I’m back from vacation and recovering. It’s weird to think about the need to recover from time off but you know what I mean. Vacation can be a great time but can exhaust you. For me this was doubly true.
We flew from Texas to New Jersey, which started the tiring process and was no fun for my back. I was excited to go visit my in-laws but I was terrified. Before we boarded the plane I realized I’d forgotten most of my prescription medication. The muscle relaxer I could have dealt with but the nerve med was another story. Not only is it a medication you should never stop taking all at once, it also meant the toes in my left foot were going to be on fire in a few days. I had enough to last for three days.
If I’d noticed earlier I could have asked someone to bring them too me but by the time I figured it out it was too late. The pharmacy in NJ was willing to give me a three-day supply but I would have had to skip a dose a day and lower the dose of the remaining two times each day I take it.
Through lots of phone calls, tons of hassle and the efforts of the most amazing woman on the planet (my mom), it all worked out.
Vacation: Now the fun part of my time away. Two days after we got to my in-laws’ house we drove to Philadelphia to visit my husband’s brother and have some adventures. We went to the Philly zoo, the art museum and the aquarium (over two days). The last time I visited a zoo was when I was thirteen and I’d never been to an art museum or aquarium. Each was fun and interesting, plus I was able to take a lot of photos. There was so much walking though!
On the second day I started noticing my ankle was feeling odd. Not quite painful but close. We drove back to New Jersey that evening and by the time we got there I was quite uncomfortable. The next morning my ankle flat-out hurt and the pain shot up into my leg. To be honest, I wasn’t sure where the pain originated. My mother in law asked if it was my shin but I couldn’t give a good answer. I could feel it from the middle of my lower leg to down into my foot by mid afternoon and it hurt to walk.
We figured I twisted my ankle or something until I realized I could feel a little discomfort in my other leg. I still don’t know what it was but my mother in law had some herbal pain relieving massage oil that helped a lot. She originally told me to try arnica but that is a salicylate (which I can’t go near) so I had to settle for the next choice.
For two days we did very little and when it was necessary to get out I wrapped my ankle. By the weekend I was fine. It still hurt but I could walk without making it worse. I was even able to roam around the abandoned Boy Scout’s camp I wanted to see and take pictures. It was creepy and a little scary but I got some interesting shots. I also managed to avoid being attacked by all the poison ivy we had to stomp on to get to the cabins. My husband held tree branches out of the way so I could watch my feet haha.
Our flight home was on Tuesday. There was a ton of walking to get to our gate and then a ton more getting between terminals for the second flight but my ankle/leg held up. My back hurt from sitting in airline seats but I’ve recovered from that.
It was a great trip but I was so glad to sleep in my own bed. Plus make a demon hunter in World of Warcraft, since the patch allowing this landed on the same day we did.
Back Home: The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door on Tuesday was the kids had actually cleaned. It wasn’t perfect but effort was made so no yelling or mom looks were necessary.
My dogs each turned into Tigger, with their bottoms made out of springs. I didn’t get as scratched up as I thought I would but my husband did. Since we’ve been back the dogs hardly leave our sides.
Writing: I am still suffering from semi-writer’s block. The closest I’ve gotten was while we waiting for our first flight to take off on Tuesday. We were delayed because of a mechanical issue. There is a plastic ‘boot’ covering the wires connected to the inflatable slide on the main boarding door of the plane. This boot was busted and the wires were exposed. We couldn’t take off until they got parts (from a different terminal). There was a real danger of the slide inflating mid-flight if they didn’t fix it.
We took off an hour late and with little complaining from the passengers once they explained what was happening (after 30 minutes of sitting there wondering). Several people missed their connections but we were lucky. When we booked we had to decide between a 50 minute or two and a half hour layover. We chose the longer, just in case. So when we finally reached the Houston airport there was no rush. We got lunch and sat around for 45 minutes.
So, while we sat on the plane, not knowing anything besides there was a ‘minor’ mechanical problem, my muse tentatively raised her hand. Everything from pixies messing with the door to a dragon egg being found in the cargo hold were presented as reasons for the delay. Several what if questions led to a steaming suitcase, containing the egg (which was now hatching). We couldn’t very well take off when a newly hatching dragon needed heat right? The luggage loading crewman who found it would have known the absolute cold of the hold while in flight would have hurt the creature.
Then my muse went back into hiding and I prepared for take off. This consisted of death gripping the arm rest and my husband’s leg. I hate take off!
Drawing: A new category! I don’t know what made me do it but one day, months ago, I decided to draw something on the dry erase board we keep on our fridge. The contents of this board change all the time. Someone will draw something, then another family member will alter it. Then another, then another and so on. There have been some interesting results.
I’ve done this before, but will little effort. I never really thought I could draw, despite several art classes. The problem was I could duplicate stuff but only with a lot of effort. I didn’t think I had actual artistic skill. Just copying skill, not tracing, just redrawing what I see.
Anyway, most of the things I drew were ridiculous. A fat camel, a dog a child could draw, etc. But that time I decided to draw Kim Possible. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s the title character from a cartoon I watched with the kids. One of the few I could tolerate actually. It took me most of an hour and in the end you could tell it her but I felt like it looked like an older version or something.
Man that bugged me! I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but it irritated me that I couldn’t get it quite right. It didn’t matter that I was working with dry erase markers, I wanted it perfect! I put it on the fridge and waited to see how the kids would change it. They didn’t. The shock of who drew it must have been too much. So I added Rufus, the naked mole rat (also from the show) to it.
He turned out better. They still didn’t change it. By this point we had two dry erase boards on the fridge. So I grabbed the other one and started searching for other cartoon characters to draw. Nineties cartoons were either drawn very simply or too elaborately. I ended up picking a character drawn in the same style as my first attempt. Danny Phantom. I have to admit, of all the cartoons my kids watched, this was my favorite. If they watched it in the living room today, I’d probably sit down with them and watch a few episodes.
This drawing turned out much better. Well, the first attempt at it sucked, but when I started over it was good. The kids did eventually alter it. He gained then lost a mustache. His eyes became bloodshot and some impressive wrinkles showed up.
Since then I’ve drawn several more cartoons on the boards and two on paper. I look up “how to draw…” and duplicate what I see. The things I do on the boards sometimes get altered and other times don’t. Cosmo from The Fairly Odd Parents got some kind of disease leaving him with red spots.
The deliberately badly drawn dog eventually became a demon dragon thing. Eeyore didn’t get touched. The Last Airbender got some much-needed color and Squidworth was deemed too much of a masterpiece to be altered.
I did a few drawings on paper: Shego from Kim Possible, which was much harder than I thought it would be, Harley Quinn, a hatching dragon, a few flower sketches and a large dragon. No one was more surprised than me when I learned I could do it. Also, it’s much easier to fix flaws when using a pencil than the dry erase markers!
Here are my examples, and pardon the old beat up dry erase board:
Clearly there are flaws in both. You can see my mess-ups on Harley Quinn because I pressed too hard and erasers can only do so much in that case, also I know I can’t draw a circle haha. Still, I was able to make corrections and while it’s not perfect I didn’t get angry. With angry Ang, well, you can’t see how bad it was before but trust me when I say it is hard to get something right with a fat marker, stupid ears! The kids and my husband added the color and no one touched it afterwards.
I’m not a great artist but I’m getting better. In fact, I need to erase the instructions for while I was on vacation I wrote on the board and draw something new now that I’m home. I’m sure my children would rather see a drawing than what they have to clean.
Photography: I took about 1200 pictures on vacation. There is a shot of almost every animal we saw at the zoo, multiples of the super cute ones. I probably took fifty photos of sharks at the aquarium but maybe 10 turned out okay. I took macro shots at my in-laws’ house and a bunch at the abandoned camp.
I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought I would but at this point I’m happy with what I got. Last year in New Jersey I was only able to take about 20, including the selfie I took in the hospital before they took my appendix from me.
I’ll start going through them all tomorrow and probably post a few after. There is one from the camp I really love that I’d like to share.
Physical: I’m doing okay. As previously mentioned, my back was hurting from walking a lot and long plane rides but I feel back to my normal right now.
I went to physical therapy yesterday and it was hard but not unbearable. They told me I’ll be doing it through all of August and after that I have ten more visits covered by insurance if I need them. I’m impatient to be better but PT is a necessarily slow process.
I went to the doctor on Wednesday to check my thyroid levels as well. My prescription didn’t change and for the first time, possibly ever, I don’t have a giant bruise where they took blood!
More Writing: I keep thinking about the dragon hatching in the suitcase. I may have to write that story, hopefully today. My plan is to try to write some flash fiction over the next couple of days anyway. If I’m lucky this will break my block. I think half the problem was I was in planning/packing mode, then vacation mode.
It’s time to get back to work and I’m going try everything I can to coax my muse back out. I’d rather work on my trilogy but I’ll whatever writing I can get! I’ll post an update as soon as I have one.
Sidenote: I forgot I did one more drawing for the fridge before I went out of town. It started out as Stewie Griffin. This is what it looks like today:
When I got home it said “butt rock, oc, do not steal” (no clue so don’t ask what or why) and the teeth were square. I changed it to say “bite,” made the teeth pointy and added the bottom tooth. I was told it went through many alterations before reaching this point.
It’s silly but it’s fun with my offspring and I love our weirdness. I say bond with your loved ones any way you can.
Other sidenote: Being this post is so long, I clearly have a lot of words in me. Now if only I can convince my muse to put them into some fiction!