Tag Archives: smithsonian museums

Back On Schedule

Yeah, I seem to have fallen off the blogging bandwagon there.  After my stepfather’s death and my week in Pittsburgh, I kind of lost steam.  I want to get back to focusing on blogging and my weight loss journey.  I was blogging every day for a while there, but life has just been crazy the past couple of weeks.

So, health-wise, I seem to be doing OK.  I had my annual physical last week after I returned from my sojourn in Pittsburgh.  My blood pressure was slightly elevated, (140/85), but I’m sure it has to do with the stress I have been under.  My doctor didn’t seem too worried, but she asked me to monitor it on my own.  I have and it’s come back down to the normal range, (120s/70s).  We are trying to see how I do sans medicine for a while.  I am happy to do that since prior to the surgery I was on three meds a day just to keep it down below 225/125.  Yeah, I was that sick.

Today I joined my brother and my niece in DC at the Smithsonian museums.  She’s 5 and her favorite museums are the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum.  We took her to the American History Museum.  I think that one is a bit above her head at he moment, but she fared better there than she did at the Art Museum.  The guards near the Matisse may never be the same again.

She liked the Kermit the Frog at the American History Museum and was completely nonplussed by Dorothy’s ruby slippers.  In her defense, she has not seen the Wizard of Oz yet or she may have appreciated them.  I thought she might like them anyway since she has her own pair of sparkly ruby-red shoes, but no.  She just looked at them and asked if we could go see the bugs now.  Oh to be five!

We did take her to see the bugs and she totally fell in love with the bees in the bug room.  The Smithsonian has a pretty cool beehive setup.  You can watch the bees come into the hive through an entry they have on one of the windows.  The bees then make their way over to a hive which they have set up on a fake tree.  It’s actually pretty cool  My niece kept asking where the queen bee was.  I didn’t really know what to say to that.

I know I have talked about our treks into DC to the Smithsonian before, but it was so nice to get my life back to the new normal.  I love being able to walk around the city and then wander through museums.  I could never do that before the surgery and before my weight loss.

I have noticed something else recently too.  I’ve become much more confident on stairs.  I no longer have to hold the handrail and go down one at a time.  I still do sometimes just to feel more secure, but it’s not always a necessity.

Today for instance, I was walking down the steps outside of one of the museums.  I was holding my niece’s hand and she tripped.  I was able to stop, keep my balance, and pull her up before she hit the ground.  I was not even holding the hand rail.  If she was with the “Before Colleen”, she may have tripped down the stairs and hurt herself.  But the “After Colleen” had no problem making what could have been a big accident a non-event.

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Tummy Of Fire

Today has been rough.  Not one of my better days, to be sure.  When I woke up this am, I really had to go.  I thought it was going to be one of those situations where I ran to the bathroom only to sit there and be constipated.  It took a while, but I was not constipated, thank goodness.  I felt better and got ready for work.

While I was waiting for the bus, I felt as if I had to go again.  At this point, there was nothing that I could do.  So, I proceeded with my commute.  I had my work laptop with me today, which is quite heavy.  My back was killing me.  Now my tummy was on fire.  And I had a bit of a headache.  I stopped at my normal coffee place and grabbed my morning cup and proceeded to the office.

When I arrived at the office, I had to run to the ladies room.  Oh my goodness, I sick.  I did not actually vomit or anything, but I thought I might.  I didn’t think I would ever stop going, though.  And the whole time, my tummy was just burning.  It felt as if the gas was backing up into my stomach.  Finally, I started feeling better after about five minutes.  I went and got a cool glass of water and sat in my office with my head on my desk.

Now, here’s where I admit to this being all my fault because I was somewhat bad yesterday.

Yesterday my family celebrated the 4th anniversary of my niece’s adoption.  June 23 is the date the courts officially made her their child.  I met them in DC at the Smithsonian Museums and we went to see the dinosaurs and bugs at the Natural History Museum.  That’s her favorite museum.  She loves the dinos and insects.  Zero interest in the butterflies, but high interest in spiders and other bugs.  Not my favorite part of the museum, but it was her special day.  Her second favorite is the Air & Space Museum, but mostly because they have a McDonald’s.  As a result, we try not to take her to the Air & Space Museum too often.

Before they arrived, I stopped in the American History Museum and picked up a gift for her.  I bought a card that looked like a pair of ruby slippers and a small red VW Bug that was covered in flowers.  She loved them.  I knew she would love the ruby slippers because she already has a pair.  She has never really seen The Wizard of Oz, so she does not really get the whole ruby slippers thing yet.  She loves shoes and she loves the color red, so that was good enough for her.

I took a picture of the actual ruby slippers, which was super cool for me.

gabbyAnd I took a picture of Gabby Douglas’s gold medal outfit.  So cool.

ruby

I was having a lot of fun wandering around that museum.  I definitely think this is one my niece would enjoy, especially after she gets just a little bit older.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that she enjoys the natural world, bugs and all.  She really gets into learning all of the dinosaurs names.  She enjoys the dioramas when we explain to all of the details.  The one dinosaur diorama actually had dino footprints.  I pointed that out to her and she was thrilled.  It was so cute.  She also loved the fish tanks with all of the different fishes and plants.  She had fun trying to match the different fish and plants to the pictures under the tank.  And she let out a squee of delight when she got to see a tarantula eat a cricket.

 

 

We also found Nemo:

nemo

Well, a group of Clown Fish anyway.

Now onto the bad part of my day.  After the morning of museums, we went out to lunch.  We went to the Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood.  I ordered Huevos Rancheros, which is eggs, salsa, refried beans, and cheese.  That’s a pretty rich dish.  I should have just gotten fajitas or something, but I am not sure it was the Huevos that made me sick.  I think it was the tortilla chips.

I had a little bit of chips and salsa.   Then I had the Huevos Rancheros.  I could not even eat 1/4 of it.  It took a long time before I was able to eat dinner and then I had saltine pizzas, which is basically tomato sauce and a bit of cheese on a saltine that I then nuke for about 10 seconds.

I know.  I know.  You don’t have to tell me.  This morning’s wave of sickness all my fault.  Ugh.  Remind me never to do that again.

Life, Rebooted!

This past week has been fantastic.  Every day I am more and more amazed at what I can do, thanks to my 112 pound weight loss, which seems to have stalled-out recently.  At least I’m holding strong though and not going back up!

As I posted yesterday, my friends Liz & Steve have been visiting.  Well, yesterday, they went to the Smithsonian Museums with their girls.  I work in DC about 4 stops from the museums metro station, which is conveniently called Smithsonian.  I walked the 5 blocks to Farragut West, got myself turned around because I do not often go to that station.  Hopped off at the Smithsonian Station and  walked over to the Air and Space Museum, which had just closed for the day, and waited outside for my friends.  Then we took the metro and bus back to my hood where they were having a jazz concert/wine tasting and dined at the inimitable Busboys & Poets.

busboys

Then we walked around Shirlington some more.  My friends bought some cheese from Cheesetique.  And we walked back up the hill to my apartment.

A year ago, I could not have done all of this walking.  I would have gone home from work, probably by car.  Then I would have waited at my apartment for my friends to call me.  I would have had to drive the 4 blocks to the restaurant, parked, ate, and then drive back home.  I would have been in horrible pain, have difficulty breathing, and would have been just miserable.

Today, I think nothing of aimlessly wandering all over the darn place.  Plus, I was able to enjoy jazz, good friends, and good food!  I truly feel as if my life has been rebooted.

Tonight, more jazz at the Sculpture Garden!

Adventures in DC

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Yesterday, I was getting ready to head out and explore my world.  First, I had to buy a new headset for my iPhone.  I fell in walking home a few weeks ago and smashed my other headset.  Thanks to the new iPhone cover my sister bought me, the iPhone survived the fall, but the headset did not.  Could have been worse, definitely.  Then I was going to head out to a different coffee shop, one I have not been to in a while, to try to write a bit.  I wanted to finish up an essay for a contest and the early deadline is Monday.

I was walking out the door when my cell phone rings.  My brother called me and put my niece on the phone.  She informed me that after lunch, they were coming to Auntie Colleen’s house.  Oh really?  I’m glad she called me before I was too involved in my own plans.  Obviously, this required me to rethink my entire day and reschedule everything, which I was more than happy to do.  When the five-year old requests an audience, you don’t ask questions, you simply adjust.  It’s kind of like getting a summons from the Queen.  I talked to my brother for a few minutes and decided I had enough time to go get my new ear-pods and get back home before they arrived.

When they showed up, it was clear that they had no plans.  I saw an open-air street flea market of some kind in at Court House near Clarendon and suggested that.  There is also a pretty large park nearby and I offered that up as well.  We ended up going to Busboys & Poets to get fries to feed the child and then trekked into the city, and by trekked, I mean we drove, found parking and walked to the museums in DC.

I love that I can do this.  Just six months ago, walking all over the Mall and wandering in museum after museum would have been at best an extremely painful and difficult venture bordering on impossible.  Now I can walk around for hours, which we did, with no struggle.  I almost want to cry from sheer joy every time I venture out on one of these excursions.

My brother and I had a short conversation about this.  He said that he and his wife used to struggle to find excursions that they could do with me that I would be able to do.  Usually, dinner out, movies, sitting at home and talking, etc were safe activities.  Going to fairs, festivals, The Mall, etc were out of the question.  Now he says they don’t even think about it.  They just call me and make plans.  I love hearing this.

But I digress…

My niece always loves going to see the dinosaurs, she cannot get enough of them, actually.  We went to the Natural History Museum.  Then there was bird chasing and kite watching on The Mall and then the American Indian Museum, which is really cool.  I had never been there before.  Unfortunately,  we arrived there about 30 minutes before it closed, so we did not get to see much of it, so we will definitely be heading back there.

Then we went to “Old McDonald’s” for chicken nuggets.  I’m horrified that my brother feeds her MCD nuggets, but it’s something she can eat and she loves them.  She has food allergies, so their choices when eating out are limited.  Plus, she is fussy, as most kids her age are. So, I keep my opinions on MCD to myself and just let it go.  She does not have a weight problem, which is good.  She’s always been very thin, even as a baby.  She eats all the time too, and she has no problem asking for food when she’s hungry.  In fact, she was so hungry by the time we got to MCD that she was literally singing a chicken nugget song she made up.

That little girl is something else.  I am just  so glad that I can go out on these adventures with her when she leaves the confines of the DC exurbs and ventures into the city with her dad.  Maybe this summer we will make it down to the American Folklife Festival with her.