How much farther, ErinLee?

This is a bit of a change-up, as we noted laughingly earlier this evening. For the nth time in the last four days, I’ve asked that question or another – Are we there yet, ErinLee? Reminiscent of days gone by, only the daughters were asking the questions then πŸ™‚ As I admitted to her, I had had ample opportunity to prepare; I was warned, but as tight as time got leading up to my trip, I didn’t do the incline work I should have. And I am telling you, as much as these folks out here are into food, they’re also into walking and there are hills everywhere. Now we could have taken the train or bus more than we have, but I lean toward the proverbial “When in Rome…” So I’ve been eating and walking with the best of them, but today was definitely a challenge. Are we there yet, ErinLee? Almost. Really? “Only seven more blocks,” Does that mean seven more hills? Good thing I ate so much today – all vegan, healthy and delicious – or these hills would do me in.

So we laugh and keep moving and talk about our next meal as we’re climbing those hills. I did get some great photos along the way as well, maybe to provide photographic evidence that I really did all this. Tomorrow morning I’ll likely be feeling the effects of today’s efforts, but we’ll head out again, going downtown to the Seattle Art Museum for the Picasso exhibit – a fairly big local event! As for food, we’ll start fresh, having given my fabulous leftovers from dinner to a homeless man; I walked by the first one, carrying my take-home tray like a pro, but I couldn’t pass the next one. I asked ErinLee if she’d mind and then asked the guy if he wanted some dinner. We shook hands and I wished him Merry Christmas and handed over that fabulous falafel and went on our way feeling lighter and better. Good thing, too, to lighten the load for the rest of the walk home.

So the day is coming to a close and I’m ready to put these tired feet up and won’t have to ask How much farther until tomorrow, when I’ll take her arm and she’ll pull me along and we’ll laugh and keep moving because there’s so much for her to show me yet! Stay tuned …

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Guess what, ErinLee? It’s Christmas!!

Sitting at ErinLee’s kitchen table looking out big windows over Lake Union and beyond the Space Needle to the Olympic mountains, snow-capped and beautiful against a hazy, but not rainy, sky and guess what? It is Christmas Day 2010; life is very good. Re the title of today’s post, I must have said those words to ErinLee a dozen times yesterday, though she said more like forty times! The trip went well, the only glitch being that my seatmate on the long leg of the flight spilled most of her apple juice on me. But, it’s Christmas and the flight attendant acted quickly and with numerous blankets, the juice was absorbed and I was virtually dry upon landing. Quick break here to hit the floor with a yoga program while ErinLee runs (literally) to a a nearby store. Later, friends…

A great workout and some of the stiffness from yesterday’s long sit and hauling baggage is released. Now a cool glass of ice water with lemon and I”m refreshed. Back to my seatmate – once she got past the mortification of spilling on me, we had great conversation – she’s a 25 year-old Chinese woman here studying medicine at Johns Hopkins University, an only child from Beijing. She was fascinated by my brain challenge story and had lots of questions. We also talked a lot about recovery issues and she had more questions about my working in recovery from a Christian aspect. All in all a very pleasant and informative way to pass the hours on the plane and guess what? It’s Christmas!!

We took the train back to ErinLee’s apartment, dropped off the luggage and headed out for dinner. Two things of note before going on. I packed like a genius this year – my checked bag was just under 40 pounds for nine days!! Compare that to last year when I was over 50 pounds, kept removing and weighing and ended up with a pile that my dad shipped to me; also my computer bag wasn’t overstuffed so actually was carried onto the plane and not left outside the plane on the “too big” cart. I was definitely impressed with myself! The other thing to note is that my ErinLee is not just vegetarian, but vegan. And that segues beautifully into our dinner.

Being a resident here for three years now and knowing her way around, we walked to dinner at a nearby neighborhood place called In the Bowl, a Vegetarian Noodle Bistro. The place was packed, deliveries going out and take-out being picked up in addition to the diners in the restaurant itself. Huge amounts of food all around us all in various-sized bowls. I had something wonderful – noodles and veggies in a delicious sauce. The carrots were thinly sliced and had adorably-cut edges; they looked like little orange gears in among the noodles. And another thing – pasta is for Italian food, noodles for Asian, which sounds weird to me. Anyway, carrots and other veggies plus the noodles covered in a yummy sauce and I had plenty, with leftovers for breakfast. They’re big on soup here, too, and ErinLee had some kind of soup with rice and big chunky veggies, enough for her breakfast as well.

I can tell already that with all the walking we’ll do and eating the way we’ll eat, that I am going to have a great time and not become sluggish from overeating and not enough exercise. We snuggled up and watched a favorite movie and I slept like the proverbial rock – totally worn out from the last week. Woke to a text from Meghan, followed by a half-hour conversation with Meghan and now a Christmas Day with ErinLee and we’ve decided to do a Chinese restaurant she favors for dinner tonight.

I’m excited about exploring this city in the next week; absorbing the different cultures is one of the beauties of travel. This is an old city with lots of water – lakes, the Pacific and Puget Sound so there’s lots to do and see and I’m rested and relaxed and guess what? It is indeed Christmas! May the blessings of this season be yours. More from Seattle as I ponder the wonders of the Greatest Gift ever, celebrated at Christmas!

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Another TA DA for Me!

It’s nearly 10 a.m. on Saturday morning and I am NOT studying, NOT rushing to beat a deadline, NOT frantically looking for one more resource to beef up a reference list. I AM having a ball here in my special kitchen, just me, some great music – Transiberian Orchestra turned up loud – a couple phone conversations, plans to visit my favorite Auntie Arlene in a few hours and NO deadlines for the next several days at least. I AM a happy woman. This is in stark contrast to the last two weeks. I had talked to Auntie Arlene and told her I’d visit in two weeks and probably not call before then either. What a great niece πŸ™‚

The fall term ended last night at 10:59 pm CST – with six minutes to spare, literally, I was submitting my final exam – too close for comfort! Two exams last night – went okay, As, but not 100s; results of the last two weeks’ papers still out, but I’m done! I told my brother, Steve,this morning that I can breathe; the heavy weight is off my chest. And I can dance around my kitchen, having a blast with my own self. God is good.

Less than five days till I’m hugging my ErinLee – counting down and so looking forward to holding her and burying my face in her hair!! Now I’ll do some laundry, begin to pack the bags, clean the house, all those weird /”>going away things I inherited from my mom, though she denies it:)

As the French say, tu connais la musique – translated you know the deal (literally, you know the music) I do know the music and I’ll be doing my thing today, thankful to have completed the term, happy to feel so much lighter and off for a day of visits and errands and life is very good!

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