Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six Weeks Post Surgery Report

"Pain is the best instructor but no one wants to go to his class."  (Bruce Lee)

Especially not me.

It has now been six weeks since my heel surgery, and if you are a new reader to this blog, I welcome you and invite you to go back and read all the gory details of what my surgery involved by clicking here. 

Otherwise, I have mostly good stuff to report.

I put away my knee scooter.  Using the knee scooter back when I was non weight bearing was recommended by my surgeon in lieu of using crutches.  I was even able to carry things in my handy dandy basket and go fast enough around our kitchen island to terrorize the dog.  It has been put away in storage for when the time comes that I have the other heel done.  Did I just say that?  Nuh-uh.  Can't think of that now.

Going, going...

The wheelchair is also folded up and stashed back in a corner.  I would only need to use it at this point if we were going somewhere that required LOTS of walking, like a mall or a boardwalk at the beach.  Although I'm doing well, that would still be a bit much for me.

The walker has been folded up and put away.  For now at least.  As the wedge in my boot is decreased, pain may require me to use it at times.  For today though, it's out of sight.  And so is the cane, which I used to transition from the walker to nada.

As for my foot fashion, I gave up the original cast after the first two weeks.

That cast was replaced with this black immobilization boot.  In the heel of the boot was a two inch wedge.

Here's where things get tricky, and painful too.  One week ago, it was time to decrease the wedge.

Decreasing the wedge = more stretching of the achilles tendon = PAIN.  Putting the pain back into the equation required me to go back to using the walker and a cane for the next 5 or 6 days.  

Here is the one inch wedge that was removed a week ago.  (There is still another one inch wedge in there too.)

Tomorrow I will remove the second one inch wedge, and insert a 1/2 inch wedge in its place.  Then in another week or so I will be ready to transition to a shoe, in which a 3/8 inch wedge is inserted under my heel.  

Gradually decreasing the elevation of my heel allows my tendon to gradually be stretched back into full range of motion.

Here is the sequence of heel inserts, left to right, with the smallest lift for a shoe on the right:

I do not look forward to each adjustment, as I've learned from the first change that it means pain.  Lots of pain.  The kind of pain that makes me think of using those pain pills from the first week.  They make me sick though, so I will be sticking with ibuprofen as needed.  

I'm choosing to look at the pain in a positive light:

"When you feel pain, you know that you are still alive."  (Bruce Lee again)

Another good step of progress I have to report is that I no longer have to sleep by myself on our first floor.  I can now navigate the 13 stairs up to our bedroom on the second floor.  It takes me a while, but I CAN DO IT.

I'm actually feeling like I'm getting somewhat back towards normal.  I can do some dishes, cook some meals, wash a bit of laundry, and just do most of those things that I would do in a normal day.  It takes me longer and it is harder, but again, I CAN DO IT.

I've also booked some travels for this Fall.  Knowing I have trips on the calendar motivates me to be disciplined about doing my twice a day physical therapy. 

So thank you all for expressing your kind thoughts, inquiries and prayers.  I'm doing well and coming along, better each day.

"He who hesitates meditates in a horizontal position."  (Ed Parker)

Not me.  No, not me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where in the World is Globe Mills, PA?

I don't know, but somehow we found ourselves passing through the tiny village of Globe Mills on our Sunday afternoon road trip through the countryside.  I should've taken a picture to document our adventure in that neck of the woods, but as soon as the thought crossed my mind, we were long past it.

We did come across this interesting old covered bridge on our meanderings.  I got a kick out of the sign at its entrance.

I'm not a smoker, but would smoking a cigarette while driving through be considered a violation of the rules?  I would suppose so.  And how much does one cow weigh, so that fifteen is the limit?

Inside we found this other sign explaining several common types of covered bridge constructions.  I had written a blog post on this topic last year after the husband/lover/driver and I did a tour of covered bridges in our area.  You can click here to read about it.

Sitting smack dab in the inside of the bridge, we studied the bridge's construction and then the sign.  We determined that this Hassenplug Bridge, circa early 1800's, was of the Burr Truss construction form.

It had all the features you would expect of a really old wooden structure, including insects and evidence of mud wasp habitation,

and of course, messages left by twitterpated young lovers.

Later we found ourselves meandering through some Amish territory, based on the looks of these scenes:

After arriving home from our drive out on those country roads, we got a phone message from daughter Lindsay.  You may recall that yesterday we had visited her family and our little camping granddaughter Ellie and her brother Jarrod at the Knoebel's Grove Campground.  Our visit had been dramatically cut short by a rainstorm.  

They wanted to let us know that Jarrod had been successful at the Knoebel's Grove amusement park, and had won plenty of game prizes for his little sis.  She just doesn't seem too fazed about it all, do you think?

Ellie, sound asleep in the amusement park.
In other exciting news, we finally got our car back, good as new, after 2 1/2 weeks of body repair work.

After repairs
The total repair bill from the tree-falling-on-the-car event was $5600.  We got off "easy" with a deductible of "only" $250.  I guess that's what auto insurance is all about.

And, do you think the husband/lover/driver is perhaps tempting fate by parking it back in the same exact spot where it was when the tree fell on it?  

Parked in the bullseye - the middle of three spots out front.
And finally, I'd like to wish daughter Lindsay and her husband Todd a very happy 12th wedding anniversary.

They have some fun day trips planned to celebrate the occasion next week when they both have a week of vacation.  Congratulations and have fun!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tiny Camper

I was dying for some funnel cakes.  I had been thinking all week about a Saturday trip to our closest amusement park, Knoebel's Grove Family Amusement Park.  It is at that wondrous place that one can find any and all manner of horribly-unhealthy-yet-oh-so-good junk foods.  So yes, funnel cakes and french fries were on my list.

Even beyond all the bliss-inducing junk foods to be found there, I did really have an ulterior motive.  I wanted to see possibly the cutest tiny camper who I knew was camping in the Knoebel's Grove Campground over the weekend.  So off we went.

And, isn't little Ellie just about the cutest tiny camper you have ever seen?

Of course, she had to play a little coy when we first arrived.  She hadn't seen us in several weeks, and so even though I'd prefer it if she'd charge at me and jump right up into my arms, that isn't this little diva's modus operandi.

But oh my is she busy.  She just had so many things that needed to be done there at the campsite.  She had sitting to do in her own little camp chair:

There was an occasional break taken for some milk:

There was much people-watching to be done:

What could be more fun than playing with big sticks and poking the dog too:

There were books to be read:

Fashion magazines too:

And what two year old doesn't love a hearty kosher dill pickle,

especially while watching her big brother Jarrod toasting a mountain pie out in a monsoon-like rainstorm?

The husband/lover/grandfather of Ellie and Jarrod was just relaxing and taking it all in before the rain started.  This larger-than-life camp chair always makes me laugh:

All that business in the life of a tiny tot is exhausting, and before too long Ellie just crashed.

In other weekend news, a Sunday visit with grandtwins Tori and Brianna convinced us that they are taking good care of their momma, our daughter Rachel, who is recovering from laparoscopic surgery last Friday.  Although Rachel is only 33, some pre-cancer indications called for an early hysterectomy, and although she's sore she is doing OK.

Rachel and SIL Eric are in the process of buying their first home, and the moving date is set for August 15.  For the last several weeks, the twins have been helping to sort out their belongings - what to keep, donate, or discard.  This task is especially tricky when it comes to dealing with their vast collection of stuffed animals.  I even hear there may be some bribes going on, something to the effect of this:

   10 stuffed animals eliminated = 1 horse back riding lesson


30 stuffed animals eliminated = buy 1 new stuffed animal

And, their puppy Mason has moved to a new home whose owner has lots and lots of fenced acreage where he will be able to run and play and live in his own puppy heaven.

And the last news is a big Happy Anniversary to daughter Sarah and SIL Lance on their seventh wedding anniversary.  Time flies!  We wish you many more!

Oh, and I never did get my funnel cakes.  The rainstorm took care of that.  

Saturday, July 27, 2013


In our yard, July 2013
For many, many years now, yellow has been my favorite color.  When I was a young girl, I really liked purple, but sometime between adolescence and young adulthood, my preference shifted to yellow.  (Purple is still running a tight second, though.)

I have found that most people do have a favorite color, or perhaps two.  If you ask someone what is his/her favorite color, they will usually tell you without much thought.

I think yellow is a great color and everyone should like it as much as I do.

In our yard, July 2013
From what I've read, yellow things have numerous healthy applications:

1.  If you extract the oil from dandelion, it acts as a moisturizer.  Numerous beauty products incorporate dandelion oil in their concoctions.

2.  If you wear lip balm containing lemon oil, your mood can be improved from the smell that wafts up into your nose.

3.  Honey is the all natural kitchen cure for summer skin bummers like bug bites and scrapes.  It has been shown to soothe skin and help prevent infection.

4.  If you spray on a grapefruit scent, when others smell you, they judge you to be up to 5 years younger than you really are.  Perhaps I will take a grapefruit bath tomorrow morning.

5.  If you start your day by wearing a bright yellow piece of clothing, studies have shown that you will associate your day with happiness and have a positive emotional state.

Jamaica, May 2012
Because yellow was my favorite color, my wedding colors were yellow for the female attendants, and brown for the males.

Jamaica, May 2012
I can think of numerous things that are my favorites, and happen to be yellow too:

1.  My favorite vegetable is corn.

2.  My favorite fruits are bananas and bartlett pears.

3.  My favorite condiment is butter.  

4.  I lean toward yellows in my home decor.  Or, should I say, I try not to use yellow too much.

St. Lucia snorkeling trip, May 2013
Is it any surprise that I prefer yellow gold jewelry over white (silver-colored) gold?

St. Lucia, May 2013
I'm off now to have a snack.

Probably some potato chips (yellow of course.)

Have you ever met a person who doesn't have a favorite color?  What's your favorite color?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Second of Five Projects Complete!

Don't you love it when your contractors show up with a dozen donuts for you?  Well yes, actually, I do love that.  And that is exactly what happened first thing this morning when I heard a knock on the back door.  I didn't even have my coffee made yet, but I got onto that task PDQ.

Today the workmen finished up the soffits and eaves project.  They had started the installation last week, which was possibly the most hellaciously hot week we have ever had here in central Pennsylvania.  Other projects kept them away for the early part of this week, but today they came and wrapped it all up.

Since we are in the Historic District of our small town, we were not changing any of the decorative woodwork on the front of the house at the roofline.  However, all the other sides now have a neutral colored soffit material installed.

It was a little dicey at times, working around all those power lines coming into our house.

We are happy with the way it is looking now. And - I love checking one more item off of my TO DO list.

Yes, the sky today is truly that stunningly gorgeous blue.  I'm glad I've documented that here;  it doesn't happen very often in this neck of the woods.

This is the view looking out our back door up into the little roof over the stoop.  Now we can be somewhat protected from the rain when we let our puppy out.

As I was hobbling around my yard taking pictures, I couldn't resist capturing and sharing some of the beauty that is currently in bloom out there.  This hydrangea bush is just bursting with blooms this summer.  Last summer it only had one bloom.

Near to that one is this hydrangea tree:

We've been enjoying our annuals this summer too:

So again, two out of five projects are now completed, along with a great emptying of the wallet.

No, make that two out of six.  We still need gutters.

The list never ends.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shrimp Monterey

Shrimp thawing before peeling
I'm sorting through my notebook of collected recipes lately.  A chronic recipe clipper, I clip yet don't always actually make the recipes I clip.

In this notebook I have hundreds of recipes from here and there, collected over many years.  My goal is to make every one of them, and while doing so, weed out the ones that we don't like.  Translation:  make space to put more recipes in there.

So, with son Caleb away at work last evening, I decided to fancy it up a bit for the two of us.  An old clipping from who knows where for Shrimp Monterey was on our menu.

I had made sure during our last grocery run to collect all the required ingredients:

2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

The directions for this elegant dish are fairly simple, and it doesn't take more than a half hour to prepare this dish:

1.  Peel the shrimp if not already peeled.  Since I had bought my shrimp frozen and unpeeled, I took care of this business first.

2.  Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, then saute the garlic in the melted butter for about one minute.

3.  Add the shrimp to the mix and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until it is pink.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a greased 11 by 7 inch baking dish.  Set aside.

4.  Add wine or broth to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the sauce is reduced.  

Note:  The last time I made this recipe I used chicken broth.  This time I used white wine.  It tasted better this time.  Just sayin'.

5.  Pour the sauce over the shrimp.  Top with the shredded cheese and minced parsley.

6.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This casserole makes about 6 adult servings and would be appropriate for when you want to impress some company, as long as there are no shellfish allergies of course.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it could be prepared. 

For good color and balance on the plate, I served it with peas, even though I detest peas and couldn't eat them, and a watermelon/cantaloupe salad.

Try it.  And let me know if you liked it.

Bon appetit!