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17 Weeks

Four months and one week…that’s how much time has passed since November 13th when I broke my ankle.

Each week brings me closer to a full recovery, but I am still a long ways out.

This past week, I learned some painful, yet powerful lessons.

Last weekend, I thought I’d be all that and did three very tough weight lifting routines.

I’d wanted to start Body Beast ever since I’d been sidelined in November.  I had done chest and triceps the previous Friday, legs that Saturday, and biceps and back that Sunday.

To make matters worse, I spent about seven hours on my feet on Sunday…cooking four different recipes.

Boy, was I hurting when Monday rolled around.  I always say that it’s not the day after a workout that you’re most sore but the second day after.

This was me on Tuesday…standing like a gorilla because I couldn’t straighten my arms from Sunday’s bicep workout…

My ankle was a hot mess from Saturday’s workout, let me tell you.  It was so bad that the outside of my ankle…the side where I have my plate, was hurting.  This side rarely gives me problems.

When I got to physical therapy on Monday afternoon, I was doing some serious hobbling.

My physical therapists were not happy, and because I’d done too much, they weren’t able to add new exercises to my regimen.

The ice and stem therapy when I finished that day were much needed.

I struggled all week with my ankle…all because I’d tried to be my former, overachieving self.

Here’s what’s hard for me…remembering that, although my ankle might feel okay while I’m doing something, the effects of being on my feet or doing whatever it is I’m doing don’t hit until later.

I have to start thinking about the after-effects, which is so hard for me because I feel as though I’m missing out on stuff.

Sigh.

So, last week was frustrating, and I might have had a pity party or two when nobody was looking (and even when someone was).

The Mr. got a bit upset with me and fussed…in a loving way (ahem).  He reminded me that I am only four months out from breaking my ankle.

Yes, I can walk.

Yes, my limp is getting better.

Yes, I can drive and do some things.

The key is the word “some.”  That doesn’t mean all, and it doesn’t even mean that those “some” things are going to be to the full extreme that I’ve done them in the past.

YET.

One day, I’ll be able to.

Just not yet.

Just like I can’t wear pretty shoes for very long, so it’s tennis shoes and dresses, on the days when I feel like looking uber-professional.

Don’t be jelly of my fashion style.

Before I left my PT session on Wednesday, I was instructed to take it easy over the weekend…to not do any more than a mile without checking to see how I felt (it had been my intention to get started on my S.P.E.W. virtual race…six miles…broken up for me, of course).

I took their words to heart and went home on Friday determined to be a better patient.  On my way in the house, I stopped to smell the roses…literally.

It had been a tough couple of days with work stuff, and I listened to my body and crashed in the recliner.

Then, I did NOTHING on Saturday.  I stayed in my pajamas and read my new Neal Shusterman book, Scythe.  I had started it Friday night after the Man in the Brown Truck delivered it and finished it early Saturday evening.  It was FANTASTIC!

There were a few twists I didn’t expect, which made this a real page turner.

I took a bit of time out on Saturday to watch the movie If I Stay, which is based on Gayle Forman’s book.  I read it last summer and enjoyed it.  It was a heart-wrenching book.  The movie didn’t disappoint except in a couple of places where things strayed from the book a bit.

Gambit chose to interrupt my “me” time periodically throughout the day.  Being in the recliner puts me at the perfect level to give him a good scratch or two.

All of the resting made a huge difference for my ankle, as evidenced by the fact that you can see most of the bones in my foot.  They’re usually slightly obscured by the swelling that seems to be a constant part of my world right now.

As I type this, it’s Sunday afternoon.  The Mr. is grocery shopping, and I’d like to try to make a couple of things.  We found some recipes that don’t look like they’ll require a lot of standing-up time.  My fingers are crossed.

This journey is reminding me of the importance of rest.  So often, I, along with most of America, use the weekends to try to catch up on tasks that aren’t able to be done during the week.

My body, however, tells on me.  I need the kind of rest that requires purposely sitting down and not doing a whole lot of much, whether it’s thinking or finishing chores.  Everything gets done eventually…it just doesn’t have to be done now.

Speaking of now…the Mr. just pulled into the garage which means for now, I’ll be starting work on those recipes and then hunkering down in my recliner to watch a little NASCAR and, perhaps, enjoy a quick nap.

Thank you for your continued prayers as I press on in my recovery. ❤

300th Hodgepodge

Good golly, but can it be?  300 Hodgepodge posts by Joyce, and she’s still going strong!  Props!

Despite spending the evening trying to crunch test data (I’m a reading teacher…this was uber-difficult), I’m here and playing along.  Join up with Joyce to join in the fun!  Oh, and thanks for visiting me today!  🙂

1.  What is one area of your life where you’re a perfectionist? Is that a good thing?

Oh goodness…where am I not a perfectionist?  Let’s see…how about my physical therapy (following my ankle break in November, for those of you who are here for the first time)?  I’m all about doing things right, you see.  I want to be able to run again, so I’m trying to do things by the book.  It’s a good thing because my physical therapist says I’m making great progress!

2.  What’s something you find perfectly ridiculous?

This hits home right now as I just spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at test data that really can’t be compared because of so many different factors.  I really wish that I could just do what I do best, which is build relationships with my students and instill a love for reading without the extra hurdles I have to navigate around (I was going to say “jump over,” but that would sound even more ridiculous and ironic given the state of my ankle these days).

Teaching.  It’s so freakishly hard.

3.  What’s a skill you’ve developed by way of that old fashioned saying, ‘practice makes perfect?

One of my students asked a pretty great question of me the other day.  He asked me how I got to be good at writing.

First, I wrote the name of my English teacher on the board.  If you attended my school, you’ll know exactly who I speak of.

Second, I told him that we weren’t given the opportunity to keep turning work in for revised grades.  Your teacher bled all over your paper with a red pen, you got the grade you got, and you started writing the next essay.

Practice made perfect.

4.  What’s your idea of a perfect breakfast?

Heavenly Hash (hash browns with sauteed veggies) hits the spot any time…from my favorite local all-night diner.  Yum!

5.  What’s a trip, holiday, vacation, or day outing you’ve taken that you’d rate a perfect 10? Tell us why.

The first thing that came to mind was my trip to watch Rooster graduate from basic training last May.  We flew to San Antonio and spent Thursday through Sunday basking in the glow that surrounded graduation ceremonies.  It was the most amazing experience ever and made me even more proud to be an American.

6.  What quote or saying perfectly sums up your life right now? If you can’t do perfect, how about one that comes close?

“Slow and steady wins the race” is a saying I repeat at least once a day, if not more.  I do everything so much more slowly since I broke my ankle, and I find myself even more appreciative of everything.  I am slowly plodding my way through this school year, eager to see the arrival of summer vacation.  I am slowly navigating my way through the physical therapy process…each new exercise marks progress.  I am slowly learning how to take care of my hubby’s special dietary needs as he prepares for the next step in his medical treatment (we’ll know more in a couple of weeks).  All I can do is take one careful step at a time and trust God to keep me steady.

7.  How would you spend $300 today?

I would buy three pairs of Vionic shoes.

I’m not kidding.

I am in love with these shoes, even if I can’t really wear them yet.  I bought my first pair last Saturday.  My physical therapist advised me to only wear them for short periods of time.  But…I would like to have more options for when my foot is ready.

8.  My Random Thought

On Monday, I took one of my classes to the library for a special get-together.

We met up with one of my school’s developmentally disabled classes, where my students read Dr. Seuss books to them.

It was one of the most amazing things I’ve done as a teacher.  My students were very tender with those precious kiddos.  They showed so much patience…even when one of the girls was in a bad mood and didn’t want to be read to.  She eventually warmed up.

I was shocked when I saw one young lady begin to read to my students.  She was such a fluent reader!  I pulled up a chair to listen to her.

Several of the kids wound up reading to my students, and let me tell you, they made an impression!

When we returned to my classroom, my kids talked about how shocked they were that the other kids could read…some better than them!

Then, they did me even prouder when they asked if they could read to the kids again.

Oh yes they did!

I signed up for another day.  We’ll go on Thursday.

My media specialist was in tears, y’all.

So was I.

It was an experience I’ll never forget.  I just love this class of mine.  They’ve been extra special all year.  Monday was more proof of that.

Surprise Visitor

Thursday night, around 10:30pm, I was just about to head to bed when I heard the garage door go up.

What the heck?

I got very scared and hollered out to the Mr., who’d gone to bed a couple of hours prior.

Before I knew it, the door between the laundry room and the garage door was opening.

What the double-heck?

Then I heard the angelic voice of my Chicky, “It’s just me, Mama.”

Oh, be still my beating heart.  My girl had come home for a surprise visit!

It was a good thing I’d just taken off my TENS unit, because I might have had a heart attack from the shock!

Just kidding.  Sort of.

We visited a few minutes before I got up, washed dishes with the extra adrenaline, and headed to bed.

Waking up to her being under my roof…well, is there a better feeling in the world than having your children in your home?  I think not!

How I loved seeing her shoes all lined up.  It takes a LOT of shoes to get through a weekend, let me tell you!

The next day, she came to see me at school during my lunch break…

See how cool I am?

Ahem.

We had a wonderful weekend.  We ran errands on Saturday.  She humored me by going shoe shopping with me.

But first, we had to grab lunch.

Then, it was off to Dillard’s to try on shoes.

Remember that I’m all about Vionic shoes right now because of the support they provide…much needed for my pronated, still-healing-broken ankle.

I spied these and gave them a whirl.

I wasn’t sure about them at first but wound up loving how they looked with my blue jeans (and yes, those are my legs…with torn blue jeans…because I am cool like that).

The saleslady brought lots of other shoes for me to try on…

I am desperate for a pair of shoes to wear with black or grey pants.

Chicky was not fond of these.

The next pair wound up being one of my favorite of the day.

Look how great they go with my blue jeans!  I can also see them with casual dresses (solid) or shorts.

In the end, I bought the first pair…the brown, sparkly ones.  I wore them out of the mall.  ❤

Chicky and I ran a few other errands and then returned home.  I made her a dish from one of my Oh She Glows recipe book, and we enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

She left early Sunday morning so she could get home in time to relax before the weekend was over.

Her visit really lifted our spirits.  Her smile and laugh are always infectious.

She’s been incredibly attentive in recent months, and this makes our hearts light.  She is beautiful on the inside and outside…a true blessing.

 

16 Weeks

Yesterday marked 4 whole months since I broke my ankle!

Can you believe it?

Sometimes I can; other times I can’t.

I do know that it was the first thing I thought of when I woke up Sunday morning.  The milestone meant that much to me.

I told a friend at church on Sunday that I am a completely different person from who I was four months ago.  Between my ankle and the Mr.’s health issues, I’ve changed.  So much.

My physical therapy is going well, as always.  I seriously love the place I go to.

Tuesday was tough (work-wise), let me tell you.  It was the day that I had to proctor the FSA writing test…two sessions of it.  This meant an entire day on my feet with not a lot of breaks.  I also proctored in the building furthest from my classroom (props to the Guidance administrator who wanted me to be able to use the latest technology).  Walking back and forth with tubs of material was just too hard.  I made a special request to proctor in my building when the kids take the FSA reading comprehension exam in April.  That was a day I wished I could have had PT so I could be hooked up to the TENS unit afterward.

On Wednesday, I got to add a new exercise…balancing one-legged on a Bosu ball.

That’s not me, and I don’t balance while holding onto a medicine ball.  I place it between two parallel bars and stand in the middle on my right ankle (the one I broke).  I had to stand for one minute.  I couldn’t balance the whole time.  It was soooo hard, and my hip got very sore.  Strength training is a big part of what I’m working on right now, in addition to flexibility and mobility.  Still, it felt good to move from the foam pad to the ball…progress!

Wednesday evening, the Man in the Brown Truck dropped off something I’d ordered the week before…

It’s a TENS/EMS unit…similar to what my therapists put on my leg after I finish each session, only smaller and portable.

Can I tell you how much I love this?  It has different settings, and they are just wonderful.  It was worth the $60 I paid.

I’m still not at the point where I can wear regular shoes for long periods of time.  I’m starting to get frustrated, though.  I want to wear my favorite dresses, so I finally caved and put together this ensemble on Thursday…

Yeah, it wasn’t my favorite, but I’m learning that some things don’t matter when you’re recovering from an ankle break.

On Friday, I decided (sparked by me noticing my shoulders…and decreasing muscle definition) to start the Body Beast program I had planned to begin the week I broke my ankle…

It’s almost all weight lifting.

I want to be buff!  Bikini season is right around the corner!

So, for Day 1, I did chest and triceps.

It felt wonderful to pull the weights out again.

It was hard, though.  I started with low weights because it had been awhile since I’d worked out.

I wore my new ear buds the Mr. bought me for Christmas.  Look at the calorie burn!

I felt so accomplished when I finished…a little more like my old self!

Saturday morning, I did Day 2 – Legs.

It was ugly, y’all.

I had a meltdown halfway through; some of the moves were not feasible for me.  I discovered that I couldn’t do lunges where I had to put my right leg back.  My ankle just wasn’t flexible enough yet.  When I told my physical therapists about it, they said I’m also not strong enough.

It was sooooo frustrating, but I watched the guy doing modifications and incorporated them into my routine.

Pushing through built my confidence.

The calorie burn was BIG too!

On Sunday, after church, I did Day 3…biceps and back.

I loved this video, even with my modifications.

After I worked out on Sunday, I spent almost seven hours in the kitchen preparing several dishes.  It was almost 8pm when I finally sat down.

Sixteen weeks out, I think I’m strong enough to do what I want.

I’m learning that I still have some serious limitations.

For instance, working out three days in a row was brutal on my ankle.  Not taking Sunday off to rest did a number on me, and I paid the price today (Monday).  Not only was my ankle swollen, but it hurt pretty badly on the outside where my plate is.

My physical therapist wouldn’t add a new exercise because I’d overdone it, so I’m relegated back to just upper body workouts.

There’s a fine line between working hard, as I promised my therapist I’d do during my first visit, to remembering that yes, I’m still recovering, and no, I cannot push myself so hard.

I think, too, that people see me walking and assume I’m better.

I’m not there yet and won’t be for a long time.  Although I’m on my feet, and I’m smiling (most times) on the outside, I’m still in pain.  It’s not always bad…especially in the mornings…but my ankle is shot around lunchtime, and it’s downhill from there.

I’m on my feet a lot more because the Mr. has been sick.  I am cooking tons, which means more time on my feet in the afternoons.  I don’t mind attitude-wise, but my ankle hates life.  Thankfully, the Mr. is very understanding and makes things as easy as he can.

I guess the message for this past week is that I continue to make progress, but it’s still slow.  My physical therapists are incredibly encouraging and tell me that I’m making great progress, but they gently remind me that it’s going to take a long time.

I still can’t walk down steps without holding onto something.  It doesn’t matter which leg I lead with; each presents its own problems…either lack of flexibility or lack of strength.

But I’m walking…a little faster than the week before.

My balance is getting better too.

And so I continue to plod through this journey…slowly…gratefully…aware of the blessings that I would have never received had this not happened to me.

God is so good.

God is so great.

He loves me; He provides for me; He’s healing me.

His timing is perfect, and I trust in that.

As always, I continue #findingjoyinthejourney…even if that journey takes me two years.  I’ll never stop being grateful.

Slow and Steady Hodgepodge

How kind of Joyce to tailor-make this week’s questions for me.  I’m all about slow these days, but I’ll save the details to use as my answers.  Play along by posting the answers on your own blog and then linking back up with her.  Thanks for visiting!

1.  Slow and steady wins the race’…tell us about a time this was true in your own life. 

Um, hello?  Have you been reading my blog the past four months?  In case you missed all of the excitement, let me bring you up to speed.  On November 13th, I broke three bones in my ankle and dislocated it.  It’s called a trimalleolar fracture and is pretty serious.  See, that’s how I roll.  Go big or go home.  Overachieving has its down side.  I had surgery a week later and am now sporting a plate and twelve pins.  Lucky me, eh?  I really would have rather won the money lotto, not the hardware one.

By the way, never Google trimalleolar fractures if you’re in the ER after being told that’s what you’ve got.  From what I’ve read, recovery usually takes 18-24 months.

Talk about slow!

Fortunately, I am up and walking.  Slowly.  On Monday, my physical therapist said that he can see a lot of improvement in my gait.  Yay!  But it’s slow, y’all.  In case I didn’t mention that already.  I told a teacher I walked past yesterday that it’s not about winning…it’s about finishing.  That’s my motto, and I’m sticking to it.

2.  As slow as molasses’…Do you like molasses? How about maple syrup? Caramel? Butterscotch? What’s your favorite of the slow moving treats mentioned here, and what’s your favorite food made with that sweet treat? 

I am not a fan of molasses.  It’s too strong for me.  I do, however, love me some maple syrup…the real kind.  I also like caramel but can’t have it because I am lactose-intolerant and a vegan.  I have seen recipes for vegan versions.  I need to try them out.

I just made some Maple-Nut Cookie Bars.  They were so easy and are delicious!

3.  Your favorite slow song? 

Hmmm…I’m a little stumped.  Every song I think of is from the 80’s…because I’m old like that.  I’m having flashbacks to high school dances, Molly Ringwald, and Lionel Richie.

Ok…just thought of one that has nothing to do with the above people.  I told you I was slow!  Ha!

Every time I hear Bette Midler’s The Rose, I have to stop and maybe wipe a tear.  It’s poignant.  It gets me in my feelings.  It’s everything I love as an English teacher.

4.  Your favorite thing to make in a slow cooker or crock pot? 

I haven’t cooked in my crockpot in a while, so I don’t really have a favorite.  I guess something easy I made a few times when the kids were growing up was the meatball/grape jelly dish.

5.  You may delay, but time will not.’ ~Benjamin Franklin Are you more a hurrier or a delayer when it comes to unpleasant tasks that need doing? What are you currently either delaying or hurrying to get through this week or month?

I’m probably more of a person who hurries simply because I want to get the deed over with.  What am I delaying right now?  As I’m typing this, I’m delaying grading my students’ essays.  I started with 70.  I have 50 left.  My goal is to have them done by the end of Wednesday.  #Englishteacherproblems

6.  Tell us three things you encounter regularly or even just occasionally that you find to be annoyingly slow.

Three things that are annoyingly slow for me are phone service in certain spots in my town, healing from my ankle injury, and my walking pace (a couple of weeks ago, it took me almost two hours to walk four miles).  Ugh.

7.  March is National Craft Month. Are you crafty? Tell us about something crafty you’ll try in the next thirty one days. Or something crafty you’d like to try or wish you had the skill to make happen. 

I’ve been a knitter since 2006.  I’d like to try to finish the pair of socks I started in December.  My goal is to complete it the week of Spring Break.  A skill I’d like to get better at is calligraphy/fancy lettering.  I bought a pen, paper, and books and gave it a bit of effort…before I broke my ankle.  Since then, my materials have been sitting on my dining room table (the clean-up of which I’m also delaying).

8.  My Random Thought

I took the following picture last week before I went into training.  It was in jest.  Pretty much.  We have a teacher workday today.  In a way I don’t mind; having a chance to get caught up (ha!) is very welcome.  The meetings before being released to catch up?  Not so much.

When Today is Hard

Gosh, but yesterday was one of those hard teaching days.

Well, actually it was only part of the day but still.

When things are going well, and then they don’t, it’s easy to doubt myself.  This year has been complicated two-fold with a broken ankle and the Mr.’s recent health crisis.  Questions constantly swirl in my mind.

Am I really a good teacher?

Am I still connecting with my students?

Am I leaving a lasting impact on their lives?

That’s when God gently reminds me that yes, I am, doing all of the above.

Running into this precious sweet girl…a young lady I taught six years ago…

She was in my first class at my current school…my second year of teaching but my first as a reading teacher.

I had no idea what I was doing with this prep.

This young lady sat in the back of my classroom, smiled, and nodded at everything I said.

I kid you not.

She lit up my world every day she was in class, and let me tell you, I don’t remember her missing many, if any.

She continued to brighten up my days each year that she was at my school until she graduated.  She and I are friends on Facebook now, and I love watching her continue to mature.  She is incredible.

I ran into her at Walmart when she had taken the day off of work to raise money for her church.

Go ahead and let your heart take that in a moment.

Every time we get together, she thanks me for being a wonderful teacher and getting her through her ninth grade year.

I love her, that’s for sure.  She made me a better teacher and a better human being.  She’s as beautiful inside as on the outside.

And then on Saturday, while out shopping at the mall, I ran into a current student of mine…another ninth grader.

She’s rough around the edges, y’all, but I love her.  I don’t know why the toughest kids manage to burrow their way into my heart, but they do.

She insisted that we take a selfie, and I acquiesced.  She often tells me that I’m her favorite teacher.  I think it’s because I don’t judge her.  I just listen.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t speak up if I think she needs to clean up her act, but I love her no matter what.

Thinking about her brings to mind one of my favorite students ever.  I’ll call him KH for short.

He was another ninth grader I taught about five years ago, I think.

I ran into him when Chicky was up here a couple of weekends ago (I should have started this post with him so it would be chronological…and the fact that we are working on text structure in my class has obviously left its mark on my brain…ha!).

Anyhoo…he was a dream to teach…once I got past his tough exterior.  What a teddy bear this young man is.  Every time I see him, I have to give him a hug.  He’s in college now and doing well.  I’m not surprised.  He’s always been determined.

And then there’s M, a sweet girl I taught either three or four years ago (there goes that time thing again).  She did the high school graduation thing and has been trying to find her way.  She recently came back into my life because she works at my physical therapist’s office.  She came and sat beside me during my second session and encouraged me.  She texts me to see how I’m doing.  I’m working with her to help her pass one of her college entry exams, so we have dinner together sometimes.  She’s becoming a friend now.  The mentoring hasn’t stopped, but it’s on a more adult level now.

I could keep on describing my kids to you, but you’d probably get bored and stop reading.

The point is that when I’m feeling like I’m not making a difference, God puts the kids from my past forefront in my mind.  He reminds me that I didn’t think I was having an impact back when they were in my classroom either…that I doubted myself back then.  Confidence is something I have always struggled with.

Even though I can’t see the changes immediately, God is working on them.

And so I go forth, a little battle weary some days, but trusting in His plan and looking to Him for the energy to push through even when my feelings have been hurt or when I wonder if I’ve said or done the right thing.

When today is hard, I need to revisit this post and praise God for what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He’s going to do next.

Puppy Loving

Saturday was simply glorious around these parts.

The sun was shining, and the temperature got up to 78 degrees.

I cannot remember February ever being this warm before.

I spent some time in the back yard loving on the dogs.

Pele loves the sun.

He was very cooperative when I started taking selfies.

Gosh, but I love this guy.  He’s our oldest now; every day with him is a gift.

Pele may be the oldest, but Molly is the one in charge.

I ordered a new collar for her from Kelli, a high school friend who has an Etsy store that specializes in dog collars and leashes.  Her work is top-notch, let me tell you.

This is the third collar I’ve purchased from Kelli.  They are so strong and stylish too!  Molly didn’t mind posing for me in the yard…

Alas, but I didn’t take any photos with Gambit!  Shocker, I know, but he did get loved on…just not photographed.

Ha!

This weekend’s weather provided a tantalizing whiff of spring, which is right around the corner.

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