’t eat the bun.

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Fenway Park, 2018

Tip #6: Feel free to enjoy food before the game.  The concession lines get long and you don’t want to miss any of the actual game, right?

Now you may have noticed my daughter was in a stroller.

I went back and forth on this.  My daughter is at that awkward age where we hardly ever use the stroller.  I can count on one hand the amount of times we used it this past year (Chicago x 2, Cedar Point and Fenway).  She is a strong walker but I knew after walking a half a mile each way to and from the game and walking around Fenway that my daughter would get tired.  And then she would be begging me to carry her.  And she isn’t exactly a tiny little baby anymore.

My friend also brought up an important safety issue.  The streets around Fenway get crowded and it gave us peace of mind to have her buckled into her stroller.

Tip #7: DO NOT FEAR BRINGING THE STROLLER TO FENWAY.

First, I recommend bringing an umbrella stroller, not a large stroller.

There is no official stroller check in but I will tell you my experience.

I took the stroller as far as I could into the stands.  I broke the stroller down and went to put it under our seats which is park policy.  BUT…it didn’t fit under our seats.  The usher kindly told me to drop it off at fan relations and told me where the closest one was located.  I brought it to the fan relations stand.  The man working was very nice and just told me to put it in the pile of folded up umbrella strollers and that I could pick it up after the game.  Which was exactly what I did.  Easy peasy.

Our seats were in left field.  While I personally feel that there is no bad seat at Fenway (except maybe behind the foul poles) the seats along the third base line and left field are not in the sun.

Tip #8: Avoid the sun by sitting along the third base line and left field.  Just be careful of the foul balls.

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Fenway Park, 2018
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Fenway Park, 2018

Mother-daughter selfie at Fenway!

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Fenway Park, 2018

Bestie Selfie at Fenway!

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Fenway Park, 2018

With “Tessie”.

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Fenway Park, 2018

If you are a beer drinker, the only beer worth drinking is Sam Adams, because…Boston…d’uh. Usually I only drink stouts, porters and pumpkin beer, when in season.  But I do love a good old Sam Lager.  I did try the seasonal ’76 beer.  I was hesitant because it smelled hoppy and I don’t like hoppy beer.  But I couldn’t taste the hops despite the smell.

Tip #9: When in Fenway, drink Sam Adams.  It’s the Boston thing to do.  Try the ’76 seasonal beer.  And as always, drink responsibly.  No one wants to sit next to a rowdy asshole.  Even if that rowdy asshole is you.

Speaking of being in Boston, I have another tip.  I am sad I even have to bring this up but my friend is guilty of teaching my daughter to say this.  I will forgive her.  This once.

Tip #10: Don’t ask/tell people in Boston to say “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”  We have heard this before.  No one says it.  You might as well call Boston “Bean Town” while you are at it.

If it were up to me, I would have sat and watched the whole game.  But my daughter is three (and a half- that half is important) and I knew nine innings is too long for her to sit still.  But there is a kids clubhouse with games, crafts and face painting.  So we left during the bottom of the third inning.

The concourse was packed!  Glad we ate before the game because I wasn’t waiting in any of those lines.  (Fun fact about me- I hate, hate, hate, hate waiting in lines).

The clubhouse is all the way over by right field.  We had a long walk but we bumped into the real Tessie.

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Fenway Park, 2018

We had a little trouble locating the club house but we asked Tessie’s attendants and they gave us directions.  I had been finishing an adult beverage (okay, Sam ’76) and I assumed they wouldn’t be allowed in the kids clubhouse.  So I, um, finished it rather quickly.  But the joke was on me because there is a bar in the kids clubhouse.  Don’t worry, you had to be 21 to order from it.  The best part was, the lines were much, much shorter.

Tip #11: Beer lines in the kids clubhouse are much, much shorter than the beer stands in the concourse.  Again, drink responsibly.  Especially if you have a child to take care of.

Our walk took at least an inning.  My daughter was playing with some plastic fruits and vegetables.  At least the game was on TV’s so we got to see any important plays.

We made our way back during the sixth inning.  We took a few photos and my friend procured nachos.

Tip #12: While the nachos were adequate, stick to the Fenway Franks.

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Fenway Park, 2018
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Fenway Park, 2018

We caught the last three innings in the seats.  I didn’t get any pictures.  I did send my friends on SnapChat a video of the crowd singing “Sweet Caroline”.  I have it saved but I am not going to subject you to my singing. I had had a few Sam Adams.

Who am I kidding?  I can’t sing even without the Sam Adams.  I think my Dad once compared my singing to the sounds of a tortured cat.

So I won’t subject you.  Only my SnapChat friends get that pleasure.

The game ended with the Sox winning 4-2.

We held back and waited for the crowds to thin out before rushing out.  I am not a fan of crowds and thought it would be easier to manage after waiting for the other impatient fans to leave.  I didn’t see the point to hurry out of there to wait impatiently to leave.  So we stayed in our seats for a bit and people watched.  Then I got our stroller and we left.

Walking back to our hotel…let’s just say that Google Maps took us on a scenic walk.  Way out of the way.  And I had to pee.  Not fun.  Spoiler alert: I made it to the hotel.

We checked into our room and then we went swimming in the pool.  I suggested getting Boston Chinese. It was 10:30 pm and most places were closing but there was one open until 2 am and it was only 0.1 miles.  My friend went to pick it up so we wouldn’t have to bother with delivery.  The food was delicious but it was not the Boston Chinese that I grew up with.  I was disappointed.  The rice wasn’t even brown. Maybe Boston Chinese is a suburban thing.  I promised my friend next time we would have proper Boston Chinese food.

If anyone is interested- Dumpling Palace.  Good, just not traditional Boston Chinese.

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Good, but NOT Boston Chinese, 2018

We had booked Duck Tour tickets online for the 11:30 am tour for the next morning.

Tip #13 Book your Duck Tour tickets online and early for optimal choice in seating.  They book up fast. 

The next morning we checked out (the hotel let us keep our car parked in the garage for no extra charge) and we grabbed breakfast at the Au Bon Pain in the Prudential Tower.  The Duck Tours were on the other side.

We got there a half an hour early so we walked around a nearby Star Market.  My grandmother shopped at Star Market and it was nowhere near as fancy as this Star Market.  This one was fancy.  I am going to say something that might be sacrilege to my friends in Western New York but this surpassed, or at the very least, rivaled, Wegmans.

The Duck Tour was awesome.  I had never been on a Duck Tour.  I am native to the Boston area and I was a history major and I learned so much on the tour.  Our guide was Skip the Skydiver and he was hysterical too.  I highly recommend the Duck Tour as a good way to see Boston.

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Duck Tour, Boston, 2018
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Duck Tour, Boston, 2018

 

Where everyone knows your name…

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Duck Tour, Boston, 2018

My friend and I decided that this is something we should do every summer.

Have you been to Fenway Park?

What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?

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My best friends birthday

Today is my best friends birthday. I won’t share how many years she has but it is more than me.

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With the exception for three months where I lived in Indiana, we have always lived a plane ride away.  So we don’t get to see each other nearly as often as we like.

But as a birthday challenge of sorts, I wanted to see if I could reconstruct all the times we have seen each other.

2006

We first met in April of 2006 at the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.  More specifically, she was sitting in front of me on the shuttle to the hotel from the Romanian Embassy.

 

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Washington, D.C., 2006

 

We saw each other again at the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) Cleveland Board Meeting but we weren’t really friends yet.

It would be at the YRNF Fall 2006 Board Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.  This was when we would become friends.  I had just lost my race for State Rep back in Maine.  This was also the board meeting where I met Bryon.

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Louisville, Kentucky, 2006

 

2007

March- We had a YRNF Board Meeting in New Orleans.

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New Orleans, 2007

Then there was the Young Republican National Convention in Hollywood, Florida in July.

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Hollywood, FL, 2007

That fall I lived in Indiana.  I know there was an evening I was staying the night near Chicago and my work partner and I took the train in to have dinner with her and another good Chicago friend. Sadly, I don’t have a pic.  It was 2007.  I still used a flip phone.  Don’t judge.

She also took a flight to Louisville to work on a campaign.  We knocked on doors somewhere in Kentucky.  I don’t have any pics of that weekend either.

A friend and I drove up to Chicago one weekend and we went to Navy Pier.

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Chicago, 2007

Sometime in the Fall of 2007 was also the YRNF Board Meeting in Houston, Texas.

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Houston, 2007

By the holidays, I was back in Maine.  Her family didn’t celebrate Christmas so she came to Maine to celebrate with my family.   She flew into Manchester, NH and my Michigan Best friend (who still lived in Maine at the time)  came with me to pick her up.  During a blizzard.

We celebrated the holidays in Maine.

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Maine, 2007

It’s not a Sullivan holiday without a trip to the range.

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Maine, 2007

We then took a trip to Boston.  There were Irish pubs…

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Boston, 2007

…and Scorpion Bowls…

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…and some wicked bad karaoke.

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Boston, 2007

We also walked the Freedom Trail in the freezing rain.

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Boston, 2007

And we went to Cheers and these guys were our dates for five minutes.

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Boston, 2007

2008

I was still living in Maine and I was traveling out to Albany for the New York State Young Republican Leadership Conference and she decided to fly in.  (This weekend was also when Bryon and my love story began)

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Albany, 2008

 

I had missed the Young Republican Leadership Conference that year because it was the same year as the Maine Republican Convention.  I guess when scheduling it, Maine didn’t matter or something.  But we had a Maine Young Republican Conference in Portland and she flew in for that.

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Maine, 2008

She flew in that Fall to help with some campaigning.  There was a hurricane in the Gulf of Maine that weekend.  Luckily, it was far enough out in the ocean that we really just had rain.  But we ending up painting signs in a barn.

Oh and there was some more bad karaoke.

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Maine, 2008

 

And then there was the YRNF Fall Board Meeting in Nashville.

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Nashville, 2008

2009

First there was the Spring YRNF Board Meeting in Orlando.

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Orlando, 2009

Then there was the Young Republican National Convention in Indianapolis.  And I have no pics from us.  I feel like she may have worked and drove in late.  Or maybe I was a jerk friend who spent too much time hanging out with my boyfriend.  I was also running for Northeast Regional Vice Chair and I know I was consumed with that.

Since I have given you a lot of pics of bad karaoke, here’s one of Bryon singing good karaoke.

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Indianapolis, 2009

The Fall 2008 YRNF Board Meeting was in Kansas City, MO.  I had tonsillitis, went against doctors orders and I barely left my room.  I emerged for meetings because I was the Northeast Regional Vice-Chair and had to be there.  So no pics.  But we were both there.

2010

We both happened to be in Indianapolis for two separate events.   I was in town to watch Bryon’s alma mater’s basketball team play Butler in the Bracket Busters.  You were in town with your boyfriend for a race.  We met up for dinner at St. Elmo’s Steakehouse.  This was the winter of illness so I was out of it because I had bronchitis.

That spring she came out to visit me in Albany but I had picked up a really bad case of Gatroenteritis while working in the ER.  But she still came anyway, but I was not any fun.

2011

We did not see each other this year.  This is a sad year.

2012

And the beginning of 2012, she came out to Albany for my engagement party

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Albany, 2012

Then there was my wedding

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Albany 2012 Photo: Heidi Benjamin Photography

And her wedding in Mexico

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Mayan Ruins, 2012
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Bachelorette Party, Mexico, 2012

 

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Mexico, 2012

2013

We didn’t see each other in 2013.  We were too busy being newlyweds.

2014

I flew out to Chicago in February for your baby shower.  We went to the Sears Tower and we were both pregnant and stopped to rest on every bench we saw and used the bathroom every time we saw one.  A far cry from our old days.  No pictures because we both feeling tired and pregnant.

2015

Your family came to visit mine in Albany.  It gives me goosebumps to think that this would be the last time you would see Bryon.

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Dinosaur BBQ, Troy, NY, 2015
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Albany 2015
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Albany, 2015
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Albany, NY

2016

Bryon had been in the ICU for 4 months and been transferred to NYC.  You made plans to come to NYC on Bryon and my birthday weekend and you arranged with my father to meet halfway between Albany and NYC so you could bring my daughter to see him.

But that weekend never happened.

Well it did.  Just not the way you planned.  But it ended up being a funeral weekend in Albany.  I was grateful to have you there for me.

2017

Life goes on.  And you made sure to make time for me this year.

First was Vegas in Feb.

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Las Vegas, 2017

Ann Arbor in March.

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Ann Arbor, 2017

And my daughter and I came to visit you in Chicago in July.

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Chicago, 2017
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Chicago, 2017

We were supposed to go to Disney in September, but Hurricane Irma had other plans.

2018

I realized that I needed to use my Southwest credit from our canceled Florida trip.  So I came out to see you in March.  We took the girls to Wisconsin Dells and the Museum of Science and Industry.

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Chicago and Wisconsin, 2018
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Chicago, 2018

And this is where our story currently is.  It is so cool to see our girls growing in these pics and that they will grow up together.  Who would have thought that a friendship forged during drunken YRNF weekends would turn into a friendship that spans two generations?

And we get to continue our story this coming weekend. I am so excited!

New York, New York

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a New England girl and Boston is my city.

 



But I do feel some shame when I think about how little I time I have spent in New York City even though I have lived in Upstate New York for almost nine years.

The first time I went to NYC was when I was a senior in high school in 1996.  My cross country team traveled from rural Maine and we ran a 5k in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. We also saw Les Miserables on Broadway, went to the Natural History Museum, shopped at Macy’s and saw Trump Tower, the Plaza Hotel and FAO Schwartz.  We also ate a Bennigan’s in New Jersey. I loved all of it. I was amazed that NYC was so big and that it made Boston look like a small town.

My second time in New York City was December 2008.  I had been dating Bryon for a couple of months and we met in the city to attend the New York City Young Republican Club Holiday Dinner.  Bryon took me to see all the store windows decorated for Christmas. He also took me to see the tree in Rockefeller Center and that was the first place he told me that he loved me.

 

I returned a few more times that year.  I was still living in Maine and I was running for Northeast Region Vice Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation.  I would stay with friends and campaign around the Mid-Atlantic. Bryon would join me. The trips were fuzzy but I remember going to a bar called Stitch in the Garment District that had $20 drinks (Bryon didn’t let his status as a poor 1L in law school stop him from getting me drinks) and I remember walking by the Brooklyn Bridge with Bryon.

But I have only been to NYC four times since I moved to New York State 9 years ago.

The first was right after I moved here. Bryon and I drove to Queens to attend a cookout at a friends house.

The third time was in November, 2013.  I was pregnant with a baby I would miscarry later that same week.  Bryon and I took a one night cruise on the Norwegian Gem out of NYC and the following day we explored the city.  Only being pregnant, I was not good company. I was tired, had sciatic pain and could only tolerate eating saltine crackers.  I remember we had lunch at McGee’s Pub, which is the bar that inspired McLaren’s on How I Met Your Mother.  Then we saw Pippen at The Music Box Theater. I had wanted to see the Rockettes but Bryon really wanted to see Pippen.  He told me we would see the Rockettes the next time.

The next (and fourth) time Bryon and I would go to NYC would be when I had him transferred to Columbia Presbyterian and I temporarily moved down there.  A family who was friends with my daughter’s godmother took me in. I will always be grateful that they welcomed me, a stranger into their home and did everything they could to make me feel welcome even though we had no way of knowing how long Bryon’s recovery was going to take.

Aside from the one night where my daughters godmother took me to Times Square and to a Mexican Restaurant in Harlem on the same block as the Seinfeld Restaurant, I did not see much of the city. The family I stayed with lived in Hamilton Heights.  Every morning I would walk a block to the subway station, stopping to get an Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts. The hospital was one stop on the express (three on the local) away in Washington Heights and I spent my days in Bryon’s room in the MICU located in the Millstein Building.  The security guards knew my name. When I was hungry, I either got food in the cafeteria or I went to the Chipotle or Starbucks on the same block.

Since then, I have driven by NYC on a few trips where I have flown in and out of Newark, NJ.  We also drove by the city on our way to and from Philadelphia last month. I remember saying to my friends that I had not been to NYC since Bryon died.  I know there is so much that city has to offer. We had so many ideas of things we wanted to do with our daughter when she got older. I am thinking about possibly doing a weekend trip next fall.  I want to take her to see the Rockettes. We will see if I am ready.

I think it is safe to say that if I visit NYC again, I will be avoiding Washington Heights.

So now that I have gotten all that out of the way, I will get to the point of this post.

I am choosing to remember Bryon and our second trip to NYC.  

It was May 2011. Seven years ago.  I was pissed at Bryon because we never went to the city.  So he did what any good boyfriend would do.  He took me down to NYC.  And typical to his zest for life, he packed a lot into that one day.

So he took me to the city.

We drove downstate and took the Metro North train into the city.  We arrive in Grand Central Station.

We went to the Top of the Rock.

We then went to Chinatown where I may have bought an “imitation” Coach purse.  Bryon was dissapointed that I wouldn’t go into the places with a back room. It scared me.  Bryon normally couldn’t care less about purses, but when it was time to haggle, he jumped right in and haggled with the lady.  Even though I was paying, he wasn’t satisfied with the price given.

Bryon then took me to McSorley’s.  McSorley’s was an experience.   It is the oldest running Irish Tavern in NYC.  You have two choices of beer, light and dark and you order them in increments of two.  We ate the cheese platter which consisted of cheese, saltines and raw onions.  The place is full of history but the best is the legend of the wishbones.  the legend is that when the soldiers went to war during WWI, they put a wishbone up above the bar and took them down when they returned.  So the wishbones that remain memorialize the soldiers that did not come home.

After McSorley’s, Bryon took me to a dish shop called Fishs Eddy.  I don’t remember it being the best place to be when you were tipsy.

Then we went to Little Italy.  We had dinner at a pizza place and then went somewhere else for cannoli.  I have no idea the names of the places we went.

We finished the night at a hidden bar above a Five Guys.

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A city with so many memories.  A city that I will always associate with Bryon’s death.  A city that Bryon planned on taking our daughter at Christmastime.

I need to decide if I want to take my daughter down this fall.  It would be a shame to not take advantage of all the city has to offer.  Nothing in life is definite and if I were to leave the area, I would probably kick myself for not going down there.  So now I need to decide, Rockettes or the Natural History Museum or both….

Have you ever been to New York City?  What is your favorite thing to do?

A little life update. Well, kinda.

I realize that I probably oversold the topic.  You probably read that and got very excited.

But I have nothing life changing to report.

I am still living in the same house with no plans to move.

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I am still working my same “day ” job.  (I have day in quotes because I work many of my hours after my daughter goes to bed.)

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A Monday joke because it is Monday

And no, I am not dating.  Not even close.  And that is okay.  I am focused on myself and my daughter at the moment anyway.

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So I didn’t mean to get your hopes up on anything you could possibly gossip about me.  Well, I did have a little bit of a wardrobe malfunction this weekend.  Nothing scandalous, just annoying. But that happens a lot when you are…well…shaped like me.  Whatever.  Though I am a little pissy because I spent close to $100 bucks on alterations at David’s Bridal.  Luckily Kimmy Gibbler had double sided tape.  She’s amazing.  She thinks of everything.

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So nothing major.  Same house.  Same job.  Same relationship status.  Just taking a little time to re-center going from Spring (though really it has been more of a Sprinter this year) to Summer.

It has been a crazy 6 or 7 weeks.  I would count but I am too lazy to at the moment.

At the end of March, I went to Chicago and Wisconsin.  In April,  I went to Philadelphia and Boston/Salem.  In May we had the Derby Party and a very special wedding.

Needless to say that I am tired and hopefully things will be slowing down here.  I don’t mean that in a manner that I don’t appreciate the busyness of the past 7 weeks.  It has been a fun and happy time. But it has been tiring.

As we enter into summer, I need to recenter and re-focus.  I have a lot of housekeeping to do,  literally and figuratively.

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Around my house, I have been slowly cleaning out and donating items.  Usually one or two bags or boxes a week.  It still hasn’t made a dent but I refuse to let anything new enter the house.  My new rule is, if it comes in a box, the box then has to be filled with items to donate.  Even if the box came from Amazon with a birthday present for someone else’s kid and the original contents of the box won’t be staying in the house.  The rule in the McKim house is that if something comes in, something has to go out.

I plan to stay closer to home this summer but I do have some traveling happening including a trip coming up on Memorial Day weekend as well as a trip to Boston in June for a Red Sox game.  A college friend of mine has expressed interest in meeting up in Boston and I would love to see her so that may be happening.  But my travel will be more spread out and casual in nature.

Staying close to home doesn’t mean boring.  My daughters dance recital is coming up and I am keeping her in dance and gymnastics over the summer because she enjoys it so why not?  I also have a few concerts to go to that I am really excited about.

I will be spending more time on my writing.  I started writing a book and I hope to finish it before the end of summer.  It isn’t the book I envisioned I would be writing first but I felt the inspiration to start it and went with that.  I don’t think this will affect the frequency as to when I post on the blog.  I will update you all when it is close to being finished.

I also have a few other ideas for projects but they are in the baby stages so I am going to refrain from sharing them.  I want to see if they will take off before I share them.

What do you have coming up this summer?

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Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #20

It’s Friday!

You know what means- time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

Here are the 5 things I am grateful for this week:

  1.  Seeing H-bomb 

    I don’t really remember life without my cousin H-bomb.  My earliest memory of her was in my Nana’s kitchen.  I had to have been around my daughter’s age (3 and a half.  Can’t forget that half.)  My Nana was feeding H-bomb, who was sitting in a high chair.  I want to say that the Price is Right was playing on a black and white TV but I could be wrong.  If it wasn’t on, it should have been.

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    Crowley Cousins- Easter 1982- Woburn, MA (H-bomb’s siblings would arrive in 1983 and 1985)

    H-bomb has pretty much seen me through all stages of life- hyper kid, awkward middle schooler, high schooler, college kid, singleton, politico, wife, mother, widow and…whatever weird stage I am in now.  And she has been my best friend through it all.

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    September 29, 2012- Albany, NY  Photo credit: Heidi Benjamin Photography

     

  2. Going to the House of Seven Gables 

    As I said in my last post about my trip to Boston, I finally got to go to the House of Seven Gables.  I had wanted to go about 20 years ago but no one wanted to go with me.  I was excited that H-bomb and the gang were going.We kept joking that all my dreams from 20 year ago were finally coming true.   I don’t know if the spirit of my younger self comes alive more when I am around H-bomb or if I am more in touch with it due to all my self-reflection over the past year and a half.

    I am also thankful I am getting this period of time to examine and reflect on my life and choose to live my life more deliberately.

  3. My future son-in-law’s birthday 

    Okay, I don’t know if this boy will be my son-in-law someday.  It started as a joke.  This little boy is the son of Bryon’s best friend.  He is 5 months older than my daughter and it has always been the joke that they will get married someday.14224804_1469396146411319_7112937204134600051_n.jpgThe other day we (my daughter, my future son-in-law, his mom-and one of my besties, her younger son and I) were walking out of daycare.  My daughter and my future son-in-law are ahead of us and there is a random lady there.

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    April 2017

    Future son-in-law (to random lady):  I am going to marry her.
    His mom/my bestie, me, and everyone within earshot: Awwwwww!
    Random lady: Can I come?
    My daughter:  No.

    We need to work on being more gracious and tactful.

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    This past weekend was my future son-in-law’s 4th birthday and we went to his school party at the trampoline place.

    On Tuesday night (the night before his actual birthday) we all saw Disney Jr Dance Party at the historic Palace Theater.  Ironically I only got pics with my daughter and the birthday boys little brother.  Ooops.

    Whether the kids end up marrying each other or not, it is an amazing experience to watch them grow up together and see their friendship grow.

  4. Spending time with my friend Gentel/Corks and Forks Event 

    Last weekend I got to see my friend Gentel (she blogs here).   Gentel and her boyfriend were in Albany for the weekend and invited me to attend the Corks and Forks fundraiser to raise awareness for Huntington’s Disease.   I didn’t know much about Huntington’s Disease.  You can read more about the disease here.It was a great event.  And it was great to spend time with Gentel and her boyfriend.

    I hope to see them sometime soon.

  5. Everyone in my life 

    I know this is a broad one but I am thankful for everyone in my life.images (1)For everyone who is there for me and my daughter.

    For everyone who messages me and checks up on me if they think I am sad.

    For everyone who has offered to help me.

    For everyone who listens to me.  And for everyone that shares their stories with me.

    For everyone who encourages me.

    For everyone who sends me funny texts and SnapChats.

    For everyone who helps me create happy memories.

    I think about close friends, new friends, old friends, school friends, work friends, political friends, widow friends, internet friends, Maine friends, New York friends and former friends.

    I truly believe that everyone has been in my life for a reason.  I am thankful for all the love, light and laughter in my life.  I am also choosing to be thankful for all those who have caused pain.  Because that pain has helped shape my character and taught me the importance of treating people better.

    I am thankful for all those who have played a role in my life.

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    What are you thankful for this week?

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Boston 2018: Kowloon, Salem and The House of Seven Gables

Last week my daughter and I took a whirlwind trip to the Boston area because my cousin, her husband and her friend were visiting.

If you are a friend of mine, please don’t be offended that I didn’t reach out.  I was literally in Massachusetts for 30 hours.  Well about 35 hours if you include my time on the Mass Pike…

I hate driving on the Mass Pike.

The main cast of characters (You met some here) in this story are:

My cousin: H-Bomb and her husband Tito
H-Bomb’s friend from Florida
H-Bombs friend in Massachusetts and her boyfriend, The Boat Captain
My daughter
and Yours Truly.

***I just want to note that I try to avoid using real names for people so I use nicknames.  Sometimes I will write and not have a nickname yet.  It does not mean that these people are not important.  Everyone is valued and loved.  It just means I haven’t thought is a wicked cool nickname yet***

My brother, Danimal the Party Animal also made an appearance.  He’s not really a party animal.  We just used to work at the grocery store back in Maine when I was in high school and he was in college and the produce guys named him that.

Because…Dannon Danimals.

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H-Bomb is a planner but I suggested we re-create this commercial.  My daughter can do everything that little boy does in the video.  Heck, she can probably do it better.  Because she is awesome.

I had a simple plan.

  1.  First, find a Bed and Breakfast that would let us shoot some picturesque shots.
  2. My daughter will run away from the water because the North Atlantic is effing freezing this time of year.
  3. Find an old man with a lobster boat. I will bring my daughter’s life jacket. It’s pink not orange but I think we can work with it.
  4. Find a town having a 4th of July concert in the town common. On a Thursday. In April.  My daughter can dance.
  5. Picnic baskets and marshmallows and a bonfire on the beach. Who cares about town permits?

Ultimately we decided against recreating the Spirit of Massachusetts video.  But we did decide that should we make one, it would include history, the Red Sox, a whole lot of Dunkin Donuts and Tito said that we needed to film one of us standing at an intersection in Boston looking completely dumbfounded.

Because Boston is not known for easy intersections.

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I had arrived in Peabody in the afternoon.  We just hung out and caught up.

Then we had dinner at Kowloon.

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I spent the first 15 years of my life in the Boston area and had never been to Kowloon.  I had always seen it whenever I drove on Route 1.  I know my Uncle (H-Bomb’s Dad) always checks in there on Facebook when he visits from Florida.  But I had never been.  Kowloon is north of the city and I grew up all the way out in Billerica.  Google maps tells me that they are about a half an hour away from each other and back then, that was the equivalent of being out of state.

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I was not disappointed.  It reminded me of the old school Boston Chinese restaurants I went to as a kid.  But better.

We toasted to friends, cousins and honorary cousins.  We all loved how my daughter joined with her fruit punch.

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We ordered several dishes to share including the quintessential Boston pu-pu platter

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We seem to have a knack for ordering almost just the right amount of food.  We all ate till we were stuffed and we didn’t have much left over.

We all drank our Mai Tai’s and read out fortunes.  Complete with saying “in bed” after the fortune.  Because I am dork like that and I won’t apologize for it.

The server kept bringing cookies so we kept reading them.

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We got our group selfie (groupie?) and then we went back to the house that belonged to H-Bombs Massachusetts friend and the Boat Captain.

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I read my daughter stories and put her down to bed.  And then us adults played games.  It was a blast.

Friday morning brought donuts from Kanes.  H-Bombs Massachusetts friend bought so many flavors that we cut them up so we could try more than one.  The Maple Bacon one was amazing.

We spent most of the day in Salem.

The kids played.  Well, Tito, the Boat Captian and my daughter played.

We took turns seeing a psychic and we had lunch at Brodies Seaport.

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We saw everyone’s favorite liquor store, Bunghole Liquors.

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H-Bombs Massachusetts friend asked me if I knew what a bunghole was and I was like “Yeah…Beavis and Butthead…duh…”

But apparently it actually has a more dignified meaning…

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I’ll be damned.

 

We also got a chance to see the House of Seven Gables which has been a dream of mine for about 20 years.  Last trip to Boston my 20 year dream of eating at the Top of the Pru came true.  All of 20-year-old Kerry’s dreams are coming true.

We showed up right as a tour was starting.

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You can think what you want about the time and date.  None of that was going on.  I just love patterns and thought that was cool.

We enjoyed the tour and the history lesson.  My daughter is only 3 but she was a trooper and very well behaved.  Between my trip to Philly the weekend before and being in Salem, I feel blessed for living so close to so much history.

I can’t wait to return to Boston.  I also can’t wait to see my cousin again which will be on my birthday trip.  I am planning something special for the big 4-0.

Philly 2018: The tribe invades Philly

A week an a half ago my friends (also known as The Tribe) were in Philly for a bachelorette party of one of our own.

As I am writing this post, I am going to apologize in advance for a lack of narrative.  You are getting the bare bones story of my trip. Seriously, if you are Facebook friends or Snap Chat friends with me, you would have already seen most of this.

Because what happens in Vega-delphia stays in Vega-delphia.

I didn’t even SnapChat with the groom that weekend and he is one of my top SnapChat besties.  Sorry!  Well…not really….

The weather was amazing.  It was 80 degrees and I even had body in my hair from the humidity.  Albany was forecasted to be getting sleet.

Where we stayed:

At an airbnb near Center City.  I didn’t take any pics inside but it was down this cute alley.  The house was adorable, had four double beds (and there is a couch that folds out) and the owner even provided coffee, snacks and wine.

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Where we ate: 

Yards Brewing Company.

I forgot to take photos of my food but here is a menu.  Please excuse the glare.

Heffe’s Tacos

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2nd Story Brewing Company

I didn’t take any pictures of the food but everything was delicious.  We got a bunch of appetizers to share.

Alma de Cuba

The food here was amazing.

Clockwise from top-left: Blood Orange Margaritas/Guacamole and Plantain Chips/Some sort of Cuban bread I don’t know the name of/Vaca Frita/ Bachelorette’s Congratulations Desert, it was a chocolate cake/Cuban Coffee.

After we had a celebratory drink that tasted like grapefruit.

Kraftwork

We had brunch here.  The food was good but most dishes had eggs.  I am weird about eggs.  For me its a texture thing.  But I would still recommend this place.

I got the biscuits and gravy.  (a.k.a.  The reason I can never move down South because I would gain 100 pounds.)

Eggs weren’t mentioned as coming with this dish on the menu.  As I mentioned I am funny about eggs.   I think runny egg yolks are disgusting and those egg yolks made me very uncomfortable. Like, I am fine if I am with someone who is eating eggs like that.  Bryon ate his eggs like that.  Or poached. They just can’t be on my plate. The salad was on a separate plate and I managed to swap them out with no egg yolk breakage- success!  All was right in my world again.

I had Kentucky Iced Coffee without the bourbon shot and it was good.

Other establishments we went to

The Barcade

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City Tavern

This is a must visit place if you are a history buff like me.  The porter I drank was made from the recipe that was found in George Washington’s records.


Helium

We did see a comedy show at Helium.

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History

I finally got to see the Liberty Bell.  Kimmy Gibbler and I took our kids last year (I didn’t end up blogging about it) but I didn’t get to see it up close.  That dream was realized this year.


My friend, The Architect, took some photos of buildings that she found interesting and gave me permission to share them.

And a few other things

I tried Vietnamese Iced Coffee at The Last Drop.  It was amazing.
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I did wear a sash

And I got really excited when I saw this.

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Have you ever been to Philadelphia?  What are your favorite things to do there?