The City

barbara mulvey-welsh

There’s something about the city that sings to me.

There’s a pulse, an electricity.

An urban magic that animates my soul.

It is a rhythm that thrums along the sidewalk as I walk. I feel it in the balls of my feet, loosening each step. I shiver as it races up my spine and syncs with my heartbeat. A promise made – this is home; you are home.

It is power borrowed from a thousand conversations, amplified by the bass from a passing car. It echoes in the blare of an impatient driver. It wraps itself in the swirling detritus of modern life.

This urban magic animates my soul and I cannot bear to be too long away.

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So I call to make an eye appointment. When the office answers I ask for a Saturday appointment. The receptionist replies, “I have Wednesday…”

So I ask her if that’s on a Saturday since I really need a Saturday appointment.

She replies that no, it is not. It’s on Wednesday.

So I ask her again for a Saturday appointment explaining that I work in Boston and can’t get there during the week before they close.

“You don’t want Wednesday?” She asks.

“It’s at 6:00.” She adds.

Again I reply that no I don’t want a Wednesday appointment. I go on to explain that I can’t guarantee that I would arrive there on time as there are some nights I don’t get home until after 7.

“Oh, we won’t be here that late.” She remarks.

“Saturday.” Is all I say.

By this time Pat is laughing himself stupid but I persevered and now I have an appointment for a future Saturday.

I think.

Them Bones

So I had this dream last night in which Felix bit me on the hand but not enough to draw blood but enough to put a deep tooth-sized hole in my hand at the base between my right index and middle fingers. You could see into the hole and see the bones of my hand. I spent the rest of the dream trying to get people to look at it and see if I needed stitches.

I learned several things during the course of my dream. First, I have no idea what hand bones should look like since mine looked suspiciously like plastic.

Second, I need better decision making skills as I spent too much time asking others to solve my problem.

Third, and most importantly, all my friends are jerks. So fuck all y’all. Haters.

And Start Again – by Gerard Murphy


Photo by Gerard Murphy


Photo by Gerard Murphy

We had some snow today

Not a lot but enough

To cover the lawn

And coat the branches

Of the trees

* * *

When I went out

The sun was bright

Lending a beautiful iridescence

To the landscape

I brought a camera

And tried to capture

A few moments of that beauty

Before it melted

* * *

Snow covers everything

And lends its beauty

And as it melts

Uncovers the leaves

That weren’t raked last fall

* * *

So we’ll rake them

In the spring

When the sun

Is growing strong

And we are inspired

To clean up autumn’s leaves

And start again

Imagine by Dylan Mulvey-Welsh

Imagine all your ideas becoming real,

Imagine your dreams becoming reality,

Imagine the possibilities.

Imagine a world where people didn’t achieve their imaginations,

If people didn’t chase their dreams.

If Da Vinci never painted the Mona Lisa

Or Steve Jobs never invented Apple,

Where would we be?

Where would we be?

Imagination keeps us moving,

It is the fuel that burns our fire,

It’s where people get their desire.

Imagination is key,

Because logic can take you from Point A to Point B,

But imagination can take you anywhere.


I was already to post a blog about 2011 and what a difficult and painful year it was for my family and me. I was looking at the past year and weighing the bad against the good when 2011 decided it wasn’t through with us yet.

On Friday, my Aunt Maryann collapsed at work and was rushed to the hospital. This morning the family was told that she has no brain function. Her siblings, including my Mom, are on the way to the hospital to hold her hand while they remove her from life support.

Maryann was, briefly, one of the permanent residents of Sheridan Street. She and her son, Danny lived with us while she was going through some difficult times. Maryann was the one who brought Andrea into our lives. I remember before she got married she was, to me, to most beautiful woman in the world. I remember her wedding and being so mad that Tracey and I were too young to attend while Debbie and Patty got to be in the wedding. I remember crying when she moved to Montana.

I remember her absolute emotional breakdown when Elvis died. I remember seeing her again, when we buried her brother, Walter and her shock at learning that I had kids. (I was a charter member of the “I’m Never Having Kids Club!”). Continue reading

Wretched Refuse

“…Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” ~ Emma Lazarus

I’m appalled at what passes for immigration discussion in this country. Illegal Immigration is a chronic and systemic problem that cannot and will not be solved simply by building a goddamn fence across the border and deporting people we pick up in random traffic stops.

I’m about to share with you a report produced by Oxfam America that, in my opinion, should make each and everyone of us sick. Sick to our collective soul.

It’s not a short document but one that should be required reading.  Click here to go to Oxfam America’s website. Click on the “A State of Fear” link to read the report.

What Your Personal Trainer Really Thinks

Guest blogger Kat Barrett NSCA-CPT tells us how it really is… 

When people find out what I do, the first thing they always ask me is, “What’s the best way to lose weight/gain muscle/make my arms bigger/run faster/lose my belly/perk up my arms, boobs, butt?” This question is shortly followed by, “This is what I’m doing now. Do you think it will work?” What they’re really asking for is not my advice. They’re asking for “the magic bullet.” A secret nugget of information that will gain instant results with minimum work. I’m here to tell you that doesn’t exist. That’s right, folks. There is no magic bullet. I’m sorry.

No guts? No glory? Yup, pretty much. Results do not happen instantly, and that is the number one reason why workout plans fail. People expect to do one round of the latest fad workout, and wake up with a body like Cindy Crawford or Matthew McConaughey the very next day.  It doesn’t work like that. The best “exercise guru” advice that will undoubtedly achieve the results you seek are:

1. Hard work
2. Commitment
3. Discipline
4. Common sense

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, “You get paid $100 an hour just to tell me that?!?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!?” Well, no, of course not. I have spent years with my nose buried in exercise science books and sports medicine journals, paired with countless hours in training facilities applying that science to athletes and clients. I get paid for that. But in all seriousness, all of my knowledge and experience will do diddly squat if you don’t have those 4 crucial elements when starting an exercise program.

It’s actually a very simple concept. Consider it this way. Your child has decided they want to become a classical violinist and would like to play as a soloist at Carnegie Hall some day. Great. Fabulous. You run out and buy the little tyke the best Italian violin your money can buy, and hire the best violin teacher in town for your would-be virtuoso. For the first week, mini-YoYo-Ma can’t put the violin down. By week 2, they are looking forward to their lesson but they aren’t playing 8 hours a day anymore because by the end of last week’s squeak-fest, their fingers became blistered and bloody. Week 3 rolls around and you begin to notice the Xbox is receiving more playing time than the violin. By the time you hit week 4, you have to duct tape the violin to the kid’s hand to get him/her to touch, let alone PRACTICE the instrument. After some stomping, some tears, and a few whines, your child tells you, “This is a lot of work and it’s too hard and it’s no fun and I’m not any good! I QUIT!” An awkward phone call is made to the violin teacher, and the dream of Carnegie Hall is placed in the attic to be sold at a later date on Ebay.

Okay, that was a slight dramatization, but I can pretty much compare this to 80% of the people I’ve ever met that have joined a gym and/or hired a trainer, and failed to meet their goals.

So here is my honest advice on these 4 points for anyone looking to start working out and reach a set of goals.

1. Hard Work – Face it and stop lying to yourself. Exercise can really suck. You sweat. You breathe hard. You ache afterwards. The old school of thought is that if none of those things are happening, you’re not doing it right. Unfortunately, that’s true, but it’s really not as sado/masochistic as it sounds! You need to stimulate your body beyond its current state of comfort and ability to yield a result. Hey, I don’t make the rules of exercise science. I just reinforce them.

2. Commitment – “No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” ―Yoda. Sage advice from a Jim Henson Muppet. Most people say they will try to workout X number of times a week, but there’s always an excuse as to why it doesn’t happen. The dog had a stomach ache. Your favorite NCIS repeat was on. Whatever. Listen to Yoda! Don’t try to workout. Workout!

3. Discipline – This could also fall under the realm of commitment, but I’m speaking in terms of other lifestyle choices here. If you make the commitment to start working out to change your body and your health, you must adapt the rest of your lifestyle, as well. Lifestyle choices greatly impact exercise results. Dietary habits, alcohol consumption, and lack of sleep are the main culprits in this area. Power walking for 30 minutes does not give you permission to eat a double stack cheeseburger with french fries, drink a case of beer, and stay up all night. You know what you should be doing. It’s just a matter of making the smarter choice for yourself. Which leads me into the last point.

4. Common Sense – Again, it’s a simple concept of choosing cheesy french fries or a baked potato and salsa. It also is as simple as, “If it hurts, don’t do it.” I’m not talking about feeling the burn from muscle fatigue. I’m talking about real, genuine pain from a sprained ankle. And lastly, don’t over do it! Trainers love when we get new clients that come to us with fresh enthusiasm and drive, but we don’t love it when that drive sends them to excessively workout in the first week to the point where they are 1) too sore to blow their noses and 2) so miserable from being sore, they never want to workout again. Ease into it! Working out for a physical goal is a journey that takes time. I can’t stress enough, it doesn’t happen overnight!
So there you have it. The secrets to washboard abs, bikini-ready buns, and bulging biceps are NOT found in top secret exercise moves. The secret to running a faster mile or losing that extra 5 pounds is not found in the brand or color of shoes on your feet. Train your brain! What you really need to get yourself where you want to be is found in between your ears.
Kat and her fabulous advice can be found on facebook at: Kat Barrett Fitness