I forgot to mention that last Saturday, when we got our lunch from the gourmet food truck and ate it in the car? I had a fast-food flashback...the drive-thru and I used to be good friends, and I ate in my car all the time. Sitting in the parking lot, passing the burger back and forth (we forgot to get a knife to cut it in half) was definitely not the same thing as I never shared my food in the old days (and also did a lot of solo eating), but it was strange to realize that I hardly ever eat in the car anymore. Also, I don't have nearly the amount of trash in the car, either - coincidence?
My running club is losing one of our coaches - AJ and his wife are moving to California. While it's a great opportunity for them, we are so sad to see them leave. Hard to believe that not even a year ago, AJ ran with us in the Seawall Half Marathon...and now he's leaving. Booooooo! We had a little goodbye party Wednesday night at Red Mango, where I safely indulged in my Halloween candy craving by actually getting candy toppings - something I never do - but I figured it was safer to get my candy fix outside of the house, rather than try and keep candy here.
We will miss you, AJ!
Yesterday I was getting out of my car when somehow I caught my flip flop and twisted my ankle...yes, THAT ankle. The pain nearly dropped me to the ground - holy cusswords, it HURT. And I'd been so careful, too! One dumb move and that dang thing was hurting and swelling all around - oy. I took some Motrin and proceeded to ice it like crazy for the rest of the afternoon. Hopefully I didn't do any damage to it, but ouch, what a pain - literally!!!
Just before I got my ice pack, I went out to check the mail. There was a package from Amazon - funny, I didn't remember ordering anything, but with my memory you never know. Opened it to find a book sent by Lynn - perfect timing, as I needed to spend yet another day off of my ankle.
Why write book? I eat everything I want anytime. What big deal???
I made Paco pose with the book - he was primed and ready to go lay on the bed with me - see the rawhide chew in his mouth? Whenever we leave a room, he has to grab something - a chew or a toy - and take it to where ever we go next. He's kind like a Boy Scout - always prepared. Anyway, the book has been a welcome distraction - thanks, Lynn!
Against my better judgement, I joined Pinterest - and while it can be the time-suck that I thought it would be, it's also been the source of many, many hilarious pictures. So I thought I'd share one each Friday, beginning with this innovative idea turned bad:
I seriously could not stop laughing when I saw the bottom picture - to the point that tears were streaming down my face...mainly because I can totally see that exact scenario happening to me!
Yeeeehaw, I never thought I'd be happy to exercise, but take it away from me for three weeks, and there you go...today was "Freedom Day" - I got to take off that dang boot, DRIVE to the gym, and go for a SWIM!!!
I'm not saying I was excited about this, but my bag was packed yesterday, the car was loaded with my errand stuff (overdue library books among the pile of stuff) - y'all, I was ready! So, the $64,000 question - how did it go?
Fine. Well, it hurt a bit to start, and then it seemed to ease up. Nancy and I did our usual kickboard gabfest, although I kicked both easier and slower than normal. Then I tried the back stroke - hmmm, that bothered me a bit, so I only did 10 lengths. Moved onto the side stroke, which surprised me because that, too, bothered me. I did 14 lengths, and finished up with some more kickboard for a total of 70 lengths - down from my usual 100, but I went into it knowing I should take it easy at the start, so this was perfectly fine with me.
The weird thing was afterward, I noticed that there was a red band, about three inches wide, going around the entire ankle. It was also a little warm, which is a strange sensation considering my foot and leg were still quite cool from being in the pool. In talking to three women in the locker room, we all came to the same conclusion: "Huh." I know! Medical professionals we are not.
Honestly, the hardest thing about swimming today was going down the stairs to the pool - the gym is on two levels, and you park and walk in on the upper level (that's also where the locker room that I use is; the one on the pool level is inundated with the swim team kids when I'm finished swimming). Going up the stairs wasn't as difficult, but any kind of maneuvering where I put my full body weight on that foot, or even twisting (like getting out of the car) does hurt, so I have to remember to be slow and deliberate when I walk.
Still, it was GREAT to get out of the house and back into my routine! Amazing how much you appreciate the little things after not being able to do them.
Saturday was not only a fun day (how can you go wrong when you're surrounded by wiener dogs?!?), but also a day of food firsts for me - and yes, I recognize how unfathomable that might seem...someone who once tipped the scales at 256 pounds had yet to experience certain foods? But it was true...and I'll get to that in a second. First up, though, is the wiener dog races!
Run, little doggies, RUN!
That was the regular length track. Then it was time for the short track, for the Seniors and the Special Olympians. Ten feet, and it was a challenge for some of these dogs, but they all ran their hearts out!
Seniors: Aaaand they're off...
...aaaaand they're finished!
Special Olympics - there were two dogs in "wheelchairs" - dachshunds are notorious for having back problems and sometimes, unfortunately, they end up partially paralyzed. One dog had been like this for seven years, the other for five. Gotta admire their owner's devotion in the extra care.
This is Lala Two (yes, there is a Lala One at home, LOL):
Her mama said Lala Two didn't really see what the fuss was about racing, but she tried. Mostly she wanted a nap!
Then I spied him. Stalked him. Finally made my move and luckily, his nice owners let me get my puppy fix. This is Oscar, the little cute puppy with the big paws:
He is three months old and a DOLL. Almost as fun to hold as a real baby! Big soft ears, sweet puppy tummy, aforementioned giant paws...just so cute!!!
Awwwww! Oscar was a sweetheart. His family is lucky to have such a mellow dog.
Having owned a dachshund for about 15 years, this was a real treat. And luckily, Paco can't read so he'll never know I cheated on him. Not tempted to get another dog because A) it would break Paco's heart (he thinks he's king and there is no room in his world for minions); and B) pets sure tie you down. But dangit if they aren't cute!
Now, onto the food fun. Before going to Wienerfest, we went to the kick-off for the Armadillo Dash, where we signed Jeff up for the half, and I resisted peer pressure (my running club peeps are crazy!) and only signed up for the 5K (I love running but am not deluded enough to think I could get ready for a half marathon with only three months of preparation AND coming back from surgery). Anyway, there were the two food trucks on site. Back in the day, we used to call them "roach coaches" but apparently food trucks have gone gourmet. One, Chef Tai's Mobile Bistro, recently won the Food Network's "America's Favorite Food Truck" contest (and $10,000!), so naturally we had to try it. Jeff and I split a Kobe burger and truffle fries and they were quite good! It was a fun experience, although we ended up sitting in the car to eat because it's not like there are tables and chairs in a parking lot. Still, our first time with the food truck fad was a success.
Little did I know that I would hit up another food truck just a couple hours later! (side note: our town only has three food trucks so we did pretty good to see them all in one day) At Wienerfest, Cake Junkie was there...and that could only mean one thing - CUPCAKES! Ever since the cupcake fad basically swept the country, I have not had one. Just not a lot of opportunity in our area, and you know me - I pick frozen yogurt over just about everything. Still, I was not going to pass this up! I got in line and tried to decide which flavor to get (chocolate? pumpkin spice?? pink champagne???) and when I got closer, I saw that they actually pipe the icing on after you order your cupcake! I quizzed the guy on the icing flavors, and ended up choosing the pumpkin spice since it came with cream cheese icing.
Me quizzing the guy - hey, for my first gourmet cupcake, I wanted it to be perfect!
Jeff said I looked like a little kid at the truck window...sure, if a little kid has crow's feet, lol!
Frosting our cupcake!
Finally - I'm going to find out what all the fuss has been about!
We split the cupcake, which was difficult without a fork, as it was huge and hard to get a bite with both cake and icing...but you know I managed! It was tasty. We liked it, and might, if we see the truck around town, stop for one. But I don't think I'd get these over frozen yogurt very often - what can I say, I love frozen yogurt too much!
We had a fun day, but later on my ankle was pretty swollen...lesson learned, I'm still in recovery mode. It was worth it, though!
While resting my ankle, I read the book Yossarian Slept Here - it's a biography about Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22, written by his daughter. On the flyleaf it mentioned several famous people who were involved in her parent's lives, and I have to admit to you that I kept waiting for someone named "Yossarian" to show up in the book. Took me more than half the book to realize that Yossarian must have been a character from Catch-22, which I've (quite obviously) never read. Talk about a "duh" moment...but I did feel better at the end of the book when the author, Erica Heller, admitted that she's never read her father's most famous book, either. Still. I've read most of the classics (at least I THINK I have, haha) so I guess I'll have to get this one from the library soon. Oh, and the reason why I've read so many books (in the past; now most of my reading is online) is that when you are not a math and science person, you tend to take a lot of English and literature classes.
Tomorrow is a banner day (and one that I hope my ankle survives with all the walking) - it's Wienerfest, which means that Jeff and I will be going and getting our fill of dachshunds and all their antics, including the always amusing wienerdog races. They even have "wanna-be-a-wiener" races, which I know Paco would win, but he's just not great around other dogs and I'm afraid instead of running to me, he'd try and take out his opponents. And yes, we are ashamed to have a sweet dog who sometimes turns into Cujo toward other dogs but short of sending him to live with Cesar's pack, we can't get him to stop this behavior.
After Wienerfest, we are going to the Armadillo Dash kick-off, where we will sign Jeff up for the half marathon for the bargain price of $32. That is just a ridiculously cheap price for the race! We literally could walk to the starting line from our house - it's at the same park where I did my outdoor yoga (and where the scary statues are). I'm going to sign up for the 5K on the assumption that by March 4th I will be more than ready to run 3.1 miles. Or actually might have run a few races by then(!).
I have a quick Fashion Friday for you - amazingly, I had reason to get dressed in something other than shorts and a t-shirt!
Note how I matched my lovely ankle boot with my regular boot - I think it worked!
It felt GREAT to put on real clothes. And why was I getting all dressed up? To go in for my "rehire" interview at James Avery - I'll be working there once again for the holiday season! Is it wrong to say that one of the reasons I'm happy to work again is to have a reason to wear my nicer clothes? Color me shallow, but I've missed my clothes - that was one of the things that I enjoyed as I lost weight - feeling good about what I was wearing (and of course, shopping for clothes that fit my smaller body). So this will be win-win - I'll make a little money, have fun helping people shop for jewelry, and get to dress up. Not sure when I'll be starting but hopefully my ankle will not protest my standing up for several hours at a time.
You cannot escape pumpkin this time of year, although I still get the giggles whenever I see the pumpkin-spiced drinks at Starbucks after a conversation with a certain blogger who questioned putting vegetables in coffee - she was all "what's next, zucchini?" Anyway I saw that Errign made some pumpkin granola, and then Biz took her recipe and tweaked it, and then Debby and I emailed about it, and I finally got some pumpkin in the house (had to wait for Jeff to come home and grocery shop for me) and made pumpkin granola. It's pretty subtle in flavoring - I might increase both the pumpkin and spice next time - and it's a bit chewier than my regular granola, but I like it. Recipe after the pictures, but I wanted to show you how I tried to combat the "brown sugar balls" (that came out wrong but I'm sure Biz is laughing right now) that happen when I normally mix the dry ingredients:
I tried measuring out the brown sugar and then pushing it through a mesh strainer - in the bottom left picture you can see the delicate brown sugar on top. It took forever, so I abandoned that idea, but somehow getting it all mushed up in the strainer seemed to eliminate the sugar balls. Bottom right is the finished product topping some Greek yogurt. YUM!
Oh, and in the continued spoiling by my mom, she sent me this awesome jelly roll pan for my granola making - it's actually called a "half-sheet" pan and is bigger than my current jelly roll pan:
The pan is also much heavier - to semi-quote Crocodile Dundee, "now THAT'S a pan!"
3 C oats
1 C chopped pecans
1/2 C pumpkin
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T canola oil
1/3 C honey
1 C dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, toss. Spread on jelly roll pan (line with parchment paper if not nonstick). Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes, about 30 minutes - you want it to be brown, but watch the nuts for burning. Remove from oven and let cool - granola will crisp up. Break up, toss with dried cranberries, and enjoy! Store in airtight container.
While I'm not back at the pool yet (another week of waiting), I wanted to show you some of my new swimming gear that I got to use for a couple of weeks before ankle surgery so rudely interrupted my routine.
Since I'm kind of unconventional when it comes to swimming laps (i.e. I don't do strokes where I have to come out of the water to breathe because I lack the coordination to move my arms, legs, stay afloat AND breathe without sucking in water), I've added gear to pump up the workout. I still love my Zoomer swim fins and feel that they've made my legs stronger while letting me swim a little faster - I'm able to get more laps in using them. A couple of months ago, I realized that I wasn't really worn out after my regular workouts, so I decided that I was ready for hand paddles. These were a little tricky to find, as many of them have a strap that goes over the index finger, which is where my lap-counter goes. After some trial and error, I hit on these Finis Fulcrum paddles:
The cutout is supposed to help you avoid shoulder issues, which apparently you can get (repetitive-motion) from swimming. I thought these were funny in that you ordered according to your weight and not hand-size. I used them for the backstroke "swoosh" that I do (I know, real helpful description) and I like them. Definitely feel more resistance and I'm hoping that with more use my upper arms will get even more toned. My forearms are really muscular already thanks to swimming and yoga. The only thing I've had to deal with is that at least once per workout I managed to swamp my face with water using these - ugh, water up the nose! Still, I can't wait to use them again.
You would think that for someone who has worn glasses for decades, and who takes very good care of said glasses, swim goggles would be a piece of cake for me. You would be wrong. I've ruined two pairs of goggles - the first, because I didn't know that you weren't supposed to wipe the insides out (removes the anti-fog coating). My second pair? I was so good with them! Except that one day I used some anti-fog drops and then wiped them out with a paper towel. Hello scratches. I don't know what I was thinking. Dumb move. Onto pair number three - good thing the first pair was only around $12 and the second pair was free with a big order from Swim Outlet a while back. But still! Of course by the time I needed to get another pair, our one store in town did not have any left. (side rant: locals complain about internet shopping not contributing to the tax base, but how can I shop locally if no one carries what I need?) Anyway, I ended up with a pair of Barracudas, mainly because my pool buddy Nancy has had some for years and loved them. They were only $15, which I thought was pretty reasonable. And I swear, I'm treating them like a baby!
What I especially LOVE about these goggles is that they don't suction hard to my eye sockets...with my old goggles, I'd end up with rings around my eyes that would last for a couple of hours. Plus it was painful! These are nice and soft and yet still keep the water out of my eyes. I'm quite pleased with them.
Also pictured with the goggles are my ear plugs, which are wonderful. Once Nancy and I are done with our kickboard gab session, I get down to business with my back stroke. I do not like water in my ears, and while my swim cap helps keep some out, adding the ear plugs means that no water gets in...and I have the added bonus of losing myself to my thoughts completely, since I can't hear the swim team or other distractions.
My last new item is a towel. I'm sure you're all thinking, big whoop, a towel, but hear me out...the towel I was using, while pretty and absorbent and perfectly fine, was huge. Perfect for a day at the beach, but more than I needed for the pool, and it was heavy and took up a ton of space in my pool bag that I lug in every day. I was lamenting this to my mom one day, and the next thing I knew, she'd found a thin, quick-drying towel on the internet! That internet is a magical place. I ordered one, and was amazed at how much less space it took up compared to my old towel:
New towel on the left, old towel on the right
It works great and is still really big - I can wrap it around myself and be covered from chest to knees, which is important since I have to walk up the stairs and part-way through the gym to the women's locker room. And it really IS quick drying - another plus since I need to dry it every day. Well, that is, when I swim. Which will be next week. Woohoo!
Well, the normal that does not include exercise. Which is NOT normal to me now. So strange. I spent the majority of my life avoiding exercise, and now it's been two weeks and I feel weird not doing anything. Sure, I can do some arm work, but I'm so used to doing a total body workout with swimming and yoga that anything less is not very exciting. Another 10 days and I will be back in the pool. What I should be doing is enjoying this sanctioned laziness!
The normal that I'm referring to in my post title is food. Over the weekend I finally felt normal. Not all messed up from the surgery and pain meds (those did a number on me...opiates are NOT my friend), and finally energized enough to actually get myself to the kitchen and slice up an apple instead of just reaching for the sleeve of saltines when I got hungry. Not having to use crutches helped. Along those lines, I also started drinking water closer to the normal amount that I usually drink (which is easily 150 ounces a day) since it wasn't such a royal pain to get myself to the bathroom. I had no idea what would fall by the wayside while I was recovering from this surgery - wouldn't have guessed hydration, but there ya go.
Since Jeff was home over the weekend, I took full advantage of having company AND a chauffeur - we went out to eat a couple of times and of course stopped in for frozen yogurt. He leaves again today...I'm still in the boot and not able to drive, so I'm back to house boredom. But at least I haven't eaten out of boredom - much, anyway - and I attribute some of that to my first line of defense, which is to not have tempting, snacky food in my house. Also, the weather has shown tiny hints of changing - we've had a couple of cool mornings lately, and I'm actually excited to be able to wear something besides shorts, skorts and t-shirts...and I want to fit into my old clothes. Considering that last fall I was running a lot of miles each week, I hope I won't be in for too much of an unpleasant surprise when I actually try something on...but it is what it is at this point, and I have every hope and much optimism that before too long, I will be swimming and running and just plain moving and everything will be completely back to normal. That's not too much to ask, right?
I'm going to start with some pretty pictures - and just in case you don't want to see the shots of my ankle during surgery and how it looks now, I'll tell you when to stop scrolling, ok?
Anyway, I have been completely spoiled by friends and family during my recovery from ankle surgery. From flowers sent by both my parents and Helen:
Not the greatest shots of either, but hey, I was on crutches and woozy! Still, they were both so pretty and I loved them!
To the bag of goodies Kelly brought me, all to help me get back to running, and of course the basket of presents from my mom that I have been opening once a day (ok, once day I opened two):
A wide variety of fun! Also opened (and consumed) was a bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans.
I am loving the fake mustaches! We will have to do a fun family shot with them come Thanksgiving. And you know I'm dying to try out the glasses and clown nose on Paco!
Love these earrings! I wore them to my doctor's appointment on Wednesday. Nothing like a new pair of earrings to make you feel good!
Hat from Kelly, socks from my mom...it's like they KNOW me or something... :)
To the cards, emails, comments, texts, and even well-wishes from the Queen:
Queen Sophie, that is! I hope to have an audience with her next time I'm in California. Oh, and visit with her mom, too!
Even my pool buddy, Nancy, has been calling, and the other night she came by to take me out to dinner. I answered the door and she was holding one of those energy-efficient light bulbs in her hand...I thought, wow, that's a different get-well gift! Then I got a closer look:
It's a stress ball! She said she (rightly so) figured I could use it.
All of this has been wonderful and I've appreciated it so, so much!
Ankle update: My visit to the doctor was a whirlwind as usual. I chose this doctor because of his reputation as an expert with ankle issues, but he is all business and a fast-talker. Luckily I had my friend Erica in the exam room with me, and afterward, she wrote down his timeline for me because we were getting confused. So the good news is that it's looking like it's supposed to, which is bruised and swollen. I'm still in the boot, although he said I could stop using the crutches. Which I did, but boy howdy, it really hurt. So for another few days, I'll still use them. I am to continue to rest the ankle for another two weeks, and then, around October 26th, I can swim! Yay. At the moment, I still can't drive, because of the boot, and even if I tried it without the boot, what if I had to slam on the brake? Not a good scenario, so I'm pretty much confined to the house, which is (mostly) OK, since it keeps me resting.
I can go for a brisk walk at the six week point - which is November 15th - and YES, that date is marked on my calendar! If, the day after said walk, I wake up with no pain, then I can slowly start adding some running intervals in! Woot woot!!! I am excited about that...BIG TIME. Fingers crossed that this timeline all works out.
OK, if you are squeamish, now is the time to stop scrolling.
Here's what my leg looked like on Wednesday, just after the stitches were removed:
I was surprised to see where the incisions were - the one on the right was where the camera went in, and the one on the left was where the instruments went in. Erica said that it looked like a giant snake bite!
Swollen and bruised on my foot and even going up my shin. No wonder it hurts!
Nifty surgery shots - the doctor gave me my own set. He also went over each shot with me, but quite rapidly, so I'm not much help in deciphering these:
All kinda gross, if you ask me!
Close up of my damaged cartilage - he said that it's not too bad.
This is where he ground down the bone spur - said that it was impinging on the other bone, basically rubbing bone-on-bone because the cartilage was worn down. He seems to think that this will solve all of my ankle problems - I sure hope so!
I never thought that, last January, I'd be recovering from surgery, but at this point if it gets me running again, it will have been well worth it.
I may not be exercising, but I've certainly been getting my workouts in via crutches. My gosh. They looked like such fun - when I was a kid, we loved to pretend we had crutches (using brooms or stilts), or in the event some poor kid actually had a broken leg, we'd all line up for the chance to try out the crutches. Well. Lemme tell you. I am OVER crutches. My arms are tired, my palms are tender and sore, the sides of my ribcage are bruised - this has been not nearly as entertaining as my childhood fantasy. (I know, some girls dream of ponies but I was the weird one...)
Later this morning, I'm going to the doctor for my first post-op visit, where I'm hoping he'll remove the bandages and show me a perfectly-healed ankle. What, another fantasy? LOL What I'm guessing will happen with the great unveiling is bandage removal, much oohing and aahing, stitches also removed, and then ??? It's a mystery. I honestly don't know what I'll be allowed to do, or if I'll be able to ditch this boot and the crutches (based on the pain I'm still feeling, I'm guessing not), or if I can start swimming. Ah, who am I kidding. Taking a shower wears me out. I'm not up to doing a whole heck of a lot yet. I went into this surgery a fit, healthy, able-bodied person and the recovery has been a challenge. I cannot imagine what this would have been like had I not lost weight. So there's that.
The other thing that messed me up was the combination of anesthesia and pain medicine - I stopped taking the pain meds early Saturday morning, but still feel goofy. And that's why I stopped them - I was tired of feeling dizzy and woozy and just not right in the head...I didn't even think about how much that would affect me as well. Hopefully by Friday's post I'll be much more lucid and able to write something coherent (Monday's post was written in advance, if you were wondering).
I have a cute dog. OK, I might be a bit biased in that opinion, but really, how can you resist this face:
So naturally, I take a lot of pictures of him. Hey, it's not like I have small children hanging around anymore to photograph! I work with what I have. And what I have is a fun dog who knows the sound of the camera being turned on, and likes to jam his body into as many shots as he can. You normally see the good pictures on this blog. But for every good shot, there's at least 10 bad shots. Today? I'm giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Photography With Paco...the Outtakes™.
Remember my Fashion Friday with Janell's cowl? Paco LOVED that cowl. So I indulged him by kneeling down to let him sniff it. While this shot was OK:
The next one? Was more realistic:
Please note my lips sealed shut as Paco attempts to get up close and (too) personal!
The next series? He kept jumping up (and not facing the camera, darn him!):
He really, really liked the cowl. Have I mentioned that? ;)
OK, cowl removed (I was getting hot) - maybe now he'll focus?
Still smellz like Bella...
But finally, I got a cute picture - of course, he surprised me when he jumped onto my lap, but cracked me up when he turned as the camera did the last three quick beeps before the shutter snapped:
This is a more normal shot:
Camera! Camera!! Camera!!!
I swear, one second before this, he was calmly posing next to my face...then, he HAD to lick me - this is my avoidance pose:
Distracted by a dust bunny? Again, he WAS looking at the camera!
OK, I gave up on him and tried to get a shot of my curly hair...but look who snuck in the background:
This time, he got me - you can still see him licking his lips. Apparently I taste good.