Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 6 - But WHY Did the Aliens Do It?

Sunday we took the train to Salisbury to see Stonehenge. I'm afraid that my blog regarding Stonehenge will not be up to my usual witty style. For one thing, like the Grand Canyon is a big hole in the ground, Stonehenge is a bunch of rocks. And I was in the beginnings of my appendix issues, I was horribly nauseaous, thirsty, hot, and weak. But I'll do my best.

I can say that the day was beautiful and Stonehenge, up on a hill as it is, had the most wonderful breezes blowing around it. We again had the audio tour guide thingees which told us all about the three separate sets of rings which make up Stonehenge and the peoples who were responsible for the building of each of them. One thing which the audio did not give full disclosure regarding was the aliens who really built it and their motivations.

Of course we had the poor timing of missing the biggest day of the year Stonehenge-wise, which was June 21st, the summer solstice a/k/a longest day of the year. On that day, according to the guide book, they let people get up close and personal amongst the stones. Much like in Diana Gabaldon's time travel epic, Outlander, I just know that if I'd been there on that day and been able to roam amongst the stones, I know I'd have hit my head on something and when I woke up I'd be in another time with the highlander of my dreams... although now that I'm thinking about it, maybe she wasn't at Stonehenge... it isn't in Scotland. Hmm... I'm going to have to reread those things, aren't I? Sigh...

Well, sorry about the lack of content in this blog entry, so I'll try to make up for it with some more pics....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 5 - Windsor Castle

Saturday morning, the plan was to take the train, on the first day of our 4-day rail pass, up to Windsor Castle. It was a beautiful day. The sky blue and the clouds fluffy.

Before setting off on the tube, we all followed the Barger Family Motto and used the facilities in the underground station. I was very impressed by the cleanliness and the fact that it was one of those toilets you think of as English. Here's a pic...

Then we rode the tube to the train station and got on. Very exciting, and comfy. We'd gotten first class tickets on the advice of some friends, and were pleased that we had. The only thing about the train ride that I didn't like was that it was over too soon. We had to ride the train for about 15 minutes, get off at another station, and get on another train for 15 minutes or so to get to Windsor. Each time we'd get comfy, it was time to switch again. But this made me look forward to our upcoming trip to Edinburgh.

We got to the train station about lunch time, so we decided to have lunch at the cafe in the station before venturing forth to the Castle. This cafe was the world's slowest restaurant. I'm pretty sure I saw the Guinness people at the table beside us taking notes. But while we waited to be served, to get our food, to get the bill, etc., the crowd was treated to some Morris dancing, an English folk dance, by some local groups.

We went to the Castle and got equipped with our audio tour telephone thingees and started the tour. The first place we saw, because it would be closing soon, was the cathedral. Photography was not allowed, but I, rebel that I am, snapped a couple of pics. This was, after all, where Chuck married Camilla.

Much like when you go to the White House you only get to see six rooms, we only got to see a small portion of the Castle, but what we saw was pretty impressive. Again, no air conditioning - or at least very ineffective air conditioning.

Mom insists that while she and I were sitting cooling off while waiting for Haley and Holly to find a restroom, that she saw a car with Kate riding in it. And I suppose it's possible, as the next day, in the paper, it showed pictures of Kate and William at Windsor awarding military medals/honors to a bunch of British soldiers who'd just returned from Afghanistan.

After seeing what we could see and visiting the ubiquitous gift shoppes, we trotted down the street to find a pub that some woman had recommended to Haley as being not just your usual touristy place. Well, she had that right! Picture this, an English pub, named Two Brewers. Outside, a bunch of people having a pint, enjoying the beautiful evening. When we get inside and look at the menu, instead of steak and kidney pie (which I really wasn't interested in anyway), we find out that the chef is Spanish and cooks in the tapas style - meaning small portions, appetizer like. AND the chef is the one who comes and takes our order, serves the food, and provides a bit of kibitzing along the way! A very enjoyable experience.

After dinner, we made our way back to the station, the underground and then home. I was pooped, I showered and went to bed. Tomorrow, after all, is another day.

Day 4 - Palaces, Parks and Fountains... Oh, My!

Friday's itenerary started out with us travelling to Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace is the place where Princess Diana lived post-divorce, and where William and Kate will have an apartment for when they are in London. No, we didn't see either of them while we were there. In fact, we didn't see a lot of it, because again, part of it was under construction. However, what we

did see was pretty fantastic. The gardens were amazing and I could just imagine taking a book, a lawn chair, and my drink out there and spending hours... on a cooler day. The day we were there was rather warmish... in the 80's. I know, I know... you all were sweltering in the 90's on the same day, but for London, this was rather hot!

The tour for Kensington Palace was not your usual guided tour filled with historic bits of info and such. Actually, being a fan of historic bits and such, I would have preferred that. But, what they had set up was a search for 7 Princesses who'd lived in the Palace and while you roamed from room to room to figure out the names of the princesses, you could read info on plaques and such about the princesses. Unfortunately, the rooms were too darkly lit for my myopic monocles to make out the info. Plus I was hot and sweating. I don't know if it was just me (and the impending feverish frenzy into which my vacation would spiral) or if it was the weather and the fact that the Palace just wasn't air conditioned to my preferences, but...

We had lunch at the Orangery - which was a beautiful building, built on the Palace grounds, for some Queen, used as a green house. It was at the Orangery that we had "Tea". Well, I had parts of a chicken wrap and some lemonade, but Haley, Mom and Holly shared the tiny finger sandwiches and tea and a dessert consisting of a huge baked meringue, raspberries, and cream. I stupidly didn't think to take a picture of it until after it had all been scarfed down. So I took a picture of the dessert counter as we left instead.

After spending the morning and lunch at Kensington Palace, we next walked through Hyde Park toward the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and then ultimately on to Buckingham Palace. Along the way, we walked around a HUGE pond, or lake, or I'm not sure what, and there were tons of ducks, geese, and other miscellaneous birds. They were all very friendly, posing for pics. The birds that really struck my fancy were solid black except for the Phantom of the Opera masks they wore on their face. We took a pic of them with the intention of asking Tom (the brother-in-law who knows birds, fowl and fair) what they were. We'll see if Tom can hang on to his title by identifying this bird/duck.

After leaving the pond/lake thing, we continued along the path toward the Diana Fountain. Let me just say that it was a long stinking way from where we were to this fountain. Sigh... My dogs were barking... well, not as much as they could have been had I not be wearing my good Sketchers, but still... my puppies were tiring fast... and then there was the heat. I may have lost 60-ish pounds at that point, but I still had (have) quite a bit more to mislay.

Anywho, as we continued to wander, Holly and I came across the Royal Albert Hall. Although we got a picture, we did not have time to investigate how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. Mostly because we had to get to this fountain or die trying.

After getting somewhat lost-ish, and asking for directions, we finally found the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. It was not like your average fountain, but a concrete circle on which water flowed. According to the sign at the entrance, they wanted the design to be open to all, much like the Princess. After I got over my initial what the?, I liked it. Again, I could see myself sitting on a blankie, with a book and big ol'glass of iced tea (not very British, I know) and relaxing on the grounds around it.

After a short rest at the fountain, we continued our journey to Buckingham Palace. By the end of the day, I was close to not giving a damn, but knew I'd regret not going to see it. So we continued on.
Once we got there, though, the Queen's standard was flying, which meant she was home (or at least in town) and we couldn't see anything other than what we could see through the gates. However, it was very impressive and picturesque. I'm glad we made it.. but then we had to make it back to the apartment before passing out.

We made it, in fact, once we got on the tube to ride back, we got a bit of energy back, we decided to give the other Chinese restaurant between the station and the apartment a try for dinner. At this restaurant, I ordered my beloved chicken in garlic sauce which, in the States, comes with onions, mushrooms, celery, and water chestnuts along with the chicken in said garlic sauce. Not at this restaurant. I got a piece of chicken, white breast meat, in garlic sauce. It was good, and since I couldn't eat much of the veggies anyway, it was fine, but I still missed my crunchy veggies.

After dinner, Holly and Haley went on to hit the internet cafe and Mom and I headed home. I took a shower and hit the bed. To sleep, perchance to dream, of the exciting adventures the next day held for us..zzzzz...zz..zzz..zzz

Day 3 - Off With Their Heads! (and My Feet!)

The plan for the day was to go see the Tower of London. Going into it, I thought the Tower of London was A tower. But no, the Tower is a whole complex of smaller buildings (towers), surrounded by an outer wall. It was a lovely day and we started out going through the old castle which had been built by a father/son set of kings a l-o-n-g time ago and made it to the area where Henry VIII kept his prisoners. We got to see the crown jewels (no photography allowed). And then we had lunch in the cafeteria there.

After lunch, Holly and Haley took the camera and trekked through the "White Tower", so named because they would white-wash it every so often back in the day, and Mom and I found a bench in the sun and enjoyed the breeze. From our vantage point, we were able to see the changing of the guard (yes, I know, not THE changing of the guard, but fun to watch nonetheless!)

After an enjoyable morning and early afternoon, we finished up by getting a close-up view of the London Bridge. Now, THE London Bridge is somewhere in Arizona, of course, but this bridge looked good too. Had there been an elevator, Mom and I would have been game to go to the top and see the sights, but by this time, both of us were pooped.

Fortunately, the next item on the day's agenda was to catch a cruise up and down the Thames River to see London from that vantage point. We boarded our boat and since the weather was nippy, but not too bad, we rode the trip up the river (or maybe it was down... I get confused about that type of stuff) on the top of the boat. The trip included the comedy stylings of the first mate. He was cute and funny, so we gave him a nice tip.

We rode the boat down/up to Greenwich and since we had time before the last boat back, we got off and meandered around. Specifically, we meandered up the world's largest hill to get to the Royal Observatory so we could stand on the Prime Meridian and have a foot in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. I say this is the world's largest hill because I'm pretty sure that the bulk of the 15-ish pounds I lost while on this trip were lost going up the hill. Going down the hill was no picnic either, it was so steep you had to be careful not to pick up too much momentum lest inertia just carry you away! This picture is of the downhill trek, to give you an idea of the incline.

For dinner, we were too tired to make anything, so we stopped at the first of two Chinese places on the street between the flat and the underground station. It certainly was not Yen Ching, but it wasn't too bad. After dinner, we managed to get ourselves back to the flat and put our feet up to plan the next day's adventures.

Day 2 - The Game is Afoot!

Wednesday morning in London - despite the time difference, Rose is awake about 6-ish. Really that's not too bad, though, gets me into the shower first, and gives me time to chug my protein shake and get my daily pills down before it is time to venture forth.

The plan for today was to find our way to the Baker Street tube station and then go to Madame Tussauds. Of course, as a lover of mystery novels, if we'd been a little closer to 221B Baker Street, I'd have liked to go take a picture. Although I've been told that it is just a residence. However, at one of the platforms at the Baker Street station, there was a silhouette of Sherlock Holmes in the tiles. Unfortunately it was several levels below where we were, so Holly and Haley agreed to run down there and get a pic or two! Now, outside of the Baker Street station, there was a Sherlock Holmes statue. He looked very, uh.. detective-like. :)

Anywho, as we walked to Madame Tussauds', we passed several souvenir shops and I purchased myself a pair of socks with the British flag on them and an umbrella (it was raining).

Having purchased our tickets the day before, we did not have to stand outside in the rain to wait our turns to enter Madame Tussauds. We did find some telephone boxes for a quick photo op, though!

We met a big group of famous people at the exhibit. Holly got her pic taken with the man of her dreams, Zach Efron. Haley and Patrick Stewart were rather chatty. Brangelina was over in the corner. In addition to a variety of celebrities, there were political figures, including Henry VIII - Haley was concerned about her neck when she was talking to him!

Holly and I had the opportunity to hang with J.T., something that I know will make everyone at work jealous!

After chatting with the pretty people, we took the opportunity to find shelter from the rain and ate at a deli-type establishment named Arizona's. Holly and Haley had the fish and chips. I took a small bite to see what it was all about, and frankly, it tasted like Mrs. Paul's. Mom told me to order whatever sounded good to me. So I got us a burger and chips. The burger was not like an American burger and DUH! the chips were french fries, not the chips that I'd anticipated. However, the burger did come with a couple of tomato and cucumber slices, so I was able to eat some burger and fresh veggies.

After lunch, we hopped back on the tube and rode it to King's Cross Station to check out Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter fame. Ok, well, unfortunately, since so much of London is old, a big part of it is under construction/remodeling. And Platform 9 3/4 was blocked off. I was bummed, but tired, so I got over it quickly. One thing we encountered was a pay toilet. You had to pay 30p to use the restroom. Fortunately, there was a change machine right there because I had tons of coins, but none of it amounted to the correct amount. I've managed to live 42 years, but this is the first pay toilet for Rose! There was a set of scales there, too. Although frankly, I think they were the kind that give your horoscope. And I was tempted to step on them to see how much weight I'd lost trotting around London the past two days, but I figured it would pop out in metric, and I'm not good on the whole metric/non-metric conversion thing, so I kept my change.

After our adventures in King's Cross, we went to go check out Harrod's - the BIG department store where you HAVE to go. Well, we went, but I must say that everything was incredibly overpriced - for example, Mom and I went to the cafe inside and her Pepsi (made with real sugar, BTW, not the fake stuff she's used to) was 4 pounds and 25p. My bottle of water (in a real glass bottle) was 4 pounds 50p. That's about a $7 bottle of water, there. The one part that I did want to see was the memorial that Dodi Al Feyad 's father had put up for him and Diana. A little cheesy, but not near as cheesy as the statues of both of them near one of the exits.

When we left Harrods, we decided to head back to the flat and grab something at the little shop a couple of blocks away for dinner. The big winning item was the butter - it was pretty good, but I could only have a small nibble. Whereas the other three had several pieces of bread slathered with butter.

Holly and Haley had discovered an internet cafe and, since the wifi wasn't working, so after dinner, they trotted down there to check email, etc. I took a shower and went to bed.

Day 1.5 – The Trip to the Mother Ship

First, I again have to apologize because I know that there were several people looking forward to my daily updates from this trip. Our apartment had wireless internet, but for the first three days, it didn’t work, then all of a sudden it worked, but still we were dragging ourselves home each evening, sometimes as late as 8-9 pm, so I truly doubt you’d have gotten much from me even if the wireless thingee had worked. I will do my best to type these up in Word and get them posted as quickly as I can once we’re back in the States and have the internet. Now, on to the show…

Mom and I got up early, drove to Indy in the Party Van, stopped and picked up Haley, then headed to Holly’s. We pottied at Holly’s and grabbed Duncan and were off like a herd of turtles. We stopped at Dairy Queen to get ice cream and give Natalie a hug good-bye and we were off!… like a herd of turtles.

At the airport, we gave Duncan goodbye smoochies and he drove off in the Party Van. Next, checking in and security.

Now, being a full-time viewer of The Daily Show and the Colbert Report, I knew all about these new full-body scans that they do now, but what were the odds, right? Well, Rose’s odds on this trip, as you will learn by continuing to read the never-ending saga of this trip, were just right every time. Yep, I got pulled aside to go through the full body thing. I thought about yelling "Hey, don’t look at my junk" at them, but #1, I wasn’t sure if, as a female, I had junk… and #2, I didn’t want to spend my two-week vacation in the pokey. I did ask my usual, whether or not I could have a copy for my Christmas cards, but I was told that no one could see the scans… not even them. Which really made me want to inquire as to the point, but… (see #2 above). So I was through security and attempting to get my shoes back on when someone realized that my bag wasn’t there – and another guard comes up to me to ask it if it is mine. Turns out that the box of Cream of Wheat that we’d packed looked suspicious. Imagine what their reactions could have been (see #2 above) – mom just poured it all into a ziploc baggie (yes, an off-white, powder-like substance, in a baggie) – I’m the one who insisted on putting the baggie back into the box! Fortunately, me and the Cream of Wheat must’ve looked innocent enough because we finally made it onto the plane to Toronto.

In Toronto, we had to go through customs and the moment I’d been waiting for finally arrived. I was going to get a stamp in my passport!! Wait a minute… he told me I could go on through. What about my stamp!? I the guy if I couldn’t have a stamp… he said sure and gave me a stamp. Rather anti-climactic and unfulfilling, but it was still a stamp. Whoo hoo!

The flight to London was supposed to leave at 8:30 p.m. I don’t think we even got called to board until almost 10! But once we got settled, we were on our way to London!

The plane was nice, each seat had a video monitor on it and you could watch TV or movies or whatever from it. During the 6-7 hour flight, I watched Rango (animated with Johnny Depp) and Hall Pass (not worth my time figuring out what to put here, but it was better than Rango.) One unexpected nicety was that we were served dinner. Who serves food on planes anymore? After two crappy movies and a rather fitful nap, we arrived in London Heathrow at 9:30 AM.

First, customs and the receipt of another stamp in Ye Olde Passport. Again, not as exciting as I'd hoped, but we were now officially on the Mother Ship! Pretty exciting.

Our first task was to get to the apartment (or the "flat") we'd rented for the week. We found the underground or "tube" and hopped on. Heathrow and our apartment were situated in the southwestern quadrant of the metropolis that is London. And the apartment was about 7-8 blocks (not sure that their definition of "block" is the same as ours, but...) from the closest tube station and going to the apartment, it was mostly downhill. The apartment was the lower floor of a two-story house. I think if we'd had the whole house, it would have been much likek the Dursleys' house in the Harry Potter movies - it even had a cupboard under the stairwell where we could have locked an unwanted relative for the evenings. As it was, it was a little smaller than we anticipated, considering there were four of us, but we were only there for the evenings, so didn't find it to be a problem. The wireless internet was not working, however, that we considered that to be a problem. Especially since I knew my beloved fans would be concerned if they did not hear from me. hmpf...

Anyway, I took a shower and a short nap - not sure what the others did, but then we decided to set out in search of sustenance and then to go see London from the London Eye. So we took the tube to the appropriate station and then took a wrong turn upon leaving the station. However, we could not complain as we discovered and had our first real "English" meal in a pub - the Camel and Artichoke. The inside was very reminiscent of the Jungle in downtown Evansville, for those who know what I'm talking about. And the food was very good. Holly had the ubiquitous fish and chips. I had a grilled chicken Cesaer salad of which I could only eat three ounces, of course. The great part came when I asked for a 'to-go' box for the remainder of my chicken and, after waiting about 15 minutes, the waitress came back with a plastic container!

The British Airways London Millenium Eye is a giant ferris wheel type of ride that was built for London's 2000 celebration. When you get on the ride, it takes about 30 minutes to make the entire circuit - while riding the Eye, you get a fabulous view of the bulk of the city or at least the buildings/sites on or near the Thames River. We were fortunate to have very nice weather and and we rode the Eye taking plenty of pics. I can't post all of the pics on this blog, of course, so I will try to post a representative selection and if you want to see the full photographic travelogue, you are encouraged to become my fiend on Facebook where all of the pics will be posted.

After the Eye, we hit the ever-loving gift shop, or maybe even two! And then we trotted back to the tube station and found our way back to the apartment about 9pm... and it was still daylight! What's up with that?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Apologies from London

Hello to all who are anxiously awaiting blogs from our trip to London!

Unfortunately, the wireless here in England seems incompatible with our laptop and my iPhone :( so there will be no full blogging done until we are back in the States. This post is from an internet cafe a couple of blocks from our flat, but if I blogged from here, there'd be no pics.

But just to give you a taste, as I'm typing this, it is 10 am on Friday morning and we have seen the London Eye, Madam Toussouds (sp?), the Tower of London, taken a cruise up and down the Thames, and I think I'm forgetting something. But we've lots of pics and tons for me to write about.

Again, I apologize for getting everyone's hopes up only to dash them, but think of what you have to look forward to... for example, I will probably be 30 pounds lighter when I get back due to all of the walking we've been doing. We're doing well. No one has had to bludgeon anyone yet, although there've been some close calls. The weather's been great - even better knowing that it's in the 90's back home!

Later, lovies, Rosemary

Monday, June 6, 2011

Long Live the King!

This past weekend, my mother and I drove up to Indy to attend my youngest nephew's high school graduation.  This nephew, Duncan, a handsome, strapping 5 foot 11 lad, will be going to USI in the fall and will have the distinct honor of living with his grandmother and his hot, hip and happening favorite aunt (moi!) for the first year.  This blog entry is not about Duncan.  Although I'm sure there will be several in the future about my new roommate, I just wanted to throw his name out there for future reference.
This blog, like many in the past few months, is about toilet paper, as TP issues seem to follow me.
Mom and I woke up early on Saturday and hit the road.  We drive up US 41 to I-70 in Terrible Haute and then on to Indy.  But that's about mid-way in the trip and even if Mom hasn't taken her water pill, at least one of us as to wee.  So we generally stop at the Riley exit on I-70.  There is a McDonald's there along with a Burger King, a Wal-Mart, and two truck stop/gas stations.  So whatever our needs, the Riley exit is a good bet.
So Saturday, we stop at the McDonald's.  I think I've mentioned before that I, over the past 42 years, have purchased the right to stop and "use the facilities" at any McDonalds anywhere in the world for the rest of my life.  That first year that the McD's Monopoly came out alone earned me the right well into my 30's.  Not to mention the summers when the Beanie Babies were in the Happy Meals!  My point is that I have contributed mightily to McD's corporate earnings, so I do not feel bad about visiting any given McD's and using its facilities without making further contributions to the cause.
We go in, get seated, so to speak, when I notice that there is no TP in my stall.  I say as much to Mom and ask her to hand me a couple of squares.  She replies that her stall is equally empty and hands me a (clean) tissue from her pocket.  God bless my Mother and her continuously running nose! 
I finished up and washed my paws and exited the restroom to go inform someone, anyone, of the lack of TP because I knew they'd want to do something about it.  I frequent McD's restrooms because I have come to expect a certain level of quality.  Anywho,... I got to the front counter and there was a long line, so I assumed no one behind the counter had time to listen to me.  However, I'd seen an employee obviously taking her break between the ladies room and the counter, so I back tracked and went to tell her.  I apologized for interrupting her break and told her the ladies room was out of TP.  She said, (and here I quote verbatim, as I will never forget her words), "I know.  We ran out yesterday.  You have to ask for napkins at the counter."  She then went back to playing with her phone.
I am not generally a confrontational person, so I use that and the fact that I was stunned into silence to explain why I just walked dumbly to the van.  As I got comfy, I started to just be horrified by what she'd told me.
Since then, I have come up with a list of things that the manager of that particular McD's could have done in this situation.  The list is as follows:
-          They could have put some napkins in the ladies room so people did not have to ask at the busy counter.  Plenty-o-accidents, if you catch my drift, could happen while waiting at that counter.
-          They could have put a kindly worded sign on the door warning the prospective users of the ladies room that they would need to get napkins at the counter.
-          They could have nabbed some TP from the men's room.  Now, I realize this assumes that the men's room has TP, but I'm not in the mood to give the benefit of the doubt here.
-          They could have run across the parking lot to the Burger King and smuggled out some TP.
-          They could have gone to the Wal-Mart, which shared the same parking lot, and purchased some TP, or even wood chips from the lawn and garden section.
I'm sure you're wondering, "Rose, what about your return trip from Indy?  Did the Riley Exit McD's redeem itself??"  Well, I'll tell ya.  We did not give it the opportunity.  We went to the Burger King.  And the King did not fail us.  The King had TP.  Long live the King!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Back to the Old Grind

I am back at work this week, after an entire month off, and it has gone pretty well.  I've figured out a few things and sort of settled into a routine of sorts.
Monday, well, Monday was Memorial Day, so I didn't have to work.  But I did have to think about work and how I didn't have any bras that fit – and consequently, because they didn't fit, they caused gi-normous back pain.  So Mom and I headed out to the far east side of town, (Mom packed a lunch!) and I got some new ones at Sears.  Could have got the size that fit, but the next size down (still a C, thank you very much, Holly!) fit, even though it was tight, so I got two of that size instead so they would last longer.  (So if you see me in a corner adjusting myself, that would be why!)
Tuesday, I woke early, chugged part of my protein shake which, let me just say that if you're even slightly nauseated in the early mornings, as I am, is not the easiest thing to do.  Where was I?  Oh, then I set out on my walk.  Now, in our condo area, we live in the building farthest from the road, so my route is to walk to the road, cross it, and walk up the hill to our church and then around the church 3-4 times, then back.  Mom suggested, and I immediately discounted because obviously I know better, that I only walk once around the church, so as not to tire myself since I have to go to work.  As you might guess, I circumnavigated the church 3 times and then walked back home, took a shower, got dressed, ate breakfast while farming, and then was ready to go to work.  Well, let me say here and now, Mom was right.  After all of that, I was pooped and wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bed.  It was 7:45 a.m.!  Sigh.
As I left the condo that morning, I started to wonder exactly why it was that I felt that 4 weeks off to recuperate would be better than 6.  Especially since Steve was going to be on vacation both this and next week.  Sure Carrie might like me to be there to do stuff for her, since Steve isn't there to suck up the bulk of my time, but… pssshhh…  But I went.  I have to say that everybody gave me a very warm welcome back.  But then, after the immediate thrill of everyone commenting on my return and how fab I look, they expected me to sit in that chair and work for 8 hours!  Yikes!  Did I mention I was pooped!?
I got through the morning, ate lunch at my desk – by the way, it is much easier to drag a meal, any meal, but especially a 2 ounce meal, out for 30 minutes when you're sitting at your desk and working at the same time – then I took an hour nap in the naproom over my lunch hour.  That got me through the afternoon and then home.
The rest of the week has been pretty similar.  Although I have made the following observations:
-          Vanilla Boost is the most horrendous thing ever to pass my lips with the possible exception of that barium I had to drink for the pre-op testing.
-          Eating 2 ounces of pureed meat and some generic veggie while everyone else in the room is eating gooey, greasy pizza is not fun.  However, to the people sitting beside me, if you're not going to finish the piece on your plate, at least get it out of my arm's reach so I'm not tempted to rip that pepperoni off of it and suck the greasy, cheesy goodness off of it.
-          Eating cottage cheese for breakfast is much more fun when you're sitting on the couch and trying to fend off a 10 pound cat (Cleo) who has developed a LOVE of cottage cheese.  I think that should count as part of my daily workout routine.
-          Flintstone vitamins are not as fun as I always assumed they would be before I HAD to take them. 
-          I would kill, literally KILL, anyone of your choosing for a big ol'glass of iced tea, sweet or un, but preferably sweet since I'm daydreaming, with a STRAW in it.  I never realized how much I loved straws until I was told I couldn't use them.  And I really miss caffeine.  I accidentally had some the other day and I felt like a totally different woman.  BTW, Memo to the Crystal Light people – don't assume that just because the box says "Energy" that the poor schlub buying it is going to realize that it contains caffeine.  Put the word in big bold letters on the front of the box!
-          If I see that commercial for Applebee's, the one where they're announcing their new grilled entrees and you see the steak covered in onions, mushrooms, and cheese, again, I may have to jump off of the couch and plunge my fist into the tv.  Dear State Farm Insurance Agent - Would my homeowner's insurance cover that?
-          Work would be much better if I could do it from my lounge chair on the balcony with a cat on my lap.  I may bring that up at my next review.
-          Weighing every morning may work for some people (i.e., my mother), but it's just making me borderline psycho.  If that number doesn't go down soon, even just by 1 number, I am going to have to increase my Paxil!
-          I think all 48 of the pounds I've lost so far have come off of my butt.  One would think that that is a good thing, considering the size of my pre-op butt, but…  When I sit in a certain place for too long, my butt gets sore.  I'm thinking I've lost a lot of padding that was nice to have.  Would it look weird if I walked around carrying a pillow to sit on?
So in answer to the ubiquitous question, "Are you happy to be back at work?"  No!  That's just crazy.  Who wants to work for a living when they could get up, watch Regis, farm/dig for treasure and/or kill zombies, watch Days of Our Lives, nap on the balcony, have dinner, farm/dig for treasure and/or kill zombies, and go to bed every day!?  People who say to me, "I bet you got bored," they don't know me very well!  I am, however, happy to be back amongst friends and co-workers who I have actually missed.  I'm happy to relieve poor Jennifer, up in the collection department, of having to deal with Steve regarding his spreadsheets and reports and stuff.  Although I firmly believe it did him good to miss me for a while, I like Jennifer and don't feel the need to torture her any more.  I'm happy to have a job where I generally enjoy what I do and who I work for.  (We'll disregard the times in the past that Steve's made me cry as they were hormone-induced.)  And I'm very happy that I work indoors in a comfy office, with air-conditioning, especially since it's supposed to be 94 degrees today and Rose doesn't like to sweat.  So yes, I'm happy to be back.  But I'm going to have to step up my pursuit of a sugar daddy who can keep me in the style to which I've become accustomed during the past month, because, damn it!  I miss Regis!