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.
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.)
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.
Today is my best friends birthday. I won’t share how many years she has but it is more than me.
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.
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.
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.
March- We had a YRNF Board Meeting in New Orleans.
Then there was the Young Republican National Convention in Hollywood, Florida in July.
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.
Sometime in the Fall of 2007 was also the YRNF Board Meeting in Houston, Texas.
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.
It’s not a Sullivan holiday without a trip to the range.
We then took a trip to Boston. There were Irish pubs…
…and Scorpion Bowls…
…and some wicked bad karaoke.
We also walked the Freedom Trail in the freezing rain.
And we went to Cheers and these guys were our dates for five minutes.
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)
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.
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.
And then there was the YRNF Fall Board Meeting in Nashville.
First there was the Spring YRNF Board Meeting in Orlando.
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.
The Fall 2008 YRNF Board Meeting was in Kansas City, MO. I was recovering from tonsillitis 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.
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. She was in town with her 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.
We did not see each other this year. This is a sad year.
And the beginning of 2012, she came out to Albany for my engagement party
Then there was my wedding
And her wedding in Mexico
We didn’t see each other in 2013. We were too busy being newlyweds.
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.
Her family came to visit mine in Albany. It gives me goosebumps to think that this would be the last time she would see Bryon.
Bryon had been in the ICU for 4 months and been transferred to NYC. She made plans to come to NYC on Bryon and my birthday weekend and she arranged with my father to meet halfway between Albany and NYC so she 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.
Bryon’s funeral was there the day before his birthday. We went out for hibachi for his birthday with some friends. My daughter and I were so sick that night (from a gastrointestinal illness, not the food). I laid down on the couch and was too wiped out to even move. I remember thinking “How can I do this alone?” You took turns with my parents taking care of my daughter through the night and then went to whole foods to buy me some probiotics in the morning before driving back to NYC to get your flight.
Life goes on. And she you made sure to make time for me this year.
Memorial Day Weekend we, along with my Maine best friend, went to Cedar Point in Ohio with the girls. To make up for the missed Disney Trip
Then we met up with some friends for a kid free trip to Austin, TX for my 40th. That trip was…interesting. Austin was great but it turned one of my friends were not really my friend after all. It’s seems stupid now but it was a lot for my brain to process. But she was loyal to me, like she always is.
I say we need to do a re-do. With the trip into wine country.
A year with a lot of change…good change. But I did not get to see her that year. There is next year, I said.
So I was supposed to be going to Chicago to see her this weekend as well as a wedding in Wisconsin. And all know how that turned out.
Let’s hope everything is cleared up for the rescheduled wedding date this Fall,
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
First, find a Bed and Breakfast that would let us shoot some picturesque shots.
My daughter will run away from the water because the North Atlantic is effing freezing this time of year.
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.
Find a town having a 4th of July concert in the town common. On a Thursday. In April. My daughter can dance.
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.
I had arrived in Peabody in the afternoon. We just hung out and caught up.
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.
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.
We ordered several dishes to share including the quintessential Boston pu-pu platter
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My daughter and I recently visited my best friend in Chicago. While we were making plans for our stay, my best friend sent an email with a list of things we could do. One of the things listed was going to one of the indoor water parks in the Wisconsin Dells.
My daughter lobbied hard for that option and my best friend agreed to it.
I was happy to go to Wisconsin.
I visited once before in 2004 for a wedding of a friend who I attended school with in England.
My cousin came up from Florida to be my guest.
We were babies.
Not many pictures exist from that trip. And the ones that do seem to feature alcohol.
Well not really. More like holding my beer and my cousins beer.
Drinking a beer with a lemon…what was I thinking? My taste in beers sure has evolved since 2004.
This was at the Great Dane Pub. I remember my cousin and I talked some guys about hunting deer.
This last picture I look hideous. According to my cousin’s caption, I drank a few Blue Moons at Stillwaters.
What was I doing drinking Blue Moon?
This clearly was the age before I discovered that stout, porter, cider and pumpkin beer are really the only beers worth drinking.
I remember that there was a huge fish tank and I was talking to a nice hippie guy about fish poops. We also had a conversation about government parks affect the local tax structure and we did not see eye to eye. We agreed more about fish poop.
I was actually trying to remember the name of this place when talking to “Uncle Greg”. I googled it and found out it had closed in 2005.
I actually just got rid of that sweater in my closest. Right before I went on this trip. It was time. I probably hadn’t worn it since the Bush Administration.
Anyway, I really like Wisconsin and was excited to get to go again and bring my daughter with me.
While we were driving through the Illinois countryside and we passed the town of Belvidere Oasis and while it isn’t spelled the same, it got us thinking about Mr. Belvedere.
And how come more middle class American families don’t have butlers.
I could use a butler.
And then we got thinking about how much we miss TV theme songs.
Like Just the Ten of Us
And Out of this World.
Though I still don’t understand why the alien father didn’t just stay instead of just talking through that weird cube thing.
and Small Wonder.
I remember my brother and I (and I guess my Dad too) watched it every Saturday night after we went to Mass.
We talked about other theme songs but maybe I will save all of those for another post.
Eventually we made it to Wisconsin.
We were traveling along I-90 which also runs through NY. I was trying hard to find an I-90 sign that was near a Cheese bilboard because I wanted to get a picture and say that it was just home…with cheese.
I was unsuccessful.
We were travelling to the Wisconsin Dells and I had no idea what a Dell was except that there once was a Farmer in one who took a wife.
This is what google told me.
We stayed at Mt. Olympus Water Park. I wish I got more pictures but it was hard between the two girls and having to discipline all the unruly children around us.
Yes, I have become that parent.
And I am not sorry.
Seriously, there were kids that were clearly taller than the maximum height for the kiddie area and some of them were pushing the little kids out of the way. It becomes a real safety issue.
At dinnertime, we went downtown and had dinner at a Mac and Cheese restaurant called Macs. It was amazing.
My daughter had the L’il Mamma’s- Cheddar, Mozzarella and Fried Hot Dogs
My friend got the Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac– Cheddar, Mozzarella, Chicken, Bacon and Ranch
I got the Taco Mac- Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, Seasoned Ground Beef, Pico De Gallo, Sour Cream and Avocado.
Poor Squeakers looks longingly at the Mac and Cheese but he can’t have any.
We still made room for ice cream. I hadn’t been to Cold Stone in years. I love that place.
I got coffee ice cream with oreos. I even got a fancy cone that I was too full to eat.
My daughter and my friends daughter were more, um, creative. My daughter got cotton candy ice cream with M & M’s and my friends daughter got Mint Ice Cream with marshmallows.
It was their vacation too.
The next day we went to the water park for a couple hours before heading back to Chicago.
As I mentioned in last weeks Good Vibrations Gratitude Post, we stopped to see “Uncle Greg” and his girlfriend and Uncle Greg gave the girls their own cheesehead hat.
We were having lunch by the Capital so I felt that we had to take our picture in front of the Wisconsin Capital with the cheesehead hat.
We found this cool cow but couldn’t get the girls to look at the camera.
We had lunch at The Old Fashioned because I told the Wisconsonites that I wanted fried cheese curds and this is the best. And they did not disappoint.
I took a picture of my Wisconsin Burger on SnapChat but sent it before I remembered to save it. So no pic of that but it was delicious.
Here is a pic of my daughters chicken fingers.
We said our good-byes because we had one more Wisconsin stop.
We drove to Kenosha (by way of Milwaukee) to stop at the CHEESE CASTLE.
My best friend said she always wanted to stop there but her husband never wanted to.
I told her this was the trip where dreams come true.