Ft. Lauderdale Beach

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(I took this with my iPhone at 7:15am when I ran down to the beach to watch the sunrise.)

Growing up so close to the beach, my life virtually revolved around the ocean. I would spend my weekends either swimming miles of shoreline for swim practice or sunning myself on the sand. There was always a pickup game of volleyball to be found and in the absence of any responsibility outside of swim practice, endless hours of beach time to burn.

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(The pier is stretching out on the right.)

In the evenings, my best friend, Andy, and I would pick up a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and large Coke slurpees (from 7-11 of course) and head down to the Pier to consume our sugary treats and talk about our dreams. We would sit on the edge of the Pier and dangle our bare feet over the edge, guarding our donuts from the hungry pelicans.
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For a long time after I moved away, I couldn’t go back to the Pier because it brought back so many memories that I ached with homesickness for my carefree days at the beach. As the years wore on, that ache mellowed into a warm fondness for my youth and I slowly started heading back to that same stretch of beach to ruefully remember how I thought my life would be.
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Life has certainly come full circle. Out of habit and nostalgia, I’ve been taking Parker to the stretch next to the Commercial Pier for his daily outing of sun and fun.
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I think that he finds the same peace there that I have my whole life.
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Glimpses

There are certain moments in your child’s life when you can almost glimpse what they will be like at a much older age. These pictures of Parker helping his Uncle Mike wash his truck are just such moments.

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Looking at Parker here, I can almost imagine him as a teenager, washing his truck on a nice day and getting some color after a chilly winter. In other words, exactly the kind of thing I would have done as a 16 year old. Which reminds me, maybe it isn’t too early to install locks on the outside of his bedroom door…

For The Love Of A Running Shoe

There comes a time (about every 400 running miles or so) when it’s time to retire a pair of running shoes. With the mileage that I generally run, this works out to be every 6 months or so and frankly, it’s kind of a sad event. Please see exhibit A below.

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The running shoe on the left is the old one and the one on the right is fresh out of the box. What I want to bring your attention to is the thickness of the tongue. Notice how the tongue on the old shoe is completely flattened while the tongue on the new shoe is nice and thick. Well, the same thing that happened to the tongue happened to the interior workings of the shoes. Running on a hard surface yields hundreds of pounds of pressure and the poor shoes can only take so much before they stop doing their job of cushioning your steps.

Here’s comparison of the bottoms of the shoes.

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I’m almost positive that the old shoe is caked with clay. At least I hope it’s clay. I look at that worn sole and I think about all of the journeys that the old shoes and I have taken together. The races that we ran and the scenery we passed. It’s bittersweet to think that they have no more mountains to climb. I truly can’t dwell on it. I know it sounds totally bizarre, I mean they’re just shoes, but still. I get attached.

And then I look at my new shoes…

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…at their pristine stitching and unmarred whiteness…and I start to feel better. Holding those new shoes, I feel their potential. I dream of the miles and journeys we’ll take and I know through experience that they’ll help me go the distance. I mean, it isn’t their fault that they’re as of yet untested. And frankly, I know that in a week or two, my old shoes will be just a memory and the new shoes and I will have begun our new journey towards a life of happiness…that will last precisely 6 months.

The love of the running shoe is a fickle thing.

On The Road YET Again…

As you’re reading this, I am traveling down the great state of Florida to meet up with these folks again. You know, the crazy computer crew that I refer to as my dear family.

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After my almost 3 week long sojourn into solitude, I’m particularly anxious to see the munchkin. I simply cannot wait to snuggle him. In fact, if not for him, I would be perfectly happy to lock myself in my house alone for at least another 3 weeks or so. What? The Irishman would be welcome to visit me. Okay, okay, I guess I’m excited to see him and my little Greek parents as well. There’s just nothing quite like having the clan all in one place…unless of course it’s having them in one place while I’m by myself in the mountains living in utter silence and solitude. Just kidding. Kind of.
Moving right along, what’s particularly exciting about next week is that the Catholic Easter and the Greek Orthodox Easter actually fall on the same day. If you’d like a full explanation of why they often don’t, I can give you my father’s phone number and just give him a buzz when you’ve got an hour or five to get caught up on the intrigues of the church.
Next week will be a Greek baking and cooking fest. For Greeks, Easter is the biggest holiday of the year. Yes, even bigger than Christmas. I believe that in 2012 our whole family is going to travel to Greece to experience it first hand in the motherland, but for now, my mom does a great job of keeping up with the pomp and circumstance of the holiday.
Of course, I’ll catalog each delightful recipe and explain the meaning behind it and yes, I will even show you how we dye our eggs read and crack them at midnight. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, now would be a good time to rent My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But the fun doesn’t stop with the baking and egg dying. No siree, we also get to go to an Easter picnic with the Irishman’s family (all 50+ of them) and do the traditional Easter egg hunt and basket exchange.
It’s going to be one fun-filled week. Of course, I’m going to be facing off against a whole hoard of people who are going to try to sneak ridiculous amounts of chocolate and candy to Parker, but I think I’m up to the task. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be totally militant about it – I’ll draw the line about when his eyes start spinning in different directions and he starts speaking gibberish. And then I plan on sending him home with the biggest candy-giving perpetrator. Yup, like I said, there’s a ton of fun to be had.

Boston 2.0

Where were we…oh yes, old cemeteries. The next one that I visited was the Granary burial ground.

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This particular cemetery had a ton of famous people…and a ton of not so famous people who clearly still had the wealth during that time to purchase expensive headstones.

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The large obelisk that you see on the left side of the picture above was the tomb of Benjamin Franklin’s parents. And here is the tomb of Paul Revere. So cool, huh?

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And then of course the burial ground also contained the remains of John Hancock, who is best known for signing his name the largest on the Declaration of Independence.

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And look, right across the street, Parker had his own hotel.

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Continuing along to the Boston Harbor, I passed by this treasure trove – the main headquarters of the Boston Fire Department.

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I wonder how many strapping firemen work in that building….never mind. About 2 hours and 2 large Starbucks skinny vanilla lattes later, I finally reached the harbor.

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It was peaceful and lovely and I sat for a while imagining what it must have looked like filled with revolutionary era ships. Sometimes, I think that I should have been a historian because I’m fascinated by how events unfolded throughout time.

As I wound my way back into town, I had some not revolutionary sites to see, but every bit as historic. Below is Copley Square, the finishing line for the Boston Marathon.

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In just a short few weeks, a bunch of really fast and dedicated runners are going to end the journey of a lifetime right there at that location. For a runner like me (i.e. a REALLY slow runner), that’s like the Olympics of marathoning. Very cool.

Then I walked historic Newbury Street, Boston’s shopping version of the Champs Elysee.

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The architecture was gorgeous, the shops were amazing and talk about a fun place to people watch! I had a cappuccino at Stephanie’s on Newbury and saw such an interesting mix of people walking the street. Suffice it to say that I was really well caffeinated after all of my walking and coffee-ing.

Well folks, that’s it. My walking tour of part of Boston. If the weather had held, I would have loved to have made a trip out to Wrigley field, but I am quite certain that I’ll be back to such a great city and perhaps, I’ll even catch a game there.

Tour Of Boston, Part 1.5

I have to say that my absolute favorite way to see a city is by foot. I have walked some of the most beautiful cities in the world and while public transportation is generally available and always faster, you get such a better feel of the lifeblood of a city when you walk her streets. Join me on a walking tour of Boston, won’t you?

I started out at the Boston Common, which was right by my hotel.
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The Boston Common was the cities first public green space. Here’s a blurb about it from the city’s website:
The “Common” has been used for many different purposes throughout its long history. Until 1830, cattle grazed the Common, and until 1817, public hangings took place here. British troops camped on Boston Common prior to the revolution and left from here to face colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775. Celebrities, including Martin Luther King Jr., and Pope John Paul II have given speeches at the Common.

Walking around the Common, you come across various tour groups with a guide dressed in Revolutionary era clothing speaking about the history of the place. I chronically loiter behind these groups to hear just a bit of the lecture before moving along.
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The Boston Common was also the beginning of the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walking trail that leads to 16 nationally significant historic sites. It’s a unique collection of museums, chruches, meeting houses, burying groups, parks and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.
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I have to confess that I used to have quite the obsession with all things patriotic as evidenced by the American flag converse that I wore every day of 11th grade. While my American flag wearing days are over, I still feel quite strongly about my civil liberties.
During my walk, I came across a monument of George Washington, our almost king.
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I also came across the new State Building with it’s golden dome that reminded me of the French building that houses Napoleon’s tomb.
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Then there were the burial grounds. For whatever reason, I am strangely fascinated by old cemeteries. They are so peaceful and make me as if I’m part of the wheel of time. A part of history itself.
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This was the central burying ground. Hey, check out my reflection above.
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The grave markers were all smooth and reminded me of the huge cemetery at Gettysburg.
Well, I just checked the clock and I’m due to leave to escort a group of youngins to prison in 5 minutes. Stay tuned for more of Boston tomorrow, including famous grave sites, shopping highlights and the Boston Harbor.

Boston, Part 1

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Hi folks. Boy, oh boy, am I swamped! I literally hit the ground running when I landed yesterday evening from the airport and I have yet to come up for air. While I plan on posting a full “tour” of Boston tomorrow, I wanted to give you a sneak peak at my meet-up with my friend Jude and her family.

I met Jude in an online mommy group when I first found out that I was pregnant with Parker. So technically, even though this was the first time we met in person, I know her and her family better than I do a lot of my in real life friends that I’ve lost touch with. Jude in person was exactly what I thought she would be. She was witty and delightful. Of course, it helps that we have similar positions on a lot of things, but seriously, it was just like continuing a conversation that I had just left off a week ago.

Even though I’m not a hugger by nature, I attacked Jude and her poor husband, Josh, when I first saw them. It just was so seriously cool to meet them in person. And her children, my goodness were they adorable! Her daughter is smart as a whip and ridiculously well behaved. I had to pick my chin up off the floor as I watched her sit all through dinner, quietly eating. As you know, Parker would have been running around like a bull in a china shop unless he was bribed for the duration of the meal. And her sweet little 7 month old boy…well, I would be lying if I said that my uterus didn’t flutter. He was just so sweet and beautiful.

We met at Boston’s public park in the Back Bay area (just down the street from my hotel) and spent a good hour walking around there. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the park was packed! Then, we went to a great local seafood restaurant. On the way to the restaurant, I got a great history lesson on Boston in general and on that part of town in particular. The evening flew by with great conversation and lots of laughs. I am so incredibly thankful that we got to meet up and next time I’m in the area, Jude and family will definitely be priority one on my to-do list.