Remember those new blogging rules I posted at the beginning of the month? Well I didn’t adhere to them for very long, did I? Obviously my last three posts were just photos of me in the new states I visited during my vacation, but before that the worthwhile updates were few and far between. Pretty pathetic. I want to do better. I’m not making any promises, but I’m certainly going to try and post more often in June than I did in May.
Getting back to the subject at hand, I visited three new states while I was on vacation – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho! It was an amazing trip. I’ve been wanting to visit Yellowstone since 2001 when my dad and I took a more northern route when driving across the country for my Boeing internship, but not nearly northern enough to visit our country’s very first national park. Denver was the farthest north we got. Northwest Wyoming is pretty out of the way, but I managed to talk my family into going there on vacation this year. And it was spectacular. I’ll have to write some more about everything we saw and did in another post (check out some photos here if you’re interested), but I’m going to focus on my New Year’s resolution to visit as many new states as possible in 2014 right now. After adding West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware to my list of states visited when I was on the East Coast for work in March I couldn’t wait to check off more boxes before the end of the year. (I’m still kicking myself for not taking a quick detour into New Jersey in March when I was driving to/from Delaware, but I might be able to remedy that because there’s a chance that I’ll have to DC again in September.) So although the majority of my family’s vacation was spent in Wyoming (in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks), we drove a little bit out of our way so I could set foot in Montana and Idaho. The northern entrance of Yellowstone is actually in Montana so we only had to drive about five extra miles to take my picture next to the state welcome sign (which was much smaller and less ostentatious than I expected). Getting to Idaho required us to drive about twenty miles west from Jackson, WY and through a mountain pass before we could cross the state border. But I’m so glad we did. When else am I going to have a chance to visit that corner of the US? And look how much color is on my states visited map versus how it looked at the beginning of the year! This makes me very happy. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!
P.S. My family decided that we’re going to Alaska next year. It’s going to be awesome!
My parents flew into Los Angeles (the Orange County airport, actually) last Saturday morning and I picked them up around lunchtime. I already wrote about how we spent the rest of that day, but I’ve been too lazy to write about much else. My dad’s birthday was Sunday so I had something special planned. I got us tickets to visit the Getty Villa in Malibu which is replica of a villa in Pompeii that was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted. The house and gardens are very elaborate, and it’s also a museum that houses mostly Greek and Roman art and artifacts. It’s a spectacularly beautiful place. I’ve been wanting to go there for a long time so I was really glad that we went before my surgery. And I think both of my parents enjoyed it too. We had lunch there before leaving and it was very delicious. My cauliflower and lentil soup and green salad was wonderful. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised since I’ve had some excellent meals at museums. After lunch we drove back to my apartment so I could whip up an orange cake with cream cheese frosting for my dad’s birthday at his request. Actually, I made the frosting later in the evening, but when I made the cake I set out the cream cheese and butter to soften for a few hours. I have to admit that I doctored up a cake mix with orange juice and orange zest rather than making something from scratch, but I didn’t want to risk a poor outcome. A dry or tasteless cake would have been such a shame for my dad’s birthday. Before dinner the three of us went over to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands so my dad could do some photography around sunset and my mom and I could take a walk. It’s such a nice place and I can’t believe I’d never been there before! And getting a little exercise before dinner was a plus. Since it was my dad’s birthday he got to choose the restaurant for dinner. He mulled a couple of options, including In-N-Out, but he ultimately selected California Pizza Kitchen. We split a salad between the three of us and then each ordered our own pizza. Of course none of us could eat more than half because there was so much food, but that meant leftovers for later in the week. All in all, it was a very nice day and I think my dad enjoyed his birthday. Monday wasn’t very exciting since I had to work and then go to bed early in preparation for my surgery, but we did have a nice dinner at Café Lafayette on Main Street in Seal Beach. I was very glad that I had a good couple of days with my parents before my surgery!
Yesterday was the first day of 2014 that I didn’t update my webpage, but I think I had a good excuse. My surgery was yesterday, and even though it went very smoothly and I didn’t feel too awful afterwards, I was really tired last night. I’m still feeling wiped out tonight, but I wanted to write a little something anyway. My mom, dad, and I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM yesterday for my 7 AM surgery. I didn’t get to talk to my doctor after the operation, but she discussed it with my parents when it was over. She removed two ovarian cysts and discovered that I have endometriosis. That surprised me a little because I thought it was ruled out when I was eighteen. My doctor said it was a mild case, but it was there. Lucky me! After the procedure and about an hour in recovery, my parents drove me home to get some rest. The anesthesia made me feel pretty gross, but we got some lunch from a local restaurant before I took a nap in the afternoon. For dinner we went to Ruby’s because my throat was hurting and I wanted a milkshake. I went everywhere yesterday in some old yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and flip-flops. There was no way I would have been able to wear jeans over the three incisions I have in my abdomen now. Ouch. I even hurt myself turning over in the middle of the night. The pain didn’t last too long, but it still kept me awake for an hour before I could go back to sleep. When I got up this morning I realized that my sore throat was the beginning of a head cold and not just a side effect of the surgery. Of course I would get sick when I’m already taking time off from work for medical purposes. When it rains it pours, huh? Besides the cold I was feeling pretty good today. My incisions are tender to the touch, but I’m otherwise not in very much pain. My parents helped me with some errands today after I finally got up and showered (I was glad to wash off the orange Betadine that was still all over my belly). First we went to the Social Security office to start the process of changing my name back. That was a success and I should get my new Social Security card with my maiden name on it in about two weeks. After that I can go to the DMV and start updating credit card accounts, utilities, etc. I’ll be glad when that’s all over, but it was great to at least take the first step today. Our next stop was Ikea to get a little shelf for my bedroom. The three of us also had lunch of Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and ligonberry sauce at the Ikea café. Delicious. Unfortunately I was wiped out after those two errands so we went back to my apartment so I could take a nap. The rest of today was very low key because I had overextended myself earlier. Now it’s time for me to sleep again and hopefully heal some more. I’ll be glad when it doesn’t hurt my stomach to sit down and stand up again!
My parents arrived in Los Angeles today. They’re here to take care of me after my surgery on Tuesday, but until then we have some time to do fun things. When they came out for my last surgery in June they didn’t get to do anything outside of Seal Beach. I felt terrible – in more ways than one. I was in much worse shape than I expected after the procedure and that kept my parents at home with me for a full week. It was very boring because I couldn’t walk more than a couple of blocks at a time, and I was sorry that they traveled all the way across the country to do and see almost nothing. It was a shame. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake this time. Today, at least, I succeeded. The first thing I had to do this morning was go to the hospital and have more blood drawn. When I went in for my pre-op appointment on Thursday it was too far from my surgery date to do all of the tests. That meant two blood draws in three days. Fun! I had the nurse take the blood from my right arm this time since I wanted the bruises on my elbows to be symmetrical. This way I look like an equal opportunity IV drug user. After I left the hospital I drove down to the John Wayne Airport to wait for my parents to arrive. I had actually never been to SNA before, neither to fly out of or to pick anyone up, but it’s thankfully much nicer than LAX. When my parents and their bags had been tucked safely in my car we went to South Coast Plaza for lunch and a little shopping. It was a lovely February day here in LA so walking around, even inside, was very pleasant. I drove my parents back to my apartment a few hours later, and then promptly had my dad help me get rid of my huge, old TV that was in the guest bedroom. It proved to be a more difficult task than I anticipated, but after some creative engineering (and a few cracks in the plastic, I believe) we dropped it off at Goodwill. I was not sad to say goodbye to the TV I bought for my first Seal Beach apartment back in 2004. It was ridiculously cumbersome! Now my old 32″ flat screen and Roku box are set up in the guest bedroom, which is what I wanted for this week, but I think I’ll move it into my bedroom after my parents go back to Florida. This evening the three of us went to dinner on Main Street and then went right back home because my mom was tired and wanted to go to bed. My dad and I watched an episode of Top Gear (with an impromptu trip to Target to pick up a hairdryer as an interlude) before bedtime. That show makes me laugh like nothing else. It was a good day. Now it is time for me to go to sleep. Good night!
Since I can’t seem to find the motivation to write about what I’ve been up to for the last two weeks in Florida I figured I’d tell a little story instead. Today we got the day off after six straight days of work, and it was the first day since I’ve been here that I didn’t have anything planned. Time to drive around and explore the area! I went down south to Melbourne and visited the mall there. It was fairly disappointing, but I did get a pair of yoga pants and some socks for running. (Most of my recent purchases have been for running, now that I think about it! I’ll write another post about running soon.) I’ve been having a lot of trouble with blisters so I’m trying a bunch of new kinds of socks to see if that helps alleviate the problem. Band-aids and tape have helped, but it’s going to take more than that to keep me from getting blisters. The Melbourne mall has a Dick’s Sporting Goods and that’s where I bought the socks I got today, but I also checked out Sports Authority at the Merritt Island mall on my way back to my hotel (before the rain started!) to see if there were any other options available. There weren’t, but I remembered something about Sports Authority when I was a kid. My grandparents moved to the Tampa area in the early 90’s, and just about every year they lived there my family drove down from Tallahassee for Thanksgiving. They lived in Sun City Center, a large retirement community, which wasn’t very interesting for kids, but there were other things to look forward to. Like eating Thanksgiving dinner with family, driving my grandparent’s golf cart, and Black Friday shopping at the nearby outlet malls. Plus, there was one stop that we always made on our way back to Tallahassee. Sports Authority. It was a once-a-year visit that everyone looked forward to. I remember the store was warehouse-sized (although I might be remembering it from a kid’s perspective) and it had everything sports-related you could ever want. Going to Sports Authority was an opportunity to buy new sneakers from their huge selection, pick up some new Speedos for synchronized swimming or summer camp, and generally wander around and look at everything in the huge store. It was lots of fun. Now that I live somewhere that Sports Authority is much more accessible, going there isn’t quite the same magical experience, but I will always remember those childhood visits with my family that wrapped up the Thanksgiving weekend.