I am alive!

So, September. Been a month of ups and downs for me. I started out with a fun stomach virus that wouldn’t go away, developing a fun infection from it that landed me in the ER a day before a hurricane was slated to arrive in Tallahassee and on the day I was supposed to drive down to Orlando to start a vacation. So, vacation started two days later after the storm had passed and I was on the mend. After a drive that normally takes me 4 hours took almost 7, I finally landed in my happy place.

I have written before, and I am sure I will again, about why I keep going back to the land of the Mouse. In many ways, it is going home. I grew up there. I am happy, safe, and content there. Even amongst the crowds and crying children. The heat was not fun this trip and the World was looking less than its best after a hurricane eye barreled through it a few days prior. But it was still home.

on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

My nephew meeting Eeyore for the first time. Photo: Scott Thomas

There is also the added joy of getting to share that all with my nephew. This was his first official “trip” to WDW; he’d been for a day here and there since he’s growing up so close to the World. This was the trip of his first breakfast at Crystal Palace (loved the characters!) and his first ride on Dumbo (he was unimpressed). I wouldn’t have missed that for the world. The wonder as he meets characters is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. He won’t remember it but I will and that’s the point. At this age, you’re not taking the kids for them. It’s for you. So you have that moment, that memory, to call upon on the days you’re stuck in meetings or the car is breaking down or, and this will happen, the day when he’s older and having a meltdown in the middle of Main Street USA.

Another reason to keep going is there is always something new to try or see or ride. I finally had time this trip to try out Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. It’s an interactive scavenger hunt/card game that you play throughout the park. It’s free with admission and comes with fun trading cards that you get a new set every trip! Fun souvenirs and free! You don’t find that often at Disney. Dad and I had fun wandering through the park, finding the different kiosks to play the game. And getting schooled by the kids playing it in front of us but hey, the eight-year-old had good advice for this novice!

We tried another new scavenger hunt at Epcot, the Remy Hunt and Squeak that is part of the Food & Wine Festival. This was harder than it looked! We never did find the one in the Outpost but successfully hunted up Remy in all the countries and booths to be rewarded with a Remy keychain in the end. Being on the mend from stomach flu, I could not partake in Food and Wine as hardily as I would have liked but I did pick up some creme brulee with raspberries in France. I am only so strong in resisting.

Bonus, my parents hadn’t done Flight of Passage yet in Pandora so I got to ride with them for their first time. There is nothing cooler than taking people on a new ride when you know what’s coming and they don’t! As expected, they really enjoyed it and I did too for the second time around. One of the coolest attractions Disney has put out in years in my opinion. I also talked them into trying the Satu’li Canteen one night which remains delicious (I tried a bowl this time – that beef was so good, even at the end of the night!)

I am working through my post-trip slump now but I’ll come out of it. Trying to figure out if I can fit a quick two days in at the parks before a trip home in November 😉 One can never have too many trips to WDW in one year after all.

 

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Round Up of the Last Month

Life always seems to get in the way of me blogging. It never fails but I lose a month!

So, what have I been up to? Well, a good two weeks, I had a miserable cold. You know those awful late spring/early summer colds that make you wish it was still cold and rainy out so the rest of the world has to be miserable with you? I had one of those and the thing just would not go away. I still have a slight runny nose from it. Not fun.

From my Instagram feed, Miami Beach last week

From my Instagram feed, Miami Beach last week

I am also just back from a week long trip to Miami – my first. I was there to attend and present at the Society of Florida Archivists Annual Meeting but I also got to see South Beach and Ocean Avenue and frolicked for a bit at Books & Books (I have become a bookstore tourist and I see nothing wrong with that). I liked Miami more than I expected to but most of my time was spend in the Coral Gables/Coconut Grove area so it was really nice. I also want to import their lovely sea breeze that was omnipresent while I was there. Tallahassee could really use that as we never have a breeze.

I have also been running…well, jogging…well, mostly walking and then sort of jogging. My sister has talked me into a 5K on July 4th here in town so I have to get myself into some sort of shape to run/walk that without dying. It fits in nicely with my new health/fitness goals after the lecture to end all lectures from my doctor last physical so it’s not a bad thing but I still loathe running. Tell me runners, at some point will I stop hating it and learn to love the bomb?!

And, as usual, I have been reading though not as much as usual. When I am sick, I tend to simply want to lie like a slug on my couch and indulge in marathons on Netflix. This past cold it was Kitchen Nightmares and America: The Story of Us for some reason. However, I finished a few:

The Club Dumas which left me sort of eh in the end. On Goodreads, I noted “I think I missed the point of this book. I did like it but I’m not sure I could tell you what actually happened in the end…” Now, about a month after I read it, I only vaguely even remember what it was about so clearly it did not make a lasting impression.

Jane Austen and Food was delightful. It was a scholarly book of essays – read like someone’s dissertation spruced up a bit for publication but it was fascinating. Jane doesn’t tell you much about her characters and food but what is there was neat to see dissected into what it means and relate it back to what we know was Jane’s relationship with food outside her novels.

I sneaked in a Hercule Poirot, Dumb Witness, that’s been in my to-read drawer of my nightstand one night. Agatha Christie is always a good idea.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett was the book I picked up when I saw her speak at the very rainy Tallahassee Literary Festival we had back in April. Here’s what I said on Goodreads: “This is quite lyrical; the story itself is a bit odd and ends rather abruptly with lots of loose ends (not my favorite thing at the end of a book – I like tidy endings) but it didn’t erk me terribly here because it’s delivered well and also fits the tone of the book. It’s a slow story, beautiful and meandering so the fact that it goes out quietly is not surprising and fits well with its story and characters.”

Then I read three books that were kind of eh again – one actually just made me mad in the end and another one I didn’t even finish because it annoyed me so much so they will go unnamed and unnoted.

I just finished The City of Dark Magic last night. It was fantastic. And hard to describe really at the end of the day. The back cover calls it a paranormal rom-com suspense novel. It also has a healthy dose of the ridiculous in it and was a bit raunchier than I usually read but I really enjoyed it and it made me laugh out loud a lot – always the sign of a good fun read.

I am deviating a bit right now from my reading goal for the year (one fiction, one non-fiction) because the to-read drawer of my nightstand is overflowing. I’m going to take some time to read through those now but I will pepper it with non-ficition when I feel like it. Like the next book on deck, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for what seems forever so no way am I waiting to dive into it (plus it’s due back at the library so the other books can chill on the nightstand for a bit longer!)

Walking a Park

Path at A.J. Henry Park, Tallahassee

My surgery went well; my recovery was a bit unexpected. Everyone made it sound a lot easier than it turned out to be for me. I handle pain well, thank goodness, but I was not up and about easily only a few days following my surgery. Tomorrow is 10 days after my surgery and today is really the first day I’ve felt mostly normal since they took my gallbladder out. I guess everyone is different but this one threw me for a loop a lot more than I was expecting. Slowly but surely, I am getting my feet back under me. One thing I’ve been trying to do is to keep moving. It does help me feel a little less like I am an invalid and also I feel a bit like I am walking off the pain. However, doing laps in my apartment gets old fast so I figure it’s time to start exploring the parks of Tallahassee.

I love walking; I always have. My favorite cities are completely walkable from one end of them to the other. I love not needing to drive or catch a bus or subway. I love taking in a walk whether it’s for pleasure or to get me from point A to Point B. I loathe running or really most other forms of exercise if I’m being honest but I adore walking. Sadly, Tallahassee isn’t exactly a walking city. I wouldn’t walk down my road if you paid me. It’s a charming road but has no sidewalk or shoulder to speak of. So, if I want to walk, I have to find a place to do so.

Tallahassee also has, thankfully, a plethora of parks to choose from. Being unimaginative yesterday, I just picked the park at the top of the list on the website. A.J. Henry Park is in the northeastern part of the city and, like anything else, took me about 20 minutes to find amongst the really nice houses I drove through. It is a fairly small park on the shores of a tiny lake. There is a short boardwalk along the lake’s edge, picnic areas which were host to two different birthday parties the day I visited, and then miles of trails through the woods. I wandered the woods for an hour, finding my way to a small ravine with a stream running through it. There were stairs down to the stream which I appreciated it as taking the steep looking trail wasn’t really something I felt up to just yet. It was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods and while I ran into a few other couples walking, I seemed to have the forest mostly to myself which is really the best way to enjoy a walk.

My only complaint was the trails were not marked very well. I found posts with maps that had either been destroyed or weather had rendered mostly illegible. There were color coded arrows which would have been helpful if I’d known what trail I’d been on to begin with. I suppose I could have pulled out my phone and gotten the map from the parks’ website but it didn’t fit my mood so I just wandered. I think I mostly stuck to the green trail but really, I have no idea. A bit more guidance would have been appreciated but I didn’t get lost so I suppose that would be considered a successful walk in the woods.

I hope to explore more of Tallahassee’s parks in the coming weeks as I try to keep active more. Sadly, most of this week will see me walking on the treadmill though as I’m returning to work. Tomorrow will most likely be a very long day but I’m looking forward to getting back onto my usual schedule and feeling like things are getting back to normal.

What a Week

There are times when you just have to laugh. Like at 11:30 last Tuesday night when I was woken by the sound of loud running water. Much too loud to just be the shower running in the apartment upstairs so I got up, opened my bathroom door, and discovered my bathroom had a new waterfall feature. Of course, it was flowing from the vent in the ceiling and right onto the floor so not really one I wanted. Over the next couple of hours, after the fire department had come and gone and the water stopped running down the side of the building from the apartment above mine, I headed to a hotel for the night. The next day, I moved to a new apartment on the other side of my complex and had to face going back into my old apartment to move things as well. An apartment that had, by that time, ceiling paint hanging down everywhere, carpets that were ripped up to allow giant fans to be placed underneath and massive dehumidifiers sat running in the corner. It took the next three days to finish moving all the belongings the complex didn’t for me. I’m still working on getting my address switched everywhere. You forget how many places have your address until you have to change it everywhere – I keep remembering more places to contact. Hopefully, I don’t miss any.

On top of that, I am having surgery on Friday. I am both nervous and excited. Excited because I am ready for my body to stop hating me, ready to go back to normal though, truth? This health episode, as fun as it has been, has properly scared me. I’m 28 next month – should I be having gallbladder attacks already? Should I be taking heartburn medicine like it’s candy and worry about everything I eat making me feel like I’m having a heart attack? Clearly I need to change some things after this surgery to get rid of my wonky gallbladder because this scared me and I shouldn’t be this worried yet. My eating habits have been better but I need to add exercise back into my schedule. The last year or so it’s gotten put aside, first because TMJ made my head feel like it was exploding and I got that under control then I moved across the country and then my body decided it would rather not let me eat much more than bread and applesauce. I need to work on this.

Nervous? Well, surgery is scary. I haven’t had one since I was 9 or 10. After several operations to have tubes put in my ears, my last one not only put tubes in my ears but also took out my tonsils and adenoids. Fun fact, as a kid, I couldn’t breath through my nose correctly. Once they took my adenoids out though, that quirk was taken care of. I suppose you could also count getting my wisdom teeth removed in 10th grade though you even walk after that surgery to the recovery room. I don’t remember walking but they tell me I did. The wisdom teeth had to come out because I’d had braces for years, teeth removed, my top jaw widened to accommodate all my teeth. Wisdom teeth would have screwed up all the money my mother poured into fixing my smile.

Reading back through here, I sound like a walking health disaster and I guess on some levels I always have been so I’m hoping to start working on that if only because it’s just getting annoying now. So, wish me luck this week and hopefully things will get back to a better normal soon.