MTM: It just keeps snowing

dscn1464-and-it-just-keeps-snowing-websized

Off in my trusty minivan (nearly 127,000 miles on it) to take our teenager to a doctor appointment.  Good thing I like this white stuff!

What’s another 6 inches of snow to such a reliable vehicle?

A: Hopefully nothing at all!

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Check out more Out the Window shots with Carmi and friends this week.

MTM: Full of Memories

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The boardwalk is a new addition but the view remains the same glorious sight it has been for centuries.

We’re in a small window of warm weather right now and everything is gorgeous — the trees, the river, the sky. I was in my old neighborhood, where we lived 27 years ago, and stopped to snap this picture. It isn’t the best part of town when it comes to socioeconomic standing but it does have some fabulous view of the river within walking distance. When we lived there we often took walks and enjoyed the peacefulness of our surroundings away from the noisy street.

When we moved back to this city a little over 5 years ago, one of the first things we did (after unpacking and setting up the house) was to raft the river. In late summer and early fall, the water is low and it’s easy to get hung up on the rocks in some places but it is always lovely.  I wasn’t able to float on the river this summer and I miss it. I fondly remember kayaking in the calmer sections and getting soaked with near-icy water in the small rapids.

In this older part of town there are huge trees that create a canopy over the streets. Sometimes I return to reminisce over our days as a young couple when we were too poor to turn up the furnace, so we wore jackets and hats in the living room each winter evening. The old rental house still has the same faded red siding, the neighboring houses are just as dilapidated as they were a quarter-century ago, but the view from the bluff over the river is free and remains as beautiful as ever.

It could be worse…

DSCN2529  Bruised toes, and this is my GOOD foot!Was it just 2 weeks ago I was nursing sore toes on my right foot? Apparently my left foot was jealous because in my sleep I somehow managed to jam or pull or otherwise bruise/sprain the littlest toe on my left foot (my FULF as Barb so succinctly puts it) prior to waking up on Wednesday morning. It’s too ugly to show you a picture, but I can assure you it’s really purple and coordinates nicely with my purple nail polish. (Maybe I do need to take a picture?)  And yes, it hurts.
It’s all adding insult to injury since I’ve also been having additional ankle pain — this time on my outer left ankle. The current suspicion is that the hardware on that side (one long plate, 6 screws) is somehow irritating the more natural parts of me.

I did manage to get out and about last weekend, putting at least 800 miles on the minivan (124,000 and counting) all by myself. My ankle truly hates me for all of that driving. (I’ve been hating my ankle lately, so the feeling is mutual)  On Friday I drove to Seattle for a quick visit with H-J. I got to see the lab where he is working this summer and I took him out to dinner at Ivar’s on Lake Union. It was one of those nights that makes a person love Seattle even if it is crowded: so many boats out on the lake full of happy people, beautiful weather, drawbridges allowing passage for the larger boats, evening glow on the buildings downtown.  After dropping my university student off at his place (college students, please don’t leave your dirty dishes in your room… science experiments belong in the laboratory!) I drove to my friend Annie’s house for 2 nights to celebrate her 50th birthday and recent home purchase.  This was the most relaxing part of the weekend, with little to do but a bit of cleaning, cutting up vegetables, drinking wine, and chatting with old friends while elevating my FULF. 

Is it wrong to high-five friends over mutually crummy injuries? We must be getting old. Next we’ll be talking about fiber supplements! Oh, wait…

Sleeping baby on my chest while mama gets allergy testing

Slightly feverish baby sleeping on my chest. I love him so much!

Sunday morning I slept in a bit, then packed up and drove back across the state, but not home — instead I drove to spend 2 nights with The Author and Little Foot. No new pictures because Mama was getting allergy testing done on Monday morning, baby was feverish and couldn’t go to daycare, and Daddy was out of town at a conference in another state. LF’s other grandma was able to come on Monday afternoon and stay for the week, so she’s still there now. It’s no fun to have a sick baby but the timing is great. The Author works for the university and it would be difficult to take time off right now as they are gearing up for fall courses.

cobalt blue lanyard

My blue lanyard: made it to sell, loved it too much and kept it

Tuesday morning I dropped my DIL off at work (hello, $15 per day parking? No, thank you!) and drove 90 minutes back home straight to work for me, too — only to discover I had left my lanyard with work keys at home. SuperDad to the rescue! He brought my work keys and my lunch to me. I was very grateful. He also went to the store and purchased several gallons of ice cream for the neighborhood block watch party held in our driveway that evening. I had enough time between the end of my work day and the start of the party to ice and elevate for 45 minutes on my bed. My ankle hates me and was badly swollen all day.

I’ve made an appointment (first one I could get, at the earliest time available) for August 18th. I’m hoping for some answers as to why I’m having “new” pain 8 months after surgery. By the time I see my PCM, it will be more than 9 months since injury. Did I mention that my ankle hates me?

Seen around town

I keep telling myself that I’m going to bring the camera along when I run errands, but it just doesn’t seem to happen — my brain and a colander have a few things in common, for one thing, and relying upon a cane for unfamiliar or uneven ground doesn’t make it easy to just hop out of the car to take a photo — so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I’ve been seeing these signs as I drive down the road.

  • Meow spoken here (posted outside a compounding pharmacy)
  • Congratulations! You made it out of bed (signage in front of a drive-through coffee hut)
  • Depresso: that feeling when you run out of coffee  (different coffee place)
  • Vote for Pedro  (yet another coffee place — we have a lot of them, but that deserves its own blog post)
  •  Exercise? I thought you said Mexi-fries!  (taco place, obviously)

Today is the first day of our local weekly farmers’ market and I agreed to be a vendor again this year. I hope my ankle does not think this was a bad idea (set up, take-down, and 4 hours in the heat between those two events). Our resident teenager has one week of school remaining but must have all of his online coursework turned in by Sunday evening, so I suspect I will not be getting a chance to use the computer at my leisure.
Have a great weekend!

January highlights

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Little Foot at age 6 weeks

  • Two weeks ago, my sweet SIL and her middle son came to visit, and of course we drove the 160 miles (’round trip) to see the newest family member. I am so in love with this little boy.
  • Once I could put weight on my booted foot, I worked up to being able to hobble to the van, balance while folding up the walker and stashing it by the back seat, and getting myself into the driver’s seat — and then reversing the process. Ah, the freedom of driving oneself! Obviously, all of this had to be done without pain medications. The physical therapist uses a combination of ice and heat at the same time at the end of our twice-a-week sessions, and I’ve been doing this at home as well. It keeps me from freezing the internal hardware while still relieving pain.
  • I’ve gone from hopping with the assistance of a walker to actually walking with a walker; a few times, I’ve even forgotten to use the walker and taken steps without it! All of this while wearing a walking boot, of course. I am not yet allowed to put any weight on my left foot without being strapped into the boot.
  •  It’s been over two months since I had surgery for my trimalleolar fracture. Some things I can do on my own now, but I continue to need assistance getting safely into the shower chair and working in the kitchen is challenging.  Still, I plan to transition back to work in the next week or so.
  • The teenager is taking one of his classes online and my laptop is the only computer in the house that has the necessary voice capabilities for his Spanish homework. This has meant that my evening and weekend time online is sporadic.

Here’s a little something extra for you: “January” by Elton John.

Attitude? I have a few of those…

Procrastination sign

  1. For my 50th birthday, I got up early, had fresh x-rays taken of my ankle and then went to visit the surgeon. The news was good: everything lined up with surgical repairs has stayed lined up and is healing. He and SuperDad were nearly giddy with relief over it, being the medically-minded people they are and knowing all of the potential pitfalls and poor outcomes we avoided. I was too emotionally spent to react with anything other than tears (which I avoided… barely) as I was clawing my way out of 24 hours of quicksand-like depression. Some people are hounded by the Black Dog; I flounder in quicksand. The doctor wondered why I wasn’t smiling, but since he had proven to be a rather single-minded orthopaedic surgeon, I didn’t bother explaining.  Talking would have brought on the tears, and I didn’t need a lecture about why I should be happy.

    A&K, 50 in 3x4 pic

    The day did indeed improve. Some very good friends brought a dinner party to my house that evening, complete with entertainment and tiramisu. I was beyond blessed.

  2. With my surgeon’s approval, I’ve been putting weight on my securely booted foot for a week now. Of course, I do this using my walker, and it’s probably only about 15% of the normal amount of weight one would use, but this is progress. It’s been nine weeks since I broke my ankle and 7 weeks since I had surgery. I honestly didn’t expect to be at this point already. The doctor had been purposefully vague about a timeline during the immediate post-surgery recovery period, and even prior to surgery. All I really knew was that his other patient with such a bad/complicated break had gone back to work after 4 months of recovery. (That patient had a job requiring standing.)
  3. I don’t feel like I have 4 months to wait. It’s already been 2 months and I’ve been working from home as much as possible. For the first month, I didn’t even have a replacement at work; now I do, but it is the busiest time of the year with annual reports (one is financial which goes to individuals, per IRS regulations; one is comprehensive and built from multiple sources of input.. now if only those multiple sources will all turn in their individual reports in a timely manner) and this is on top of the regular monthly reports which are due at the same time. My sub is awesome; she’s organized and loves the work. (I see vacations in my future!) I’ve gone into work for a few hours the past 2 days, but having my foot down for more than an hour or two causes painful swelling. So I don’t really know when I can fully return to my part-time job. 
  4. I’m currently on a twice-a-week schedule for physical therapy. After Monday’s session and a short shopping trip, we pulled into the garage and I shuffled to the back of the house to remove my CAM boot and elevate my foot for a few hours. This was my first real PT session, and it only took a couple of hours before the pain hit. Luckily, Wednesday’s session was not as bad, or perhaps it is because I kept up on the ibuprofen and acetaminophen dosages.  I’ve been off “the good stuff” (or bad stuff, as I think of Dilaudid) for a week now. For several nights before and several nights afterward, sleep was elusive and getting comfortable was equally difficult; if my foot wasn’t spasming to try to relieve pain, the weight of the blankets was too much to bear. SuperDad solved this  by building a blanket cradle. He misses the weight of the blankets on his feet, but my ankle in its soft boot for sleeping (a.k.a., a Dorsiwedge™ boot without the wedge because I still can’t really get to a neutral position) is very happy to not have the extra weight.
  5. After Monday’s PT session, I accompanied SuperDad to Costco; he pushed the cart while I wheeled myself through the store in a wheelchair. He only picked up about a dozen items, one of which was a packet of photos that I could reach but not see if it was mine from my seated position. I’m seeing life through very different eyes these days. The world is not, for the most part, wheelchair friendly:  poorly maintained sidewalks and ramps, handicapped-accessible parking areas not de-iced or salted on freezing days,  heavy doors that close quickly –these are all things that I’m noticing in my slower-paced world. I had hoped to get one of those knee scooters, but the doctor has told me to get up and walking with my walker. On the plus side, as long as I can safely get myself in and out of the vehicle without help (this includes folding and unfolding the walker from the back seat), I have a little freedom: I’m now allowed to drive!  Whoohoo! 
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TBT:  Here is The Engineer as a 14-month-old, playing at “driving” our parked minivan. I don’t display that kind of joy behind the wheel.

Ten on Tuesday: Spring Break edition

DSCN1421 Lonely Dell Ranch

1. It’s all about FAMILY. Family in the vehicle on a journey of 2,000 (or was it 3,000?) miles… family at the terminus… family visited along the way.

2.  Did I mention it’s a long drive? Our minivan now has over 107K on the odometer. A few hours of time were put in behind the wheel by the resident teenager driver-in-training (45 minutes of which was 75mph in a strong headwind between Flagstaff and Phoenix, poor kid). EB helped out for an hour or so but he preferred looking at the scenery. I drove a few hours each day but SuperDad put in the bulk of his time in the driver’s seat.

historic minivan

historic minivan

3. If you want to sleep along the way, I can recommend listening to the audiobook of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. The combination of prose and narrator’s voice conked me out multiple times. I had no idea that Thoreau had written a lullaby.

4. Strangely enough, Machiavelli’s The Prince was more engrossing although ultimately it also lulled me to sleep.

5.  If it is an audiobook, do I still underline the title or should I use quotation marks?

6.  For the safety of the passengers when I was driving, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, episodes of “Car Talk” and my Rush Permanent Waves CD were put into play.

7.  The desert in springtime is lovely.

DSCN5653  blooms opening UP at Zion Nat'l Park

8.  The desert is actually quite lovely any time of year.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

9.  My older brother, his lovely wife, and two of their three kids were also visiting in Tucson on spring break. The 8 of us might have been a little overwhelming all at once, but my father and his wife seemed to enjoy having us there.
It’s all about FAMILY.

Clockwise from top left: posing with my dad and the book I made for him, my almost-twin brother with Dad, 4 cousins, me with my sweet SIL, my niece with my stepmother (a.k.a., Grandma), 4 cousins with Grandpa

Clockwise from top left: posing with my dad and the book I made for him, my almost-twin brother with Dad, 4 cousins, me with my sweet SIL, my niece with Grandma, 4 cousins with Grandpa

10.  On the way home from Tucson, we had a brief visit with my sister and an overnight with SuperDad’s younger sister and her family. Our final stop matched our first stop: my dh’s parents live just a couple hours away from us and they kept the dog occupied and content for the week.