Vertigo-go-go-away

Today is three weeks that I’ve had near constant vertigo. Yes, it still sucks.

After many phone calls and much faxing of records I finally have an appointment next week for balance testing and a follow up with an ENT.

I’ve also been experiencing recurring nausea, stomach upset, severe pressure headaches and extreme shortness of breath and shakiness when I try to do anything more strenuous than walk to the bathroom. I’ve also got really bad leg cramps.

I’ve had basic labs/bloodwork done (all normal!) an EKG (so normal!) and an ultrasound of my leg from groin to ankle, to rule out thrombosis. (normal!)

Theories are BPPV (still) brain tumor (“It doesn’t present like a typical brain tumor.”) Blood clots that I am “throwing” and which are settling in my lungs, causing the shortness of breath. Also my doctor asked me every woman’s favorite question “Have you been under a lot of stress recently?”

I just burst into tears. Yes. For sure it’s all in my head because: stress.

My personal theories have to do with some kind of gut bacteria or parasite I picked up from somewhere. I think someone should analyze my poop. I might ask about that next visit.

In the meantime, I stagger everywhere clutching walls, I sleep 10 hours a night, I watch a lot of TV. I actually think the leg cramps might be a side effect of my body working so hard to keep me upright. Dunno. I think I am doing a decent job of keeping my shit together so the casual observer wouldn’t know what kind of shitstorm is going on inside me. It’s bad enough to feel awful, it’s worse to have other people see that you can’t even act right.

It’s very (jesus what’s another word for depressing) to be once-again mostly immobile and feel unwilling to do anything. I am starting to think I will never feel well again in my life, and understand why quality of life is such a big deal in end-of-life conversations. Because what good is staying in the world if you can’t navigate it? I mean, at this point I can’t even really read much, because it bothers my eyes and makes me really tired.

So, that’s what’s up. I expect to know more by Wed afternoon next, and until then I plan to mostly sleep.

Six Months of Grief

Today is the six month anniversary of my brother’s death. If you’d told me that my life could go on after his I would have believed you, but I could never have imagined what it would be like.

There are three completely distinct facets of my life now, an untouching Venn diagram of my own grief, my mother’s grief, and my management of my mother’s grief. They’re not at all the same, and feel barely related.

My own grief is the least attended of the three, and it comes and goes. My life was not so very entwined with his, so daily events don’t seem to be missing him. It’s when I see something that he liked, or when I suddenly remember I will never see him again or be able to ask him a question, that’s when it hits me. That comes a lot when I am driving. I will be fine at work. Fine at home. I will cry suddenly in the car because he will never listen to music again, and I will never hear his laugh.

There are some things that are “his” now, and feel off-limits to me. The band Cake. The movie Pulp Fiction. Any and all mentions of sports. Toasted ravioli. Those things seem untouchable, for the most part. Except toasted ravioli, which is delicious. But it always reminds me.

My mom’s grief is still all-consuming, if not as wild. It’s obsessive and relentless. Danny would have liked this. Danny would have known the answer. Danny once touched this, Danny once wore this, Danny Danny Danny. Now when she brings him up I just change the subject. I want to support her, but I can’t only talk about him all night every night when she’s here. She sees his friends, and talks to them about him. That will have to be her main source of reminiscing, because I’ve told and re-told all of my stories of him, all the ones she’d like to hear. I have many more stories of him that aren’t flattering, don’t fit with her picture of his perfection. She had a perfect son, but I did not have a perfect brother.

I am still angry with him for many of the things he did, the way he left things. From what we’ve learned from his doctors, he knew he was probably dying, but he never told us, never warned us, never took care of anything that a dying person would do. At least the things that I would do if I knew I was dying. Did he not understand? Did he hope for the best? Did he just not want to deal with it himself, or was he trying to protect my mom? I will never know. I am left with thinking it was shitty, she is left thinking he was a perfect angel. She has finally begun to accept that she needs outside help, and is attending a grief group (She already got warned about not monopolizing the conversation. Ha!) and she’s still seeing her counselor, but she’s a wreck, and I don’t see her ever getting much better. I am going to give it a full year, then I will step in and start cleaning out his stuff, and arranging things. For now she doesn’t want to touch anything of his, she wants to keep it all, and that’s OK. But eventually we’re going to have to deal with it.

I guess I’ve already segued into my management of her grief. I am trying to keep my own mental health managed, rather than letting myself be subsumed in her quicksand. It is not easy. She wants me to take some of his place, she calls me often just to hear my voice. She has insane questions about offbeat things she might have done to change the outcome, she calls me with those out of the blue. She thinks I am an expert in everything – her calls today included why her new battery-operated lights wouldn’t work (I don’t know?) and how we go about designing and ordering a headstone (I really don’t know.) I am supposed to know how to throw a fundraiser, set up a foundation and/or endowment, all kinds of stuff that she wants to do, but counts on me to actually make work. I respect that she wants his memory to live on, but I don’t actually want to be involved in a yearly fundraising event with all of his friends. I don’t want to run a foundation. Those are her ways to respect and honor him, and that’s fine, but they’re not my ways. I think a yearly remembrance is a good thing, but I don’t want some huge complicated event that I have to run. I get paid to run events, and I hate them all. It’s my least favorite thing to do, and I can’t imagine having to run one on a yearly basis, with my mom as the grief-stricken center of attention and me having to do all the leg work and deal with her freakouts. How I am going to tell her this remains to be seen.

Exactly how do you tell your mom “no” when she wants to do whatever to honor your dead brother? If you have tips I’d love to hear them. It seems quite hard-hearted to not want to do this, but I know myself well enough to understand that I would hate and resent every second of it. And I don’t want to spend my life that way.

Anyway, see what I mean about the non-overlapping spheres of grief? I loved him. I miss him. I can’t believe he’s gone and I will never be with him again. I miss his stupid laugh. I want my brother back. I want my family back, the parts of it I had. I want what I thought I was getting, a long life with a solid and certain place in a family – a role to play that I could understand. Those are the parts that make me sad.

But then I am also left with all of these things that make me angry and resentful, and I am trying hard to keep those apart from my sadness. My sadness is honest and real. I don’t want it getting twisted into my anger and resentment, which are also very real.

Six months today. Six months ago I spent that horrific afternoon in the ER. I saw things I never thought I would see – things I never thought about. I don’t have any idea how I got through that day, or the following days. And now months gone. and still this hole. Still nothing is right.

Well, this post didn’t wrap up in any nice or neat way. But my feelings don’t wrap up nicely either, so I guess that’s fair. Anniversary noted.

My Experiences with BaubleBar

Last year I became aware of a site called “BaubleBar” – I am not sure how they first came to my attention. Claiming they are the “final say in fashion jewelry” and boasting “Free U.S. Shipping and Free & Easy Returns” they offer fashion jewelry at a medium to high price range. About the same as what you’d pay at a nicer department store, say, not as cheap as Target by a long shot, but less than actual precious metals and gems pieces. Bracelets range from $10 (sale) to $40 or so. Necklaces hover around the $45-$65 range with some going up to $250.

They have “guest bartenders” who are usually celebrities/models or sometimes social media gurus. They curate collections for the brand and do photoshoots to promote them.  Emma Roberts is the current guest bartender. 

The guest bartender’s collection that I first fell in love with was that of Coco Rocha:

So damn cool
So damn cool
Never did get my hands on this baby.
Never did get my hands on this baby.

One of the things I like about them is that they have a “Buried Bauble” event twice a week, where they heavily discount one item and sell it at the discounted price for one day. $10, $15 or $20 usually. With free shipping the deals seem pretty good and it’s a great chance to try something new or different. So in the spring and summer I ordered quite a few pieces from them, taking advantage of a lot of the Buried Bauble offers.

While I really loved some of the pieces I got, I have found that over time the quality is generally really poor, and I have decided to stop ordering from the site. The pieces (pics below) just don’t hold up well to normal wear, and at some of the prices they’re charging, they do not offer good value for money. Also, their claim of “Free U.S. Shipping and Free & Easy Returns” is not as transparent as it would seem to be. More on that below.

First, the good stuff.

The packaging is so pretty and fance, you really feel as if you've gotten something substantial.
The packaging is so pretty and fance, you really feel as if you’ve gotten something substantial.

When you receive your package everything is very fancy in a pretty box with tissue, and your item is wrapped in a storage bag. That pink “The Smart Girl’s Guide To Bauble Care” card basically states that you should be careful with your item which means that you should not expose it to water – ok – or lotions or perfumes. Hrm. Well that will be hard. I mean, I have lotions and perfumes on my wrist/hand and neck areas, which is where baubles go most of the time. I wash my hands during the day. I sweat around my neck area, where the necklace would touch the skin. Life will touch these items. I get that they’d stay beautiful in their pouches in my closet, but I want to wear them – that’s the point.

Anyway, a month or so after I received this piece, this is what I had left.

See how the silver has worn off to show the underlying metal? That happened really quickly. Also, one of the tassel things fell off/apart and I had to re-string it by hand which was a pain in the patoot.
See how the silver has worn off to show the underlying metal? That happened really quickly. Also, one of the tassel things fell off/apart and I had to re-string it by hand which was a pain in the patoot.

I don’t expect something to look like this after a few months of wear.

Well, I didn’t. But then I got this super cool bracelet (also a buried bauble) and had all the black wear off, also within a few months of wearing it 1-2 times a week:

bb2
See all that copper color? Yeah that shouldn’t be there.
bb8
See that missing gem stone? That fell out the first day.

 

Then I got a buried bauble I didn’t like. I ordered these two bracelets, and when they arrived they just didn’t really suit me.

bb10
Pretty right? But they hang funny, and they tend to flip over the wrong way, especially the pearl one.
bb9
Most annoying was that they were really hard to put on and take off, because the tightening mechanism consisted of two chains rubbing against each other. Virtually impossible to work with and it felt like I was going to break them when I wore them, due to the clasp.

That’s when I found out the dirty secret about buried baubles. You can’t return them like you can other items.

BURIED BAUBLES

You may return Buried Baubles utilizing any shipping method of your choice. If you use a BaubleBar return shipping label on Buried Bauble returns, $5 will be deducted from your refund.

If you return a buried bauble, it’s going to cost you $5. When most of the items are on the less expensive side, it doesn’t make sense. Why return a $15 item and only get $10 back? So I held on to these, but they were the last order I placed.

Things with them continued to deteriorate. One day in the car this one just broke and fell off – I am sure the links gave way because I had to yank it so hard to get the clasp to work.

bb5
I was able to repair this, and then I used WD-40 on the chains so that they would actually slide through the clasps. But I don’t think that should really be my responsibility as a consumer.

I still coveted pretty things from them, but I wouldn’t buy any more. There was one necklace in particular, the Gothic Fang Bib ($58), that I really wanted, but knowing what their quality was I was not willing to pay $58 for the thing.

bb3
Gothic Fang Bib in Hematite

 

But, lo and behold, I was at Nordstrom Rack right after Christmas to troll through the clearance items, and what did I spy? Not one, but TWO Gothic Fang Bibs on super clearance for $14. And it turns out I was right not to pay top dollar because both of the ones they had were missing fangs.

bb4
This one was missing a fang off to the side, the other was missing a fang right in the front. This one also had a detached link right in the middle, but that was an easy fix with some tweezers.

I bought the one that was missing a fang off to the side, made another minor repair, and for $14 I am super happy with the purchase. For $58? No, I would have been pissed.

Anyway, I have removed myself from Baublebar’s mailing list, because I don’t want to be tempted with super cute and stylish costume jewelry that is vastly overpriced for the quality. Your mileage may vary, but for me the product does not live up to the hype.

 

Bye-Bye Ipsy

So I finally canceled my ipsy subscription yesterday. I got the notification for my new bag, felt very “meh” about it and then I took a moment and looked back at the last seven months of bags. I didn’t find a single product about which I was excited, or anything I now used regularly. Most of the things were just sitting in a drawer. That’s no good. That’s a waste of my time and money.

Here are the last seven months of things I received and a brief review of the products.

july

The bareMinerals shadow was in the most useless color imaginable. I don’t know anyone who uses tanning oil. The Pixi balm was OK, but not anything I’d ever buy. It didn’t have much color payoff on the lips. I don’t really use bronzer, and the texturizing spray would have turned my hair to straw. The bag was too tiny to be usable.

august

The balm was super soft and gross, I threw it away. The Pores No More didn’t have an effect on my pores. I don’t like the mascara, the sample duo didn’t have much pigment and was so tiny it was hard to get a brush in, and oh my god did I really need another black liner? I gave the bag to a friend who loves orange, and she was excited.

september

The brush was usable, but every time I get a brush it’s a flat shadow brush. How many flat shadow brushes can a person need? The shadow was the most meh color, and oh look another black eyeliner. I haven’t tried the deep conditioning mask because I really only use Aveda hair care, and the lip gloss was entirely unremarkable.

October

The bag smelled really badly. The matte lipstick also smelled badly and was a really bad color match for me. I haven’t tried the hair cream (see above) the hand cream was thin and gross and smelled bad, the shadow was fine, but I really haven’t used it, the cleansing cloths took my makeup off but burned my eyes.

november

The bag was cute, for sure. The eye base was unremarkable in color, I didn’t get the eyeliner (it was missing from my bag) the lip paint was fine I guess. I haven’t use the hair product, and the highlight is just weird. This is an airbrush brand/product and I don’t have an airbrush?

december

Haven’t tried the cleanser, and really, a plain lip balm? The fairy dust stuff would have been cool to try if it was, you know, an actual color. I don’t use eyelash curlers, and I have plenty of that Tarte mascara already.

january

Shimmer powder, sure to be in an invisible color. Oh look another flat shadow brush. Moisturizer (I use Ole Henriksen and don’t really experiment) The eyeshadow looks to be a non-color and I am for sure I don’t need a blue nail polish.

So, that was the last seven months, and I was meh about everything. That doesn’t mean these aren’t good products for some people, or that the bags aren’t good value for money, because I firmly believe that they are. It’s just that at my age and stage in life these are not products I need. I know what hair care I like. I know what skin care I like. I don’t want to experiment or deviate, because I will mess up my routine.

I think that ipsy is aimed more at a teen/young adult market, and they are perfect for that. More subtle colors for younger girls, less expensive products that can be easily found at the drugstore, basic brushes to build a collection, etc. So I don’t have anything against ipsy, they’re good at what they do – it’s just that what they do isn’t good for me.

I am going to keep my Glossybox sub, because the products in there are more suited to my lifestyle.

The Year of Less Stuff

So I don’t do new year resolutions. I change myself all year long if I think I need changing, and I don’t indulge in things with the idea that at some later date I will stop indulging in them. You won’t see me giving up carbs or booze or vowing to go to the gym five times a week. Those kind of things are annoying, self-defeating, doomed to fail and then make you feel bad. “I should maybe do “x” more and “y” less.” is an idea you can invest in at any time-or not. Life is short. Living it while wishing you were an entirely different sort of person is a waste of the only thing you will ever really have.

I do use the new year to reflect on how I lived the previous year, and see if there is anything about the way I am living I might like to alter. Did my attitudes and life patterns work for me? Did the things I participated in (that were within my control) make me happy? Is there some different way to live that might make me more happy? I don’t think that’s the same as a resolution, but it might be mostly the same, and I just like to think I am fancy and unique. Who knows.

Last year I experimented with my attitudes toward myself and other people. I might write about that some time, and I might not, I haven’t decided. But it was nice during the year to remind myself “OK, this is the year where I am trying to change this particular attitude. Let’s think about how we’re thinking about things.” It aided in mindfulness and I am glad I did it. Doing it now has become a habit, and I think a good one.

This year I am going to try to acquire less stuff. We all use stuff to make ourselves feel better, and I think that’s valid if we can afford it and don’t become hoarders. But I am going to try to mindfully limit the amount of stuff I purchase, or at least be more targeted in my acquisitions. This year specifically I am going to stop buying clothing. The last few years have been wacko in the quantity of clothing I’ve purchased. Some of the things I love, some I don’t, some I don’t know because I’ve never even worn them. Also, shopping for clothing, looking at clothing blogs and websites has become a time-suck and a mindless distraction for me. I think I will gain time and cash by staying away from clothing sites. It will also help me weed out things in my closet that I really love, and maybe help me discover/rediscover things that have been shoved to the back. I am going to try to go the entire year without buying any new clothing aside from things that wear out (undergarments, mostly). I am not promising myself I won’t buy anything, because there’s nothing inherently wrong with buying clothing, I am just going to see if I can go a whole year, and if I can that might be cool. If I can’t, whatever, I will at least reduce my time and cash spent. I refuse to beat myself up over anything (that’s part of last year’s stuff.) One of the first steps I am taking is to unsubscribe from any advertising/mailing list from any clothing site, so I don’t get notified of all their OMG SEVENTY PERCENT OFF TODAY ONLY sales. Out of sight, out of mind.

I am going to try to buy more furniture and things to make my home more organized and comfortable. Generally I don’t save up and make big purchases because I fritter my cash away on $75 dresses here and $35 makeup palettes there, and then don’t want to spend $500 on a new table. I think investing in some quality stuff for the house is a good goal and project for this year. My one purchase so far is something I have been eyeing for about six months, this blue chair from Overstock, that I just purchased Monday to use at my dressing table. (It will be here Friday – wheee!)

Christopher Knight Home Jackie Ocean Blue Accent Dining Chair
Christopher Knight Home Jackie Ocean Blue Accent Dining Chair

I’ve been using a yoga ball there, which is comfortable and good for my back and hips, but it has its downsides – for one it makes my butt sweaty if I sit on it for too long, and for two it rolls out and across the room. Having a nice chair to sit in to do my makeup will be good, and I can push it in and have it look nice and stay in place as well.

I will also be thinking about a new mirror for the dressing table, and a new storage solution for jewelry in my closet. Then I am going to move to kitchen organization (a new island and shelves) laundry room organization (new shelves) a new media stand for the living room, and eventually outdoor furniture. Those are all things I have been delaying because I fritter cash on clothing, so let’s see if this year I can focus on other things and make Timely Manor even more lovely and comfortable. We’ll see how it goes. We have an IKEA opening in town next fall, and I am sure that will be an influence on how much home spending I do.

What about you – any life changes you’re wanting to make this year? Any ideas about stuff, and acquiring less of it?

I shall leave you with my song of the day – Gram Rabbit, American Hookers.

Unsteady in My Head

The first weeks of 2015 have been interesting ones for me, as I am dealing with (SARCASTIC HOORAY) an entirely new-to-me medical concern! WHEEEEEEEEEEE!

It’s vertigo. Long-lasting vertigo. Ya-fucking-hoo.

I’ve had dizzy spells before, like anyone. You stand up too fast, you whip your head around too quickly, you get blind drunk – you get dizzy. But Friday, January 2nd, I got a crazy case of room-spinning vertigo while I was in New Orleans. I thought I had just sat up too quickly, and it went (mostly) away after I sat still for a moment, so I dismissed it.

That night (I was still in the room from hell) I took an Ambien so I could get some rest. At some point in the night the street noise from the open window (open windows in January was my favorite thing about NOLA) was keeping me awake, so I got up to close it. I walked across the room towards the window, but like a cartoon of a drunken sailor I somehow ended up on the opposite side of the room entirely to where I had intended to go. I clutched at the bedframe and reeled around, and eventually steadied myself. I assumed this was the effect of trying to walk around in the middle of what should have been an Ambien-induced sleep, and again dismissed it.

The next morning we were starting on our way back to StL, and I staggered down all 44 of the slimy, rickety stairs with a full suitcase, a spinning head and a bad attitude. For most of the day I was in the back seat of a moving car, so my nausea seemed normal. Once when we stopped to pee I almost fell down trying to get up off of a toilet. “Jeez, I am tired.” I thought.

It was only when I had a full night’s sleep that night and the next morning I was even more dizzy that I started to be concerned. My mom was at my house (she had been house sitting) and she stayed to make sure I could get myself up and around and shower (That was an adventure. There’s no way to wash your hair with your eyes open, and you also have to tilt your head back. Super whee.) I was sure I would be fine the next day.

The next morning, my first back at work, I was no better. I could drive, luckily, with no problems – in driving the head doesn’t move relative to the body – and I went in to work and called the doctor first thing. I went in that afternoon and had an exam to rule out neurological/nerve things (stroke, MS, etc.) and she checked for an ear infection (nope) then checked my eyes, made me lie down and moved my head around (urp.) and said she thought I had BPPV, and I needed to see an ENT for a firm diagnosis. (Super short version, BPPV is where you get some tiny calcium deposit granules that fall out of your inner ear parts into the wrong place and start bumping up against your gyroscope parts. It gives you the dizzy. It’s not uncommon, and it’s not progressive, but it just sucks. Go read more at the link, it’s interesting.) My doctor gave me some prescription strength Dramamine type stuff, and a nasal spray, in case I had a sinus blockage. Neither helped.

The real adventure was trying to get in to see an ENT. One said it would be two weeks before they could get me in and the woman who answered the phone had never heard of BPPV. Not promising. The next place specialized in vertigo, but their next appointment for a new patient was in February. I don’t get this with specialists. If I have a problem that requires specialist intervention, I generally cannot wait a month to see said person. I remember the same thing trying to get into a dermatologist for a rash once – it was going to be a month. How am I going to suffer a rash or chronic vertigo for a month? How does that make sense? Why am I even trying to see you if I don’t have a problem that requires actually seeing you in some sort of timely fashion?

Anyway, I saw my chiropractor, who said that all an ENT would do would be to send me to physical therapy for canalith re-positioning exercises, and I called my doctor back to see if I could get a referral to a physical therapist. By now it’s Thursday, so it’s been six days that I’ve had can’t-walk-without-drunk-staggering  vertigo. Six days. Do you want to know how fucking exhausted and depressed I was by then? Try feeling chronically drunk and being unable to focus your eyes for six days, and see how you do.

She said then that if I was getting worse I needed to go for an MRI. And that’s the thing with American health care. We may have some advanced facilities to treat special diseases, we may have stunning surgical care, we may have lots of things, but diagnosis and actually speaking to doctors? NOT something we’re good at. I find it hard to understand how I can’t get ten minutes with an ENT for a month, but I can immediately be scheduled for a hugely expensive and probably unnecessary imaging session that I am  97% sure will have a result of “oh we don’t see anything, you’d better see that ENT after all.”

I didn’t call her back to schedule an MRI. I did take Friday off work, and I slept for about 40 of the 48 hours between Friday and Saturday. I did some exercises I saw on the internet to try to move the little granules around. I also used an, um, massage device to vibrate the base of my skull under the right ear, figuring that if there were tiny granules in there they might break apart and re-absorb into the body if they were vibrated to pieces (I took my inspiration from the concept of rock tumblers) and that actually made me feel a lot better every time I did it. On my ear. On my ear, people.

Otherwise, nothing really changed, I spent the weekend dizzy as hell and mostly not going anyplace and having a crappy attitude and sulking and feeling like reconstituted monkey shines. Finally today I am starting to feel better and this episode is starting to subside. I can walk pretty much normally, and I only get the spins if I tilt my head back or bend down. I am hopeful that my misplaced granules have broken down and started to re-absorb.

This whole last week has been an utter shit-pit though. I have only just gotten back my ability to half walk like a normal person, and all of a sudden I am staggering like a drunk and don’t want to move. I felt (and feel) like god-fucking-damn can I not catch a fucking break for a minute. I see everyone else moving around so easily and I want to freak out on them – most people don’t understand what it’s like to have long-term limited mobility. It impacts everything I do, all my planning and it really affects my mood. All I want is to move freely and feel well and I don’t seem to ever have those two things at the same time. And it’s like I can’t build on some movement to more movement, because every time I try some movement I fucking break some other part of me, which requires me not to move. In the meantime, people are steady bleeting about optimism and how you choose your mood and the benefits of exercise. Man, fuck you. Triple extra fuck you in your fuckparts. I would very much like to take a fucking walk and not feel as if I am dying and/or ready to tumble to my gods-damned death, OK?

Anyway, that’s where I am right now. I will probably bitch more about it if this shit comes back, because I am beyond done with it. It’s 2015. Where’s my fucking cyborg body.

NYE in NOLA

As promised, here are some highlights of my New Orleans trip.

I can really tell from the quality of the photos I took that I was exhausted and frazzled. Most of my photos were poorly framed and half-hearted at best. But (through the magic of editing!) I was able to salvage some that could show the beautiful parts of the city.

Walking in New Orleans is hard, with the crowds and the slanted, broken-down streets and sidewalks. It’s hard to sightsee when you’re trying your best not to fall down. I did love the homes, although (like in Savannah) it’s hard to take pictures of them, because the streets are narrow and you can’t get far enough away so that the perspective isn’t all wonky.

The cemeteries, which I thought I would love, were sad to me. I feel differently about cemeteries since my brother died. Before his death they were mysterious and romantic places to take moody photographs, but now all I see and feel is the pain of all those who have loved ones resting there.

I am glad that I went to New Orleans, I am sad that I didn’t enjoy myself more and that I was so tired and out of sorts most of the time. I would like to go back again some time and stay in a really nice place and take guided driving tours of the city, then really see the sights. But this was a good introduction, and a fun thing to do with some of my favorite people. I hope you enjoy the photos!

Here's where I weigh in.