Day 131: How I spent my spring vacation

Whenever I take a vacation from work, I consider the vacation officially over on Friday night.  Saturday and Sunday don’t really count, because it’s just a weekend, after which I will return to work.

Therefore, the Saturday of the weekend before I return to work seems like a good time for this photo essay.

How I Spent My Spring Vacation

by Ann

On Monday, which was such a beautiful day, I stopped at a very cool store,  Bessie Blue, to look for a sun hat.

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Marcy, on the right, greeted me very warmly, and was fun and helpful throughout my visit there, even though I didn’t find a hat that fit my needs.  When I said I would need to look elsewhere, she said, cheerily, “It will be a fun quest!”  That’s when I knew I wanted to put her in my blog. Cathy (in the middle) and Ashley (the manager) were also really great. Ashley liked that I acknowledge helpful and kind people in this blog. She told me, “I have worked in retail for many years and I’ve always really appreciated it  when good service is recognized. ” Ashley also said that when she was growing up,  she noticed how her mother went out of her way to tell people she appreciated them.

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Speaking of fun quests, this is where I started my walk (without a sun hat, but okay with that) on Monday.  This  photo was taken in Cambridge, looking out toward Boston. Look at those friggin’ trees, people!  Aren’t they gorgeous?  And get this — I had just found a parking spot, in front of MIT, where I could leave my car, all day.   (Yes, parking spaces like this still exist, at this writing.)

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Ahhhh.  Look at that view of Boston, across the Charles River.

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This is one of my favorite walks around Boston.  Isn’t it amazing?

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After I crossed the Longfellow Bridge into Boston, I took this picture of the MBTA subway stop, near Mass General Hospital. While I was taking this picture, a man, who was sitting on the ground outside of a CVS, started talking to me.

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This is Antonio.  He and I spoke for a while. He told me several sad stories about his life, including how he was abused and treated dreadfully as a child.    He told me he did not want to go to a shelter — although I kept telling him I thought he should. He said it frightened him to be in a place with lots of strangers, and he felt safer on the streets.  He also told me stories of how he cared about and had helped other people. I believed him for lots of reasons, including how he acted with me and with other people who walked by.  He got very upset when he talked  about the Boston Marathon bombings.

Antonio also told me how he wants to die; I told him I hoped he wouldn’t, because the world could use more kind people, like him. At one point, he laughed and expressed gratitude toward me. That’s when I took the picture of him, which I showed him. He said it was okay if I put him in my blog. I really hope Antonio decides he wants to live.

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This is Amanda, who works at Isabelle’s CurlyCakes, on Charles Street.  She grew up in Houston. She’s been in Boston for seven years. She said, “You fall in love with this city.” She told me how CurlyCakes — which had the most incredible looking cupcakes —  was the idea of the daughter of Todd English (a very famous Boston chef and restauranteur).  She showed me some wonderful photos, taken by Isabelle (Todd English’s daughter).  She pointed out this one (on the top):

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which showed Isabelle surrounded by the children of the contractors who helped build the store. I really liked that photo.

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It was difficult to decide which cupcake to try, but I chose this one, which was called the “Triple Chocolate.” It had chocolate cake, chocolate pastry cream, chocolate butter cream, and cocoa crisps dipped in chocolate. I don’t mean to quibble, but, according to my calculations, the accurate title for that cupcake would be the “Quintuple Chocolate.”  All I can say about this cupcake is this (and I shared this with Amanda): I’ve been yearning for something very chocolate-y for the past few months, and apparently, this was it.  Thanks to Amanda, Todd English’s daughter, and anybody else even slightly responsible for that cupcake.

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I walked by this Starbucks, on my way to the Public Gardens. I had my second date there with my bf, Michael, a couple of years ago.  He told me several funny stories that day; I remember thinking he was the coolest dude, ever.

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Here is the Public Gardens. If you look carefully, you will see one of the famous Swan Boats. Again, what a beautiful day.

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This was taken on Tuesday. I went to another one of my favorite places to walk, Mount Auburn Cemetery, with Mia, a new friend, who also owns a great hair salon  (MiAlisa, in Watertown).  Mia speculated how the family in this crowded plot, shown above, probably interacted when they were alive. She acted out how they were all fighting for room at the dinner table. I thought this was quite hilarious.

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Another family plot in Mount Auburn Cemetery, with considerably more elbow room.

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Tuesday night, at Friendly Fenway Park. The pre-game ceremonies included three family members who had been injured in the Boston marathon bombings, who were now healed enough to be introduced on the field. Also, the mother of Krystal Campbell, from Medford, who had been killed in the bombings, was there, and threw out the first pitch. People in the stands applauded for a long time. I was really hoping the Red Sox would win this game. They didn’t, but then I realized it didn’t matter.

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Later in the week, on the fun quest for the hat, I went into Irresistibles and met this lovely woman, Rose. I told Rose that I had never gone into her store before, because I never wear the colors they show.  She suggested that I try these colors — that I might get used to them and really like them. I found a hat there, which fit my needs.

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This is the hat, resting on the head of one of the tigers in my son’s room. My son puts all his hats on these tigers.  Thanks to my son, for letting me borrow his tiger for this photo.

Today, I had an adventure at a bank.  Imagine!

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I was at a Citizens Bank, and realized that I was experiencing Bank-related Anxiety, relating to a deposit I was making. I told the helpful teller there, Ryan, that I always had doubts about whether deposits would get credited to my account, because of a mistake a bank made in the 80’s. (I’ve been realizing, lately, that a lot of my fears are based on things that happened many years ago, and that it makes sense to let go of those fears.) Ryan was patient and clear with me, giving me information about new procedures banks now use to make sure that deposits are almost always credited accurately.  The other two tellers were also friendly, interacting with me in a very welcoming way.

I asked whether I could take a picture of the tellers, and they told me to ask their manager, Mike. Mike said that would be great.

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This is Murari, Armine, and Ryan. I loved how when I took the first photo of them, Armine said, “No! We should be standing closer together.”  She was right.

Later today, I went for a walk in my neighborhood. I saw a sign, hanging from a rope that blocked the front stairway to a home.  Curious, I went to see what it was.

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Earlier today, I had read a sad article about how the western African Black Rhino had just been declared extinct. This sign helped me feel (a little bit) better.

So, on Monday, I’m going back to the hospital where I work.  Teresa  (who is  a loyal reader of this blog and a nurse who used to work at that hospital)  told me about this wonderful photography book:

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I bought a copy, from Amazon, which I’m looking forward to presenting to the nurses when I return. Thanks, Teresa.

I’d like to end this essay with something I got the first day of this vacation, at a terrific store in Concord, which is — unfortunately — closing next week. (It’s closing because the owner is retiring, after many years of happy operation.)

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I like ending with this, especially since my son just told me he thought this was the best mug, ever.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Day 131: How I spent my spring vacation

  1. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this, Ann. Okay, A LOT! Your outing brought to mind the great tradition of Charles Kuralt, Steve Hartman, et. al., journalists who set out on the road, their only intention being to meet people and tell their stories–the basis for a great blog in itself! It does a wonderful job of capturing the uniqueness that describes each of us, and clearly showing that we all deserve to love and to be loved and appreciated for who we are and what we do. Ironically, one of my dreams, once I finish my undergraduate degree, is to rent an RV and travel around the country meeting people and writing down their stories. A couple of friends have already signed on and will join me at some points along the way. People are the best!! Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks for the great comment, Rob, which I appreciated (a lot). It’s wonderful to hear about your future adventure.

  2. Gene Phillips

    How great it is that you take the time to acknowledge kindness and friendliness and to talk to people.

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