Plastic Pandora

As I visit new locations or revisit familiar ones, I like to take alternate routes home. See what there is to see. Colorful murals, maybe, or places of interest. This is particularly true in my walkable neighborhood. Went to the EZ Pass Service Center on Havre Street not long ago, for instance. Needed to trade in my Maryland transponder for a local one in Massachusetts and the office was nearby.

A Different Way Home

I followed the directions offered by Google Maps. It’s a safe way to start. After a long wait in a stuffy room with no seating, I headed home.

Grand Re-Opening

Havre Street bends around and becomes Porter Street at the same corner where Paris Street intersects both. Paris is a pretty street, nice old homes, the solid, brick Lyman School since transformed into apartments, a leafy playground, and—could it be true?—a swimming pool. The Paris Street Pool is closed on Mondays, and it was Monday, but a sign on the door offered hours and the intriguing information that both lap swimming and water exercise classes were an option.

At no cost. It is a facility run by the City of Boston’s Parks and Rec.

I ordered a swimsuit immediately.

Morning Exercise

I was directed to the women’s locker room where I stuffed my jeans, shirt and bag into a locker. Note to self: buy a lock before my next visit. Management has helpfully designated two lanes as “very slow,” two as “medium,” and one as “fast.” Quite a bit of traffic in the slow lanes. Doubling up works at our speeds, though.

I discovered, and not to my surprise, that I am, to put it kindly, out of shape. My breaststroke is inefficient and my crawl will get me one lap. Maybe. Lots of resting between turns.

I called it quits after about thirty minutes. On my way out I had a nice chat with Adel, who was at the front desk. He filled me in on times and classes and inspired me to return.

Daily Bread

A&L Italian Bakery

I had heard that the bakery down the street had finally reopened. Hmmm. I took another alternate route, this one going down Gove Street, which is interrupted by the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway. Gove is one of the points of access to that shady walking and cycling path. (I use it routinely to get to the East Boston branch of the BPL.)

I exited the Greenway on Orleans, continued on to Sumner and turned toward the A&L Italian Bakery. The owner, Maria, welcomed me, as did stacks of fresh-baked bread, displays of beautiful pastries, and a collection of shiny new tables. Her offerings now include coffees, hot and iced, and paninis.

A Good Life

bread and jam

East Boston is the most welcoming of places! First, I discovered The Quiet Few, with their shelves of whiskey and bourbon. Then I shopped and ate some of the bodegas and at the Santa Fe Burrito Grill. The Vine & Barley keeps my liquor cabinet full.

And all this within two blocks away of home!

Bread and water make life sustainable. Wine, groceries, and the occasional meal out create a feeling of abundance. A good life, indeed.