Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Key Fact About 2015

As the calendar gets ready to tick over into the new year, one tends to get introspective about different things. One of my frequent thoughts is about my migraines, so I went to look at my tracking. Check this out:

That's my headache accounting for the last few years. Do you see what the terrible headaches have been doing? Going from 31 days in 2012 to none in 2015?

None! I can hardly believe it myself.

And headaches in general have gone from impacting over 15% of my days to less than 10%. That's pretty major, too. But it's the reduction in want-to-die headaches that makes me particularly happy. I'm sure I'm not done with them for my lifetime--could I be that lucky?--but for now, I am so, so happy. Here's to a similarly happy new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Little Hockey Talk

I got home last night, after swim class and dinner with a friend, and turned on the Bruins game to find that it was 3-2 Bruins, late in the second period. I watched the rest of the game--Bruins score! Ottawa scores! Bruins score! Bruins score! Bruins score!--with much entertainment. The Bruins stopped their little losing streak, got four power-play goals, and Boston local Jimmy Hayes had a hat trick.

There was also a major fight near the end of the game, the kind I grew up watching but that aren't common these days, every player on the ice except the goalies involved. This morning's Globe had a particularly ... vivid ... photo of one of the exchanges.
Eww. I'm more or less okay with fighting in hockey, being at neither one extreme (fighting shouldn't be allowed at all) nor the other (it puts passion in the game and promotes team spirit), but that is pretty gross.

I like this photo better.
The Senators player has just dumped the flailing Bruin ass over teakettle into the bench, where his teammates are looking down at him with almost bored faces of unconcern. Like, "Oh. Hi."

I looked at the game summary on the Bruins website, and also liked this photo of McQuaid jumping to avoid a shot. Boing!
Next stop is the Winter Classic, the game that they are playing outside Friday afternoon, at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play (that's football [well, American football]). When the game was announced, I admit I groaned: It had to be against Montreal? I know, great historic rivalry and all, but let's be honest, the Bruins haven't generally come out on the right side of that rivalry. And then Montreal started the season very strongly, and the Bruins very not so. Recently, however, things have reversed for both teams, and while I am by no means complacent, I at least feel the Bruins have a fighting chance.

No pun intended.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Florida, Christmas, and All That: The Week in (Mostly) Photos

So! Let's get started!

You can take it as read that the whole week was warm, wonderful, relaxing, lazy even, and full of family and presents and so, so much good food. Other than that? Well, I'll use the photos to guide me through.

My flight down last Sunday (or, as an old-fashioned character in a book might style it, last Sunday week) started very auspiciously when the seat next to me was empty (it was a smaller plane, 2 seats each side of the aisle, which meant I got my own little space). Such a difference to the comfort level! I was quite pleased, and enjoyed the flight as much as one can, these days.

As soon as I realized that our flight was (unusually) taking off over the city, I pulled my camera out to get photos. Ever wanted to see Boston from the air? Here you go! In this one, at the lower left, you can see the Zakim bridge and Boston Garden
And a blur in the middle, but skyscrapers, and the Garden and Zakim again, right of center. To the left, Boston Common and the Public Garden. I think the white spot in the Common might be the ice skating rink on the Frog Pond!
The two tallest building in this one are the Prudential, to the left, and the Hancock, the dark one near the center. (Click on any of the photos to see them bigger.) Off to the right is the Longfellow Bridge, which as a kid I called the witch bridge because I imagined witches lived in the towers.

I took the camera out again over Florida. Here, I was amused by all the straight, straight roads and that one with the hook in the middle. I wonder what that was going around?
It was a little cloudy/hazy as we approached, but still photogenic.
Especially as we curved out over the water to get ready for landing.

Nice beaches, eh?

And some funny bits of island.
The civil engineer's daughter got a shot of the new overpass near the airport, which opened earlier this year. It's easier to get to the highway now.
The good news was that we landed half an hour early; the bad news is that there was another plane at "the" gate*, which had itself arrived late, so we had to wait for it. On the tarmac. For 45 minutes. While I looked out at sunshine and warmth, and knew my mother and brother were inside waiting for me. Ugh.
*I know it's not the world's largest airport, but "the" gate? Really? There wasn't another one empty anywhere?

However, even minor, petty annoyances come to an end, and at least I could stretch sideways, if not stand up (also, fortunately, I had gone to the bathroom before we descended, so I wasn't sitting there dying for that). Got off the plan, hugs, suitcase, outside. Ahhh.

Technically, I was working on Monday and half of Tuesday, not having enough vacation time to cover the whole week. However, you may recall that on the previous Thursday and Friday, I didn't have any work to do, and (spoiler alert) that continued during my time in Florida. I couldn't be more pleased to have brought the work laptop for nothing! I did keep checking in on my email, but other than a short piece that one of the other editors took on Tuesday morning (as he was working the full day and the next, it made sense for him to take it since he had more time to finish it), nothing. Again, ahhh.

On Monday, we ate lunch outside at a favorite restaurant on the water, and I (nearly) caught this boat with the funny name.
Pro-Fish-In-Sea. Nice pun!

Also, the standard pelican on a post.
Otherwise, I spent the day hanging out on the lanai, lazing, reading, chatting, checking email, drinking water (weirdest thing: the ice kept melting!). After "work" ended, I pulled out the purse sock I had been working on, to assess whether my suspicions that I should go down a needle size were correct.
Yeah, a little too wide/loose/stretchy.
I frogged it and started over, down a needle size. NBD.

Tuesday afternoon, once I was officially done (not) working, we went to the Conservancy for the boat ride, always a favorite. I noticed some holiday touches in the gift shop.

Shark with Santa hat.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer gator.
And some interesting art out where you wait for the boat. Centipede, sort of? Who knows. Always look up!
Manatee sign on a dock.
And some ... art? Dogs? Something.
A few ibis (I think).

And a wood stork and a heron, maybe? Who knows, I could be making that up. Two large birds of some kind.
And one of them again, from the other side.
These dogs were totally fine with being on the boat, and barked strongly at us for being on their water.
Interesting stump.
As the boat turns left, we look ahead at where the water goes. Apparently there's a kayak dock that way, and they need to do some trimming. I would say so!
Would you try this? Not sure I would!

Mixed birds, grazing, as we walked to have lunch overlooking the beach on Wednesday.
And they're off!
After lunch, a walk on the beach.
And there's this year's beach-Christmas wish for us. (Last year's.)
And a sandy snowman!
Not a perfect day, but perfectly lovely.
And warm! It was unusually warm for the time of year all week. Which we so appreciated! No long sleeves all week...and views like this.
And what's a beach without an egret?
He was hanging out near a fisherman, in case something good came along.
And getting a tad impatient.
Just ... beautiful.

On the walk back down the beach, there was a small crowd gathered around a fisherman who had something big on his line. See how it bows?
We watched him work for a while, then decided we weren't interested quite enough to wait it out.
Another egret? The same one?
Who knows.
Pitcher of bliss, aka fresh orange juice.  
Interesting art piece by where we had lunch on Thursday.
Flamingos pulling a little cart? Okay.
Sunset, blurry but pretty.
On Christmas, we went in the pool in the afternoon, which felt fabulous (I was quite warm), and walked on the beach before sunset. Are you ready for a million sunset pictures?  
Well, okay, this part is looking the other way, you wouldn't think the sun was setting.

But then we turn back that way.

And then sat down at one of the hotels to have a drink and watch the rest.

And, of course, a few Christmas lights.

The full moon was fighting some cloud cover. Still neat to have it on Christmas.

The next day, packed up and wearing jeans again (and socks, and sneakers!), driving to the airport, we saw a car with Santa hats on all the headrests.
And one more blurry shot, coming down the north shore into Boston.
For some reason, we flew up over the water, rather than over land as usual, and then swung down and around to the airport. Just mixing it up, I guess.

No empty seat next to me on this flight, but no delay after landing, either, so it evens out. I was to my car by 6, and home to a frantic furry welcome by 6:30. And here I am!