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Week 47 (Plus One Day)

Are you tired of reading these update posts?  I hope not!  Even if you are, I hope you’ll stick with me through this one.

Spoiler Alert:  Naw . . . either read so you won’t spoil the ending or scroll on down.  Ha!

Let’s talk about Week 47 in my recovery from the trimalleolar fracture I suffered from on November 13 of last year.

I knew, going into last week, that it was going to be a tough one.  My students were about to take the second part of their FSA Reading Retakes, and I would be proctoring both days . . . full days . . . standing on my feet in a computer lab.

I went to physical therapy on Tuesday and made this little video of the back room . . .

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I remember the first few months of my therapy.  I’d see people go to the back room and wondered what kind of work they were doing back there.  It seemed way beyond what I was doing out in the main room.

By July, I had advanced far enough that this room became my primary training spot.  It’s where I completed the monster walks, toe touches, step ups, and lunges (and other exercises) that my therapist added to my routine.

I don’t remember exactly what we did last Tuesday; all I know is that J, my therapist, probably increased something in difficulty.  I’d been progressing pretty rapidly, so she liked to challenge me a little more each time I was at therapy.

I was more than ready for my ice down at the end.  Between proctoring and my PT, my ankle was screaming for relief.

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Wednesday, I drove across town to the Chick fil A that was open (the one closest to my school has been closed since a water main broke).  I needed sweet tea to get me through Day 2 of testing . . .

By Thursday, I was physically and mentally done.  I went in with plans to show my students a SAT prep video because most of them were taking it on Saturday.

The teaching gods laughed at me.  This Snapchat filter captured my mood perfectly at the end of day . . .

I went from school to physical therapy.  Thursday was a BIG day for me.  I got to do walking lunges for the first time since I broke my ankle!

We’d been slowly working on lunges.  That’s the neat thing about my therapist.  She’s amazing at building up to big moves by having patients master itsy bitsy pieces of the moves until they all come together for the big moves she ultimately wants patients to be able to do.

So, walking lunges were huge for me.

I also got to practice walking up and down a step.  She taught me to lean forward when I’m stepping down to help with my balance.  I still have trouble going down steps, so this was important.

I also got to do calf stretches on the stairs for the first time since June.

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This is a move that I was doing before my setback in July when we had to reset me back to the basics.

My ankle was, as usual, done for by the end.

In case you’re wondering how my ankles compare after all of this time, take a look at this . . .

So much of that swelling on my right ankle is from the hardware . . . those three extra long pins.  I am so eager for my December surgery, when my surgeon will remove them.

Friday morning, I was back at it . . .

Even though I had taken the day off, I wanted to get my workout done.

I don’t want to spoil my next post, but I will say that the Mr. and I went out of town.  My ankle didn’t fare so well Friday afternoon, but it did okay the rest of the weekend.

I did get some PT work in though . . .

Sunday technically ended Week 47, but I really want to talk about today, Monday, the first day of Week 48.

Because it was Columbus Day, I didn’t have to work.  My district gives us this day off every year, and I was so glad for it!

I made an early physical therapy appointment.

It was a special one.

So y’all, it was my LAST physical therapy appointment!

To thank the therapists for everything they’d done for me, I brought them some baked goods . . .

Those are called Perfect Vegan Snickerdoodles, and they really are perfect.  One of the gals ate one immediately and RAVED over it.

Technically, I’ve used all of the visits that my insurance allows in a six-month period.

Am I 100% better yet?  Nope.  I’m probably around 75% there.  The problems are two-fold:  the hardware in my ankle that is limiting my movement and causing pain and time that is needed for more healing.

When I signed in this morning, the gal at the desk said, “Happy Graduation!”

Y’all, I got a lump in my throat!

What a bittersweet morning!

I had to fill out a questionnaire about my ability to perform various activities like getting out of the tub, running (I’m not doing this yet), etc.

Then, I walked back to the PT room and sat at the bicycle to warm up.

My therapist walked over with a smile on her face and told me that I was glowing today.

Y’all, the tears came, unbidden, then.  She didn’t see them right away, but when she returned, she asked if I was okay.

Dang, but I was a little embarrassed.

I told her that I was emotional, but for good reasons.  This group of caregivers had become like family over the past seven and a half months.

I know about their children; I know how they spend their weekends.  There’s a lot of bonding that happens as you move from one exercise to another . . . a lot of time to chat while you’re putting bands on your legs or trying to balance on one leg.

These people had celebrated every single milestone, from my being able to set aside my crutches to the day I was no longer limping.

They dried my tears the day I couldn’t stand on one foot; and they prayed for me when the hubby was so sick that I didn’t know if he was going to be okay.

ALL of those memories and the emotions that went along with them were running through my head as my therapist and I chatted.

She even noticed the wad of Kleenex I’d stuck in the pocket of my sweater.  They were actually for the runny nose I was still suffering from – remnants of the cold I got a week and a half ago.

Ha!

Once I got that initial burst of tears out, I was good to go . . .

I moved through my round of exercises, with J adding a few new ones in.

She checked my form when I was doing walking lunges and made a small correction.

I’ll forever hear her voice every time I work out (“make sure the knee is over the ankle” and “sit into the squat . . . don’t lean over it”).

She had me walk up and down the flight of stairs that’s in the main workout room . . . numerous times to get my form right.  Who knew that you needed to push your knees out to help with balance?  I felt so awkward, but as always, she was the patient teacher.

She created a home exercise plan for me to follow with progressive exercises to challenge me when the old exercises get too easy.  She knows that I’ll push myself too far too quickly if I’m not careful.

We went over the plan, and she worked with me on form.

I got to practice jumping (I’m soooooo scared of this) and an exercise that will eventually lead up to running.  I practiced what wound up being a warrior stretch (hello Piyo . . . thanks for prepping me for this).

It was her way of sending me off armed with what I’d need even when she’s not there, coaching me through each movement.

I’d burned a LOT of calories during my workout . . .

Then, I sat and iced down one last time . .

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Sorry, but I love Snapchat.  This animation fit perfectly.  I felt as though I’d been given the key that would unlock the door to the rest of my recovery.

Then, it was time to go.

I gave a tight hug to J and told her that she was a miracle worker.  She really was.  I had such a rough July and couldn’t envision myself being out of the pain that I was in that month.  Plus, my main PT had changed offices, and the new one I’d been assigned quit working less than two weeks after I started back.  I had felt a little abandoned.  J took incredible care of me and managed my recovery process perfectly.  To be as young as she is (the same age as Chicky), her expertise is top-notch.

I hugged the other two gals that I’d been with from Day 1 as well.  They are special ladies.  They’d seen me when I crutched in that first day.  They’d watched the entire process and knew just how far I’d come.  I mean, heck, I couldn’t even rotate my foot – at all – when I started.

They have the amazing privilege of watching people get their functionality back, and I’ve just been in awe of that.  Plus, they do so with great tenderness and positivity.

I hollered out a final goodbye, thanked the insurance gal in the office, and walked out . . .

I may be back in January if I wind up needing more physical therapy after my December surgery.

For now, I’m taking many lessons with me.

I’ve learned how to pace myself regarding my recovery.

I’ve accepted that it’s okay to take things slowly.

I’ve grown to recognize the voice in my head (aka God’s prompting) when my body has had enough.

I’ve discovered that it’s okay to not be an overachiever in everything I do . . . meaning that I don’t have to do all the things to be what I consider “accomplished.”

I’ve learned how to roll with the punches.  Having things changed up on me has always been difficult; however, this entire process has been a series of things changing, whether it’s the therapist I’m working with, new moves being added to the mix (or old ones being taken out), or new days of the week to attend therapy.  I am not getting bent out of shape with unexpected changes to my routine, and that is a very good thing.

So, while I still have a ways to go in my recovery, and I know I’ll have a small setback in December when I have my surgery, I continue to trust that God will get me through each phase and that, in His time, I’ll recover.

One thing I’m slowly coming to terms with is that my ankle may never be the same as it was (or as good as the left ankle), and that’s hard for me.  Still, I choose to trust, and I continue my mantra of #findingjoyinthejourney no matter how easy or how hard things are.

What a blessing this injury has been.

Oh, sure, I’d rather that it had not happened; however, it did, and I can’t change that.  All I can do is look for God’s hand in allowing this.  I thank Him for getting me through each week . . . or rather each day of each week.

I won’t be posting regular updates from this point forward.  I think my updates will just come incidentally as part of my regular posts.  I’ll probably do a big One Year Anniversary post.

I hope that these posts have been encouraging to anyone going through something similar.  I pray that one day, I can read back through them without crying.  For now, I’m still living through the experience, so I can’t go there yet, despite my first PT’s suggestion that I do.

Please continue praying as the healing continues.  Thank you so much for being here for me each step of the way!

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Weeks 45 and 46

Here we go again . . . a lapse in posting ankle updates last Sunday has led to the need to catch up this week.

Hello fatigue.  It sure didn’t take long for us to get reacquainted this school year.

Let’s talk!

*Disclaimer #1 – This is a LONG post.  I’m sorry!  Bear with me though?  I’ve got some interesting news down toward the end.*

**Disclaimer #2 – I apologize for any grammar mistakes.  I got lazy by the end of this longgggggggg post and didn’t feel like going back to proofread.  If you find something amiss, will you comment or email me so I can fix it?  Thanks!!**

Week 45

I started the week off as I usually do . . . with an early-morning workout . . .

I had physical therapy that afternoon.

I was pleasantly surprised when my therapist gave me this . . .

She’d gone to visit a friend in California during her “escape” from Hurricane Irma.  While there, she went to an antique store and found that stone you see there.  She had me on her mind and brought it to me, along with instructions to keep it in the freezer and use it to roll under the arch of my foot when it hurts (which is nearly daily).  It’s the perfect size and very helpful for working out the kinks that I still get with my tendinosis.

My therapist worked me pretty hard by increasing the number of reps I had to do for each exercise.  I burned a crazy amount of calories . . .

For the record, I don’t recommend breaking your ankle and then doing PT as a formal type of exercise program.

Just sayin’.

Tuesday evening, my ankle was shot, and I found myself trying to make my ankle pop late into the night . . .

Of course, I had gone to the grocery store after work to pick up ingredients for a Creamy Pasta Marinara recipe I’d seen on this site.  The picture does not do it justice.  It was absolutely divine!  The homemade cashew cream made all the difference in the world!

I didn’t let my sore ankle stop me from working out on Wednesday morning (not much stops me, truth be told) . . .

I discovered an issue later that morning (or maybe it was that afternoon) when I went to grab something from my pantry, leaned forward with my right leg bent behind me, and experienced a sharp pain that stopped me in my tracks . . .

See the way I’m leaning forward into that right knee?  My tendon is so tight that it balks, loudly, when I hit an invisible wall and can’t go any further.  It doesn’t happen with my left ankle.

I showed this picture to my therapist the next day, and she imitated the move to understand what I was talking about.  She told me that I needed to train myself to lean down the way she’s been teaching me during my sessions . . . going down fully on my knee rather than angling myself awkwardly like this.

I’m completely awkward though.  It’s hard to retrain a 47 year old on how NOT to be awkward.  I mean, this is probably one HUGE reason why I broke my ankle to begin with.

Sigh.

During Thursday’s PT session, I got to do my step ups with a new variation – raising my knee up when I stepped up . . .

It might not sound like much of a challenge; however, it really was.  Every time we make things more difficult, my balance is affected.  This variation also works on my core, which I need to be strong as well to help me overall.  I absolutely love that I’m making progress, one raised knee at a time.

PT that day was pretty good, but I was sore as crap from the week.

That didn’t stop me from walking four (yes, I said FOUR) miles on Saturday . . .

It was such a beautiful day, as you can see in the picture.  My ankle was sore from the get-go.  I had shin pain on the inside of my ankle, and it never got better, but I pushed on and managed a decent pace (for me) of 15:30.

I was pleased as punch and felt quite accomplished when I finished.

My ankle began hating life immediately, however.  I had to give it a good stretch when I went inside.

Y’all, I really MUST learn to listen to my ankle.  One would think I’d have sat down after starting off my day like that, but NOOOOOOOO, I decided that I needed to make all the things . . .

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There was Roasted Red Pepper Hummus to be prepared.  It was divine, by the way.

There were Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes to bake (a recipe I’d had my eye on for a week or two) . . .

I didn’t let any batter go to waste – hence the baby cupcake . . .

I bought the cupcake pans here.  I am in LOVE with them!  Look how easy it was to get these babies out . . .

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These are some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made!  The texture was spot-on.  They are moist and chock-full of flavor!  I’d never heard of beet puree before, and the recipe did suggest applesauce as an alternative; however, I wanted to challenge myself to try something new and attribute the consistency of the cupcakes to the puree.  I took a few cupcakes to school to share with a couple of teacher friends.  A couple of students were also gifted cupcakes.  Everyone LOVED them and couldn’t believe they were vegan.

I also made the Mr. his donuts so he could have something fun to eat over the weekend.

My ankle was so angry when I finished and finally sat down to watch football on TV.  I spent the rest of the day in a lot of pain.

Y’all, it’s so hard for me to sit still sometimes.  This ankle injury has kept me down for so long that I get extremely frustrated and rebellious.

Like the next day when I decided to bake AGAIN because I had puree that I didn’t want to go to waste.

I had at least three more recipes planned out.  I made another batch of cupcakes . . .

I also made Vegan Chocolate Lava Cakes . . .

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I had donuts on my mind as well . . . 30-Minute Chocolate Vegan Donuts . . .

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As a side note, the donuts wound up not being my favorite.  I don’t know if it’s because I cooked them a little too long or what, but they were dry.  Everyone who tried them said the same thing.  I doubt I’ll make these again.

One thing I did learn from the weekend of cooking was that Aquafaba (the liquid in a can of chickpeas) is AMAZING!  Quite a few recipes have started asking for it as an egg substitute.  It’s so much better than flax or chia eggs!  I loved working with it!

While things were baking in the oven, I had Broccoli Detox Soup going on the stove . . .

After all of that baking, I was in desperate need of these . . .

That combination works wonders on the swelling and pain in my ankle when I’ve overdone myself.

Week 46

So, it’s not surprising that I started off last week behind the eight ball.  After being on my feet all weekend plus walking those four miles, I was done for.  This was going to be one heck of a week, let me tell you.

That didn’t stop me from working out in the wee hours of Monday morning . . .

Monday, I had to administer the FSA Writing Retakes to fifty juniors and seniors . . . all kiddos who are trying to pass this state assessment to graduate.  I was on my feet ALL DAY.

I had physical therapy after school, and boy did I get a workout!  Look how fast my heart was beating after I finished doing three sets of monster walks / squats combinations . . .

I also got to do FULL lunges!!!!!

Do you know how happy I was to be doing something close to what I’d been doing BEFORE I broke my ankle nearly a year ago?

Do be sure, they were tough, tough, tough.  I am constantly surprised by how weak I still am despite months of working out.  The injury really set me back, and each new exercise (or variation) makes me realize how much farther I need to go.  However, I’m also amazed at how far God has brought me.

One funny moment about the picture you see above:  A fellow patient who’s there the same days I am commented that it looked like I was ready to play Twister (the colored mat).  I had a good laugh at that.  You’ve got to find humor in the little things, eh?

One fun thing I got to do was bounce on a mini trampoline . . .

I’d asked my therapist when I will be able to jump again.  She pulled out the trampoline and had me bounce without jumping in the air.  That felt okay.  This was something I couldn’t do a few months ago, so I was excited.  Then, she had me go from side to side, without jumping, to see how that felt.  It too felt fine.  Next, she let me put a tiny bit of air between each foot and the trampoline as I moved from side to side.

Y’all, it almost felt as through I was jogging.  It felt incredible.  I told her that I wish I could have a moving trampoline that traveled down the sidewalk as I jogged to soften my landing.  She chuckled.

Oh, and to make Monday harder, after my physical therapy appointment, I went back to my school for Open House!  I was absolutely exhausted when I got home around 7:30 after being gone from the house for over twelve hours.  It had been a very, very long day!

Despite the hard workout Monday afternoon, I still got up on Tuesday and did my physical therapy exercises.  I make it a point to do them on the days I’m “resting” or only doing abs from my Body Beast program . . .

I used my fireplace hearth to do my step ups.  See how clever I am?!

That afternoon, I made up a batch of One Pot Vegan Minestrone Soup and Easy Vegan Gluten-Free Biscuits (thus putting more pressure on my ankle).  The soup turned out so well!  I ate on it all week for lunch.

Oh my yum!  My ankle may have been dying, but my stomach was quite the happy camper.  Can you say comfort food?

I went to physical therapy on Wednesday because I had a doctor appointment on Thursday.

One of the last exercises I do every PT session is balancing.  On Wednesday, I got moved up to the blue disc.  It’s extremely difficult to stand on one leg and balance for 45 seconds.  I had gotten to where I could do it fairly well by June, but when I had my bad month of July, I regressed.  That’s why we’ve been working so slowly to get me back up to par.  My therapist always puts this balancing exercise at the end of my workouts specifically because it’s more difficult after I’ve exhausted my muscles during the other strengthening moves.

I spent all of this past week sore, sore, sore.  My therapist and I had discussed the “why” of it all, and she explained that I’m going through a building process right now.  Any time we change up the routine by either adding more reps or going up in a move with a harder variation of it, I’m in a transitional phase.  She said that this is when the tearing and rebuilding of muscle occurs, and it can take a week or two for my body to adjust.  Hence, the extra pain.  It’s necessary, though, to get better.

I’m cool with that.

Needless to say, I was mighty glad for the ice and STEM that followed . . .

On Thursday, I drove two hours to visit my ankle surgeon . . .

I was so tired from the week, and I was feeling a cold coming on, but I wasn’t about to let those things deter me.

My doctor’s office is always so gracious about scheduling late appointments to accommodate my work schedule and the time needed to get there.  I arrived early and waited . . .

Someone from the office had called me that morning to ask if I could go in early – that they’d had some cancellations.  I got there at 5:30 but still had to wait a bit.  I didn’t mind though.  This doctor is amazing at what he does.

I did sit back on the examination table and doze off though, but only after I snapped a photo of the x-ray I’d had done in June . . .

A quick explanation.  The right side of the x-ray, with the three long pins, is actually the inside of my ankle.  The side with nine pins and the plate is the outside.  The inside of my ankle is what slammed directly onto the floor when I fell last November.  The plate on the outside was placed there because I broke that side pretty high up my leg.  I also broke a third part of my ankle, but it didn’t require pins.

Crazy stuff.

I’m not sure that the doctor was aware why I was there since I’d been corresponding with his nurse through email.  She wasn’t there that day (ironically, she’d had surgery and was out for a week).

I think that he assumed it was a regular visit.

He asked about my tendonosis.  I told him that it was getting better but wasn’t 100% yet, and that I had to “pop” my ankle frequently when pressure built up.  I told him about my new therapist who’s a miracle worker but had to reset me back in July because of the problems I’d been experiencing.

I told him about the pins that had been bothering me, which was the reason for my visit.

He manipulated my foot around, made me push against his hand and hold it sturdy while he pushed and pulled on it.

At first, he sounded like he wanted to wait to do the surgery I was inquiring about (the removal of three pins on the very edges of both sides of my ankle).  However, once we began talking at length, and when he took a closer look at my ankle, he changed his mind.

He told me, “You’re an unusual case.”

Ha.  I think that’s the understatement of the year.

He said that they aren’t used to seeing people of my stature (i.e., so petite).  Basically, because I’m so small, I can feel every bit of hardware he put in there to stabilize my ankle.  Because of that, I’m in a lot of pain.

He also commented on the swelling in my ankle.

Thank heavens!  I seem to be the only person who’s been concerned about it for months.  He attributed it to the hardware.  Later, when the Mr. and I were discussing this and we looked at my x-ray again, we could see that the long pins on the inside of my ankle are located exactly where the swelling is.  It finally made sense!  It’s no wonder that I’m in a lot of pain and still have limitations.  I literally cannot move fully because I have pins holding me back.

Duh!

My doctor was so nice though.  He said, “I’m going to take ALL of the hardware out.”

My jaw dropped.

I told him, “I’m not trying to be greedy.  I actually like having the other stuff there.  It makes me feel more secure.”

Nope, he said.  If he’s going in there, he’s taking it all out.  He said that this will make the swelling on my ankle go away once everything is healed.

Yay!

I’ll have to wear a boot for four weeks after the surgery, but I’ll be weight-bearing immediately.  I was shocked.  I said, “So, I’ll be walking out after surgery?”

He laughed and said, “Not exactly.  You’ll be woozy from the surgery.”

“So, I’ll be holding onto my husband as I wobble out?” was my response.  He laughed.

He told the PA who was with him to schedule surgery.  That’s when I told him that his nurse had already tentatively put me on the schedule for December 21.  He seemed surprised.  Y’all, I like to have all of my ducks in a row!  Plus, I had been afraid that he’d get booked up, so I went ahead and had the nurse take care of this for me.

Ha!

We have a half day at school on December 20th, which will give me time to mentally prepare for surgery the next day.  By doing it during the break, I’ll have two weeks to get stronger before school resumes in January.

The doctor assured me that recovery will be much easier this time around.  Of that, I’m positive.  I don’t know that anything will ever compare to breaking an ankle and the pain involved with that.  Everything else pales in comparison.

So that was big news . . . a bit surprising and a teensy bit unnerving.  As I said, I actually like having some of the hardware, although going through metal detectors at airports will be a lot easier now!

I then began the drive home, exhausted but satisfied.

Of course, I thought of a number of questions after I got home . . .

I’ll run through these when my doctor visits me before he performs surgery.  He’s always incredibly patient when answering questions.

Y’all, the week wasn’t over though!  I still had Friday to get through!  Oh my!  This past week was Homecoming, so things were even crazier at school with kids getting ready for the dance, themed dress-up days, presentations of candidates and a parade, and the game on Friday.  Plus, I’d been coming down with a cold, so there was that.  Still, I was determined not to let those things stop me from attending the game . . .

It was a humid evening; I’m so glad I didn’t bother to straighten my hair!

The Homecoming queen wound up being a young lady I taught two years ago.  She was dressed up so fancy that I didn’t even recognize her!  I wanted to hug her after the game but couldn’t find her.  I’ll catch her at school.  I’m so happy for her!

We lost the game in a nail-biter than came down to a final field goal by the other team with five seconds left in the game.  Our boys were crying after it was over.  I tried my best to cheer them up as I hugged them and gave them high fives afterward.  I love them so.

Saturday, I got up early and walked three miles.

My ankle felt a lot better than it had the week before.  I know the shorter distance helped a lot.

I did feel pretty yucky from the cold, which had led me to sleep poorly Friday night.  I pulled out my essential oils and kept them going all day . . .

I did some baking, which I think I’ll talk about in a different post since this one could be a book on its own.

Then, I watched college football the rest of the day.

I wound up staying home from church today (Sunday).  I’m still not 100%; the severity of the cold is a bit muted, but it’s still annoying as all get out.

That’s basically it for these past two weeks.

Though I’m progressing, I continue to learn more about myself while making stupid mistakes (like walking too far or cooking for too many hours in a row).

If you would begin praying for the surgery I’ll be having in a scant 81 days, I’d sure appreciate it.  While I don’t relish the idea of having both sides of my ankle cut into again, I am looking forward to hitting the next phase of recovery so that, at some point, I can finally put this part of my life behind me.

Feeling Accomplished With the Hodgepodge

Thank goodness for the Hodgepodge.  It’s pretty much the one consistent thing I seem to be writing about these days on this here blog.  Join up with Joyce to partake of the fun!

1.  What pets did you have while growing up? Tell us a little something about them.

I had two dogs, Salt and Pepper.  They were miniature schnauzers, wickedly smart, and simply adorable.  We had them from the time they were eight weeks old until they were pretty old.  I don’t really remember what happened to Pepper.  I’m not sure if she wandered off, got stolen, or passed away.  Salt turned into a fat old man.  He wandered all over the small town where we lived in Alabama.  I left him behind when I got married and moved away.  I don’t think the last few years of his life were too great.  He’d grown up as an inside dog, but my mom and stepdad got divorced, and things (including pets) went by the wayside.  I heard that he died after getting in a fight with a dog.  He was probably too old to really fight back, bless his heart.  He was such a good dog.

2.  What is one thing you absolutely must accomplish today?

Today will be pretty easy at school.  It’s Homecoming week, and Wednesday’s schedule is going to be fluid with two activities centered around fancy senior attendants.

I’ve got physical therapy after school, and I MUST schedule my next three or four appointments.  I’m praying that I don’t have to do battle; the number of visits I have left was up in the air last week, but I let God work that out for me.

I also really, really need to get my lesson plans done for next week.  The Word file is done, but I like to make a Smartboard file to go along with it as a visual aid for my students.

So, I guess I listed out two or three things depending on how you look at it.

3.  Where were you ten years ago? What were you doing there?

I was right here in Podunk, Florida, trying to keep my head afloat while I balanced a full-time college load, part-time job, a middle schooler, and a high schooler . . . both of whom were playing travel soccer (Chicky all over the country; Rooster all over the Southeast).  Life was crazy!

4.  September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Did you celebrate? Apple dumpling, xiao long bao (steamed Chinese dumpling), chicken and dumplings, pirogi, matzoh balls, or gnocchi…which dumpling on this list would be your dumpling of choice? Have you ever made homemade dumplings of any kind?

I did not celebrate.  Back in my meat-eating days, I could throw down a plate of chicken and dumplings.  Living in the South means you grow up eating that at least once a week.  I have made homemade dumplings before.  They were a pain in the rear.  It’s much easier to go to Cracker Barrel!

5.  There are two kinds of adventurers: those who go truly hoping to find an adventure and those who go secretly hoping they don’t.’ William Trogdon

So which kind are you?

Tough question.  I’m a pretty cautious person; however, I am kind of brave in some areas of my life (i.e., going back to college, deciding to become a teacher, becoming a vegan, and learning how to cook vegan dishes).  I guess I’m about half and half.

6.  My Random Thought

Since we were talking about fur babies earlier, I thought I’d share the picture I took on Sunday of my boys . . .

I enlisted the Mr.’s help to get them to PetSmart for manis/pedis.

The Mr. was not amused, and although the dogs look happy here, they quickly changed their tune when we left the neighborhood.

Both of them whined the entire way there (less than ten minutes).

Then, we had to wait about fifteen or twenty minutes, and poor Gambit shook most of that time.

Pele was a royal pain when they clipped his back nails, while Gambit gave the girl fits when she messed with his front paws.

Divas, the both of them.

They were thrilled to go home; we didn’t hear a peep from them the entire way back.

I love these turd buckets, whining or not.

Falling for the Hodgepodge

Yay!  It’s time for Joyce’s Hodgepodge!  I love the questions she dreams up each week, and I love reading others’ responses too.  Thank you so much for visiting me and spending a few minutes here.  By the way, I feel the need to apologize.  A few of you left comments last week, and I was completely overwhelmed with work, so I didn’t get a chance to reciprocate.  Please forgive me. ❤

Let’s get to the questions.

1.  What’s something you’d rate a 10/10? Tell us why.

Sleep.

Go ahead and laugh, but it’s something I treasure . . . more so when the school year is going.  It’s something I can’t seem to get enough of, but what little I manage to snag ranks right on up there with the most decadent dessert I’ve ever eaten.

2.  What job would you be terrible at? What makes you think so?

I’d really suck at at engineering because that requires a lot of math, which I struggle with.  I mean, if I can’t use my fingers, I’m kind of stuck.  The world can thank me now.

3.  When did you last take a fall? What’s something you’re falling for (in a good way) these days?

Really, Joyce?  heeheehee

If you’re new to my blog, you don’t know that I last took a fall on November 13th when I tripped over my dog as I was headed to bed in the dark.  I broke three bones in my ankle in what is known as a trimalleolar fracture.  I had surgery a week later where a plate and twelve pins were used to put my ankle back together, and I have been in physical therapy since the third week of January.  I have a lot of rehab ahead of me and another surgery in November.  I’m trying not to fall any more!!

So, what is something I’m falling for in a good way?  I’d say cooking.  I’ve been a vegan since December 2010, and I’ll admit that at first, I stuck with very simple meals.  I started branching out by learning how to make vegan desserts.  In the last year or so, I’ve found two or three vegan recipe makers who I routinely cook from.  It’s become a lot of fun, and I actually look forward to afternoons in the kitchen, when my ankle cooperates.

Here’s what I made last night – Creamy Vegan Pasta Marinara

I follow A Couple Cooks on Instagram, and they post recipes almost daily (along with pictures of their adorable baby).  This dish is absolutely incredible, and it required very little work.  I cannot believe that I made my own marinara sauce, and that it tastes as good as something I’d get at a restaurant.  My picture does not do it justice (maybe it would have if I’d sprinkled some fresh basil on top).

4. According to the Travel Channel here are some of America’s best fall festivals-

National Apple Harvest Festival (near Arendtsville PA, close to Gettysburg), Harvest on the Harbor (Portland Maine), German Village Festival (Columbus Ohio), Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Cape Cod), and Wine and Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe NM)

Have you ever been to any of the festivals listed? Which one appeals to you most? Does your hometown have any sort of fall celebration, and if so will you make it a point to attend?

I have not been to any of the festivals listed above.  I think I’d probably like the Wine and Chile Fiesta the best because who doesn’t like wine along with a bit of spice?  🙂

I guess Podunk, USA has some sort of festival, but I don’t attend.  I’m rather anti-social that way.  Bah humbug and all that.

5.  What is your goodbye message to summer?

Dear Summer,

We had a wonderful time together . . . poolside, nap side, Netflix side.  Alas, I did not win the lottery, so I have to bid you a fond, but temporary, farewell.

I’m already counting down the days until June, when we can be reunited.  I’m planning our activities (same as this year except for the physical therapy, I hope).

See you soon!

Love,

Auburnchick

6.  My Random Thought

On Thursday, my classes and I will begin reviewing the answers to the FSA packet the kids completed on Monday and Tuesday.  It was wickedly difficult, but with retakes coming up and increased pressure to pass for my juniors and seniors, this teacher isn’t playing around.

To prepare, I did my own “homework” and marked up the text and the answers . . .

Which of the following characters do you think I’ll resemble while trying to help my precious kiddos?

Week 44

Week 44 of my trimalleolar fracture recovery started off in an interesting way.

We were bracing for Hurricane Irma.

Oh, we weren’t in its direct path, but we still weren’t sure what it was going to do.  If it went into the Gulf, we knew we’d be in trouble.

Because it was such a large storm, the governor had closed all schools.  My district had mandated that schools be closed Monday and Tuesday as well, so I had the day off.

My physical therapist’s office had called the previous Thursday and left a message saying that it would be closed on Monday as well, so that meant I wouldn’t be going in for my regular appointment.

The day was blustery, and the wind howled until mid-afternoon.  We got a little bit of rain, but that was it.

I got on up and did my physical therapy exercises.  I’ve found that my ankle stays flexible if I keep up with these maneuvers even when I’m not at PT.

My in-laws had come over from Big City, Florida to spend Sunday night with us.  They left around 2pm on Monday once they were sure the wind wasn’t going to be an issue.

Now, I am not going to lie.  Not having to go in to school was SUCH a blessing.  This school year is already kicking my behind.  I made the best of the downtime and used Saturday and Monday to get ahead of lesson planning.

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That left me to my own devices on Tuesday.

I worked out and ran errands, overnight oats in tow . . .

I randomly texted my friend, Jane, to see if her school was open.  It was (she’s at the private school where we both spent our first year together), but it just so happened that she was on planning and her lunch followed right after, so I picked her up.  We ran to Panera for a wonderful 90-minute visit.

When I got home, I tried to fix a broken sprinkler head . . .

I had purchased a new one back in April, but for some reason, it had popped off, and I couldn’t, for the life of me, get it screwed back on.  I figured it was user error.

Funny story:  My neighbors pulled into their driveway while I was working, and they came over to see if I wanted to borrow their edger.  Y’all, they thought I was edging my yard by hand with that shovel.

We had a big laugh over that!

I headed back to school on Wednesday.  The kids and I were exhausted!  It wound up being a strange week with lots of yawns.  I spent my entire planning period in the copy room making hundreds of copies . . .

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After school, I stopped by the business where I get my sprinkler heads and was assured that the issue had not been me but the threads.  I bought another one and went home to fix it for good . . .

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Thursday morning, I got on up and worked out . . .

Then, as I got ready for work, I realized that I really did not have shoes to match my dress.  I decided to give flat sandals a go . . .

Now, I’m not going to lie.  This was a bit of rebellion on my part.  I’m not supposed to wear shoes that don’t have support, and I haven’t ever since I got out of my boot, but I’m so flipping tired of not matching sometimes.

When I walked into physical therapy that afternoon, the shoes did not go unnoticed.  Therapists are trained to see every single detail.

My trainer commented on them when I walked past her to the changing room.  I told her that I was pretty sure I’d be hurting later.  She was nice and told me that every once in a while wouldn’t hurt but not to make it a habit.

Ahem.

Physical therapy was hard.  Monster walks are still so tough; my legs need more time to regain the strength I’ve lost over the past few months.

I can’t remember if I did anything new.  I don’t think I did.  We did have a discussion about her upping the intensity of some of my exercises next week while she reduces the number of reps.  I’m glad for this.  It signals progress.

Physical therapy days are long ones for me.  I rarely get home before 5:30 or 6.  Pele had been up to no good . . .

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We’d been trying to let him roam free more; apparently the afternoons prove to be too tempting for him . . . or else that’s when he starts missing us.

I will say that I was pretty sore the next day (Friday).  I don’t know if it was from the sandals or the extra hard PT session the day before, but my ankle did not feel good all day.

Pele was feeling my pain . . .

When I got home from school, I hunkered down and got all of the stuff you see in my bag graded.  I even uploaded the grades and sent reports to parents . . .

I went to my school’s football game that evening, and if I could have put my hands on a pair of crutches or a scooter, I would have.

The evening was gorgeous; my ankle was not.

I was limping so bad by the end of the game that I could hardly stand it.  In fact, I could barely put weight on it period.

Ugh.

I’d spent sixteen hours on my feet – way too long.

When I got home that night, I collapsed in my recliner, watched Big Brother, and then dragged myself to bed where I slept until nearly noon.

Sleep did the trick, though, and I was able to work out before I settled in for a day of college football.

Pele didn’t stray far from my recliner on Saturday . . .

Honestly, I don’t think I even walked a mile around the house on Saturday.  That’s how exhausted I was.  I was so glad that I’d done all of my planning and grading beforehand; my brain could not have focused on anything school-related.

On Sunday, I’d intended to get up and walk three miles, but when the alarm went off, I went back to sleep until 8, when it was time to get ready for church.

I did manage to do my PT exercises after church.  I’m so glad too, because when I was doing one of my stretching moves, my ankle – where pressure had been building – popped.  This popping always relieves the pain.

I did some baking . . .

Almond Meal Donuts for the Mr.

Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel for me . . .

Pele stole one of the Mr.’s donuts when we were Facetiming with Rooster . . .

We caught the pup red-pawed.  Turd.

So, the week was a good one.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I was able to schedule an eval appointment with my ankle surgeon.  I go in next week.  I am tentatively scheduled for another surgery December 21st.  I want two or three pins removed from my ankle.  These are the pins that are giving me fits when I wear my sneakers and when anything rubs against them.  They are on the boniest parts of my inner and outer ankle.  I am praying that the doctor gives me the green light to proceed.  By the time he does the surgery, I’ll be thirteen months out of my injury, which from all that I’ve read is ample time for healing to have occurred.  By having the surgery during Christmas vacation, I’ll have a good head start on recovering before school resumes in January.  I’ll also have a chance to return to physical therapy to start regaining flexibility in my ankle again.  I have a feeling I’ll be in PT forever!  Ha!

As always, I’m #findingjoyinthejourney and thanking my heavenly Father for the healing He’s graciously allowed thus far.

Thankful Thursday

I’m taking a page out of Rebecca’s book, or rather blog, and doing a Thankful Thursday blog post – because I’m trying my best to get a bit more consistent in my writing because I really do love it so.

Here are some of the most recent things I’m thankful for:

1. My fur babies

I had last Friday (and Monday and Tuesday) off because of the hurricane.  The weather on Friday was divine, as was Tuesday’s weather.  While I scooped poop from the back yard, the dogs enjoyed the cooler temperature and the wind.

This was the perfect opportunity for a little photo session.

Pele’s smile, y’all, was contagious . . .

I might have been smiling a little extra because of the day off, which was desperately needed after a hectic first two weeks of school.

Gambit enjoyed some extra snuggles as well.

2.  Snapchat Filters

This may seem lame, but we all need some fun in our lives, and the daily filters on Snapchat are a hoot!  Some of my favorites have been . . .

Isn’t it great when the filter matches your outfit? Thanks, Snapchat!

 

Doesn’t everyone wear bunny ears when they shop at Kohls?

 

I need these ears in my life . . . on a daily basis

 

Peacing out at physical therapy

 

Ever since the start of school, my brain has felt like a bowl of Fruit Loops

3. Doughnut pans

I’ve been on a doughnut kick of late.  I saw a recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Doughnuts and had to try them.

 

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That Maple Pecan Glaze on top . . . to die for.

 

I even figured out how to make a batch that catered to the Mr.’s special diet.

The second time I made these, I added extra honey and peanut butter.  He’s in love with them.

4. Talented Students

Take a look at these drawing I found on a couple of my students’ assignments . . .

My kids never fail to amaze me.  The quietest students showcase themselves in the most unexpected ways.  I am constantly in awe of their under-spoken gifts.

5. New Books

Y’all, I have been reading my way through the Throne of Glass series, thanks to the recommendation from my friend, Megan.  The newest book arrived in my mail a few days ago.  Now, if only I could finish book 4 . . .

6. Chick fil A Sweet Tea and Fries

I’m usually really good with my diet, but some days just call for sweet tea and waffle fries . . .

So, what are you thankful for today?

Falling into the Hodgepodge

Technically, fall doesn’t begin until September 22, but I’m an overachiever, and one of Joyce’s questions addresses seasonal changes so yeah – the title of my post today.  It’s scary how my brain works, isn’t it?  Maybe we should just jump into the questions.

1.  Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

I believe that a picture can be worth a thousand words depending on the photo.  Sometimes, you just can’t put words to an experience; feelings just cannot be captured in the turn of a phrase.  We were created to absorb information through all of our senses, and sight is certainly one of them.

Here’s a photo for you . . .

I snapped that after Christmas, before we had gotten our dining area back in order.  Molly loved to look out that front window.  With the table out of the way, she had easier access.

Every time I see this picture, which stays on my phone, I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking as she looked outside.  Little did I know at the time I snapped it that she would be gone a mere seven months later.

Now, when I look at that window, I see her there and remember this moment.  I miss her terribly.

So yes, a picture can be worth a thousand words – a thousand feelings, really.

2.  Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

I don’t believe that I’ve traveled down this highway; that part of the country is a long way from Florida.  I can’t say that it’s on my bucket list.  Maybe I will if I am retired and have plenty of time on my hands.  I’m sure the views must be incredible.

3.  How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is? 

I can’t say that the changing seasons affect me too much.  I pretty much take them in stride.  Going from summer to fall is a little sad because that signals the end to my summer vacation, but it’s also fun because I know that college football is close at hand.  Fall to winter is a non-event.  Winter to spring is fun because I know that Spring Break is about to happen, and spring to summer is whatever because in Florida both seasons are pretty much the same.

Perhaps the seasonal changes affect people because they signal the passage of time.  I’m so grateful for each day that I try really hard not to look backwards.  I’m pretty focused on each moment.

4.  It’s your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

I’d love a plate of Tofu Massaman Curry from my favorite local restaurant please.  The peanut sauce is to die for!  As far as lying about my age, it’s not something I do.  I’m proud of it and am actually kind of shocked that I’m 47.  My brain doesn’t believe it sometimes.

5.  What’s a life lesson you’ve learned recently?

Since last November, I’ve learned that God truly is in control.  Yes, I’d like to think I have things planned out, but then I remember that this is delusional thinking (while I think I hear God chuckling behind me).  Breaking my ankle, dealing with a very ill husband, and losing my dog have reminded me that while I most certainly do not have things under control, God does, and His plans are perfect despite how I feel as they are playing out.

6.  My Random Thought

This was my Snapchat photo last Wednesday . . .

I’d say it’s pretty accurate even today as I head back to school after almost a week of being out due to this . . .

I am so thankful that God spared my part of the state; the Keys and other areas in the state were not so fortunate.  Chicky had to evacuate.  She’ll be returning home soon because, while students in her district are out the rest of the week, teachers have to report on Friday.  I’m sure she must be dreading the drive.  Coming north was a nightmare she doesn’t want to experience again . . . double the driving time . . . no place to potty . . . fatigue.  Hopefully, her drive hope will be quicker and less eventful.

Have a great week, everyone!

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