Monday, July 15, 2019

World Cup in France and foot status

I'll start out with my foot since it affected my trip to see the World Cup in France (go USA!!!).  I finally got to the point where I thought I could play soccer - so I did!  My first game lasted all of 10 minutes.  I did a sharp cut to the right, felt a pain and it didn't go away anytime soon so I stopped playing.  I did email my doc about the whole thing just in case.  After a few days the foot felt better so I did another training session (I was doing those before I started playing and they never caused my foot to hurt so I thought I was good to go) and then played most of a full game of soccer (bad me!).  My foot was still bugging me so I let me doc know that.  He had my come in for a check, did an xray and noticed that my bone density was not where it was before surgery.  He also was able to squeeze my foot in various places that shouldn't hurt - but they did hurt.  He was worried about a small stress fracture so he put in an order for an MRI and told me to start wearing the boot again.  I was able to get the MRI done just before I headed to France and it showed inflammation in the bone marrow and bursa area of the bone.  So I went off to France with an request to not walk too much (that isn't possible to do in Europe) and to wear the boot if my foot started bothering me.   Hear I am in Lyon with the stupid mascot that was chosen for the Women's World Cup with my boot on.

So with that depressing news in hand I headed off France to see 3 quarterfinal and the 2 semifinal games for the World Cup.  I had a busy itinerary - land in Paris, decompress a day, then head to Le Havre for a quarterfinal game - England vs Norway, then back to Paris for the USA vs France quarterfinal game, then off to Rennes to watch Sweden vs Germany in their quarterfinal game.  Then we had a few days rest in Paris before we headed to Lyon to watch the semifinals.

Here my friend and I are in Paris to see the Arc de Triomphe. She added a funny filter to the picture :)
And then we were off to Le Havre ... Here we both are at their beautiful, wave shaped stadium.  England played very well so it wasn't a surprise that they won.  I did wear my Norway team jersey that I got last year during my soccer trip to Norway.

And here is a picture down a big walkway/waterway with wonderful lavendar plants and a bridge in the background.  We enjoyed walking around the city and checked out a cathedral, historical house, some cardboard creations and more.  Le Havre was the only place where the weather was not super hot.  It still got pretty toasty in the afternoon, but not as hot as it was getting in Paris, Rennes and Lyon.

And we headed back to Paris where we took time to visit the Eiffel tower, Champs Elysees (and a Nike store with World Cup gear from all the teams) before the game that night.

Here are some pictures from the USA vs France game.  It was a good one! And, of course, we had to dress up for the occasion!

And we met up with another friend who was there during halftime for a photo shoot.  A LOT of our soccer friends from San Diego were in France for the games - along with over 20000 other USA fans.  It was a great game and I was sorry that France had to play the USA at this stage since the loss eliminated them from the World Cup. 

Next we were off to Rennes for the last quarterfinal match - Sweden vs Germany.  We stayed in a fabulous 2 room suite in its own little tower and, of course, there was a nice spiral staircase to go up.

Here is a picture from the game.  We were surprised Germany didn't play better.  Sweden won. 

We didn't leave Rennes until the late afternoon so we spent the morning wandering around sight seeing.  Unfortunately the trip planner didn't notice that our "off" day was a Sunday and all the stores were closed.  :(  Had we known we would have headed back to Paris in the morning.  But here is a part of the "old" city with the traditional Normandy style architecture.

And then it was back to Paris with some time to relax ...  We visited Notre Dame, more souvenir shops and St. Chapelle.  The stained glass is just gorgeous!

Next we were off to Lyon and it was HOT.  My friend had to head back to the USA before we did so she stayed in Paris and watched the USA vs England game on TV (enjoying some nice French cheese, crackers, baguette and Normandy apple juice).    I really enjoyed Lyon and would love to go back when I can walk more.   I only found out after we left that they have secret passages through buildings so you can get down to the rivers faster.  Those and Roman ruins are just 2 of the things I want to see if we get back there.

There were a LOT of Americans in Lyon for the semifinal and final match!  So many that it made the local newspaper.  :)
And, as we stood in line for the tram, not a single England supporter was in sight.  You can see that the tram is full of people as far back as the eye can see

 And, much to my hubbies dismay, a selfie with both of us :)  A friend who was also at the game found me!

The game!  USA vs England
The next day we did some sight seeing in the "old" area of Lyon.  I spent all day in the boot since my foot got a bit cranky the day before.  We took the Funiculaire up to visit their Notre Dame and enjoyed the area.  In the pictures below is the gorgeous interior of Notre Dame and in the city picture the stadium is the white roof you can barely see between the tall buildings.

Hubby and I hanging out above the city and the front of Notre Dame.

We went back down on the funiculaire and went in search of a lunch spot.  It's always a little challenging to find someplace to eat if I'm not in the mood for salads.  We walked by this little cafe, Katimavik, and it smelled DELICIOUS and they had a lentil dish which I could easily make vegan but hubby wasn't so sure if he would like something so we continued looking.  Everywhere else in that area had only salads for me to eat and I had my salad fill the day before.    So we went back to Katimavik and had a delicious lunch.  Even better for my hubby is that they had chocolate lava cake for dessert and it was the best he had had on our trip!  After we finished eating the ladies explained that this cafe was run by a charity, all the workers were volunteers and all the money went to The Arche which helps mentally disabled individuals.  So if you're in Lyon for a visit stop by Katimavik for lunch!  Their normal hours are 12-2PM.  We were fortunate that they stayed open longer (we arrived just before 2) to accommodate the many tourists who were in town. 

This door is across the street from Katimavik and I liked it because it was interesting looking.  Well, as I later found out, the door next to it is an entrance to one of the secret passages!!!  Little did we know at the time.  And, finally, a picture of the Rhone river and the beautiful city and bridges of Lyon.


We also saw the second semifinal, Sweden vs Netherland, but that game wasn't nearly as good as we thought it would be.  We were pretty disappointed in the level of play as were some French fans behind us.  Here is a picture from that game.  And action shot when the goalie was about to catch a corner kick.

And no travel is complete without some souvenirs :)  Soccer ball keychains and tshirts from the USA semifinal.

And, if you didn't notice, my friend and I are wearing red/white/blue soccer ball earrings to all the matches.  :)  You can get them in my cserpentDesigns online shop.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A walk into the canyon

I haven't posted here much about my achilles surgery recovery for my left foot.  Probably because it has been a disappointment compared to my right foot - LOL!  Little did I know my right foot healed at an exceptional, and unusually fast, rate.  I was playing soccer at 5.5 months after surgery.  I'm at 32 weeks after surgery on my left foot and still in the recovery phase.  I'm just beginning to do 1 footed jumping with my surgery foot, I'm struggling through the run/walk PT that I'm supposed to do (I detest running just to run) but I am making progress and gaining strength.  Just not as fast as I want to.  I had my last official PT session on Thursday but my PT sent me home with the exercises I have to continue to do at home.  He also told me at what point the achilles should be strong enough to get back to soccer - when I can jump forward (1 footed) the same distance and with the same control as I can on my right foot.  And when I can run easily for 20 minutes straight.  I have my work cut out for me!! 

But back to my canyon walk.  I decided to do my run/walk PT in my immediate neighborhood so I headed down to my local park, did my running/walking and at the end rewarded myself with a walk down into our local canyon.  I last went down this trail over 15 years ago.  It was pretty barren then!  Now it is green, lots of flowers, the California oaks are hanging over the trail and it is quite beautiful!  I didn't make it all the way to the bottom since I didn't want to push my luck and really wear out my achilles but I know the hill work and walking on the uneven terrain is good for strengthening the achilles and breaking up any scar tissue that is may need it. 

Here are some pictures from my walk.

Sisyrinchium - blue eyed grass

A native allium

Allium closeup and with a little sparkle from some dew drops

The trail beneath the California oak trees

Another native plant - I'm just not sure what it is :)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Tucson days 5 & 6

I'm home now but wanted to finish up my blog posts.  To start day 5 we had to go to the Pueblo show to pick up my package of half drilled earring pairs.  On the way in we checked out the tents that have REALLY nice minerals and crystals.  Here are some of the cool things we saw.

Gorgeous lapis                                                               Beautiful wood pieces with inlaid turquoise
   A beautiful petrified wood bowl                                           Awesome amethyst and other crystals
A cool looking crystal slice - polished and beautiful!
We picked up the earring pairs and on the way out I stopped at a European Closeout booth and got this booty at a good price.  My mom picked up a $10 grab bag full of various jaspers, rhodonite, unakite and some other mystery gemstone beads.

Red jasper, howlite, malachite holed rings (or squares) and black onyx drops
I also stopped at Chili Jewels again to check out the earring pairs.  My mom spotted them yesterday and I totally missed them.  We sorted through over a LOT of pairs and found these beauties.

Half drilled larimar earring pairs
Next was a lunch stop.  We got some caffeine and chocolate (and my mom got a sandwich) at Starbucks and I got a veggie sandwich at Safeway.

Then it was time to visit AGTA and GJX.  This was opening day for those shows.  If you wonder how big these places are think of a warehouse in a tent.  Here is an aerial picture of the GJX tent.


In years past both venues were packed on opening day.  That has not been the case for several years now.  I actually don't mind since it is much easier to get around where there are not mobs of people.  I don't know if people just spread out their time now or if fewer people are showing up.  We started at AGTA.  Once we got our badges, we headed downstairs to check out the vendors and the exhibits.  The Smithsonian always has some very cool items (gemstone related) on display. I always stop by to see Taj since they often have some interesting cuts of gemstones.  I didn't find anything really interesting but I did get these.

Coated pyrite, some multi-gemstone strands and lab cubic zirconia in a gold color and very sparkly
Then we went across the street to GJX.  I didn't have a ton of time so I hit the vendors I needed to see first.  We started at A-One Stones.  I knew they had small, black spinel strands at a really good price and I was hoping they would have some interesting cuts as well.  I spent quite a bit of time here picking out strands for myself and sending pictures and choosing strands for Annette of Annette Piper Jewelry.  She is in Australia so my afternoon is a perfect time for her to do virtual gemstone shopping.  Here I am messaging with her and picking out strands for both of us.

And some shots of all the beautiful gemstones in their booth.

And finally Naresh and the woman who helped me keep everything together and helped find me more things to buy :).  Unfortunately I forgot to write down her name and it is now gone from my memory bank. 

And here are the pretties I got!

Black spinel, green onyx and carnelian in various shades.
Amethyst flattened and twisted pillows, tiny iolite, chrysoprase, larimar and tiny blue lace agate

Garnet, neon apatite and aquamarine
Next we went to the 3rd Best in Gems booth for the week. They have 4 booths during the gem show but the 4th doesn't open until GJX closes. I got more earring pairs. This booth had marcasite pairs which are really pretty! Some pyrite and quartz in various patterns that look beautiful.

Turquoise and marcasite                                                Blue topaz, ametrine and azurite

And, just to give you a feel for what you see as you walk down rows and rows in these venues, here is a shot down the short dimension of the GJX tent.  Gemstones on tables and in cases as far as the eye can see .....  I should have gotten a picture of a booth with plates full of gemstones (diamonds, emeralds, rubies, ...) sitting on top of their display case.  Needless to say there are a lot of security personnel wandering around as well.

On the way out we saw the beautiful gemstone carvings made by Peter Muller.  I love these flamingos.

And that was it for day 5.  We had dinner with a long time friend and I was pretty tired so this blog post is quite late.

Day 6 was short. We had 2 hours to shop.  We started at the JG&M Simpson street booth.  I thought I would be able to shop at Best In Gems (I still needed some black rutilated quartz pairs that I didn't have time to shop for the day before) but their booth was empty.  I obviously misunderstood the BIG folks at GJX when they said they wouldn't be their until the show closed.   So I checked out a few of the other booths and made one last stop to say good bye to Toyo at his booth. I did a quick check for green kyanite and found a strand of nice blade style beads.

And here we are with Toyo for a final picture.

Then we caught a shuttle van back to the convention center and went back into GJX.  We did a final visit at Best In Gems and got these pretty pairs.

Marcasite, black rutilated quartz, sonoran jasper and chrysocolla
And that is it for my Tucson visit!  We headed back to the airport and flew back to San Diego.  I'll be designing with a lot of these beauties soon so keep an eye on my cserpentDesigns web page and my cserpentDesigns Facebook page.  I update both of those pages first with my new designs and I sell first on Facebook.  If designs don't sell on Facebook then they show up in my Zibbet shop. I hope you enjoyed following my shopping adventures in Tucson!
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