Sunday, July 18, 2010

My "Amazing Lady Tour" of Upstate New York

Me and the grill master
I spent the week on an "Amazing Lady Tour", as I like to call it. It had been a year since I last saw Miss Mary Bowers , my former camper and current friend who I first met at Sunshine Camp  8 years ago. She lives just outside of Binghamton, NY, so the drive up from John's apartment was just under 4 hours. I spent the evening catching up with Mary, her awesome mom Pam, and her lovely greyhound Kato. We enjoyed a phenomenal home cooked dinner and, on top of her other talents, I found out that Mary has quite the knack for grilling.
Kato's model shot

I was planning on visiting Mary this summer anyway, but when I found out she had her bi-annual medical appointments in Rochester (15 minutes from John's family's house), I jumped on the opportunity to take her up. Why not coordinate a little camp reunion, right? The morning after I arrived, we woke up at 5:15am (admittedly, the whole plan seemed a little less fantastic to both of us at this hour) and set out on our road trip. I had a blast with Mary as always and quickly remembered just how hilarious she is. The best part of the trip was the good medical news she received from her doctors (Go Mary!) After that, we could both fully enjoy our time.

Sara and Rayne
A priceless smile
We spent a great night with John's parents, his sisters Sara and Laura, and some of their friends. We also had another great meal a la John's mom. Mary and I even had the chance to watch Sara horseback ride the following morning! She rides at an amazing place called the EquiCenter in Honeoye Falls, NY.

Sara & her best bud Marian

The EquiCenter seeks to offer "a number of therapeutic riding, hippotherapy, vaulting and horsemanship (equine facilitated mental health) sessions" with the goal of "provide[ing] a safe, appropriate, productive and enjoyable environment where participants can work toward their individual goals." The pictures don't quite do it justice. Seeing Sara's tremendous smile and clear look of pride was easily worth the trip. It was incredible to watch her horse (Rayne) work with her and the instructor, gently accommodating her specific needs. It also turns out that Rayne is quite the ham in front of cameras after being exposed to so many photo sessions. The experience made me even more sure that I'll use animals in my social work practice one day. They are invaluable, calming beings and I could go on for pages about my respect for them.
Sara & part of her cheering section

Sarah & Mary, Sisterly love
After the lesson, Mary and I continued on to Syracuse to visit her older sister Sarah, yet another one of my favorite women. I met Sarah as a fellow counselor at camp the same summer that I met Mary. I was impressed with her ever since. Sarah is just so fun to be around and she recently received her Masters in Social Work. Actually, she was a big reason I decided to go for my degree. We had a great lunch, but I wish we could have stayed longer. We continued on to Mary's home where we had to say our goodbyes and then it was back home to Long Island.

Since returning home, every joint in my body has seemed to lecture me on the hazards of long road trips. I've spent a lot of time napping and in bed this weekend, but you know what? It was more than worth it. Even if the trip took a lot out of me physically, it was one of those experiences that was so emotionally and spiritually restorative that the physical pain is overshadowed. Thank you to all the fabulous women who were part of my week. I only wish we could do it more often.



  1. so happy for you. there is no doubt that we need to create balance between managing the disease and really living life. every so often, the physical pain doesn't matter when you are filled with joy and good memories.

    i had one of those priceless days on saturday. it was so worth it.


  2. awww, you make me smile!! i am glad to be a part of your tour and plan on making you a definite visit should i happen to do a similar tour. hugs!

  3. i think you did a wonderful job in this post of capturing just how great the trip was. i'm sorry that it caused you pain but hopefully we can figure out a way to make it work without bothering your pesky joints. i love you!!

  4. Betsy - so glad you had one of those days :) You deserve it tremendously, whenever possible.

    Sarah - You name the time! I would totally love to have you :)

    Mary - I'm glad you think I captured it and, as I wrote, it was more than worth it. love you more!