Tuesday, July 29, 2008



The tree is down.

On Saturday, Andy felled the part that was stubbornly stuck to the trunk. It was a longer task than we expected with that piece just not wanting to fully detach itself from the trunk it had been a part of for so many years.

What amazes me most is how much EVERYONE who knew about the tree wanted to have a piece of it. I don't mean they all wanted the firewood, which some did, but that everyone wanted to help take it apart. They wanted to help with the lopping, the chopping and the chainsawing. Especially the chainsawing.

There's something really satisfying about all that hard, physical labor to rip something apart and control it and deep down everyone knows that.

Now the question is, who of our friends wants to tackle the rest of the tree that's still up in the sky? We're willing to give up that part to someone else :-)
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Just like a professional athlete

My doctor injected cortisone into the peroneal tendon sheath in my ankle today. The process itself was no big deal but I did have some pain from the shot this afternoon. A little ice, a little ibuprofen and that feels ok. Now, I wait for the tendon pain to go away. Which it's going to do in another 1-2 days as the inflammation subsides.

It better, because we're leaving for vacation on Saturday. Deep Creek Lake, here we come!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tendons are intact

Visited the doctor yesterday and found out there are no tears in my ankle tendons. That means there's no good reason for the pain and swelling I've been feeling! Just kidding. There is a lot of inflammation which is causing the pain but there's no significant cause for the inflammation. Treatment is to continue resting it (including wearing the boot) and taking anti-inflammatories. Another option is to get a cortizone injection to cut down on the inflammation which should lessen or get rid of the pain.

My plan is to rest and wear the boot as I have been through next week. On Tuesday of next week, I'll get a cortizone shot to hopefully get me through vacation the following week with little or no pain. The doctor thinks the shot will help me be able to do light hiking and other vacation activities as planned. Let's hope!

I can get up to 2 courses of cortizone and hopefully that will break the cycle of inflammation and pain. If it doesn't, I will continue to rest it and use anti-inflammatory medication as needed. Exploratory surgery is an option but we're a long way from considering it a viable option.

Because there are no tears, I'm no more likely to damage anything by playing through the pain than by playing when I have no pain. So... you can see that there's a darn good reason I first put in writing that I plan to rest my ankle as directed. Proof that I'm going to do that this time. Really. I mean it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guess what wii got?


Andy got lots of cardiovascular exercise boxing against a cartoon on the TV!
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fallen tree

We've made great progress on the tree. It's hard work, especially in the heat we've had here the past week, but it's been fun.

This first picture was taken from the back porch on the day the tree fell. All of those leaves you see are the top of the tree facing the house instead of the sky.

This picture was taken from the tomato garden to the left of the back porch on the day the tree fell. Only the top 1/4-1/3 of the tree is shown.

This picture was taken from the steps off the back porch, same perspective as the top picture but from closer, between the posts, today, ten days after the tree fell. [Editor's note: Yes, we know, there are a LOT of commas in that caption.]
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Friday, July 18, 2008

The eyes of a doctor

Today I had an MRI of my ankle. The technician wouldn't give me any info (I know she's not supposed to but I asked anyway) and the radiologist wasn't in when I was at the office. My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon is on Tuesday so I won't hear a thing about the results of the MRI until then. That's a long time to wait, knowing that someone, somewhere knows what's up with my ankle and what we need to do next.

So what's a girl to do? Search the Web and pretend to be a doctor, of course! This site is great for looking at MRI images of a normal ankle. By comparing my films to the images on that site, I was able to pick out which views were which on my films and I could see my peroneal tendons (peroneus brevis and peroneus longus, to be exact) in some of the views. As far as I could tell, they looked just like the pictures of the normal ankle. However, the text I was reading at that site and others mentioned all sorts of things I should be noticing about "low signal" and "normal pockets of fluid" that meant nothing when I actually looked at the films.

How many images must a person look at before feeling confident that they know what's normal and what's not? And how does someone know what to look for in each part of the body? Even if I saw 50 images of ankles and started to have a feel for what's normal and what's abnormal, what if someone showed me an elbow or a head or a gut? I would be back to square one, knowing that I didn't know anything instead of just thinking that after 50 images I had some sort of a clue.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to me

I'm 36 today! Still in my mid-30's but aiming toward 40. Although so many of my friends are 40+, it just doesn't seem like a big deal anymore.

When Andy turned 30, THAT was a big deal to me. I was only 24 so you can imagine how OLD 30 seemed. It's that first "big something-0" birthday because the "big 2-0" means nothing, what with the "big 2-1" on the way.

So, yeah, I'm fine with turning 36.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Zora the Explorer


This is a picture of Zora on our couch. On Friday and Saturday, she was a 'fraidy cat, staying under Kevin's bed unless we spent a long time coaxing her out. Now, she's a professional explorer walking around the living room, getting up on the couch, walking through the kitchen and hopping up on our bed (this morning for the first time.) She feels safe with each of us but now also seems to feel safe in general in a few rooms of our house. Safe enough to start exploring the rooms we haven't previously given her access to.
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

A new member of the family

Our 3-year catless streak is coming to an end! Meet Zora:

This is the shelter's picture of her. Kevin and I will bring her home from the shelter tomorrow afternoon so that she can have the rest of Friday plus all day Saturday and Sunday to get used to us and our house before we all head to work on Monday.

If a tree falls when nobody is home...

...does anyone hear it?

We lost half of one of our large maple trees in the back yard. There was no storm, no wind - we don't know why it chose yesterday to fall over.

It's pretty big!

Fortunately, it didn't hit our house but it was close - within a few feet of our porch. One of Kevin's swings was in it and one bird feeder, but only our clothesline got taken out by the fall.

The portion of tree that fell over provided most of our back yard shade. We have other large maples back there, but this was in the middle and covered the main area of our yard. I suspect we'll be able to grow grass there better now, but it won't be cool and shady anymore.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

In Search Of Creative Exercise Ideas


While my ankle must be immobilized because of peroneal tendon damage, I can either a) become a seriously grumpy pain in the rear from no exercise or b) find a way to exercise that doesn't allow my foot to move much, if at all, and boosts my heart rate.

Anyone have any ideas? Comments are wide open - please use them liberally.
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Thursday, July 03, 2008


It turns out, country music does sound better in a pickup truck.

Last night we borrowed a friend's Ford F-150 flare-side 4x4 pickup to transport our new refrigerator from the store to our house. Andy took care of that but this morning I was the one who drove the truck to drop Kevin off at camp and take the truck back to our friend's house.

Shewwwwee! That is a big, honkin' truck. There were no other vehicles on the road (I didn't see any tractor trailers) that were taller than me. After dropping Kevin off at nature camp, I pulled out of the land conservancy property wanting only to jerk the wheel to the side and plow through the hilly fields of tall grass - just because I could have!

Since getting rid of my (much smaller) truck and driving the car regularly, I've come to love the car. It fits me well and handles great. It responds quickly, which a large vehicle can't.

However, I proved this morning that you can take the girl out of the truck but you can't take the truck out of the girl.

Penny-wise and Pound-foolish (or is it pound-wise and penny-foolish in our case?)


We spent oodles of money on this fridge only to say, "No way we're paying you $65 to deliver and install it!" And then we spent HOURS of time and GALLONS of sweat trying to get it into our house and we still ended up with the same number of dings and scratches on it that we would've if we'd paid someone else to do it while we watched, drinking margaritas.
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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

If only you knew more of what I do for the environment, you'd understand!

I try to be nice to the environment. We use organic products in our yard and garden, I clean with old socks and t-shirts instead of paper towels, I buy large containers of food and repack it into smaller reusable containers myself, I buy environmentally-friendly cleansers, I recycle, I occasionally ride my bike to the grocery store, I don't drive over 65 mph to get better gas mileage, I turn off the dishwasher when it hits the dry cycle...

But this week, I - consciously - decided to be less environmentally-conscious by buying pre-packaged fruit cups and juice boxes to easily pack Kevin's lunch for nature camp since I'd like the summer off from the ugh-inducing task of packing a healthy, filling and environmentally-sensitive lunch and this one week didn't seem to be a big deal. In fact, I smiled as I pulled the shrink-wrapped package of 10 foil-lined juice boxes off the sale shelf at Giant on Sunday, imagining myself plopping a box in Kevin's lunch box and quickly moving on to the rest of my day.

Yesterday morning I dropped Kevin off for his first day of nature camp. The counselor who checked him in gave me a piece of paper and said, very politely, "We're trying to have the kids eat trash-free lunches this week. On this paper are some tips for doing that like using re-usable plastic containers instead of foil and plastic bags and bottles of water that can be refilled..."

Thank you for raining on my easy-pack-lunch parade.