Reclaiming Experience

This blog is a tool for recording my experiences as well as evaluating my day-to-day life. With my camera in hand, I will make meaning out of my life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 213: Getting Stuff Done

Today was definitely an errand day.  I went grocery shopping, stopped at the library, picked up my license sticker renewal, bought some fabric for my bulletin boards, picked up some dowel rods and painters tape at Menards, worked on some pictures, finished my curtains for my classroom, and gave Kendra a bath.  Now I think it is time to start relaxing and enjoy my new book I picked up.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 212: Pool Day and Trivia Night

After a nap from my sleep study, I started the day by filling out my Rick Steves tour evaluation.  You could say it was nothing but positive.  Then Crystal came over for a pool day.  Our tanning days are approaching an end and we have to soak up what we can.  Later I was invited to go for some drinks, wings, and trivia.  It was nice to hang with some of my new teachers.  We scored third place which wasn't too bad.  I had a fun day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 211: I'm Sexy and I Know it

Okay, so this picture doesn't reflect my title so well, but I'm sure you can get the joke.  I had my sleep study tonight it was kind of strange.  I was a little nervous at first because I had a male technician and it is kind of weird to watched while I am sleeping.  I hope I didn't do anything too weird.  John was really nice though and I felt more relaxed as we were talking.  I suppose I slept, but it didn't really feel like it.  I definitely woke up several times in the night.  When they came in this morning to get me at 5, I couldn't believe it was time to get up.  I thought they were coming in to put on the sleep apnea mask because they suspected I might have it.  I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty sure I don't since they didn't come in during the middle of the night.  Restless legs is another possibility though.  I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 210: Runaround

Today was a busy day.  I had several errands to run and cleaning to do.  After cleaning I finally framed this poster that I bought from a winery in Beaune.  I love how it shows all of the different shades of wine and lists what type of grapes.  There are definitely some colors up there that I haven't seen.

Crystal came over tonight for drinks and dancing.  We wandered to a couple of places downtown and grooved a bit.  There was a little too much house music for our taste, but it was still a nice night.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 209: Freedom...For a Little Longer

Today concluded my training and I am happy to be free for a little longer.  After the training I met up with Susie to catch up on recent events.  It is always good to hang out with her and pick up where we left off.  After that I did a little browsing to determine where I want to get my back to school clothes.  Overall, not a bad day. 

Day 208: Luck

I had some decent luck tonight.  My dad had a reunion with the group that performed his weight loss surgery, so we all went for the get together.  I think it is always a good reminder to remember the importance of our health and the work it takes to have it.  The night includes snacks, a speaker, and raffle prizes.  I actually won twice.  The first was a little fitness bag and the second was some specialty olive oils.  I'm excited to use these new things.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 207: Sleep Deprived

I know that I got home late last night, but Kendra's inability to sleep was a variable I was not expecting.  She must have gotten into some coffee because she was hyper.  Although I got home after one, sleep did not find me until after 3:00.  Usually in the summer months this is irrelevant, but with training and the need to wake up at 6:00, it was made a little more important.  I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day considering I woke up shaky and with eyes of fire, but it all worked out just fine.  Sometimes there are little things that happen in your day that cause you to completely forget everyday functions.  I made it through the training, came home and slept.  Now I'll be good for another couple of hours before sleep finds me again. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 206: Just Whelmed

So yesterday I was in a little bit of a lower place, but today I find myself feeling a bit better.  I think that going back to work was a bit of a shock that I wasn't prepared for.  It was like going from the hot tub to the freezing pool.  Now that I've been in the water a little longer, I'm feeling more acclimated.  There is still a lot work ahead of me, but when isn't that true?

Today's picture (technically tomorrow's picture) shows the time on my clock when I got home from hanging out with Ashley.  We had such a fun time hanging out at Quigley's that we ended up staying for about 7 hours.  First, we had a lot of catching up to do, so that takes time.  Then we were serenaded by this choir group comprised of a bunch of older men.  How can you leave when people keep singing to you?  Apparently they meet there every Tuesday and tonight they were celebrating a friend moving to Arizona and a bartender leaving for teaching.  We also had a lot of fun chatting with others at the bar and discussing life.  It was a great night.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 205: Overwhelmed

I started my week long training today for Thoughtful Classroom.  I am feeling the buzz from my trip leaving me much faster than I want.  Reality hit me in the face today and I realized that I teach in three weeks.  New everything.  Part of me wants to stay in lala land and reminisce by going through my pictures and writing, but I know that I can't.  I had such excitement at the beginning of the summer for a new school year, but not I just don't feel ready.  You could say I'm feeling a little bummed tonight.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 204: Catching Up

I had a great time catching up with Crystal today.  I also worked on catching up with laundry and framing.  Here is one of my favorite posters from my trip.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 203: Home Again

It was a long drive home, but I'm back.  Looking at today's picture, I think you can tell what was on my mind :).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 202: Let it Rain

Today was a wet day.  We started off the morning with a swamp tour.  The weather was nice enough to cooperate for awhile.  Our guide was a pretty entertaining cajun.  We had to watch out for five of the most poisonous snakes.  He told us to let him know if any got on the boat. We also got to watch the alligators munch on some marshmallows.  Who would imagine they would have such a sweet tooth.  The coolest alligator was Big Al.  He was 14 feet long and almost 1,000 pounds.  Towards the end of our ride, the rain came down. 
The rest of the day was pretty much characterized by the rain coming down.  New Orleans flooded.  One guy on the news said that the water was higher now in the French Quarter than it was during Hurricane Katrina.  I don't know about that, but it was definitely wet.

We finished the evening at our favorite restaurant.  I had my porcini and truffle ravioli while my dad ordered the osso buco.  We discussed how I could make the osso buco even better.  It was a wonderful way to finish our trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 201: Wading in the Gulf

 Our destination this morning was the gulf.  Our feet were in need of some sand, so we waded and walked the beach for awhile.  It is a cooler day and the water feels refreshing.  After wading we shopped for some t-shirts an then found a place for lunch.  I wanted to eat on the beach, so we found a restaurant that swayed with the water.  The storm began to come in and what a storm it was.  We saw a supercell with a wall cloud that had rotation.  Luckily we did not see a tornado, but we tried.  It was another low key evening due to the rain and us wearing out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 200: The Lutherns Are Here

The Lutherns have taken over New Orleans and it is the strangest thing.  Who would bring 40,000 youth group kids to New Orleans?  Anyway, we went to the Laura Plantation today.  We had a great guide that was creole herself.  The family has a very unique history and there were some interesting characters.  

After the plantation we took the ferry over to Algier's Point.  I thought there was going to be more to do there, but there wasn't.  It was a hot day, so we stopped for a drink and some chill time before dinner.  

We went to a new restaurant tonight called Irene's.  It was wonderful.  We had escargot in mushrooms, soft shell crab, lamb, and bananas foster.  It was an amazing meal and the staff was so friendly.  After dinner, we took it easy and went back to the hotel.




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 199: To New Orleans

Today we left Nashville for New Orleans.  We stopped on the way down for some oysters and fried green tomatoes.  We arrived at our hotel, unloaded, and worked our way to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  I was quickly reminded of my previous trip by a big picture of Florence and gnocchi (which I had in Florence).

After dinner we went to Bourbon Street for a little night fun.  We found a bar with music and spent the night there.  Dad and I both overdid our share of drinks, but we had a good time listening to the music and watching the crazies.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 198: On the Road Again

I woke up this morning around 2:30, unable to sleep.  I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind does what it normally does and just keeps going.  So I got up and did my packing and worked on some more pictures.

We left around 5:30ish for Nashville.  Unfortunately we did not time it quite right to stop at Indy for some West Coast Tacos, but we made up for it by stopping at Huber Winery for a tasting and lunch.  I’ve been there several times now, but this was my dad’s first time.  I think he can see what it is that I like so much about it.  He was even kind enough to sign up for the wine club for me.  So anyone that wants to go with me can get free tastings!

We also had lunch at Huber after feeling pretty good.  Dad ordered a BBQ chicken flatbread and I ordered a cheese fondue.  Putting together the two was amazing.  It was a great time.

After lunch we got back on the road and continued onto Nashville.  We stopped just north of Nashville for another wine tasting.  This place was a little different.  The décor was kind of gaudy and it was a tiny little place.  The first thing I noticed once we walked in was the woman.  She was an older woman with a big bouffant hair style.  She had that great southern accent and attitude.  We probably tasted about 8 or 9 wines.  Each time we would try a wine she would take out her little cheese tray and search for the right cheese to pair with the wine we were tasting.  Needless to say, we bought some cheese and wine.
Shortly after arriving in Nashville, we took a recommendation for dinner to go to Brick’s Café.  The selection was amazing and I had fun with the waitress trying to help me narrow down my choices.  We enjoyed a fried goat cheese salad with chicken and a chicken portobellini mixed with a lot of precious, honey, sweetie pies, and any other endearments you could imagine.

We stopped at a couple grocery stores so I could get some things to bring my health up to speed.  Then it was time to make our way downtown.  We walked up and down broadway while stopping in at bars and shops.  I love how downtown Nashville always has live music in almost every bar.  We stopped at Legends first to listen to some Johnny Cash, George Straight, and Boot Scootin Boogie.  Later we stopped at BB Kings to hear a great band, sip on some fun drinks, and munch on some fried pickles.  You could say that it was a great first day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 197: Home

There are a few parts of me that has missed home, but most of me is sad to be done with my adventure.  I am so glad that I leave for another adventure tomorrow.  

It was kind of strange moving at my own pace today.  I stayed in my pajamas until about noon.  I started to update my blog and work on pictures.  I also have started framing my new posters.  I even framed my map of the trip.  What a trip...

Later in the afternoon I went out to dinner with my parents to celebrate their anniversary (28 years!).  It was a nice day.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 196: Not Ready for Home

Today I take the journey back home.  This is a very sad day.  I have never felt such a connection with the people and places I have been.  I feel as though I am saying goodbye to my new home and family.  This trip has been more than I could have ever imagined.  I knew that it was going to be awesome, but I never expected it to be this life changing.  I am actually writing this a little over a week later and I'm worried that I will lose this version of myself.  I have never been so free and happy to just take life in.  My lesson from this adventure is to let life happen.  I am such a planner and it is okay to not have it all figured out.  I feel like I can achieve any dream right now and I hope this feeling lasts forever.  I'm worried that reality will creep in and ruin this freedom.  I have to work to make this my reality, that this is who I am now.  It breaks my heart to imagine going back to the restricted me.  I guess the only thing I can ask right now is: what's next?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 195: New Sights in Paris

Best Moments:
1. Seeing the Louvre with a guide
2. Understanding that the Louvre has a Naploean propaganda room
3. Ordering a carnet of metro tickets with the goal in mind of using all of them
4. Finally walking down Rue Mouffetard
5. Picking up a cheese and roasted tomato sandwich hugged with a delicious French baguette
6. Finding a quiet little park outside of a church to enjoy my picnic

7. Stopping at Ile St. Louis for a glace
8. Picking up scarves for myself and our guide
9. Walking through the very picturesque Paris Opera House
10. Visiting Montmartre
11. Understanding a little more of Montmartre's history through the Montmartre Museum
12. Looking around and seeing beauty everywhere
13. Walking down Abbesses and not realizing there was so much more to it
14. Enjoying the last dinner with my new friends (this is a best moment, but also a very sad one)
15. Coming back to the hotel for our last happy hour
16. Sharing our best moments with each other and realizing that they wouldn't have been possible without each other
17. Taking one last scenic night stroll in the rain

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 194: Ja'Taime Paris

Best Moments
1.) Morning walk in Beaune

2.) Drinking wine as we entered Paris
3.) Our bus driver giving us a scenic tour of Paris before he dropped us off (even going through the crazy roundabout of the Arc de Triomphe)
4.) Saying our goodbyes to our bus driver and reflecting on all of the fun memories
5.) Purchasing a book similar to Where's Waldo with French descriptions of famous Paris sights
6.) Returning to Notre Dame and feeling the same sensation I did last time
7.) Wandering Paris in the crazy rain and cold
8.) Thinking I was ordering duck and getting turkey instead
9.) Taking a cruise down the Seine
10.) Having a buddy to keep me warm on the cold/wet walk back to our hotel (it didn't help that I wasn't dressed for this weather) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 193: Bon Jour France

Best Moments:
1. Morning walk in the Lauterbrunnen Valley
2. Seeing the biggest Walmart-like store that I have ever seen in Europe (it was a Walmart on steroids!)
3. Eating bread and goat cheese on the bus
4. Chocolate tasting on the bus
5. Walking through the lovely French town of Beaune
6. Making time for a little shopping 
7. Visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral and sending a little prayer
8. Enjoying a welcome drink at our hotel
9. Drinking French wine and eating French food
10. Knowing that I make a better boeuf bourguignon than I had in France
11. Our guide trying to loosen up the waiter a little bit
12. Going for a walk at night to see the night art projected on the buildings

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 192: Disappointment Shared with Great People

Best Moments
1. Waking up and knowing that I was going paragliding
2. Taking the schilthorn 
3. Seeing the Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau
4. Watching scenes from the ridiculous James Bond movie that was filmed there
5. Enjoying hot cocoa in Switzerland (14,000 ft high)
6. Feeling the funny affects of a different altitude
7. Taking pictures of my friends paragliding
8. Sharing disappointment with others
9. Getting a private tour with our bus driver after the unfortunate weather change
10. Having an excuse to go back to Switzerland

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 191: Driving in the Alps

Best Moments
1. Early morning walk in the Cinque Terre
2. Watching the men comb the beach and get ready for another day
3. Wondering if our bus was going to go off the cliff or not
4. Enjoying the view out the windows on our way to Switzerland
5. Excited about planning our paragliding adventure
6. Realizing that the Euro is not such a bad deal compared to expenses in Switzerland
7. Skipping the bathroom break to take pictures of the Alps
8. Picking up snow after being in the Mediterranean
9. Welcome drink(s)
10. Hotel room view
11. Fondue demonstration (and eating)
12. Getting in trouble (again)
13. Amazing mashed potatoes
14. Watching the cows parade down the street in the rain
15. Evening walk down to the next town and back
16. Seeing the waterfalls

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 190: Hiking Through the Hills

Best Moments:
1. Having friends to share the journey with
2. Getting up early to go for a hike
3. Being kissed on the lips by an old Italian man walking by and wondering what just happened
4. Realizing that the hike was more than I anticipated, but so happy that I went
5. Getting done with the most challenging part of the hike in the beginning, and then going downhill afterwards
6. Listening to other travelers on the trail
7. Photographing the colorful villages
8. Enjoying pesto in the best place for it
9. Seeing a pug and getting to pet him even though the owner didn't speak English, I think there was an understanding
10. Taking the train and boat to see the villages
11. Gazing into the unreal, blue Mediterranean
12. Meeting on the beach with friends to have wine, focaccia, and an amazing pesto lasagna
13. Making the most of the evening by going to a concert in the old town
13. Watching people in their windows as they looked down on the concert

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 189: Healing Meditteranean

Best Moments:
1. Escaping the city to see a typical Tuscan Town
2. Enjoying Tuscan wine
3. Getting some fresh air
4. Eating freshly caught seafood from the Mediterranean
5. Drinking a lot of wine at dinner and having a good time
6. Sharing inside jokes with friends
7. Going for what started to be a late night wade in the Mediterranean to a late night swim in the Mediterranean
8. Truly feeling like I was part of something
9. Skipping rocks in the Mediterranean
10. Realizing that I need to live closer to the ocean

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day 188: Exploration

Best Moments
1. Transportation strike day in Italy
2. Easy access to the Vatican
3. Seeing the School of Athens
4. Understanding that great works like the Sistine Chapel would be best viewed alone
5. Taking a cab through Rome
6. Shopping on the streets of Rome
7. Spending time with good company

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 187: Becoming a Roman

Best Moments
1. Finally getting to try zucchini flowers (and it is really good on pizza)
2. Feeling like a Roman with our guide Francesca's detailed explanations that involved all senses
3. Feeling a connection to Francesca because of the energy and emotion she put into our tour
4. Enjoying a wonderful meal of a salad with pine nuts, parmesean, and balsamic vinegar and a cremini pasta near the Pantheon with good company
5. Meeting a mother and son and being amazed at how cultured and respectful the sixth grade boy was
6. Going for an evening walk through Rome 
7. Making my wishes at the Trevi fountain
8. Enjoying gelato in Italy
9. Rene always showing up at just the right moment

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Day 186: A View from Above

Best Moments
1. Climbing to the top of Il Duomo and seeing Florence from the best view, above
2. Participating in a balsamic vinegar tasting and realizing that what we have at home is crap
3. Visiting St. Croce church
4. Going to the Uffizi gallery and seeing so many masterpieces
5. Taking in all of the Botticelli's and buying a poster that captures them all
6. Another evening stroll through Florence 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Day 185: David

Best Moments
1. Finally finding some perfume in Florence after searching everywhere
2. Seeing the David in person and understanding why it is so famous
3. Dinner together with great wine and amazing gnocchi in a white sauce (the next thing I am going to try to make)
4. Night stroll to the highest point in Florence (Piazzale Michelangelo)
5. Looking over Florence in the moonlight

Monday, July 2, 2012

Day 184: Ciccheti, Gondolas, and Acqua Alta

Best Moments
1. Morning walk with Elizabeta, our local guide
2. Going to a mask shop to see how the masks are made
3. Riding the Vaporetto out to the islands
4. Crossing the Bridge of Sighs
5. Visiting my old neighborhood and buying a poster (which I ended up losing)
6. Searching for ciccheti with Rick and Lynette 
7. Enjoying the process of ordering the ciccheti and finding new ways to fix common foods (green beans with tomato sauce)
8. Eating something I wouldn't normally go for (baccala)
9. Changing my mind to ride the gondola afterall because I wanted to be with the group
10. The moment on our gondola ride when all four of our boats came together on the grand canal under the moonlight with music filling the air
11. Returning to Max's during acqua alta
12. Drinking the best Bellini I've ever had (fresh peach juice)
13. Sipping on lemoncello while the water level rises
14. Making the most of a Venice night

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 183: Unforgettable Venice

Best Moments
1. Pizza together in small Tirolean Village and only 1 Euro wine
2. Dinner together with unlimited wine and wonderful clam pasta
3. Italy vs. Spain game and watching the faces in the crowd
4. Drinking aperol and spritz
5. Jennifer taking us to the local hangout for guides in San Marco and meeting Max