Archive for the ‘London’ Category

I am making a wish on each eyelash that I catch as it falls out. All those wishes have to add up, right? I refuse to waste a wish on anything pointless, like wishing that my eyelashes and eyebrows wouldn’t fall out, although I really don’t want them to. So what am I wishing for? Like birthday wishes, I don’t think you’re supposed to tell or they won’t come true. But I bet you can guess – they’re pretty much the same things that I pray for…

So I guess I can tell you more of the things that I wish but don’t waste the eyelash wishes on:

  • I wish the hair on my head would either all grow or not grow at all – it is so annoying having these patches of hair growing on my head! I really feel like a chia pet. Luckily, Nick is home from London and offered to shave my head again. I think I will be taking him up on that…
  • I wish people wouldn’t worry about me so much. Tonight I told Nick I was going for a run and he looked all serious and said “Really? Ok, but be careful. What time will you be back?” It is sweet. But I really do feel fine, these in-between weeks, after the initial week of hell and the next infusion. I can run, I can babysit, I can work, I can drive. I am good. And I feel bad wishing this – I am so, so thankful so many people care about me. I just wish they wouldn’t worry so much… 🙂 And yes, I am blocking out the incident at Training Camp, but that was also because I was stupid and rushed being better – I was still in that first week post-chemo. I will try to be smarter this next round…
  • I wish I could go to my cheap nail salon and get my regular mani/pedi’s again. Oh how I (and my hands and my feet) miss them…
  • I wish I didn’t have chemo brain. I hate it when I am not at the top of my game. And according to Sue, chemo brain lasts for months and months after the chemo stops. So I won’t be back 100% until well into 2013. Ugh. Good excuse for why I won’t be winning at trivia though. 🙂
  • I wish I had unlimited funds so I could buy more wigs. Now that I’ve started wearing them, they’re not so bad. But I don’t like to wear the same one all the time, I like to mix it up between wigs and hats just to try to have fun with it. Now to buy the electric blue one…
  • And then the most pointless wish of all: I wish I wasn’t sick! I know, as people keep reminding me, I am officially cancer free since the surgery, but the fact is the chemo makes me more sick than I ever felt with the cancer! I do understand why it had to be cut out and why I now have to go through all this chemo to kill all the cancer cells (especially after talking to my friend Laura who had it come back again, even after having a mastectomy!), but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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My first thought when I woke up on Day 60 was how in the world did I end up in the aviary at the zoo??? The various bird sounds were rampant. Then I heard a meow, followed by little barks – a dog? Wait, no, that was the parrot imitating a dog. Ah, wait,  THERE’s a real dog! Not just one… Katy, Michelle and Ian live in an animal menagerie. They have:

  • 12 cockatiels
  • 6 dogs (including 4 six-week-old puppies)
  • 2 cats
  • 1 African gray parrot

They rescue, adopt and sometimes breed. Often, like the parrot and one of the dogs, they’ve come from really bad homes and need to learn love. They all mix together well, with one dog thinking she’s a cat, one cat thinking she’s a dog and a dog making friends with a bird. A very active, fun household!

In addition to the sounds, I also experienced wonderful smells that morning, as Ian and Katy made their fabulous breakfast tacos. Yum! They were delicious! I was told one of the most important things is to use fresh flour tortillas. I can now vouch for that! I actually had TWO home cooked meals on Day 60. To my surprise, Ian also made us an incredible meatloaf dinner, complete with long grain wild rice and corn. It’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever had (sorry mom). Ian’s going to make some woman very happy someday!

While Ian was home cooking (and playing XBox 360), Katy and I went to the park. Zilker Park is this unbelievable 351-acre park in Austin. We started our walk at Barton Springs pool. Barton Springs is the fourth largest natural springs in the state, and Robert Redford learned to swim there. We wandered all around, including taking in a beautiful view of the city. It reminded me of Hyde Park in London – it just seems to go on forever, and you forget you’re in a city. Our exploring ended with me needing a drink – I was craving Sonic’s Cranberry Limeade – I’m really going to miss them when I’m back up north.

After Ian fed us, we went to fulfill a promise to my friend Jay (who I saw in LA). His friend and fellow comedy troop member Brent co-wrote Megamind, so Jay is coercing everyone to go see it to support him. Somewhat reluctantly I agreed, although it’s not the type of movie I typically rush out to. I am SO glad I did! It’s excellent. Fast moving, really funny (even more so when you realize who the voices are) and not at all predictable. Go see it – you will not be sorry!

Remember the really cool jobs I mentioned Katy and Michelle having? Well, Katy had the night off, but Michelle was working Shrek The Musical on its final night in Austin. After the show Katy, Ian and I met Michelle and the wardrobe folks at Trudy’s, a Mexican restaurant for celebratory drinks. David, who played Shrek that night, also joined us. He said they are heading to Oklahoma City, Denver and then San Francisco. I’m disappointed because those are all places I’ve already been, but if you’re in one of those areas, go see it. I’ve heard it’s one not to miss! Hopefully I’ll be able to catch it later in the year…

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Oh my goodness. When I got in my car in Los Gatos on Day 47, I glanced at my odometer and couldn’t believe I’ve put more than 10,000 miles on my car already. And I’m on the complete other side of the country, and need to drive back, so I can only imagine what it will read at the end of this trip. I know I’ve been driving a lot; I guess I didn’t realize quite how it all added up. I also can’t believe I’ve been on the road for 47 days – it really does only feel like a couple of weeks. People keep asking if I’m sick of being on the road yet. Absolutely not, I’m loving every minute (even the not so great minutes). Even all the many, many minutes of driving.

Driving in San Francisco is similar to London. You have to drive 20 minutes to get a few miles. Then there’s the added complexity of the hills. You’re kept busy praying that your brakes keep working – it reminded me of The Princess Diaries when Anne Hathaway is taught to drive. I can’t even imagine learning here! Thank goodness I don’t have a standard. I also paid a new high for gas – $3.25 a gallon. Actually, I guess I paid more in Vancouver, but I’m not even sure what that was exactly, as it wasn’t in gallons – it was like London. I paid more than I want to think about, really.

I was wondering how I’d feel – if I’d still love San Francisco. And I do. I so do – more than I’d like to. As soon as I drove into the city, parked and got out of my car, I was in love again. Standing on the pier I knew I’d be happy waking up here every day, just as I was in London. If only all my family and friends were here. It makes me wonder if Plymouth (the place I’m considering settling if I decide to change courses and open an inn back home) will make me feel this way. It is on the water (good). And historic (good). It’s not a city (both good and bad). But Boston is so close, as is all of the Cape. I’m skeptical. But then I remember what Sarah dubbed ‘the summer of love.’ We had such a blast that summer, spending many weekends in downtown Plymouth. So maybe it could be the place for me…

Pushing the future from my mind to live more in the present, I left the pier and hunted down an open-top bus tour to get reaquainted with the city, which is glowing from excitement at going to the World Series.  Here are a few of the tidbits I learned on the tour:

  • Levi’s invented jeans here for the gold rush.
  • Martinis and jukeboxes were both created in San Francisco.
  • The phrase ‘sugar daddy’ also originated here, for a man who worked in sugar and fell for a girl who was immortalized in statue.
  • San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in the country (and my favorite).

Of course I learned other things, but those stuck with me. If you haven’t been here, please do visit. I love the piers, the unhurried bustle, the content atmosphere, the cool art everywhere, the friendliness – and it was the first place I’ve had guys start hitting on me by commenting on my cowboy boots – very funny! I also had a great mini-makeover at the Benefit counter in Macy’s. I ran in for one thing, and after Obsaitha worked magic on my face for a few minutes, I walked out of there with more product than I realized I couldn’t live without. And no, I don’t have buyer’s regret – I love Benefit!

I was so overwhelmed with excitement for being back in the city that I considered changing my itinerary once again and spending a few days just in the heart of the city. Then I thought about what really matters to me and that’s having more time to spend with my good friends in Los Angeles. I didn’t want to lose time with them just to be in San Francisco longer by myself. And I even cut my tour short to visit another friend – Neal, who I was close to at Dean. It was so good to see him and his family – he hasn’t changed a bit, which I love. (Perfect text timing, Neal!)

I was happy – I got a glimpse of a city I love, and know I will visit again as soon as possible. But it was time to go, as I wanted to take my time getting to LA – to enjoy the scenic route, stopping at many of the places Luke, Laura, Joy, Lauren and Neal all said are must-sees. So very many, it will be interesting to see when I actually reach LA!

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