Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week 24 - The Sister Weekend

The week itself was nice and then ended with a sisters’ weekend in eastern Iowa, which was the icing on the cake. Add that the heat broke so the weekend weather was stellar and it was all good.

The work week went by quickly, as usual. Nora was out for 2 days so I was on Brook duty. He’s our wonderful new analyst and he’s still in learning mode so there was lots of one-on-one time showing him things. My evenings were all booked like they always are but on Wednesday I opted for a movie with Cindy instead of water aerobics. We saw A Quiet Passion – the Emily Dickinson movie. I thought it was long and once Emily became a recluse and the entire second half of the movie took place in her house, I was less interested. Cindy liked it better than I did but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The popcorn was yummy.

The only other out of the ordinary thing that happened was Pie, my semi-tame, once campus feral cat, had her mouth stuck open all day Thursday. This happens once in awhile and I have figured out how to get it shut without a trip to the vet but it requires me to actually get my hands on her, which is hard on a regular day and nearly impossible when she’s freaked out with her mouth wide open. She stays out 95% of the time in the summer, including overnights, so I saw her first thing Thursday morning with her mouth stuck open and her front covered with drool but she wouldn’t let me near her. I went to work hoping it would fix on its own over the day and confident that she’d stay cool (it was in the 90’s that day) under the deck. Well, I got home at 7:00 having left swimming a bit early and her jaw was still stuck. She still wouldn’t let me near her but I left the slider open and she did eventually come in on her own. Two hours later when she wanted back out, I was able to grab her (she was dehydrated and weak by then I’m sure) and manhandle it shut. I kept her in that night (the other cats were all out) and was happy that 30 minutes later she’d cleaned up her wet front and was purring in my bed. One good thing about this was I had a super productive evening while I was worried about her and so unable to relax.

That was a good thing because I’d have no weekend to speak of. I would be on the road by 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to meet Dottie in the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa. I got a bit of a late start when I had trouble downloading an audio book – Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates. I enjoy her snark and especially like her audio books for road trips. This one was about the group right after the pilgrims who settled Boston. It was worth the wait but did delay me 20 minutes as I sat in my driveway downloading it to my ancient iPad. Regardless, I made up time on the road so arrived in Bettendorf on schedule.

We had arranged to meet at a yarn shop that was in the process of closing. Now I’m on a yarn diet but travel yarn is exempt so I was all set to buy. Most everything was 40% off and they had enough sock yarn to satisfy me, including one of my favorite types to knit with – wool, cotton, nylon and elastic, which makes stretchy socks for warmer weather. It also has great stitch definition. $138 later, I left happy to check in at the B&B.

Our plan for the afternoon was lunch then thrifting. We had a delicious lunch at The Blue Cat, a brewery in downtown Rock Island that I’d found online. The owner asked what our plans were and when we said  thrifting, he told us of two other places to hit. Now I was excited to hit the Salvation Army that Andrea and I had gone to on the way back from Canada a year ago fall but it was pretty much a bust. The DAV we went to from there was even worse so we headed to the place the guy had told us about. Now it was hazy, hot and humid and this antique mall (of sorts) was in an old barn with no AC. After 20 minutes, I was ready to go. We did stop in at another building that had AC but didn’t buy anything there either. It was time to head back to the B&B for a bit before dinner.

Well, we were just about to leave for dinner when the sirens went off. We turned on the TV but it was just a bad storm with egg sized (an odd comparison I’d never heard before – we use golf ball size hail in Nebraska) so we decided to wait a bit. Good thing we did! We didn’t get hail at the B&B but the wind was whipping and the rain slammed the windows. Once it passed, we headed to Maid Rite – an Iowa chain that specializes in loose meat sandwiches, which Dottie had never had. Delish! When we got back to our room, I pulled out a couple of thrift shop sweaters and taught Dottie how to harvest yarn from them. She wasn't enthused about he process so I took the rest of the sweaters home to donate back to Goodwill. I guess there isn't much point when the resulting yarn is just acrylic, which is pretty easy to find cheap.

We didn’t have any firm plans on Sunday but had passed a sign for a botanical center so after a yummy breakfast with all the other B&B guests, we headed out. The botanic garden didn’t open until 11:00 so we headed towards the Rock Island Arsenal to see what there was to see. Well, we ended up at the swing bridge, that was open to let a barge through so we parked and watched that process. When the bridge swing back, we decided we should walk across the Mississippi and so we did. The bridge was open again on the way back so we sat on the grates with the river flowing underneath us and waited it out. It was kind of cool and killed enough time that the garden was open. It was pretty small but was enjoyable in the gorgeous, post storm weather.

When we were done with the garden, we decided to head our separate ways, which would give us both a bit of time at home before the day was over. I had a 5.5 hour ride and pretty much blazed through with only one stop for gas and a ladies' room. I did drive through a McDonald's (I can't tell you the last time I ate there and for good reason) mid-afternoon when the big breakfast wore off. I was almost done with the audio book when I got home just before 6:00, which left me a few hours of daylight. I had decided late in the week to take Monday off so didn't have to slam on laundry and chores, which was nice. But what a lovely weekend! And the gorgeous weather would still be there on Monday so hopefully I could find spend some time outside.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Week 23 - I'm Over It

My “somewhere to be every night” schedule is beginning to wear on me. Add in that it’s the time of year when I struggle to sleep and I was getting more tired with every passing day.

It’s especially bad that swimming is later – only 15 minutes later but it leaves me getting home at 7:15 and that’s if I go right home. Add just one stop at the market and it can be closer to 8:00. The biggest victim of this time change is dinner. I find myself not wanting to eat meat/veg when I get home that late, even if it’s ready to nuke, which it wasn’t this week. I think I had a bowl of cereal one night, a noosa yogurt another… the salmon I cooked on the weekend was untouched and will now be cat food. There’s still hope for the Brussels sprouts.

Despite this eating of crap for dinner, I still managed to lose some weight over the week and am down 7 pounds from my post-surgery high. That’s with 2 weeks of kinda sorta dieting with too much snacking in the evenings. I guess the lack of sweets in my house meant the snacks were on the healthy side so I still lost some weight. I need to give this some thought since rotating is harder to stick to than it used to be. Whatever. At least the scale is going down.

I’m also over PT. On Tuesday they upped all my weights and gave me new exercises so clearly I’m making progress. On Friday I informed them that I wanted to be done on June 30th and they seemed OK with that. I see the doctor on July 10th and I’m sure he’ll release me at that point and since the 4th is Tuesday, what’s the point of going the Friday after? No point so done on the 30th is the plan. Yay!

Having spent the past 2 weekends solo at home, it was time for an excursion. I slept late (8:30!) on Saturday so the 1:00 pick up time for Drae came early. We were headed to Omaha for pedicures, lunch, thrifting (both drop off and shopping) and an Aldi run. We had planned to start with lunch but when the salon could fit us in at 2:15, we reordered the day. We hit one Goodwill for drop off but found nothing to buy then had a lovely pedi that was almost 2 hours long. The color I picked is perfect and I left with happy toes. Having eaten nothing since breakfast, I was more than ready for dinner, which was burgers and beer at Farnam House.

My reason for wanting to thrift was my impending sister weekend with Dottie in the Quad Cities area of eastern Iowa. She has already used all the yarn I gave her at Christmas, which was my big suitcase FULL! The plan was to meet in the middle and offload more yarn for her hats for the homeless project. I started collecting acrylic from thrifts as soon as I knew she was out and would add more from my basement and donations from Anne’s stash. But I also want to teach her to harvest yarn from thrift shop sweaters, which are much easier to find than yarn, so I was on the hunt for acrylic sweaters. I found 11 for $10 at the Goodwill we always do best at. Yay! We hit HyVee for strawberries and closed down Aldi at 8:00 so it was a long day but I was happy with all my finds and had no plans outside the house on Sunday.

I slept late again (8:00) and had a lovely day of doing load after load of laundry (mostly sweaters) and hanging them out on the line. Between loads, I neatized the house a bit but mostly knitted and streamed Orange is the New Black, which I finished late Sunday. I did do a quick bit of dyeing – taking the sleeves off of one of the wool sweaters I’d bought and dyeing them as blanks. I also did a small skein of sock yarn with the extra dye the sleeves didn’t absorb. It felt good to dye because I hadn’t done any since last fall. The only cooking I managed to do was a big batch of egg salad, which I’d have to lunches but also had Sunday night for supper since it was all that was ready.

In addition to booking a fun B&B in Rock Island, Illinois for our sister weekend, I also bought my ticket to Rhode Island for after fiscal year end. It’s a good thing I waited because Mary is going to be out during most of the fiscal year close so my busy weeks have shifted a bit later. On another travel note, I dragged my ass deciding on Ireland in October and the knitting trip Anne and I had been considering is now fully booked. Oh well, back to the drawing board for Europe in the fall.

On a closing note, Cindy and I ended the work week watching a video of the Life is Good founders that Anne had sent me. It was very inspirational so here’s the link. Take half an hour and watch it. You won’t be sorry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Week 22 - A Crafty Weekend

What’s not to like about a week that starts with a Monday holiday? Nothing! Then add total productivity and the week was off to an amazing start.

I went back outside again on Monday morning and had the rest of my containers finished by early afternoon. Since the flowers all looked good, I decided it was time to clean up the deck from winter and get the hoses situated. I puttered all afternoon until Heidi arrived with John so he could mow my lawn. Heidi was hosting knitting at her house but I told her I would most likely not be coming because I didn’t want to stop. After she left, I ran over to Lorri’s to water then finished prepping my last raised bed (John had tried again and did a better job but it still needed attention.) With that done, it was time to plant the veggies. I pulled out all my seeds, happily finding that I had just enough to plant this year’s garden, which was a darn good thing because I hadn’t ordered any seeds nor so much as cracked a catalog, which I so should have done when I was home in March. Anyway, I planted everything but pole green beans (I had leftover seeds but hadn’t liked them last year so would look for a new variety) and even mulched – in the beds (or one bed anyway) with the clippings John collected when he mowed and between the beds with non-organic clipping from my neighbor. I was done by 7:20. Yay! Mission accomplished.

Once the gardening was done, it was time to slam through the book for book club on Thursday – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I’d been reading it a few pages each night before bed for a month but had 2/3 of it to go. I thought I’d get right home from PT on Tuesday and start reading but the tech who works with me on Tuesday asked me to look at a tree in her yard and by the time I did that then stopped at my neighbor’s to get her opinion (she’s a horticulture extension educator), I didn’t get home until after 8:00. I had a bowl of cereal for dinner and did get a bit reading in before bed but not enough. Oh well.

The gorgeous weather was hanging around (how nice!) so I read during lunch on Wednesday, took a reading break in the afternoon and then went to swimming. I did almost all of the weight work, using a tiny weight on my left side and seemed fine. Showered and wearing veg clothes, I headed home to read. And read I did for 2.5 hours, finishing just in time to go to bed. But with nothing to read, I struggled to fall asleep. I finally got up at 11:45 and since June 1st started at midnight, I casted on my June socks. Luckily 20 minutes of knitting was all it took and I was able to sleep.

I woke up sore on Thursday morning. Maybe I shouldn’t have done all that weight work in the pool.  I decided to skip swimming Thursday night, which would leave me time to make a decent dinner (I hadn’t eaten one yet all week) before book club. But I was so hungry Thursday afternoon that I ate everything healthy I could find in my desk drawer – almonds, raisins, peanut butter on crackers – so much that I wasn’t hungry so didn’t eat dinner after all. Stupid! At least book club was good with a great discussion that had us surprised when we saw it was 7:55 so we had to pack up. And just one more day until the weekend.

I had 2 meetings on Friday, lunch with Layton at the Chinese buffet followed by a HyVee run for groceries. Add in leaving at 4:00 for PT and the day was over in a flash. Nice. I had no weekend commitments so was planning to hunker down inside with the AC on because summer weather had arrived. 

My goal for Saturday was to put my new loom together and get it warped. I dug some crappy yarn out of the basement and had a few inches of a scarf done before the day was over. Yay!

The heat and humidity were killer but I had a few more things to plant (I was done on the weekend but then picked up just a few more plants on Tuesday at lunch - sheesh!) I went out late Sunday morning and planted the last few pots. I'm trying tomatoes and peppers in pots on the driveway, where they will get more sun than they do in my garden. I was outside for an hour in the shade doing not very taxing work and was absolutely dripping with sweat! Have I mentioned how much I HATE summer in Nebraska? I thought Rhode Island was hot but it's nothing compared to Nebraska. Anyway, I went inside, happily, and spent the afternoon knitting and streaming, which is my summer go to activity.

I began to feel guilty around supper time and got up and got cooking. I had lots of produce to prep and wanted to take the scraps to knitting for Lori's chickens so I got busy. We also were having a food day on Monday so I had to figure something to take for that. I was in the kitchen until bedtime but by the time I was done I had made macaroni salad for food day, stew, tabbouleh, jello, beets, homemade bread, the piece of salmon I'd thawed on Tuesday and Brussels sprouts plus had prepped berries and rhubarb, freezing a bag for pie this coming winter. I had a few pots and pans left in the sink but figured I'd better shower and get to bed since it was after 10:00. 

So I ended the week with my gardening and chores done and a fridge full of food for the week. My last minute burst of productivity helped assuaged my guilt with at having crafted all weekend. I know, I shouldn't feel guilty but it's how I roll. What can I say? : )

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week 21 - Able to Garden

With my evenings all full, now I got to add work being nuts to the equation. Again, better busy than bored.

The complicating factor at work was Nora was leaving for vacation on Wednesday. That lead to a flurry of emails, making my to do list huge. Then in addition to my training classes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, I was in charge of keeping Brook busy while Nora was gone. We were both going to AP training on Wednesday afternoon and I scheduled a one-on-one session in the conference room on Friday afternoon. That meant that half of every day except Monday was fully booked. Then Nora actually left and I got to handle all the calls she normally would and be Mary’s go to for all things Nora would do. She pulled me out of the AP training after only 15 minutes and 2 hours later, we were still in the conference room. Whatever. It all pays and as I’m fond of saying, I’ll do anything but toilets.

At the same time Nora left for vacation, so did my friend Lorri. So on top of my fully scheduled evenings, I had to add watering at Lorri’s house. Just one more thing to add to my evening list every night. I’d be needing some recharge time so it was good that a 3 day weekend was coming.

The forecast for the weekend was rain on Saturday but then nice weather on Sunday and Monday. With this in mind, I planned to do my chores on Saturday and then work outside starting Sunday once the rain stopped. By noon on Saturday, it was clear the rain had and would pass us by but the chores were done so I was still ready for Sunday outside. I did manage to go out late in the day and use my garden weasel to prep one of my veg beds. It was an experiment of sorts to see if it would hurt. It didn’t appear to but I’d wait to see how I felt Sunday morning. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I woke up feeling none the worse for my garden weasel work so went outside first thing Sunday, not sure what I’d tackle first. I had done absolutely nothing outside because by the time my shoulder would allow limited gardening, the weather had turned chilly and rainy so I had lots to accomplish. I started with containers.

Now my normal process for planting the 30 or so containers I do every year is to set up a table in the shade and then fill the wheel barrow with soil, which I mix from the previous year’s soil, sifted compost and peat moss. Well, that wasn’t going to work this year because of my shoulder so I got out my orange rubber garden bucket and did everything in small bits. I’d mix up enough soil to fill it halfway so I could pick it up with just my right hand, pot up as much as I could with that amount and then start again. It actually went faster than usual. I spent all day Sunday outside, finishing about 2/3 of my containers and prepping 2 more of my raised veg beds VERY CAREFULLY.

So, another productive week over. I must have been getting used to my new schedule because I wasn’t exhausted on Friday like I had been last week and was able to power through all the yard work. Clearly my shoulder was on the mend, which took a load off my mind. I had Monday off work to look forward to and another few days of gorgeous weather. All good.

Week 20 - My Summer Routine

Things just all fell into place so that I started a new routine that will take me through the month of May and into June. I’d have busy evenings but it would all work and busy is good, right?

First off, I started a 600/900 calorie week and was happy to do it. What started with gaining a few pounds in Scotland last summer and then a few more over the fall, became a full on OMG situation post-surgery. While I had had plans to eat healthy and try to get exercise when I was home recuperating in March, I see now that that was ridiculous. I was purely in survival mode and when you’re completely disabled and in pain, eating a salad? Not so fun. But being 30 pounds up from my sustained low meant it was time to get serious and lose that weight. With my mind in the game, rotating was easy and the weight started to come off. I’ll be rotating for the foreseeable future but it’s worth it to be heading in the right direction.

On another positive note, with PT only twice a week from now on, I could abandon my early Monday sessions, opting instead for Tuesdays and Fridays at the end of the day. Not starting the week with 7:00 a.m. PT was a gift.

Also on the healthy side, after being told we wouldn’t have water aerobics until early June, it was announced that we would have class after all but in the lap pool so we could use those life guards. While the shallow isn’t ideal for knees, it actually helps with bum shoulders and with my new PT schedule, it meant I could swim Wednesday and Thursdays. It was joyous to be back in the pool! I had to limit some moves and getting in and out of the pool was awkward (try going up a pool ladder and not using one arm – not easy) but my friends were there to help and I managed just fine. I did need help getting my bathing suit pulled up in the back on the first night but they were there for me then too. All good.

The weather was hinky on top of it all. The week started with 2 days of heat and humidity, which I toughed out without putting the AC on. Once the weather broke, the temperature plummeted and it started raining. We got 5+ inches between Tuesday night and the weekend. But after my week of something every night (Monday was knitting, Tuesday PT, Wednesday and Thursday swimming and Friday PT again), I was ready to be home in the house all weekend so the soggy yard was a good excuse. I spent the weekend inside getting chores done and recharging. I ended the weekend in good shape for another week of this new, busy schedule.

As I’m fond of staying, busy is better than bored so I’m going to power through my new schedule. It’s all progress and I’m happy to be back in some semblance of normal. Now to get my gardening started once the ground dries up a bit. Happy summer!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 19 - Semblance of Normal

PT Monday morning was killer since I'd only gotten home at midnight the night before and then had struggled to fall asleep. But somehow I got through the day and headed to knitting with 2 trays of butter tarts from Canada. There were only 3 of us so I sent Heidi and Andrea home with tarts because I had a couple more at home and that was plenty after all the ones I'd eaten in Canada. Because I had just 2 more days and then I'd be rotating again.

Tuesday was an all day IT conference and then Wednesday was jam packed. I had a doctor's appointment at 10:10 after which I hit the market on the way back to campus, a UAAD picnic at noon, a team meeting at 1:00, training at 2:00 and was leaving at 4:00 for PT. Good thing I had been catching up on sleep by then plus the week was more than half over. Nice.

As for the doctor's appointment, it was my 10 week post-surgery follow up and he seemed pleased with my progress and OK'd me for strength exercises at PT only twice perweek going forward instead of three. That was great news because I'd no longer be starting the week with 7:00 am PT. Excellent! I fessed up to the nurse that I'd started taking meloxicam before my Canada trip and the doctor never mentioned it. Big relief! I left with new PT orders and an appointment to see him for the last time the day before I leave for the International Master Gardener Conference in Portland in July. Perfect timing since he'll be releasing me for sure then. I was happy when I left.

I stopped at the market because I was out of milk but I also needed to stock up on produce because I was starting a rotation on Thursday. I was ~30 pounds up from my sustained low of -65. I'd gained some starting with last summer's Scotland trip but had really packed on the pounds the month after surgery when I was home doing nothing. Even when I was more mobile, the lack of meloxicam meant every step hurt so I couldn't do anything to exercise. With my knee much better once I started taking drugs again, I was ready to get moving again and drop the weight. The diet would start Thursday and I got an email Wednesday - the same day the doctor OK'd careful exercise - saying they'd added water aerobics in May. Previously they'd had swimming starting June 5th so I was thrilled to have swimming as an option earlier than that, even if it was in the lap pool. All good.

I was actually excited to lose weight so when Anne and I went to a movie (Their Finest - a period piece about film makers in England during WWII) on Thursday after work, I happily drank water while she ate popcorn. Layton was fine with Chinese on Friday so I ate baked chicken and veggies. Determination makes dieting so much easier.

I was looking forward to catching up on everything over the weekend so made a concerted effort to do any and all shopping before leaving for PT at 4:00 on Friday. I headed to Wahoo with flowers, groceries and cat food ready to get busy.

The only obligation I had was a graduation party for Anne Marie's oldest on Saturday afternoon so I thoroughly enjoyed both vegging and getting things done in between bouts of knitting. I had enough of my to do list done to feel good when I left for Andrew's party, where I ate some cut up fruit and plain pulled pork. When I got hungry later, I boiled up a bunch of carrots and had that, determination again making it easy. When I weighed myself Sunday morning, I was already down 8 pounds. Now half of that was water but I'd take it.

I did many many loads of laundry on Sunday, hanging much of it on the line since it was hot, dry and windy. And I mean hot! It was pushing 90 by the end of the day Sunday, which was too hot too soon. I shut all the windows and blinds before the heat set in and so the house was 78 when I went to bed. After a nice shower and putting fans in the windows, it was fine to sleep. The weather is due to break Tuesday night so I'm hoping to avoid putting the AC on. But I digress....

Once all my chores were done on Sunday, I started prepping produce and cooking, ending the day with a frig full of produce for the coming week and a big bag of scraps for Lori's chickens, which I did drive over and give them that afternoon. Cross that off. I also managed to swap out my winter clothes for summer and found 3 pair of capris that will fit in my fattened state. Hopefully they'll all fit by the end of the month. I enjoyed a night of PBS and knitting to end the week, happy that I was back on track with eating, chores and life in general. Next on the list is gardening, which I'll be doing very carefully and with the help of my friend Heidi's son, who will till up my veg beds after he mows. Now to get some gardening weather instead of premature summer heat we had Sunday. Sheesh!

Week 18 - Canadian Knitting Retreat

It was a 3 day work week for me that was bookended by PT first thing Monday and last thing Wednesday. Between that and spending 2 hours each day training Brook, the work week flew by, which was a good thing because it was all about Sue's knitting retreat in Canada.

I had called Nora while I was still out with my shoulder to ask about taking vacation for the retreat so my guilt kept the trip short. Anne and I were taking a 7:00 am flight out of Omaha on Thursday that would get us to Toronto early enough in the afternoon to rent a car and drive 3 hours north to Southampton. The retreat was Friday and Saturday so we'd be leaving the B&B Sunday morning right after breakfast for a late afternoon flight home. I'd get home at midnight but that meant I could work Monday. Two days of vacation was all my guilt would allow me to ask for.

Anne and I met at the airport and our travel was uneventful. We picked up the car, a Kia Forte, and then had time to kill before meeting Cindy and her friend to share the drive north. We actually sat in the Thrifty garage and knitted until a few minutes before their flight arrived and then headed out. That's when the fun began. 

We could see where we needed to be to meet them but it was one way and we were past it. Thinking there was a ring road, we headed out but the signage was dismal and we ended up on the highway. Every exit we tried lead to yet another highway and we were miles away before we turned on the GPS to find our way back. It was super stressful and we thought the clock was ticking but when we got back to the airport, we got a text that their flight was delayed. Fearful of getting lost again, we sat in the loading area for 1.5 hours, amazed that no one kicked us out like they would in the US. Gotta love those nice Canadians! 

When they finally arrived, we headed north on country roads to Southampton, arriving in time for dinner at a yummy local restaurant. It was great to see Eileen and Gail (hadn't seen them since Shetland last summer) and Sue, who I hadn't see since the last retreat in September of 2015. We also got to meet the 2 Brits - Francoise and Bridget. I knew immediately that I was going to like them. All good.

The retreat was a blast. There were lots of locals who came for the day and 8 of us staying in the B&B, which is run by a woman, Jenny, who is a fabulous host and an amazing cook. My first class was weaving. Yes, I was touching a loom. I knew when I signed up for it that I'd be buying one but I was OK with that. Weaving is MUCH faster than knitting and you know I have some yarn. How's that for an understatement? I took to weaving like a house afire and was instantly hooked. I had signed up for a crochet for knitters class for the afternoon purely because I didn't want to do rug hooking (the alternate class.) Since I could already crochet, I helped a woman who knew nothing. I also popped out periodically to work on my weaving. The day flew by filled with knitting goodness.

That evening we ate dinner at a local restaurant and then had a trunk show (a fashion show of knitted items featuring a specific yarn line) at Sue's shop. I wasn't much interested in the show but did take the opportunity to spend some money on yarn. Now I've been on a yarn diet and have bought no yarn in 2017 except for a few thrift shop skeins, which are always exempt. Travel yarn is also exempt and between the 20% discount we got with the retreat and the Canadian dollar only being worth .75 cents American, everything was super cheap. I loaded up on yarn and bought a 16" loom with an additional heddle for using sock yarn (yup, I've got lots of that) to the tune of $700+. But it was <$500 American after conversion so a fabulous deal. I went back to the B&B for knitting in the common room where we laughed and laughed. Day one was marvelous and Saturday was going to be full of fun too.

After another delicious breakfast and some weaving time, we headed to Bulk Barn with the Brits to stock up on all my faves. From there we went to Sue's to dye sock blanks. These are scarf like things that are knitted with 2 strands so when you unravel them you get 2 identical socks. You can paint them with any pattern you like so I wrote a message on mine just to poke Eileen, who is mortified that my favorite Canadian store is Bulk Barn. We all had fun then met back at the shop, where I bought just one more skein of sock yarn. Couldn't resist.

After a snack lunch of leftover cheese, crackers and fruit, the afternoon workshop was double knitting, which I've always wanted to learn. We sat in the common room and knitted the afternoon away. Dinner was catered in and was delicious. All this time in the B&B meant that I should have packed more comfy clothes but my single pair of black stretchy pants got worn a lot. At least I had fresh t-shirts. 

After dinner, I pulled out the huge suitcase of felted sweaters that I'd brought for Eileen because paying to check a bag was cheaper than shipping plus that gave me a bag to fill on the way home. (Check out her Etsy shop here to see the mittens she makes with them.) It was a little trunk show of my own and Eileen was thrilled with what I'd brought. She even got some orders where people picked out the exact sweater they wanted her to use. After that we sat and knitted for hours and I haven't laughed so hard in ages. It was a wonderful evening but that meant the retreat was over. Quick but fabulous and worth every penny and the travel.

Sunday was all travel. We left the B&B at 10:00 after tearful goodbyes and headed to Toronto. We dropped Cindy and Christine off for their flight then returned the car, having better success navigating the airport once we realized the numbers in the box on the signs were terminal numbers. Other than getting pulled aside by Customs because we'd checked "No Food" and Anne had 2 big bag of Canadian doritos (Humpty Dumpty Snack Mix actually) in the top of her carry on, our travel was uneventful. 

I walked into my house just before midnight, ending the week exhausted but on a high note. I'd had a blast and got to spend time with some of my favorite people while learning new things. I'd also met two new friends and got an invite to Oxfordshire to boot. This weekend adventure is what I live for. Travelling, knitting and friends - life doesn't get any better. Bliss!

Week 17 - Progress and Cold

As with all weeks of late, I started with 7:00 a.m. PT. Talk about a rude awakening to the week! Having to be at PT so early and ready to leave for work from there keeps me on my toes for the start of the week. And it was a busy one that left me exhausted. All good though.

I had something after work every night of the week. Monday was knitting, which is always fun but Erica came over to wind yarn afterwards and we talked until 10:00. It was one of those travelling conversations – talked while she wound in my back room, talked by the back door, talked in the driveway, talked as her car ran with the window open. You know - one of those lingering, fun conversations. I scheduled PT after work on Tuesday because I had a Husker Cats meeting at 5:15 Wednesday and they always run long. This one ran so long that when I went to Aldi afterwards, I was walking out the door when they closed at 8:00. I ran home to unload groceries and make cranberry walnut cole slaw because I had a potluck at Anne’s Thursday evening for one of our water aerobics instructors who is graduating and getting married so it was a bridal shower of sorts. When I left work Friday at 4:00 for PT, I was exhausted and ready for the weekend.

I had started my spring plant buying on Thursday over lunch at the Hort Club sale on East Campus. I didn’t get anything spectacular but still managed to spend $30. I continued with a fundraiser plant sale in Weston (a small town 6 miles west of Wahoo) on the weekend, where they had much more interesting plants but pricey. At least it benefited a school but I had spent $65 total and still needed to buy standards like petunias and such. The weather had turned miserably cold so I planned to wait to buy more. We had hard frost warnings starting Tuesday night, which prevented me from putting out all the lantana and geraniums I’d overwintered before the cleaning lady came on Wednesday. Oh well.

On the shoulder front, I was getting better every day. I even woke up on Wednesday morning on my stomach having rolled while asleep and it didn’t wake me up. I was absolutely sore when the alarm went off but it was worth it. I also found myself using my left arm unconsciously for reaching things and sometimes it didn’t even hurt. Mostly though I’d do something I shouldn’t and I’d stop when it hurt. That’s going to be my life for the foreseeable future but it’s still progress.

The cold, rainy weather lasted through the weekend so I happily stayed inside. My only foray into the damp was Ed’s 70th birthday party at the Vets’ Club on Saturday night. Andrea and I had seen a draft invite but never got an official one so were unsure if we should go but decided to and it was fun. There was tons of yummy food and I got to meet some new people. Otherwise, my weekend consisted of chores and knitting, with an eye towards getting ready for my Canada trip next week. After the busy week I had had, the veg time was necessary and appreciated. I ended the weekend recharged and looking forward to my trip. Nice.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week 16 - Fun with Connie

I started the week exhausted from another night of Drew being up until the wee hours and me waking up each time he used the bathroom or went into his room. The alarm going off on Monday was a rude awakening and then having to fast track my morning routine to be at PT at 7:00 was killer. I went bak home after PT to change and pack a cooler for Drew full of all kinds of homemade goodies and most of the leftovers from Easter. He had sworn he'd be awake when I got home but he was so sound asleep that I had to poke him to wake him up to say goodbye. I left for work happy that he'd come for a visit but also happy to know I'd be going home to an empty house. Nirvana!

But Monday was a long day because Connie was in Lincoln on her way back from Easter in Oklahoma so we met for dinner at Noodles. Her granddaughter Connie was with her and I hadn't seen her since she was about 6 and she is graduating from high school. She is a perfectly pleasant quasi adult and we had a nice time. We ate a Noodles then walked around campus, which was in full bloom and gorgeous, then got dessert in a new bakery in the Haymarket near their hotel. It's always fun to have face time with Connie and going home to an empty house was another bonus. IT was a lovely evening.

Tuesday at lunch I ran down to Yarn Charm to pick up my Knit Nebraska t-shirt, which I will proudly wear on game day Fridays and maybe even to Sue's retreat in Canada. After work, Anne and I went to the movie Kedi at The Ross. It was about the feral cats of Istanbul and was totally enjoyable. This was a slightly earlier night than Monday but I still didn't get home until 7:30. Considering it was only my 2nd week of working full-time, I was getting tired.

I left work at 4:00 on Wednesday for PT and had a pretty disturbing encounter there, experiencing the negative side of small town living. My neighbors have had a bogus drug charge pending on them for 2+ years from when a new neighbor called the cops and told them they were selling drugs out of their house, which was absolutely NOT the case. So the new neighbor, who has living 2 doors down for a few years, also goes to PT and they asked me where I lived from her. When I explained, two of them said in unison, "You live next to the drug dealers?" I immediately started defending my neighbors, who are salt of the earth people who would give you the shirt off their backs, but they were having none of it. They were laughing at my defense, which left me fuming. I was so upset that I had to call Carolyn to vent when I got home. Grrr....

Lorri stopped by later to give me a thank you gift for watering her seedlings while she was away. The plants she'll invariably give me would be thanks enough mind you. Anyway, I vented some more to her and she suggested I call the ACLU. We ended up talking for a long time so it became another long night. At least I was at home and the week was half over. I threw in a load of laundry and went to bed.

It felt like I did nothing but laundry for days. I hung a load out before work on Thursday and while it was dry when I got home, there was bird poop on the bedspread. I also went into the spare room to find that one of the cats (Tot most likely) had peed on the mattress pad on the spare bed, probably because it smelled like Drew. So now I had to wash that too and the new blanket I'd found while thrifting. It took 4 loads of laundry just to get everything washed and the bed remade. Luckily it was good drying weather and the only thing that got bird poop on it in the 2nd round of drying could wait to be rewashed.

Friday was a long day with me prepping training materials for our new analyst who was starting Monday but I left at 4:00 for PT and the weed was done. And other than a haircut at 8:15 on Saturday, I had the whole weekend free. Yee ha! 

I spent a lovely weekend at home getting chores done, knitting some fun new socks and cooking. And when I got the spare bed made up with the freshly laundered linens, I promptly loaded it back up with all the totes and bags of yarn. As part of this, I went through a big tote of clothes, culling some for donation, leaving some to try on later and putting a few in my closet. I also swapped out a few sweaters from my main closet so I'd have room for a few short sleeved shirts to get me through until after Canada when I could worry about pulling out the capris and summer tops. And in amongst all this productivity, I managed to stream season 3 of Shetland so thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Add the progress at PT that was giving me more mobility with my shoulder and it was all good. Now to get ready for Canada.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week 15 - Better Every Day

It was a good week with lots of progress on my shoulder and a visit from my nephew on the weekend.

First with the shoulder milestones. Here’s the list:

  • I was officially brace free on Wednesday. Now I hadn’t been wearing it much during the day but was still sleeping in it so having it completely gone was huge.
  • Other than a brief stint on Tuesday morning, when I went to my recliner out of desperation because I could not find a comfortable position for my last 2 hours of sleep before the alarm, I am sleeping in my bed. Having success for 5 nights in a row means the recliner really is retired. Yay!
  • I’m back to work full time. I do have 3 shorter days because of PT but since I’m only missing an hour of work on those days and will be doing so for months, I’m counting it as full time. With the brace off, I’m actually more comfortable at my desk because it’s a controlled environment. I have a thin pillow under my arm and a folded towel that keeps my arm at the exact right position, all of which means I’m fully functional and typing with 2 hands without a problem.
  • PT is progressing, with new things added on Wednesday that have me moving my arm more and more, albeit with pulleys doing the moving instead of my own muscles. Still, it’s progress.
  • Small victories to add to the list – I can now grab my seatbelt with my left hand to latch (from below instead of above my shoulder but it works) and if the door isn’t opened all the way, I can close it with my left hand. I was also able to put the toilet paper back on the holder because I can pull it with my left hand now. It’s the little things.

My nephew Drew had called to ask if he could come for Easter this year, which he’d once before. I said yes at the time with the warning that I wouldn’t be up for much activity. I considered cancelling but decided against it. His only request was home cooking, which I could handle. I’d also warned him that he would have to move some furniture before he could sleep in the spare room because the chair the recliner replaced is in that room and the bed is covered with yarn totes that are too large for me to move with my bum shoulder. He didn’t seem phased by any of it so his trip was on.

He was due to arrive Friday evening so I made a big pot of sausage and potato soup late Thursday so he could have some whenever he arrived and bought a loaf of my favorite asiago cheese bread from HyVee to go with it. First meal done and he seemed to enjoy it when he arrived ~8:00 on Friday night. Now Drew is a night owl so was up way past my bedtime and then slept until noon on Saturday. That gave me some quiet time and when he got up, I had 2 pies ready to go in the oven. We made plans to meet Helen and Charlie for an early dinner at Farmer Brown’s, which meant we didn’t have time to do much that afternoon so just watched a movie. Helen was running late and Charlie opted out so he dropped Helen at my house and we got the last table in the first seating, enjoying yummy prime rib all around. We dropped Helen at Wal-Mart, where Charlie would pick her up on the way to his niece’s for Easter egg dyeing and we headed home for more Netflix. It was a low key day but worked for me. I headed for bed at my regular time, leaving Drew up watching TV into the wee hours again.

We had a plan to go to Freedom Park in Omaha on Sunday and then antiquing before heading back for a nice Easter dinner, featuring the ham Drew had brought from the butcher shop he works at for one of his 4 jobs. I should mention here that Drew had asked if I wanted any meat from the butcher and I’d checked their website, expressing interest in 2 of the funky brats they sell. Well, Drew arrives with a huge cooler FULL OF MEAT! I’m guessing on quantities here but in addition to the ham, I’d say there were 8 six packs of brats (all kinds), 8 more white wrapped packages of various meats (I have yet to check them all out) and as many packages of sliced meats, including 3 types of head cheese! I put what was still frozen immediately into the downstairs freezer and found room in the already full refrigerator for everything else. I have enough meat to last months. Literally.

Back to Sunday…. I was making a nice breakfast of bacon (from Drew’s haul), pancakes and eggs when Drew got up on his own just before noon. After a nice breakfast, I had to convince Drew of the need to get off the couch if we had any hopes of getting back in time for me to cook dinner. We drove all the way through Omaha to the Missouri river only to find the entrance to the park blocked off. Grrrr… We headed to The Brass Armadillo antique mall on I-80 and browsed (separately) for a couple of hours. Drew found nothing and I got a Blue Q bag (not antique but I love their products) to use for knitting and a 25 cent postcard. Way to kill an afternoon when nothing else is open.

When we got home, I made ham (just a chunk of the enormous, double smoked, boneless ham Drew brought), asparagus, the best mashed potatoes ever and Cracker Barrel biscuits for dinner. Streusel topped strawberry/rhubarb pie was dessert. Yum! I took control of the remote for an evening of PBS and got no grumbling from Drew. Having to be up at 6:00 for work on Monday, I went to bed at 10:00 but struggled to fall asleep and then woke up repeatedly.

While I love my nephew, between the sleep differences and his male obliviousness to cleanliness, I would be happy to have my house back. He was leaving on Monday and while he vowed that he would be awake when I got back from PT to change before work, I had my doubts. Regardless, it was a nice weekend visit and with my shoulder getting better with every passing day, I’d call it a good week. I hope you all had a happy Easter.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Week 14 - Back to Work

The alarm was a rude awakening on Monday morning but I jumped right into the shower, got dressed, made a lunch, ate a quick breakfast and was out the door in record time. This wasn't my normal morning routine but I was afraid if I sat down, I wouldn't get up. I was at work on time, a rarity to be sure, but was disappointed that I was the first one in so no one was there to witness me being there at 8:00. 

It felt good to be back and I got busy immediately with my quarterly reports. It was good that I had those to focus on because I could do them on auto pilot. My head was a foggy mess! I had hoped to make it until 3:00 because I had PT scheduled for 4:00 but only made it until 1:30. I called to see if I could go to PT early and they said I could so I headed straight there and got it over with. After a nice cup of tea and dinner, I was good to go to knitting. Tuesday was another day.

Despite having trouble falling asleep, I woke up at 4:18 and couldn't fall back asleep so got up and knitted until it was time to head to work. I felt remarkably normal and was fully functional mentally at work. I powered through more reports and made it until 3:00, which was progress. Wednesday was also a good day but I did more typing with my left hand and was in pain when I left at 2:00 for PT. I went early again but it worked. Thursday wasn't so good. I hadn't slept well the night before and had done too much typing with my brace off so was in pain again. I was also cranky as all get out so left shortly after noon. I ran a few errands then went home to put my arm up on my pillow and relax, which felt great. By Friday the pain was less, most likely because I brought a pillow for under my arm and tried not to use my left hand when typing. Regardless, I had only been able to get an early PT appointment so left at 2:00, which was only an hour after I'd gotten back from lunch with Layton. Still, not bad for my first week back. I'd gotten my quarterly reports done and worked more than half-time. All good.

I talked turkey with the PT on Friday and only then did it hit me how little I would be able to do. I knew that they'd always said it would take 4 months of PT to get back full mobility but when I asked him where I'd be in a month when I'm in Canada, his response was that maybe I'd be able to lift my arm 2". Two inches! That's when it hit home that I really would be useless for a long time, which meant there'd be no gardening anytime soon. Damn!

Friday night was a surprise birthday party for Erica at the library and I was in charge of ice and the pink lemonade. She was totally surprised and it was fun but quick because I'd made plans to meet Andrea at the Vets' Club for their fish fry at 6:05. Heidi and Donna came too so I had my first ever lenten fish fry with a big mug of beer for dinner. It was a nice end to the work week and I had no plans for the weekend. Perfect!

My only commitment for the weekend was to go out each day to water Lorri's seedlings. This was a good thing because it meant I had to get dressed and out of the house so couldn't just sit and knit all weekend. Between laundry, dishes and general neatizing that was plenty after my first week back at work. 

The weather was finally cooperating with no rain and warm (too warm actually in the low 80's) so when Erica's kids couldn't come over to do yard work, I called Heidi to see if her boys were available. John, her 8th grader, was so I picked him up Sunday afternoon and got him going. He was excruciatingly slow and took almost 2 hours to rake my front yard, which is only about 15x30 feet. It was super frustrating watching him, knowing Erica's son would have had it done in half an hour. After 3 hours I took him home and called Erica to tell her to call when they got back from their vacation. The rest of the work would to wait for Wyatt and Macy. Gladly.

So I made it through my first week back and have scheduled PT for later in the day for the next week. Other than the days I leave early for PT, I'm hoping to at least get back to full-time at work. The shoulder is clearly going to be a long haul to get back to any semblance of normal but I'll keep working at it and do what I can. And I slept 100% in my bed both Friday and Saturday night with no ill effects so I pulled the sheet and pillows off the recliner and am done with that. Progress! It's the little things. : )

Week 13 - My Last Week

Where did the month go? It was my last week at home and while I was feeling better with every passing day, I had gotten absolutely nothing productive done all month. Now I know, I was recuperating but I still thought I'd get something done. Anything! But no. Keeping myself clean and fed was all I got done and now here I was with only a week left. Oh well.

It was another gloomy week and it started out slow with me staying inside starting another pair of socks and having tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. I went out for Monday night knitting, which is always a bright spot in my week but especially this month when I've spent so much time alone at home. On Tuesday Nancy stopped by and I did it up with strawberries and cream, cookies and tea. I needed those two quiet days because I had two busy ones coming up.

I had my 4 week follow up appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday morning and had hoped I could lose the brace and start taking my anti-inflammatory again but both those hopes were dashed. I had to wear the brace for 2 more weeks but at least he took the pillow off, which was attached around my waist so it'd be much more comfortable without it. As for the drugs, I'd have to wait until May 10th, which is the date of my next, and hopefully last, appointment with the doctor. It was also time to start PT, which I scheduled for the parking garage for later that day. I then went to lunch at Green Gateau with Dodie (yummy and fun) then went to work for an hour. I had just enough time to run the quarterly EHS transfer so was actually productive. Yay! I took 2 tylenol and headed to PT.

It wasn't bad. They started me out with heat and some hand exercises (not that my hand had been idle at all with all the socks I knitted) then some dangling exercises before the therapist stretched my arm into positions it hadn't been in in a month. If it hurt, he backed off so it wasn't bad at all and any soreness was nixed by 15 minutes of game ready icing and I was out the door. It was a long day so I was happy to be home. 

I had a dentist appointment first thing on Thursday then headed to Omaha with Lorri for lunch at Panera, where I thoroughly enjoyed a crisp salad and got a free cookie for my birthday. Then we went to the movie Lion, which was a tear jerker and worth seeing. We ran a couple of errands and got Starbuck's for the ride home. I was finally beginning to feel normal, probably because I was doing normal things. That said, I was happy to be home relaxing and with nothing else planned for the rest of the week.

I had skyped with Eileen a couple of times making plans for going to Sue's knitting retreat in early May. I was hesitant to ask Nora for the two days I'd need off but Anne, who was going too, egged me on so I called Nora and she approved it. We'd be making a quick trip of it - flying to Toronto Thursday morning, where we'd meet up with Cindy and her friend to rent a car and drive to Port Elgin for the start of the retreat Thursday night. We'd leave right after breakfast on Sunday to drive back to Toronto and fly home Sunday evening. Quick but that's the only way I could justify going and it'd be fun. No hanging at Eileen's but maybe next year. Anyway, I dinked around online and found us dirt cheap tickets and car. Maybe I should count that as an accomplishment.

While I was talking to Eileen, she mentioned that she'd spent time watching knitting podcasts while she was recuperating from her knee surgery. That brought to mind the Knotty Knit Wits - a podcast I'd heard about from one of the hosts who sent me yarn from Ravelry. At the time, I couldn't fathom watching 2 women I didn't know talk about knitting for 2 hours at a pop. Well, after a month at home facing gloomy weather and a gimpy arm, it was perfect. I spent the next three days watching episode after episode and knitting  up a storm. 

On Sunday I finally started getting ready for work. I cleaned my thermos and got my book bag ready to go, put the coffee pot on autobrew and set my alarm. Yikes! That was going to be a rude awakening, especially from my recliner. I would only be starting back part-time but I was ready to do more than sit at home and knit. I'd made 3 pairs of socks and worked on several other projects but it was time to get back to reality and I was looking forward to work.

I was also SO grateful for all the help I got from my friends. They dropped food, helped me with dishes and folding laundry, neither of which I could do in my sling, drove me around and kept my spirits up. My sister called almost every day too and there were daily Chronicles of Rosie postings from my cubie mates. If this month taught me anything, it's that I'm loved and have a wonderful support system. I am truly lucky and life is good! Now to get on with the PT and getting my mobility back.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 12 - A Voluntary Recluse

So, week 3 at home. It ended up to be another week like the last one - busy at the beginning but this one ended with some antsy days inside with dreary weather out.

My friend Nancy, whom I hadn't seen in ages (could it be almost a year? I think so), came over to hang out on Monday. The plan was to order pizza for lunch and then catch up. We were thwarted on the pizza delivery (not available at lunch) so had to go get it but it was worth it (delish!) and then we had a lovely afternoon of chatting and knitting in my back room. She didn't leave until 4:30 and I had knitting at 6:00 at the library so it was a full day. So full that I was exhausted at bed time and so decided to try to sleep in my bed for the first time. Shock of all shocks I was able to fall asleep. Yay! Not so much when I woke up all creaky and in pain in the wee hours and headed back to the recliner. Probably not the best idea to try my bed the night before my busiest day since surgery. Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Tuesday was the big day of driving to Lincoln for the first time for lunch with my work friends. I got there just early enough to hit my 2 favorite thrifts and pick up books at the Library Commission before meeting them at Honest Abe's for big, drippy burgers. Of course it was drizzling and I couldn't find a parking spot but it was great to see them. Faced with the greasy burger, I took my brace off to eat but put it right back on when I was done. I passed an art supply store on the way back to my car and couldn't resist buying a picture I saw in their window to brighten my day. It was spring break so I drove to campus and parked illegally behind my building so I could  visit with Mary and Nora while they ate the take out Cheryl had brought them. I then made the rounds on 4th floor. It was good to see everyone but my energy was waning and I still needed to hit the market. I got home at 4:00 and had just put the groceries away (everything takes longer with only one arm) when Darla stopped by at 4:30. We hung out and chatted for a couple of hours. So many friends in one day! I was feeling the love.

Needless to say, I was exhausted on Wednesday. Denise from the library emailed that she needed a check immediately and offered to pick it up on her way to work. I jumped at that so that I wouldn't need to get dressed and out the door. I spent the morning watching daytime TV in my nightie and knitting away. I did get dressed eventually but only to sit and knit some more. I was fine with a low energy day after my busy 2 days. My stamina was still sub par but that's what healing is all about I guess.

Unfortunately I slept like crap that night and woke up with feet like ice cubes at 5:30 a.m. I got up to try and get warm and and ate breakfast but was so tired after a couple of hours that I had to go back to bed. I slept until 11:00 so my morning was toast. Oh well. By this point, I wasn't wearing my brace when I was in my house so wasn't minding being home. I had yarn to mail and missed the mail pick up so had to head out to the post office that afternoon but since I had book club at 7:00, I had to get dressed anyway. I headed to book club for a lively conversation on The Sixth Extinction, which I had only finished that afternoon after a marathon reading session.

When I had talked to Cindy last week, I had told her I was a week away from being able to enjoy any part of being home. Well, at some point since then, I seemed to have skipped right past the enjoyment. It didn't help that the weather was gray and dreary EVERY SINGLE DAY and that my desire to stay home so I could not wear my brace was keeping me inside. I was getting cranky and felt like I was missing out. Now I could tell myself that I was at home to heal not to have fun but I had hoped that I would get some enjoyment out of being home and that was clearly not happening. Despite talking to friends and family, having all the time in the world to knit and even having season 2 of Outlander DVD's to watch from the library, I was antsy and not satisfied not matter what I did. Grrr..... I decided that a nice pasta dinner with wine might help so \rummaged around and made leek and pancetta pasta in a parmesean basil sauce (found a can of that in the cupboard) and had it with a glass of 3 Buck Chuck. You would think I'd drunk the whole bottle from the buzz I had. Sheesh!

Maybe the wine was why I decided to try sleeping in my bed again. I got all situated - wedge pillow with regular pillow on top, 2 pillows propping up my braced shoulder and another under my knee. It wasn't conducive to reading so I struggled to fall asleep but eventually did. I woke up in the wee hours and rolled onto my side (brace up) and fell back asleep. When I woke in the morning, I was shocked that I'd made it all night. I was also creaky and as the day progressed, I had some pain like I hadn't had in awhile so I can't say it was a complete success but still felt like some kind of progress. I'd be back in my recliner for a few more nights but this gave me hope.

Despite feeling creaky, I got up Saturday and picked up the house because it had become a pit in the past few self imposed hibernation days. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, folded the small load of laundry I'd done that was strewn across the couch and did a general neatize. I even managed to do a few pots and pans very carefully (I did crack one bowl) by bracing each thing in the corner of the drainer to wash it. When it was all done, I was tired and sweaty but at least the house was more pleasant. Now watch - no one would pop by just because I'd gotten everything back in order.

Lori, Andrea and I were meeting at the cafe in Mead at 1:15 for their belated birthday lunch. I had declined an after lunch Omaha run with Andrea (more time at home without my brace on, thank you very much) so we all drove separately. We had a nice lunch, presents were exchanged and we even split a piece of pecan pie 3 ways. After a lovely time, I went home to find a get well box from my friend Eileen, who knows me so well. It had sock yarn, a vintage tablecloth with baskets of kittens embroidered on it, some l'Occitane toiletries, a pin from the V&A (from her trip to England) and 2 packages of my fave candy OMG's, which are only available in Canada. YUM! Yet another example of the wonderful friends I have.

It was Sunday again and I couldn't believe I'd already been home for 3 weeks. With only one more week of recuperation in store, it was time to start getting back into some kind of routine. The house was all picked up so no chores needed doing but as usual, because the kitchen was all squeaky clean, I felt the need to mess it up again. I started by cleaning out the fridge, which resulted in a bunch of old produce for Lori's chickens, which I drove out to Lori's place immediately. For dinner I made cheesy baked cauliflower with cornbread and ham. Yum! I'd been eating out of the freezer for so long that it felt good to cook something new.

That brought week 3 to a close. I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by. I've been doing a bit more each week but am still not at 100% and don't think I will be even close at the end of week 4. I can only hope that when I see the doctor again this coming week that he'll say I can lose the brace for good. Whether that's the case or not, I know I will start PT, which Donna says is very painful - like taking pain pills again painful. Whatever. There's no point in stressing over it now. I'm still in getting through each day mode and have let go of the fantasy that I'd enjoy this month off. Don't get me wrong - there have been some lovely times but the enjoyable veg time I anticipated hasn't come to pass. Damn body! I have a few busy days coming up again this week and need to try and get back to more normal sleep times so I can get up for work on the 3rd. I don't know if I'll be full-time day one but I at least need to try. Just one more week. Wish me luck for continued progress on the healing front. There's no hope for the weather with more clouds and rain forecast for the entire week. At least the daffodils have started to bloom. 

Week 11 - Making an Effort

The theme for my second week at home was doing something, anything to keep busy. After my successful driving on Saturday, knowing I could get in the car and go was a big help.

I started the week making pie. For all those people who thought I was nuts when the last thing I did before going to bed the night before my surgery was roll 2 pie crusts - HA! Those crusts were the basis for 2 pies for Pi Day. I was still wearing the brace full time and so couldn't make a fancy edge but with frozen fruit and a simple crumb top, my ugly but delicious pies were a big hit. I brought blackberry peach to knitting on Monday night and there was a strawberry rhubarb for actual Pi Day.

Tuesday afternoon I did my first distance drive to visit Darla at work. UNL's Ag Research & Development Center is east of Wahoo and so it took me ~20 minutes to drive to Darla - a bit on the highway but mostly on gravel roads. I'd never visited her at work there so brought my pie and stopped in. Her co-workers were all appreciative of the treat and I got to see Darla's office. It was also the perfect intermediate distance to drive. All good. I was exhausted after only being gone less than 2 hours but still - I got out of the house and talked to people. I had Ed, my friend Donna's husband who does handy work for me once in awhile, stop by to pick up a couple of pieces of pie on his way home from work. It's good to keep Ed happy. : )

Wednesday was a busy day. The cleaning lady was coming at 9:15 and even post-surgery, I couldn't deal with the guilt of watching someone clean my house so I got out of Dodge before she came. I went to the library and hung out there until she called to say she was done. I had my Kindle to stream and my knitting so just perched in a chair the whole time, which was as comfy as being at home. I needed to rest up because I had to go out again that night for Jan's husband's funeral. 

I put on real clothes for the first time since surgery (there was some painful wrangling to get the jacket on but I survived) and I met Lori there (she was supposed to pick me up but had such a horrible cold that we figured it wouldn't be healthy for me to be in her car so I drove myself) at 5:30. It was a mob scene but we had a chance to chat with Jan and then I picked up Chinese food (I'd had a hankering for fried rice of all things) and headed home for the night. I was pretty tired so slept like a rock that night.

Having been so busy every day so far, I took it easy for the next couple of days. I did run to the market on Thursday afternoon and did a drive up pick up of a reuben sandwich that the local nursing home had as a fundraiser for St. Patrick's Day lunch but otherwise laid low. I was so desperate to be outside in the gorgeous weather that I picked up sticks in the backyard because it was all I could do with one hand. Whatever it too to not be bored and feel minimally productive. I ended the day Friday with a delicious turkey dinner courtesy of my freezer. Nice.

Saturday was a big day with our spinning (wool not bikes) meeting in Fremont and I'd agreed to go if Andrea drove. But I had a brain storm that morning - if I drove, it would be a test for whether or not I could drive longer. I called Andrea to say I'd drive and off we went. The meeting didn't go very long so after only 1.5 hours of knitting with my brace on, we headed to Goodwill and then home. I drove just fine, even with being there a couple of hours. That meant I was ready for a trip to Lincoln. Yay!

I tried to have a relatively normal Sunday, which is chore day for me. I put a load of sheets in the laundry because it was finally a sunny day and I figured Lorri would stop by after church and so could hang them on the line for me because being unable to get my left arm up makes it pretty darn difficult to hang laundry. They weren't quite done when she stopped by but she waited and got them on the line for me. It's good to have friends. I could easily get them in but folding them wasn't an option either. At least they were in the house by the end of the day and smelled great.

So week #2 was successful. I was making an effort to get out of the house, even if it meant I needed a nap once I got back. There had been a rare couple of sunny days so I'd had some deck knitting and by the end of the week, I was even able to take my brace off for brief periods of time when I was in the house, which helped to ease stiffness in my neck and back. I was very careful to keep my elbow supported on a pillow and still not use my arm at all but it still felt like progress. Two more weeks to go!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Week 10 - First Week Home

It was so weird to be home but since I was taking drugs, there are big holes in my recollection. Here are a few highlights.

Drugs - ick! I took my last oxi on Monday morning. I wasn't in tons of pain and the side effects were just not worth it. I switched to tramadol and took my last of that on Wednesday morning before I went to the doctor to have my stitches out. From there is was only Tylenol, which did take the edge off. As long as my arm was in the brace, I wasn't really in pain. All good.

OMG! Only having one arm is hard! Everything takes so much effort - going to the bathroom for instance. Try it with one hand. Just try it. Sleeping in the recliner. Also a bitch. I slept great while I was stoned but once I switched to Tylenol, I had more trouble. I'd wake up in the wee hours uncomfortable, not my shoulder but more from not being able to move. Or I'd wake up hot because the recliner is like an oven. I would be awake, tired, uncomfortable and hungry, which often lead to being awake for awhile, reading or playing online, and eating in the middle of the night. Not good. The time change didn't help. After being awake for an hour or two in the middle of the night, I would fall back asleep and luckily get several more hours in, most days not waking again until 8:00 or 9:00 even.

After the first shower that Lorri helped with, I was able to take them carefully on my own. It hurt to have the brace off but was worth it to get clean, especially after sleeping in the recliner. I was eating fine, mostly from the freezer but Andrea dropped me some yummy curried chicken salad one morning that was delicious. I was enjoying tea every afternoon, which helped chase away the gloom from the dreary, cold weather. I was spending ridiculous amounts of time online and knitting.

Enough talk about logistics. Here's the good stuff when I actually got out of the house.

My first foray into the world was when Donna took me to the doctor on Wednesday morning. My appointment was at 10:15 so I took Donna to breakfast beforehand at Cook's Cafe for waffles and sausage. Yum! I was out in public without a bra, which felt super weird and very "people of WalMart" but the brace hid it well enough I think. After the doctor, we went to HyVee and I picked up a few groceries, including the things I hadn't bought on purpose. I had thought that not having ice cream would work but I found myself eating lots of other things because I wanted ice cream and didn't have any. Chips too. So those things bought, we hit the bread store before heading home. I survived but had to take a nap that afternoon. All good.

I drove myself to downtown Wahoo on Saturday and lived to tell. I went to the market and picked up a book and some DVDs at the library. Later that night, I took a walk around the block and did it again on Sunday evening. It was bitter cold and my hideous cape didn't keep me very warm but at least I was moving. Progress in my book.

So that was my first week. As I said to Cindy on one call (I called work most days), I was still a week away from being able to enjoy any part of being home. But I was better every day and not in pain as long as the brace was on, which was ALL THE TIME. One week down, three to go. At least the weather was supposed to get warmer. I was looking forward to that.