Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brace Yourself!

DH took me to the ortho yesterday to pick up my new knee brace. It's metalic purple, and boy, it is a chunk of hardware, or what? It is heavier than i thought it would be, and it sticks out a bit more than I'd prefer, but it has a lot of supporting to do, so I can't judge it too harshly.

Two big black pads go on either side of my knee, and the brace is strapped to my thigh and my calf. The brace will support my knee and keep me from hyperextending or going side-to-side, but it also bends like a normal knee. Isn't it a nice purple color? It's slightly lighter in shade than my car, and darker than my glasses, but I like it. I wouldn't want it to be too "out there" since I have to wear it all the time for . . .well. . . until further notice.

I can change the pads at the knee, and it is fully washable! Wild, huh? Rosie was suspicious of it, no doubt because it smells like medicine . . . or sumpin. LOL

Physical Therapy is going well, but it feels like it's slow progress to me. I have started trying to go as long as possible each day w/o resorting to the wheelchair. Today is day 3 trying! I'll get there, eventually. Tomorrow I get to start my water therapy! yay!

Up Next: decorating the walker!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby Heffalump!

I finally have some pics of the baby elephant at the Columbus Zoo that we saw a week ago! Mom and Dad were with us, but then they went South to visit the Smokey Mountains for a week, and weren't able to send me the pics before today.

He doesn't have a name yet. They've run a contest, and over 9000 entries were submitted! One fact I remember is that he is gaining around 4 pounds a day, and when we saw him he weight 360+ pounds. Amazing!

These lovely pics were taken by my mom, of course. (Happy now, Suzie? I imagine you already saw the pictures at Mom's house, though)

Here is his official video, from the first time he was brought into public view. Isn't he adorable?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oops - poetry Friday a day late

And I'm only giving you a link, can you believe it?

No Strings Attached by Julie Lario

Gregory has been doing a new, fantastic poet each day of National Poetry Month, and I've enjoyed the whole series, but this one just made me happy to read. Hope you find some lovely happy verse this weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Busy Weekend!

After my Dr. appointment Friday, we went to the zoo with my parents, as I mentioned before. Here are a few of my favorite shots from what DH (the professional) took. I'm glad he got the Markhor because I couldn't see him well from my chair, even when I tried standing a bit.

I didn't bother to go up the boardwalk to the Lion enclosure, either. Boy, is my hubby good, or what?!?!?

These next shots are from yesterday. DH, Si and I went to Highbanks Metropark for a short visit to the nature center there. It is always fun to sit at the window and watch to see who shows up at the feeders. I loved the pics DH got of them all, but these are my 2 faves. There were about 4 little Red-bellied woodpeckers going back and forth between the feeders and the trees.

This Blue Jay had a nice little snack, too!

After a little while, I went out to the deck for some nature time with knitting. :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Good News!

My Dr. appointment went very well this morning. The bone is healed sufficiently to allow me to put weight on the leg again, but the knee is still rather wobbly, so I have to have an immobilizer or a brace to stand and walk. I have an immobilizer already, but they also fitted me today for a custom brace that will be delivered in a week or two. I even got to pick my color! Guess what I chose!

My folks stopped in town yesterday and today to visit, so we all went out to lunch after my appointment, and then went to the zoo! We got there just in time to see the Baby Elephant (still unnamed). He is so cute! I was hoping we'd also see baby cheetahs, but I don't think they're in a public display, although we didnt' ask about them, so we might have just missed them. Truth be told, we lost energy quickly. Apparently it's much more challenging to navigate the zoo while pushing someone (me) in a wheel chair. We did get a good parking spot, though! It was great fun, but we're all totally wiped out now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Non-traditional Easter

Whenever I'm asked "what is your favorite holiday?" I will almost (unless I'm feeling lazy) always say "I like Christmas for the family traditions, and Easter for the meaning." For me, my entire belief system is based on the fact (I believe) that Jesus Christ went to his own death on the cross so that his death could pay for my (and anyone else's) sins. This belief is what my entire life/world view/choice pattern/parenting system/marriage/mindset is based on. If you know me well, you'll know this about me, and if you don't know me well, I hope that, at least in part, you can see some glimpse of this in what you know of me. Ideally, you can see some quality of mercy, grace, joy, faith and/or contentment in me that hints at this belief.

At any rate, I like Easter.

Our Easter this year was not "traditional" in relation to what we did as kids.

When I was growing up, Easter involved getting VERY dressed up in new, Springy, fancy clothes, often including white gloves and white patent-leather shoes for the girls, and a new suit and tie for our brother and dad. If I had my scanner set up, I'd be able to share many pictures of the three of us kids in our Easter Finery, because, of course, there were always pictures taken. Easter involved waking up and dashing around the house, peering into every nook and cranny (what the heck is a cranny?) to find the 3 dozen or more eggs we'd colored earlier in the week (until Mom got paranoid about salmonella and stopped hiding eggs out of the fridge overnight), culminating in all three of us kids finding huge baskets filled with candy and peeps (out of the package and stale, of course).

Then we'd all go to church, sing amazingly beautiful hymns, and then later in the day have dinner with my grandparents (either their house or ours, depending on factors that were never discussed with us kids. Sometimes we'd spend the holiday with my Aunt and Uncle who lived near Cleveland (again, either their house or ours). We have a huge, fancy meal with the good china and silver, lots of food, and often have Gorant's Candy for dessert.

Another great tradition for me as a child was being able to take out our special Easter Toys and play with them. We had a great collection of wind-up bunnies, a plastic chicken that laid little plastic eggs (I think? Or maybe it laid jelly beans or something?), and of course, the wooden bunnies with carts, all on wheels, that Uncle Bob had made for each of us (he made one for Simon, too). Those carts were really sweet, and the bunnies' rear wheels were offset a bit so that it seemed like the bunny was leaping instead of just rolling. My second favorite toy was the mechanical bunny that was eating a carrot (remember that, Linda?), and the mechanical noises even kind of sounded like machinated eating (chomm-chomm-chomm). Funny!

Mike and I have always tried to make Easter special for Simon. We have often gone to church, and have often gone visiting to one or the other set of grandparents, or at least had some kind of "family" meal (either our actual relatives, or friends in town) at our house.

I realized very quickly with Simon, though, that filling a big basket with candies of all kinds was a huge waste for him. He only eats plain dark chocolate, and sometimes he'll enjoy really sour stuff like sour chewy things or that super sour spray they make now. Also, with braces, he's not allowed to have all the sour chewies he used to love. Either we'd end up throwing most of the other stuff away, or I'd eat it (like I need that!). So we started getting more creative with his basket fillings. Often, we'd get him fresh new art supplies, because it's that time of year when the new stuff he got for school is looking worn and broken, and all of the paper from Christmas is used up. But, it's challenging to put huge pads (or reams) of paper into an Easter basket.

Simon and I did end up coloring some eggs, although we didn't use one of the old Paas kits we used to always get. I found this great idea to use old silk ties, and it worked great! You have to be certain they're actually silk (most of the ties DH was willing to let us destroy must have been rayon or something).

I agree with my mom that it's not wise to leave eggs (even hard boiled) out over night (especially since we've gotten the cats). So we started making scavenger hunts for Simon, putting the clues in plastic eggs that lead him all over the house, garage and sometimes the yard. This also allows us to get him a larger Easter present, generally something we know he'll get a lot of use out during the Spring and Summer. This is how he got his bike and his scooter (different years, of course). It's been a blast, writing the clues, hiding them around, and then, in the wee hours of the morning, watching him run around deciphering them all! When he was small, the clues were simple and obvious "look under Dad's pillow" or "go look around the computer desk", but this year I had lots of fun writing little couplets. The other change this year is that Mike couldn't find the collection of plastic eggs, so we just had clues on paper and no eggs. Si didn't seem to mind.

Here's how it all played out (this pic of me and Sam wasn't taken Friday, but might as well have been - he loves sleeping on my lap):
Saturday night, around 9:30,
I whispered to DH "hey, we need to do the Easter Bunny thing".
DH : "it's so late, do we really have to make a production of it?"
Me: "It's Easter! He needs to get his scavenger hunt! Could you please look for the plastic eggs? I think they're in the basement with the wrapping supplies."
DH a few minutes later, after much sighing and rolling of eyes "I couldn't find the (*&^ plastic eggs."
Si "What's with all the whispering?"
Me "Si, tomorrow is Easter! You're going to have to go to bed soon so that the Easter Bunny can come!"
Si was in the next room, so I didn't SEE the eye-rolling, but I swear on my bag of chocolates, I heard him roll them!
Me to DH "Well, honey, I guess we're just going to have to return what we've bought. Simon is too old for an Easter Scavenger Hunt. He'd rather stay up late than go through all that."
DH "Yea, we'll just run back to Target and return what we've gotten."

Slight "whooshing" as Simon quickly left the computer to go take his bath.

I wrote out about a dozen clues, maybe 15, and DH placed them all, some with scotch tape. The last one led him out "to a car", and, as predicted, Si chose the wrong car first - mwahahahaha!

He got: 2 bags of Dove Dark Chocolates in a basket, with a shredded magazine for "grass", and a Wii, complete with an extra controller and 2 games (Call of Duty and Star Wars Force).

We spent the day taking turns between Wii and regular TV watching. The three of us had rare roast beef and homemade Mac and Cheese for dinner, and then tried out Lego Indiana Jones, borrowed from Si's friend around the corner.

There were no new clothes, no visitors, no pomp or ceremony or candy no one likes. I miss having family here, but Mom and Dad are visiting later in the week for a few days, and we just spent Friday with my sister, so we're sorta covered.

This morning, what got me thinking all contemplative and nostalgic like this was my Dove Candy (dessert after a breakfast of deviled eggs) wrapper that says, on the inside: Life may change us but we start and end with family. Of course, I'm also hoping Mom and Dad bring some Gorant's for us when they come Thursday. :-)

But, you know, family is the center: The creamy, melt-away center of our delicious chocolate Easter Eggs of life.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Excellent vocal group!

My MIL sent this to me today, and I just have to share!

I'm trying to find information about this group, but haven't been able to find anything online yet other than this vid and a link to the agency that is apparently their agent? Help?

IMHO this group would be much more entertaining if they weren't in all white with those whimple-like things.

Poetry Friday!

I posted a haiku on twitter to celebrate Poetry Friday:

Nice visit with friend
Sisters came to see me, too
Blessed with Fellowship

It's been a great day!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

3 beautiful things

1. A Canada Goose stands tall, guarding the entrance to the parking area at my rehab center - so regal, and so big!
2. Sunshine lighting up the shrubs outside my back door.
3. A dear mentor and friend takes me to my PT appointment, and, on the way home asks "are there any errands you need to run while we're out?" So thoughtful.

What a blessing it is to have so many folks willing to haul me over to PT. Truly a blessing.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Physical Therapy, part 2

For a while, I had it really easy. The Therapist came to my house. It was cool, and because I couldn't do much, I didn't have to do much. LOL

Well, I've entered into the next phase. I'm going to a facility, and I'm starting to really do more. This is because my bone is nearly healed. It's still fragile, but it's strong enough to withstand more movement and stuff.

I still don't have permission to drive, though, esp since I need a wheelchair to get around, but I've put out the word and there is a whole wonderful bunch of folks who've offered to help me with rides. This group of "angels" is really a blessing, and to be honest, I will be forever grateful to them all. Sometimes, the timing works out so that I and my friend can do something fun after therapy - tonight I got to go to Starbucks (thanks KB!) and do some KIP! (knitting in public)

So - tonight, I rode a recumbent stationery bike for about 8 minutes - moving my feet VERY slowly just to increase my range of motion. Then my therapist put together a group of 5 new exercises for me to do at home, and we went through each one so that I could learn and practice them under her supervision.

It feels SO good to be out and moving a little! Does it hurt? Yes, it does hurt to push myself, bend my knee, try new exercises . . . but it is a good hurt because I know it's making me stronger and it's going to bring me back to the point where I can walk and drive again. Worth it!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Simon Says:

Simon often tries to answer all my questions in just one syllable. He has his own "teen" language of grunts (he's 14 1/2). Here is what I've discerned as it's meaning, so far:
  • hu ahh (with a pitch upswing at the end) = yea, I'll give you a slightly affirmative sound, but I'll conveniently "forget" to do what you're asking and hope you do the same - commonly used when we tell him to do things like wash his face, brush his teeth, clean his room
  • meh = it was ok but I wish you'd let me zone out and watch tv, this is closely related to the more verbose "yea, yea, whatever", which some kids use
  • schna = not bad, thanks for asking, but please don't ask me to do anything right now
  • uh (gutteral grunt, really) = seriously, you're trying to engage me in conversation? Maybe if I just grunt you'll go away?
  • general groan = please, please, please leave me alone and don't discuss this sensitive/annoying/difficult topic/chore/problem with me . . . ever
  • lyrical grown with hand over face, mostly covering his eyes = omg, my parents are so weird
Sometimes, however, he engages in rational discussion. This morning, while we were starting to watch Over the Hedge (again), he said that one of his friends doesn't like Pixar and other of these great animated movies much because they have a really sad part in them. Si said "but that is what makes them so good! They have that sad part, but then they resolve it and that's what makes them good. That way they don't have to resort to an entire movie of sophomoric humor."

It's cool, when you get a glimpse of the adult your child is becoming.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Poetry Friday!

Today, with the lovely Spring rains and the beautiful sunshine we've had, as well as the daffodils and crocus' blooming in my garden, I'm in such a thankful mood. Although I'm not using the original language in which it was written, and it has lost it's rhyme and meter, I will share a Psalm today, for Poetry Friday:

Psalm 116, verses 1-7
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
the Lord protects teh simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

Happy Poetry Friday, in this beautiful National Poetry Month!