Posting my index cards on history

I tolerated history in junior high school and high school, with the exception of my fall 9th grade year where I had a very prepared teacher who I thrived under.  But otherwise, I was generally a B and C history student.  This is unfortunate, because now that I am an adult I realize that I find history fascinating and spend a lot of time reading about it.  I am starting to document what I know about history (not much :)) so I don’t forget it and can review it.  Plus, I just like to “write” (i.e. type) stuff down.

 

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Posting my index cards on history

Trip to the doctor, everything for the most part is okay

I had my check up today as part of my continuing management of chronic illness.  All in all, everything is okay.  He said it’s fine that I went off my medicines, but likes that I am staying on a low dose of Sertraline.  He wants to do blood work on my inflammatory markers, and wants me to see my rheumatologist again then we can reconvene.  Nothing overly concerning, my health continues to hang in there (!!).  He was willing to do more to address the chronic pain but honestly, I’d rather live with some pain then take more meds and go through more tests.  🙂

My blood pressure was high when I arrived, so they re-checked it at the end of the appointment and it had calmed down.  PRobably the stress of the mornign commute and climbing the 3 floors (albiet slowly) to his office 😉

When the lady at the front desk asked if I’d traveled internationally, turns out she went to school at the University of Edinburgh. She said Edinburgh was her favorite city in Europe, and she’d traveled a lot through Europe.

Trip to the doctor, everything for the most part is okay

Walked 2 miles during lunch

I was walking over 10 miles a day on our vacation in Europe, which makes the 5 miles I am walking this week seem paltry. So walked for 30 minutes during my lunch. It feels so good to take a moderate walk. It is bright and sunny today, and the temperature is 72 but it feels 80.

As I walked I thought about my week in the hospital in 2012, when I was too restless (or worried) to read, and didn’t feel like watching TV so all I did was walk the halls. The first trips were brutal (my lungs were recuperating from surgery) but I got stronger every day. When all else fails, I always feel better when I walk.

Walked 2 miles during lunch

Gave Banks Mansion (Amsterdam) a good review

I liked this hotel.   Everyone who worked there was friendly and helpful, the room was clean (very important) and it was (very important for me) centrally located.  Also, the free breakfast was suprisingly good, they had an espresso machine in the lobby, Wife M originally wanted a small and historic hotel, which I like too, but I’d stay at Banks Mansion again without hesitation, especially since we tend to spend very little time in our room other than sleep (we like to explore versus spending extra time in the hotel).    

A quick note about Free Breakfasts.  I rarely — if ever — do free breakfasts in the US, since I don’t consider foods loaded with chemicals and high fructose syrup (AKA Fructose) “free,” given the toll these take on long-term health and the body.  But so often in Europe these types of chemicals are banned, which means I can eat the breakfast without worry of poisoning myself.  

I was worried and concerned when I heard Amsterdam embraces GMO foods, since they are starting to suspect GMO foods are damaging to the body (one theory links the increase in autoimmune diseaes to GMO), and I hope that changes in the future.

Gave Banks Mansion (Amsterdam) a good review

Dreamt is was my birthday, attended a huge party, was joy riding in a retired police car…

Dreamt that it was my birthday and wife M threw a large party for me.  The party was on a huge field with a grassy beach below (not unlike the Scottish and Irish countrysides we were just at), and I was late coming home from work so wife M had turned it into a pseudo surprise party.  There were a lot of people there, including Mike B from my dad’s 1980s softball team, my long-deceased grandma and my deceased aunt (people were both commenting how attractive they were, saying that must be where I got my good looks), and my college friend Jeff H.  It was a very crowded party, but the field in front of our house and the beach below were so big it didn’t feel overly crowded.

Now the dream veered – my police friend B wanted to take me for a ride in a “retired” squad car so we drove along Broadway in Seattle.  We were chatting when a real police car passed us going the other way, so B quickly veered into a parking space, but that quick action caught the attention of the police, who pulled in behind us.  B was alarmed (and I felt guilty he was going to be in trouble) so he leapt out and tried to radio the squad car behind him to try to talk his way out of trouble as a professional courtesy.  But they weren’t responding as he radio’d them, so in frustration he instructed me to stay put and walked back to the police car.

As I waited for him, a metro bus slammed into our car and intentionally rammed us forward.  I realized we were in a bus stop zones, so let the bus continue to push me forward while I scooted to the driver’s set and braked the car passed the zone. As the bus passed, the driver and I exchanged profanities, and I stepped out of the car to call metro to complain about him as I wandered down Broadway.  But the line that answered was a restaurant, and the staff there was also rude to me, so I crossed the street, walked into that restaurant (so conveniently located across the street), and exchanged a few more profanities with the staff (the restaurant was closed in preparation for dinner) before telling them it was my birthday, which cooled them off a little bit.

Finally, I used their restroom, marched out into the street, and walked along a back street behind Broadway that doesn’t actually exist in an attempt to try to relocate the police car.  Here, the dream ended…

I get why Jeff H and even B was in the dream, but why people who I have not seen in so many years?  Interestingly, I barely had a chance to speak to my grandma, who I loved dearly and who died in 1980 – if she were at my birthday party I’d make a special attempt to talk to her. I think friend B was in my dream because he called me recently to see if I was going to our high school reunion.  Europe had a vivid influence on my dream – the fields near our house were like the Scottish and Irish countrysides, and the back alley behind Broadway was like so many small lanes crisscrossing the cities of Europe.

 

Dreamt is was my birthday, attended a huge party, was joy riding in a retired police car…

Feeling grateful for vacation (instead of regret that it is over)…

For two glorious weeks we’ve been in Amsterdam, Scotland, England and Ireland in cities and countrysides I never expected to see.  Now the vacation is over and we are nearly home.  I am not feeling regret that it is over but happiness over the experiences I’ve acquired. There was a time when I would have focused on the “I don’t want to go back,” but my therapy really trained me to look at the positive rather than the negative.  Am loving the year I spent in therapy, which originally was to help me recover emotionally from my illness but gave me countless other life skills, as well.

Feeling grateful for vacation (instead of regret that it is over)…

Belgium

We took a 10-mile bike tour through Rougge, Belgium.  We learned that Belgium is a fairly new country — 19th century — and prior to this was owned and influenced by other countries who appreciated its ideal location as a port.  In fact, according to our guide it was the busiest port in Europe for centuries.  The country has three languages, including French, German and Dutch, and was also influenced by Vikings (who founded it as a port) and the Spaniards, who introduced Beglians to Chocolate.  Sister K learned on her tour that a massive port was built in 1912 then destroyed 2 years later in WW1, then rebuilt in 1937 and destroyed again in World War 2.  But now the port is the most important industry for the area…

We started out in the timeless, quaint city before riding along the canals, stopping at a windmill, then riding out into the farmlands.  We rode over a stone bridge, then stopped in a pub, where we consumed a delicious ale and were told that beer was important for safety reasons because in years past the water was not safe to drink.  Brougge is int he process of constructing an underground pipe that will delivery — wooo!! — fresh beer along a several kilometer line.  

We could see the different types of architecture along the city, and could also see in the country how that part of the land had been reclaimed from the sea (what used to be the beach now lies several kilometers from the water through reclaimed land — a common theme in several of our stops, including The Netherlands.

On the way, our guide asked why I was taking so many photos — was I a journalist?  No, I said, I loved Belgium so wanted to capture the moment.  Why? He asked.  Because it seems low stress, I said.  But, like so many Europeans I talked to on this trip, he said quality of life today is not as great as it would seem, that his daughter commutes 1.5 hours to work each way, struggles to find time to spend time with her kids between work and business of life, and that the department he retired from now has 3 people doing the work that 5 once did.  I am starting to think that demanding more with less and ofr less is a common theme not just in the US, but across the world, and that people as a whole are reaching a breaking point, what with all this inequality spread throughout the world (the top 1% having so much and the rest of the people having to work so hard over so little with very little security or time to enjoy life).

All that said, I loved Belgium.  It was peaceful, charming and scenic.  

Belgium