Category Archives: Adventures

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

It’s always been an awkward topic for me. My anxiety problem, I mean. When I meet people and they want to hang out somewhere I’m unfamiliar with or that’s out of my comfort zone for driving and I have to tell them I can’t go because of my anxiety, they always give me this funny look. Like I’m a weirdo or something. Of course, they’re always quick to give me a sympathetic smile and an “Oh, that’s alright, we’ll do something else sometime.” Most of them never ask to hang out with me again, but the rare few (who I consider to be real friends because of their actions) do.

I’m bringing this topic up again (read my first post about my anxiety here) despite my awkwardness for it, because today I started a new therapy. It’s called EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, therapy. It originally started out as treatment specifically for patients and people who have suffered from trauma (things like bad car accidents or PTSD for soldiers and civilians alike), but because of its effectiveness, it’s becoming a broader treatment for things like anxiety and depression, too. In a way, however it is that it works precisely, it helps you to reprocess memories that may have been processed by the emotional side of your brain rather than the rational side during long-term memory processing.

I LOVE this photo! XD

Here’s a bit of a blurb from the EMDR Institute‘s website: “[It’s a form of] psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

It’s an interesting concept to say the least. “There has been so much research on EMDR that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy. Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.” -EMDR Inst.

All that fancy lingo and information aside, I definitely have to say that my experience with my first treatment today was far from what I expected. To be honest, I don’t know how it works really, only that I ended up sobbing like a little kid about 10 minutes in and going over memories I didn’t even know still bothered me. Somehow, though, I think they’re all related.

Adverse effects? Sure! Every treatment has them. My counselor made a point to tell me at the end of our session today that because EMDR helps memories and emotions that rouse my anxiety and subconsciously affect me so that I end up doing OCD habits, that I may continue to feel “distress during the day, more distressing and unresolved memories could emerge as the processing of incidents and materials may continue, and other dreams, memories, feelings, etc., may emerge.” –EMDR Inst. (but basically she said the same thing. I just like how they wrote it, that’s why I quoted them again. Haha!)

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this and I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable admitting it to you and the rest of the world, but I do feel like I should document this treatment process. I feel like it might not only help me, but can also be used as a learning and teaching experience for you (my readers) and (I hope) give hope to those who suffer from forms of distress-caused anxiety and OCD like me.

Other than that (sobbing for an entire hour pretty much in the middle of the day with my counselor, I mean) my day was pretty swell!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Hello. I’m the Doctor.

Hello one and all! I hope that you have been doing well! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’ve been up to some fun stuff!

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. The theme for that weekend was “Time Traveler Weekend”. So, of course I went and cosplayed as (my personal favorite) the 11th Doctor! Ta-da!:

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They even had the TARDIS at the Faire! I was so happy to find it and take photos with it! Then, there were so many other Whovians there, too! I wasn’t the only one, but then I didn’t think I would be with a themed weekend like “Time Travelers”. There were Weeping Angels, Daleks, even Van Gogh! Oh, and quite a few of the Doctor’s regenerations! I seriously had a blast and can’t wait to go and cosplay as the 11th Doctor again! It was so much fun! =D

Then there was my favorite part of the day: I made a 12 year old girl swoon. She was so excited to see me as the 11th Doctor that she said she could now die happy and started freaking out with her friend. It was so adorable! =P

Look for my words again soon!

tumblr_mlb666Ivyz1snil4go7_250Cheers!

-Soleil

The History of Downtown Charleston, SC!

I’ve made a liar of myself. I never did make that 9/12 post I promised. For that, I apologize. In case it might happen again:

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So, I wanted to finish up my South Carolina trip recap in this post. Let the fun begin!

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This was my dinner at Jestine’s Kitchen in Downtown Charleseton. It includes some awesome Soul Food: Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens, and cornbread with some real Southern sweet tea.
Trying to get to Jestine’s it started to downpour! Since Ant and I didn’t have an umbrella, we got soaked, of course. It was a cold rain, too.

 

 

 

 

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To the left we have me, soaked, and to the right we have me with my hair dried off and with an awesome flip to it now! Yay!  IMG_7881

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also took a really cool historical tour through a portion of Downtown Charleston in an open-carriage pulled by two mules.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

It leans slightly to the left because of the earthquake that happened in the 1800s. Also, John C. Calhoun is buried here. In case you’re wondering, he’s the man who created the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Also, Edward Rutledge is buried here, too. He was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and eventually became the 39th Governor of South Carolina.

Powder Magazine

Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine sat on the edge of the original Charleston city border, which was surrounded by a 17-ft. wall made of mud and palmetto logs. They built a wall around their city because 13 prior attempts to colonize the South (one of which was Roanoke) had failed. The Powder Magazine dates back to 1713 and has walls that are 2-3 feet thick, made of brick, and the roof was stored with sandbags in the case that if there was an explosion, the sound and impact would hopefully be muted. This same wall was very successful during the Revolutionary War. Charleston was able to hold out against the British for four years (compared to Boston and Philadelphia, which fell in under a year), because the wall was built from palmetto logs, which are very absorbent of water and so are very spongey. This sponge-iness allowed for difficulty to surmount and destory and/or invade the city. Since the British couldn’t break the fort walls, they retreated back North. This victory for the city of Charleston is why South Carolina features the Palemetto as its State Tree and on its State Flag.

Charleston had five major fires in its history, and the fire of 1861 wiped out a good portion of the city.

I also learned that in 1704, the Spanish sent several hundred men from St. Augustine, FL to Charleston o wipe out the southermost English colony, which at time was Charleston, SC. The Spanairds attempt failed but the English sent back a retaliation force and burnt St. Augustine to the ground. This allowed English domination in the South.

Then there is King’s Street. It’s the main shopping street of Downtown Charleston. Our tour guide informed us that King’s Street is the highest point in Charleston, at 11-ft. above sea level. Also, it’s named King’s Street because it was owned by the King of England. In fact, it is still owned by Queen Elizabeth II today, so if you live on or do business on King’s Street, you have to pay taxes to the Crown.

Other Fun Facts: Charleston is known as the Holy City because it has so many different churches and was one of the most religously diverse cities of its time in history (in the American Colonies, anyway). In fact, the oldest Synagogue in the country is here and was established back in 1750.

St. John's Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church was established in 1734 and is well-known for it’s great iron-work gates with date back to 1822. They are so signifigant because these gates are one of the few original iron-works in all of Charleston. That’s because during the Civil War, a lot of iron was taken from around the city to melt down into weapons for the war.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church was made in 1722. (For the record, I took this photo off of Google because my photo wasn’t nearly as good as this). I’ve never heard of Unitarians before this carriage tour. Unitarians believe that everyone goes to Heaven and that there is no Hell. Thomas Jefferson didn’t share their beliefs, so during the Revolutionary War, the Unitarian Church was used as a stable for the soldiers horses.

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These brick homes were built by the US Navy during WWII for soldier housing barracks. After the war, the Navy donated the buildings to the city to be used for whatever they wanted. The city ended up making them public housing.

Extra Fun Fact: All of the bricks used to make these homes, plus all of the old historic buildings in Downtown Charleston were handmade by the slaves on Boone Hall Plantation, which I featured in a previous post.

Old Marine Hospital

Old Marine Hospital

The Old Marine Hospital was designed by Robert Mills. After WWII it became the Jenkins Orphanage. One of the orphans who ended up living here created a dance that caught on and became well-known, even to today. It’s known as the Charleston, and was named after the city it came from.

The Old City Jail

The Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Charleston chose the location of Potter’s Field for the Old City Jail because for the first 150 years of Charleston’s existence, it was the farthest end of the city’s limits. Potter’s Field was settled between Franklin and Archduke Streets and was where the poor and the people of no faith were buried.

Fun Fact: The College of Charleston tried to build a new library not too long ago, about a block away from the prison, and they dug up over 500 bodies. So, the area known as Potter’s Field still had bodies below the homes and streets and old city prison built on top of it.

This being said, I’ve definitely decided that if I EVER moved to Charleston, I would NEVER EVER live in the area known as Potter’s Field.

 

Moving on….

The Memminger Auditorium was once the Charleston high school, but before that it was a middle school. While it was a middle school, cannonballs were dug up on the school grounds, during a renovation project, that dated back to the Civial War! When the cannonballs were found, the bomb squad was called in because during the Civil War, some cannonballs were explosive rounds and they were worried they might still be live.

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The Daughters of Confederacy

The Daughters of Confederacy building hosts many Cival War artifacts, including some of Robert E. Lee’s hair.

Philadelphia Alley

Philadelphia Alley

This is Philadelphia Alley and it is where all of the Gentleman’s Duels took place. John Luke Wilson, a laywer of Charleston, wrote a book of 28 rules for the duels.

Fun Fact: The most common profession for a majority of the duelists were newspaper editors.

Extra Fun Fact: Charleston was once held captive by Blackbeard in the 1800s. His demands were that the townspeople of Charleston give him a chest of medicine in return for him to leave town. They complied. Our tour guide joked that their city is the only one in America who can lay claim to Blackbeard holding their city hostage for healthcare, haha!

Wrapping up, this trip was lots of fun packed into a quick 3-day weekend. If you’re ever heading to Charleston, South Carolina, I highly recommend doing any of the Historic Tours or exhibits. Have fun and look for my words again soon!

Cheers!

-Soleil

A South Carolina Historical Site: Boone Hall Plantation

South Carolina is a nice state, and Charleston is an interesting area, but I’m not sure I’d want to live here. It’s nice as a vacation spot, I think. However, there are a lot of historic sites to visit and experience.

Today, for instance, I visited Boone Hall Plantation, where scenes for “The Notebook“, “The Patriot“, and the miniseries’ “North and South” and “Queen” were filmed. Below, is a photograph I took of the Main House on the plantation grounds. This is where the rich family that owned the plantation would live.

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This next photo is of the cotton gin, which made the lives on the slaves on the plantation much easier, because it separated the cotton from the flower, for easier manufacturing and increased productivity and allowed for faster and more frequent deliveries.

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When the plantation was still using slave labor, a majority of its 4000-5000 acres of land was filled with row upon row of cotton to be harvested. Nowadays, the plantation only keeps 8 rows of cotton for harvest, relying on larger crops for money-making, such as corn, watermelon, squash, peaches, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, and so much more. While I did snap of a picture of these 8 cotton plant rows, they’re not in bloom, yet, and not ready to pick, yet. I mean, if you look hard enough, you can see the white flowers from which the cotton will grow.

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Of the (about) 21 original brick (for the record, at one point, the plantation also had a working brickyard, where the slaves made bricks. ALL of the bricks on the plantation and a lot in Charleston’s downtown, were made at Boone Hall) slave homes, there are only 9 remaining. In each slave house, there is a different exhibit where you can “Learn the way slaves grew food and used herbal remedies in their everyday lives. Discuss the task vs. gang systems used by overseers of the plantations. Learn what Gullah meant and the language and culture behind it at the Gullah Theatre [and] Do hands on activities that will show a slaves life and the role of slavery in the success of a plantation.” —Boone Plantation Website

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Below is the Gullah Theater house. A wonderful Gullah woman, Jackie, performed for us today. I learned about the Gullah Geechie dialect, how Geechie was once a derogitive term for black slaves who came from Angola, Africa. The word Gullah derives from Angola — they were originally called Angola (for the country they came from), then it was shortened to Gola, and eventually became Gullah. I even learned that you can buy bibles written in the Gullah dialect where the dialect is still thriving, such as in and around the Charleston area.

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I also took the House Tour, where you tour “The mansion that exists on Boone Hall Plantation today, [which] was built in 1936 by Canadian ambassador Thomas Stone as part of the Second Wave of Reconstruction. Guided tours of the first floor allow guests to see how this Georgian-designed home blends recovered materials and antique furnishings to recreate an atmosphere that would have surrounded a Coastal Carolina planter’s family and his guests. This 30 minute tour begins on the front porch and is given by a well informed guide in historical dress. The tour will also introduce you to the history of Boone Hall Plantation and its evolution through several owners since 1681.” —Boone Plantation Website

After the House Tour, I went on the Plantation Coach Tour. It’s given in a really cool open-air motor coach, which starts in front of the Butterfly Café and goes around the entire 738 acres (for the record, I am aware that I wrote 4000-5000 acres earlier, but the plantation owners had to sell off land and there were a few divorces where they had to give land to their spouses as part of the separation. Now, the current owners (the sister and brother whose parents bought the plantation in 1955) own only 738 acres) and covers both ends of the plantation, both geographically and historically. Visitors are shown how the still-working plantation continues to grow crops (for over 3 centuries).

If you’re ever in the Charleston, South Carolina area, I highly recommend that you check this plantation out. It’s one of the three most famous plantations in South Carolina and it’s only $20 for admission and eerything on the grounds is free to participate in. That’s a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

A Night In The City!

Whelp, I’m an idiot and almost got ran over my a cab. No worries! I’m fine. But seriously, I crossed one street and for some reason thought it was okay to cross the next, except it wasn’t. So, I saw the cab coming at me, not even trying to slow down, and managed to leap back onto the curb. Whew!

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Of course I did joke to Kels afterwards (she went to Philly with me tonight) that if I was going to be hit by a car, that was the intersection to do it at because that was the intersection where the Jefferson Hospital was. At least I’d be admitted somewhat quickly. XD

Uh…anyway, I went to Philadelphia tonight with Kels to go to my favorite ramen shop: Hiro Ramen. It’s delicious as ever! Then, we walked around for awhile trying to find someplace to buy a sweet treat as a desert but everything was closed!

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Even the Starbucks was closed at 9PM on a Friday night! I know for a fact that the Starbucks by where I live is open until 11PM on Friday nights, so why was the one in the city closed so early??? …I have no idea, but it was disappointing.

So, Kels and I ended up wandering around the Arts District until we found: Capogiro!

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This place, by the way, is a Gelato Artisan and is rated #1 in the World by National Geographic! Needless to say, the gelato here is outstanding! I ordered a chocolate caramel medio gelato. Yum! Here’s a pic (-wink wink-):

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Ah…it was so good. I want another. -sigh-

Well, needless to say I’ll probably plan another trip back. I do want to get to the Philadelphia Art Museum before the Impressionists exhibit closes in September. It features work by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Manet, and Pissarro. Those are all some of my very favorite artists! -swoons-
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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Playing Catch-Up

Shops and Restaurants and Cafes line Asbury Avenue in Ocean City’s Downtown. They and the street buzz with activity as locals and tourists visit during the summer holiday. Trees offer shade at the shopfronts and sidewalks allow for easy comfort and separation from the road traffic.

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Pretty flowers lined this sign! I wish I knew what kind they were. My parents said they might be geraniums, or some type of them. I wish I knew for sure…. Do any of you know what kind of flowers these are?:

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I really wanted to eat at this cafe:

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It’s called “Ma France Crêperie”, which translates to “My France Crêperie”. Very simple. But, they were only open from 8AM – 3PM. Not that this was an absurd time window, but I just always found myself remembering this place after 3PM. -sigh- Perhaps next time I can try to eat there. I love crêpes! I also wanted to eat at a restaurant called “The Chatterbox” which even has dog-friendly patio seating outside! But, alas, no one wanted to go with me and I didn’t want to go alone. -sigh again-

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Oh! It rained on…Tuesday, I think…and, afterwards, there was this GORGEOUS double rainbow! Of course, the second rainbow is very faint, but it’s there, barely visible on the righthand side.

See for yourselves!:

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Also, after the storms, the clouds looked like they had been painted into the sky:

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Literally, I thought they looked like clouds painted on a canvas in a rococo style, like “The Swing” by French artist, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and “Jupiter in the Guise of Diana and the Nymph Callisto” by, also French artist, François Boucher. The paintings are light and airy and the light and colors are emphasized. Rococo is a late-Baroque period style of painting that I am in love with.

Also, we played a lot of Scrabble on this trip. It was one of the boardgames supplied at the beach house for rainy days or just general fun, as we found it. I love Scrabble. I love creating words out of the tiles. It’s sort of like my love for crossword puzzles. I think the two might be related somehow, though the love for it is the same. Here’s one of our games after we had played all of our tiles:

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Let’s see…what else? Ah, there was one night where when I was walking on the beach after dark and it was low tide, that I came across one of the jetty’s on the beach and found life! I found rock after rock covered with little mussel shells! It was fascinating!

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I thought it was spectacular and was a bit sad to leave the little creatures to go back to the beach house. They bubbled when you ran your fingers across them and they grew in great patches across the large rocks!

Then there was a “Baby Parade“. The 106th annual baby parade held in Ocean City at the boardwalk. The only thing I took a picture of was that, at some point in the parade, there was a Scottish Pipe and Drum band. I love Scottish Pipe and Drum bands….they call themselves the “Sand Pipers” (after the bird, get it, haha) and they were playing “Danny Boy”, so I simply had to snap a photo:

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Also, I believe I mentioned that my family and I rode around on the boardwalk yesterday morning in a surry. Here’s a photo I asked one of the attendants to take when we arrived back at the surry shop:

IMG_2261I’m the one sitting right up front with the tropical shirt. My brother Kit is sitting behind me with his glasses and scruffy beard. Then in the second row, it’s my mom and dad, and Kit’s girlfriend. Oh, her name is Sydney, by the way.

This morning, I had some very delicious Eggs Benedict for breakfast. If you ever meet me and want to make a good impression, take me out for breakfast and order me Eggs Benedict. I may very well love you forever.

IMG_2262Also, there was this adorable little teapot that they gave me when I ordered hot tea! See?:

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Actually, I’m not sure that I would call it a teapot…maybe a tea canister? Anyway, it’s adorable and I want one! But…I don’t know what it’s called so I’m not sure how to search for it!

-sniff sniff- The Doctor knows how I feel! -sobs in a corner- I really would love this glass tea brewer!

Well, those are all of my photos that I took while on my very lovely family vacation. I hope you all had a great week because I sure did!

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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Up The River: A Kayak Story

Kayaking was:tumblr_mawaiporRb1rsbdqzo1_500

Ah, thanks to the Doctor for chiming in there….

We signed up for the three hour duration, started an hour late due to a shortage of staff (but that was alright by us), took a break for lunch about an hour and a half in, and then got lost when the river started to split ways. I suppose Winding River is a very correct name for it.

Kayaking for the first time was a really cool experience. It’s not too much different from paddling in a canoe, except paddling is easier because you have one paddle with two fins, instead of one paddle with one fin. Also, the kayak sits higher on the water than a canoe, so fallen trees in the water that held up canoers like my parents and my brother and his girlfriend, well, I easily glided over them. It took me a little under an hour to figure out all of my steering, like how to angle myself differently, or tilt, or turn…basically what was the most effecient way to do what.

When we took a break for lunch, we all beached ashore on a gravely sand beach that was obviously an old bank that had been eroded from so many people coming ashore in that particular spot. There was also a rope tied to a tree overhanging the water, so while we ate, we watched people swing off of it and into the water. I wanted to try, but never got the chance. Maybe next trip.

Ah, and then people decided to start jumping out of the tree that grew on the other side of the bank and stretched over the water. Well, I’m not sure how great of an idea that was because the water was only shoulder-deep and only in a narrow section of the river. That being said, one poor kid who leapt out of the tree to jump straight into his tube as it floated by (we had to share the river with tubers, too) ended up jamming his leg against a tree stump jutting out of the water by the bank or something. Poor kid’s leg, ankle, and foot swelled up and by the time we all reached the end of the river, he had to be carried out of his tube by his brother and back to the campground. While we were checking out, he was given ice and I wished him well-being and a speedy recovery.

Well, after lunch, we paddled back out into the water and after the next bend, the river began to turn off and split and we didn’t know which way to go. So, we picked the best course of action and stuck with it. At one point I got stuck in a current going the wrong way, so my youngest brother, Jae rowed over to try and save me, but he nearly capsized me. After taking on water and having it sloshing about my feet, we learned that I had gone the right way and everyone else was now coming towards Jae and I. Needless to say, I had to turn around and return to paddling the way I’d been going before trying to escape the current, and I had water rolling around in the bottom of my kayak and seat for the rest of my trip. When I finally went back ashore, my shorts and shoes were drenched. I was glad when I was finally able to get home, eat, shower, and change.

Oh, while I ate my dinner, my Dad and I decided to watch “The Iron Lady” (a sort of biography about Margaret Thatcher’s life), as it’s been on my Netflix List for some time now.

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It was terrific! I was a bit confused at first when it started, but then I realized that they were playing into her dementia by having her dead husband be a recurring hallucination character as she recalled things from her life. It was definitely interesting. Plus, I learned some new things, which I always enjoy.

Well, I’m going to sit back and do some writing, or watch something else on Netflix.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil