Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy

16 Jan
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A reflective puddle in Portland, Oregon

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I was so excited to see clear skies that I had to take this photo of the sunset at Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado

Greetings from sunny Denver, Colorado! It’s such a relief to finally be here after spending the last two weeks in absolute gloom and rain in Seattle and Portland. I know I listed both of them as two of my top 10 cities that I’ve visited, but I may have changed my mind after experiencing real Portland weather. It rained every single day we were there – every day – and there was more than one day when I couldn’t even see more than 10 feet in front of my face because of the fog and mist. It was gross. Seasonally affected people do not fare well in cities like Portland and Seattle, though it was absolutely beautiful when we were there in the spring. Regardless of the weather, I was very glad to get to see my dear friend Colleen. She let me stay in her apartment and took me to some delicious restaurants and I finally got to hear her sing with one of the Irish bands that she sings with. You should buy her CDs because she’s wonderful. Still, as wonderful as it was to see her, after only two weeks of that kind of weather, I was certainly glad to get to Denver where they claim that the sun actually shines 300 days a year. I absolutely love it here.

I’m very lucky because for the next week and a half I’m staying with more friends – this time my friend Adam and his wife. Adam and I went to graduate school together. We did Sweeney Todd together and I sang with him in his junior recital. After he graduated, he went back to OCU and got a law degree and I’m pleased to say that he’s established his own firm here in Denver and is doing very well for himself. And he and his wife are expecting a baby! That’s something to celebrate. They have been so kind to let me stay in their spare bedroom and Adam has even let me borrow their car to go run errands. And I get to hang out with their dog. I’ve been able to cook and they have laundry in their apartment – not in the building, but actually in the apartment like real people. Maybe only New Yorkers will really appreciate how amazing that is, but it’s a big deal. (For the record, Colleen also has her own washer and dryer).

One of the things I really love about downtown Denver is the easy accessibility to things thanks to the free 16th Street Mall Shuttle. Today I visited a Concentra Urgent Care Center to have my eyes looked at (by a very cute Physician’s Assistant, might I add). Since I was in Memphis with Flashdance in September, my eyelids have been red and itchy with dry, flaky patches. At first I thought it was an allergic reaction to the shampoo I was using in the hotel, so I switched shampoos to something familiar. Then I thought maybe it was the laundry detergent they were using on the pillowcases. Or the weather. Or the pollen. Or it was eczema or psoriasis or herpes (I get cold sores). I took allergy medicine. I used hydrocortisone cream, moisturizer and Neosporin – none of which is good to use on your eyelids because the skin is so thin it will absorb and irritate your eyes). I switched shampoos, soaps, detergents, lotions – everything I could think of. Until now I haven’t had a chance to get them looked at, really, but since there was a Concentra nearby, I went. Apparently I have something called blepharitis, which is essentially an inflammation of the eyelids that they think is the result of the oil glands around the eyelash follicles getting clogged. One of the treatments is to gently wash my eyelids with a solution of warm water and Johnson & Johnson’s “No More Tears” baby shampoo. Weird, right? The P.A. also prescribed a cream to put on my lids to hopefully help with the flakiness and redness and itching. We’ll see how it works out. I’m also supposed to do a warm compress on my eyes for 10-20 minutes a day to get the oils in the glands moving so the follicles won’t get clogged again. I ordered these on Amazon tonight. I look forward to using them to see if they do any good. Other than the itching, my blepharitis isn’t bothersome, but it’s embarrassing more than anything else. I feel very self conscious about it – especially when I’m dealing with the public, which I do every night. I hope this regiment of treatments will help.

In totally unrelated news, today I received an offer from LivingSocial for a 7-day trip, including the round trip flights, to Tokyo for $1699 and, for the first time in my life, I could actually afford to go! I’ve never been in a position to be able to afford a vacation, let alone one on the other side of the globe. I’m torn, though. Should I fulfill my dream of going back to Tokyo or should I save the money for my move to San Diego? I mean, I’ve been wanting to go back from the second I left, and this is a really good deal. The package includes round trip flights from L.A., five nights at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku, which is just around the corner from the hotel we stayed in in 2011, so I know the neighborhood very well. A guided tour of Tokyo is also included. Should I do it? I have a couple of week-long layoffs coming up in the next few months, so I have the time and, honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever find a deal that’s any cheaper than this. But I am planning on moving and I’ll need a nest egg… Even if I bought the trip, I’d still have way more money left in the bank than I had last year. I’m so torn! What should I do, readers? I have 12 days to make a decision. What do you think? What do I do?!

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