Obviously, I have neglected this blog for over six months.

Rather than pick up where I left off, I’ve begun a joint blog venture with D, and it, thankfully, is not a wedding planning blog. (Yes, we’re still getting married. If you really want to know details, just ask!)

You can find us here. To those of you who have followed me across my many blogging platform changes, thank you! I hope you’ll follow us once again.

Although I’m not sure who (if anyone) reads this anymore, my overactive sense of guilt is chiding me for not posting in over two months. Things–perhaps very blogworthy things–have been happening. A promotion, my first trip to Maine (Portland), and very, very recently, this:

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(Hint: I am not eating my way through Italy, as fun as that may be, or becoming a sloth or a princess.)

One mid-July evening last year, I spent an hour or so touring a contemporary art museum with a young man. He asked me if I’d like to have dinner afterwards. I agreed, and we walked along the waterfront to the North End, Boston’s Little Italy. He mentioned that every spring he liked to participate in the Walk for Hunger, a 20-mile walk through Boston and surrounding communities, to raise money for state hunger relief programs.

I had no idea then that I ‘d be walking in the 2013 Walk for Hunger with the same young man and that we’d do a lot more walking and talking together in the interim months. (Awwwwwwwwww.)

We had our work cut out for us on Walk Day. Not only was D planning to walk all 20 miles, but he also had to go to choir rehearsal and Evensong service that same afternoon. We got to the Common to turn in our registration forms around 6:30 AM, and crossed the starting line at 7:01 AM, holding hands and admiring the blooming dogwood and cherry trees.

A few weeks ago, on the evening of the Boston Marathon, my brother had texted me, as I sat glued to the television news, “What’s going to happen with your walk?”

It would go on. A lot of walkers wore Boston Strong-related shirts; some wore Marathon windbreakers. Many thanked the police officers stationed along the route as they passed.

Even though I poked fun at the volunteers’ somewhat excessive enthusiasm (I’m an able-bodied person–you don’t need to cheer me that much for having walked just one mile, guys), the feel-good attitude in the air was contagious. D had stuffed a good handful of salt water taffy in his backpack, and handed me pieces from time to time. “This one matches your shirt,” he said, handing me a piece of blue raspberry taffy. Orange matched my sunglasses, and lime went with my new Walk for Hunger button.

The minor body aches started somewhere between mile 5 and mile 10, but walking was still easy. We took a break at the snack stop at mile 11.5, to eat free cheese (and turkey for D) sandwiches, mini blueberry-muffins, barbecue-flavored pita chips, and multigrain cereal bars.  We were making such good time–it wasn’t even 11 AM yet, that the complimentary cartons of apple juice were still frozen.

Lunch gave us more energy. While the chorus of “Good job”s and “You can do it”s from the walk volunteers seemed more warranted, it was still awkward to walk past all these clapping and cheering strangers. (GOOB does not like attention. GOOB has serious doubts about whether she can even stomach being the center of attention at her wedding, should she con someone into wanting to marry her one day.) D and I had pretty much given up holding hands at this point; having free hands to propel ourselves forward became more important. Eye on the (nonexistent) prize. It would be harder to start up again if we stopped.

Around mile 18, a band started playing “Another One Bites the Dust.” Maybe not the most motivational song?

Near mile 19, a volunteer came walking in the opposite direction, with a bag of sliced bread on his head, saying that there was free bread and ice cream waiting at the finish line. Keep going.

(Side note: You don’t need to twist my arm to get me to accept ice cream, especially when it’s free, but a free loaf of bread? This is a walk to raise money for food programs–I can afford to buy my own loaf of bread. Give it to someone else who can’t.)

At 1:25 PM, we returned to the Common, and crossed the finish. The cheering volunteers were now all behind us. We were… done? We were done. We were done! We got our free ice cream bars, sat on a hill, and ate. We didn’t want to talk; we just wanted to be still and quiet. We eventually got on the T again, and D made it to his rehearsal in time.

Since I’ve never done a 20-mile walk before, I didn’t know how I’d  feel the day afterwards. I vaguely remember being stiff and sore the day after I did the 10-mile March of Dimes in high school. But the morning after the Walk for Hunger, I didn’t feel all that terrible. Sure, there was soreness, especially when I picked up my pace to catch a just-about-to-depart T, but nothing too painful. This body is in better shape at twenty-seven that it was at fourteen? Awesome.

During the walk, I noticed how a lot of the veterans walkers, like D, wore all the previous Walk for Hunger buttons they’d received during past walks. I like walking. I like doing good deeds. But you know what? I’m also competitive. I want to start my own button collection.

I’ve finally gotten around to working on one of my 2013 resolutions: taking swimming lessons. The lessons I took at the Flushing Y when I was eight just didn’t stick. But since the earth is two-thirds water, swimming is probably a useful life skill to possess.

It is not going swimmingly. (Ha. Ha.)

This second time around should be less intimidating. The class is much smaller–just three adult students including myself, compared to the dozen or so kids I also remember taking my Y class. The pool is not as long, and the water throughout the pool is only four feet deep. I am more than four feet tall. I can take this thing. Right?

Not so much. Like eight-year-old me, I hate putting my face in the water. I can’t breathe out for very long. I start taking in water. During my first class, as I coughed up water between breathing exercises, I wondered what I got myself into, and whether learning to swim was really worth it.

Okay, Peanut Gallery, I know the answer is yes.

I may be book smart, but I’m not a kinesthetic learner. I am the slow kid adult in the class. While the other students learn more and more movements, I’m doing breathing exercises. Sometimes my instructor takes pity on me and lets me swim on my back, or glide facedown, but then it’s back to breathing exercises. I will not finish this six-class session knowing how to swim well enough to be able to save myself in an emergency. (The earth is two-thirds water, after all, and I do live in a coastal state.)

The main root of my problem, as is true with many of my issues, is anxiety. I’m too tense. I can’t relax. I don’t think I’ll ever be a competitive swimmer, just as how I’ll never conquer my social anxieties entirely and become a social butterfly. But given that I’ve snagged jobs in the past and currently have an awesome boyfriend, I have some degree of social finesse. So I guess I can get better at swimming, too. I’ll sign up for another set of lessons. I will learn not to drown.

Observations:

I had the easiest MOH job, ever. I rented my dress from Little Borrowed Dress online—no fittings necessary. The red TOMs the other bridesmaids and I wore ended up being much more comfortable than the shoes the male members of the wedding party wore. No wedding shower. Another member of the bridal party did more work for the bachelorette party, which was duckpin bowling. You already saw the sad ribbon bouquet I made for the bride. I pretty much just had to show up in said dress and shoes, smile, and walk.

Uniforms are powerful. As someone in her late twenties, I’ve been to my fair share of weddings. I am not photographer fodder, other than being in some of those candid group shots of people dancing or standing around with glasses in their hands. But in a bridesmaid dress I suddenly became a whole lot more interesting. I learned to ignore the camera flashes going off in my peripheral vision. People I didn’t know complimented my appearance and public speaking, even though neither was particularly remarkable.

But beware hubris. I’m not a good public speaker. But I can write some nice sentences. I was sure my toast would be better than the best man’s. He’s a math person! He’s a guy; therefore he must not be as in touch with his feelings. I usually have too many feelings. But my cockiness fell flat as I watched him give his—his was earnest and bilingual and flattered the bride and groom’s parents. I had yet to give my little toast. Well, crap.

I get by with a little help…  Other than arranging our flights and hotel room, and letting him know the timeline of wedding events and prep, I left trip planning to D. He researched places to eat, and attractions to see when we had free time in Baltimore, and even plotted our schedule on a spreadsheet.

I also got sick the day we arrived, less than two hours before rehearsal. He made me tea, ran to buy me saltines, ginger ale, and medicine, and sat with me as I cried on our hotel bed. (I survived rehearsal. And even though it churned the hour before the ceremony, my stomach behaved otherwise the day of the wedding, allowing me to act and eat like a relatively normal person during the reception.)

There are friends you don’t outgrow. Lately I’ve been brooding over the nature of friendships, and how the number of people I can consider good friends seems to be dwindling. The bride is my oldest close friend. We live in different cities and states.

But it was comforting to spend the afternoon with her the day after her wedding, walking around a conservatory and a park—the sort of activity we’d do together if I had been in town simply just to visit, not to witness a huge life event.

I’m on hiatus now! I don’t have any more weddings to attend this year, and not any scheduled for 2014. In one way, it’s a relief–but strangely enough, this realization also makes me a little sad. It’s almost as if I’ve come to enjoy these things.

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