Getting to Portugal was a bit of a shit-show. Originally we were going to arrive in Lisbon in the morning on Sunday and then renting a car (or taking the train) down to Faro. But unfortunately my dad booked his ticket to arrive at 11pm instead of 11am. So we were forced to spend a night in Lisbon. Not horrible, except my mom and I had a 7am flight and so we were catching a cab at 4am leaving the rest of the day pretty shot with only a few hours of sleep. We arrived to a towering skyscraper of a hotel (we were on the 17th floor) and promptly crashed. Because it was Sunday and most everything is closed Sundays, we pretty much spent the day reading, napping and watching TV. Dad arrived closer to midnight and we were up bright and early to get a rental car. I had suggested multiple times to order a car ahead of time, but no one seemed overly concerned about it. That meant that getting a car was a bit more difficult, but we were on the road just before lunch time. It was a three hour drive south to Faro and eventually to Moncarapacho where my dad’s friend lives (where we were staying). It was a bit of an adventure to find her house. Actually, we didn’t find it. We found close and then she came to meet us and we followed her up the hill to her house. What an amazing place, though a bit out in the middle of nowhere and too isolated for me to live all the time. Great for a get-away though. It was warm, but not too bad when in the shade. We spent one day in Faro, downtown and then to the coast for a walk on the beach and to dip our toes in the water. Portugal is a bit sad in a way. Very poor from what I saw in the south, with many old buildings abandoned and falling apart. Graffiti covers most everything, but with a little imagination, you can imagine the town in all it’s glory. Our second full day in Faro was a Portuguese holiday which meant much of the city was closed down. So we took a little drive across a river and into Spain. It was like night and day compared to Faro. Clean, bright and pretty well maintained. It seemed to be more of a vacation town as there were many properties listed for sale, many were condos near the water and most posts were in English despite everyone we encountered speaking very limited English (unlike Portugal where most people had a pretty good command of the language). Portugal is very high on my list of places to return to. I would love to go and spend some time relaxing and maybe touring a few more historical places in Lisbon. The fresh seafood was delicious and the sangria was on par with my own sangria recipe. The orange juice was to die for (seriously, I don’t even really like orange juice but I drank so much in three days). Oranges grow all over the place and it was so sad to see oranges rotting on the ground in the orchards.
“Paris is always a good idea.” – Audrey Hepburn
With my parents off to Frankfurt for a couple days, I wanted to go somewhere on my own. I looked into returning to a couple of previous favorites (Greece, Croatia or Italy) as well as branching out somewhere new (Bulgaria or Albania). But since I was meeting my parents in Portugal, the cost of travel and ease of connecting flights played a big part in my decision. I ended up picking Paris for a couple of reasons. I had been once before nearly 8 years ago and thought it would be a great place to chill for a couple of days. The city center is fairly familiar, so there would be less of a learning curve and as I researched new things to do/experience, I came up with the idea for a cooking class. Best. Choice. Ever.
It was great to get away for a few days and be on my own. So many people wonder about traveling solo and for me there is something so freeing about being on your own in a new place.
Although my time in Paris neared perfection, it wasn’t without a bit of drama. I booked a hotel back in March. It was near the city center, away from any religious buildings (my mom’s request after recent violence) and had an elevator as my mom would be joining me for two nights and with her knee problems, no elevator was a deal breaker.
The Friday before I was to fly to Paris I was double checking the price of the hotel. I tend to book through hotels.com and with the ‘best price guaranteed’ I keep an eye on the price in case the price drops. I searched my hotel and it said that the selected hotel was closed! I had been emailing back and forth with the hotel to confirm my stay and request a bathtub, so I shot off a quick email asking ‘whats up?’ and on Saturday I got an email from hotels.com saying my hotel was closed, please call. It turns out they had re-booked me elsewhere, but it was further away from the center, no elevator, etc. excusez–moi? So I cancelled the replacement hotel and booked one of my choice (for an extra $250* because 3 days before arrival, the pickins were slim).
The new hotel was absolutely perfect though. Across a quiet street from a metro station (with grocery shops, a starbucks, etc), had A/C (because Paris was #$%& hot), super friendly and helpful staff and of course an elevator. I would absolutely stay there again. They had breakfast available for a charge, but hello… you’re in Paris. Why would you have a standard breakfast when just down the street you can pop into a bakery with fresh pastries. Yum! My most favorite part of my stay in Paris was the Market tour/Cooking class at La Cuisine Paris. We met at 9am just out side of the Metro station Place Monge. Just outside is the Place Monge Market, a market open every Wednesday and Saturday. Diane was our chef/instructor and she took us around the market, talked about picking fresh fruit and veg as well as how to tell when fish is fresh and talked about various types of cheeses. Because she frequents the same stalls, they were vary generous, sending us with extra cheese to try, offering a free sample of cherries, etc. She then took us to a bakery where they make fresh bread twice a day. Once we had what we needed we hopped the metro and two stops later we got off and walked a few blocks to the kitchen.
There were ten of us in the class – the perfect size. Everyone had something to do, often pairing with someone else. That way, we weren’t super busy and had the chance to watch what others were doing, but there was no standing around wondering what to do next. We made a fantastic lunch of roast duck breast with roast fennel, red onion and garlic and fingerling potatoes. We made a delicious cream soy sauce gravy to drizzle over top and then sprinkled with crushed pistachios. We made a nectarine and goat cheese salad with a nectarine-lemon dressing with olive oil and chervil. Dessert was creme caramel, moelleux au chocolat (molten chocolate cake) and Tuile au Amandes.Once everything was done, we all sat down for a hearty lunch and a glass of wine. Worth every euro. If you’re headed to Paris, please be sure to check them out. They have a variety of classes to fit any schedule and budget.
One of my other favorite places to visit was the Shakespeare And Company, an old bookstore. To this day, they offer a free place for writers to stay in exchange for a few hours work in the bookstore (all English books). There is a resident cat named Kitty and can often be found curled up on a chair in the reading room. The original book store was opened in 1919 and was a popular hangout for famous writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway. The store closed in 1940 during the German occupation. The current store was opened in 1951 in a new location and named after the original. Such a joy to explore.
Another fascinating stop was Victor Hugo’s house. If you know me, you know I absolutely adore Les Miserables, so getting to tour his amazing home was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, there was some sort of school field trip or something and it was packed with middle school/high school age kids who didn’t want to be there. It was loud and obnoxious and I was already hot,sweaty and cranky from however many miles in the hot sun (I was doing between 8-10 miles a day).
My mom arrived midday Friday and we made good use of the day and a half she had in Paris. I hauled her up and down all the stairs of the Paris metro, hopping all over town to see the Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, the Louvre (pretty much just the Mona Lisa), the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe – any and all of the major attractions. We lucked out in that her crutches mean we were able to skip many of the lines (honestly, we saved so much time this way). We were both exhausted already from such a busy trip, but Paris just added to the exhaustion. The heat didn’t help and I feel like we hopped between cafe and tourist site and back to a cafe for a drink and to rest our feet.
But overall, Paris was lovely. I would love to return and be able to relax. While the summer crowds hadn’t truly arrived yet, it was busy as the weather warmed up.
*I contacted hotels.com to complain about what happened and they sent me a $250 credit to use on the site, so we’re headed to the Oregon coast in September for some beach time.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I’ve been home for a month and meaning to post, but it seems like writing about my trip really means it’s over. I’m long past any jet-lag and real life has resumed and has almost settled into routine again (granted syncing summer schedules is a bit crazy, so I can’t say I’ve had a ‘normal’ work week yet).
It had been a relatively long time since I was in Denmark. And even longer since my parents and I were in Denmark together. I was last there the end of 2011 and I believe it was 2007 that my parents were last there. Three and a half years for me is the longest I’ve been away in my teenage/adult life. And boy, did I miss it. Some people talk about places, the sights and sounds and the atmosphere, something that can never be recreated. And it’s rare that you truly understand what they mean. For most, home is a house or apartment, but for me, I feel so at home in the city. The familiar old streets, cozy cafes and bars humming with a familiar throaty language and clinking beer bottles. Denmark is consistently ranked as the happiest country in the world – there is no explaining, you can only experience it.
I think I was some what surprised at how much I missed it. I miss my friends, I miss my family and I miss the everyday life things. I miss Danish grocery stores and the things you can’t get here. I miss flopping onto my sofa and watching Danish shows or even the news (while not perfect, watching news about the US from outside of the country is such an eye opener. FYI America, you’re starting to look like a whiny little bitch
all most of the time). I get that I would feel the same way about Seattle if I lived in Copenhagen all the time. But I miss the years where I came home for Christmas and summer and spent the rest of the time in Denmark. But now that I’ve been in the US, I miss Denmark dearly. If only I could pack up my soccer team and bring them with me – though playing the way they have lately, they’d be relegated to a neighborhood rec team in no time.
I think what made it so hard to leave this time, was the fact that we really only had two weeks in Denmark. When I was younger, we went for longer and mostly stayed in Denmark. This time I had five days in Paris and another four in Portugal (I’ll make a separate post about those). We arrived on May 24th, left on June 2nd and were back in Denmark from the 11th-16th. Both of those days were shortened by travel. We had 12 full days.
It was near impossible to see everyone, do everything I wanted. That said, I was busy and made damn sure I was able to do as much as possible. One place that I had to visit was the Roskilde Domkirkle. I was a frequent visitor when I lived in Roskilde, the history oozing from every brick and stone in this cathedral just fascinates me. Completed in 1275, the royalty that has graced this place, both in life and in death and the regular villagers who built the town surrounding this mammoth cathedral, you can feel them all.
My favorite chapel has always been King Christian the 4th, also known as ‘The fat King’ in this family (1577-1648). Seeing that they were running out of space in the cathedral, he had his own chapel built, starting in 1613 and it was finished in 1641. He has built so much of what Copenhagen is today: The Round tower, Børsen, Kastellet, Rosenborg, Holmen Kirke, etc. And he founded the Danish East India Company, inspired by the similar Dutch company (though it was dissolved a few years after his death. I image him to be a loud, lively person. He probably wasn’t the most friendly, and killed many during the persecution of witches (one woman because she couldn’t get 15 character witnesses – yikes), but he had grand ideas and followed through with them. If I could go back in time, he would probably be the person I would choose to visit. I probably would have visited a second time before flying home, but time was limited and I didn’t make it back to Roskilde.
I had a fantastic time visiting with friends and family. It’s great to be able to meet up with people you haven’t seen in three years and fall right back into the friendship as though it’s only been a few months. I was able to meet Maria twice, once for dinner and once for brunch. I was also able to catch up with the boys for dinner and a beer at the Tap House (some place I’ve never been before). It was great to see Dorte as well, someone I’ve been friends with since Kalø (over 10 years ago). I had hoped to meet with a few others from Kalø, but time and distance were the biggest hurdles.
We celebrated my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. As most of you know, Danes do parties right. The festivities began with an arch going up over the doorway. The front window was blacked out with trash bags (so they couldn’t see it) and then everyone (friends, family and neighbors) returned the following morning to sing (complete with live music) first thing in the morning. Everyone is then invited in for breakfast, coffee and a bit more singing. Later that evening was a formal sit-down dinner, complete with songs, speeches and a beautiful cake made by my cousin (I helped and roughly three of the flowers on the cake were made by me).
It was slow going to unpack. As excited as I was to get my purchases unpack, it’s always a bit of a downer to pack the suitcases away.
Until next time…
Zoo: “An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.” – Evan Esar
Had a lovely afternoon at the Woodland Park Zoo with a fantastic fandom friend today. Cacky, thanks for visiting!
I have such conflicted feelings on zoos, but of all the zoos that I’ve been to, I feel like we’re pretty lucky with the WPZ. The exhibits are much larger than most other zoos I’ve visited, and they do a fantastic job of enrichment. That said, certain animals like the Orangutans, Elephants and Gorillas always look so sad.
WPZ lost one of it’s elephants yesterday. At 45, Watoto should have had another 20 years left. While the WPZ is leaps and bounds above other zoos, I think they need to re-evaluate their elephant enclosure and send our two remaining elephants (Chai and Bamboo) to a sanctuary. I don’t think there is enough land for them to expand where they are at. Such smart animals deserve more. I think we are past the point where people need to be face-to-face with an elephant to feel the urge to save them.
The Orangutans are the other ones that need something more. I only ever see them sitting around with their burlap blankets over their heads. One was sitting at the glass just staring ahead as everyone crowded close.
We were treated to an up close view of the male lion today. He strolled around, scratching, sniffing and watching zoo visitors through the glass. The size of his paws are absolutely massive and his thick mane gorgeous. I didn’t see Adia and her cubs were sent elsewhere earlier in the year, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the male lion up close before. What a beautiful creature.
We also saw the hippo swim around (briefly). I think it’s the one animal at the zoo that I’ve never seen move until today. In fact, they could’ve been fake hippos for the past however many years, and I wouldn’t have known.
That’d be a good zoo scam.
One of my all time favorite spots at WPZ is the willawong station where you can feed parakeets, cockatiels and various other brightly colored birds. I had a delightful little cockatiel sit on my finger while he nibbled on some millet. He then fluffed up a bit and just sat on my finger.
All in all, a fantastic afternoon at the zoo!
“Best way to live in California is to be from somewheres else.” ― Cormac McCarthy
Had a (mostly) fantastic long weekend down in the Bay area and along the Oregon coast. A little rocky to start – some asshole in front of us lost some of their camping supplies and we hit their frying pan. Luckily it was only a tiny scratch and we laughed about it the rest of the way down. The drive down was long, hot and oh-so-boring. We hit temps as high as 110, added nearly an hour in construction detours and with nothing but dry, brown grass, it’s not exactly my favorite drive.
We arrived just past dinner time on Friday, checked in and headed to my favorite ‘Crawdaddies’ for dinner. It’s a hot, garlic, shrimpy mess – but well worth it. Saturday we were up and headed into San Francisco. We explored the wharf, found the house/park they used for Full House (yep), Lombard Street and then popped over the Golden Gate Bridge.
The reason for the trip was the Sounders vs. San Jose Saturday evening. Jason wanted to go to see the new Levi’s Stadium and I, of course, to see my team. Clearly he got the better half of the deal. We weren’t awful (and much better than the game against LA) but it was still uninspired and we just couldn’t connect. We ended up going to see Guardians of the Galaxy afterward to ease the pain. Great movie!
The drive up along the coast was much better than the drive down. It was cooler (fucking cold, according to Jason). But it was sad in some ways, many of the small towns along the way in very sad shape. Eureka, once busy with lumber mills and fisherman, has taken an obvious nose dive. The town is run down, homeless (most looked like they were on some sort of drug) were roaming the streets and the conversation we were privy to in the pub was… sad. Gold Beach was similar, though the people were friendly. The bartender invited himself up for a cup of noodles or bagel dog – when I said I didn’t have either of those (or know what a bagel dog was), he invited himself up for a popsicle. Um, okay. But it was funny – everyone knew every one and at the grocery store, the lady in front of us mentioned something about her brother going away. Jason asked where (thinking he was joining the army or something big like that) and the lady at check-out looked up and was like who the fuck are you? Clearly we were outsiders and they all know each others business. Turns out the chick’s brother was only headed down to LA (must be for school).
The best part of the drive back might have been the Trees of Mystery. What a great (little) hike and then the gondola ride further up into the forest. It was cloudy so we couldn’t see far, but it was still fantastic. No bigfoot sightings, but plenty of Elk, deer, a lizard and other little creatures (and road kill) along the way. My favorite tree was this one – a single tree with 12 smaller trees growing off of it. Amazing! Others grew in absurd angles, in tight clusters and/or with massive girth.
It, of course, wasn’t a trip to Cali without a stop at In & Out.
The last stop was my forever favorite, Newport, Oregon. We met my parents at the KOA where they spent two nights with the dog. Once they were packed up we headed in to Newport for lunch at my most favorite Mo’s (on the water, not the one across the street). Shrimp salad in an avocado, chowder and garlic cheese bread. I don’t think, in 15 years, I’ve ever had anything else. In fact, I don’t remember ever ordering anything else. Jason headed out right after lunch with a long drive back to the Tri-Cities, but we hung a bit longer and walked through a few shops.
Overall, the trip was fun. I just wish we could’ve come home with three points (or even one), but we can’t win them all.
OKC – ENERGY!
Looking for the Mark Harmon post? Click here.
Looking for the Tornado post? Click here.
So while the main reason for my trip to OKC the past four years has been Mark Harmon, this year I lucked out by having TWO legit reasons to brave the heat, humidity
and crazy southerners. Soccer!
As most of my friends know, I’m part of a new soccer podcast call the Soccer Talk Show (find us on facebook OR @soccertalkshow on twitter). We’re pretty much Sounders only, but I have always been of the belief that ‘once a sounder, always a sounder’ – except Shalrie Joseph. I hope he doesn’t see that.
Or maybe I do. Meh.
I met up with Philip Lund (2013 Sounder & fellow Dane- hollaback with the diggitydansk) at their Fri am practice for my first ever interview. I had zero clue as to what I was doing, and probably looked less than legit with just my iphone to record, but overall I think it went pretty well. Jay and I have some recording to do, but once the podcast is up, I’ll link to it here and on social media. We had a great chat for the podcast and an even better chat after I stopped recording and let loose a bit with my own pet peeves on how the team is run. I mean, most everyone knows that I’m #teamschmetzer – but it was nice to get more of an inside perspective.
Saturday after the cancelled baseball game, the weather picked up and I made my way to the Energy FC game. Nice to chat with Philip again, and meet a family who has spent some time living in Wa (and are also Sounders fans – small world). Funny to find those connections. I sat in the ‘fan zone’ – remember, I’m legit now with my Energy tee – complete with Philip’s name/number on the back in Zebra duct tape (because supplies are limited in OKC, apparently). It was fairly disorganized, but with a few ‘leaders’ in the group. I give them props for having some decent chants, though they rarely run through more than 1-2 times. It doesn’t give people much time to learn them and jump in. And at one point they were ragging on the east side for not cheering. Um, encourage, not discourage them to sing. But it’s only their first season – they’ll grow. Look at the ECS.
The game was good, but I was worried the first half. The Energy were much slower than Sacremento, but the biggest thing was size/force. Whenever it was 1 v 1, the other team almost always came away with it. They were much bigger size-wise, so OKC has to find a way to be faster and get in there and take the ball away.
But, I must’ve been decent luck, because they ended the game with a 2-0 win!
Funny to see Jimmy Nielsen as coach. I want to like him. He’s Danish and did very well in MLS. But totally still bitter about the Open Cup that Salazar handed them. Sorry, club over country. But I’m sure he’s nice?
After the game I met a SKC fan and we talked about that game, and the fact that they were just kicked out by Portland (and then beat Portland a few days later in a regular season match.
<– me in my okc gear. which looks like sounders gear. I like.
“My Oklahoma home is in the sky…” – Bruce Springsteen
I’ve decided to post about OKC in parts:
If you’re looking for Mark Harmon photos/info, click here.
If you’re looking for OKC Energy FC info, click here.
I had to get up early this morning. With an 8 hour drive ahead of me, plus wanting to stop at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, I knew I needed to get a good start to the day. I also wanted to take a drive through Moore, OK, where Cait and I toured the day after the El Reno tornado and only a week or so after the Moore tornado. I wasn’t sure if I could find the same place, but Moore isn’t big, so I figured I’d just circle a bit and see what was left of the damage. As I drove, a few things started to look familiar and suddenly I was turning into the same neighborhood we saw last year.
As I turned off the main road, I started to feel really, really overwhelmed. I think I was riding so high on adrenaline last year, esp. with the continuous storms the entire drive home, I didn’t really get the chance to deal with the enormity of it all.
Then Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah came on my playlist and I just lost it.
I have zero idea how these people continue to live there and just rebuild and move on with life. I spent the whole weekend with one eye to the sky, and I saw someone out planting in their front yard like it won’t blow away again (the house, who cares about the flowers). Many homes were still being repaired, some finished and some were just empty lots. The roads are still cakes with dirt, though the debris are gone.
I think it was really good to drive through the same neighborhood. In a way it was oddly reassuring that, even after the worst of things, life goes on. Even if it seems impossible. I look at the top photo, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin with a massive pile of rubble. I remember seeing families just standing at the end of the driveway, staring at the mess and then just digging in.
While I won’t claim to be ‘over it’, maybe a little healing was done today.
*The house in the photo to the left no longer exists (just an empty lot).
Why I haven’t (and won’t) jump on the Seahawks bandwagon.
I don’t like football.
It’s a 60 minute game that takes half a day to watch. I don’t see the skill beyond basic catch, or body slamming someone to the ground. The sport produces so many brain injuries, that a player killed himself but did so in a way that doctors could still look at his brain because he KNEW he was so messed up from repeated hard tackles. These men are getting paid millions to sustain brain damage at the delight of millions. I don’t claim soccer to be an injury-less sport. People have dropped dead on the pitch mid-game (unchecked heart issue), left with broken bones, concussions, etc. But unlike football, it’s not a massive epidemic of brain injury.
But even all that aside… it just isn’t for me.
Maybe I’m still bitter about the lack of attention the Sounders/soccer has received over the years. Since joining the MLS we’ve gotten more coverage and actual color photos, but there still isn’t a ‘soccer page’ in the Seattle Times the way they have one for football or MLB. I was at QFC the other day and they have Seahawks flowers. A bouquet of flowers dyed blue and green with a small Seahawks balloon in the middle. Where are the Sounders balloons? We’ve made the playoffs the past 5 years. Actually, I used to make Sounder flowers. I’d buy a couple bouquets of white flowers and dye them blue the night before a soccer game. I’d arrive 2 hours before kick off and hand them out to the players (and coach Schmetzer) at memorial stadium as they arrived.
I don’t hate the Seahawks, I don’t hope they lose. But I do find this bandwagon business amusing. Amusing because I’m an outsider. I know what it’s like to love a team through the hard times and then watch as THOUSANDS descend upon your team claiming to be ‘hard core’ (I’m looking at YOU non-USL sounder fans). It’s
And hey Starbucks, where’s my ‘full -90’ .90cent coffee in honor of the Sounders?
“No two persons ever read the same book.” –Edmund Wilson
This has gone around facebook over the past few weeks, and then I was tagged a couple of times. I decided to break the rules a bit (shocker) and move it to my blog.
Anyway, here is the original post: In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.
In no particular order:
1.) A World Without End, by Ken Follett. This is actually the second of his two books in the series (the first being Pillars of the Earth – also a great book). This book is absolutely fantastic. My goal in life is to write a historical novel this engaging, with such fascinating characters and such detail on the time period. I listened to this as an audio book before I picked up a paperback copy and went through all 50+ hours of audio in a crazy amount of time. I listened to it whenever I had five minutes to spare. Train rides, short walk to the grocery store, etc.
2.) Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene. Growing up, I’ve always been fascinated by world war 2. This book was so different from most other books I’ve read because it was focused in the US. I remember it leaving me heartbroken (even at a young age). I looked forward to the sequel, but sadly it didn’t deliver. In fact, if you haven’t read it – don’t.
3.) Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry (actually all of her horse books). I love horses and Marguerite’s books made them come alive in my mind. I actually have the Misty Breyer Horse (and her foal). I think I’ve read most of these books at least twice and have them saved in a box under my bed due to space rather than not wanting them on my shelf. Also on my bucket list is a trip to the island of Chincoteague.
4.) The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris. I find Roosevelt to be so fascinating. He has forever impressed me with his love of science and what he did for our National Parks. This book was a fantastic look at his early years and the live he lived (both ups and downs) before he reachedoffice. Interesting tidbit – Because of public demand to meet the great TR, on New Years Day, 1907, The Roosevelt’s held an open house where the public could shake hands with the President. By the end of the day, Roosevelt had shaken the hands of 8,510 people, setting a new Guinness World record. That record would hold until July of 1977 – over 70 years.
5.) Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. Another book I read as a young girl. This one stood out to me because it took place in Copenhagenand I could so easily picture the exact streets in my head.
6.) Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. I read this book at least twice, once was during a family vacation in Germany. I finished the day before we visited the concentration camp where Anne and her sister Margot died just a month before Liberation. A book that everyone should read.
7.) The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley (and the rest of his Black Stallion series). Again with the horses. After reading these books (also stowed under my bed) I was so dead-set on owning an Arabian. I think it was the imagery that I created in my head that made these books so great. The beautiful horse in the movie helped.
8.) Tales of a Female Nomad, by Rita Golden Gelman. Who doesn’t want to just get rid of everything and explore? But then I remember I’m broke.
9.) Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks. Forget turning little toy people into real people, bring on all the animals! I had plans for the greatest zoo ever in my room. All my breyer horses? “Sorry mom, can’t do chores right now. The ponies needs to be fed.”
10) The Cat Who Wore a Pot On Her Head, by Jan Slepian. One of my favorite books as a little kid. Loved it.
Funny how so many of the books I’ve mentioned were books that I read as a kid/pre-teen. Not that I haven’t really enjoyed books that I’ve read a little more recently, but I think it says a lot when I book sticks with you for so long.
Most people know I wasted pretty much the entire month of July snuggled on the couch with the dog and eating popsicles while I struggled with pneumonia. I started coughing a few days before my road trip, but nothing major. Just an occasional tickle. It continued through my trip and became a bit more persistent the first few days in July. So the 4th of July I went to the Urgent Care clinic, finally ready to admit that it wouldn’t just go away. I got a round of antibiotics and an inhaler and was sent on my way. Even while on the antibiotics, I started getting a bit worse and a few days later ended up with a 103.6 temp (and wondering at what point ones brain begins to melt). I went back in to the clinic and was given another round of antibiotics, prednisone and cough syrup with codeine. And still I got worse. The worst part was that I wasn’t sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night. At the end of my five day antibiotic I woke at 3am and watch NCIS on my phone, in bed, until the clinic opened. I finally got a chest x-ray, a few rounds with the nebulizer, a shot of antibiotics to the ass, a shot of steroids to the ass and 10 days of a much stronger antibiotic. That was my docs last try before sending me to the hospital. I lucked out, and within 12 hours of the new meds, the shots, etc, there was a noticeable difference. It’s been three and a half weeks, and it’s only the last two days that I’ve noticed that my lungs don’t make that nasty rattle sound when I breath deep. While sick I was fairly entertained (and disgusted) by using the stethoscope to listen to my lungs. I still cough off/on and will likely be using my inhaler for a while still, but I’m more irritated at missing out on nearly an entire month! I even missed a sounders home game – a clear indicator of how sick I was!
It’s been a slow process, but I’m certainly improving. The biggest issue is the pain I’ve been feeling in the general location of where the pneumonia was. I think it’s actually my rib (could be some inflamed cartilage?) but whatever it is, it’s extremely painful at times, depending on how I’m sitting or lying down or how I move.
So now that summer is half over, I’m looking forward to seeing how much excitement (of the good kind) I can fit into August. Adventures await!