This is my bullet journal

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6.  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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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It’s pretty much a done deal.

SuperDad and I did something yesterday.  It’s something we’ve been working up to doing for weeks (him) (for me it had been many, many months) with increasing use of time and brain power. A top choice had been hemmed and hawed over, numbers crunched, and we were finally ready to make the big decision… and then someone else beat us to it.

Disappointed? A bit. But perhaps it wasn’t the right one — after all, we had to think so long and hard about it, trying to decide if it was it.

And then we checked out this one:

2013 Trailer

It’s not perfect, and it’s not new — but it did check nearly all the boxes* and the price was right.  If all goes well, we’ll be bringing it home within the month.

Counter space*Counter space was one of the boxes.

bunk beds and wardrobe**Many thanks to Jaime who walked me through the many steps of trailer shopping, giving much-needed advice — and apologies because I didn’t follow all of it, buying a bunkhouse anyway!
(And you’re probably right.  I may regret the lost bathroom space.)

 

 

The Sun Sets

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SuperDad and I went camping at Glacier National Park in August. On day 2, we managed to head west on the Going-to-the-Sun road at the perfect time.

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Today is my last day of work.  I will miss many things about the job but it is time to make more room in my life for family and other activities.  Two weeks from now my dh and I will be traveling to Arizona to visit my dad and his wife — both of whom have been hospitalized in the past month.  As full as our house is right now with 3 adult children living with us, their presence allows us to go on this trip without worries about things back at home.  SuperDad and I will [tent] camp a few nights on the way down to Tucson. If the perfect trailer presents itself while there, we may be camping all the way back home.

As September ends I’m letting go of a part of my life (I enjoyed the work, and paychecks are very satisfying!) and saying YES to more sunsets, more camping, more time with family.

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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.

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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?  

 

 

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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.

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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…

 

Waiting for Warm-up

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When you choose to not drive…

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and leave your car at the side of the road,

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the snowplow will eventually come by…

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to ensure that you go nowhere.

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Joining in with Carmi for this week’s Thematic Photographic: messy.
The driving around here is particularly messy now that we’ve started to thaw during the day and ice back up at night.

Glass in the Garden

My dad chose to retire far from family and is now in an Assisted Living home. I’m visiting him in Arizona this weekend, something I do twice a year. One of the things we do together is look at photos on my laptop computer. He gets to travel vicariously through my pictures and today you do, too.

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The Seattle Space Needle reflected in a gazing ball outdoors in the Chihuly Glass Garden.
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Back in August, SuperDad and I met up with son#3 in Seattle for a day of playing tourist. Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass had been on my wishlist for a long time and I love the pictures I was able to take there.

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reflections from Dale Chihuly’s basket phase

These beautiful glass sculptures are the artwork of Dale Chihuly. As such, I cannot use the photographs I have taken and sell them on cards at the farmers’ market.

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This glass sculpture rests on a reflective surface and brings to mind a fountain from the sea.

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Close-up of the “sea fountain” sculpture

I’ve got over 250 photographs from my time at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Not all of them are great, but I’ll attempt to do a better job of sharing the best of them with you. If I can’t sell them, at least I can share the beauty, right?

How do you decide what to share and what to keep to yourself? Are there any rules you wish you could break? 

 

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.

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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?

Road weary

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been on the road a lot. At the beginning of the month, we put another 3,000 miles on the minivan to visit my dad in Arizona, and this past weekend I spent 730 miles (12 hours) road-tripping to and from a women’s retreat with members of the family on my husband’s side of the proverbial tree.

family at Menucha from JJK

All but two of the adult women on that side of the family. I’m the amazonian of the group.

Those were both good trips in regard to travel, natural beauty, and time spent with family. Tonight, however, I’m feeling a bit weary so it gladdens my heart to gaze at pictures of this beautiful boy whom I saw over a week ago.

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I was a lucky grandma one week ago (Saturday) to spend a few precious hours babysitting him.

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Ten on Tuesday: solo travel edition

DSCN1449 web-sized palm tree, Tucson, Arizona

  1. I’m back from a weekend visit with my dad in Arizona.
  2. As nice as 85 degrees feels in late October, especially when I’m looking up at palm leaves ruffling in the breeze, I’m glad to return to wearing sweaters.
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is not appropriately air-conditioned — especially for this middle-aged woman. The only time I felt cool enough was when I was standing in front of a giant fan while I was being patted down for security.
  4. Note to future self: do not wear cute tops with bling on them when flying, or you will have to be patted down/around/over/under in front… and in front of many people. (This happened flying both directions because those were the shirts I had brought for the trip.)
  5. Arizona drivers are capital C, capital R, capital A, capital Z, capital Y. That’s right: C-R-A-Z-Y. And I’m not talking about the old, retired folks!  Speeding from red light to red light, weaving around those [very few] of us who are obeying the laws, taking tailgating to a higher level… with all of that going on around me, I had no trouble staying awake while driving. Fear for my safety kept me alert and defensive.
  6. Kia Soul is a great car for a 5’10” woman. It also handles really well on Rollercoaster Road in Tucson. However, I never did figure out how to adjust the balance/fade for the speakers. (What’s with that? Those controls are obvious and intuitive on my Kia Sedona.) 
  7. When playing “Go Fish” with Dad, who has Parkinson’s, it’s best to look away while he rifles through his cards and to pretend that he has never played the game in his entire life. (He has, but he doesn’t remember it and it would be sad to remind him of this.)
  8. Happy hour at the hotel isn’t much fun when I’m alone, although I’m not sure if this is because I’m not there for fun or because I don’t have a friend/spouse with me — or is it because I am getting old? I only had one of my two free beverages each night.  Eating alone is best done with a book, but if it wasn’t for the need for nutrition, I would probably skip the entire event.
  9. Sometimes, it’s awfully nice to have a king-sized bed and ALL the pillows. I didn’t wake up with sore arms or sore shoulders or a sore back.
  10. While I need my alone-time on a daily basis, I also need to spend time interacting with other people. After 48 hours of being on my own — and with none of my hobbies available — I found myself becoming rather bored.

Now it’s your turn… 
Do you ever travel alone? Do you enjoy it?