Snow!

Friday

4/11/2014

I got up and ran 5 miles with Romeo. It must have been the humidity in Portugal that kept him from being able to hack it—he ran 5 miles two days in a row with me, no problem.

I got home, showered, and tried to dress up. I had an observation in Arlington at an organization that I’d already had two phone interviews with. John was using my dad’s truck, so I got to take the new car. #beepbeep

I don’t need to go into detail to tell you that it wasn’t for me. I had a lovely chat with the day program manager and told her I didn’t want to waste her time, I really wasn’t interested in the position. Or any position. She encouraged me to apply for jobs higher up in the company. I liked her a lot, but couldn’t picture myself at this facility 44 hours a week for barely more than minimum wage. No matter how meaningful the work may be.

I couldn’t get off the campus fast enough, in addition to not wanting the job, I was going to pick my cousin up for lunch. She works maybe 15 minutes away in Brighton, we hit one of our old hangouts, and I dropped her back off at work. I had to go to the airport. Again.

This time I knew what I had to do, so I drove to Southie first and dropped by the Customs office with the paper work that the nice lady from the Swissport cargo office had given me.

The guy working at the Customs office clearly didn’t see a lot of action. He made as many old man jokes as he could in the 5 minutes I was there, relishing the fact that someone had stopped by.

After a few perfunctory questions, the wise guy stamped my forms and sent me on my way.

Going to the airport this time was a cinch, I knew exactly where to go and I had the right forms. It was the same nice lady from the day before. She didn’t charge me storage, but she did charge me the $50 import fee that everyone has to pay. I had to pay to “import” shit I bought in the US to begin with.

I got out of the city before traffic began and stopped home quickly to let Romeo out and change. I headed for the FH to work out. I saw all my high school girls, followed my Spartan workout of the day (1:00 of each squats, plank, jump rope, burpees, and hanging leg raises, @ 4 rounds) and did some extra core.

Steve, the new Director of Sports Performance asked me to teach the Youth class, but I declined. I wanted to go home.

I headed home, cleaned up, and headed for my friend Lee’s house. She lived abroad, too, so we got to compare notes on how weird it is to come home after a long time away. We sat and chatted until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Luckily, she only lives a mile away.

John was just getting home when I pulled into the driveway and we both crashed.

Saturday

4/12/2014

I got up early enough to run 12 miles, shower, and get to my aunt’s house in Dedham by 11:30. I tried to get up earlier, but I just couldn’t. And I only ran 11.5 miles. I just couldn’t.

I showered, hit Cafe Fresh (not the same as Pic Nic!) and was in Dedham by 11:15. Not bad. My auntie Cheryl ran for selectman, and I promised to help on election day (I had conveniently missed many weekends of sign-holding in the sub-zero weather). It was a gorgeous day and I sat on their back porch calling every active female voter in Dedham, asking them to please vote for my aunt Cheryl. I got 99% voicemails, and a few children hung-up on me. All-in-all, it took me about 5 hours to call every woman, including a lunch break to Whole Foods.

Meg, her boyfriend, and our friend Sara had been out holding signs all afternoon. Meg and Tim came home to get ready for the post-election party. We were the first ones to head over to the Paradise Cafe, to make sure every was all set for the party. We waited around for what seemed like hours, the caterer came, a few friends came, Cheryl and Richard showed up, and the tallies came in. Dedham has 7 precincts, and the votes came in one at a time. There were eight people running for two selectman seats and everyone thought she was definitely going to get one. Well, probably.

The first few precincts came in, and she wasn’t doing well. Then her precinct came in (this one’s in the bag, right? Right?) and she didn’t do well there either. After all was said and done, she came in fifth. Bummer. We took a selfie with one of Dedham’s former finest, Bobby Winston, to try to cheer ourselves up.

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I said my goodbyes after that and headed home. John had just gotten home from the Revs game and we both promptly fell asleep.

Sunday

4/13/2014

Since I went to bed early, I got up pretty early. I made some gluten-free zucchini bread (with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour mix… which I don’t love and probably won’t buy again). John and I headed to FH, with a Starbucks pit stop on the way.

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This was only my second FH class since we got back, and Keith kicked my ass. I got to see him and Elizabeth, Jeremi, & Tracey. It was great. John watched some EPL games on the TV in the lobby.

We went home and John got ready to head to his soccer game while I took to cleaning and organizing. I had been a little stressed during the week, and aside from the dogs and having to share cars (and space) with my (extremely generous) parents, most of my stress was coming from living out of suitcases and boxes. And not knowing where anything was.

I needed more hangers, so after I cleaned myself up and ate, I headed over to Target. I also wanted a food processor, but they were out of the one I wanted so I went to Best Buy. But Best Buy only had really super expensive ones, so I went to (gasp) Walmart. Well, at least I knew I was back in American. Damn.

I found the one I wanted there and quickly left the store. One more stop at Trader Joe’s for groceries and then home. Oops, I forgot to get zucchini and tomatoes for sauce. I stopped once more at Shaw’s.

When I finally got home I was starving. John had just gotten home from his game, and my dad was home, too. My mom was in New York City visiting friends, so I made sauce for the boys. I offered to help my dad clean out the upstairs (the “dead relative room” it has been dubbed), but he declined and asked for help raking the lawn instead. So, after dinner John and I puts sneaks and jeans on and headed outside. I couldn’t remember the last time I raked a lawn, and decided it must have been at least 10 years prior.

After we spent a couple hours (maybe it was only one) cleaning up the front yard, we headed inside as it got dark. I made protein bars, peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, and meal prepped chicken and quinoa for the week. I didn’t use my new food processor because it turns out my parents had one. It was incredibly loud and the “off” button doesn’t work so you just have to keep un-plugging it. I fell asleep tired, but feeling accomplished.

Monday

4/14/2014

I am going to start working at a personal training studio in Newton Centre. They specialize in super slow, high intensity training, which is something I’ve never done before. I went in on Monday to observe the owner train her clients. I got up at 5:00 to have plenty of time to get coffee and be there for 6:30am.

I stopped at Cafe Fresh with my reusable iced coffee cup in tow, already containing some coconut creamer (Cafe Fresh only has milk or cream). It wasn’t my friend Fanny working, but another Egyptian man who’s English consists of “Cream and sugar?”. I handed him my cup and asked for hazelnut iced coffee, and since they only take cash, I turned to the ATM machine inside the cafe. When I turned back the man handed iced coffee. Black iced coffee. “Cream and sugar?” he asked, in his accented English. “No no no.” I said, “I had creamer in there. Did you wash it out?” He responded by asking again, “Cream and sugar?” This time I tried gesturing “Did you” and then while pretending to pour my cup “pour it out?” He responded this time by trying to take my cup, I think he thought I wanted more room in my cup. “NO NO NO!” I grabbed my cup, you’ve done enough.

I don’t know what I was trying to prove; getting him to admit that he’d poured my coconut creamer out (which was obviously the case) wouldn’t have put that non-dairy creamer back in my coffee. I really hoped that this coffee incident was not an indication of how my day was going to go. Luckily, it was not.

I really like the owner of this studio, and I really like her clients. After a few hours of observing and note-taking, I headed home to eat lunch and pick John up. I was going to have coffee with a former client, and John was going to FH.

We went to Sudbury Coffee Works where my friend was already waiting for me. It was so nice to see her and catch up, and after we sat for a while she dropped me off at fieldhouse. I left my stuff but then took off for a 5 mile run. It was over 70 degrees out and also pretty windy. When I got back I grabbed my stuff and took the car; I was going to pick my friend’s kid up at school and bring him to baseball practice. I stopped by her house first and grabbed her two younger ones and we headed to pick up her high school son. We grabbed him and his friend, dropped them off at practice, and the I dropped the younger ones off at home before returning to pick up John. This is a normal day.

John and I went home, ate leftovers and crashed.

Tuesday

4/15/2013

I got up at 6:00 to run by 7:00am. I threw 10 miles down, but slow. I showered, we got coffees, and John dropped me at Kate’s. She wasn’t home from FH yet, so I set about to reading her four pages of (decorated!) notes titled “Liza Rocks!”, she had thoughtfully left me her wifi password. Kate was going to New York for a few days for a funeral, so I was friendsitting.

She and Zaela came home around 11am. Z and I played in yard, had lunch, and talked a friend through a breakdown. Zaela was so wiped out that she actually fell asleep in my lap while I chatted away on speaker phone. I put her down to finish her nap and I worked on my blog. I got to catch up with two of my friends from Povoacao, Leila and her sister Daniela, on Skype.

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Zaela woke up cranky so we snuggled and watched some TV.

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Her brothers came home, we played for a little while, had dinner, and I let them watch the Lorax. Kate’s husband was coming home from a business trip and his flight kept getting delayed. I put the kids to bed and napped on the couch until Marc finally came home just before midnight. I drove Kate’s car home.

Wednesday

4/16/2014

I had to run before going back to Kate’s house, and Amy said she could run at 5:00am. So, even though I had time to run later, I decided I would rather run with Amy. I got up at 4:30am and there was SNOW on the ground!

It had been 60 degrees when I got home after midnight, so even though Amy warned me it was going to be cold, and maybe flurries, I was still shocked. Luckily Amy wears a flashing vest and a headlamp, because I work all black. #iamaninja

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When I got home (5:55am) John was already at FH.

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We ran 5 through the slush and I headed home to shower, eat, and head to Kate’s. I picked Zaela up from the neighbor, we played for a little while, and then I took her to the library for Wee Reads. Kate said I could take her wherever I wanted to, and that included Target for more hangers, so I figured I would take her to do a fun kid activity before I made her do adult errands with me. It seemed only fair.

I saw my friend Andy Bower at the library (I always use his whole name when I refer to him—I don’t know why. I have another friend, Matt Ryan, that I do this to, too.) Wee Reads turns out to be a sing along that Zaela just loves. She is really good at animal sounds and that was the theme that day. The best one is her dog sound. She doesn’t “bark” or “ruff” but she pants.

I took her to Target afterwards with me to get more hangers and she was great. We went home to have lunch and nap. Liam came home from his friend’s house, we got in the car and ready to go so that when Sam got off the bus at 3:45pm he could get in the car, too, and we could make it to the FH by 4:00pm for flag football.

During the time between when Liam got home (3:30pm) and the time we got in the car (3:40pm), Liam lost his ninjago helmet (Ninja + lego = ninjago). The helmet belonged to a ninjago he had borrowed from the friend who dropped him off. We couldn’t find it, so I told him we would look more when we got home.

Zaela lost it when we got to the FH, screaming, running, and batting her eyelashes at Jay and John. Liam couldn’t even enjoy himself because he was stricken with guilt over the lost helmet. Sam made an interception at flag football, but we missed it.

We were going to sit at Sudbury Pizza for dinner, but it was too much. We picked up instead and took dinner home, where we ate in front of the TV. The ninjago helmet never surfaced, I tried to put Zaela down early to help Liam look for it, but the jig was up. She knew it was too early and screamed her little heart out until I picked her back up. Maybe ten minutes later we went for round two; with three books in the rocking chair first. She went down without a peep. Are you smarter than a twenty-month-old?

Marc came home at 6:00pm but left again at 6:45 for a T-ball meeting. The boys were still up when he got home again at 8:00pm. Sam had just finished his homework and Liam was drawing and coloring. John picked me up, drove me home, and I passed out.

Thursday

4/17/2014

I couldn’t shadow in Newton on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I was back again Thursday. Luckily, the schedule had changed and the day didn’t start until 7:00am. We also had a few breaks in clients, so the owner brought me through a workout. When we were done at 11:30am, I went for my run through Newton Centre and down Comm Ave, on the marathon route.

I stopped at Trader Joe’s on my way home to grab avocados and ground turkey to make burgers for lunch. I ran into a girl I went to high school with who happens to be living with her parents around the corner from my parents. We said we would be in touch. We said we’d make plans. We probably won’t.

I got home and made lunch for me and John and then drove John to Haskell field so he could observe his first Revs Academy practice. He is going to coach for them and was supposed to observe Tuesday and Wednesday, but because of the rain and the snow, both days the fields had been closed and practices cancelled. After I dropped him off I headed to TJ Maxx where I bought socks and a work shirt. I stopped at Shaw’s, too, and grabbed some veggies. I got halfway home before I realized I hadn’t grabbed bagels or boost for John. Damnit.

I cleaned and unpacked some more, folded and put laundry away, before I headed back out to Shaw’s and CVS. I picked John up at the fields and we headed to FH. John was coaching a mini-clinic for the varsity boys’ basketball team and I worked out. I had been staying away from legs, but since my runs were getting shorter I figured it was an OK time to throw some more legs into my routines.

When John was done we headed home. I was planning on grilling chicken and veggies but then the grill ran out of propane, so I made everything inside on skillets and saucepans and I set the smoke alarms off. Boa noite.

 

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Saturday

4/5/2015

I decided to save my 14-miler for the next day. John and I were completely wide awake by 6:00am, as was Romeo. We took our time getting ready and then headed over to the FH. Jay wasn’t surprised to see us, he knew we would be there, but he was still excited. We saw Frankie, too, who wasn’t surprised and is hardly ever excited.

Then we had our first real greeting. Kate Rosenbaum (remember that ridiculous care package??) came stampeding into the lounge and jumped on John while screaming. It was my turn next, and she kept going back and forth until she was able to calm down. Well, calm enough to take a picture. Best.Greeting.Ever.

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Two other guys, Brett and Marc, showed up along with a woman who started at FH after we left. I almost vomited, but pulled through. Sled pushes, bungee broad jumps, and resisted runs. Burpees, ball slams, upright rows, plate swings, DB bench, and push ups. This is for fun?

We hung out for a little while after and waited for one more surprise. A family that John and I are really close with were in for a surprise. My friend Carrie hadn’t told her daughter, Grace, that we were home. She told Grace she had a physical therapy appointment at FH, but when she showed up, this happened:

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After we enjoyed our homecoming, we went out for a big fat American breakfast with Frankie. Our waitress told John she liked his accent (what?) and I ordered every kind of meat you can, with eggs and hash browns. My phone died, otherwise I would have taken a picture. John got a fat stack of pancakes and I had a bad cup of black diner coffee. Home sweet home.

Frankie dropped us off and we got ready to go check out some cars. We weren’t planning on buying one that day, but after going to two dealerships we found one we liked. A manager made us an offer a few hundred dollars below what John and I had set as our bottom line for that car, so we took it. We put down a deposit on a 2010 Mazda CX-7 and set off for the airport to see about our bags that had shipped cargo.

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When I asked the SATA representative who made my reservation via email a few weeks back, she said I could pick up our bags “a few hours later or the next day”. We weren’t interested in hanging around the airport Friday night (especially with Romeo) so we decided to try for the next day. John had called them while we were in the car and the lady on the phone told him to just go to the cargo area at the airport. Our bags were there, she said.

Turns out there are two cargo areas: north cargo and south cargo. After following the signs for north cargo (gotta start somewhere) until there were no more signs and we couldn’t find a building, we turned around and followed the signs for south cargo. We saw jetblue cargo, united cargo, and finally TAP Portugal cargo (not technically SATA but they are partners). We couldn’t find the door for TAP, so we asked someone in the parking lot wearing a reflective vest and he directed us towards the swissport office, because, well, obviously.

I went inside the dingy hallway inside the warehouse into a side office and was greeted by an incredibly overweight and less-than-helpful man. He recruited help from an equally overweight female, who told me my bags hadn’t cleared customs yet and to just “wait a few days” for them to clear. Sounded good to me. I hopped back in the car and John and I set off to drive home.

It should only be a 40 minute ride home, but they are doing construction in the Pru tunnel. I totally forgot! Two hours later, I was practically eating my arm, we stopped at Stop n’ Shop in Framingham so I could buy enough food to have sauce for dinner (the kind in the jar, which doesn’t take like my homemade..shocking). We ran home and I cooked as fast as I could. We ate and immediately went to sleep.

Sunday

4/6/2014

I got up and got dressed to run. I had to borrow a fleece headband from my mom because I didn’t have anything to wear running in the 37F weather. I headed out and my toes froze immediately.

I ran 3.5 miles to the Sudbury Starbucks where I met Kate. She and I threw down 8 together and I peeled off to run home at 11.5. She went to meet Jay, who is also running that 200-mile relay in May, and she’s been trying to get him geared up for it.

I ended up finishing 15 miles instead of 14, and at a good pace, thanks to Kate. I crawled inside to shower and get ready; we had to be in Manchester-by-the-sea by 12:30pm. John was coaching a clinic. John had gone to the FH to get some equipment for the clinic while I was running. He got to see Keith, Elizabeth, Matt, Amy, and all their kids. I was really jealous.

We stopped at Sudbury Pizza on the way, and while Dimitri was excited to see us, it was not as good as the greeting we knew we’d get from Stella. He gave John his pizza on the house as a welcome home gift.

We ended up getting to Manchester ridiculously early. I helped John unload my mom’s Subaru (ballin’!), talked to a few other coaches, and then I left him on his own. I headed to see my best friend Anna and her girlfriend Wendy in East Boston. We went out to have Australian food by the water and they took me to the Promised Land: TJ Maxx.

I bought a hair dryer, clippers for John (I know, I know..another pair?), gluten-free cookies and a donut pan. We got back in the car and headed back to their apartment. I grabbed my mom’s keys and drove back up to Manchester.

I got there early and John only had 6 girls. The clinic was split into two sessions and John later told me he had over 50 kids in the first group and it had been a disaster. He had a great time with the second, and older, group, made some good money, and is planning on running a few more clinics for this club.

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We packed up his gear and headed for Wakefield. We were going to have dinner with our friends Keith, Nicole, and their now almost-nine-month-old son, Alex. When we left, he was not even three months.

After playing with Alex for a while and catching up with his parents, we decided to go out for Chinese food. Nicole called her sister who came over to babysit. The four of us hopped into Keith’s truck and drove to the restaurant. We love Keith and Nicole. We love Chinese food. It is weird to be home, but we’re enjoying it so far.

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John and I played rock-paper-scissors to see who was driving home. I lost but John drove home anyway because I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.

When we were 10 minutes from being home I realized I hadn’t heard from Frankie about the U-haul he was supposed to get for us from his friend. I texted him and he hadn’t gotten it—he had forgotten. I couldn’t even imagine leaving the house again to go get it, but sure enough, 45 minutes later he was depositing it into our driveway. Thank you, Frankie. I couldn’t even get out of bed to say it to his face. #jetlag

Monday

4/7/2014

I got up at 4:36am. My alarm was set for either 4:45am or 5:00am, but I woke up early. After I had a snack and some green tea, I hopped in my U-haul to head to Starbies. I met some of the RunHens (Amy, Kate, Jenn) for their usual 5:45am, 5-mile run. Because one of the girls is recently pregnant they ran slower than usual. We finished with a 9:00 pace. #thisisslow ?

Two days in a row of not running alone and I was feeling extremely fortunate. This time I doubled up my socks so my toes wouldn’t freeze. We stopped into Starbucks for coffees post-run and then I headed home. John wanted to work out at 8:00am, but after my 15-miler, and the other 5, I was struggling. I showered and we both went to FH. I foam rolled and chatted with our friends. We saw a few more familiar faces and got some of the warmest greeting. I’ll tell you; nothing makes you feel more loved and appreciated than leaving for a while and then coming back.

After John worked out and we saw a few more friends (Sarah, Ofelia, Tricia, Rhonda, Linda, Dave!) we went home so John could get ready. We had to go finalize paying for the car so we could pick it up, and then we were heading to New Hampshire to get our stuff from John’s mom’s house. We were Facebook messaging with Carla, so John and I sent her silly pictures. You know, so she remembers what she’s missing.

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We stopped at DCU and then drove to the dealership. The sales woman was giving me the run-around about when I could pick the car up, because they were fixing some scratches on the bumper. From there, it only took us an hour to get up to Deerfield (even driving 60MPH).

We were worried we would miss John’s niece and nephews because they don’t usually get home from school until 2:45pm, but his sister Kati had picked them up from school early so we could see them. When we arrived just after 12:30pm they were there. And I was starving. We ate leftover Chinese food that John’s mom and her husband had ordered for dinner. #americanfoodcravings

John’s niece, Sierra, disappeared when we went to load up the U-haul. John’s youngest nephew, Justin, took a header off the U-haul ramp and was down for the count. We were down two workers and we hadn’t even started. John’s Grandma lended a hand, so that was helpful.

We only grabbed boxes marked CLOTHES or KITCHEN, and then also our dressers (one—mine—was covered in mildew and we were only taking it to throw it away) and a rug. My dad thought we should’ve just taken his truck, but in fact, the U-haul wasn’t that excessive after all. Except for the dresser, and my rug that smelled like horse barn (not really unexpected), all our stuff was in excellent condition. Just a little dusty.

We drove home to unload, taking one pit stop to see my cousin and her dog. After unloading the U-haul, John and Frankie returned it and went to see Captain American in iMax. I ate leftover Chinese food (again? I no longer remember missing this), unpacked some bins, moved some furniture with my dad, hung our rug up to air out, and went to bed.

Tuesday

4/8/2014

Romeo woke me up at 5:45am to go out. I got up again for real at 6:30am. For the third day in a row I had a running buddy: Ofelia. I had breakfast, and texted with Ofelia about the rain. She told me she was out if it was raining, and I told her I would be at her house at 8:30am either way. I ran the 4.25 miles to Ofelia’s house, all but one of which were dry. The last mile to Ofelia’s house the sky opened and it poured. By the time I got to Ofelia’s I didn’t even care if she was coming, I was ready to run straight home. She came outside with her raincoat on and we ran 3.25 together, and the rain mostly stopped. I dropped her back off and finished my last 1.5 to the Fieldhouse. Nine miles.

When I arrived at the FH around 9:15am, I was soaking wet and shivering. John was there to workout and he gave me his sweatshirt. I was also warmed by the hugs of people I hadn’t seen yet; Erica, Katie, Heidi, Kim. Zaela and I were reunited but it took her a while to decide if she was happy about that.

August:

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I hung out with Kate while she ran childcare in the brand new childcare room that she and Jay made while we were gone. When I ran childcare, we hung out on the basketball court floors. And tried not to let kids commit accidental suicide on the bleachers. #newandimproved

John and I finally left around 10:30 and I was frozen. After I showered I began sorting through our six months of junk mail. John and I headed out to finalize our auto insurance, get lunch, and grab some groceries. When we walked into Sudbury Pizza, Stella acted like we hadn’t seen her in a year. Another incredibly warm welcome, accompanied by the most delicious grilled chicken salad. And more pizza for John. After we caught up with Stella, and told her about our plans to visit Greece (“Oh my god! My country!”) we stopped to get a few groceries before going home to grab my dad.

Since we didn’t have our car yet, we were still relying on the generosity of my parents (which, fortunately for us, is basically unending). We went home, changed, dropped my dad at work, and then headed for the FH. I got to see our GM, Denise, for the first time. I also got to see Mel and Kathleen from All Access. I missed Mel a lot, but we didn’t get to catch up since she was with a patient.

I worked out but John watched a soccer game. I got to see my Ashira, who I didn’t get to see on Saturday. She knew I was home but I still got a pretty good reaction from her. After we sat and talked for a while, and facetimed her sister Alisha, I got to working out. I am staying away from legs at all costs until the Nike Women’s Marathon in a few weeks so I stuck to core.

Carrie, Grace, and Carlos stopped by so it took me at least twice as long to work out because I kept stopping to talk. I got to see Jody and Alex, two other high school athletes who worked with me before I left. Coach Brewster, and Jen and her son Drew. Jen put this picture on my wall not long after we left in October. Sometimes, if I didn’t have very many kids, I would move them from the basketball courts to my office during childcare. #informal

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We left so I could get ready to have dinner with my friend, Jessie. Krista was supposed to come, too, but she had gotten the stomach bug. John dropped me at Acapulco’s before going to pick my dad up.

Thankfully, Jessie gave up alcohol for a month. I was planning have a big fat margarita, but I wasn’t going to drink alone. We got all caught up on the last six months of each others’ lives and I asked her to drive me home before my forehead hit the table.

When I got home John was already at his soccer game in Fenway. The first thing my dad said when I walked in the door was “Romeo ran away.” Ok. “He’s still gone,” Oh.

My dad and I got into his truck to search the neighborhood. He and John had already done so, and he had already looked in the woods behind our house with Nyla (my parent’s German Shepherd). We did that, too, after our drive around the ‘hood wasn’t a success.

I decided to call it quits after that. What more could we do? He had his collar on and my mom had called animal control. Either someone would find him, or not, but it was too dark to see anything. We would have to wait until the morning.

I got into bed with the house phone and my cell phone next to me, but my dad and Nyla waited downstairs, “For just a few more minutes,” my dad said. About 10 minutes after I laid down, my cell phone rang. It was Home Again, the microchip company. Someone had found Romeo! He was not far away. But he had eaten one of their small pets. They ended up telling their daughter, whose pet it was, that it had run away. I felt terrible and offered to buy another one, but they kindly declined. They are very, very, nice people. In fact, as my dad and I pulled into their driveway to retrieve Romeo, knowing what he had done, my dad said “Oh, no…. Not these people. They are so nice.” Yes, they are so nice. And Romeo is such a douche bag.

John’s phone had died, so when he got home at 11:30pm the first thing he said was, “Is Romeo home?”

Wednesday

4/9/2014

I got up at 6:00am and prepared for my first solo run since I’d been home. I brought my phone and listened to my Carrie Underwood station and ran to Starbucks to meet Carrie. I saw some DPW workers cleaning up the leaves on my way. One of them stopped and waved. I think it was Frankie, but he was covered head to toe—all I could see was a little bit of bald head between hood and sunglasses. I waved back and called out, “Bom Dia!” Seven miles.

I got there before Carrie and ran into one of our old FH clients who has checked out a few other facilities since she left us a little more than a year ago. She discovered recently she loves CrossFit and encouraged John and I to apply to work at one next to FH. She also insisted I let her know where John and I “ended up”. #fieldhouseyouremyhome

Carrie and I chatted for over an hour before she drove me to the Fieldhouse, but it’s never enough time. She dropped me off at FH where John was finishing up the 9:00am class. He had offered to teach that morning and Jay had obliged him. I got to see a few more adults we hadn’t seen yet but had to leave quickly to pick up my dad for work. We took him to the Post Office and the super market, and then dropped him off at work.

We stopped at Coffee Works and John asked if I wanted to sit and drink it there. Sit down? And drink? Oh, like at Pic Nic. We tried.

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We went home where I filed our taxes, showered, and headed back out. I had an interview in Newton at 3:15pm.

I had emailed back and forth with the owner of this personal training studio while I was away and she had asked me to come in when I got back. It is only a mile down the road from our old apartment, so I drove by and even stopped by my old Whole Foods before I found a parking spot in Newton Centre right across from the studio.

The owner was lovely, we had a nice conversation, and she asked me to begin shadowing the next day. I told her we didn’t have our car yet, and that Monday would work better for me. Great! She said, you can start then. #isthisajob?

I drove home only to pick John up and head back out again (see how different our life is?). I was babysitting for a friend right near where my dad works. John and I hung out with the kids for a while and then John took off to pick up my dad. The kids had hot dogs for dinner, so I taught them how to say “one more hot dog, please” in Portuguese, you know, so I could practice. Mais um cachorro, por favor. I also practiced my body parts on the youngest, Zaela (20 months), rabo rabo rabo, with pats on her behind.

Mom & Dad got home around 8:00pm and Kate and I went to pick up John at the FH (when he picked my dad up earlier, John asked him to drop him off there. He didn’t know where else to go). We scooped him up and Kate drove us both home. Thankfully, we were going to pick our car up the next day.

Thursday

4/10/2014

To say that integrating Romeo into Nyla’s home has been stress-free would be an outright lie. Today was my mother’s birthday and we began it by yelling at each other in the yard over the dogs. I took Romeo for a 5 mile run and my mom and I hugged it out when I got home. #homelife

I did a living room workout with the one set of adjustable dumbbells John and I own. I also posted a workout to ALKE Fitness’ Facebook page. I will try to keep doing this at least once a week for my ladies there.

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When I got back, after my mom and I made up, I showered and Krista came over. She and I had plans to get lunch. We took John to, of course, the FH and then headed off to Chipotle. I only had a few more American Food Cravings left to satisfy: Lee Chen’s and sushi.

We also wandered around Homegoods and Target, and then stopped by the new house she just bought (but isn’t living in yet) to empty her car out. She had offered to lend us her car to go pick our car up, but we also had to get our bags at the airport. #thankfulforgoodfriends

After we checked out her new house, we went to her work (which is also where my dad works). I took her car and grabbed John at FH, and we drove to the airport to attempt to pick up our bags for the second time.

This time we knew where to go, so that part was easy. This time a different, even more overweight, woman helped us. She told me my bags were still stuck in customs. Really? She also told me they don’t “just clear” if you “wait a few days” as the other woman had instructed me to do. The cargo warehouse also starts charging you STORAGE after a certain number of days. Luckily this woman was nice and way more helpful so she said she’d make a note not to charge us and told us how to clear our bags through customs.

Turns out I would’ve had to have gone to this office in the first place anyway. She gave me the forms I needed to take to the Customs office in South Boston and a set of directions to get there. I told her we would go the next day because I was not sitting in traffic. We were going to get our new car and go home before rush hour.

We took our forms and headed for the dealership, and on the way sat in traffic (of course). When we got to the dealership we waited half an hour for our sales woman to get our car off the roof (even though we told her we’d be there at three). When she brought it down it had a REJECTION STICKER and SCRATCHES on the back of the car. Now, the rejection sticker is because she had to jump start the car when we test drove it, so the computer reset. After we drive it 100 miles we can take it again, free of charge, and it will (should?) pass.

The SCRATCHES were on the car when we test drove it, but I had pointed them out and she had said, “Oh, we’ll fix that.” She had written it into our sales agreement. Only what I hadn’t realized was that she only wrote that the dealership would repair the “bumper” but failed to include the door. I told her exactly what I thought about that and gave myself a headache yelling at her. Not OK.

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I told John he could drive the new car and I would drive Krista’s Jetta home. Of course I followed him, so all I could see were those un-fixed scratches STARING at me, MOCKING me while we drove home. #thisisnotmyday

We stopped at Krista’s work to drop off her car, then Sudbury Farms to grab a fruit salad, a mini cake, and flowers for my mom’s birthday dinner. We went home where I made a giant veggie dish and my dad grilled steak and salmon. My mom came home and we feasted. My mom and I ate fruit salad and John and my dad split the mini Boston Cream Pie.

John and I took Romeo for a little joy ride in the new car. I had calmed down. A little.

Boston?

Day One Hundred Eighty One (um cento oitenta e um)

Friday (Sexta-feira)

4 Abril 2014

our last day

I got up early so I could still get my 5-miler in. John and I finished packing and then walked over to ALKE to say our goodbyes. John said the only time he got choked up at all was when he said goodbye to Ernesto.

October:

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April:IMG_0225

We also said goodbye to Alexandre, Vitor, Saozinha (at the gym already!), and Marcy (the one who gave me eggs). We walked down to Pic Nic to meet Ken for our last cafes. Leila came, and then Lina and Carla showed up, too. We all walked back to our apartment to say our final goodbyes.

We gave Carla back our keys and everyone said goodbye to Romeo. We brought our bags outside just as Pedro was pulling up. We piled Romeo’s crate and our bags into the backseat, and I made Ken take one last picture of us.

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Pedro drove us to the airport in the Mira Mar van through the Azorean drizzle that had begun somewhere in Furnas. We pulled up to the airport right at 1:00pm, exactly two hours before we were supposed to take off. As soon as we hopped out of the van to start unloading the bags, I heard over the loud speaker: “ELEEZA DOODY, please report to gate number 11 immediately. ELEEZA DOODY, please report to gate number 11 IMMEDIATELY.”

I left John, Romeo, and Pedro on the sidewalk and ran inside to find out what the problem was—I was so worried it had something to do with Romeo and our flight. As soon as I ran in the door, I started scanning for gate number 11. But what I saw first was the lady who had helped me with my cargo bags on Wednesday, standing with a large SATA employee in a reflective vest. “Is everything OK?” I asked, breathily.

Oh, miss I am so sorry. I am new to this job,” she began, apologetically, “I forgot to ask you a few questions. And can I make a copy of your ID card?” She and the other man deemed my license and passport sufficient for that job. The other question? “How much are your belongings worth?” I couldn’t even tell you what I told her, it really seemed irrelevant. While she went to make a copy of my IDs I ran outside to tell John and Pedro that everything was ok. I hugged Pedro goodbye and we wheeled our bags, and Romeo inside his crate on a cart, inside.

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I retrieved my IDs from my Wednesday friend, she apologized a few more times, and then we made our way to check-in. One lady took John to weigh Romeo inside of his crate while another lady checked me in. She weighed my one checked-bag: 1.8kgs overweight, “Oh no! Can I take something out?” I asked, “Don’t worry,” she replied. She also tagged our carry-ons and gave me a ticket for Romeo and my one checked-bag, which I was to take to another desk to pay. Romeo weighed in at 39kgs (anything over 23 is considered “overweight”) but she didn’t charge me extra for that either. What I thought was going to be a 450 bill was only 270. Not bad.

We dropped Romeo off at oversized baggage, where John took him out of the crate so they could x-ray it. John secured Romeo back inside, and we went off to go through security ourselves.

On the way out the door earlier, my Chinese store boots broke. Well, just the zipper-holder on one of them. I couldn’t get them off to go through security, so I left them on, knowing that they would set off the sensor and I would get patted down (worse things had happened). They set the metal detector off (four zippers!), a lady came over and violently patted me down, it was practically a crevice exam, and then used a wand, and then made me take my boots off anyways. Really? At least she gave me a paper clip to use. Obrigada.

We sat down at the one cafe and waited for our flight. I bought 60 bags of Gorreana cha verde with our last few euro. I got stopped by border control because I didn’t have a visa. Yes, I know I overstayed my 90 day tourist visa, but I’m going to play dumb because I’m leaving today. No one bothered John, but so far I’d been patted down and yelled at. The man gave me my passport back and warned me, “Next time, get a visa.” Sir, yes, sir.

We took off a few minutes late but mostly made up the time. We filled out our customs forms before we landed and deplaned without event. We got out forms stamped, retrieved our one checked-bag and Romeo, and headed for the US Dept. of Agriculture with Romeo in his crate. John had asked me if he should check off “animal” on the customs form as something we were transporting, “No.” I said, “he’s not a livestock or a bird.” But the guy at the USDA said we should have checked the box. Oops. He made a joke about Romeo being federal property before letting us go about our business. Romeo didn’t have to go through the X-ray machine, but our carry-ons and checked-bag did. I freaked out as we were going through because you’re not allowed to transport fruit or seeds and I had a banana in my bag. Oops. John accused me of being difficult to travel with but then he lost our customs forms. A few minutes later, when we found them inside his pocket he apologized. We were so ready to be home.

By the time we got outside my parents were waiting and we piled in. I broke Romeo’s crate because I was too anxious to get it in the car, and we hadn’t taken all the screws out yet. We sat in a little traffic on the pike, ordered Gianni’s, and once we got home and unloaded the car, my dad and I went back out to pick it up. We ate and crashed. #doesntfeelrealyet

Day Twenty Seven… the Red Sox won?

Day Twenty Seven (vigesimo setimo dia)

Usually, Wednesdays are my “off” day from running and working out because we go to Ponta Delgada, but we’re not going this week. I got up and took Romeo out for a run with me. I was just going to take him for the first 1.8 (long loop) but, I was feeling generous so I took him for all 3.0. John and the boys really weren’t going to the gym today, so I decided to go before my class that night.

Romeo tried to “play with” [attack] a pelican, but other than that, our run was uneventful.

John and Ken needed to plan their practice for the juniors, which was funny to listen to because they don’t know all their names yet: “the blonde kid”, “that kids who plays in the back, but is really a midfielder”, etc. Bobby and I talked about student loans, and his impending departure date. Bobby also brought me a bag of over-ripe bananas so I can make them some bread. It’s not exactly the same as I make at home, and I haven’t been able to find baking soda, but it’s still good. John and Ken have to decide at practice who is going to start the game on Saturday. After this Pic-Nic meeting, John and I went home to drop the bananas off, and then went on a hiking adventure.

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There is a tiny little street behind the bombeiros (fire station) next to Barraca (super market). It takes you up behind lomba do botao. I’ve been talking in excess about the incline here. This is what is looks like, check out the angle of my feet:

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The view is worth the ascent (isn’t it always?). We hike up for about 30 minutes. Along the way we see vaca (cow), um cavalo (one malnourished horse), and hydrangea. I love hydrangeas. We saw Aloe plants, and other succulents, John’s complex, dilapidated houses and lots and lots of ocean.

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IMG_0381Here is Mira Mar’s complex

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IMG_0384 IMG_0386 IMG_0387 IMG_0389Somewhere along the way, John obtained a walking stick. He got one for me, too, but I ditched it for the descent.

We began to see a few houses, so we knew we were getting close to lomba do botao. We turned around and began our descent. When I went running this morning, I thought it was a beach day: so hot and sunny, and only a little muggy. About an hour later it was already clouding up. The view from atop would have been better with less clouds, but it was still linda—beautiful.

At the bottom, we decided to grab those cookies I had forgotten yesterday and so we stopped at Barraca. We headed home to have lunch. We have fruit flies everywhere: I discovered shortly after we arrived in Povoacao that because we leave our doors open we cannot leave our fruit out. All our produce goes in the fridge. This seemed to basically clear up our problem, however today, they seemed to be back with a vengeance. We looked around, but couldn’t see any food that was open, except the potatoes. Fruit flies don’t like potatoes? I questioned rather than stated. Apparently, they do. John went through them and tossed the ones that had been attacked, and now everything we have is closed or refridgerated. A small price to pay for having our doors (we don’t have any windows, save for the one lone skylight upstairs) wide open two days before November. There is no indication that we will have colder weather anytime soon. We hear it rain often at night, but by 9 or 10am, it has cleared.

I had an egg and ham sandwich for lunch. One, beacuse they are delicious, and two, we have a LOT of eggs.

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I headed off to the gym early, stopping by Ken&Bobby’s to drop off half a loaf of banana bread and grab Bobby’s speaker (even exchange? It’s gotta be close). The gym was nearly empty. I did back squats to military presses, tricep cable throw downs to staggered push-ups, and goblet squats to pull-ups. I foam rolled (is there really controversy over self myofascial release?) because my legs are so sore from hill running and mountain hiking.

IMG_0397Banana bread pre-bake: experimented with putting Chocapic cereal in one half.

I headed up to Toronto Nights and found a very tired looking Lina—she felt as though she had the flu. Not everyone speaks English, and the ones who don’t mostly understand me. I had Sao and Judite to help me translate, and I even learned a few new words and phrases. Without Lina, I had 16 women. Tessa and her friend Yiza showed up and even invited me to a party they are having Friday night. I have plans to go to dinner with Lina, Carla, and Paula—they call it their “Desperate Housewives” night—but I may join them after. They told me I could bring my friends, and I assumed they meant John and Ken&Bobby. One of the diehards in my class, Sao, who grew up in New Bedford, told me her son (who is currently living in New Bedford) told her to tell me that the Red Sox are “wicked awesome” and that he thinks they will win tonight. My heart ached just a little.

I headed home to Skype with my other family: the Luccheses. They caught me up on all-things-Sudbury and Carlos showed his face repping the Red Sox on his shirt, who won the World Series tonight for the first time at Fenway in 95 years. I haven’t been homesick at all, but I seriously wish I was in home in Boston for that.

Day Twenty Five… I have a hero, and her name is Jackie.

Day Twenty Five (vigesimo cinco dia)… I have a hero, and her name is Jackie.

Day three sans-GPS watch, but I’m not running so it’s OK. We decided to go to ALKE Fitness a little later (30 minutes) than usual so we would miss the crowd, since we both had to shower there. Ken&Bobby met us, too. As soon as we walked in, Ernes said he had a surprise for us. He said he knew we liked music, so he gave us a music magazine in it’s cellophane wrapper. “Just kidding,” he said, taking it away. Ernes has a very dry sense of humor. Then he handed us the package from home we’ve been waiting two weeks for!! He also bought a giant bag of protein for John, Ken, and Bobby.

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My legs were sore from my lomba running on Sunday, so after I warmed up a little with the jump rope, I sat down with my friend Foam Roller.

We did each superset three times:

  • 15 Goblet squats
  • 30 Deaccel jump rope
  • 15 DB bench
  • John: 30 plyo push-ups, Liza: 15 Burpees w/push-up
  • John: 15 SB roll-outs, Liza: 15 hanging leg raises
  • John: 30 hanging rot. knee tucks, Liza: 30 alt. V-ups

Ken&Bobby (among other things) did tire flips and decline push-ups outside.

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We showered and headed home to drop our 5 litre water containers that Lina and Ernes fill up for us and the package from home off. I also forgot an important article of clothing when I packed my bag for the gym, and I didn’t want to sit down at Pic-Nic without them. We went home and immediately opened up our package. Of course, this is the first thing we see:

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Thanks, Dad. By the time we got this, the Sox are tied in the World Series.

There was PB (thank goodness), dove soap, and proactiv for us. My dad took care of Romeo, equally.

IMG_0346 IMG_0347 IMG_0350Is that Game of Thrones playing on my MacBook?

John immediately scooped some PB into his protein shake and we were off to Pic-Nic for a galao. It’s Monday, so after coffee we went shopping at Fatima’s under the boys’ apartment on Mira Mar’s tab.

John continues to be obsessed with Game of Thrones (until he finished Season three). I cleaned the apartment, and headed back to ALKE for my class. This one was my biggest yet. I had 17 women at the beginning of the warm-up, which was good since I was set up for 18. A few minutes later, Tessa and her friend Yiza (pronounced: Shiza) show up. It messed me up a little, but we were able to make-do. Nineteen women!

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It’s hard to run a class this big in a small space with no equipment, but everyone works hard and has fun. I have been trying to change things up as best I can, and the ladies appreciate all of it.

IMG_0355We also started and ended with a 1:00 plank.

When I got home, I finished making dinner. Tonight was a big deal for John: he was asked to be the head coach for the Junior team (kids are between 14 and 18). John asked Ken to assist him and tonight was their first practice. I made frango (chicken) the only way I have made it: with a caramelized onion, arroz, and frozen veggies. John loves it. The kids already love John (he has been doing their strength, conditioning, and agility training since August), and are excited to have him as a coach.

After dinner, John returned to watching Game of Thrones and I read. Then my phone went off and I couldn’t believe my eyes… I thought I was imagining things. My hero appeared, and her name was Jackie:

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I was so excited! I cancelled my order with amazon.co.uk for £120 which works out to be $200. I don’t even care how long it takes that watch to get to me. I am so grateful I have friends like Jackie and Gunter (who happen to have an extra one laying around). Jackie’s sister Nikki has been trying in earnest to hook me up with a new free one from Nike (which is, in fact, how I obtained my first one).

 IMG_0083Me, too. Me, too.

John has suffered from borderline insomnia since we’ve been here. I am oblivious; I went to sleep a happy girl.