Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Memoriam

My little Bearded Dragon, Miller died today. She was getting old, nearly ten. Beardies live an average of 10-12 years. Though she was slowing down some in recent weeks, she still was eating and even ate some green beans and blueberries last night. I covered her up around 9 pm and she was being her usual stinker self and scratching around before settling down for the night. Then this morning she was limp and lifeless. I picked her up and she was floppy, when usually she would scratch at me trying to get a grip because she always felt like she was going to fall if she didn't have her feet securely on something. But today, she just hung there in my hand.

I put her down, poked and prodded hoping to stir some signs of life, but there were none. She was even a pretty gold and yellow color like when she is feeling especially chipper. It's a good thing that my son, Jason was here because I started bawling my head off. Some would think that is a big goofy since it's only a lizard, but she was my little friend.

She loved to watch television, especially the talk news shows like Chris Matthews. The minute she heard my husband come in the door she would go to the side of the tank that faced the tv screen and get ready for him to turn it on. She also loved to watch basketball and other fast-moving sports. She loved Whitney's flute playing, and bobbed her head in happiness to the tunes. She loved to sit by the screen door and look outside. But when I took her outside she liked to sit more on my chest because she feared birds. Her favorite things to eat were green beans and each week I would buy a handful of fresh beans at the grocery store. Well, Jon had to do that while I was laid up. Jon was feeding her blueberries each day, and she loved those, too. And another favorite was eating dried meal worms right out of the jar. I will post some pictures of those after my other son Jeff loads them into my computer for me.

I won't be getting another Beardie. Another one won't replace Miller anyway. I'm glad that Jeff brought her home to us back in 2002. Her original owner didn't want her anymore and gave her away to Jeff. Jeff brought her home to me and I can't say that it was love at first sight. I was a bit nervous to even go near a reptile. But eventually, Miller and I became great friends and she trusted me the most of anyone. I will really miss that little creature.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Steak and Shake milkshakes are the best

Yesterday after therapy Jon and I stopped at Steak and Shake for dinner. Haven't been there in so long, and I know eating out is bad but I had a craving for a large, thick milkshake from there. I also got an order of mini flavor bite burgers. They are similar to Burger King's Burger Bites (which I crave often) but these at Steak and Shake come in different flavors, Chipotle, A-1 Steak Sauce, BBQ, Frisco, and regular ketchup and mustard. Since they come three to a meal I got the Chipotle, A-1 and ketchup and mustard. I love their very thin cut French fries they serve with their burgers here. And I got a vanilla milkshake to go with.

Jon got the usual hamburger and fries and a chocolate shake. He got two sides to go with his meal and he got a strange combo...baked beans and chili. Two things with beans. Oh well...at least it's fiber! LOL! He had said that he shouldn't eat that stuff since he is trying to lose weight, but after going in there and smelling the good burger smells and seeing the menu for the milkshakes, he couldn't help himself. My bad for sabotaging his desire to eat better.

We won't be making a habit of going to Steak and Shake to eat, but it's fun once in awhile.

On a positive note . . .

I am FINALLY making progress with my foot! I've been going to this new place called Accelerated which is located the next town over, but is well worth going over there for. My physical therapist, Jill is great. She does massage first and gets things all loosened up and then I go through a series of exercises, then she finishes up with electrical stimulation where they put these electrodes in certain places on the foot and then wraps it in an ice pack for about 20 minutes. The last steps do a great deal to manage the pain.

The couple of new exercises I did yesterday were so painful. I felt like I was going to pass out at one point. But as I kept doing it, it actually got better. The foot has to get used to feeling stuff again, and it's going to hurt in the process. The more I do these exercises, the stronger and better the foot feels.

At first, because it's all tightened up it hurts a lot, but gets better as I go along. It still hurts, but has eased up tremendously.
I'm really excited also to be attempting to walk using only one crutch. I practice this a few times a day and it's getting better each time. I am determined to walk on my own by next month!

I want to be able to drive again and go out with friends, or alone and shop at my favorite places and be able to take my time. Jon has been great to take me out when I want to go, and he takes me out to eat often, etc. but when we go to the store it's in and out...get what you want and pay for it is the way he likes to shop. Most women like to browse around and see if we run into something cool to buy. Most men don't care about that. They know what they want, see no need to shop for other stuff they don't need, and get out.

I'm hoping that my sister can come out and take me somewhere next weekend. I miss visiting with her since we always have a good time when we are together. I can't go shopping for a long period of time, but just to a store or two and lunch would be awesome.
And I am really looking forward to taking a walk down the street, and then around the block. It's something how we take walking for granted. I never will again after going through all this the past year. And will be very careful to keep myself in shape, good nutrition and exercise so I can enjoy my "golden years" to the fullest.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Athletico sucks

I've been suffering in tremendous pain the past few days till I was able to get a refill of better pain medication. The problem is that I got sidetracked from therapy before I even got started because of some power-hungry bitch office manager at Athletico who thinks she owns the company and will not even follow their own rules just so she can be right.

After my first visit, which I wrote about in a post below, she was supposed to fax in the evaluation paperwork and then follow up with a phone call the next day, which is what she has told both me and my husband in the past that she does automatically. However, someone dropped the ball again over there and no approval was ready the day of my next appointment so had to be canceled, and I am left hanging without being able to walk!

I called over there to find out and she told me "it is against company policy for me to call the insurance company". I was like WHAT? That is ridiculous. They have to be in communication with the insurance companies if they want to make sure things are going ok, if there is a mistake, an oversight, or other problems. They need to keep in touch with insurance companies if they want to get paid. That is why the insurance companies have phone numbers! AND she has made phone calls before. She is being a bitch now for whatever reason...probably because my husband has gotten involved in making her do her job in a timely manner.

She was quite snotty on the phone and she was like "corporate this and corporate that" as if that is the most divine and impermiable institutions on the planet. She gave me a phone number to call of this Geri person who is probably a friend, and she said that was corporate's number. Jon called and no, it is not corporate's number. It is a number of a person in another office is all. So, he DID call corporate, the real one and they were supposed to get back to him in a little bit last Thursday, and no, they did not.

In the meantime, I made an appointment with another place who says they know how to deal with insurance and said I shouldn't be having all these problems and say I wont with them. (So they say now...we shall see.) I have to start ALL OVER AGAIN on Tuesday with an evaluation and then start my regular therapy on Thursday. I see the doctor on the 6th of April who expects me to have about four weeks of therapy completed. I am going to call on Monday to explain things and to see if I can get some more drugs because this thing hurts so incredibly bad. It's on par with the pain of my back before I had spinal fusion in November...only isolated to the foot, so isn't as bad overall, just more condensed and confined to one area. But the pain had me so sick to my stomach the other night I could not eat or drink anything.

I called Athletico and asked the office manager bitch for my script from the doctor AND for a copy of the evaluation. She says she can give me my script back but not the eval. I told her that I have had enough medical stuff to know that I have legal right to my records and she better have a copy of it. So, when Jon goes there to get my script, guess what? She must have been hiding and she only left the script there, and no copy of the eval they had already done. So tomorrow, I am calling to get copies of ALL my records from there so I can transfer it to this other ortho rehab place and they better not give me any crap. We are already putting together a letter to send to Athletico's corporate offices and will consult an attorney if need be.

This is totally unreasonable and unprofessional and shows they don't give two hoots about their patients. I have been to other therapy places in the past and they know they are going to get paid. They schedule my appointments and I never have to worry about what goes on between them and the insurance company.
I only went to Athletico because it's five minutes away from where I live. Easier on Jon, easier on me to get around. However, closer wasn't better, in this case anyway.

All I want is to get going so I can walk again. At this point, I feel like that never will happen, but common sense tells me that I will be walking again and this will all be in the past in a few months. Hopefully.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Michael Flatley

I LOVE Irish dancing and River Dance, Lord of the Dance, etc. Michael Flatley's awesome, even though he is a wee bit full of himself.

Michael Flatley Lord of the dance finale

Therapy - Day one

I went to therapy for my ankle/foot yesterday. I went to the same place I always go, but requested the last guy I had while my regular therapist was off getting married. He knows his stuff a lot better and stays focused on what he is doing instead of chatting it up with other people in the room instead of paying attention to the person who is paying $350 an hour to be there.

My therapist's name is Brad, and he is a young guy, looks way too young to have a wife and three kids, but he says he is in his mid-thirties. He looks about 25, very thin and doesn't look strong enough either to be a therapist. Anyway, like I said, he knows his stuff and had attended one of the best orthopeadic schools in the country.
After taking some measurements, Brad says that my ligaments and tendons are all very tight, and especially where they connected one tendon to another tendon. That's going to take some work.

And as for stepping on the foot, all I can do is to do these weight-bearing exercise several times a day where I stand with the crutches and just sway back and forth from one foot to the other. He says it's going to take a long time to be able to walk with no pain, so much just be patient, keep doing my exercises and just plodding along. As for the other things, I will be getting massage treatments, stimulation and ultrasound to try to get the pain to settle down, and also to help the feeling come back to the outer side of the top of my foot. It's a mess, but with diligence and patience all should be functioning well in a few weeks. My problem is that I want to walk NOW dammit!

Jon and I went out to our favorite restaurant last night for dinner after therapy. Burrito Loco and I got a veggie baby burrito that has potatoes, rice, beans, cheese and guacamole in it. And they call it a baby burrito and it's HUGE. Their regular-sized burritos are the size of footballs, I kid you not. And one regular burrito could feed a family of four, easily. But Jon can eat one by himself, but he is a big man. Not fat (except for his gut), but BIG. 6'4" and strong as an ox. He can lift the front of my son's Mitsubishi by himself, carry in whole sheets of drywall without help, etc. Yep, despite his arthritis problems and aches and pains, he is a very strong man.

He is still over-protective of me...more than usual anymore and now that I am able to do more and more by myself he can let up a little bit but he is reluctant...paranoid about me. Though he is tired, I think he likes taking care of me. He's always been my "Rottweiler" (only way I can think of to describe it) and is quite protective and wants to be near me all the time...which is sweet, too. He is especially protective of me hurting my back right now. He helps me go up and down the stairs by practically lifting me at each stair and I told him he is going to end up hurting himself, and he says not to worry about him...but I do.

When we got home Jeff was cooking his stinky garlic stuff that him and Whitney love...(and if you two are reading this no offense), but I cannot appreciate the smell from that. I need Pepcid just breathing the air. Soon their kitchen will be done and they can cook in their own area and probably will still get a whiff of it up here, but not strong like now. They are VERY healthy eaters and have so much self-control. They eat a lot of greens, tofu, beans, rice and grains. They have a smoothie nearly every morning before work (and I hear the blender every morning at 4:30 and then 6 -- yawn!) But I'm glad they take care of themselves. If they continue to take care of their health, and keep exercising they will not look like Jon and I when they are in their 50s and hopefully won't have the problems we have had, either.

Jeff and Whitney plan on running the Chicago half-marathon in June. I think Jason may join them for that one. All three of our kids are quite athletic. Jason lifts weights, and he runs. Jeff and Whitney swim and bicycle and run. Mary runs when her foot isn't bothering her...she also goes to the gym whenever she can.
I've lost a lot of weight since a couple years ago...nearly 70 pounds now and am not needing to lose any more, just have to build muscle now as I look like a flabby grandma with all this loose skin. I hate the flappy arms. Those of you who visit here who are female and over 40 probably know what the flappy arms are unless you work out with weights regularly. But hopefully I can firm all that up as time goes by and who knows, maybe by the time I get my first grandkid I will be a fit and trim granny. Right now though I will be happy just to be able to lift them to my lap.

Well, off now to have my coffee and oranges for a late breakfast and maybe sit on the deck to enjoy the sunshine before the rains move in.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day even if you aren't Irish. I happen to have some Irish blood, from my father's side. His family background is English, Irish, Scottish and a bit of Native American.

I always looked forward to corned beef and cabbage on St Paddy's day, but can't eat that anymore because of the enormous salt content. One bite of corned beef is like eating a couple teaspoons of salt. But it's soooo tasty and I really miss having it.

They dyed the Chicago River green again, as they do each year. I watch it on television and a bit of the parade down State Street, but have never gone down to watch them dye the river green. Maybe next year, when I can walk.

Here is a video of the river being dyed green in Chicago.

Barbie turns 50 - yikes!

When I was a little girl, I LOVED my Barbie doll. Girls back then didn't have a collection of Barbies, but one cherished Barbie and if we were lucky, as I was, we had a large wardrobe for our doll and a nice case. My Barbie was the one with the bubble hairdo, like the one pictured to the left. Santa brought her one Christmas along with the case that is also pictured here to the right. Since I had a Barbie, my sister had a Midge doll, pictured below Barbie. We would sit for hours changing the little outfits and playing imaginary scenerios with our dolls. Our brother would join in on occasion with his macho GI Joe as Barbie or Midge's boyfriend or husband. My sister added Skipper when that one came out. Skipper was Barbie's little sister. I have to admit that I was still playing dolls at age 12. Back in the 50s and 60s there was nothing unusual about that. Not even in the 70s or early 80s, but as time went by something happened and kids starting growing up way too fast.

Kids today don't have a chance to really enjoy their childhoods and allow time for their imaginations to grow. Mothers actually buy their little daughters clothes that are way beyond their years. I saw a 2-year-old boy in a restaurant the other day with a mohawk haircut. A 2-year-old isn't going to ask for that, and even if the child is old enough to talk and want stuff, the parents can always say no. Even as teenagers, parents have an obligation and a duty to their children to use the no word when need be.

The dating thing is out of control, too. Ten year olds talking about going on dates and having boyfriends. They are wearing make-up and lipstick when they don't even have boobs yet. One thing I notice that is a big change from even when my kids were little is that there are few kids outside playing anymore. Our kids loved playing games like Ghosts in the Graveyard with flashlights after dark on hot summer nights, or chasing fireflies and putting them in jars to watch them glow in their room in the night.

I wonder what the world will be like even in another decade for kids. It's a wonder they even sell toys anymore. Seems like most would be satisified with their Wii machines and watching television. I guess I am a bit nostalgic for the old days and simpler times, at least for the kids.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things are getting better

Well, after only three days in the boot, shown to the left, things are improving. I can put slight weight on the heel now, though it isn't pleasant. I alternate between crutches, walker and wheel chair. Like today, we went to Menard's again to get some remaining parts to finish the downstairs kitchen and we used the chair. No way can I walk through a store yet. We went out yesterday, also to Menard's and then to Wal-Mart and I used the chair. And I also got a hair cut and I used the crutches for that, but I think it might have been just too much in one day. Last night the foot was like the texture of the Pillsbury Dough Boy! When I would press my finger into my foot, a lasting finger impression stayed for about ten minutes afterwards. It's doing it again today. So as soon as I finish jotting this out, I will go lay down and elevated it again and get some reading done.

It's great getting out, though. The sun is shining today and warm enough to only wear a jacket. Many people didn't even have a jacket or a sweater on. Jon thinks it's rather amusing that I am excited to even go to the home improvement and auto parts stores and to see the shiny tools and light bulbs, etc. LOL! But I am really looking forward to getting out and doing some real shopping. That's what makes most women feel better...buying stuff, even if it's wrenches, nails and screwdrivers.

Off to read now. I am reading a book my daughter recommended, Psycho-Cybernetics. While some of it is hooey, there are many good points which are mainly common sense, but when we have problems in life, or when things get difficult we tend to make mountains out of molehills and forget that we can change many of the situations we find ourselves in, and many of the feelings and emotions we have are only because we keep ourselves in the rut that we may have been in since our early years.

I'll be writing a review of it at my literary review blog after I am done reading it. Here is a pic of the book's cover:

Another book I am reading is We Need To Talk About Kevin, a novel written from the perspective of the mother of a teen who goes on a shooting rampage at a school, killing a dozen people. Kind of depressing, but I am plodding along. I much prefer the other book I am trying to finish by Augusten Burrough's called Magical Thinking which is memoirs of the author's life.

Off to reading now!

If you can't park, don't drive

This is funny and so very sad at the same time that people like this get driver's licenses.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Kitchen sink and faucet

We went to Lowe's today, as I mentioned in the previous post, to look at sinks and faucets for our upstairs kitchen. We have to buy new because we are putting our old stainless steel sink in the new downstairs kitchen. I have always wanted a white porcelain sink. They look so clean and shiny. We got the stainless steel when we first built our house 21 years ago, and that was what was "in" at the time. We thought also that it would be easier to upkeep, and it's not. Stainless steel is NOT stainless and takes a lot of constant attention to keep looking nice.

Then, I don't like the faucet pictured with the sink shown in the sink image, and I wanted one of those high faucets and a very shiny chrome one, so here is the faucet to the left that I chose to go with the sink. I like the high ones for filling tall pots, washing my hair if I can't do it in the shower like recently, etc. It's just more convenient for things like filling water cans and buckets. I am going to LOVE it.

The downstairs kitchen is nearly done. The walls are painted, cabinets in and now just have to get that counter top in and get the sink in and the stove connected and then Jeff and Whitney will finally have their own kitchen. I am sure that Whitney will be as thrilled as me getting my kitchen back to myself. A woman must have her own cooking space. Right now all of their stuff is upstairs in my kitchen, and food and stuff on my table and then they come up early in the morning before work (at 4:30 and then 6:00 am) to make smoothies in their blender and that is what I have been waking up to just about every morning since they moved in. I usually can go back to sleep, but not all the time. Doesn't bother Jon because he is gone by the time they come up and do this, since he leaves the house around 4:15 am. I know they can't help it, they need to have breakfast. I just wish Jon had been a bit faster at this project. It was his idea, and we got all excited, then he is a very busy person, too so really can't blame him for being tired. It's just so close now, and I am trying not to nag.

So, pretty exciting stuff. From them moving in with us gave Jon the reason he needed to finally finish the downstairs level and turn it into a complete other house with a bedroom (workout room could be a second bedroom) and a large family/living area with fireplace, a full bathroom, large kitchen that is larger than our upstairs kitchen, and a big foyer area...lots of closet space and it's just great down there now. Still lots of little stuff to do, but the major stuff is done.

Then we have to start redoing upstairs. We need to paint the livingroom, kitchen hallway, foyer and one bedroom. We painted the office a couple years ago so it's okay, and we did the bathrooms just a few years ago, too...so they are okay. Master bedroom is okay and the third bedroom needs to be done again. We need a new garage door, and a new roof...and need a new deck...and we need to fix the fence in places, dig out the remaining crappy shrubbery and put in something that comes in nice and pretty each year, and then blacktop the driveway, put on a new mailbox, new lights for the front of the house and garage....

This is why I need to get this damn foot better so I can find a job!

Cast off...woo hoo!

I am SOOOOOO HAPPPPY to have this cast off! I just can't tell you how good it feels. My skin looks very funky, though. It's shriveled and then very delicate and coming off the way sunburn peels in big sheets. Don't mean to be gross here but I was shocked to see the scabs still on the incision and was bummed for a minute about that, but when I got home and started brushing off the dead skin, that whole section on top of the incision came off, scabs and all SHIVER SHIVER SHIVER. But it looks a lot better now and I greased my leg and foot up real well with Gold Bond Softening Cream and that stuff works wonders on even the dryest skin.

Though I am elated to have that lump of concrete off my leg, I am a bit bummed because I envisioned myself walking around in the boot all independent and free, however, that's not the case. I can't step on the damn heel at all. It's excruciating, and I'm not exaggerating. I keep trying, and hubby reminds me that I'm not going to be able to walk normal on it in one day. I have four weeks of therapy ahead of me. The doctor says I only have to wear the boot for ten days, then he wants me in a gym shoe. That makes me happy, but I fear that I will not get rid of the heel pain with the screws in there. He told me and Jon in the office that sometimes it bothers people so much that they have to go back in and take them out. When I heard that I was like OHHHHH NOOOOOOO! I sure hope that doesn't have to be done. We will know in another couple weeks if I am still not able to put weight on the heel. I can step on the toe part pretty well, though the incision area is quite sore. But that will go away as I do my strengthening exercises. The heel is another thing, because it's bone.

I managed in this whole last six weeks of being in a wheel chair to not have to use the restrooms while we were out and about. I did my thing before leaving the house and all was well. But today, for some reason, when I was coming out of x-ray that I had to go urgently. Great. And the only restroom for handicapped was back up on the third floor, where we were heading anyway. So, I told Jon to hurry up and get me up there. Which he did. He knows how these urgencies are.

I was about to have my first experience using a restroom as a handicapped person. What a hassle! I got into the restroom and managed to lock the door then studied for a second how I was going to maneuver from the chair to the toilet. I didn't have the cast on at that time, and no boot either so had to be super careful. I did just fine, but takes such an effort. I really, really can emphathize with handicapped folks after all this. And I think now that I notice that there is only ONE handicapped restroom in the whole clinic, I am going to write someone about it.

That wasn't the only time. We went out and had some lunch at Badda-Bings here in town and afterwards we went to Lowe's to check out kitchen sinks. While I was in there my stomach started gurgling and I was like goddammit! So, had to have Jon hurry and get me all the way to the front right of the store (we were at the far left corner of the back of the store. Lucky Lowe's has a nice entrance with no doors to their restrooms and two very large handicapped stalls.

I will be a restroom advocate for the handicapped from here on out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A day and a half left

I love the image here to the left of the legs walking. I am so looking forward to walking again, alone without a leg brace, without crutches or the help of a walker. I want to be independent again. I miss just walking out to the mailbox. I miss being able to stand to take a regular shower. I want my leg back!

Only a day and a half left till I am out of this dreadful plaster cast and into a walking boot and starting therapy. I go to the surgeon on Thursday, March 12th. The closer the time comes to take this damn thing off, the more impatient I become. I am planning on the x-rays being good so they can saw this thing off and give me a boot. I don't relish the idea of being in the boot for four more weeks, but it beats this hunk of concrete I have been dragging around for six weeks!

I've been going stir crazy lately. Everyone is at work or off doing things and here I am. Alone for much of the day, not able to even get outside to my deck for some fresh air. Jon takes me out when he gets home, even though he is tired from work. We went out last night for some dinner to his favorite place, Mindy's and had ribs. I got the child's basket since I shouldn't be eating that stuff, but hey...can't be good all the time! I like how they have the child's menu. All the same stuff but portions I can handle.

Next week I start working for that online scoring company. There is a new project starting up for 8th grade math or science. I don't know which I will be assigned to yet, but I don't really care. They are all word problems and they give us the rubric as a guide. It's not that hard at all, except sometimes deciding whether to give a kid a point for something or not because of the way he wrote it can be kind of confusing. I love working at home and wish this work was more steady. It's pretty much a twice a year thing, spring and fall. ACTs are also scored in the fall, though there are a couple of weeks when there are retakes to score.

After my foot and ankle, are healed and the back doctor clears me for working out of the home, I am going to apply for jobs. I'll probably try to get back into a marketing department since that is where my experience is ...graphics, writing copy and doing layouts, etc. I don't really want to do that sort of work, but can't be choosy in these economic times and looking online I see that there are no jobs for writers anywhere.

I need to start working on my own writing and try to get that book of short stories published. I am such a procrastinator. I also should be drawing and painting more, but am too lazy to get the stuff out even when I'm not in a wheel chair. I should really strive to change that.

I need to stop watching trash television. It's pretty bad when I find myself addicted to crap like Gs to Gents, Rock of Love with man whore Bret Michaels, and Tool Academy, For the Love of Ray J, and I Love Money. It's incredible that these things are even on the air with the women running around with their boobs hanging out and thong bathing suit bottoms that show everything.

I do watch a good program called House. I want a doctor like House. He knows everything and can figure out what to do about any injury, conditition or illness. I love his sarcasm, it's hilarious. And I can relate to his pill-popping for his leg injury because I know how bad orthopedic pain from injury, surgery and degeneration can be. However, i think that House pops pills to kill another sort of pain . . . the pain of loneliness.

Off to bed now to read a bit and will probably fall asleep after one or two paragraphs.

One and a half more days...woo hoo!


Our weather has been so crazy, 20s one day and 60s the next. The other day it felt as if we were going to be lifted up off our foundation and whisked away to Oz! I don't mind rain so much, but wind and lightning scare me.

It was in the mid 60s today and now the winds have come back and some of the gusts have shaken the rafters. The weather people say that the gusts will be as strong as 50 mph. The siding makes a vibrating sound at the back of the house when the winds get very strong.

A big temperature change is also predicted and is already falling. It was 60 just a couple hours ago and now is 40 and by morning will be down to about 30. And then it is supposed to stay cold for a few days before inching its way back up again.

I am so ready for springtime.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Blue and sunflower

I love to browse the art blogs and websites. I found this painting below at the Ashland Academy of Art (Oregon). I've been working to try to achieve the illusion of light in my paintings. I envy artists who have mastered this element of design.

(Their site doesn't say who the artist is.)

Added to my favorite list - The Fray

I haven't heard many bands in recent years that I really like, but along comes a band once in awhile that stands out. This time, The Fray. Love their music. Here is one of their songs along with clips from one of my favorite shows, LOST.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Robin in the tree

Robin, robin in the tree
Sing a little song for me

This excerpt above is from a little song I sang when I was in kindergarten way back in 1958-59. I loved that song, and I have always loved the coming of spring and look for the robin as a first sign that spring is coming (which is what my kindergarten teacher told all of us and that has stayed with me since.)

I saw a robin in our tree this morning. He was much like the one pictured here, only chubbier. I heard his song though the windows were closed. It's raining and cold again today, and when I woke up to the gloom and the sound of rain and wind, I felt like just pulling the covers up over my head and staying there.

But I made myself get up, rolled into the kitchen and got myself a bowl of cereal. Then rolled over to the patio doors when I heard a bird singing and there he was, Mr Robin sitting there looking right at me.

Spring is right around the corner!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hint of spring

Today was such a beautiful day and I was stuck inside. However, I did manager to open the patio doors and sit there in the sunshine with the breeze blowing in. Little birds are coming back and singing in the top of our maple tree. I think I see some buds coming out on the top branches, too. I know we aren't done with Old Man Winter yet, for we usually get a couple more big snowfalls in March.

It seems to have been an extremely long winter, and probably seems that way to me because I can't get out, and am alone all day long doing the same things. But soon I will start on the road to real recovery when I get this cast off on Thursday and start going to therapy and learning how to walk again. I will be so glad to just be able to walk outside on my deck on my own.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Miller is a stinker

As cute as she can be most of the time, sometimes Millie can be a real stinker. It's not all her fault, though. I haven't been able to take her out and give her a bath and let her do her business in the toilet like she is trained to do. Yes, she is trained to go in the toilet! How did I do it? I just see that she is "big" and carry her to the bathroom, hold her under her front arms and her tail and her hind feet are danging and then she knows it's time to "go", and she does. Then flush, rinse her hiney off a little bit and she's all done.

She just hates going in her tank. She holds it till she looks like she is going to blow up. She was like that the past couple days and there isn't a good way for me to try to get her out and take her into the bathroom since our bathroom door isn't wide enough to get the wheel chair through and I have to use the walker to get in there. Can't use a walker and carry a lizard at the same time, especially one who is ready to let loose of her load any min

So, today she could no longer hold it in there, and she let it go in her tank and to make matters worse, she was sitting in it! Now, I couldn't just leave her in that all day long, and the longer it sits the harder it is to clean up and she looked so incredibly sad, poor thing.

I managed to get my chair next to the tank and stood up on one foot, reaching in with a bunch of paper towels and an old Burger King bag and wiped up as much as I could and then got an old towel, put her in it and then took her to the sink for a bath. She doesn't like water, so giving her a bath entails her scratching the hell out of my hands but she couldn't stay that way.

I got her all clean and put her back and then had to go back and sanitize the sink which meant rolling around the house trying to locate bleach and rags. What fun!

The other day she was a bit of a stinker, too. While Miller is usually very tranquil and doesn't make any noise at all (lizards have no vocal cords), something about Whitney's flute playing was making her go bonkers. Whitney was trying to record some things for an auditon CD she was making and Miller wasn't going to let her. She was too overjoyed with the sound of the music that was being played. She ran back and forth in her tank, scratching and making all sorts of racket. Her head was a-bobbin' up and down like Beardies do when they are happy. She was so distracting to Whitney that Jeff had to come upstairs and bring Miller in a towel to my bedroom.

Miller was on my lap contemplating an escape, but she couldn't get away from me. She was looking at me with this funny look in her eyes and I thought, uh-oh, no....so I opened some gauze bandages I had sitting on my dresser, just in case, and sure enough...she started pooping right in my lap! I was calling for Jeff or Whitney who were both downstairs and forgot I had Miller on my lap and they didn't hear me. The stench from these little critters can be quite over-powering when they poop...even though her tank never smells. Finally, I managed to get my phone and ring downstairs and they came up and rescued me from the awful predicament I was in. Had to sanitize my hands, and sprayed a half a can of Febreeze all around my bedroom.

No matter how big or small a critter is, they can be a handful.

One more week

A week from tomorrow and I get this blasted plaster cast off my leg...hopefully, if the x-rays show that everything is fine and I don't see why it wouldn't be since I have been absolutely behaving myself and not doing anything I'm not supposed to be doing.

A week from tomorrow I get the plaster cast off and get a walking boot, like I had before when I had my operation last September...the boot that made me blow my back out so I had to have spinal fusion! But I will be so glad to have it now since I will be able to take it off at night and when I take a shower. I probably will still need the wheel chair at times when there is a long distance to walk like when going to the store and the doctor, etc. But for getting around the house, I should be able to make do with my trusty walker. Woo hoo!

This past month and a half has really made me realize how it must be for a wheel-chair bound person, especially those who have no one to take them out like I do. Jon is very great about taking me places and he even took me to Lowes and Target the other day and I was so excited to get out that I didn't want to go home. But what about those who can't get out. I would go crazy! Just being here all day and not even able to get to the door because of the stairs drives me nuts.
Making a sandwich is not easy when you have to roll back and forth to the fridge and try to carry bottles, jars and packages in your lap. And dropping stuff is a real pain. I have my grabber thingy, but sometimes it take about ten minutes to just pick up a dropped piece of wrapped cheese.

I'm getting very strong arm and shoulder muscles from rolling myself around. I even lost a few more pounds. I can tell because my newer clothes are getting baggy. Maybe by summer I will be down yet another size or two.

I will celebrate the day when we finally call the Walgreens store and tell them to come get their wheelchair back! The goal is May 1st.