Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back and Forth

Alison and I went back and forth about what activity to do on Saturday. I woke up exhausted so ixnay on any possible plans to bicycle. We ended up going to Zumba and I barely made it through the hour but I was not the only one who reported feelings of exhaustion. Something in the air or collective tiredness?

From Zumba, Alison and I went to the opening of a new yoga studio. I was also joining Rosie there. Rosie and I moved on to have lunch at Frida's and even though I know it wasn't a wise thing to do, I went to Trader Joe's in the middle of the day because I was in the area. Trader Joe's wasn't bad but the parking lot was and usually is awful because of PetSmart, World Market, Target, Five Below and every other imaginable store.

Chillaxed a bit then cut the grass because, finally, the heat was not a factor or excuse...

Alison and I got a bike ride in today. We went to a new (to us) trail that was nice and flat and not crowded. Hadn't been bicycling in so long that my tires looked visibly flat so there was the exercise before the bike ride of pumping air into the tires.

After biking I went to Target and the grocery store, drank coffee then cooked and washed the dishes. Went back outside to trim down a small portion of weeds. I'm feeling outnumbered (mixed with bit of ugh) by the tasks that I need to do and then I saw this post...

Today is 29 days into finding out about the Mucosal Melanoma cancer spread.  I completed my second treatment yesterday and I'm visualizing this cancer being GONE. I've lost close to 30 pounds as we still struggle with nausea and pain, but it's in better control than two weeks ago. They placed a drain tube in my stomach so that the fluid build up and draining is more controlled.  We have palliative care nursing coming to the house so we have local in home support for pain management. I am pretty weak, unable to walk unassisted and am almost 100% dependent on my husband and Chase to help with everything.  This has been the hardest for us as a family. We are done trying to make sense out of this and we've switched gears to looking this monster in the face. Most days I spend in bed resting, taking meds, sleeping, trying to eat and just trying to keep focused on my new fight.  Chris, the kids and I are so very thankful for every prayer, comment, wish, etc. Thank you for the meals, the cards, gifts. Thank you to our Mom's who have dropped their lives to help. To my boss and staff, who have been so supportive. We will continue to draw strength from all of you.  To all of you, please do one thing for me right this minute. Look around, count your blessings, be thankful for your health, freedom and ability to enjoy your summer. It can be snagged in an instant, and I just want you all to give yourself that gift.  Love to you.❤
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Friday, July 28, 2017


Think that Gloria is trying to convert me to veganism and it's going to work if she keeps cooking delicious meals and sending me home with food.

For the Eyes...

Taco Stands, Jackfruit, Homemade Salsa etc.

Didn't exercise yesterday because of my dinner date with Gloria but I doubled up on Wednesday so that counts, right?

Leftovers, All Together

Asked one of my coworkers, who often flutters his lips in exasperation, What's up or rather what's not up? His response --  My enthusiasm. My sentiment exactly as far as 9 to 5 life is concerned.

Was on Twitter and saw a post from one of the local yoga studios about donation yoga in the park and, just like that, my Friday evening plans were cemented.

Yoga was a good way to recuperate from the week plus a good way to take my fretting down a notch as I try to figure out how to juggle weekend tasks.

Perfect P.M. Weather
Someone tweeted that, with this current administration, it feels like waking up to a fire alarm every morning and then I saw the tweet below,  a nice break from all the other hellish things going on in the world:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pace Yourself

Walked for exercise and kept my yoga plan even though I also had my eyes on the outdoor pool. Wanted to keep my date with yoga since I've only been going once a week and I know how important it is for my body and mind.

Got to the studio and realized that the regular teacher wouldn't be there even though there was no "sub alert" on the website. There was no issue, though, because I really like the teacher who subbed and she only does gentle yoga. But what is about a sub that's unsettling?

She (Lizzie) asked if there were any questions then she gave us a little yoga preamble about what type of class it would be  since it was a p.m. practice then she said that she would help us sleep well tonight. OMG, I had forgotten how relaxing Lizzie's classes are. At the end, I was straight up staggering and thought It's a relaxation technical knockout.

I liked it when Lizzie said Go at a pace that allows you to remain present. I need to make a mental note about pace because it's such a nice yoga goal...

Went for a walk on Sunday too and listened to the episode of Death, Sex & Money featuring Gabourey Sidibe. I'm impressed with how fast Sidibe can swim a lap and what she revealed about her mother's career made me a little sad.

One of my colleagues said that she dreamed, last night, that it was Friday and was so disturbed when she woke up and realized it was Tuesday. Yeah, I've had dreams like that too...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Not Alone

Went to Zumba this morning and I'm not sure why I was surprised that Alisha made us rain. She has always been energetic -- even when fully pregnant.

Returned home after Zumba and wasn't sure what to do with myself outside of washing clothes. Eventually pulled myself together and went to the pool so I could alleviate my cabin fever.

You know that it's hot when you're warm while in the pool. When I got back home, realized how good it feels to be unplugged and, of course, I should never underestimate aquatic therapy. I felt less "woe is me" after returning. Having just the weekend to recuperate and get stuff done tends to make me gloomy and I know that I'm not the only one who experiences this soooo...

Went to run an errand around 8-ish and the temperature was still registering over 100 degrees. Listened to the Jill Scott CD that I randomly picked up when I went to retrieve The Wangs vs. the World from the library. I really like tracks five, six (Lovely Day) and ten. Had to give Scott's remake of Lovely Day a couple of listens before I stopped making comparisons to the original.

On the way back from my errand, enjoyed sky-gazing and wondered if the indigo clouds were heat-related.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

To Tame Or Not...

I used to be able to resist the siren call of the all-staff email announcing leftover cookies and cakes but it's been calling my name lately. Didn't even eat it at work -- brought it home. Somehow, I need to regroup...

There's been ongoing excessive heat advisories so I've had to resort to at-home exercise again -- not my favorite thing to do right now. Went to yoga yesterday and really enjoyed class. During savasana I was conscious but not and experienced a little float-like feeling just as the teacher started talking us back into an upright position.

Outdoor yoga was canceled today because of the heat and, last night, one of my colleagues texted me our Zumba teacher's Facebook "Sub Alert" post. I had really been looking forward to going to his class. The city pool has extended hours on Wednesday so I decided to go and it was such a nice evening. I kept telling myself "10 more minutes. 10 more minutes..."

Magical Evening at the Pool
As I read Gingerzingi's comment about Lisa Stansfield's song, it occurred to me that I should make a "vacation" playlist. Haven't been to La Jolla in a long time but whenever I hit that town, I am inspired to sing You're Beautiful and, in general, being by water makes me sing Otis Redding. Will have to think about, at least, seven other songs for this playlist. In the meantime, I also need to work on taming my wanderlust but I'm not sure if a vacation playlist is going to help me out with that goal.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The song is my head right now is All Around The World by Lisa Stanfield...

I'm not sure why my brain associates songs with things that people say and whatnot but I heard so much Balkan music while traveling that the soundtrack in my head changed from English language songs and I found myself singing the few Bosnian ones that I know.

When I returned to work, I had the situation below waiting for me. So sweet -- even without the apple strudel and I enjoyed the world map napkins.

Something that was not sweet -- returning to a toxic coworker. I had an internal debate with myself before I concluded that I need to do everything in power, self-care wise, so that I don't behave in the bitter manner that my coworker does. I will get to as many yoga classes as possible, take as many lavender-infused salt baths, swim as many miles as it takes and walk as far as possible before I get to the point where I'm constantly spewing unhappiness on others...

Love the Instagram post below but, of course, I want both -- the actual retreat and mind retreat.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Doggedness, In Action

My suitcase is almost unpacked and I've washed two loads of clothes, cooked my first meal since returning home and I've been to three yoga classes but I've also reflected on how it was, in some ways, nice not to have a yoga studio on every corner while on vacation and, thus, taking away the temptation to be at a studio for a set hour and, instead, practice a different kind of non-asana yoga.

I have handed out most of the souvenirs that I accumulated. Had breakfast with my aunt Debbie, my cousin Chiquita and Alison too...

Can't bear to put the ABC container in the recycling bin that held lokum cookies made by A, the 'Fugee's friend. When I remembered that I had the cookies in my carry-on luggage, delight.

In my last post, I forgot to say that I missed dates and not the dry ones that we got at the grocery store in Hvar but the imported ones from Iran. Those dates were such a filling snack as we traveled around...

I've downloaded the almost 800 pictures that I took and uploaded about 125 to a photo-sharing website. When I look at all the images, I think My God, we covered a lot of ground.

I still think about the Balkan people who had air conditioner in their cars but didn't want to use it. They also didn't want to roll down the windows because of the dreaded European draft. There was a woman at this restaurant, Biban, who didn't want to sit at a particular table, closer to the spectacular view, because she thought she'd be more susceptible to a draft.

I'm still baffled by A who is cautious regarding drafts but opened up the doors in the morning to let all of the Croatian mosquitoes in. Drafts are dangerous but mosquitoes are not? Also, isn't there a draft when you open all the doors?

The 'Fugee did an excellent job of organizing our adventure. She is well informed as a lot of her fellow Balkan people are and it makes me think of my first yoga retreat in Jamaica when one of my fellow travelers said that she was embarrassed by how much Jamaicans knew about American politics but she knew nothing about Jamaican politics. I felt similarly when asked about American stuff while abroad.

But I digressed... The 'Fugee did a great job. In her role as organizer, it also made me realize, again, what a great interpreter she is.

At one point the 'Fugee said that she wished that A and I could communicate so that I could see how funny A is... Obviously, our communication was much more meaningful when the 'Fugee interpreted but A and I found little ways to communicate. Necessity is the mother of...

Speaking of communication, there are times when I've perceived the 'Fugee's pursuit of what she wants as dogged but it was very enlightening to see her Balkan peeps, with equal or greater doggedness, in action. Alas, I  had taken the 'Fugee out of her cultural context... It's weird because I know other people from the Balkans but...I will chalk up my observations and understanding to being more alert and present nowadays.

On another note, the 'Fugee also deserves recognition for her budding photography skills. This woman has always been fond of taking pictures but is now fully participating in the process by being on the other side of the camera and it's been fun to see her pictures.

Photo Credit: The 'Fugee

A keeping her eyes on Buddy... Photo Credit: The 'Fugee
Thank you, 'Fugee, for showing me around and sharing your friends with me. Puša, two times...

Friday, July 7, 2017

Somewhere Again

Split Airport
I miss ordering cherry juice during beverage service on Croatia airlines -- even though I'm not a big juice drinker.

I miss drinking Orangina while in the Balkans; it doesn't taste the same in Missouri and, again, I don't usually indulge.

I miss the way the 'Fugee's friend, A, slowly drawls out "Ma da..." even though I'm not totally sure what she's saying.

I miss the waiter's (at our favorite Croatian restaurant) singsong way of saying Moze...  
I miss breakfast rituals with the 'Fugee and I even miss our dormitory-style sleeping arrangements.

Needless to say, I miss the sea and the seagulls.

I miss the way Europeans take an extra swimming suit to the beach then change into the dry one behind a towel. 

I miss the way it's okay to touch people if you need to get by them or get their attention.

I miss people's trusting nature. 

#10 Leading the way to the Mirabella Fortress

The 'Fugee and Emina (who drove us up some really hilly terrain in a manual, wow).

I miss the foragers.

Mulberry Bushes, Sarajevo
I miss the courtyard swing set in Omis and mixing up my various currencies. I miss the struggle of converting kilograms to pounds...

I'm ready to go somewhere again.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Journey Back

5 a.m.Goodbye View of the Sea
As my time in Croatia came to a close, I tried to concentrate on all of fun that I'd had but, inevitably, I got sad and wondered if I should have stayed longer.

Kept thinking that it was time to return to my regular life but that's not an accurate adjective because the trip was part of my regular life but, of course, vacation life is not the usual day-to-day grind.

I should be all kinds of grateful that I have a job that will let me take more than three weeks off, that I had enough stamina for such an awesome adventure and that my travel guide, the 'Fugee, planned such an adventure.

The 'Fugee's childhood friend, A, was super sweet when she asked what time "we" had to get up. We had to get up at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday in order to make it to the airport. A set her alarm clock way before I set mine. Also, the landlord was covering airport duty and said that if she wasn't up, which was highly unlikely, to wake her up. I was covered on all fronts...

The airport in Munich was super-confusing and I had such a urge to go with the crowd when we got off the shuttle bus but knew that I was supposed to be at a different terminal. The set-up was a confusing and I finally asked one of the passport control folks. It was like a maze when I got to the other terminal. This guy, traveling with his young child, was also trying to find his gate when I said to him that the airport was perplexing, he said that most airports in Europe are confusing.

I expected something different out of a German airport but oh well...

The plane, unlike the one coming from America, was huge. Three sections with four seats in the middle and two seats on each side of the middle section. I was in the middle and didn't move nearly as much as I should have.

I was knocked out from Split to Munich and kept losing control of my head on the Munich flight too. Woke up at one point and everybody had ice cream, LOL.

When we finally landed my feet felt numb and the numbness, together with my mild plantar fasciitis, made for an interesting task as far as getting my feet going. I can also see how people get in trouble with deep vein thrombosis. Someone else also mentioned that their feet felt numb...

This woman in front of me told two airport workers that her flight was scheduled to leave in about 20 minutes. Thought she might have been on my flight because I had the same issue. The workers shrugged and said That's just the way it is...

The walking time to my terminal was 15 minutes so I caught a shuttle but when I got to my gate no one else was there. This woman across the way spotted me and scanned my boarding pass. I was so grateful because I did not want to delay my marathon journey...

Got up this morning and 6:00 a.m. and the tears started rolling not too long after that. It wasn't an ugly cry but...

Went to yoga despite feeling like I needed a nap because my body is tight as hell. Thought about how the tourist agent in Omis said that there used to be one person who did yoga but people were looking for more of a workout and she started doing Pilates.

In The States, it's a yoga studio on almost every corner but it worked for me to do a little chair yoga while on vacation.

During this morning's class, Annie talked about staying in the present moment which was definitely a hard thing to do as my mind kept wandering back to Europe...

Best Thing About Munich...

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Crossing Bridges

There's nothing like taking pictures on vacation to give you an accurate how much weight you've gained.

I like to tell the 'Fugee, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it and that bridge will appear when I get home...

Went to the grocery store this morning and three feet separated me from the shelf that I was looking at. Somehow, it was still enough space for this woman to step, precisely, in front of me. I found her invasion quite amusing...

The 'Fugee's childhood friend, "A," joined us in Omis and I was a bit nervous even though I'd met her before. One of the things that I worried about was my night owlness. I usually don't get sleepyhead until around midnight or later.

The minute that I got up, "A" opened the doors which cracked me up... In Mostar the 'Fugee and I stayed with one of her other friends and the windows let in every ray of light that existed but I'm trying to go with the flow and if I am awakened before I normally get up, so be it...

Being in Europe reminds me of friends who used to stay in a big house in North St. Louis but moved to Baltimore. The wife said that they had gone from having beaucop space to spitting on each other...

Today the 'Fugee asked me how my tolerance was for Balkan music at this point and I told her that it was starting to get to me a bit but I'm in Rome sooooo...

We went to a cafe that we hadn't planned on going to but went to get out of the rain. There were these two little girls with their grandmothers and one, Marietta, kept stealing looks at me. When I smiled at her, she shyly smiled back. Marietta was so sweet. The other grandchild was a bit saucier and finally asked Who is the lady in the all black dress? So cute. Both girls were about four, I think...

View by the cafe and Mirabella Fortress

My day started off in the courtyard. I ate breakfast in my favorite seat, a swing, read my book, watched the sea and, eventually, we went to the beach and I got in despite the cooler temperatures. I feel like I have to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to swim in the open water -- especially as my trip winds down...

Our Beach Condo

At some point, "A" went to get crepes for us and I asked the 'Fugee if she needed help but "A" had told her no then the 'Fugee quickly added "When a Bosnian says no, it doesn't mean no." LOL...