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Posts Tagged ‘Boston Marathon’

hyacinth flower daffodils leaves plants

Right now, in mid-April 2019, I am:

Watching the flowers pop up all around town – hyacinth, daffodils, late-but-gorgeous forsythia, early tulips. And keeping an eye on the budding magnolia trees. Also: this weekend I will be watching the Masters.

Proofreading just about everything you can think of, at work: event posters and programs, the alumni magazine, so many email announcements and newsletters, and various webpages.

Eating alllllll the clementines and berries, lots of granola and yogurt, Trader Joe’s tomato soup, sharp cheddar, avocado toast and whatever else I can whip up.

Drinking so much Earl Grey, chai when I can get it, and lots of water.

phoenix dog puppy

Dog-sitting for a friend in East Boston, and loving the snuggles and walks with Phoenix. Isn’t he adorable?

Running the Harborwalk there (sometimes with Phoenix) and the East Boston Greenway, when I can. I miss my river trail, but it’s really fun to explore a new neighborhood.

Reading some great fiction: Marjan Kamali’s gorgeous new novel (out in June), a fun novel about West Texas high school football, a family saga set in 1980s NYC. And Reshma Saujani’s nonfiction book Brave, Not Perfect – which is as fierce as its lipstick-red cover.

Seeing the Boston Marathon prep come to life: scaffolding, bleachers, signs and adverts, so much blue and yellow around this area of town. (I work down the street from the marathon finish line.)

Sneaking over to Mem Church for prayers a couple of mornings a week.

Listening to back episodes of All the Backlist! (and All the Books! when I have time). I’m a hopelessly irregular podcast listener, but I like catching up with Liberty and her cohosts.

Walking around Eastie with Phoenix, through the West End on some mornings, around Back Bay in the afternoons.

Wearing my winter uniform (still) of striped dresses, a scarf and black fleece-lined tights. Switching it out for jeans and a sweater on the milder, drier days. Pulling on my favorite running/yoga gear, whenever possible.

Scribbling in my latest Obvious State journal all. the. time.

Needing some new running shoes.

Getting as much sleep as I can. It’s been an exhausting stretch – a lingering cold, work craziness, general craziness – and my body is tired.

Enjoying fresh flowers on my desk, my newish Everlane backpack, the light in the apartment where I’m staying, texts from friends checking in.

Inspired by Ali Edwards’ “Currently” post earlier this week.

What does life look like for you right now?

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stronger together heart graffiti three lives

Today is just another Monday in many places. But here in my adopted city of Boston, it’s Marathon Monday.

It’s been five years since the bombing near the finish line that marked Boston, and the marathon, forever. We are a little wary these days, a little battle-weary, a little scarred. There is still joy in the marathon, but it’s layered with grief, and a fierce, stubborn gladness. This city, and the runners who descend on it every year, possess grit in spades. And they – we – are determined to keep going.

This year, as a novice runner, I understand the marathon in a new way. For the first time, I have a small sense of what it’s like to lace up your running shoes and get out there even when you don’t feel like it, even when the weather sucks, even when you’d rather stay inside.

I also have a small sense of the joy that comes from pushing yourself, from settling into the rhythm of a run, from sweating and moving and pounding the pavement (or in my case, the river trail). I am learning all the time about sore legs and stretching, about warming up and cooling down, about layers and sports bras and the importance of a good playlist. (It will surprise no one that I love to run to Hamilton.)

selfie gray hat river trail

I don’t pretend to know the particular challenges of being an elite runner or even a marathoner. The longest race I’ve ever (yet!) run is a 5K. But I’m prouder and more excited than ever for the marathon this year, because now I’m a runner. In a small way, I’m one of them.

I am cheering on every single person running today, from the leading elites to those who will limp across the finish line. (I am especially proud of my former colleague Jim Ryan, dean of Harvard’s Ed School.)

This is their race and this is our city. Together, we are Boston Strong. And if you’re running, we are all rooting for you.

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boston marathon finish line heart

Today and always, we are Boston Strong.

boston marathon finish line copley square

running shoes boston marathon memorial

Photos taken this weekend, at the finish line and at the marathon memorial exhibit at the Boston Public Library.

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Take care

On Monday, I rode home from work on a crowded subway train, walked the short distance to my apartment, started a load of laundry. My husband sent a text message to say he was on his way home. I started a pot of water boiling for pasta, washed and chopped a few stalks of asparagus, grated a bit of Parmesan cheese. It all felt – dare I say it? – so normal.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t.

Farmers' tents in Copley Square

Farmers’ market tents in Copley Square

By now, most of the world has heard about the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured more than 100 others. I would have been horrified to learn about this event if I still lived in Texas, or in England, or anywhere else. But for nearly three years, I have lived and worked in the Boston area.

Copley Square, the same patch of ground that hosts the finish line, is also the location of beautiful Trinity Church and my beloved Boston Public Library, and the farmer’s market I used to visit all the time. I have friends who work in the John Hancock Tower in the Square, and in a publisher’s office one block away. My former workplace, Emerson College, is five blocks from the blast site. I work in Cambridge now, across the river, but Boston is still my town. And that area is my neighborhood.

Sept 2010 160

I am shocked, saddened, sick at heart, that someone chose to mar the most joyous day of the year in Boston – even if you’re not a runner (and I’m not), the city bubbles with excitement on Marathon Monday. This tragedy reminds me of Newtown and Aurora, of Columbine and 9/11 and Oklahoma City – and even the reminding makes me ache, because there should not be a long list of these events stretching back in my memory. Of all the words that occur to us at such a time, the phrase not again should absolutely not be among them.

Yet I am also humbled, by the dozens of text messages and emails and posts on social media sites, from people checking on me, and also on each other. It reminded me of the snowstorm this winter, when we lost power and my family and friends kept checking on us, and of the days after Hurricane Sandy, when, as Alyssa wrote so eloquently, people kept calling out to one another, via phone and email and the vast huddle of the Internet.

Are you okay? Were you anywhere near where it happened? Did you get home all right? Let us know. Be safe. Take care. We love you.

My mom and dad, my sister and my aunt, all in Texas. My friends from college and high school, scattered around the globe. My friend Allison in New York, who sent a text that read, “You and J are our Boston family.” My friend Abi, who lives across town and texted me to make sure I had gotten home safely, after her own ride home on a near-empty train. So many friends I’ve met online, but never in person, and friends I met online who have since become in-person friends. People I know from church and work back in Texas; family friends who have known me since I was born.

So much love, pouring through the electronic connections that bind us all together, however tenuously. I complain about social media as much as the next person, how it can devolve into banal oversharing or political shouting. But after a tragedy like this one, it’s where the huddle happens.

Let me say again: J and I are fine, and so far, so is everyone I know, though we will all be working through the shock and sadness for a while. And let me also say: thank you. Thank you for checking in on us; thank you for praying; thank you for caring. We are so grateful, and we love you back.

Take care.

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