Thwarted Plans

The Scout left after dinner yesterday to embark upon some social isolation hiking. We knew the state parks were closed, but he was very surprised when he got to his planned starting point and discovered this:

The article I read this afternoon tells me that over 7 MILLION ACRES have been closed — and that’s just in our state. My heart breaks for my son. Hiking is one of the few things he can do; he’s spent much of the past several years in his room, socially isolating because of Post Concussion Syndrome.
Yes, I know we’re supposed to be staying home due to the novel coronavirus and the dangers of COVID-19, and except for “essential” trips away from the house, that is what we are doing. Yesterday I drove him to two different medical appointments; I stayed in the car with my phone and a book while he went in to meet with those new-to-him doctors (all part of trying to find a way to heal from PCS). The doctors have no answers. They cannot explain why The Scout had 6 weeks of reprieve from his symptoms (chronic headache and cognitive impairment) after 3 months of hiking on the PCT last year. Since they have no answers, hiking again is his best chance for regaining his healthy self. Frankly, I see his solo hiking as somewhat essential for his mental and physical health. I do not begrudge him the chance to try again for that relief. He’s already changed plans twice this spring due to park closures (state and national) and the realization that he would be unwelcome visiting small towns for resupply.

I’ll leave you with this picture of him playing in the ocean with his brother 12 years ago on a mostly deserted Virginia beach (because, like today, it was cold and blustery), when no one but a hardy few were willing to get outside and experience the power of nature.

And suddenly…

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The zucchini we came home to on Friday night was one of the few we’ve been able to grow this year despite wonderfully warm and sunny days but WOW, was it a whopper!

Since I’ve only been walking with crutches for a few weeks, my personal experience of summer is that it just started. — so it was a bit of a shock on Sunday to discover that it was nearly mid-September — although that did explain why it was raining and kind of chilly. Tonight I looked longingly at the wood stove for the first time since early spring, and a glance at the candle holders made it blazingly obvious that I need to find where I hid stored the candles. In other words, it appears that autumn has arrived.

The neighbor’s treetops agree.

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Back to Nature

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We met up with The Scout over the weekend. He’s making good progress and, more importantly, he is content and looks happy and healthy.

DSCN1316 The Hiker with owl feather in cap and Mt. Shasta in background, WEBSIZED

 

Oh, to travel! My hiking days may be over, it’s too soon to tell, but to be able to go… to see… to experience!

DSCN1439 Mom and hiker, WEBSIZED

I’m truly grateful for the chance to see him mid-hike. (This was about 20 yards from the parked vehicle where we brought him back to access the trail again.)

He’s off now, back to solitude and daily epic views. He promises to be home for Thanksgiving.

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Nine Weeks and More

It’s been nine weeks since ankle fusion surgery. Unlike my searching at this point after the original ankle repair surgery, I have been unable to find any blog posts from others about this fun experience. I did find some trusted medical sites that gave much of the same information I already knew along with some research that tells me that in approximately 20 years time, I will likely be suffering from severe arthritis in my foot because the pressure relieved by fusing the ankle will be transferred to other places. Oh, joy.  And also? Oh, well! I put this surgery off for as long as I could, and here I am — basically in less pain now than I was prior to surgery, despite not being able to walk. I’m hopeful, in a desperate sort of way, that this really-and-truly works. I need it to work.

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Little Foot and Chomper 

Our oldest son and his little family came to visit on Tuesday night. The mama and daddy went to see Les Miserables while Oma and Opa babysat. We are so blessed to have them less than 80 miles away, and we had a terrific time with the kiddos (and their parents on Wednesday morning).  The Engineer‘s company had purchased the tickets nearly a year ago, so they had really good seats.

 

 

The Barefooter has been working 15 days on, 6 days off for the US Forest Service as a timber cruiser (not barefoot). We only see him when he comes home for his time off and Colorado has been keeping him busy, so I don’t have a photo to share.  He was home for the week of his next-in-line brother’s last week here, which was nice for both of them. Air Force, Tom

 

Humorous-Juniorous began his USAF career last week and is currently in Alabama for Officer Training School (OTS).  He has been able to send us a few e-mail messages to let us know things are going well.   

 

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The Scout, who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, southbound (PCT, SoBo) has completed the Washington State section and is well into Oregon by now. He called us last Friday from Cascade Locks and met up with extended family near Timberline Lodge. Hooray for safety, family, food, shower, and clean clothes!   

 

Basically, our family has become a far-flung entity while I’ve been stuck at home. I know the latter is only temporary and the former is perfectly normal. And yet… Facebook memories keep popping of from 10 years ago when we all lived together. They were so cute and young and living at home then! But birdies grow up and fly away from the nest, don’t they?

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It’s been a while…

…so why not a Ten on Tuesday post?

  1. Dad died at the end of March. In April we took our already-planned trip to Tucson, which felt odd because we weren’t there to visit him anymore.  SuperDad and I, along with my younger brother and his wife, were at the assisted living facility for a small celebration of life (which was very nice) with the residents and staff.
  2. All 9 of us were here for Easter. The Barefooter and I sang with the choir (it was my last hurrah with them for a while because of travel plans when I am actually able to travel again).
  3. Little Foot stayed with us the week after Easter while his Mama and baby brother, Chomper, returned home for the week and Daddy went on a business trip.  We love having him with us and he had a great time burning through the energy reserves of every single adult in the house.  Little Foot, Oma, and Opa shared their first night of sleeping in the trailer. He loved it!
  4. The Barefooter was briefly in the news for his determination to run the annual 12km race in his usual form: barefoot. He’s run it 5 times in the past 6 years, always barefoot.
  5. I enjoyed my annual K2A weekend with two friends in an area with a lot of wineries. We’re slowing down and making it to fewer wineries in our advancing ages (ha!) but still had a great time together. Another friend joined us on Saturday which was a real treat.
  6. Dad’s memorial service was a weekend filled with family. The celebration of life was held at the church where I grew up and most of us stayed in one house together. Had everyone slept in that house, there would have been 20 of us! Those 20 people are my dad’s children, their offspring, and spouses. The weather was perfect: not too hot, not too rainy. Bonus: we all still like each other.
  7. After another 5 days at home, SuperDad and I left on our first big trek with the trailer. We spent 8 nights camping (9 days on the road).  Success! It was also quite the learning experience. Have you ever tried to back a truck and trailer? Pull-through sites are much easier than back-in sites.
    Bella and Beast, Olympic Peninsula, May 2019
  8. We returned home on Sunday, June 2nd. After helping to unload the trailer on Sunday afternoon/evening, I had a pain day on Monday — meaning I got very, very little done.
  9. Ankle fusion surgery was on June 5th. The surgery itself lasted about an hour and a half; we were home before noon. Since then I’ve been confined to lying on the top of my bed, ankle elevated, with the exception of using the bathroom (that is accomplished by holding onto a walker and hopping with my “good” foot).  On Thursday morning I have an appointment to (hopefully) remove stitches and get a new cast. My skin looks forward to 15 minutes of air time.
  10. There are a lot of changes happening for the young adults living in our house, but they deserve a post of their own. Of course, blogging about family members includes considering what is mine to tell vs. what is their own stories.

Ankle surgery, take 2

ankle fusion surgery

Twelve days ago I had ankle fusion surgery, adding to the long saga of my trimalleolar fracture back in November of 2015. When I finally took myself to a new orthopedic doctor last fall, I was told the metal in my ankle was perfectly wonderful, doing its job, and was likely only 15% of my pain. That was the good news; the bad news was that my cartilage in my ankle was basically destroyed and the pain was from bone-on-bone rubbing… scraping… grinding…

So! I’m spending the minimum 2 weeks with this view (above and below) and the rest of the summer off my foot/ankle/lower leg. Once released from constantly elevating my ankle I have a knee scooter to use, along with my trusty yard sale walker and an old wheelchair. But no walking allowed for three months! Let’s get this ankle thoroughly fused and let go of some chronic pain, shall we?

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For the Love

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Wedding picture

Whoosh! That’s the sound of February zooming past us. The adage about time passing more quickly as we age must be true. How does one otherwise explain these gray-haired people? We were young so recently! (Wedding picture on the right –> was taken 31 years ago.)

SuperDad and I took the trip of a lifetime a few weeks ago. We flew to Hawaii on February 4th and spent 10 nights/9 days exploring the island of Oahu with our friends who have been living there for the past few years. I honestly can’t say enough about how wonderful the entire experience was, from flying first class (!!) to the beauty of Hawai’i and time spent with beloved friends. It was incredible.

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Photo taken at the very windy Nu’Uanu Pali Lookout on Oahu

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Waikiki Sunset on our first full day

Here are a few pictures from the more than 1,200 photos I took.DSCN7925 (2) WEBSHARE

The USS Arizona Memorial is still closed due to needed dock repairs, but we were taken out on a boat to view it as closely as was safe. That sunken battleship is the tomb of many people and since the memorial is situated at a perpendicular angle over the top of the USS Arizona, it isn’t a simple job to repair the loading dock.

DSCN7969The process of going through my too many pictures to weed out the bad ones and decide which others to keep, along with the necessary editing for printing and/or sharing (putting here on the blog requires resizing) is taking an inordinate amount of time.  So here’s a few to whet your viewing appetite and hold me accountable for more in the coming days and weeks.

DSCN7927 Mighty Mo 4x6 of the USS Missouri

The USS Missouri, also known as “Mighty Mo” and BB-63, wasn’t built when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. However, this battleship was where the surrender was signed in the Tokyo bay on September 2, 1945., and is now located close to the USS Arizona, representing the beginning and the end of the United States’ involvement in World War II.  

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Despite fantasies that probably every visitor to the Aloha State entertains, we knew we couldn’t stay. Our hearts belong here at home with our family, including these two Valentine cuties. We hadn’t seen them since the beginning of the month and my heart melted when I saw this photograph. Chomper is now 8 months old!

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photo credit: Forever Photos

We flew back into Seattle and spent the February long weekend there, relaxing in a humble & cozy Airbnb and attending a wedding. It simply didn’t make sense to drive home on a Friday, then turn around and drive back across the mountain pass the next day (nearly 600 miles round-trip), and staying put in the temperate zone likely helped with our re-acclimation to winter. Seattle high temps were around 40 degrees — a nice middle ground after leaving a place where 65 degrees means folks bundle up in winter coats and before returning home where it was 15 degrees.

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This is one of two 8′ tall “Soulless Snow Sentinels”

Our resident young men “held down the fort” in our absence. Amazingly, the fridge wasn’t empty when we returned this time, even though we left them with fewer eggs. My mention of their ability to grocery shop might have had something to do with it.  Even better, the house was clean and the driveway had been regularly shoveled.

In the 2 weeks we were away, approximately 2 feet of snow fell and so did the temperatures (into the single digits Fahrenheit). I’m just crazy enough to be sorry to have missed the excitement although there’s still plenty of snow on the ground, including residential roads. There might be an igloo in our back yard.

Yes, there is an igloo in our backyard, but it’s too cold to go out and photograph it. Sorry.

Icicles IMG_20190219_155739213_HDRDaytime temperatures warmed up to just above freezing for a few days, which has made for some epic icicles. The icicles are sticking around because we’ve plunged back down to single digits.

I’m so grateful to have had a respite from February’s never-ending winter weather.