Friday, January 25, 2008

Running to Canada, Week Two

So I decided, even though I still don't feel great, to do the run up the hills run in my neighborhood. I had never measured it and now that I have my Garmin all I have to do is push Start and it measures the route for me.
The up-the-hills starts uphill on Bennett,
followed by uphill on 181st,
followed by uphill on Fort Washington,
then there is a gentle downer to the bottom of the next set of hills.
You get the idea.
You run out behind the Cloisters and through the woods to.
.... the bottom of Bennett.
From there back to the start is one mile of constant up.
Makes my face red. Heartrate 165bpm

2.63 miles.... that was enough for me in the cold. 33F and 13mph North winds.
On the Long Run now puts me on the famous Boston Road.

It's Highway One, folks, the road traveled by the likes of Adams and Franklin and Washington. I intend to follow Highway 1 for as long as I can or until my friend George passes me going the other way, (He's running to Georgia, of course, then I will shift North to run through the hills of my hometown and beyond.
14.2 miles for the year, yeesh.

Joe(good thing I'm in for the long run.)Nation

Officium iudicum habemus

Day one.
The same movie which we saw five years ago starring the now deceased Ed Bradley. Many urgent pleas for understanding how they understand how inconvenient this whole process is and many heartfelt thanks in advance for being here.
Long wait. Borrowed a pen. NYT crossword.
First selection process.
Judge has laryngitis.
Talks anyway for twenty minutes about how they all understand ... .
No one sitting on the end of a row is ever called, persons in the middle are always called. Exits for lack of English, Dr's confirmation of inability to sit for an hour and one person claiming inability to be fair considering the charges.

First break
11:30 - 2:15
Freezing. Wind chill must be in the teens which must it really hard for the guys to stand in the fish shops. The wind is blowing in from the North. Woman arguing over the price of a box of snow crabs. Huge shrimp for $6 a pound. Live crab, beautiful fish... Went to the Chinese Bank for cash and then walked to Mulberry to grab some Italian. One sign that the restaurante is Italian is if the waiters are grousing in Arabic. I went down to La Bella Ferrara for some pizza.

The waitress was a clone of the actress in My Cousin Vinny, a New York Italian girl. I had a glass of what they called Merlot Borgate.... Not good,.... okay... good after the second sip, but really, not good.
Very glad in be in out of the cold.
I ordered the Napolitana with a little pepperoni. Very nice REAL pizza. Nothing fancy, just pie.
The radio is playing over the PA, some station which only plays hits from the seventies.
One glass of wine has made me glassy-eyed.
I walked back to the courthouse by a different route. Exploring, trying to remember if I had ever been on a certain street before, looking for a seafood shop with lobsters. Found one. Three lobsters $10.

A blast of ammonia in the men's room (the cleaning kind, not the uretic acid knd) helped to wake me up, not that the walk back to the courthouse in the brilliant clear frigid sunshine didn't already.

We sit in the hallway waiting for 2:15.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Running to Canada

I'm running to Canada.

It's going to be a virtual run starting at Central Park and proceeding vaguely North through my hometown of Manchester, Connecticut and maybe Holyoke,Massachusetts for reasons that will become clearer later and then to Montreal or some other nearby place about 500 miles from Central Park. Then I will run back.

I will stop on New Year Eve.

So far, it has been a bad month for running.

I am only just off the island of Manhattan and into the Bronx.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Blogging the Family.

Blogging the Family.
Part One
My brother the priest called me. He is moving or rather I guess he's being moved. He's been the pastor at his church for ten or eleven years and there is some kind of rule that says priests can only stay in one place for about that much time before he gets moved to another church or in this case, two churches. He'll be the pastor of two churches in the Northwestern corner of Connecticut. He, with the help of our oldest sister, is sorting out and throwing out the accumulated debris, er, treasures from his attic at the parish. Mostly throwing because my sister is a very good sorter. (A large dumpster has been placed just outside the kitchen door.)
The phone call was one of a chain of phone calls and emails. We talked on the phone about a week before about the move and how hard it would be on everyone-- him, the parishioners, the cat, his loyal staff. He emailed later inviting us up to the farewell party which won't happen until after he's already moved and, almost as an aside, he asked if there was anything from our deceased parent's stuff that I'd want. I emailed back that if there were any pictures... .

Everyone's parents die. Our dad died suddenly over years ago. There was a wake where I got to talk to his to two of his brothers whom I hadn't seen for decades. There was a funeral where I read out a short eulogy.* Then there were weeks and months of caring for our mom who had been ailing for years. The sister who sorts well found a - aren't all terms abhorrent?- rest home, retirement center, convalescent home for Mom near my brother's church and we cleared out, closed out and sold the condo our parents had moved into from their three bedroom house up on the hill.
I'm sure there are some people who cope with loss really well and others who do not cope so well and there are those who think they are coping well but who really are in some kind of state of delusion. I was in that last group. It took everything I had to take a few things - a clock, some candlesticks -from my father's house. My father's house, my mother's house, my parents' things, anyone who has had parents knows what I am talking about, all those things that since the age of three I had been told not to touch, ever. Never ever. And now I was being told "Go ahead. Take. Touch. Go on."
I took my father's hammers, they are on the wall by my desk, I'd never use one. I took the tin tapper he used at Hamilton for thirty odd years. I took my mother’s little music box which plays Always.

A few years ago we found out that the favorite song of one of my wife's family was Always. They were surprised and happy that I knew the song so well and could sing it. I should able to, I said to myself, I played it over and over when I was five or six until my mother made me stop saying that I was going to wear the little box out. Now the music box is mine. I never play it. I'm afraid I'll wear it out.
What else? Oh, somewhere I found the little dishes from my sisters' dollhouse. I keep meaning to show them to my wife to see if she could use them as charms on a bracelet, but I haven' yet.

What I didn't take were any letters or pictures or documents which is really odd because I fancy myself as the family genealogist. That's right. The one most likely to use letters and pictures and documents didn't take any. I had some pictures that Mom had given me of her mom and dad, but not many and certainly not everything I could have used from the big box in the basement closet. Ah well. Such are the effects of a state of delusion.

It's odd what we mourn. Once, dad and I took a bunch of trash out of his workshop to the dump. We actually did that several times before he died and yet there was still an incredible amount of just junk in that corner of the basement. This one time we were clearing the pieces of lumber and pipe and there was a large piece, about two foot square, of solid flat-planed oak. Pop said he had always had meant to make something with that wood, he just never did. It was a beautiful, flat piece about an inch thick - just right for an oversized plaque of a coat of arms or the depiction of some holy Saint. Neither of us could bring ourselves to put it in the dump's chipper. We left it standing up near some barrels where we hoped some woodworker would spot it and take it home. Pop mourned that oak plank as a sign of things passing and I thought about that oak plank and the pictures I didn't take.

So my brother called me. He said I should come up right away and get the pictures.
You mean, I asked, there's some left? Boxes of them, he replied, we were going through the stuff and I thought we had found them all but a few moments ago we hit the Mother lode and there are some letters that you should have and some other stuff.
I took a Zip Car up from the city early the next morning. My sister and brother were waiting at the rectory and we loaded the car. There were seven boxes and two plastic files. Not all pictures, they said grinning. My brother had kept everything. A glance in one of the boxes showed that I was now the possessor of several, many, 8mm films, one of which is entitled St. Lawrence Seaway Locks. My father had helpfully added the words "in motion". Well. Yes.

We had a nice breakfast at a diner where we talked and remembered things - my sister how she and our other sister would go to work in the tobacco fields. How on Fridays they would put their hair up in curlers and go to work that way so that they could get to the Friday night dance on time.

There’s an inventory to be done.