Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Too soon

My minimal time spent afoot yesterday led to my wounded foot turning green with bruises, so today I'm back on full bed rest *insert huge gusty sigh here*.

The kids have done their best to keep me entertained today. First there were board games, then Jake read our Tarot cards. I seem to be aspiring to fame and should rely on my family for support as well as inspiration. Chandler has a more horrific forecast in that all her cards were kind of ominous. I feel Jake may have stacked them that way. True to form, she could barely stop laughing as he pointed out her past-the devil card, her present-the death card and her future-the hanged man.

I ordered Jake a violin, he has decided as soon as it arrives that he will practice until he has mastered it, a process that should take about a week. He plans to go from there to the kendo sword, thus filling the last bit of time before our trip. It's good to have some plans that don't involve witchcraft. Hahaha!

Speaking ominous events, I had a really weird dream last night. I was cold and snuggled up with Matt in the classic spoon snuggle, me in front. Ben and Chan came in to ask me a question and they were both freaked out. I could barely wake up, I was so sleepy! I asked why they were so freaked, Chan said, "what are you doing? " I said (as I snuggled deeper and Matt wrapped his arms tighter around me) "I am freezing, so I am cuddled up with dad, why? "
She said, "mom. That's not dad."

Eeeeee! I woke up (being cuddled! ) and verified that it was still Matt, which I understand can be a little overwhelming when you were sound asleep 2 seconds earlier and suddenly need to give details about yourself to your crazy wife who wants to be very sure you are you. But, why can't he remember what color socks I was wearing December 5th, 2010?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

9 days in and plans underway

So, today is my 9th day of bed rest. My ankle is doing very well. Swelling is at a minimum and I can walk around the house using my crutches without any pain, though I still tire easily and it starts to ache after about 15 minutes of being up. I have been exercising, which helps my mood, even if it's a bit awkward. My left leg balance skillz are off the hook. Yo.

Yesterday we got our newest confirmation for Disney via a 12 digit number to make things happen. We were able to go online last night and personalize our Magic bands which will be sent in the mail shortly. Mine is pink. With their new magic + system you can go online at home and reserve your spot in line in the park, picking fast pass times, making meal plans and even holding yourself a spot for viewing the fireworks and parades. You also use the bands as your ticket and in place of a debit card, so when the kids are on their own they can still eat without having to carry anything. There's a tracking app to keep up with everyone and purchaces (that we don't want to carry with us) will be sent to our's a pretty painless way to potentially go through a lot of money!

Our seminar is about sustainable living and will be held in the living with the land pavilion at EPCOT. That's probably my favorite place in the whole park. Well, there's Japan and Norway...oh, who can decide? At any rate, I am super excited about the location and the topic!

2006 on Ben's 7th birthday

2008 on Ben's 9th birthday
The baby should always be extra celebrated.

I am sure I will have more Disney stuff to talk about over the coming weeks, I am glad our planning stuff is operational, that has a learning curve and is fun! I used the photo app to take a pic of my foot and add a hat and sticker. So don't worry, I am not mouldering away too badly!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

better day

Today was a better day altogether, I feel like I've hit some sort of stride... pardon the pun.

I had a good lounge in the hammock which always helps help my mood. Though getting back out was more involved than I foresaw. It will be a while before I try that again.

Afterward, I realized I could probably do some yoga if Matt would help me get the mats on the floor. I worked up a sweat, though that could be partially attributed to having no air conditioning and it being 90 degrees. But no complaints, I still feel like I DID something. Had a nice shower after, put on a fresh skirt. I feel human again.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gratuitous amounts of television via Netflix

So during my confinement have been reading teen tragedies involving boring girl who reads and *surprise* magical boy. The latest in this I swear, never ever ending genre, was Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Also, I have been watching Netflix. Today I discovered a 40 episode season of Forensic Files. Holed up in the bed, with Matt and the kids off tubing, I started watching with episode 1, determined to solve as many cases as possible before they return and catch me rotting my brain.

I'd seen a few episodes from the series while at Katy's house but had failed to appreciate the sheer drama of the narrator. INSERT LOW WHISPERY very dramatic VOICE The two were seen drinking heavily and buying (pause, pause, pause) (low and breathy)crack cocaine! I swear the narrator holds his breath for the last paragraph before the commercial break. Watch an episode, seriously. It sounds like he's a split second from passing out, which makes the part after the break hilarious because it's just 2 seconds later and he's fine again.  Doesn't even take a breath.

Other than Forensic Files, I have been watching the series Jack Taylor set in Ireland and starring the guy who plays the Khaleesi's sidekick on Game of Thrones. In a side note I'm totally impressed that talk to text can spell Khaleesi! That's a really good series and you can't help but like Jack even though he's a raging alcoholic and has anger management issues. I sometimes wonder if this is really the case with every man in Ireland, or just every character from every book and movie set in Ireland.

Oh wait, wasn't Waking Ned Devine set in Ireland? That is a fabulous movie.  That was on instant play last time I looked, though I own it on VHS and dvd as well as the soundtrack.  I am playing The Parting Glass at my funeral.  Matt wants Rainbow Connection.  Maybe we can both do both, though Matt doesn't get a funeral, just a service.  You can join him!  We have a playlist somewhere, but have not written out what's going to be said yet. After the whole 'Jesus wanted her for an ornament on his Christmas tree' debacle, there's no WAY some idiot is getting ahold of my service.  Maybe I will make everyone sit through a photo montage.  That would be much more fitting than loads of platitudes.

Another new series to Netflix instant play is Jacob's (and mine) all time favorite, All Creatures Great and Small. You seriously should watch every single episode. With seven seasons it'll take awhile but heck, time's all we've got, right? The books are just as good, not better, because the story and casting in the series is so spot on that I can't find a single fault. The show is often the story verbatim.

I will finish with a single personal reading redemption recommendation to assist my karma, and that is Karin Slaughter's new book, Cop Town. Set in 1974 Atlanta and dealing with blacks and women joining the police force in the midst of a serial cop killer spree, it is well written (all of her books are) and currently a stand-alone book though the characters are so strong I'm sure she could make it into a series. Unless of course she kills everyone off, I haven't actually finished it yet. I got it from the library's ebook site, I was so stoked they had a copy!

Oh yeah, my own story set in Disney World that I'm writing for the kids is coming along very nicely. It's based on a series of absolutely hysterically bizarre things that happened to an older couple (so no children were in danger) while visiting the parks. I used to tell them the stories when they were younger. Chan has begged me to write them out ever since. Now I have lots of time to do just that.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Damn French People

So I was getting all ready to write Disney World about my brilliant idea. A roller coaster of the East Australian Current featuring Crush! I googled to see if there was already something like that in motion then I discovered that Disneyland Paris already has the very coaster I envisioned and it's been there since 2007.

What good is a brilliant mind if someone already had your idea? There's no proof you're actually brilliant I mean, maybe I read it somewhere and it lodged in my brain and in my boredom my brain coughed it up for me to think about. Maybe my brain wanted me to think I had an idea. That in itself is kinda worth thinking about.

In other news, since it has been about 3 hours since I last posted, I have started using talk to text. It's going okay. The software has a real issue with my accent. It appears I don't pronounce the G at the end of most words. I don't really have an issue with that but seeing it printed out makes me feel like a hick.

It's kind of cool to lay here talking to myself and see it appear on the screen, it is as close to being a deity as I will probably ever come. Plus I can say things like onomatopoeia and not have to wonder if I screwed up the spelling. Anyway it's a novelty and it's passing the time while I'm laying here icing my foot. I'll take what I can get in the way of distractions!

Check it out, I spent most of the morning looking up Healing Runes and then drawing them on my leg. Yes that is a rune from that book about Jace and Clary, no judging! If it works I'll be delighted, if not, I'll have a star on my leg, no harm done either way! Even us heathens need something to believe in.

Pool Time

I actually unfriended Deb once because she was using my photos on her page and here I am, using her photos on my blog, but I am giving her credit, so there's the difference. Hahaha!

Last night, Matt dropped the kids off to swim with the teen group. I love how much they do, there's something every week at least and when I plan stuff, people actually show up. It's been really nice to be a part of, I know the kids have made new friends.

There is this one girl who comes now and then and she's made a project of Ben. She had him off talking away to him for nearly 2 hours at one event and on the way home, I asked him about her. He said she was strange and he was not sure she told the truth because she said contradictory things. I don't know many boys going on 15 who were singled out by a pretty girl that would keep up with what she said. I am glad he is levelheaded, at that age if a boy talked to me for 2 hours...I probably would have had our children named by the time I got home.

The kids are all mature about the whole 'liking' someone issue. Jake and Rho chat for a few minutes most nights, go for weeks sometimes between visits and always have at least 1 of their 5 siblings with them and have yet to be anywhere without at least both mamas in the immediate area and they behave very well. They hold hands, sit together, walk around talking...there's no sneaking off to make out or declarations of adoration or anything else that they could not do with Eyrin 2 feet away. And she usually is, if not sitting actually on Jake. I am so glad they have all this time to take things as they come. He calls her 'Love' sometimes, it's adorable. Eyrin is 'Bit'. So is Inde and he calls them 'Bits' when they are referred to in the collective.  "Come here, Bits!"

Let's see, this started as a post abut the kids going to the pool and not burgeoning love lives. Let me post my stolen photos that I took in that I clicked 'save as'.

See, there's Jake and Rho with Chan between them.

Katy appears to be smiling at Jake while punching Alex in the forehead...

Jake and Rho with a wall between them.
There were 75 people from our cover there!
Needless to say, the teens gathered in a group and stayed that way.
The kids had a blast, I have been assured they want to go again ASAP.
Though not wearing a beloved swimsuit, the chemicals bleached them out 3 shades!

Ah, that was kind of gratifying-no resizing, no sifting through to get the better shots-just click and post!

Trying an app!

Looking for an alternative to using my laptop while stuck in the bed. I updated on Facebook, but will do so here now as well.  I am trying an app on my Galaxy tablet called Bloggeroid.  Blogger has its own app, but you can insert post a single photo her post. WTH?  Who even does that regularly?

The doc says 2 weeks totally off the foot, I can resume driving short distances if the swelling stays down after 2 weeks. I am on total bedrest for a week, then I can be up no more than 3 hours a day total, if I use crutches and keep weight off my foot, if the swelling has stopped. It will be 6 weeks before I can start just walking around in the house-foot wrapped, but no crutches. Maybe 8.

I am finding a few things to be hard to manage but I discovered long flowy skirts are the way to go-nothing to pull back up while teetering around. I can of course get up to use the bathroom, so I fix my hair, brush my teeth, put on moisturiser, chapstick...anything to buy myself another minute or two out of bed. I also stand with the crutches and prop my foot up, like a ballerina at the barre, when I can.

My foot does not hurt so much as ache and burn. It wears me out, I sleep 12 to 14 hours a day. I came in from the doc Tuesday and collapsed. Even sitting in a chair to watch a dvd is exhausting, I am good for about an hour. I worry about my long term health, being this sedentary, even with 'good cause' is horrible for a body. Plus, my stamina will be shit after weeks of this and Disney is not far away.

I have been doing some in-bed yoga stretches, isometric exercises, using hand weights, whatever I can to move some. I don't want to have to regain my strength and lose 20 pounds just to get back where I was a week ago.

Mainly though, I am bored. I like to watch movies and read and lounge, but that's with lots of getting up to do stuff. Mess around in the garden pulling weeds, brush one of the dogs, take a few photos, walk to the mailbox, run to the store, do the dishes, make lunch or change out the laundry. Even on my worst vegging out days, I was up every hour for 20 minutes or so, just to tinker and wander around. And that was between active stretches when we were out off doing things. I am not adjusting well, but know I have to do the down time. You get one chance to heal properly-after that it's months more pain, limited function, rehab and maybe surgery not to mention a better than good chance of reinjury.

Okay, well that's my news. In other news, the kids are all off with friends for the day. Matt dropped them at the pool last night and they went home with various buddies, he will pick them up tomorrow at Deb's, where everyone is meeting up for lunch and playing in the river. As much as I want to go, I know it is a bad idea, slick mud and shifting rocks and slippery spots, not to mention the hill.  It's nothing when you can walk, but there's no way I could manage on crutches, I am SO bad at using them even between here and the bathroom.

Okay, I can't see the images, but they should be me, dramatically bored, my feet on the wall to show off my bruised shins and my wounded foot even more wounded after Nia decided to take me out of the pack. I went fom Alpha bitch to wounded wildebeest in one short slip.

Let's see if this thing works!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lost Cove Cave

We had looked forward to Sunday all week!  The TN state parks recently lifted their 9 year ban on caving and Park, our favorite ranger, was leading a hike to the Lost Cove Cave that involved entering at the Buggytop Entrance and coming out at Peter's Cave, then looping back to meet up with Buggytop Trail for a total of around 5 miles and a couple hours in the cave.  We were out about 6 hours, it was not a rushed trip.

You can do the hike on your own-hard hats are not just a nice suggestion, we all smacked our heads and were grateful to have one on!  A bike helmet would be better than nothing, the ceiling is low here and there and simply raising up after a long crawl, you may not be totally clear of that tunnel roof and WHAM. Flashlights-more than one each, water and a snack and shoes with some grip, it is wet, sandy and covered in slick clay in there!  Loads of climbing around on breakdown-those big chunks of rocks that fall from the ceiling.  But, having gone in with the ranger and in a group of 10, there were times even following Park that I never would have thought we were on the right track.  There are a few side tunnels as well, most dead-end after a short while, but one winds back another 90 minute scramble before you realize you are going the wrong way.  That could mess up your day!

I would recommend going with a ranger at least once!  You can call and arrange a trip with a group or find out when the next trip is planned by contacting the Visitor Center at (931) 924 - 2980.  He gave us plenty of time to crawl around and explore and pointed out some smaller tunnels the kids slithered through. At the end, I was COVERED in mud.  David, Deb's hubby, looked like he had just gotten dressed.  He had a little smear of mud on one boot!  Some people...hahaha!  If you do go on your own, follow the water, but with some common sense-there are times you have to leave the water and climb up and around instead of slogging through where it may be deeper than you realize, or there's a drop off.  It's a really cool cave, if you have the chance to go, go!

Our Day:

We had to leave the house at 5:30, so crossing the river, it was still early and misty!

 The soybean fields in southern Tennessee

I love this station and that smiling train!  I have a close-up of it printed and hanging on my wall.

Park came in just after we arrived and our sole singleton, Leslie, pulled in after him.  We sorted helmets and tinkered with our packs and got the call from the visitor center that the rest of the group was en route.

We used the time to look at the map and talk about ideas for play areas and upgrades to the visitor center.

 Red eft! 

This is a jelly fungus, likely witches butter, though it is usually yellow to orange.  It gets lighter as it ages and only grows on coniferous branches.  There is another kind called leaf jelly that is brown and purple and only grows on oak.  I wonder if Park will hike back out there and find this clump and ID the branch...It was near a curve in the trail...

Yeah, I don't know summer wildflowers.
Without the bloom, I would have said wild lettuce.  But then we broke a leaf and there was no white liquid, so it's not that.  So, I have narrowed down one possibility, only what...400 to go?  hahaha!

This is commonly known as an earthstar fungi, the center is a puffball.
It's a combo of 'earth' and 'aster' (flower).  Nearly my name!  Aster, Esther...

The arms keep curling away from the middle and pushing the middle upward until it resembles a tiny man standing in the leaf litter, arms, legs and a round puffball head.

It's in the geastrum family, I am going to guess fimbriatum, Latin for 'fringed'.

puffball egg

Can't wait to return with a better camera and some lights to set up long exposure shots.  Eep!

We had our snacks with the lights all off, sitting in total darkness.  Now I see why.  hahaha!

Gathered around to look at cave crawdads.

Park quit leading and gave us the map.  He said it was a learning experience.

Climbing out at Peter's Cave entrance (exit)

My pants were soaked and dirty, so I rolled them up to keep from tripping myself on the cuffs and my legs fared only slightly better!

My face, the only non-filthy bit on me.

We wanted to stay and hang out all afternoon and go swim, we had all our gear, but ended up heading right back home.  :(

Another pony on the loose!  I tried to get this one in the van, too.

At least heading home early scored us some pizza from the Arab store!

 And, here is why we missed all the afternoon fun.  On the way to the cave, I slipped and kind of twisted my left ankle.  I got back up and it hurt a little while, maybe 10 minutes, then it started feeling better and was just a light twinge.  While crossing a bridge, I slipped on the wet/slimy wood and just kind of sat, it was a controlled fall!  But the brunt of the fall was absorbed with my right foot which bent back...under?  My foot was straight, so it caught at the toe and kept going, I ended up sitting on it with it flat, like a ballerina en pointe, and then some.  I could not BELIEVE I fell.  It wasn't even a good story for after.  "What did you do!?"  "Slipped on a footbridge."  It's like when my sister's dog bit my face and I had 19 stitches and still have a pretty awesome scar on my jaw, even if it does look like a double chin sometimes, which is less awesome.  It's a crap story.  "What happened?"  "I saved a baby from a drug dealer!  I was attacked by a vampire bear!  I was in a fight in Calcutta!"  No.  "My sister's chow bit me."  "What did you do to it!?"  "I walked in the house first and it was dark."  "oh..."  Yeah, I just want it to heal quickly and be forgotten.

Since my previous fall turned out to be no biggie, I decided to shrug it off and keep walking this time, too. After 10 minutes it hurt WAY more, mainly when I lifted my foot up and if I flexed it in any direction.  I could take my own weight, so I kept going, albeit SLOWLY.  We went all through the cave, I was sweaty and felt like I was going to throw up.  I should have stopped, but...well.  I was able to crawl a good bit or lift with my left leg and just keep balance with my right foot.  I managed anyway, even if I did not get to run around exploring side tunnels.  We hiked back out and by the time we got back to where the trail looped back and met up with the Buggytop, I knew I was done for.  Matt stayed behind with me and I took my time picking each step.  That trail is nothing BUT uneven with little steps up and down constantly.  I found that going uphill was less painful, it was stepping down that made me see black dots.

Park got everyone else back to the parking lot and came back to meet us and headed us down a side trail that went to the paved road, cutting off half a mile or so.  He then ran back to the parking area and drove around to get us.  Walking down that slope, UGH.  It hurt and then hurt more and then burned.  My foot had swollen until my shoe felt like I would have to cut it off.  It hurt when I lifted it off the ground the most, any 'hang time' was excruciating.  I was glad everyone went ahead so I could have myself a good self-pity party for a couple minutes. Matt was SO sweet, especially since he just spent last week babying me through that shoulder nerve thing. I'd take the shoulder thing again in a heartbeat, not being able to WALK is way suckier than not being able to brush my teeth right-handed!  I did not really mind having to hand off my chores for a few days.  hehehe  Hey wait, that still applies!  Bright side!

despite what my children will tell you, my toes have always looked like that
Here it is this morning, after being propped up overnight.  The swelling has gone down some, but the bruising is about to commence along the outside edge.

So anyway, it was a great day and I am really glad I stuck it out, though I feel badly for everyone else who had to deal with my slowness and hesitation.  I don't like being 'that' person who is scared.  We had to climb down at one point and Park was helping everyone and they climbed right down with hardly any issue.  I weenied around until even I was irritated with me.  I was SO scared of sliding off, either into the jumble of rocks or onto our ranger, who is roughly the size of Benny.  All my weight had to be on my left foot while I slowly lowered down to the next foothold.  It was awkward but almost ridiculously simple-other than the hurting bit.  That was the worst part of the whole day for me-being afraid I was going to hurt myself more.

I don't know what the solution to that is.  Is it my weight, my age, my propensity to just have my feet slide out from under me?  I was wearing nearly brand new $100+  trail running shoes designed to grip in mud and on rock that had a zillion excellent user ratings AND that Ben was also wearing.   We each had our own pair.  We were not in the SAME pair, even I can figure out that would be a problem.

I bought them after a good bit of research for him to use on the Panther Run because they were so recommended for slippery conditions.   They were the editor's choice in Backpacker magazine for crying out loud, and mine were turquoise, which really should have added to their power.  And I still slid twice when no one else did at all.  Both times doing nothing more than just walking on the marked trail-no fooling around or even going fast.

I fall a LOT, I could name off 10 more falls in the past year and none of them were from doing anything even remotely dangerous.  I can't just sit at home, I want to be active!  But I am always slightly scared, especially when footing is tricky.  That's a suck way to be.  I am going to do some research and see what I can do about it.

Okay, here is it about 7 hours after the first pic.  The bruise is coming in nicely, despite my Arnica gel brigade.  The swelling is up, but I have read the initial swelling speeds recovery and that's what we want! I have a camping trip in just over 2 weeks and let's not forget Disney this fall.  I will NOT be the chubby white woman in the hoover round chair!