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2006-05-09 - 8:50 a.m.

The 2nd Day After

When you mention the Five Boro Bike Tourmost people say, "Oh I've always wanted to do that - maybe I'll do it next year." Similarly, when you mention that you've done a lot of exercise, most people also say "It's not the day after you exercise, it's the SECOND day after you exercise that you really feel it."

Well, folks, it's the second day after our 30-mile excursion and I can proudly announce that I am free of muscle aches. (Well, excluding the delicate area known as "the bike butt" part). In fact, I feel fabulous, rested, and exceedingly full of energy. Good, too, because I have stacks of papers to grade today.

Other than that, do I have anything new to say? not really. Spring has blossomed in New York and it has been as fabulous as ever. I still think of the fact that if I live to the age of 87, I will only have 40 more chances to see the cherry blossoms. I love wandering through the streets looking at the spring blossoms, and actually smelling fresh air. Today is the first really overcast day we've had in a while, but the temperatures are still up around 20C, so I cannot complain.

We had a visitor all last week from Sweden, a dear friend of mine from Jena. I met A. during my very first trip to Jena in May of 1998, when we shared a beer on the sidewalk outside the Irish bar, situated just below the first set of temporary headquarters for the Max Planck Institute. Many of us who shared a memory of those chaotic first days seem to have formed a bond.

A. is an extremely interesting woman, and a driven scientist, who loves a good glass of wine and good music. She holds a very special place in my heart because she shares similar ambitions, and even though we were raised in different countries, we share similar perspectives on life, perhaps because we are only 5 days different in age. I like her because in most of my personal matters, she listens, she understands, and she gives me a reasoned and honest perspective.

She has known me longer than K has, and in fact has given me sage advice about a few of my misadventures with men. But she gave the warning in the same way that I would have, "here are the facts, this is probably not going to work. But I completely understand that you can't always do what the facts tell you to do when your heart wants something else."

I remember saying to her one time (undoubtedly over a glass of wine), "A, if I ever go after a guy like that again, please come and hit me over the head with a brick."

"The brick" has since become our shared symbol of following our hearts when the situation spells trouble. In fact, the first Christmas when K and I were together, she gave me a candle...shaped like a brick. (a brick was truly warranted in the early days of our relationship.). Occasionally she calls and says, "I need you to mail me a brick" and I know that she's infatuated with someone who clearly isn't going to work out. I never try to talk her out of these situations (in truth it doesn't happen all that often), but I listen and verify her good sense before understanding that if I were in her shoes, I'd probably go with my heart as well...

It was extremely nice that she came to visit me (us) here in NYC. Also a little bit stressful. She is extremely self-entertaining, but she also has an opinion about everything. So, although we generally enjoy the same things, it can become a little bit trying after a few days. So on the one hand it was terrific to have her here, to walk through Manhattan and see museums and go to the opera and drink wonderful wine every night. On the other hand, it was terrific to get our place back to ourselves this week.

I had a little sense-of-humor failure on Saturday when I yelled in frustration at K. Fortunately, he knew that I wasn't yelling at him. I was yelling at the fact that our place and our stuff was taking over. But this week things are back to normal. We just spent ten minutes bickering at each other in our tiny kitchen, complaining about the other taking up too much space (when the truth is that there IS no space so it is neither's fault). Life is normal again.

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