Sunday, August 28, 2016

Week 35 - My New Normal

Finally I got a normal week. New normal that is with something every night.

Monday – knitting
Tuesday – 600 calorie day and self-PT in the weight room
Wednesday – water aerobics
Thursday – 600 calories and self-PT again
Friday – more swimming

It actually felt great to get back to some routine. The kids were back on campus so it had a whole different vibe and with two afternoons of training, the work week flew. I loved being back in the pool after so long. It was the free week so there were mobs of students trying class out, most of whom we’ll never see again. Hopefully the crowds in the weight room will thin out soon too. At least the self-PT seems to be working. And the weather is cool as often as hot so summer is waning. Yay!

A pretty cool thing did happen this week though. A few months ago, I was at a program at the Sheldon Art Museum on campus where the new director told us that he was looking for ways to get Sheldon's name out there. I suggested that they make some of their art available to download as desktop wallpaper. Good idea, right? Well they actually did it! The director, Wally Mason, kept in touch with me along the way and I got a call from Sheldon's marketing person saying they were available online and they wanted me to be the first to download it and, btw, they wanted to take my pic with my new wallpaper. She snapped 2 pics on her phone and the next day the media blast began. First it went out via email to their friends list then it hit Facebook. At that point, I started getting posts, emails and a stranger approached me when I was thrifting off campus to say she'd seen me on Sheldon's website. Then they mentioned my name on the NPR on Friday morning, and I heard about that too. So I'm calling this my 15 minutes of fame. Pretty cool, huh? Here's the pic.

I had a hair appointment at 8:30 Saturday morning so was up and out. Usually when I’m up and dressed that early, I end up having a productive day but then I got into veg clothes as soon as I got home. That didn’t bode well and talking to Carolyn and then Ginny killed the morning. It was our annual lunch at Chips funded by our fair winning money so I met the knitting gang there at 1:00. We had a yummy lunch and hung out for awhile so I didn't get home until 3:00. I could have gotten something done but just dinked the rest of the afternoon away. At least I finished a pair of socks and the book I’d been reading for months. With Saturday shot, I had high hopes for Sunday.

Well, I headed down to the basement after lunch in search of some yarn for baby booties and was digging in one of my big totes when I smelled something nasty. I dug to the bottom to find a layer of sodden yarn. OMG! The basement flood had been months ago and I had thought the tote, which had a crack in the bottom, was safely above the water. I ended up throwing several skeins right into the trash but I had a bunch of 100% wool from Maine that I decided to try and salvage. I spent a chunk of the afternoon over a sink of hot water, washing hank after hank and hanging it out on the line. It didn’t help that the heat was back. I was dripping with sweat but think I saved most of the yarn. One skein looks a bit off but everything else looks almost good as new. So much for getting anything else done though. I ran to Lorri’s to water then had hotdogs for dinner. Weekend done. At least I saved the yarn. Yee ha!

Week 34 - A New Honda

A new week dawned Monday and I was looking forward to some normal. There was no swimming all week so at least I’d be able to go home right after work. Since I had only been to the pool twice all summer, I guess not swimming was normal.

In an effort to strengthen my leg muscles, I went next door to Love Library and walked the stacks in the basement. It was quiet and level and I got 20 minutes or so in before my leg was screaming so I sat in a quiet corner and knitted for the rest of my lunch hour. Erica’s son Wyatt was coming to mow Monday night during knitting, which meant I had him for two hours if I could find enough for him to do. I decided to have him cut some of the weed trees but my lopper was nowhere to be found. I always hang it from my garden fence and after searching everywhere I could think of, Erica left to pick one up at her rental. Just before she got back, I found my lopper in the trash heap behind my neighbor’s fence. I has clearly been run over. This was clearly the parting gift from the idiot who butchered my yard in May. When Erica had surprised him cutting down my Wahoo trees, he must have been using my lopper and dropped it by the alley, where it got run over and then trashed. Nice. *$(&$(*!&%!(#$*&(

I had my appointment with my new knee doc first thing Tuesday. He spent a good amount of time going over my charts and listening to my story. All told, he said I was in a tough spot. If he replaced my knee now, which he’d be willing to do, I’d need a new one when I was 70. If I wasn’t having pain, it was OK to wait but only if my knee didn’t get more bent that it already is. More bent and it would impact the success of the knee replacement. Sheesh! Of course I’ll be waiting. If I start getting joint pain, I’ll get it done but at least it won’t be anytime soon, good lord willing.

Nora was diagnosed with shingles on Friday so I stopped at her house, which is right near the doctor’s office, to drop off some salsa pork roast for her supper. After work I went to the gym to do my first self-PT. The weight room was full to bursting with newly returned students but I found the machines I needed and got it done. Then it was home to prep for the cleaning lady. Another long day. I was looking forward to a normal day Wednesday and going home to clean house and cooking a nice dinner.

You know that didn’t work out! I walked in the door and my house was hot. I checked the thermostat and it was 80 degrees. The AC was on but the air coming out of the vents wasn’t very cool and when I checked the outside unit, the fan wasn’t running on it. I called my regular HVAC guys but got voice mail. I figured I could make it until morning but after sitting for 5 minutes, I knew that wasn’t going to work. So I called Ed, my frend Donna’s husband, who has bailed me out many a time. He gave me the number of someone in tow4n who would come out that night and he did. In 20 minutes he replaced the faulty part and it was only $124. By 7:00 I was eating dinner in my cooling down house. Not the night I’d planned on but salvaged after all.

Thursday was the first 600 calorie day in my new plan to do 3 600 calorie days per week. I had meant to start Tuesday but was thwarted by moldy cottage cheese and a broken toaster oven so Thursday it was. It went just fine and after hitting the weight room after work for my quick PT, I went home to cook kale and sausage. I survived the first 600 day, which was easy when I knew I could eat regular food the next day. If day one was any indication, this was going to work just fine.

I realized when I got to work Friday that my favorite thermos, which is circa 1960, holds 3 mugs of coffee and has a carry handle all while rocking red plaid, was broken. This was the third thing in a week – my trusty toaster oven, the AC and now my fabulous thermos. Oh well. At least my afternoon training got postponed and then I left early for what truly was my last PT. Cory gave me the OK to keep going on my own but left my case open in case my knee takes a turn for the worst. The skies opened up while I was at PT and the storm brought in gorgeous, cooler weather. I opened the windows and slept like a baby. I had no plans for the weekend and was looking forward to some leisure.

I had a revelation about my car – I didn’t have to wait for the Fit to fall apart before buying a new one. People buy new cars all the time! I started emailing the internet sales team at Superior Honda and put down a deposit on a new HR-V. Of course the one I wanted (2 wheel drive and silver) was nowhere to be found but I got an email saying they’d traded for one that was on order and it would be ready to pick up near the end of September. Yay! Cross that off my list.

I had a lovely afternoon Saturday, giving myself permission to sit on my deck and read while enjoying a cup of tea. It was heavenly. Other than minimal laundry, I didn’t get much else done on the weekend. I did manage to drive to Ashland to deliver some food to Amanda and see her new baby, Calder. The weather was gorgeous I enjoyed every minute of it. Fall is on the way and can’t come soon enough for my liking. Classes were starting Monday so that would help it feel more like fall too. Bring it on!

Week 33 - My Bum Shoulder

I didn’t have to be at the airport until 3:00 so you know me, I jam packed the day. I met Deanne at a cafĂ© in Wickford for breakfast so we had a nice chat and then walked around. Of course I hit The Mermaid’s Purl and bought a skein of sock yarn. Just one. I drove back to Carolyn’s to await Cornelia, who would be picking me up for a late lunch and the traditional dump and drive at the airport. We went to Crow’s Nest for lobster rolls. It was another good catch up and then an uneventful flight. The first one anyway – the 2nd flight was delayed a bit so I didn’t walk in my door until 11:00 pm. It was a quick trip but absolutely wonderful.

The alarm was a rude awakening on Tuesday but work was fine and then I got to pick up Gansey, who was freshly spayed, at Becky’s. It was wonderful to have her home and be home. I thoroughly enjoyed my first night at home.

I had PT at 7:00 on Wednesday so despite sleeping well, it was an early morning and a totally messed up routine. At least lunch was taken care of. We were having Bethany’s goodbye lunch at Blue Orchid. She’d only been in my office for a few months but we were all going to miss her a ton. So lunch was yummy but sad. I was still knackered from my trip so went home for streaming and knitting. It was the deadline for state fair entries and I’d given it some thought but couldn’t muster the energy to do them so that didn’t happen. I’ll live.

After only 2 days of relatively normal life, Thursday was time for my shoulder procedure. I left work at 3:00 and thought I was having something akin to acupuncture. Imagine my surprise when he said it was a needle biopsy! It started out OK and I even said it was no worse than getting a steroid injection in my knee and then he hit something that sent a bolt of pain down my arm that would have had my off the table except I was in a super awkward position. The pain was only a few seconds but the adrenaline rush had me a mess. The nurse spent the rest of the procedure, about 10 minutes more, petting my leg and telling me it was almost over. I left with a bandaid as the only evidence that anything had been done. It would be 2 days before the steroids kicked in, 2 weeks before full effect and a month before I’d know if it worked. Sheesh!

Work was fine on Friday and I was leaving early for what I hoped would be my last PT. I talked to Cory about not coming back and asked him to give me exercises to do on my own. He agreed and got me going but after an hour of all things PT, my shoulder was killing me. What should have been an easy round of e-stim had me groaning in pain. Cory took pity on me and hooked my shoulder up to some Game Ready icing. I was covered head to toe with equipment and feeling pretty cranky but I was still knitting. The ice did some good. Damn good thing!

I spent the weekend getting caught up. I had unpacked earlier in the week but except for the dirty clothes, which did make it to the hamper, everything was still on the counters. I got everything put away and then started cooking. I was determined to have a normal week the following week so was happy to end the weekend with the house in order and a fridge full of food for the week. Oh, and the steroids did in fact kick in so my shoulder was feeling much better. All good.

Week 32 - A Quick Trip

So the early week was a blur of fiscal year end at work and prepping for RI at home, which included getting Gansey ready to drop back at Becky’s so she could be spayed while I was gone. I did that before work on Wednesday, when I also worked late so it was a long day. I went home to throw clothes in a suitcase and was on the road to the airport at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday. But when the plane touched down in Rhode Island, it made the long days all worth it.  

I had done almost no planning for what to do while there but I did arrange to have dinner with Auntie Margaret on Thursday night. With the afternoon free, Carolyn and I decided to bake cookies so we whipped out a double batch that afternoon and headed to the Crow’s Nest for an early dinner of fried belly clams with my family. Aunt Margaret forgot her hearing aids and I couldn’t exactly yell in a crowded restaurant so I’m not sure what she got out of the meal. Like Carolyn said, she’s 94 so I have to cut her some slack. It was good to see her, as always. 

Friday was the only day with a plan and it was jam packed. Carolyn and I drove down to pick John up then headed to Ikea in Stoughton. The annual Ikea trek is always fun and I bought tons of stocking stuffers and gifts, as usual. Since Stoughton is a restaurant dessert, we headed back to Providence for a yummy lunch at The Salted Slate in Wayland Square. From there we headed back to East Greenwich to pick up Marianne and drive to The Newport Yacht Club for drinks on the deck. It was a gorgeous day with gorgeous views and the Menard clan was fully represented – John’s aunts, uncle and mom. It was fun and after we dropped Marianne back home (she’s pushing 80 and didn’t have the energy for dinner), John followed us to Carolyn’s where we had a nice dinner of spinach pies from Don’s Pizza. Yum! 

The only other plan for my entire trip was Saturday night at Bob’s, when I would be buying take out so no one had to stress about cooking. So with the day free, we had a leisurely morning at home, complete with scrambled eggs (Carolyn makes the best eggs, bar none) and then we headed out for some shopping. We had to pick up a few things at the market to go with the pizza we’d be ordering and then we hit the new Job Lot in East Greenwich. After offloading everything, we had a bit more time at home before heading to Bob’s. Michele, Rob and the kids were there as well as John, Bob (duh! It’s his house) and Daisy (his daughter.) After starting with vodka laced Del’s lemonade, we had a lovely, low key dinner of pizza, chicken wings and had assorted ice cream novelties, Carolyn’s idea, for dessert. It rained briefly but Bob’s table is completely covered so we didn’t feel a drop. We talked for hours and hours. Nice. 

Since Sharyn is stuck in Attleboro and still not driving, Carolyn and I went up there on Sunday and had a fun morning of shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop and Five Below then had lunch at Panera. From there we drove the full length of Rhode Island (all 39 miles) to East Beach, picking John up on the way.  

Now East Beach is by far the best beach in RI but it’s a hidden gem that few people know about. The problem with it is the tiny parking lot so you have to get there either early or late to get a spot or they turn you away. We planned accordingly and got there at 3:30 but still had to wait 15 minutes. As a car left, they let one in. It was worth the wait because it’s gorgeous and never crowded. I had bought a clip on umbrella that morning so happily sat in the shade with a towel over my legs knitting in the sun. John and I went swimming right before we left, which was also fun. If John hadn’t had to be back at his mom’s by 6:00, I could have stayed on the beach until sunset. We had the best time and it made me want to rent a beach house there next summer.  

After the best shower ever (there’s no better shower than after a day being at the beach), we ended the day with fresh swordfish and sweet corn. This was the only meal we cooked the entire time and since I was leaving the next day, it would stay that way. But YUM! It was a lovely end to a lovely day and I was sad to be heading home. But a short RI trip in the summer is better than none at all and I have no right to complain about the quick trip since I’d been to Scotland for 2 weeks this summer. Oh to have unlimited vacation time! I guess that’s called retirement. Just ten more years. : )

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Week 31 - On the Mend

This week was still all about my knee. It was also the beginning of fiscal year end closing meetings week plus I was watering at Lorri's and would be watering at Lisa's (my neighbor 2 doors up) by the end of the week, even overlapping a few days. Add in the county fair and PT and it was going to be a busy week.

I scheduled my first PT appointment for 7:00 a.m. on Monday, which was too damn early but got me to work earlier so I went with it. And Monday night was fair prep for my knitting entries so I quickly grabbed 12 items after work and spent most of the 2 hours at the library prepping those so I could give them to Drae to submit for me. Because Tuesday after work I'd be at the fair doing vegetable check in for 4H, which is my annual master gardener volunteering. I was back at PT first thing Wednesday and Cory told me not to swim. I think I'd been in the pool twice all summer and the rest of this week wasn't looking good. Oh well.

Darla IM'd me Wednesday afternoon to ask what I was doing after work. When I told her I was going to the fair to check on ribbons, we made a plan to do it together and get corndogs for dinner. Fun. Well, I got about 2/3 red ribbons. WTF! I never enter anything that isn't absolutely perfect so was a bit surprised, even considering the lame judge they have who knows nothing about modern knitting. Nothing to be done about it but see what the comments are when I get my projects back. Then there were no corndogs to be had at the fair. Seriously? I really wanted one so Darla and I headed to Dairy Queen for a corndog and soft serve supper once we were done at the fair. They were yummy and it was great to catch up with Darla. It always is.

Closing meeting prep was in full swing so the work days were flying by and it was Friday afternoon before I knew it. I'd scheduled 4:30 PT on Friday, hoping it'd be my last, so left work early. I was ready for the weekend big time. Well, not only was it not my last PT (they always want you longer than you think) but Shane manhandled me so much that I woke up with joint pain on Saturday morning. Not good. The muscle was only a little tight first thing in the morning (the med pack of steroids I'd remembered I had and started on Tuesday was also helping) so it was getting better. At least there was that.

I didn't get a ton done all weekend. I got dressed and went to the library Saturday morning thinking I'd make a deposit but the money wasn't ready so I got presentable for nothing. I was supposed to sit in the library booth at the fair Saturday night but got a reprieve when Lorri called to say it was so slow that we could break the booth down at 5:00, which meant I wouldn't be sitting there until 9:00. Then Andrea offered to pick up my entries on Sunday evening so another reprieve. Nice on both counts.

I was under the gun to finish my July challenge socks so knitted at home all night Saturday then knitted between chores on Sunday. I got the 2nd sock done Sunday night only to find a mistake that required me to rip out 2/3 of the second sock. Oh well. Between all the knitting and all the regular chores, I did manage to go through the upstairs freezer so at least all my frozen food is in good order. My cupboards are next up, btw.

So all in all, a good week. Progress on my knee, lots of knitting and enough productivity to keep my ever present self-imposed guilt in check. I even baked a cake to take to knitting. Plus it wasn't super hot - I even slept with the windows open several night. See? All good.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 30 - Now Knee Pain

Yup, my knee blew again. It happened on Tuesday afternoon when I was getting back into the car after getting my free iced coffee at Panera. Nothing’s free, right? Anyway, I grabbed my cane out of the trunk, hobbled back to my desk and called Nebraska Ortho. I needed to make an appointment with a new doc since mine had retired last June.

I had called a month ago to make a new patient appointment but they said to just call when I was in pain. Right. I did and they said my replacement doc was booking new patient appointments a month out so I got in for Wednesday with another doc who had an opening. Whatever. I needed help.

Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon when, long story short, I found out that all the shots I’ve gotten in my joint over the past years have been for nothing! My pain is not now and never has been in my joint so cortisone in my joint has had zero effect. That explains so much, like why when this happened 4 years ago (my last full blow out) the shot did nothing and I was still limping and using a cane after 6 weeks. PT saved me then and that was the plan for this go ‘round too.

One session with my PT in Wahoo first thing Thursday and my hamstring spasm, which has been the problem all along btw, was released. Not that it felt good after a 44 hour Charley horse though. I knew I’d be in PT a long time but at least there was hope on the horizon. I can work with muscular. I had another session at the end of the day Friday – 1 hour and 45 minutes of pain and torture but it was getting better.

Needless to say, I didn’t do much on the weekend. Sitting and knitting – all good. I did manage to do the long overdue basement freezer defrost, which left me cooking and baking with some of the stuff I found. I made a nice blueberry pie with crumb topping (single frozen crust and 4 cups of blueberries from the freezer) to take to knitting, which felt great. I’ve been dieting, or trying to anyway, for so long that I do very little baking and I miss it. I also picked the first beans from my garden and made 3 bean salad. At least that was healthy.

My latest rotation was definitely off the rails but at least I’d lost my vacation weight gain in the week I'd stuck to it. There’s always the next one, or maybe not. I’m giving serious consideration to doing a 2 or 3 day fast (600 calories) and see how that works. And one of these days I’ll be able to swim again. I live in hope. More PT will do the trick.