News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

Little Foot at wedding

Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  

 

 

IMAG0607 WEBSIZED
We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

PCT-ready, 9 July 2017 WEBSZED

This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…

 

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! 
scan0075

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.

September really does end

DSCN2155 cropped 4x6 A at Audubon

On Wednesdays and some weekends, you can find me at cross-country meets. I’m there to cheer on my boy and his teammates. XC parents do not sit in chairs or bleachers; we trot our slower selves all over the course from point A to point B to point C and back to point A, cheering on our runners as they go uphill, downhill, around the bend, and if the course is really challenging, through a creek.

This month seems to have been in race mode: powering through the tougher stretches and trying to make the most of the easier times. Some things for which I’ve been particularly grateful:

  • Time spent with friends
  • H-J getting happily settled into his second year of college, and calling me just to say hello
  • EB getting a week of work at a home renovation (via networking) and interviewing at yet another job this afternoon
  • baby shower for my DIL (and getting to see my son before heading back home again)
  • cool nights and sunny days
  • coffee — and my husband who wakes me up with a cup of black gold most mornings

Wildfires and World Con

Looking up at the sun through smoky skies, August 2015

Looking up at the sun through smoky skies, August 2015

  • This week we are continuing to be all about wildfires and smoky skies because the Pacific Northwest continues to burn.
  • I need some good book recommendations — nothing graphic, no horror. I am particularly fond of historical fiction and memoirs but I do not limit myself to those genres. What suggestions do you have?
  • The lovebirds and a couple of the mother hen’s friends have been visiting for World Con. Our breakfast table is filled with 6 young adults getting their geek on in the best way possible.  I can’t say I understand their language but I do enjoy seeing them happy and communicating with one another.
  • However, that doesn’t explain why my 19yo and 22yo have been watching the one hour long YouTube video of nursery rhymes that has over 800,000 million hits in the past year.
  • This is a scheduled post because I’m hiding out overnight at the lake, where book group was expanded to include an option for a sleepover. I will be back in town for the afternoon farmers’ market; hopefully we won’t have to shut down early again due to dust storms, poor air quality (smoke and dust) and closed roads. I am blessed that my husband seems to understand my need for getaways, even though I’ll miss seeing the cosplay and hearing about the latest happenings at World Con.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? 

The scent of summer

DSCN6074 resized for web-sharing, pink roses, tweaked

Summer has arrived here.

I remember when summer meant running around the neighborhood barefoot, finding other kids and playing games, running home quickly to grab change when the ice cream truck rang out its tune in the late afternoon… time spent curled up in my room with a book or running through the sprinkler… drinking from the garden hose, selling Kool-aid on the shaded front porch…

Now summer means that there are teenage and young adult men hanging about the house on computers. At least one of those young men must be reminded to shower with soap and shampoo — he is not “fresh as a daisy” nor does he smell like a rose. My house smells like it is lived in by adolescent males. Dirty dishes pile up on the countertops and in the sink while I am at work. (If I think hard enough about it, there were probably dirty dishes piling up in my childhood summer days, but it never really mattered to me because I was a child.)

DSCN6080 Resized for web-sharing, daisies, tweaked

Last week, I drove across the state to pick H-J from college. I delivered his packing boxes to him on Wednesday and then backtracked across the lake to spend the night at Mrs. G’s house. It had been over a year since we had spent time together and it was a lovely evening (we took our conversation into the wee hours of the morning) and an equally lovely but short morning. My derfwad cup runneth over.
Then I was back in the insane traffic that belongs to Seattle, where my son was ready to load his boxes into the minivan and close out his first year of college. We drove past the rental house where he will live in the fall and I showed him the house where I lived in my late teens. But enough lollygagging — it was time to get back to our own home.

In the past 8 days I’ve driven 600+ miles, grieved the tragic death of a three-year-old, and noted the 4th anniversary of my mother’s death mere days after learning that another member of our extended family has been diagnosed with cancer. I suppose this helps explain my melancholy mood and lack of blogging.

We’ve got two more cross-state trips to make this month and a special visitor coming from Virginia, so I’m confident that there will be some good blog fodder coming soon.

Blog Travel

DSCN5875  Tsillan Cellars

Last weekend, I was with friends on our annual girls’ getaway which occasionally looked like Tuscany.

This picture was taken by KCINNOTX. I'm using it because she said I could -- and because it is prettier than the one I took.

This lovely picture was taken by KCINNOTX. I’m using it because she said I could — and because it is prettier than any of the ones I took.

Before heading out to wine country, my BFF was our family chef who willingly cooked up a dish of Chicken Provençal, from Idiot’s Kitchen. My family members were the happy, satisfied guinea pigs. Claudia‘s new-to-me recipe was a winner!

Winner, winner, chicken dinner...

Winner, winner, chicken dinner…


From Europe to Central America in today’s virtual travel experience…

From Guatemala, with love

From Guatemala, with love

Other friends of mine are working to improve the lives of the indigenous people of Guatemala. While home for a visit, Debbie brought me a thumb drive of some pictures she wanted made into cards. These are 4 of the 6 different cards made (with a total of 55 cards in all) for the order on its way to Guatemala.

kNOw Better Coffee shop

kNOw Better Coffee shop

And a few weeks ago, while delivering event flyers to local businesses, I took a break and paused to enjoy a Mexican Mocha at a coffee shop.

How have you traveled lately?  We can’t always physically go somewhere else, but there are other senses — sight, taste, and even your imagination — that can do the traveling. 

Where would you like to go, if time, money, or circumstance wasn’t holding you back?

Shoot, sniff, and leave(s)

DSCN5961

KCINNOTX enjoying the lilacs

KCINNOTX enjoying the lilacs

Arrowleaf Balsamroot in the park near my home -- photo by KCINNOTX

Arrowleaf Balsamroot in the park near my home — photo by KCINNOTX

Bitterroot, AKA rock roses

Bitterroot, AKA rock roses (earring added for size comparison)

White Rock Roses (Bitterroot), photo by KCINNOTX

White Rock Roses (Bitterroot), photo by KCINNOTX

Five on Friday: Texts from the road (in no particular order)

DSCN5708 Thunderbird, Ho-made pies, 4x6 pic

  1. A pair of incoming texts in response to the above information being shared:
    “I swear I didn’t make any of those pies!”
    “Wouldn’t that more accurately be called a tart?”
    –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
    I mentioned earlier this week that my youngest son, driving with his learner’s permit, was traveling quite legally at 75mph in a strong headwind. The road was not straight so with each rounded curve of the mountain highway we were buffeted from a different angle. Add to that a rather inexperienced driver, and the following texts to friends is how I attempted to keep quiet in the backseat:
  2. “Eeek!  [Youngest son] at the wheel here on I-17 which has winding mountain roads. I’m getting an ulcer in the backseat and I’m not the one instructing him.”
  3. “My tummy hurts… [SnakeMaster] is an inexperienced driver. Rumble strips, varying speed, truckers entering the highway. I’m feeling nauseous from the weaving and especially the stress. The guard rail has been too close for comfort more than twice. Luckily, [SuperDad] is calm.”   I was just trying to keep clam! 
  4. “My deodorant isn’t strong enough for this experience!!! I’ve got a stress headache on top of the nausea. Oy!”My now-15-year-old son may not appreciate those feelings… until he teaches his own children to drive.
    –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
    While the guys were hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion, I took myself on several smaller hikes. Then I limped back out the way I came in, wondering if I could somehow not walk again for the rest of the day. At 3pm, I sent the following texts to my friend:
  5. “Decided I was done hiking. As in, stick a fork in me, I’m done! Just ordered a stout and an applewood-smoked BLT at the brew pub outside the park. My feet are screaming at me.”
    “PS: Conviction Stout is delicious.”By the time my menfolk found me, I had enough sustenance and relief that I was able to share my fries and applewood-smoked bacon like a good mama should. 

Ten on Tuesday — the viral edition

  1. I am woefully behind in my scrapbooking ventures.
  2. On Friday morning, I was slammed by sinus pain and congestion that arrived on the heels of a night marked by little sleep. My husband is still recovering from his own bout with what appears to be a virus, yet he managed to share his germs with me, inconsiderate of my plans to go away for the weekend. He strongly suggested that I stay home instead.
  3. On Friday afternoon, the friends who had driven down from Canada to meet me halfway between their homes and mine at our mutual destination discovered my plight and offered to drive further to pick me up if I was unable to drive. At such generosity I could only think that If they were foolish enough to care not for their own health, why should I be miserable at home when I could be surrounded by friends and sleep in the Canuck Party Trailer?
  4. So I packed my supplies — cold medicine and Kleenex included — and drove north to the scrapbooking retreat, minus my actual scrapbooking materials. This was not an oversight.
  5. Scrapbooking retreats are not just for scrapbooking. While my friends cropped, I finished up 2 fleece blankets and made earrings (I don’t know how many — I stopped counting.)  Some of the earrings were set aside for the upcoming farmer’s market season, some were given as gifts, and some were sold then and there.
  6. Made-to-order earrings created on-site is a good way to save on time, packaging and shipping.
  7. I managed 8 hours of sleep each night of the retreat — a first among all such ventures.
  8. Taking “shots” of Guaifenesin every 4 hours helps chase down the Sudafed and Tylenol but did not entirely solve all ills. My hoarse voice did not gain relief from such common assistance. Prophylactic Fireball may have helped save the weekend thusly.
  9. This is an ingenious invention:
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/184646893/personalized-flask-in-a-book-finding
  10. Composing a blog post while watching the Laurence Olivier version of “Hamlet” can be credited for the strange writing here.