It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.
Here are 5 things I am grateful for this week.
Fall in Maine
I got to be in one of the most beautiful places on Earth during the most beautiful time of the year.
Greeting the Troops
My father is a Maine Troop Greeter. Military planes stop in Bangor, Maine because it is the most Eastern airport in the country. And there is a group of volunteers that greet them.
My daughter and I had an opportunity to join my father when a plane came in. My daughter was not shy at all and wanted to shake everyone’s hand. I am so proud of her.
I am so grateful for this opportunity, as well as the volunteers who welcome home each troop. And I am grateful for the Troops who serve to protect our country and our freedoms.
Dinner and Drinks with Charlotte
Charlotte and I tried out the Airline Brewing Company Pub in Ellsworth. The food and drinks were good and the bartender was friendly. I am grateful that I got to try out this new place and for time with Charlotte.
Lunch with the Baker
I also got the chance to have lunch with my friend who I will call The Baker because she is a baker. (Those of you who are unfamiliar with this blog- I rarely use real names) My friends business is called Affectionate Confections and she makes amazing wedding cakes.
When my Maine Best Friend and The Scientist got married, she did their wedding cake.
We were going to have lunch in Bar Harbor but when we arrived in town, we realized that there was a cruise ship in town that day as well as several tour buses. I was happy for the business owners of Bar Harbor but the city was packed. So we decided to have lunch at The Tan Turtle Tavern in Northeast Harbor.
After lunch, we spent some time down by the water at the Northeast Harbor Marina. My daughter had fun throwing rocks into the water.
Getting the opportunity to get in touch with my old self
I know I talk a lot about personal growth and I am a strong believer in that.
As I have been going through and purging my belongings, both at my house in New York and my parents house in Maine, I have been coming across pieces of my life I have forgotten. It has helped me remember who I am and were I came from. I think it is important to be in touch with your old self in order to grow.
I see myself doing an in depth post about this but I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
My school picture from my junior year in high school
My palm card from my failed Maine House run in 2006.
It was so nice to be home and feel that cool, ocean air.
2. Playing with my daughter
After our day trip, we did some playing in the yard at my parents house and at the playground at our local school. My daughter said that the slide was the tallest slide in the world. Imagine that?
3. Ice Cream and Gelato
My parents and I went to an ice cream and gelato shop in our town called PugNuts. I had to get three flavors because I wanted to try them all. My favorites were the coffee flavor and the seasonal pumpkin flavor. My daughter chose cotton candy because it was blue.
I had to laugh because my mother said that all the pugs reminded her of Puppy Dog Pals on the Disney Channel.
4. Being able to watch my daughter improve in gymnastics class.
I am so proud of her.
5. My daughters Pre-K Class and teachers.
My daughter is in a great program and I don’t doubt that she will be ready for kindergarten next year.
They seriously need to bring back the laser option.
This past weekend was probably an unremarkable weekend for most. I know here in the Northeast, many people went apple picking or visited a pumpkin patch.
I love fall activities but I know I was not going to enjoy last weekend because last Saturday would have been Bryon and my 6th wedding anniversary.
The truth is, as more anniversaries pass, the more alienated I feel. Not just from other, happily married, living people (i.e. NORMS, a term created by fellow widow Michelle Miller) but also from myself. As time goes back, I feel detached even from myself. Because I am no longer a happily married, living person.
So what does a formerly happily married, living person do on their wedding anniversary, particularly when the other half of their former happy union is a dead person?
We passed the Little Deer Isle, Maine post office. This was the post office that my father worked at when he first became postmaster. This also was the promotion that brought my family to Maine from the Boston area.
It felt so good to feel the fresh air of the ocean. The ocean has always been my happy place. There is something about it that re-centers my soul and reminds me just how insignificant we really are.
We drove around Deer Isle but I didn’t get any pictures.
On the way home, we stopped at The Fish Net in Blue Hill to get fried clams for lunch and a chicken fingers lunch for my daughter. I went to the takeout window while my father stayed in the car with my daughter, who was napping.
Being home and being around the ocean always makes me reflective.
Lately I have been taking a step back socially to focus on my daughter, to reflect on my life, to take care of myself and to prepare for the next chapter in my life. I admit, it makes me a little uneasy to look towards the future and not know what to expect. I have always been a person who liked to have a two year, five year and ten year plan.
Currently, I don’t even have a two month plan.
At times, I feel lost.
A little over two and a half years ago, I still had a husband. We had just returned from a Caribbean cruise and we had our whole lives ahead of us.
And then that was taken away.
I may have gotten over the basic shock and I have accepted that this happened. But now I am working on letting go and redefining myself and my dreams.
Please trust me when I say that it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
I was thinking about this as I stood at that clam shack on the Maine Coast when I looked up and saw this:
At that moment, I realized that no matter where I go or how my dreams change, Bryon will be there with me.
I mean, seriously, if he can find a way to be with me while waiting for my lunch at a clam shack on the Maine Coast, then he will find a way to be with me anywhere.
And that was the best anniversary present I could have gotten.
Last Saturday my daughter and I spent the day at a nearby farm in the Berkshires. It was lots of fun and I like to support area farmers.
On Sunday night I went to give my daughter a bath and there was no water. I check the internet and there were no posts by the town. I went outside and my neighbors were in the yard and they knew of a broken water main. The water was back by the morning and this ordeal made me appreciate our town water supply.
Progress on my Book
I haven’t been writing my book as fast as I had hoped but that is okay. I would rather do it well. I am cognizant that I do not want it just be the blog in book form so I am working on writing new, original content. The chapter I just finished- it’s good.
EMT’s and all First Responders
This week one of the Common Councilors, Judy Doesschate publicly blasted some EMT’s who had double parked. She took pictures of the ambulances and the actual EMT workers and posted them on Facebook. Needless to say, she got raked through the coals. Yes, there is traffic but the EMT’s need to have access to their ambulances and be able to rush to an emergency at a moments notice.
She should have thanked them for their service instead. She still hasn’t apologized. Well, a real apology. All of her public apologies have been along the vein of “I am sorry everyone got mad.” Seriously Judy, my three-year-old does a better job at apologizing.
I am grateful for our EMTs who save lives.
This Moment- Sweet Summertime
My daughter spent a good portion of the evening playing with her water table. She was loving it.
She kept trying to convince to keep adding water. It was giving me flashback to my childhood. For awhile, we had a three foot above ground pool that ultimately came down and left a big, round sand pit. My brother and I would spend all day filling pails with sand, packing it down and then flipping them over to make sand pail buildings. We would make a big sand pail building town.
Then, inspired by the 1980’s Captain Crunch commercials, my brother would grab the garden house, turn on the water and say “The Soggies are coming!”
I would plead for him to stop by saying “Don’t! Mom’s gonna get mad.”
But that wouldn’t deter my brother. He’s lay the hose down and the Soggies (a.k.a. water) would take over and destroy our sand pail town.
And every single time, the “fun” would end with my mother coming out and yelling at my brother.
To be fair, our town often would have water conservation efforts where you were only supposed to use your water on even or odd calendar days based on your address. (For example, our house number was 53 so we were only supposed to use our outdoor water on odd numbered days.)
Last Saturday, my daughter and I were invited to spend the day at Ioka Valley Farms with some good friends of ours.
Ioka Valley Farms is located in Hancock, Massachusetts which is right on the border. It is about an 45-50 minute drive from Albany.
It is strawberry season so there were a lot of strawberry items on the breakfast menu. I had stuffed french toast. My daughter had a strawberry pancake.
We both had bacon that was delicious. But seriously, it’s bacon. Bacon is delicious, period.
The farm had a lot of activities for the kids.
There was a multi-grain box.
There were duck races.
There were bunnies and baby chicks.
There was a big play area that included slides.
There was a swingset.
My daughter was amused that I went on the swings. I love swings. When I was in college, my friends and I would go a playground in the East End of Portland (Maine…the first Portland) and we would swing on the swings at night. It was one of my favorite things to do.
So, every time I look at swings now, I think of that episode of South Park where Officer Barbrady has to go back to third grade. And there is a clip where he is on a swing set and he’s singing. I couldn’t find a YouTube clip that wasn’t in German but I did find an audio clip here.
You want to know something insane? I was given a brain with an “above average” IQ by God or the Universe (or maybe it was just an accident by science) and this is the kind of stuff my brain thinks about. South Park.
When we first entered, there were some goats that we not hungry. But luckily we found some hungry llamas.
I just want to note: It’s been a few weeks since I did a Gratitude post and I felt the need to start back up again. We all need some gratitude in our lives. Usually I focus on the previous week but honestly, this week hasn’t been the best. Nothing really bad has happened. No one died. No one has lost their limbs. (#perspective). There have been a few positives but there have been some negatives. Some drama that has taken up too much energy in my head space.
I hate even bringing up that it’s drama because I don’t want to even validate it. And while 90’s fashion has made a comeback (which I love) and I love reconnecting with old high school classmates, I have zero interest in actually reliving those years. I turn 40 this summer, FFS!
This post is going to cover some events that have happened over the past month.
I am sorry if the language in the memes offends you.
Actually I am not sorry. This is my blog and I made the decision that I will express myself how I wish on my platform. #unapollogeticallykerry
I am going to choose to be grateful for the lessons that I have been learning this week. This week has been a trying week and it has caused me to do a lot of reevaluating, especially on the topic of boundaries. Just how much bullsh*t am I going to tolerate? My tolerance level for BS is pretty low, especially considering that two years ago, I was on a journey to Hell and Back. #perspective
I don’t have the answers I need (yet!) but I am searching for clarity. I have been writing my feelings in my a journal and I have been sorting them out. Even though this has been a frustrating week, I am going to come out of this week with stronger character than when I started.
I am always grateful for a trip to Boston to see my Red Sox. I don’t care what people say-screw Disney because Fenway Park is the happiest place on Earth. And I am glad I got to share the trip with my daughter and my bestie.
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Fenway Park, 2018
Def Leppard and Journey Concert with Kimmy Gibbler
A month ago, Kimmy Gibbler and I got to see Def Leppard and Journey at the Times Union Center in Albany. The concert was awesome! I didn’t go to many concerts when I was younger. Partly because I lived in Maine and there weren’t as many but partly because 20 year old Kerry did not know how to live.
I had so much fun. The music was so loud and my heart was pounding. Kimmy and I did observe some older people who don’t get out often and were having trouble handling their fun.
At one point, Kimmy and I were in a line at the concession stand. Some drunk older woman gets behind us and starts to rub my back. I have personal space issues to begin with and I was way too sober to let a strange woman touching me go unnoticed. I finally say “Yeah…you can stop rubbing my back now.” Luckily she did.
Best story of the stars aligning right. The only food line with a short line was the fried dough. I didn’t eat lunch or dinner and was so hungry I could eat my arm. So I got friend dough and some of the sugar spilled on me. Kimmy pointed it out and I smile and say “Pour some sugar on me.”
Trip to Cedar Point in Ohio.
Over Memorial Day weekend, my daughter and I drove 8 hour-ish to Ohio. We met up with my Michigan Bestie and my Chicago Bestie and rented an airbnb. Another old friend happened to be in Cleveland and came to stay on night. It was a great time and I will write more about this trip later.
Funny anecdote. I went to the Def Leppard and Journey concert on a Wed and was driving out to Ohio on Fri. As I was driving through Cleveland and I heard a commercial on the radio for the Def Leppard and Journey concert coming up that Monday. I got excited. I hop everyone in Cleveland attended.
I am grateful I got to see my daughter dance even if it was very sad for me because her father wasn’t sitting beside me.
The reality is, I have pretty much gotten used Bryon being gone. At least day to day. Please don’t conclude that that means that I don’t feel a void. I feel a void every day. But I am used to feeling the void and the emptiness.
But it’s moment like this that I truly miss Bryon because this was an event that we anticipated that we’d be sharing together. When our daughter was a baby, we talked about how we would enroll her in a dance class and she would have a dance recital. It’s the memories that we’d anticipated together where I feel the void the most. Because they weren’t just my dreams and plans. They were our dreams and plans.
I has dawned on me that we didn’t anticipate too far into the future. Sure, we talked about doing dance classes. We talked about going to a Red Sox game and New York City at Christmastime. Then there are other milestones like graduations, college and Bryon looked forward to planning her wedding. (He liked to throw parties. I am probably the only bride who had her groom plan her wedding).
We could only anticipate a few years into the future because our daughter was a baby. We did not know what her interests were going to be. That is another realization that makes me miss Bryon. Our daughter hasn’t yet grown into the person she is meant to be and he won’t see it when it happens.
And that makes me sad. I guess I have to have hope that I won’t feel empty forever, right?
I am sorry that I ended this blog post on a heavy note.
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.
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.
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.
My daughter’s first Fenway Frank. I think she liked it.
I have no clue what number Fenway Frank this was for me.
My daughter was apparently going low-carb on this meal because she didn’t eat the bun.
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.
Mother-daughter selfie at Fenway!
Bestie Selfie at Fenway!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where everyone knows your name…
My friend and I decided that this is something we should do every summer.