Saturday, July 30, 2011

Frankenfoot Update

Guess what I did on Thursday??  I bought new shoes!  You realize what that means?
1) I got to do one of my favorite activities--try on shoes.
2) I have new shoes!
3) My right foot isn't swollen anymore...yeah, imagine?

I went to my doctor Thursday afternoon to ask questions:
*Do I have to wear the brace any longer?
*Is it supposed to hurt this much still?
*What are the best exercises to increase my stamina?

*No; the brace was to help control and relieve swelling. If you're not swollen, don't wear it.

*Yes; a bone in my foot was cut nearly in half and a titanium wedge was inserted. That area has to heal and it will take a really long time. There's a nerve that sits up on top of my foot and it can be shot up with cortisone if I think that will help. No thanks--the pain is deep inside.

*Walking is actually a poor choice--ride a bike, or do water aerobics in the deep part of the pool so I don't use all my weight on my foot. But, it will take many months to rebuild my calf muscle, and it will take time to get my stamina back up. After all, I have babied it for six months. (And since getting around in the ortho boot was so hard, I tended to lay around a lot. I'm a total flab-bag right now...can't even climb stairs without huffing and puffing...need more pool time...need to get up early and ride the bike before it gets too hot.)

Anyway, after that appointment, I went directly to Dillards, to the Ecco section of the shoe department and tried on shoes. Now, I have a pair of blue ones and a pair of brown ones. I also found an awesome new brand called Dr. Weil's and so I bought some red ones, too. This gives me four different pair of shoes that will hold up my healing foot properly and afford wardrobe variety.

I looked longingly at all the cute shoes...and walked out with my bag. But...I walked out on two feet, dressed in two shoes, with no ortho braces or boots or anything!!! Yea!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You Know You're in Wyoming...

Well, of course there is the big roadside sign with the bucking horse saying "Welcome to Wyoming" but there are other hints, too.

Such as, you're standing in line at the fast food place and the boy in front of you has this hat on: it's not a costume, it's his everyday wear.

Then, as you wait for your order, you step back into the room next to the playground area and these are the seats that little buckaroos can sit on while they eat their grub.

This McDonald's, mind you. I like that the corporate image is, in fact, a little adjustable for individual locales.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Life I Didn't Live

I drove up to Wyoming on Friday night from Utah. It is a wonderful time of day to be driving. The sun sets later at this higher latitude and so, even though it was 7:30 at night, there was still sunshine; but, because it was evening, the shadows were long. This gives a glorious luminous glow to everything. Also, because there was so much rain and snow this year, the countryside is absolutely green and gorgeous.
I drove along the highway beside beautiful ranches tucked up along the mountainsides or on a little rise surrounded with quaking aspens. Several of the houses were log homes, with beds of brightly colored flowers up against the foundations. The barns and hay sheds set back to the side, some with saddled horses tied to a corral fence. The fields were dotted with sleek fat cattle grazing.

I felt a little longing to be married to one of the ranchers, keeping house in that beautiful home, owning one of those good-looking quarter horses. I wouldn't even mind herding those cows, or stacking those big fresh bales dotting the fields that curved down to the river. I mean, I wouldn't mind it on a fabulous summer evening in June or July.

It didn't take long to remind myself that the summers here are as fleeting as foam on root beer float. Most of the time, that rancher is bundled up in layers of coats and gloves, feeding those big old fragrant bales out on the crunchy snow, stamping his feet to keep them defrosted. Most of the time, those beds of wildflowers are buried under many feet of snow, the quaking aspen trees are bare, their slender trunks bending in the blizzard wind.

Summer in Wyoming is glorious beyond description--especially the evenings. But one of the reasons it is so fantastic is that it is short-lived--like many things of beauty: shooting stars, spiderwebs covered in dew, a perfect rose. But this does not make them any less enjoyable, and I forget the perfection when I stay away so long.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Party's Over...

...It's time to call it a day...That is from some old song. I don't even know what the song was about, or the tone or mood. But our week-long Grandma Camp has been really a blast!

Yesterday, we ate breakfast, I scrubbed the floors and vacuumed while they were consumed by Club Penguin. Then we had pool time--I was ready to cool off from all that work. We came in and showered and shampooed and had lunch. Then, I did some computer work while they played games. This was followed by a small snack and then we drove over to the airport.

Uncle GuitarMan came! He's here to go to a family reunion this weekend up north and so we splurged once more and went to the Tournament of Kings! It was quite good too, the food was just so-so. But, hey--we got to eat with our fingers and were invited to raise our tankards in toasts over and over throughout the show. Actually, the first course of tomato soup was really delicious. The chickens were not bad, either. But when  you've got to serve 100's of people all at the same time, while horses are racing around in the arena behind you, the cusine is not the main attraction.

Yes, horses! Fireworks! Dancing wenches! Handsome knights! evil dragons! Jousting! Sword fights! Whew, those guys have a very physically demanding job. You can tell they practice because the swinging maces landed on the shields every time without a single miss or actual decapitation. Really, it was all very entertaining. I'd go again with the other grandchild who didn't get to join us this year. Pretty cool. Plus--we got a sword!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did You Know---Hoover Dam Edition

Do you know?
  • That Hoover Dam is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern Engineering World?
  • That Black Canyon (where Hoover Dam is located) is even hotter during July than the rest of Las Vegas?
  • That it is terrific to stand with one leg in Nevada and one leg in Arizona, but that it is terrifying to look over the edge at the Colorado River waaaaay down there?
  • That you can make a light bulb light up by turning a wheel when you're in the visitor's center?
  • That Arizona looks just like Nevada when you're standing on the center of the Hoover Dam?
  • That you should visit Hoover Dam in October or April because July is too hot?
  • That even if there is a big thick plate of safety glass between you and that really long drop-off down the face of the dam to the river that it is scary to stand there?


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Around Town With Yosemite Lil' Dude

Well, we've been having some fun since I returned from a visit to Utah and brought two of our grandchildren with me. We've spent plenty of time in the pool--they are both fearless at jumping in, cannonball style, and in diving to the bottom to fetch the rings. We went to church today and they got to sit up next to me in the choir seats while I played the organ. They had lovely manners--reading books is a great quiet activity.

Yesterday, we went down to the aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Then we ate some lunch at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and went over to buy tickets for a Wednesday dinner at Tournament of Kings.  (I've been using all of my "locals" and teacher discounts to have this fun. That is a small perq that being a teacher in Las Vegas still provides, despite the pay cuts, media bashing, etc.) Finally, we drove over to the street alongside the airport runway and tuned the radio to listen to the tower talking to the pilots and watched landings and take-offs for about 30 minutes. Good Times!!

But the best part of the entire day was watching people who'd get a good look at this:

We purchased this little item from a machine at a gas stop in central Utah for fifty cents. He loves it! He wore it all the rest of that day, and then found it in the truck when we started out to the aquarium. So he just reapplied it and casually sported this bad boy all day without a flinch. But it was hilarious noticing people who noticed him. Adults would do a double-take and then start smiling, looking over at me. I'd smile back! It was awesome!

In Planet Hollywood, there are a lot of young men just oozing testosterone because a) they are in VEGAS, BABY! and b) because the World Series of Poker is in town and there's a lot of competitiveness in the air.  But one look at Yosemite Lil' Dude would crack them up and they'd just melt like a silly old kid. I had a lot of fun walking around with him on Saturday. Nice 'stace, dude!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week of Fun!

Just got back from visiting with family in Utah for a few days. There was a bridal shower and we had some fun, and met the new babies born in that last couple of months. I got to show off my Two Shoes--the last time we assembled (at a wedding in March) I was wearing the orthoboot and anticipating the surgery in a few days.

Then, I returned to the desert with two passengers: my granddaughter and grandson--7 (almost 8) and 5 years old. We've planned our whole week:
Notice the main event every day??  (S-Boogie added "jonal writing" after lunch because we're making journals of our fun.  Draw a picture on the top of the page and write about it underneath.)

Then we have several side trips planned, too: 
It's going to be a lot of fun here for the next few days!   We'll add some photos of the pool later.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Calendar Item

 ...end of summer semester at UNLV....

That was the message that my Outlook calendar had for me this morning.  I know--thanks! Last night, when I got home from class,  I uploaded my last final (10 pages) and then made salmon cakes for supper and lolled around for an hour watching re-runs.'s been a fast four weeks, but I survived and now I'm six credits closer to the master's degree. Summer starts now.

ABC's of Me

I borrowed this from someone's Facebook page, but it looked like fun, so here's more than you ever wanted to know:

A - Age: 58

B - BAD or Good?: at what?? I'm good at writing...I'm bad at eating virtuously.

C - Chore You Hate: cleaning the refridgerator

D - Dog's name: One of our favorite dogs was Jed, but I also loved Annie and Casper...and don't forget Admiral Birdie!

E - Essential Start To Your Day: chocolate milk and toast

F- Favorite color: hmmm...dark green, real red

G - Gold or Silver: Silver hair, gold crowns :)

H - Height: 5"8"

I - Instruments You Play: piano and organ and kazoo

J - Job Title: 4th grade writing teacher; grandma; Sweetie; Mom

K - Kid(s): 2 girls, 3 boys

L - Living Arrangements: live with CoolGuy in Sin City with Queen of KittyCats

N - Nicknames: no one has ever given me a nickname because I spent so much time trying get everyone to just use my entire real name

O - Overnight for fun:  camping at the beach

P - Pet Peeve: mean cranky people

Q - Quote From A Movie: "Hey, a man in a really nice camper is offering to pay us for our music--I say yes!"

R - Right Or Left Handed: Right

S - Scary or Silly: Depends on if you're 9 years old or not...

T - Time You Wake Up: Whenever I want to--it's summer!

U- Underwear: every day!

V - Vegetable You Don't Like: I can't think of a single one...

W - Why You Run Late: I'm reading just one more thing.

X - X-rays You've Had: I can't think of a part of me that hasn't been X-rayed.

Y - Yummy Food You Make: Thai cabbage salad with rice vinegar dressing

Z - Zoo Favorite(s): Okapi and the giant turtles

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

It's one of my favorite holidays! It's not just because I get to wear my flag earrings or red shirts, either. I think that it's partly because it is universal to the entire nation. We're all celebrating the birthday and there is a positive sense of joy. Many places where we've lived have a big parade and everywhere has fireworks. There's no down side! So, go out there and pursue happiness and celebrate Independence Day. Next year, I think I really need to be in Washington D.C. again---it's a pretty awesome party.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The New World

Today is our son's birthday. He is, and has been, an adult for nearly as long as he was our child. That is an amazing thing to realize. He also lives in the New World, as I call it. I mean that the career field in which he works did not even exist when he was married ten years ago. I know that other people are in this situation. But I've been thinking about this for several weeks since he got a new job and, when I asked him about it, he told me what he does, but I cannot visualize it. I actually couldn't really comprehend his last job, either.

I don't really feel like an old fogey. Here I am---blogging after all.  And today, I spent hours and hours completing an assignment for my master's degree class that required me to do a lot of researching on the computer while I wrote a paper. When I finally completed everything and sent my e-mail with the assignment attached, I closed about nine windows that I had open simultaneously: two documents, an Excel data base, a website to help with APA writing style, two different PDF files of research articles, my i-Tunes site and three e-mail addresses: school/work, college, and home. Whew---I feel pretty techie.

But, I'm still not sure what my son does for a living. I mean, my dad, and his dad and the dad before that all did about the same thing: they worked on the land. They had similar skills. The grandfather also knew how to run a trap-line, but I'll bet my dad could have done that if he'd wanted to--my nephew does it today. I'm the bridge between these worlds. I'm an expert at milking cows, I can still saddle a horse, and (even though I don't like to) I could help you brand your cattle. Don't even ask how many hay bales I've stacked. But I can also navigate my way around the Internet, and add links to my blog, and research a peer-reviewed article about reading remediation research.  I'll give this to my son: I know he's saddled a horse plenty of times, and he could milk a cow. Although, he probably only handled hay bales with a tractor fork lift. My dad probably wouldn't have backed away from learning the Internet, but he was more comfortable with Mother Nature. So, I guess my son is still in the family business---he works on a farm--a server farm.

I guess what I'm thinking about this week is that life is changing much more rapidly than it used to. Technology advancements are on hyper-speed. We talked about this in one of my classes Thursday. By the time anyone compiles research data, and gets it published, about some current technology and if it helps student achievement or not, that technology could be obsolete---remember laser discs? Lots of schools still have them in the back of a closet.

So, today, for my son's birthday, I wish to remember the sweet little boy he was, and salute the astute, intelligent, capable tech-wizard he has become. May the Force be with you! (Thanks for being there when I get stuck with my computer and your dad is out of town...)

A Week??

I can't believe it has been a week since I sat here and logged on to this site. It's not that I haven't been sitting here at the computer. It's just that I've been working on college stuff instead of blogging or doing anything else fun. I pointed out three weeks ago that I'd signed up for two classes during the accelerated summer term (June 6-July 7) at UNLV and I knew it was going to be a lot of work. But once school let out, I knew I'd have most of my days to just read and type, if need be. Ummm...that is pretty much what I've done, too. Whew.

Now, there are 6 days until everything is due. I have two huge projects to complete and one smallish one. It will take every minute to do them. But--on the bright side!  I will also have six credits finished! And both of my teachers have said, several times, "Oh, I've modified this assignment because we just don't have time for all of this in the summer term."  And I know I'm not the only one quietly exulting as we nod and murmur our thanks. This means I"ll have one required class in the fall, and then in the Spring term I can do my six-credit project/research/I-don't-really-know-I hope-my-committee-can-clear-this-up.  I think that there are still two pesky credits that I'll need to fill with some elective--hopefully I can find an easy one. I'd love to graduate next spring.

Tonight, after class, I stopped off at Seafood City to get some red snapper and shrimp and as I waited in line behind a lady who was handing bag after bag of whole fish to the gentlleman who'd then weigh, wrap and label it for her, I wanted to follow her home and watch how she turned it into a meal -- or several meals. It was a lot of fish. I'd like to be able to go home with the people who buy the 18 inch long whole squids and see what they do with that, too. I also poked the tongs at a pile of blue crab that were crabbily loafing in a bin and asked them how Maryland was doing these days. Perhaps, they were from Virginia. They didn't say--but they did give me the stink eye and wave a menacing claw in my direction. Crabs---yum. Plus, you don't mind throwing them in a big pot of boiling water because they are so crabby and would pinch your finger right off if given the opportunity. The red snapper was delicious and tomorrow I'm making fresh spring rolls with the shrimp--after I type and type and type some more.