August 14, 2018

Back In The Swing Of Things!

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted, and I’ve missed it!  I needed time to work on healing my shoulder, since the surgery.  Physical therapy has been going smoothly, but knocks me out after each visit.  So I’ve stayed local, and took it easy except for one outing to a concert in Boston.  The concert was fabulous! It featured The Thompson Twin, B 52’s, and Culture Club.  We decided to book a room last-minute, and stayed at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  

The venue was at the Music Hall, currently named Boch Center.

The Thompson Twins act was electric, but could not compare to the other two bands.  It was a fun time, great music, and many familiar faces from home.  

When you feel good and think you can accomplish anything you set out to do, you forget about your chronic illness.  The idea behind staying overnight in Boston was to preserve optimum health and have a great time.  Unable to book a room in my regular haunts led us to the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  This Sheraton boasts 1220 rooms, and I believe it!  The lobby was the hub of loud confusion and groups, similar to a drop off at a large summer camp.  What was particularly concerning was the putting green set up in the middle of the lobby with balls not contained within the green.  Wow, I got nervous, I walked with my head down, navigating the “young uns” running around, and avoiding lost golf balls.  I learned a great lesson through this adversity.   It is not only the disease that can rage its’ ugly head, but the predicaments you place yourself in, may also have adverse affects on you.  

My first impression of the room was satisfactory.  We left and ate dinner and returned to get ready for the concert.  The dim lighting in the room, forced us to keep the curtains open and allowed the constructions workers, from the building across the street,  the opportunity to monitor our every move.  I gathered my clothes and retreated to the bathroom to shower and dress and was met with an unrelenting small doorway and a toilet that I estimated to be no more than 12″ from the floor.

 

The bathroom was clean, but difficult to navigate as you notice the position of the door, blocking the bath and much too close to the sink, you had to adjust your movements in an effort to not bang into things.

 

It is not my intention to bash this hotel, it is a reminder that even when you feel great, you still must take into account your needs that allow you to be comfortable at home and away from home.  After a great night, we retreated to this room by the elevator and ice machine, that was on the direct route of the guests that were still enjoying the night as they walked by our room in the early hours of the morning.  

I hope this cautionary tale can help you.  Feeling healthy leads us to make spontaneous decisions. And that’s such a relief for me to feel that way!  However, when over night accommodations are needed, it might be best to forego that last-minute decision if the tried and true hotels are not available.  

 

May 15, 2018

I’ve Been Absent, Hopefully Not Forgotten!

It has been no secret that I’ve been nursing an injured shoulder for months, awaiting surgery. Nine days before the original operation date, preparing to leave for an overnight at the Castle Hill Inn I received word that the operation would be in two days. Sean Patrick being taken care of by my friends Val, Tre, and Jan, we left for Newport, I thinking this will be my last hurrah!  On the way to Newport, I did the whole self-talk thing, convincing myself that everything was going to be okay, but not really believing it. As we entered the grounds of Castle Hill Inn, I started to relax and our 20 hour mini staycation began.  Briefly, the operation went very well, I’m recuperating slowly, (reason for absence from my blog), and I want to share how ones surroundings can make a difference in attitude and strength.

As you enter the grounds of Castle Hill scattered on sand dunes, are the Beach Cottages.  We drove past the Portside cottage, our sanctuary.  The sun out and excitement growing in anticipation of walking the beach and just enjoying some time away from home.

 

A quick check-in, and a visit to the Terrace Bar for a shanack, began this staycation!

 

A picture is worth a thousand words!  The Portside cottage was our entrance to the stunning views from the cottage to the private beach and ocean beyond!

The perfect weather, the sounds of the waves rolling in, and the salt mist caressing my face transported me to a happy place.  I could have walked the shoreline for hours but, afternoon tea beckoned us to the main house!  Sweet and savory scones, cucumber and cheese sandwiches, chocolate bundt cake, and hot madeleines served with butter and clotted cream.  Delish!

 

After walking the trails and grounds of Castle Hillwe retired to the cottage to relax and hang out!

We just sat, talked, and rested for a while and I realized how happy and content I felt.  The stress of the upcoming surgery had diminished and I was thinking about the positive results of the surgery, and all the things I’ll be able to do comfortably after. When I vidyo chat with my nutritionist,  we talk about positive thoughts/attitude and I believe this staycation brought it to light.  As difficult as it may be, it is better to think positive thoughts.  Negative thoughts are just wasted energy, because any negative outcome you may experience is going to need a positive attitude to change.

It feels real good to be back writing and sharing my thoughts!  Hopefully, I will back on track, and posting weekly. 

April 3, 2018

48 Hours Newport, Rhode Island

With the prediction of the fast approaching 4th nor’easter of the season to hit our coastal town, my friend Elise and I set out to avoid this first day of spring, storm. Both of use needed some relief from the battering of the previous storms and the lack of electricity, this seemed to be the perfect solution. We set out early on March 21st for a 21 mile ride along the low roads to reach our destination, Gurney’s Resort, Goat Island! It became a truly an exciting and invigorating ride when approximately five miles from the resort our visibility and speed significantly decreased due the furious snow fall. We felt it was a sign that we were lucky to get out of Dodge in time and be staying at a resort that would not lose power and be equipped to keep us entertained and extremely happy! 

Let’s cut to the chase!  This was the storm that never materialized after that brief burst of snow, we stayed put waiting for its delayed arrival that never came!  Just like having a chronic illness, sometimes the best laid plans don’t happen and you make the best of what can be!  Well, the following is what we did on our 48 hour staycation in Newport!

Our room overlooked the East Passage, south of the Newport Bridge.  Even with the heavy fog and cold we stayed on our balcony and enjoyed the beauty of the angry ocean.  The room was clean, modern, and comfortable.  The Nespresso in the room was greatly appreciated, as well as the Gilchrist &Soames toiletries.  

 

Everything about our stay at Gurney’s was wonderful.  The Regent Lounge, had the most delicious Negroni Fresco’s and chili calamari.  The workout room was small, but well appointed, and the pool was absolutely delightful!     

We stayed at the resort the first two days, only venturing out for dinner.  From the front desk, concierge, and valet service all the staff went above and beyond to make our stay perfect!  There is a coffee bar in the lobby, a decanter of fresh fruit water replenished as needed, and a day spa with the most extraordinary views!

View from the mani/pedi station!

What I’ve learned from this experience is what I now believe was the intendant reasoning of taking a staycation, a relaxing, restorative, and enjoyable experience. In comparison to my  Staycation” in January 2017 which was an exhausting experience and not a heck of a lot of fun, this was a true staycation. The unpredictable weather we faced is similar to what individuals with chronic diseases face each day, uncertainty of what the day will bring, and making the most of what is present.  Waking up on the day we were leaving with the sun shining and calm seas, we left the resort to stroll the empty streets of Newport and visit some interesting local businesses.

Audrain Automobile Museum

The museum floor overflowed with muscle cars that looked like pieces of art!

Seashells In Bloom

Coastal items ranging from home decor, jewelry, apparel, and so much more!

Farmaesthetics

A skin care clinic and retail store that sells 100% natural, handmade, herbal skin care products!

 The aroma of this store was intoxicating!

We meandered through the streets for hours before leaving for home, and wishing we could have stayed a bit longer!

 

March 28, 2017

Staycation #2!!!!

a vacation spent at home or nearby-noun

On this past rainy and overcast weekend  Jeff and I embarked on our second attempt at a staycation.  Unlike our first attempt, spent at home, we went to a hotel, for one night, 26 miles away!  I’ve been home for a little over an hour and find myself not only refreshed, but thinking about the remarkable time we had at the Castle Hill Inn, Newport, RI.  Comparing the two staycations we have had, this one was approximately 40 hours less than the one in January!  So how much fun can you have at a semi-isolated location, during a rainy 23 hour stay?  Loads of laughs and doing as little as possible and not actually going anywhere other than the bar and restaurant.  Castle Hill sits on 40 acres on a peninsula overseeing the East Passage and the Atlantic Ocean.  Our stay may have been short, but it certainly is memorable.  You are greeted warmly on your arrival by attentive staff, and ushered to a room with spectacular ocean views and a welcomed fireplace!  I didn’t take many photos, I was busy doing nothing, but here are a few!

Ariel view of the hotel, picture courtesy of Castle Hill!

Entrance to the Rose Room

Toasty and Comfortable!

Remnants of 3:30 PM High Tea!      

We ate, drank, and watched the world sail by until it was time to go home!  I realized you don’t need to name an occasion to slow down and enjoy life!  I’m looking forward to many more “cations” whether near or far, for hours, days, or weeks!  

January 31, 2017

Moving On!

No more sitting at home and waiting for the right time to move on, now is the time!  I’m craving a big adventure, and it is starting now!  Since being diagnosed with RA, I have not been on any vacation that requires air travel.  For the longest time I wanted to get back up and moving, but there was the fear that I may not be able keep up or the travel would spark frustration and pain.  So I’ve been investigating all types of tours and even looked into travel agencies that specialize in, “Travel and Arthritis”.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to create the adventure, and arrangements myself.  I’m not in need of any special access, wheelchair, accommodations, or attendant care, so I’m the only one responsible for me moving on!

I did what I do best, tackle the important parts of the trip first.  I ordered  a new passport cover and card case from Aspinal to travel with!  I narrowed the places I was interested in going to, places that I could take a direct flight from Boston,  Reykjavik, Iceland or London, England.  Both places are beckoning me to visit so I investigated the airlines and their answers to my specific needs when flying.  All I really wanted from any airline I contacted was to know about guaranteed bulk head seating (extra leg room), ability to move around the plane, and help putting carry on into the overhead compartment.  British Airway was contacted and has a priority status whereas I would supply a medical certificate, verifying that what I was requesting was necessary.  The representative also mentioned, when I arrived at airport, assistance is also available, with luggage or ambulatory assistance.  These accommodations are at no additional charge. Icelandair  airline was a whole different story!  They would be more than happy to make the seating accommodation for an additional charge, they couldn’t guarantee the help with the carry-on being put and retrieved from the overhead, but suggested I use a smaller bag and place it under my seat.  I was disappointed with the “try to assist” attitude of Icelandair and the additional fees there, but I am still considering going to either place.  Nothing is set stone yet, I will keep you updated on what I decide!  You may not think what I’m doing is such a big deal, but it is when you have RA!