Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guess Where I went this Summer!

Well, first we visited Nana and Pop-Pop in the midwest. It was a long, restless flight with a longish layover in Cincinatti, but we made it safe and sound. After settling in a bit (and getting a good night's rest), we drove hours and hours to pick up my sinister.

They introduced me to Cargo Largo (A thrift and bargain hunter's jungle paradise.... Seriously! The other customers are actually like wild animals! But at less than half of retail price, who could blame them?)

And we visited the Bodies Revealed Exhibit. That was amazing! I could summarize it as 401 ways to view the internal structure of the human body! I do wish that I had access to this incredible, artistic display of our miraculously created bodies to study when I was taking anatomy in high school, but I made do just fine!

Sleeping on the air mattress had to be my least favorite part, but I was grateful, just the same! 6 of us crammed into LJ's apartment, which is half bare (the roommate's room is still waiting for a roommate!), but left for J&C's house the next day!

After hours and hours of driving to J&C's, we loaded all TEN of us in 2 cans, I mean vans, and we drove to St. Louis! The last time we were there was in 1998, we made a family trip! It really hasn't changed much, but because of the recent rains and such, the first level of the parking garage was under water.... And the first 11 steps! We just didn't go too far that way so it didn't effect us!
Isn't that an amazing pic? Actually, I took a picture of a PICTURE in the lobby of the hotel we were in! Still looks great! The Olde Spaghetti Factory was to die for, as always. I only wish I had an entire factory nearby, to generate the most perfect Creamy Pesto Dressing whenever my heart desired so! P.S. That stuff's good on everything!

We also went to the City Museum. We ALL played on the exhibits (although as adults we were afraid we might get stuck in some of them, but they still allowed it!) and I was mesmerized by the railings and the bright paintings and colors and decor everywhere! We were ready to leave after a few hours, but when we got home we looked on the web and found that there were so many other things to do! Like visit a giant thrift shop upstairs and do some hands on crafts! I guess we'll save THAT for another visit (wink wink, nudge nudge)!
Eventually, we came home and my dear friend Tiffany came down to visit us, show us some Mary Kay goodies, and share her family with us! We were roommates my last year at SBU, and NOTHING is more fun than when two Tiffany's get together! We had fun, but they had to leave for their own 4th of July celebrations! Most our 4th of July was spent at home, hangin' around the house, kinda like we always used to do. But THIS year, we didn't have to clean out the garage! (Remember that on Mulgrew St? EVERY year!!) We even went to a friend's house for a casual BBQ/get-together! It was quite enjoyable.

In my mind, the 4th of July guarantees fireworks, but not so! We viewed them on the 5th! An entire city (ok, minus some!) crammed onto the new school grounds to watch a pyrotechnic display set to music! It was great! We were SO close to the front that we could actually see the men lighting the goodies.... And feel the smoke in our faces when the wind shifted near the end of the display. But it was great! There were even a bunch of carts, like at the fair, dealing hot dogs, sodas, and more goodies for the like-sardine-packed country folk! LJ and I headed for the Mexican (er, Tex-Mex) fare!

Then the doc got ready to return home while Nicolee and I got to play for one more week... But as we were taking him to the airport, we received some sad news that I'll never forget. I was in shock the whole trip to the airport. He had a safe flight home and Tink was there to take care of him while I was gone!

A few days later we drove back to J&C's and went out to eat at a place called Shakespeare's Pizza. A bit medieval, but no jousting. Sounds eloquent... But is more like a local pizza joint with a fancy name! I longed for the cashier to spin an olde english accent, addressing us as lads and lasses, but instead we ate pizza with rootbeer, which was actually pretty good! Yet a funny sight waited for me in the bathroom! I have never taken for granted the locks on the stalls and the ample amount of toilet paper, but humor stretched these efforts a little far!!! Anyway, the announcer was hilarious! When he announced that my bother's order was ready, his announcement was like this: "J, your order is ready, J, you may come get your food, J, any time now, J, earth to J, JJ J J J J J J..." Notice there were no periods? He was on a roll!

We went back to LJ's apartment and I called a really good friend of mine from college... She came to visit me and I was SO glad to see her! She was 'Mamma Lu' to me in college. This was the girl that made sure I wasn't out too late OR else she made me carry her mace!!! I introduced her to my sister, as, now they are in neighboring towns! She'll be a great friend for LJ! (A pseudo-big sister!)

Back to Cargo Largo, saying good bye and good luck to LJ (first year of OT school, good luck, little sis!), and back to Nana's house...
Nicolee and I delivered Nana to a nearby dentist and we explored the city.... We went to Wildcat Park, where I had my senior pictures done in 1996 (my mom was the photographer!) and we visited the Audobon. I actually didn't know what that was, but it was beautiful! It was in the heart of the park with a mini museum inside. A large fish tank with some live specimens of the fish, local to this area. Then there were quite a few displays of the different animals, reptiles and mammals, living in the park, plus signs to recognize them, where they live and hide, what they eat... Nicole was very well-informed for the next time we head out that way! AND I would love to head out that way, they have miles of trails along the river. Places to picnic, just walk, bike. ( good family activity for next trip, Nana!) And the BEST thing was that it was FREE!!!

And when I came to pick up Nana, the skies were a bit ominous, but nothing happened. I have a pic of that, I'll edit this post later...

Finally I got to meet up with my old college gang (and LJ came with us). (Literally, My friend Jsin and I were IN a 'gang' called 'The Blades!' Before you worry about my character, let me explain that we were all college students, on rollerblades, at a Baptist school. The only kind of 'gang activity' we could think of was helping old ladies carry in their groceries and making sure kids walked across the street safely!) Plus my good friend Douglas. These two guys are great! And old friends, yopu know how it is.... Typical college friends, telling 'old' stories, laughing about everything.... We may never change! There is never a shortage of laughter when we're together.... And for some reason, it's all at my expense! (Well, most of it!) We met at Bella Peppers! I've driven by this restaurant many times, but never actually ate there. After that night I could at least say that I had been there! It was like an inexpensive, still nice and classy, version of Olive Garden.... It was all good.

The next day I spent doing laundry, getting ready to return home, and mentally noting all of the things I needed to do, like reform my eating habits (as if just being at someone else's house gave me the right to throw out all of the rules!) and spend some more time with Tink!

Sunday was another loooong day, church first, then travelling again. We had a layover in Cincinatti again, but made it home safe and sound.

My next move is to get the pics of of the Doc's computer and finish uploading picsWhew. Now it feels like just a few more weeks and a) Nana will be here to visit US for Nicolee's bday, b) school will start again, and c) we'll be ready to travel again next summer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not one, but TWO!

Heel spurs, that is. No wonder the diagnosis of one didn't satisfy me!