I admit there is relief in sending 2020 off in smoke last night.
It’s not that our family has had a terrible year; we’ve all remained healthy, those who have work have been able to work. At the same time, the isolation grows both too comfortable and irritating. Living with introverts during this time is fairly peaceful. They are content. I’m learning to be content in this new world and, I suppose, learning how to be an introvert. But I hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is real, that a year from now we will be spending time with friends and extended family, attending worship services in person, planning vacations, fully immunized.
We spent a lot of time driving in December, seeing the grandsons and their parents every weekend for various activities (some babysitting, some special holiday events, and a certain 3-year-old’s birthday). As I write this post, Christmas has come to a close with the passing of Epiphany; the new year is one week old and I’m still slowly addressing envelopes for the annual Christmas letter between attempts to pack away tree ornaments and other decorations. Sometimes I suspect I drag it all out because I am sorry to see it all gone.
These two boys ♥♥
Little Foot is now 3 years old.
We’re calling it the T.S. Enterprise. It’s awesome! #goingboldly
Home improvement gifts was a theme this year. #grateful
Post-Christmas visit to extended family while Mama and Daddy went to work.
My BFF knows me and loves me. ♥
Not everyone can receive a magical flying unicorn onesie and pull it off with aplomb, but SuperDad most definitely can and did. The video is awesome and slightly horrifying.
Me, my ankle brace, and my great loves ♥ Standing (L-R): The Barefooter, Humorous-Juniorous, The Scout, The Engineer & The Author
Chomper and I sent everyone else to bed and had a late-night party. Then we rock-a-byed to sleep. H-E-A-V-E-N.
Three years ago today was when I misstepped, broke my ankle three different ways, and propelled myself into a new trajectory of life. So… crappy breakiversary to me!
I noticed new/different pain about 7 months into my metal-infused life, so I called the clinic. My surgeon had moved; his replacement told me it was too soon to do anything about removing metal (true) and the placement of all pins, plates, and screws was still in perfect form. The proof was in the X-ray. Tramadol is not my friend, so I was left with tears of frustration and chronic pain.
I saw a new orthopedic doctor a few weeks ago. It wasn’t just my imagination that the pain was getting worse! While the metal is still in perfect form (kudos to Dr. M), the cartilage above my heel is nearly useless now, and I have a large bone spur on the front of my ankle. The new X-ray isn’t pretty so I’ll leave it to your imagination. Since it’s too soon (according to Dr. B) to talk ankle replacement, I’ve been cast for a serious ankle brace.
Dr. B told me the metal was only about 15% of my pain; the rest is being caused by the grinding of the bones together. I’m trusting that he’s right about this and that the ankle brace will bring about relief by holding things in place.
I’m obviously now a woman of a certain age and at least half of my topics of conversation are about health concerns. If you take cholesterol medication, that can raise your blood sugar readings, which might then take you from pre- or borderline diabetes into Type 2. And if you are stressed in the clinic, your blood pressure will be elevated; if you take BP readings at home with a smaller-than-you-need cuff, you will get false high readings, and then you end up on BP medication as well. Or maybe they’re not so false because this chronic pain is pretty stressful. It’s the middle aged version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
I’ve been trying out a new class at the YMCA. They use some of the same exercises but it takes place in the lap pool instead of the therapy (warm, 4′ deep) pool. In this new-to-me class, we strap on pool jogging belts and utilize deep water. Standing on a pool noodle in 10 feet of water as if it was a skateboard is a balancing act I can barely manage. I’m getting a better (harder) workout but my ankle is pretty much DONE for the day after this class. Leaving my job was supposed to get me to the pool more often, and that does seem to be showing success.
October was my first month of being retired (or should I just say “not working”?) but I kept quite busy. I started the month with a 4-day crafting retreat up north, then had one day at home to do laundry and pack before SuperDad and I drove off for a 2-week trip by ourselves. We visited misty geysers at Yellowstone National Park in the cold for a few days, then headed for Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park. The weather there was sunny and cold during the daytime; the skies at night were amazing with a visible Milky Way. I had thought my tent camping days were behind me, but I was wrong. (For trailer news, check out this previous post.)
The rest of the trip was warmer: we spent several days in Tucson to visit my dad before driving home via Las Vegas. It was really nice to not be in a big hurry to drive home before school started back up; my pain level ratchets up during long car rides despite keeping my ankle elevated, so an 11-hour drive in one day is excruciating.
Las Vegas is much more enjoyable on a Thursday evening without impressionable children than it was on a Friday evening during spring break with the kids! Or perhaps The Strip has tamed down a bit? We don’t gamble, so this was all about seeing the lights and some of the amazing scenes. Walking through the Venetian, it’s easy to forget you are indoors. We stayed in a simple place about a 10-minute walk off The Strip so it was fairly quiet.
The annual quilting retreat closed out October and brought me into November. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, since I had to take regular breaks to elevate my foot/ankle, but I am close to being done with the quilt for Chomper. Next up: squaring (trimming) the sides and sewing on the binding. I’ll be able to finish it before Christmas.
One of the things I’ve discovered about not going to work most days of the week is that I am often clueless when it comes to knowing what day it is! When I was a SAHM, I knew each day because it was my job to know it; the kids had activities and school buses to catch, and SuperDad had long hours being gone for work. With us both at home and 3 young men coming and going all the time, I lose track of days of the week — at least Monday through Friday. One thing I do know is that Thanksgiving Day here in the USA is coming up in another week. By not fighting pain brain while working, I’ve actually managed to plan the menu, contact those coming to divvy up some of the food assignments, and make a shopping list! This might not seem like a big deal but I recall last year when I had no brain power left for such things.
I am trying to set aside some quiet moments this season to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas, why we look for the perfect gift for someone we love. I am trying to be intentional about Advent, this season of preparation. Today we light the “peace” candle on the Advent wreath.
Hope. Peace. Joy. Love.
In the midst of everything happening in our nation and in the world, I need the focus of Advent more than ever. Peace be with you.
The fireplace decor sums up the situation. Honestly, though, it’s okay if it takes another week or two to get all gussied up for Christmas — after all, it was just a few weeks ago that I managed to put away the final few pieces of the Christmas decor from last year!
I can’t keep track of the days. “Black Friday” starts earlier each year, gearing up with sales on Wednesday or even Monday prior to Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. I didn’t have time to shop since I had meetings and work to do on Monday, then work again on Tuesday and Wednesday. I did get to stay home Wednesday morning to do a little meal preparation; pies were baked on Wednesday night. Thursday our holiday guests arrived and we were firmly at home.
“And a quiet old lady whispering ‘Hush.’
I had thought we’d be standing in line at the big craft and fabric store early Friday morning — and for my beloved daughter-in-law and 70% off fleece and flannel, I would do such a crazy thing — but thankfully that was not on the ultimate agenda. Instead, we slept in, relaxed and then began “Small Business Saturday” one day early by shopping for a new-to-her Pfaff sewing machine in an older shopping neighborhood. The rest of the day we spent resting, eating leftovers (hello, we had 7 pies plus a cranberry-rhubarb-apple crisp and a fruitcake from Costco), playing card games, and of course spending time with Little Foot. Goodnight Moon has been read countless times over the past few days to my delight.
Starting the day out right
We’ll enjoy “Small Business Saturday” at a slow pace, with fair trade coffee grown by small farmers, brewed at home and served in glazed ceramic cups from Gary Rith Pottery. I might make a trip to one of two local shopping neighborhoods. The little family will pack up and head home, and once the toys and high chair are put away, laundry started, and some general decluttering done, it will be time to contemplate decorating and Christmas gifts. After all, “Cyber Monday” and #GivingTuesday are coming up next, and Christmas is [less than] a month away.