Prepare for Lift-off!

I have five days of my internship left. (Thank the Lord!)

I got a gym membership. (To kick start the culinary-school-weight-gain weight loss.)

I rented a movie. (For the first time in almost TWO years!)

I’m graduating at the top of my class. (Goal set, goal achieved. (You do recall my goal to kick the arses of all the kids in the class, right?))

I’M GOING ON VACATION! (No, not excited. Not. One. Bit.)

But first, a friend posted this video on FB, and as I’m focusing on regaining my former shape and fitness level, I found it quite fantastic:

Pretty darn cool!

First, I’m a girl. My body is designed to jiggle. And, when I got thinner, I found I rather liked my jiggle. It’s part of what makes me feminine. There are places on my body that are not rock hard. Sweet!

Second, when I work out, I don’t “glisten” or “glow”… I sweat. SWEAT! Buckets. I take a towel with me to mop my face and neck because the sweat pours out of me. (It pours out of my pores, but I’m not poor. (I’m tired, and that’s my excuse for fixating on three words spelled three different ways and meaning three different things that sound alike.)) And I don’t get a really nice serendipity, like beautiful skin, or some other such nonsense. I sweat profusely and it just serves to confirm I’m working my tail off. Literally and figuratively.

Third, none of these ladies, old or young, have the “perfect” body. They’re far more normal.

I love that a movement started in England encouraging women to, as they put it, “wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.” Niiice. Me likey.

As for the vacation… I’m flying to Boston on Wednesday because my friend, Daniel, is getting married on Friday. He’s like a brother. I love him like family. I’ve only met three people attending this thing… the groom and his parents. Yes, I’m an introvert and I’m attending a wedding on the other side of the country where I know the groom and his parents. It appears I will be making some new friends at this shindig. I don’t know how late into the reception I’ll stay, but I’m going to give it a good college try!

I’ll be there for five days and I have put together an itinerary that allows me to smash as much stuff as humanly possible into five days to make up for not traveling over the past two years. (Going home to visit my folks, while fantastic, does not constitute a REAL vacation!) Remember, I consider traveling to be a full-contact sport.

Alright folks… I need some food and don’t want to cook–I worked ten hours at the bakery today–so I’m going to go grab food from In-N-Out and then watch my rental. Woohoo! (It’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, if you’re wondering. I, um, haven’t seen it yet. (I’ve been a full-time student while working 40+ hours per week, cut me some slack already!))

TTFN: Ta-Ta For Now!

Happy Birthday, America!

Today has been a fun-filled day celebrating our country’s independence (as per usual, my apologies to my British friends!). This is a singularly American holiday. It’s barbeque and apple pie. It’s neighbors, friends, and families getting together. It’s baseball games. It’s fireworks. And for me, it’s Pops Goes the Fourth with the Boston Pops Orchestra. This year, they streamed their annual concert on the esplanade and I get to watch it in its entirety. That means the full 1812 Overture, complete with Howitzer cannons. Oh, yeah! That’s how everyone should do the Fourth. (Seeing the BoPops live on the Esplanade on the Fourth is on my bucket list.) Oh, and fireworks. There have to be fireworks. The day I’m too old to get giddy about fireworks is the day I’m dead.

Every year I’m drawn to the same historic passage… so as I’ve done almost every year, we’ll let Mr. Adams do most of the talking:

On July 3, 1776, while serving in the Second Continental CongressJohn Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail. He wrote:

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. – I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. – Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

What a beautiful summation of what had occurred and what was to come. As a side note, Mr. Adams reflected on July 2, as it was the day Thomas Jefferson and his committee of five drafted the first version of the Declaration of Independence. It was later ratified on July 4, by the Second Continental Congress, following two days of revisions. Thus our attachment to July 4, and not July 2.

As for any perceived spelling errors in that excerpt… stuff it. That’s how they wrote in the eighteenth century. Weird punctuation, different spellings (‘tryumphs’ for one), and random capitalized letters. None of that takes away from the lyrical prose that still holds true today.

P.S. And a very happy birthday to one of our family fireworks, my cousin Ryan! He’s a fantastic daddy to two little girls, and a wonderful husband to his wife, Lisa. He adores his parents, my fantastic aunt and uncle, and he’s one of the most genuinely likable guys you’d ever hope to meet.

A Comedy of Errors

Sometimes I think that phrase was coined specifically for me. More often than I care to admit, it describes my life to a T (where’d that phrase come from anyway?). I awoke this morning with intentions of heading to the gym. However, as I was pain free yesterday, I decided not to go because I was hoping for two days in a row. Clearly I was not thinking rationally.

See, today was another ugly yellow shirt day. Yep, shower, clothes, hair, make-up… the works. And I warned John (the guy I sit next to) that I’d be wearing make-up today due to the ugly yellow shirt so that he wouldn’t start asking me about my love life–he just can’t help himself! This particular ugly yellow shirt day is special, though. It’s an annual event with my company and all offices participate, including Frankfurt and London (yes, my company has offices in Frankfurt, Germany and London, England). I was on my feet from the time I got to work until I left at 4:15 p.m. I didn’t even take a break for lunch (which is why they cut me loose at 4:15 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m.). Seven hours on my feet is no bueno. I was hurting really, really badly by the time I arrived home. I waddled from the office to my car, my car to the house, and then all through the kitchen as I prepared oatmeal for dinner. I took meds and then camped on a hot pad for the rest of the evening.

Even now, I’m propped up on pillows with a fresh dose of meds and one half of a peanut butter sandwich in my belly. Can you imagine how messed up I’d be if I’d gone walking before work this morning? Aye-yi-yi. Hopefully with the second dose of meds I should sleep like a baby and wake-up pain free.

Now I said my life is often a comedy of errors… I’m not exaggerating. I totally forgot to tell you about something that happened when I was traipsing around Concord and Lexington by my lonesome. I went to the Old North Bridge again because I needed a stamp in my passport. Duh. As such, I first went to the Visitor’s Center and walked around a bit. Then I went over the grounds, taking all sorts of pictures. I had just finished photographing the bridge and turned to make my way back to the car. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there was a 2-inch step. I managed to place my foot so that it was only half on the step. I immediately lost my balance and crashed to the ground.

Tom, my PT, howled with laughter when he heard the next part.

First, my knees slammed onto the stone slabs. At this point, momentum was not in my favor and gravity wasn’t being very vice either, so I continued forward. Problem? I had my camera in my hands. My Canon 5D with its 70-300mm lens extended. Body? Camera? Body? Camera? As Tom put it, I went maternal over my camera. I managed to curl the camera into my chest as I crashed to the ground. I hit my head and nailed my left wrist, but my camera escaped unscathed. Mission accomplished.

Considering I inflicted these bruises on my person on Monday, April 16, and the photos were taken on Saturday, April 21, you should be quite impressed. It’s one month later, May 16, and I still can’t kneel on my knees. The discoloration is gone, but the deep contusions are still present. Doozies, I tell you. I ended up with a nice goose egg on my left forehead, right at the hairline, as well. And that one broke the skin so I had just a wee bit of blood to show for the whole thing. For the first few days, jeans actually hurt my knees if they were on the tighter side. On the long drive to Maine, I would shift in my seat to relieve my back and get a nice stab of pain in my knee as the denim grew taut. No bueno!

I tell you, my claims of being a klutz are not false advertising!

So after I took my last picture in Acadia National Park, I set out to retrace my path back to Portland, Maine. It was a schlep. As I drove, I began to sneeze. A lot. Please understand that I’m not like most people. You (and most of the human race) sneeze once or twice and you’re good to go. Not the case for me. I marathon sneeze. My average number of sneezes is seven. My record for consecutive sneezes is thirteen. Yes, I count. You would too if you sneezed like this. Why? Because every third person asks, “How many sneezes was that?” I know the sound of five sneezes and then count up. Furthermore, most people have a two syllable sneeze, ah-choo. I don’t. I have a one syllable sneeze, choo. Totally serious. The number of sneezes has no significance regarding allergies, a cold, or anything of that nature. I’ll sneeze eleven times when I’m perfectly fine. That said, I started sneezing a lot on the way to Portland.

As you can see, for me to claim that I’ve sneezed a lot, it means I’m sneezing a ridiculous amount of sneezes! I knew I was either having an allergic reaction to something from the New England area or I had a cold. Drat. It was a cold. I checked into the hotel at 11:30 p.m. and was asleep by midnight. Unfortunately, I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. to get to the airport, return my rental car, and catch my flight. I also had to buy decongestant and antihistamines (the cure all for flying with a cold) at the airport. Yeah, that wasn’t cheap.

The flight from Portland to Dulles (Washington, D.C.) was not particularly enjoyable with all the pressure in my head, but I survived. As we were taxiing on the tarmac, I glanced out the window (I almost always have a window seat when I fly). Lo and behold, when what to my wondering eyes did appear? The Space Shuttle. Piggybacked on a NASA 747. Who knew? Apparently, no one on my flight. I said, “Oh my,” and the flight attendant asked me if I was fine. I told her yes, I was just surprised to see the Space Shuttle. She had to look because she didn’t know it was there either. This photo is as clear as I could get through the airplane window.

Me being me, I had my camera bag at my feet (that baby never gets checked–where I go, so goest my camera!). I pulled out the camera, attached the lens, and photographed the shuttle. I had a two hour layover and saw the shuttle again when we taxied onto the tarmac. On that flight, the pilot alerted everyone to its presence. By this time it was raining and pictures were impossible due to the amount of water on the windows; I was glad I’d already captured some pictures of the shuttle.

Well, the meds have kicked in and I can’t keep my eyes open any longer… I’ll catch you later!

The Regulars are Coming!

I awakened early this morning with every intention of going to the gym. Instead, I’m still in my pajamas. I wasn’t defeated by a lack of motivation to exercise, it was the idea of causing my back to flare that did me in. I realize it’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a day or two of fortifying myself mentally. I’ve had a lot of nerve activity in my left leg for the past few weeks–something that’s not all that unusual–and once I hit the gym, it’ll compound and multiply. Ick. But instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, I decided to stay awake in an effort to shift my body back to a sleep pattern that’s conducive to going to the gym early in the morning. It’ll make for a slightly longer day today, but that’s fine.

I’m also back to careful food choices today. Yesterday’s calories weren’t too bad, actually. Saturday was the only day that was high because of the dinner I prepared for my mama (and the rest of the fam). Since Mother’s Day is only once a year, I don’t mind the splurge.

Speaking of early mornings, Mark, Saundra, the kids, and I had one on April 16. If you don’t know, the third Monday in April is Patriots Day in the state of Massachusetts. That’s right, it’s a holiday. Why? It denotes the Battles of Lexington and Concord, or the start of the Revolutionary War. Personally, I think the entire country should get that holiday.

We rolled out of bed at 4:30 a.m., made ourselves somewhat presentable, and set out for the reenactment in Lexington. Who knew this was such a popular activity? There were way too many people up at that time of the morning (you can see the crowds on the other side of the battlefield). It was pretty cool, though. I’m from California and live in Colorado, it’s not like either of these places is a hotbed for Revolutionary or Civil War reenactments. After all, while there were a couple of ridiculous skirmishes here and there in the name of either war, the real fighting took place on the east coast–primarily in New England for the Revolutionary War and in the south for the Civil War, at that.

Once the initial volley of shots was over, the regulars (a.k.a. British or Redcoats), marched off toward the Old North Bridge in Concord where the second battle occurred. We didn’t follow them to that reenactment. We went back to our car and the house with dreams of catching a few more winks before embarking on the rest of our day.

As I said yesterday, Eric’s birthday was the sixteenth. As such, after breakfast, the family took off for his birthday party and I set out to explore a bit on my own. Although, the first place I hit was a post office. I packaged up my loot and shipped it home so I wouldn’t have to lug it onto the plane when I flew home. I honestly didn’t come home with a ridiculous amount of stuff, it wasn’t like my trip to Europe in that way. I still had some stuff, though… plates from Williamsburg, Monticello, and Washington, D.C.; a t-shirt from the Cheers pub in Boston; magnets from all over (that’s the big offender); fudge from Gettysburg (oh my!); and pilsners from Cheers and Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.

I drove around enjoying quite a bit of the countryside as well. I drove by Walden Pond, where I didn’t stop to take photos because the line of cars extended outside and onto the main street. I stopped by Sleepy Hollow Cemetery again to get photographs of the front gate and signage (important detail). I wandered to and fro, getting a feel for the place. And I toured Orchard House.

Orchard House is where Louisa May Alcott’s family lived. Unfortunately, photographs of the interior are prohibited because many of the items are on loan from private owners. The foundation that oversees the home is in the process of painstakingly renovating it. To date, they appear to be doing a remarkable job.

It was interesting to see May’s paintings scattered throughout the house, her drawings on the walls of her bedroom and art study. She literally sketched on the walls. She painted on the walls of Louisa’s room to provide her sister with brightly colored art. May is the person on whom the character of Amy in Little Women is based. If you’re not aware, elements of this book are autobiographical. However, it’s not an exact representation of their lives. Beth is based on their sister, Lizzie, who did die in her youth and was highly musical. However, Louisa remained single for the duration of her life. She did raise May’s daughter, Louisa, upon her death.

The most interesting item in the Alcott home was a bust of Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father. Located in the study, it’s situated in a small wall alcove. While going through the house on the tour, our guide told a story surrounding the bust. After spending a year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT), a young gentleman left his studies and returned home. Shortly thereafter, his father was riding on a train and struck up a conversation with May Alcott. Learning she was an artist, the father asked if she would allow his son to study with her and relay to him whether or not his son had talent. She consented and worked with his son. Daniel Chester French went on to not only sculpt the bust of Bronson Alcott, but sculpted the Minute Man statue in Minute Man Historical National Park (I told you to remember his name!), and later he sculpted a slightly more well known item… Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. It would appear he possessed some talent.

I also drove myself back to the southern edge of Boston to visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. While I got a stamp in my passport, it wasn’t anything major, photographically speaking. I would like to tour this area in greater depth next time I visit. Discovering it so late in the day, I wasn’t able to visit all of the stops associated with it.

After looking my fill, I headed back to Mark and Saundra’s house. We regrouped and headed to dinner. For lobster.

Woodman’s is in Essex, Massachusetts. Forbes magazine claimed it has the best seafood in America. Pretty darn cool, if you ask me. We all ordered different things, but Eric (the birthday boy) and I had lobster. Mark treated me to dinner, something I hadn’t expected but certainly appreciated.

The restaurant itself isn’t anything fancy. It kind of reminded me of Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach, California–without the movie posters on every wall and with a wait staff that isn’t pierced and tattooed to within an inch of its life.

So prior to this dinner, I’d eaten lobster exactly one time in my life. And that was a lobster tail that really didn’t require much effort to consume. (And no, I didn’t dress to “match” my food. It just worked out that way. I also don’t know what Trey was reacting to, other than to point out his brothers were sitting across the table from us.) So as a complete and total novice in the deconstruction of a lobster, Saundra (who was seated to my right) and Eric had to explain and show how to rip apart a lobster and get the meat out of his (I don’t really know if he was a he) legs, claws, and torso. I’m thinking New Englanders eat lobster after a stressful day just because they get to rip ’em apart. It’s a very messy thing, but worth it! And yes, there’s clarified butter hiding in there, too. After much ripping, pushing, pulling, and then dunking in butter, I consumed New England lobster for the first time in my life. It was quite good! And that’s not beer in front of me. I topped off the lobster with apple juice. Oh yes, I did.

Eric was far more proficient than me when it came to tearing apart the lobster. I was schooled by a nine-year-old. What can I say? He’s lived in New England for a few years now and this was not his first rodeo. Me, on the other hand? Like I said, I grew up in SoCal and currently live in Colorado. Neither location is known for its lobster.

It was a long day thanks to the early wake-up call to see the Regulars storm Lexington. By the way, apparently I was taught wrongly by my schoolteachers… the cry wasn’t, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” It was, “The Regulars are coming! The Regulars are coming!” Who knew? Apparently, the locals in Lexington and Concord did. Anyway, thanks to the early morning, we all crashed pretty quickly. While I was with Mark and Saundra, the boys graciously bunked together and let me use Todd’s room.

It was a blast getting to know their boys and visiting with the family as a whole. I’ve literally known Mark all of my life, and met Saundra on one of my family’s many trips to Colorado for Thanksgiving week. I didn’t get to know her until they were stationed in SoCal back in the mid 90s. It was so fun to catch up and visit.

A Minor Deviation

Yesterday I went to work for two hours like a good girl. <sigh> The things I’ll do to keep getting a paycheck. I went directly to Costco to pick up a few items and then to Whole Foods to finish my grocery shopping for dinner. Last night’s meal was a slight deviation from my recent careful food choices. (By slight, I mean major!)

The brother has to work today and is celebrating Mother’s Day with his wife’s parents. As such, my Colorado based family got together last night to honor my mom. And Mom is a perfectly good reason to throw caution to the wind! She loves it, so I made Filet de Chateaubriand with all the trimmings. My brother and his wife brought apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Dinner was a hit! And yes, that’s a picture of Mom explaining the finer points of baseball to me when I was five years old–I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite picture of the two of us. My mom is the bestest!

And speaking of not-so-careful food choices:

After Saundra finished giving me the driving tour of Concord and Lexington, we met Mark and their boys at Bedford Farms Ice Cream. Holy Moly. Incredible. In fact, “incredible” may be inadequate to properly describe this place. They make their own ice cream (I do, too… just not in those quantities) and it rocks! And the serving sizes are out of control. Eric and Trey each have their own banana split. Their Easter baskets had gift cards so all three boys were allowed to get whatever they wanted. Mark ordered nothing. We were all standing in line and when the banana splits came through the window, I looked at him and asked if he was batting cleanup. “Oh yeah, Dad’s batting cleanup,” was the response. The ‘kiddie size’ is bigger than a ‘large’ at most ice cream parlors. It was incredibly good, though!

Todd, their oldest, opted for a seat in the tree to eat his ice cream. At one point he dropped his spoon and took to licking the ice cream like it was on a cone. His dad finally noticed and rescued him. Mark grabbed the ice cream so Todd could retrieve the fallen spoon, toss it in the trash barrel, and scamper off for a new spoon.

Everyone got different flavors and everyone was happy. The weather was outstanding so we just sat on the benches and enjoyed our dessert. It was relaxing to just keep chitchatting with Mark and Saundra. A friend of theirs met us at Bedford Farms as well. Her husband is deployed and her kids are in college so she’s by herself for a while. Mark was deployed for almost a year and Saundra said Sunday nights (which this was) were the most difficult because everyone would be out as a family and the loneliness of being a temporary single mom would hit. As such, she’s been extra sensitive to the plight of other deployment widows and has tried her best to make them feel included.

Once the boys had eaten their fill of ice cream, they all took to the tree. Trey was content to just sit on a branch while Todd and Eric began an impromptu contest to see who could shimmy the furthest down the branch. The contestant than swung his body and let go, trying to jump and land the furthest out. They went so far as to find a marker to signify the distance. As you can see, Monkey #1 is in process while Monkey #2 watches. Monkey #2 (Eric) ended up winning this day. And the entire time, Trey sat on his branch and just watched his big brothers.

The boys, ages 6, 8, and 10 (for the day), are great kids. Mark and Saundra should be very proud of their boys. Polite, intelligent, mannerly.

After the contest ended, Eric took Trey’s spot in the tree and dangled. I assume he was contemplating–and solving–the world’s problems. Either that or contemplating his last night as an eight-year-old. Turns out Eric’s birthday is two days after mine, something I did not know. I was there for his ninth birthday… more news to follow.

After wandering to and fro in Concord and Lexington and then landing here at Bedford Farms, I can see why Mark, Saundra, and the boys have loved being stationed here (Mark’s in the United States Air Force). Plus, the close proximity to Boston makes it easy to head into the city to catch a sporting event (like baseball) or go to the symphony (like the Boston Pops Orchestra) or a concert. I wouldn’t want to face the Boston drivers more often than is absolutely necessary, but I could suck it up and do it for a special event. Concord and Lexington are absolutely charming. They feel quite small townish, but you’re twenty minutes from the big city. To me, that’s ideal.

Iambic Pentathlon

Someone I know was posting a tribute to Maurice Sendak, the acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, and was saying that he isn’t very good at writing poetry or iambic pentathlon… oh dear. It gave me a fit of giggles. William Shakespeare, the Bard, wrote in iambic pentameter and not iambic pentathlon (which I guess could be a rhymed and rhythmed contest involving five different athletic events). Anyway, that misspoken word gave me the giggles. Call me a big ol’ nerd who knew that Houston had a problem, but I don’t care. Serious giggles.

Day 3 of being a good girl for the sake of my girlish figure sees me goin’ strong. The girls and I had Ronald Star Day today as we do every Wednesday at lunch. Believe it or not, as long as I figure out my plan before stepping foot in a restaurant, I do very well. Yesterday was so busy Vicki and Cheryl wanted out of the building so we took a field trip to Noodles & Company, after which we all got a small ice cream at Cold Stone. I got a small Japanese Pan Noodles with steak at Noodles and sweet cream with fudge and caramel blended in at Cold Stone. Then? Oatmeal for dinner. The good news is that while oatmeal can balance out a higher number of calories earlier in the day, the added bonus is that I love the stuff. I really do. In fact, it’s what I ate for dinner again tonight.

I haven’t been able to hit the gym yet because the nerves in my legs have been firing on a daily basis. No bueno. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about it. And really, it sucks. On the flip side, the activity in my legs has been decreasing in minuscule increments, but some is better than none. I haven’t had any meds in my system for a few days so I’m not too upset.

But enough about diets and uncomfortable physical conditions… on to more travel adventures:

When I left Daniel in downtown Boston (he gamely volunteered to take the somethinerother line (I don’t remember its name) back home–I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to hear me bitch and moan about the worst drivers in the universe), I set out through the most irritating streets ever in search of the freeway. I am from southern California. I do freeways like a world champ. However, I don’t think I’ve ever been sooo happy to see a freeway in my entire life. Well, except when I found the Autobahn after being led on a giant wild goose chase in Germany when the GPS was trying to be “helpful” and insisted I drive down a street that was CLOSED instead of letting me go home. I admit I was very happy to see the Autobahn after a very stressful forty-five minutes or so.

So after locating the freeway, I headed to Hanscom Air Force Base, right smack dab in the heart of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. I encountered one of two GPS issues when it insisted I go in the back gate instead of the front gate. However, once I located the front gate (with the visitor’s center where I could get a pass from the MPs (Military Police) allowing me to come and go), I was home free. It was a blast to arrive and see Mark and Saundra.

See, Mark is four years older than me. I’ve known him since he was four. Not joking. And after being commissioned as an officer, Mark and Saundra’s first post was in southern California where they spent a handful of holidays and baseball games with us. As we were catching up, I mentioned to Mark that the relationships between our two families and two others are weird in that we’re truly more like aunts, uncles, and cousins. He agreed. After all, this is the guy who made a seven- or eight-year-old girl promise not to close her eyes when the faces all melted off at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I may have been nine, I’m not sure. But it was in the den of the house I grew up in, that I can tell you! How’s that for serious history together?

After catching up a bit, Saundra threw me in the car and we drove to Minute Man National Historical Park. All mile or so from their house. Long drive, I know.

First stop? A stamp in my passport. Saundra was so impressed, she got passports for her three boys. Cool beans.

After watching the last showing of the movie for the day, we wandered outside and walked part of the Minute Man Trail. The photo at the top is the spot where Paul Revere–the Paul Revere (one if by land, two if by sea)–was arrested that infamous night. The engravings mark the time and date of his (and his two cohorts) capture. We then drove down to the Old North Bridge where I got a picture with a Regular. Yup, that’s what they were called. As you can see, I really do clean up nice when I want to. And that’s the outfit I wore to church… at Park Street Church. It’s possible I was the only person in jeans. And I know I was the only person sporting Vans tennis shoes. The congregants survived.

The Minute Man Statue was sculpted by Daniel Chester French (remember that name, we’ll come back to it later). He stands at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. What I didn’t know about this statue is that it is the logo for the National Guard and was used on World War II War Bonds as well as U.S. Savings Bonds. There wasn’t a particular person used as a model for the sculpture and it was meant to represent the average farmer who left his home to defend it.

Massachusetts is inordinately proud of its revolutionary history. Frankly, I think they have a right to be. I’ve said for many years now that the United States of America is a young country, especially when you look at European or Mediterranean history. However, for being such a young country (the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and we grew from there), we’ve packed a heck of a lot into the past (almost) 400 years. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed studying U.S history so much. To me, it’s absolutely fascinating.

I can’t wait to take this vacation again. I’ve still got more to tell you about, but I would love to go back again in a year or two and do this all over again, filling in the holes I missed this time around. Why not, right? You know me… any excuse to travel!

Right as Rain… Er, Snow? Um, Rain?

I drove to work in the rain. Then it snowed for two hours beginning about 9:30 a.m. Then it rained for the remainder of the day. Please… never ask a Colorado resident to explain the weather here. It’s impossible. In fact, I may have missed my calling. I should’ve become a meteorologist and worked here in the Springs. I’m convinced it’s the only job in the world where you’re not only paid to be wrong 80% of the time, but you get raises in your wage for it. Talk about the life.

Today was a good Monday. It was just the right amount of busy to keep the day moving quickly yet not so quickly that it was unbearable. I kept to my plans of a 1,200-calorie day, but didn’t make it to the gym. I was hurting in too many places. So many, in fact, that Scott got to stab me in the head with needles this evening. That’s right… I was skewered. Again. This time I took needles to the temple, the actual temporomandibular joint, and the underside of my lower jaw. The latter hurt a tad bit and I’ve got a lovely bruise on my temple, but it loosened up my TMJ (I suffer from TMJD… stupid wisdom teeth extraction!) and killed the headache traveling to my forehead, eyes, and down my neck. Tom was flabbergasted that I let Scott stab the underside of my jaw because it’s such a touchy area. And while I’ll admit it wasn’t comfortable, neither was it unbearable.

After PT, I went to the grocery store to buy some unsweetened Silk Pure Almond milk. Loren introduced me to this when I was at their house last month. She’s my not-so-secret source for information on supplements and a bit of alternative medicinals. She had me try this stuff and I can honestly say that the unsweetened version is pretty tasty. And it’s even tastier in Honey Nut Cheerios. One cup of this stuff is about 80 calories less than one cup of 1% milk. And it has 50% more calcium–a really good thing for us females! I’d previously tasted the regular milk (a.k.a. sweetened) and didn’t like it, the unsweetened is another thing altogether. And since I’d finished the carton with breakfast this morning, I figured I’d better pick up some more. I also switched from the larger Chobani raspberry Greek yogurt to the Champions line, or kids’ sized yogurts, where they have a Very Berry flavor that’s still puréed. It’s really good! And 100 calories per serving. I still had second breakfast of oatmeal and two ounces of turkey with lunch, staples of my prior meal plans. First breakfast and the yogurt are essentially the same, they just had some minor tweaking. Dinner was two fried eggs, one piece of sourdough toast (the bread is from Panera Bread and rocks!), and two slices of butcher bacon (less salty and sooo flavorful). Not bad after a month of not paying attention to any of that.

The girls and I all registered for our competition today, so I’m eager to see if I can do enough damage to win an iPad 2. The top three losers (that just sounds so funny) win an iPad 2. Woohoo! I also forewarned Scott that I’m planning to start walking again so he’d be prepared for the guaranteed flare ups to follow. He and I were discussing the fact that although Memorial Day will mark my two-year anniversary of being a patient there, I’ve actually gained from continuing treatment. He was saying that the field is finding success with patients who do not have a “curable” condition or–worse–have a progressive condition (like me) are benefiting from ongoing care as opposed to discharge. For example, as soon as I take up my walking again, we may as well put together a pool to see who can guess when my back opts to pitch a huge fit. It’s inevitable. However, the benefits from the walking are still monumental in the long run. By remaining a continuing patient, Scott and Tom can address the intermittent problems associated with improving my overall health. Word of advice from me to you, don’t have a degenerative condition (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) that’s progressive (unavoidably getting worse as time passes). I really don’t recommend it.

However, the good news is that Day 1 of being back on the healthy wagon went well. I also cleaned the next set of photos so I can tell ya’ll about the Battles of Lexington and Concord, our 0-dark-30 day, and my tumble (and subsequent bruises).

Until then… sleep well, eat well, and just enjoy some time to yourself. ‘Kay? Ooo, and maybe listen to some rain. It’ll relax you like nothing else.