Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't Text and Drive!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Four Weeks

Four weeks ago tonight, Rob and I were riding our bikes along the trails when I wiped out. What a hassle this whole thing has been. Honestly, I can say that this broken ankle and impairment in getting around has really challenged my attitude. I try hard not to get down in the dumps, but it's so hard when I feel like I'll never be the same.

And, in my heart, I know that I will be. I'll be walking in no time, and I'm super lucky that my injuries weren't more serious.

But all the same, I wish it had never happened.

I think I've said before that it's given me a better appreciation for the physically impaired and the handicapped. Lots of little things have crossed my mind, like I vow to never use the handicapped stall in public bathrooms - you never know when a girl on crutches or on her knee-scooter (this is the model I have; renting from a local supplier) is waiting to get inside.

I'll be patient when I'm behind someone moving along the best they can, and I won't be too hurried to help a handicapped person reach something in the market or carry something to their car.

I'm so, so thankful that I'm on the mend, but I'm also thankful that I'm more aware of the blessing of health that so many of us take for granted.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Teeny tiny ants

Every spring, we get an influx of those itsy bitsy ants, primarily in our kitchen. They are seasonal, and they fade away (usually with the help of ant traps).

Do you have any advice or remedies to get rid of these little suckers? I need something curious-kitty-cat friendly!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer in April

It was 90 degrees here in D.C. this weekend! Nuts. I think the average temps are supposed to be somewhere around 65-ish, so this heatwave is a surprise to everyone. I think it's going to stay this way until Wednesday, when it cools back down.

Here's what I've learned: I am so, so glad I'm not wearing this cast in July. It's only been hot two days, and my foot is SO HOT in my cast. Hopefully it'll stay a little cooler until I get this thing off at the end of May.

Nothing too exciting this weekend... Rob went out for a hike and to do some caching on Saturday. He deserved a break! I've been reading my book and watching a lot of Food Network. :)

We did venture to Trader Joe's after church today, and I got around pretty well. I'm actually working on putting more weight on my foot, but it hurts and I'm a total chicken. I'm trying, though.

Friday, April 24, 2009


This week I found out that I won a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card from one of our vendors at work. I'd done a customer service satisfaction survey and was entered in a drawing - lucky me!

Last night I logged online to spend my prize, and here's what I got:

Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal
I saw this on the Today Show in the past few weeks and the recipes all looked great. We love breakfast for dinner, and it's good to have some recipes when we entertain during the weekend. Yum.

Quiet Nights by Diana Krall
Love her, love this music. Did you know she's married to Elvis Costello? By the way, love him too.

Kona & Wasabi Floral Notes, by Crane
Nothing better than writing a note on beautiful paper to a girlfriend. Maybe you'll get one!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where Do I Get an Invitation?

This is a table of fellows that I'd love to join for a meal.

I wonder what Jon Bon Jovi, Mario Batalli and Bono have in common? I'm a fan of all three, so they always have me. Interesting trio!

Three Weeks Down

It's been three weeks since the big fall and my surgery, and I have to admit that I'm feeling better. I definitely think that the first two weeks were the hardest and most painful, but now it's not as sore and I feel a little more steady.

It swells the most the days I go to work. I try to keep it propped up under my desk, but it's a little awkward and I don't want to look like a total schlump. :)

I've been trying to do some standing, since I can put 50 percent of my weight on my ankle. Figuring that out is a blast -- I'm supposed to put my cast on the scale and push down until the number reached half of my weight, and then I'll know the amount of pressure that equals 50 percent.

Except that means my husband might find out how much I weigh, and I have a goal to avoid that happening. :)

All kidding aside, at least I can put down my foot now to steady myself. At church on Sundays, I practice standing as we sing, and I also stand to brush my teeth. I can feel that my ankle is stiff, so I've been trying to move it around some when I have the cast off.

Hopefully, the physical therapy I'll do when the cast is gone will ease that.

So, three weeks almost down (as of Friday), and either three or five more weeks to go. I hope it goes twice as fast!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Comfort Foods

Last night for dinner, we had pasta with my mom's spaghetti sauce. I hadn't had it in ages -- it's not really the type of meal she fixes when we visit for a weekend, and I'm rarely, if ever, there for a casual weekday dinner.

Eating that spaghetti sauce was so comforting and so good. I even had Rob cook me extra noodles so I could bring leftovers for lunch today. :)

It's funny how certain foods bring such good feelings. Everybody has a couple of foods that take them back to the comfort, safety and ease of childhood, or maybe make us think of a special time or place in our lives.

Here are a couple of mine:

  1. Chocolate pudding and cool whip - makes me think of "pudding in a cloud" that my grandmother would always make for us.
  2. Party chicken - a chicken dish my mom would make often for birthdays or when we had company. So good.
  3. Christmas cookies made every year by my mom - cherry bon-bons, mint brownies and sugar cookies.
  4. Fresh pineapple - reminds me of our honeymoon in Hawaii.
What are some of yours?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crutchin' Around

I found this Web site that shows the different ways to walk with crutches. At this point, I'd say I'm walking mostly like this: Swing-to Gait

Unless I'm in a hurry. Or out in public where I feel like everyone is staring at me. Then I walk like this: Swing-through Gait

In two weeks, I will hopefully hopefully hopefully be able to do this: 4-Point Alternate Gait

After that, it's just me. No crutches. I hope so!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Clean Up

I have forgotten to address the cleaning company that came to our house last Friday, and who will continue to bless us bi-weekly for the foreseeable future... totally, absolutely, 100 percent worth it.

Our house hasn't been this spic-and-span since the people we bought it from had it cleaned before we moved in. Seriously. I like to think I keep a clean house, but this surpassed by expectations.

And it smelled like lemon Pledge when I got home. Happy sigh.

The crew came on Friday, and Rob swung by during his lunch to check them out. He said furniture was flipped over, dust was flying and the place was buzzing. My bathroom floor has never been so clean, nor have my shower doors (does anyone else struggle with filmy build-up on those, no matter what??).

So, the verdict is a good one. I'm happy and less stressed, our home is clean and it's one less thing for Rob to take on for the next few weeks. Trust me, I'm enough. :)

Weekend Wrap-Up

Welcome to another rainy week! It's pouring outside as I type this, and we're supposed to have rain much of the week. That makes it oh, so difficult for me to get outside. Not only is it just a mess, but I can't cut through the muddy yard to avoid the steps at the end of the sidewalk. Ugh.

My parents came down for the day on Saturday, and it was so nice to see them. My mom brought some yummy casseroles and spaghetti sauce (sparing Rob from more cooking!), and then she took me to get my hair cut. I got a bunch cut off (it's just below my ears) and now am sporting some long bangs. I like it. We went to an early dinner, and then they headed home. We really enjoyed the company, and I loved the change in scenery!

Yesterday was church, and I rode around with Rob while he did some geocaching. It's nice to be outside and people-watch. :)

I can't believe that this is the 10 year anniversary of Columbine. It's an easy date for me to remember, since it's the day my mom had her first cancer surgery. I remember watching it on the TV in the waiting room. Scary stuff, both on TV and in that waiting room. We are so, so thankful for 10 years and my sweet mom.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two Weeks Down

My surgery was two weeks ago yesterday, so that means I'm either one-third or one-fourth of the way through my time in the cast. Whoo hoo! Depending on whether I have to lug this thing around for six or eight weeks, at least I'm making progress.

I'm working from home today, and I'll be in the office again tomorrow. I was there Tuesday and Wednesday too. It was so nice to be around people! It's a little exhausting and difficult to prop my leg up, but it's doable.

My parents are coming down for the day on Saturday, so I'm really looking forward to that. My mom is taking me to get my hair cut, and we'll go out for an early dinner before the crowds build up. They'll head home in the early evening. I'm glad they are visiting!

The bad news is that we aren't going to my good friend's wedding reception in Western Maryland on Saturday (they had a private ceremony in February and are celebrating now with a bash). It's just too hard for me to get around, and I don't want to run the risk of someone bumping me or a kid slamming in to me in the reception hall. Plus, there's no chance I'm getting in and out of my parents' house -- steps are not my friends. I'm disappointed not to be going up for it, but my girlfriend understands. We'll see them next time we are in the 'burg.

Off to prop up my swelling foot.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Close Call

Every month, I pay the mortgage and other bills online. Usually as soon as a bill comes in, I login to the bank account and schedule it to pay accordingly. Easy-peasy.

You may remember that I was a little busy on April 1, so it didn't occur to me that we have a monthly bill due that date. Yes, friends, I forgot all about our mortgage.

Our gas bill came today, so I jumped online to set it to pay. I commented to Rob that we had a higher than normal balance in our account, but didn't think much of it (figured our credit card bill must have been less since I'm unable to drive myself to the mall!).

I'd just set the gas bill when I realized our bank account was big because I hadn't shelled out the mortgage. Yikes!

Technically, our mortgage is due on the first of the month, but there's some grace period where we have until the fifteenth day to pay it. And yes, today is April 15. It was too late to pay it through our bank (it takes three days), so I jumped on to our mortgage company's Web site to pay it there.

Notice!, the Web site said. Payments must be made by 8 p.m. ET to be reflected the same day.

It was 7:52 p.m.

I quickly logged in to our account and set it to pay. Of course, the site was slow slow slow and Rob and I were nervous. Seriously, I got the confirmation screen at 7:58 p.m.


At dear husband's suggestion, I just logged in to our bank account and set the mortgage to automatically pay on the first of the month from now on. He'll feel less worried about it, and it's just one more thing done.

I don't know why I haven't thought of that before. :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recipe Sharing: French Onion Dip Pizza

I've had a lot of time to watch Rachael Ray whip up some good recipes lately, and she did this French Onion Dip Pizza on her show last week. It looked so good, so we picked up the ingredients this weekend and made it for dinner last night.

Result? Total winner!

We made a few alterations - we used only 1/2 cup of sour cream (our onions weren't huge and we didn't want it soupy), and we used four cloves of garlic instead of two. We also used dried thyme instead of fresh (use less - dried is more potent), and baked it on a pre-heated pizza stone instead of a pan. Plus, we had some leftover carne asada that Rob sliced thinly and added to the top.

Here's the recipe:

French Onion Dip Pizza
Yield: 3-ish servings per pizza

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
Salt and ground black pepper
1 ball fresh pizza dough
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 450ºF.

Place a large skillet over medium heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 25 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, stretch the pizza dough out to the size of your pan (you can use a baking sheet or round pizza pan, whatever you have). Transfer the dough onto the pan and bake until set and very light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

When the onions are ready, season them with salt and pepper, and stir in the crème fraiche or sour cream. Spread the mixture over the pre-baked pizza crust. Sprinkle the cheeses and thyme over the pizza and return it to the oven for 10 minutes or so, or until it's golden brown.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Out and About

Hope everyone had a happy Easter! It's been a pretty good weekend for us. We missed getting to head west to see our families, but that was okay.

I worked from home again Friday, so I was pretty stir crazy by the time Saturday morning rolled around. It was raining, but we decked out and headed to Trader Joe's. We took my knee scooter so I could get around the store. It wasn't too crowded when we got there, but it seemed to get more and more busy.

Only a couple of people looked at me like I was a freak or made me feel like I was in the way, but everyone else we encountered seemed pretty nice. One little kid said really loud, "Did that lady break her leg?" He was a mess.

I tell you what -- I have a whole new perspective on things, and a whole new appreciation for handicapped people.

Today, we headed to church. We'd planned to maybe go the sunrise service that our church was hosting in a local park, but we didn't know how far from the car we'd have to go, so we decided to just go to the first service at the building. After the sermon, about 20 people or so shared a "cardboard testimonial", which I found really powerful. I'd never seen that before, but apparently they are all over the Internet.

We came home for a bit (have I mentioned that getting in and out of my house is the most difficult thing I have to do?), changed clothes, packed a lunch and headed out for Rob to do some geocaching. I took along the book I'm reading, so I'd read a few pages when Rob would hop out of the car to find a cache. It was such a nice day that I enjoyed being out, and we celebrated Easter lunch with a picnic of pb&j and granny smith apples.

So Rob did four loads of laundry today (whoa!), made us a terrific dinner of carne asada, roasted potatoes and mushrooms, and now he's running the vacuum. Do I have a keeper or what?? :)

Working from home tomorrow (and the cleaning company is coming to give me an estimate - yeah!), then in the office Tuesday.

Trader Joe's berry pie time! Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday, Friday

I used to be super excited about Fridays -- the start of the weekend, being able to sleep in, spending time outside with Rob. Now it's just another day on the couch. I'm so stir crazy I could scream. :)

Next week, I'm vowing to go into work three days. I need to be around people, and I really like my job. It's been nice being able to work from home, but I need meetings and ringing phones and people popping into my office to chat or complain. I'm thinking I'll do Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays in the office.

A couple of good things are happening... I'm finally getting a cleaning lady! Whoo hoo. I've been lobbying for one for y-e-a-r-s, but really couldn't justify it. Rob is doing a terrific job of taking care of me, he can't take on this whole house. I called the place our neighbor uses, and they are coming Monday to check us out.

More good news is that today I can get my foot wet. Hooray! I can't wait to take a bath, put lotion on my legs, etc. Yay!

Yesterday brought a visit at home from a good friend, and another pal brought us dinner one night this week. Thank goodness for friends. :)

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Still Here

I'm still here, sitting on my couch with my leg propped up. The big fall was one week ago this evening. Sometimes it seems like a long time ago, yet I swear I can still feel that bike slipping out from beneath me. I think it will be a while before I'm ready to ride again.

I have to say that the last week has been a good lesson in humility. Dear husband probably never imagined that he's have to do so much for me, and although I know he doesn't mind, I'm just not the type of gal who is used to sitting down all day or having to ask for help. It's tough.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to go to work. I think I can do it, but I'm a little worried that my leg will swell up like crazy. I need to figure out a way to prop it up in my office. I've been luckily working from home yesterday and today, so I won't be too far behind.

The good news is that I've gotten to catch up on some good TV.... I've enjoyed seeing the full Today Show, watching Rachael Ray and checking in on some of the shows I DVR and never watch. Anything to pass the time!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What a Difference a Week Makes

It's hard to believe that one week ago, Rob and I were off on our 7 mile hike, and today I'm banged up and stuck sitting down with my right leg propped up. Seems crazy, doesn't it?

We went to the doctor yesterday and he took off the dressing and did Xrays. He was really pleased with the results and said that it's rare that the tibia bone (I think) fits back together so well. We got to see all of my screws (two long ones on one side of my ankle and a plate and six shorter screws on the other side) - crazy!

So I got a boot cast, which I can luckily take off for showers and to let the skin breath. He said that I can't put weight on it for two weeks, and then gradually start putting weight on it. In four weeks, I should be able to walk on it without my crutches, and I go back in six weeks for another evaluation.

I'm very thankful for a good report from the doctor; an easy cast; thoughtful friends who sent flowers and good thoughts; a wonderful Mom who left us with a full refrigerator, a basket of clean clothes and three pairs of pants hemmed to perfection; and a sweet husband who has been on his toes.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Doing Okay

I am doing okay, all things considered. I've had a few meltdown moments where I just feel sorry for myself and want nothing more than to rip this splint off my leg, but I'm assuming that's normal. As my mom said this morning, my entire life has been halted. And I'll be back on my feet soon, but in the meantime, I'll learn to adjust.

Rob takes me this afternoon to get the cast. We are unsure of what I'm getting - the doctor said something about a boot cast, but we don't know the details. I do know that after my appointment, we are going to rent a knee-walker to help me get around better. Rob's dad has offered to bring down a wheelchair that he has for some reason, so Rob can at least push me outside and around the lake for a walk.

My mom has been here taking good care of everything, like doing laundry, making meals, etc. She's gong to help me wash my hair in a little bit, and she's hemmed three pairs of pants to cast height so I'll have something to wear.

I'm most looking forward to getting up the stairs, hopefully tonight, and sleeping in my own bed. As much as I love our couch, I'd like to stretch out on our comfy bed and just sleep for the next 8 weeks.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Big Break

So, I broke my ankle. Badly. In two places. I'm a klutz!

Tuesday after work, Rob and I decided to take a bike ride. We've been talking about doing one for a few weeks, but never have gone to the trouble to haul out our bikes. The weather was so nice on Tuesday that we got suited up, dragged out our stuff and headed off on some wooded trails near our house.

We'd ridden about 30 minutes and were on our way back home. I'd suggested going through the neighborhood and out to the main road, but we decided to just turn back on the path. We were crossing a little stream -- literally about 2 inches deep -- when I hit a log or a rock or something, and I flew off my bike like Superman.

I landed in the water. The bike landed on me.

As soon as I hit the ground, I knew my ankle was broken. That was evident when I looked at my foot, which was pointed in a total wrong direction. Yikes!

Rob hopped off his bike and came running over. We hadn't brought a cell phone, and even if we'd had one, we wouldn't have had a clue where to tell the ambulance to come. Earlier, we'd biked past a little boy playing in his yard, and he'd hollered out "hello" to us, so I told Rob to go up the path to that house and see if a parent was there. I scooted out of the water as much as I could, and sat in my wet clothes just crying and praying.

Rob came back in a few minutes and waited with me while the nice man whose door Rob knocked on waited for the ambulance. His wife or somebody brought down a blanket, and the ambulance pulled up about 10 minutes later.

They took off my shoe and splintered my leg, then hoisted me up on a stretcher and wheeled me out of the woods. In the ambulance, they tried unsuccessfully to give me an IV (I have nutty veins), so I got two shots of morphine. We got to the hospital, I finally got the IV and saw the doctor.

The nice neighborhood people gave Rob a ride home, and he got my wallet and came to the hospital, which is literally in the neighborhood across from our house.

Xrays showed that I broke both my tibula and fibula bones in my right ankle. The orthopedic surgeon came in (I kept looking for McDreamy, but he must have been off that night), and he moved my bones back into place (OUCH!) and splinted me again.

Yesterday afternoon, I had surgery to reconnect the bones with eight shiney screws and one plate. So I'm wrapped up again with a splint and I get my cast tomorrow.

Rob has been GREAT and my mom came down yesterday afternoon to be here while Rob is at work. Plus she's going to cut off and hem a couple pairs of pants so I'll have something to wear with my cast.

What an adventure! I'd like to say this was an April Fool's joke, since it happened March 31 and April 1, but unfortunatly it is not. :)