It’s Friday! You know what that means. Time for some good vibrations gratitude.
This week I am starting something new.
I am inviting you join me on Good Vibration Gratitude Fridays!
You are probably wondering how you get in on the action.
It’s easy! If you are grateful for something, please either comment below or share a pic of what you are grateful for on Instagram with the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude
Also feel free to follow me on Instragram at @kerrymckim
Here is what I am gratude for this week.
Fall weekend in Maine.
I didn’t take many pictures on this trip. I didn’t do much sightseeing. I just enjoyed a late October weekend in Maine. I had dinner and ice cream at Charlotte’s and I had dinner with an old friend from high school. I don’t have a nick name for her yet but you met her here.
So I enjoyed socializing with friends, good food, watched two World Series games with my Dad and I marveled in the beauty of Maine fall foliage that is just past the peek in a Nor’easter.
World Series win
My boys did it!
And my little one got to see the team play this year. Can’t wait until next summer.
Second Annual Halloween Pajama Movie Night
The tradition was born last year when my friend and I were shopping at Gymboree and I thought the pink skeleton pajamas were cute. My friend asked me to buy them since she had skeleton pajamas for her boys and she said we could do a Halloween movie night. I was sold.
My daughter and I were at Crazy 8’s a few weeks ago and picked up another pair. And luckily movie night happened again this year.
Trick or Treating
Every year my daughters school goes trick or treating in a local office park. The people who work there are great and were very generous with their candy. It is hard to believe this is my daughters fourth and final year participating.
This year is the first year since Bryon died that I am excited for Christmas. And I am just going with it.
And before the haters get mad at me, I am just as excited about Thanksgiving too.
My daughter and I spent a fun day with Kimmy Gibbler and her family at Hick’s Orchard where we picked apples and did a corn maze. So much fall fun!
Time with my bestie
The night before we went apple picking (#2), my daughter and I slept over Kimmy’s house. It was so much fun to spend time together.
Kimmy even made a boujee cheese platter. And she made one for the kids too.
My Red Sox Baby
As I write this, it is the bottom of the 8th inning and my beloved Red Sox are playing Houston.
October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant loss day and I shared my story on Facebook about my Red Sox baby. The night the Red Sox won the 2013 world series, I felt lucky (we just started trying) so I peed on a stick and it said I was pregnant. Bryon and I were so excited about our Red Sox baby.
That baby died shortly thereafter but it took a couple of weeks for my body to figure it out. Bryon was so strong for me but one night he cried and said he was sad he wasn’t going to hold his baby.
I became pregnant with my daughter very soon after that so I tried not to dwell on my Red Sox Baby. Because I couldn’t imagine my life without her. This was the hardest thing I went through before Bryon died but I can honestly say that now I am at peace because I know he has gotten to hold both of our children.
I am grateful for that.
And I am grateful for those who talk about it because even though 1 in 4 woman suffer a miscarriage, I never felt more alone.
Red Sox going to the World Series!!!!
Good job boys!
What are you grateful for this week?
Don’t forget to comment or share a pic on Instagram using the hashtag #goodvibrationsgratitude
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.
I don’t like people who stand too close. I value my personal space and am big on people respecting each other’s “hula hoops”.
People who don’t cover their mouths when they cough.
People who rush into an elevator without waiting for people to exit the elevator. I may have picked up that pet peeve from Bryon.
People who refuse to apologize when they are clearly in the wrong. There are bonus pet peeve points if that person says something to the affect of “I am sorry that there was a misunderstanding” instead of saying they were sorry for what they did or “I am sorry you feel that way” because you may as well say “I am sorry you are mad”.
But the thing is probably my biggest pet peeve is the double standard. You know, people who have one set of rules for themselves and another set for others.
I was thinking about a situation that illustrated this concept. It consists of something that can be quite controversial- the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees Rivalry.
I am from New England. I was born in Boston, lived in the suburbs until I started high school (though outside the 128 loop) and I lived in Maine from the ages of 15 to 30. So I am unapologetically a Boston sports fan. Because I am from there. Duh.
Now I live in New York. I am still a Boston sports fan because I am from there. But the majority of my friends here root for the New York Yankees. Some of the people I love the most root for the team I like the least. Because they are from here. Duh.
My Facebook newsfeed is pretty interesting when the teams play each other. It’s actually pretty awesome.
Usually we joke back in forth, all in good jest. It’s great. Because the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry makes baseball fun. We love to hate each others teams and I am sure there are no other teams we would rather hate than whatever team is opposite of you in this rivalry. And I am sorry to all the other sports fans who don’t have the privilege to experience this rivalry.
But I have met people that could not handle the jest. I would barely say anything and then get an earful about how horrible Red Sox fans are and how polite and courteous Yankees fans are. While I have witnessed firsthand a Yankees fan getting heckled in Fenway (ironically we were playing the Baltimore Orioles that night) I was told that this would never happen at Yankee Stadium.
I am sorry at what I am about to say. Actually I am not sorry. I don’t care what team you root for or for what sport, every team has asshole fans. I don’t believe for one second that I could go to Yankee Stadium wearing a Red Sox shirt and not get heckled. I would expect it. And as long as no one gets hurt, who really cares?
But the thing that was particularly frustrating was that if I even mentioned my team, I would get barraged with comments about how horrible my team and it’s fan are. But I would get shut down when I tried to defend myself. Personally it got very tiring being around this person. So I just dealt with it because I had nothing to prove and didn’t need to waste my energy.
Bryon was a Red Sox fan but while he had his teams that he loved, he was still able to look at all sports objectively. Bryon was the first one to tell me if I was being oversensitive. I was a homesick New England girl after all. But in this situation, he pointed out that while this person was busy calling me a rude fan that that person was really displaying the behavior of a rude fan. He also thought this person was insecure and would try to bully me on other occasions but that is another story for another time.
Why did I go through a long drawn out story that I am pretty sure is going to get me defriended on Facebook by a few people this morning? Or at the very least, the recipient of a few rude comments? Because it this story is a good illustration of the double standard. One rule applied to me, the Red Sox fan and another rule applied to this person, a Yankees fan. At the time, it was incredibly frustrating and annoying but now I think it’s just silly.
After losing Bryon, there are more important things to worry about. On Facebook I had several friends at the Yankees game the other night. And I liked seeing those photos because I love seeing people out enjoying life and that is a beautiful thing. Because life is too short. Be passionate about your team. Just don’t be too much of a dick about it. (To my readers who never knew Bryon personally, “Don’t be a dick” was his catchphrase).
This story also reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit from 1992 where Stuart Smalley says that when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you and a thumb pointing up at God or something. It inspired me to find a video of it which you can find here.
But double standards can be real problems in relationships.
Like the friend who takes another for granted. It’s a problem when Bob never makes time for Bill but then expects Bill to drop everything when Bob wants Bill to tag along.
It’s also a problem in families where one child and one set of grandchildren is favored over the other. I could write more about this but then I would be sitting here for hours. That might be for another time. Or maybe I will keep it in my personal journal.
And while I do ascribed to the theory that fair is not always equal, there should not be a clear discrepancy of treatment between two individuals. And if you find yourself in that predicament with the shorter straw, just remember that there are no laws stating who you have to keep in your life.
And while playoff tensions may be high, don’t give up on your friend who may root for another team, whichever team that is. Just grab a beer and enjoy the game. Because that is what Bryon would do.
I belong to a few widow(er) facebook groups and it comes up periodically that the “On This Day” feature on facebook is a minefield full of triggers. The triggers aren’t just reminders of illness and death. The triggers are also the happy memories because you are reminded of the life that you are missing.
Some days I didn’t talk much throughout my history on facebook. But some days are chock full of memories.
On this day in 2009, I was attending the Midcoast Maine Young Republican Meeting.
On this day in 2010, I was having a bad day at work and wanted to go home and drink. Considering I was working in the ER, that sounds about right.
On this day in 2011, I was out of work for the weekend and I had a hot date. Of course someone commented and asked what Bryon was doing that night.
On this day in 2012, I was at a Bruce Springsteen Concert at the Times Union Center with Bryon. I also was pissed that the Red Sox blew a 9-0 lead and I wanted Terry Francona back.
On this day in 2013, I hated Windows 8. I still do.
On this day in 2014, I was wishing all Boston Marathon Runners Good Luck.
I apparently wasn’t doing anything on this day in 2015.
On this day in 2016, I had my first glimmer of hope. I remember writing that facebook status and feeling relieved. We were finally on the road to recovery. I remember being told that he would probably be in the ICU for another month or so and then he would go to rehab for a couple months.
But we now know that that road would never lead Bryon to recovery. It’s like I can feel all the emotions I felt waiting for that road to recovery at the same time; the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the hopefulness, the desperation. However, it is also mixed with the grief and emptiness I feel every day from Bryon’s death.
Those memories are always going to be there whether they are on Facebook or in my memory. I can’t un-live it. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen. And I don’t want to forget my memories with Bryon. We had too many good times. I can only hope that as time passes, I can think about these memories without crying and being overcome with sadness. I want to be able to look back and smile.
I must move forward and try to fill my future with happier memories with my daughter and my family and friends.