Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here is how I have spent the past two weeks, since returning from two weeks in South America:

1. Rehydrating with water and fruit juice.

2. Feeling weak and wimpy after two weeks of not only skipping my gym workouts, but being in high altitude areas that required me to walk slowly and conserve my muscles because it was so hard to breathe.

3. Replacing the five pounds I lost by eating everything in sight: McDonald's food, cookies, donuts, chocolate candy, potato chips, sandwiches, cheese, cupcakes, Chinese food, pancakes. I even had one of my husband's colas, for chrissake.

4. Putting on another five pounds, just to punch out the dents, as Rosie O'Donnell would say.

5. Wondering what's going on since craving sweets is normal for me, but I haven't been a fast food eater or soda drinker since college.

6. Re-acquainting myself with free weights, yoga, pilates and the elliptical machine and gradually re-building my cardiovascular capacity and muscle strength.

7. Working through a lot of anger with an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner. After releasing that anger, I was able to stop the junk food binge.

8. Eventually returning to my former habits of healthy breakfasts, hearty stews for lunch and vegetables and fruits all day long.

9. Feeling my arms and legs start to feel strong again.

10. Buying airline tickets for my next vacation which will be WITHIN THE UNITED STATES.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm back in the United States

I spent from August 28 to September 10 in Peru (Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca) and Bolivia (La Paz). It was my very first trip outside the United States and now I'm back and it's so good to be here.

On Friday, my trip back to Chicago stretched to about 20 hours in transit, but that was okay because at the end I was HOME. I flew from La Paz to Miami and from Miami to Chicago. My one rushed hour in Miami was wonderful because it was my first hour back in the U.S with drinking fountains and safe food and normal bathrooms! I was so happy to see signage in English that I ignored the stunning sunset that held everyone else's attention. I just glanced at it, thinking, "Yeah, yeah, a sunset. Clouds, I got it. I've been looking at clouds for two weeks. Look at that poster in English!"

The view just couldn't compete with a poster for the NFL that brought tears to my eyes because it was evidence like no other that I was in the UNITED STATES!

In the O'Hare airport, I was excited to throw my arms around my husband and tell him how happy I was to see him and how wonderful it was to be back. I was so happy.

Then I sat down and did the other thing I'd been dreaming about all day: I ate a McDonald's hamburger with fries. Of course, I had only had one meal all day (around 1p) and at 10:30p wanted the most American food I could think of. I bought it right there at the airport and Bob watched me eat it. My friends, I'll never be able to convey how delicious it was to bite into those layers of plastic cheese, sugary bread and synthetic-tasting patties. That Quarter Pounder had the perfectly measured ingredients and too-easy-to-chew texture of its billions of brethren, but it gave me the unique experience of knowing that for the first time in two weeks, I was eating a meal that would not hurt me. And true to its mission of making me come back for more, that burger went down just fine.

Bob watched with bemusement and said he didn't know if he'd ever even seen me eat a McDonald's meal before. I don't do it often, but this was an emergency. The food in South America had not agreed with me at all and I restricted food and water so much that I actually lost five pounds.

Yesterday Bob and I went to IHOP, where I did my best to put those five pounds back on in one sitting. That night it was a China Buffet restaurant. In both places, my meal included vegetables that I ate with gusto, knowing it was produce I could trust.

My plan for my photos is to take the memory card to Walgreens and choose which ones I want printed out. When someone asks, I'll hand them over for viewing. I don't want to clutter my iPhoto with 290 photos of this one vacation, so these images I will keep contained in hard copy only.

Saturday morning I slept til almost 11 am. I barely slept while I was in South America, so later in the day I also took a four-hour nap. I walked around in a daze, but a grateful daze.

Chocolate-covered Jesus, it's good to be back.