Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm sure I've gone on and on about the schedule of KittyCat. And how, at 5:00 PM, it is necessary for one of the servants with opposable thumbs to open the packet of kitty chicken and serve it. And how she will start the alert system for this event up to 90 minutes in advance, in order that the critical time window is not overlooked...

Well, today, after I returned home from physical therapy, CoolGuy had this little tale to relate:

Seems that shortly after I'd changed into my PT clothes and departed for my 4:45 appointment, KittyCat joined CoolGuy on the couch, and got very intense about the need to watch the clock. She'd been in and out of the house, the doors propped open because of the lovely, balmy weather we're having here in the desert. So, as the Magic Hour approached, CoolGuy swung his feet around to place them on the floor and KittyCat jumped down to shadow him to the kitchen for the Appointed Hour, when he saw a visitor. 

A four inch lizard was perched on the tile surrounding the living room carpet. KittyCat saw it, too. CoolGuy just stayed on the couch, she hustled right over to inspect. She is an accomplished hunter. She brought us a little specimen not long ago. So, CoolGuy thought he'd watch for a minute. She gave the lizard a close look, and then CoolGuy stood up to go get the kitty chicken out of the cupboard.

What happened next? Did the lizard get captured and taken out by the predator whose job it is? Did the famous Huntress do her duty?, she immediately stepped over the interloping reptile and hustled right over to her dish to lap up the gravy. So...

Somewhere in my house is a four inch lizard. Waiting for me to stumble across it, and scream. Don't like lizards in my house.

Thanks, KittyCat.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Saved My Back

Everyday, since I have returned to work, I have returned home with a searing pain in my right hip/back. And I know what causes it: my feet are not the same height. On the left, we have the ortho boot. On the right foot, we have whatever my latest attempt is to find a comfortable shoe that is tall enough. So far, none has fit the bill. Some have come awfully close.

But today:  BINGO! I did it. I found the shoe that makes my feet so near to an equal distance from the floor that my hips are the same height and I am not standing like a crooked old lady. My hip feels great! I don't have a knife-like stabbing in my lower right back. So nice....introducing my old friend:

Cowboy Boots!! Actually, these are my motorcycle riding boots. They have a little plate on the heel that says "Harley-Davidson" and I bought them at a biker store in California. But they're perfect!! And, fortunately, they are very comfortable, and I can wear it all day and not fatigue my so-called "good" foot. I wear a lovely blouse, and jewelry on the top, and jeans on the bottom to coordinate with the boot. I also like to wear my boots with certain skirts I have, too. So, until May 1st, when I'm back at the doctor, I'm wearing the cowboy boot. It'll be an exercise in creative dressing.

They don't exactly match, but then, nothing but another ortho boot would be a mate, and I'd just as soon avoid that. aside, I'm going for comfort.

And this is my little sidekick who is standing by (not patiently, mind you) pointing out that it is waaaaay past time for her kitty chicken packet to be served. So I'm to quit typing and get into the kitchen and put my opposable thumbs to a more important use.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


Another entry in the intermittent series of Foods I Love...   Chocolate chip cookies--need I say more? Tonight, I mixed up a batch of dough from scratch. During my latest confinement with the Frankenfoot 2.0, we've been making do with the pre-made cookie dough that one can buy in the grocery refrigerator section. It's right there with the turnovers, cinnamon rolls and other Pop 'n' Fresh goodies. They are simply delicious, and, as a bonus for a Woman of a Certain Age, there are only a dozen in the package, and so one cannot mindlessly consume waaaay too many cookies in one sitting.

As I was creating this dough, I was taken back to my childhood in which baking chocolate chip cookies was the job of the 10-13 year old girl in our house. My mom was a busy woman and she really didn't have time for something so mundane as "chocolate drop cookies" as we referred to them. Since there seemed to be an endless supply of 10-13 year old girls living in a house with six sisters, she rarely had to stir up a batch. It was so easy---just read the recipe on the back of the chocolate drop package and success would be yours.

I recall a couple of times when I was really craving cookies and we had no eggs in the house. If you've been paying attention, then you may be thinking, "How could your house have NO eggs? Weren't there 100 hens in a nice red coop out in the yard?" Yes, indeed. And so I just went right out there, and poked around in the nest boxes from which I saw a chicken's curious head poking out and until I got the four eggs I needed. I needed four eggs because no one in my house ever just made the recipe as written on the chip package. It was always doubled or tripled.

In fact, I learned how to add fractions by baking cookies. The recipe, as perfected by the woman at the Toll House Inn (if you don't know the story, read it here)  has a number of fractional amounts: 3/4 cup this and 1 1/2 cups when you were the 10 year old girl doubling the batch, you could just measure and dump those ingredients twice, or you could get smart and figure out how to add fractions. Or maybe you learned adding fractions by realizing that 3/4 and 3/4 could be measured with the 1 cup and the half cup! Or whatever...math was not my best subject, but I was awesome at adding fractions because I'd done it with manipulatives in my mom's kitchen so often.

Anyway, tonight as I got the dough all mixed up, I thought that I should bake a couple of cookies in a small pan to check and see if the flour proportions were correct. And I remembered the term we used in my mother's kitchen:  "try cookies."  I hadn't thought of "try cookies" in decades. It means that you are to drop a couple of cookies' worth of dough onto a small pie pan or something, and then bake them first, before going to the effort of baking an entire tray of cookies, only to discover that they don't have enough flour.

I realize now that we did this because of the high altitude of my childhood home. Most recipes are made for the cook who lives in a range of sea-level to 3000 feet. Our oven sat at 6300 feet, so every baking recipe we used from a box, a cookbook, or a magazine had to be adjusted slightly. So, when you mixed up the cookie dough, you needed to bake some "try cookies" to see how much more flour you needed to add---a fourth a cup, a few tablespoons---it varied with the humidity, the variations of my mother's flour, and how big the eggs had been. When the "try cookies" were nearly baked, you could just peek in the oven and see by their shape how much extra flour you'd need to add for the rest of the dough to make "just right" cookies.

One afternoon, I wasn't paying attention and I had a disaster. I had the "try cookies" in the oven, I checked them and saw that I'd need to add a bit more flour. Absent-mindedly (who knows what I was distracted by) I picked up the flour sifter I'd dumped some flour into, and started sifting. And sifting. And then I picked up the spoon and starting stirring and almost immediately I realized that I'd put a lot of flour in that sifter, and I'd dumped it all into the bowl, and no way did I need that much---noooo waaaay. I looked at the bowl with the crumbles of dough that couldn't incorporate that much flour and knew I had created a disaster.

I didn't know what to do. I do know that I had really messed up by being inattentive and drifty. I remember feeling my face go pale, my saying in a little moaning voice to myself, "Oh no, oh no!" and I actually ran outside and jumped on my sister's bike and rode down the lane as fast as I could for a few minutes. Then, I stopped, and turned around and came home. And I guess I added some milk, or maybe another egg, or maybe one of my sisters came in and saved the day, or maybe my mother did...I don't remember. I just remember seeing all that flour clumping into the dough and realizing I'd dumped in about five times too much and panicking and riding the bike. Where was I going to go? I don't know...I was just in a state.

Anyway, right now, I have a dozen yummy chocolate chip cookies waiting for me to enjoy, two at a time, for dessert for the next few days---with cold milk---of course!  And then, there is a little plastic bowl of cookie dough in the fridge, all ready for me to bake twelve more when those run out. MMMMM....cookies... 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Off They Go!!

That title is supposed to get you singing the Air Force song in your head. Today as CoolGuy and I were returning home from a last lunch together before I go back to work tomorrow, we saw a large helicopter flying along the front of the mountain behind our neighborhood, and turn toward the base that is north of our house. We both knew immediately that it was Marine One because we've seen it before, many times, in Maryland. Then, we recalled that President Obama was in town, visiting a solar energy place out near Boulder City, so we realized that he must have arrived at the base that morning, rather than the city's airport like last time. By the time we'd traveled the few blocks up to our street, and just as we were turning into our driveway, there it was---Air Force One---taking off west and banking north. It's a really awesome jet.

When we lived in Maryland, we were about 45 miles south of Andrews Air Force Base, where all the U.S. presidential aircraft is based. Many times, as I stood on the playground supervising recess, I'd see that big blue and white plane coming in to land. It was low enough that we could easily see the colors and I'd point it out to my students. I hope today that some students who were out having P.E. had their teachers stop and point out to them the big 747 powering up into the blue desert sky. Very cool...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I just read a comment on a post at another website from a person who is combating her depression by writing in her journal each day about five things for which she is grateful. Here goes:

1) I'm grateful I don't have any of those rare diseases I read about in the paper today, which create life-threatening conditions and have no cure. My stupid feet are, in fact, healing.

2) I'm grateful I have a job to return to--a job that I like, and from which I get a great deal of satisfaction.

3) I'm grateful that it is Spring!! At last!! I love sunshine.

4) I'm grateful for dark chocolate covered almonds.

5) I'm grateful for KittyCat and her affection.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Moving Along in the Recovery Process

I started physical therapy today. Mostly it was just getting measured: how far my foot can move in various directions, and the strength (none!).  Then, she'll measure again halfway through and then just before I go back to the doctor at the end of April. I also soaked in the whirlpool with both feet and stretched and flexed.

Then, I practiced on my crutches. She adjusted them for my height. I crutched around the room and then called CoolGuy, who was waiting in the truck, doing work on his iPad. Yes, I'm using both feet (really, just a tiny bit of weight on my toe.) But now I can't carry anything!  So he hauled my purse and my scooter out to the truck, came back to hold the door for me, and I could get in and lift up my crutches and put them into the back seat all by myself.  It's my goal to drive myself to church on Sunday!!  I got home and dug out the backpack I'd bought last year. It works while I use the crutches.

Moving along here...moving along here. In one week, I hope to be finished with any walking aides, except for the boot. I'll get to take it off after the six weeks of PT. Anticipation...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


There's been plenty of talk here about my new feet. Both of them have now been rebuilt from the ground up. New tendons, metal plates, arches (at last!) But, it's been such a long process and, due to the need to wear the stupid ortho boots so often, I've really been missing out on motorcycle rides over the last two years.

Well, CoolGuy recently did a little changing to the seating arrangement on his bike, so he was inspired to do a little modifying to my scooter. It doesn't fly down the road any faster, but at least I can get the feeling of being on a chopper.

I'm ready to hit the road.

The sissy bar adds style, but sadly, no function.

CoolGuy thought up this little stunt. I like it!

 But, the good news: on Friday, I start PT and I get to move on to crutches. After a few days of crutching around, I can walk on the foot (wearing the boot, of course) and on Thursday next week, I'm planning to go back to teaching. I'll definitely need to take one of these photos with me to show the kids. They bugged me for two months to have CoolGuy attach some type of speaker system so that the scooter would sound like a motorcycle. They'll get a big laugh out of my "chopper-scooter."

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yes, it's Pi Day. I was unaware of this wonderful event until a few years ago, when my daughter who makes championship pies (Oregon State Fair), informed me and I slapped my forehead and said, "Oh....yeah...pie...pi!"  So, it's a fun math day and a good excuse to make yet another pie.  Today: blueberry strata:

The "strata" part comes from the layer of cream cheese/crushed pineapple (chilled) then topped with blueberry pie filling, then garnish with whipped cream. Yummm...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Farmer Time

I planted my tomatoes yesterday! I used an exclamation mark because it is exciting to plant tomatoes!! Well, at least for me, it is. Here's why:

a) it means winter is over
b) it means I get to dig in the dirt
c) it means that the summer delight of tasty vegetables is on its way

This year, it was a little more of a challenge to garden. I am on the last week of No-Weight-Bearing on the Frankenfoot, 2.0. So, I rode my little cart out to the yard. Then, I climbed down off it, and sat on the grass beside my raised bed and started to dig. When I needed to move to a new spot, I could scooch along on my bottom, or I'd roll over to my knees and crawl around.

It was a beautiful day: 75 degrees, a little overcast, so I didn't get too much of a sunburn. I'm completely pasty white. Any vestige of suntan that I might have had from motorcycling or performing playground duty, or after-school traffic patrol have vanished entirely from my skin. I don't even have a driver's tan right now because I haven't been able to drive since Feb. 2nd. So, one little goal is to spend more time outside this week (now that the beautiful weather is back) and try to get a little sun.

I dug around and pulled up weeds and roots from the grass that sneaks in between the edges of the planks, and greeted the earthworms that live out there. Then, I got the hose (using my cart) and pulled it over to the bed and began the planting. You may be thinking, "Where was that CoolGuy? Why wasn't he helping you?" I told him I could do it myself. I wanted  to do it myself. I could have asked him to help, he'd have certainly done anything I asked. He always does. But, this was for me.

So here you go:  photos of my soon-to-be tomato forest. At the east end, I've planted spinach and lettuce, which should give me at least one crop before the HEAT sets in and kills them. Then, I'll put basil in where they are now. Basil loves Las Vegas in the summer. Right now, I have it growing in a pot in my kitchen window. CoolGuy came to check on my progress, and I was finished with the raised bed and was preparing this pot to hold an extra plant I had left over.

If you look closely, you can see that my knees are soaking wet from kneeling in the wet grass.

I'm carefully keeping my foot up off the wet grass. It's only wet because I sprayed water on it, while planting my bedding plants. But, one of the thrills of gardening is that you get to play in dirt and water.

It's hard to see, but my cart is right behind me.

It's going to be a jungle of tomatoes soon!

Friday, March 09, 2012

My Talent

Tonight, the YM and YW are sponsoring a ward talent night. I teach the MIA Maids, so I'm involved with the set-up this afternoon. My main job was to manufacture the banner that goes across the front of the stage saying "[Our Ward's] Got Talent" -- just like the TV show--get it?  So, I've been carefully cutting out letters and I've got a plan for a great looking banner and it involves color dot markers and everything. The girls will have fun helping me finish it.

Then I started I have a talent to show off?  In past locations, I've read some of my essays. I've read the story about my mom's coat Christmas present. I've read the one I titled "The Cow Washers" which tells about my self-absorbed persona as a young teen. I read the story of my sister's Shetland pony in one ward and a friend, wiping her tears at the end, called out, "No fair! You didn't say it would make us cry!"

But, I'm still crippled and getting around on the dumb cart, plus I know that there will be various packs of small children roaming aimlessly and they mess up the ambiance for a reading. So, I decided instead to make a display on a table. One of the set-ups the YW are doing late this afternoon is display tables for people whose talent involves crafts, sewing, photography, painting---whatever---that is best presented visually in a static display. So, I've been busy making color copies of the articles and story that I have had published in the New Era or the Ensign. I have a copy of each of the four magazines in which my writing appeared.

Bummer, I've actually had five pieces of writing printed in church magazines, but I failed to keep a copy of one of them. It doesn't have my name on it either. In Sacrament meeting, a young man preparing to leave on a mission soon told an experience he'd had in Marine boot camp. He was a reservist. It was such a great account that afterward, I asked him if he'd mind if I wrote it up to offer to the New Era. I wrote it, mailed it to him for approval. He wrote back and said it was great. So I told him to mail it in. I knew they'd pay $150 if they published it. But I figured he could use the money for his mission. But, now I know, to always, always put my own name on my own writing as in "As told to [EarthSignMama] by [Marine/Missionary]."  He can have the money--I want the credit. So, I'll link you to that story, even if it doesn't say I wrote it, from October, 2001.

I started out back in 1972 by entering the Arts Contest that the New Era used to sponsor. The top prize was a scholarship to BYU, Church College of Hawaii, or Ricks College (as they were known then.) As usual, my best thinking was done in the barn. My little brother and I tweaked my story while we were milking. I was home for Christmas break from BYU and I decided to enter the contest. I got the story finished just before the contest deadline and was relieved to have mailed it finally. I didn't win the scholarship, but I did win a cash prize. But--more importantly---they printed my story in their contest issue in August 1973.

Along with the check and the letter congratulating me on being a winner, there was a note from the editors saying they liked my writing, did I have any more to submit?  Well, that was inspiring! So I sent them a poem and that was printed the next year (October 1974). This poem tells about autumn in Star Valley, Wyoming.

Then, I got married and gave birth to our five children in eight years and became a very busy mother. I kept writing, but I didn't send it to church magazines. I got paid for a story I wrote for a biker magazine once! But most of what I wrote, I sent as gifts to my parents or my sisters. I wrote letters to the editors and had a letter printed in each of the city's newspapers where we've lived--including the Washington Post. Oh, and I was going to college for 10 years, too. That sort of absorbed all of my creative energy and writing time.

But then, I got inspired by the Laurels in our ward in Maryland and I submitted an article to highlight a fine thing they had done. It was printed in November 2003 and I unexpectedly received a check! I don't know why I didn't think they still paid people for what they printed, but it surprised me. So, I decided to send off another essay that I'd originally written as a lesson for Relief Society.

This time, I tried the Ensign. It was quite thrilling when they decided to print it. I found out about their choice when I arrived home from work one afternoon and CoolGuy told me of a phone call he'd received. The speaker identified himself as an editor from the Ensign, and CoolGuy replied that I was still at work. But, the editor said that, actually, he was calling to talk to CoolGuy. Was he the man referenced in the article I'd submitted? Yes, why? Well, they needed his permission to use CoolGuy's actual name in the article before they could print it--and they wanted to print it. So, if CoolGuy objected to having his name used, they could change the names in the essay. CoolGuy then laughed, as he recounted this to me later, and told the editor that he was pleased to appear in his wife's writing under his own name, and didn't mind being the bad example. But he's not the bad example, he's the inspirational example. This article was published in June 2004.

So, anyway, I hope  you enjoy reviewing my "talent" that I've linked to in this blog. There are a couple of other newspapers and college magazines I've had my work published in, but I decided to just show off my Church magazine efforts today. Oh, in case you're wondering, I've been rejected by the Friend three times as an adult. They did print a poem I sent them, as a nine year old,  when it was called The Children's Friend, many eons ago. I haven't given up yet on the Friend. But they are a hard nut to crack, I guess. I'm still writing, and I hope I'll have a story there someday, too.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Here's a video to show what excellent care I've been getting while I convalesce from this surgery.

She does this several times a day. And at night, it is essential that she gives me or CoolGuy a massage through the corduroy comforter on our bed. In fact, if you stay up too late, she will come and meow at you because it is time for her to do the massage and then settle in for her sleep, on top of you, or beside you. Cat rituals--must happen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Divine Foods

This part one of an intermittent series of posts about foods I love. Today: beets. Those delicious root vegetables that not only are yummy when you eat them fully matured, but you can harvest the greens and eat them, too. My mom always grew beets in her garden. They sprout quickly and are one of the few things that thrive at 6500 feet -- warm days, cold nights. She'd always harvest a few meals when they were just starting to get a plump root and then steam the whole plant: tops and bottoms. Melt butter over the dish, a little cider vinegar, salt and pepper and my dad couldn't get enough of it. Me too. While I didn't appreciate fresh spinach as a child, I gobbled beet greens.

Then, when the plants grew their full round roots, the real purpose for the beets was revealed: pickling. I loved pickled beets. I could have eaten them every day and every meal (well...maybe not breakfast.) One year, as an adult, I was visiting her and as we set the table, with pickled beets of course, for dinner, I commented on how much I loved them. She said, "Remember that one summer when we ate them for every dinner?"  I confessed that I wouldn't have noticed because I loved eating them. Well, apparently, just as she'd get the dinner served, (at 1:00 PM) some visitor inevitably arrived. Mother would look at the table, slice some more bread and add a bowl of pickled beets to stretch what she'd made to serve the normal crowd. She said, "I put the pickled beets out to make it look like there was enough to feed everyone. And then, I'd cut up a pork chop into pieces and put a few bites on you kids' plates so there would be enough to serve the guests."   Now, as I look back on it, I see that our visitors were no dummies. Of course they'd arrive around 1:00 PM. They KNEW she'd be serving a meal and she was an awesome cook.

As an adult, I've never made pickled beets. I'm afraid of the pressure canner and I've never tried using one. I've only hot-packed fruit and tomatoes. However, I have also spent most of my adult life living in areas where food was grown year round and I didn't have to depend on my basement treasures to feed the family through the looooonnng winter. I could usually buy fresh beets any old time. So I did, and just cooked them and kept them in the refrigerator to slice up on salads or eat by themselves.

My latest favorite way:  chopped up and dressed with white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or you can use rice vinegar and olive oil---it's just as yummy. I'll mix up a batch of this and take a little in my lunch every day for a week and, coupled with my cup of non-fat cottage cheese, it is one of the most satisfying lunches ever. 

Plus, you get the excitement of beeturia. (I didn't realize there was a name for this until now.) Seriously---eat beets every day for a week and your body becomes infused with color. Lots of color. I'll stop now before I get too graphic. But --- you should go buy some beets. Only buy the beets that have greens attached. I made the error recently of buying some beets that were just in a bin, with the greens cut off. I have no idea how old they were, but they weren't good at all. No sweet juiciness was left in them. I know that beets are one of those root crops that one can store without refrigeration, so that made them popular in northern & eastern European climates, and the Rocky Mountain West. But, I'll stick to beets that have the greens attached from now on.

 If the greens are too big and tough, then just chop them up and compost them. But if they look smallish and tender still, steam them like fresh spinach and enjoy with butter and vinegar. Cook the beets (cut off the tops leaving about 2 inches of stem behind) for about 40 minutes in water. Test them for doneness--they'll cut easily with a paring knife. Then, pour off the water, let them cool so you can hold one without burning your hand. Then, cut off the stems, also a little of the root end, and just use your hand to rub off the skin. It should easily come off. Then, put the beets in a covered container in the fridge and they'll last for about five days--if you don't eat them all the first day.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Watch Out For What You Watch

Since I get to spend so much time lying there on the couch to keep my stupid foot propped up to help prevent (or relieve) swelling, TV is sometimes watched. But, seriously, not all the time. And that is a good thing, because a person can be swayed to act on things that you see there.

On Friday, I spent about 6 1/2 hours in my classroom entering grades and typing report card comments. Yes, I know that I'm no longer being paid. Yes, I know there is a substitute being paid to do my work. But, I'd graded all those papers, and I knew what the students' skills are, and I decided the humane thing to do would be to write the report card comments myself.

So I did. However, that meant I sat there with my foot hanging down the entire time. So, when CoolGuy came to pick me up at 2:30, I went home and laid down on the couch, propped up the foot,  and stayed there. We'd already planned that he would fetch Meat-A-Rama for supper, so mostly I was able to just lay right there until it was hot tub time. I was channel surfing and came across a show we like called Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives which is just a guy driving around to different parts of the country eating yummy stuff.

So we sat there, paunched from our barbequed ribs, mac-and-cheese and green beans, and drooled over the yummy burgers, omelets, carne asada, and other delights that are prepared and served in a variety of establishments that this lucky guy gets to visit for a living. Plus, they take you into the kitchen and show you how they make the stuff--lots of "grandma's secret recipe" stuff going on out there.

Well, this one place in Kansas, not only has the yummiest burgers and most divine onion rings I've ever seen, but they serve apple pie. Homemade---fifty of them are baked up there each day---and topped with ice cream. We watched them roll out that pie dough and load it up with apples and brown sugar and and cinnamon, and then---the magic of TV---pull out the hot, crispy, flaky desserts when they're baked....and we drooled.

So, the next day, I had to go to the market anyway. As you know, Saturday is a special day...milk, cheese,TP, cat food, apples...You gotta know what we had for dessert.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Before and After

1:00 P.M.

2:30 P.M.

It's subtle, I know. But can you spot the difference in these photos? It may seem negligible to some, but to anyone who has been encased in a plaster cast, the difference is huge. For instance, right now, I'm sitting here fresh from a soak in the hot tub.  Exactly four weeks ago, tonight, was the last time I enjoyed that pleasure.

 I noticed that Orion has migrated to the west in his Springtime journey to repose. In Winter, Orion sits up high in the south sky this time of night. The Big Dipper is moving too. It's amazing how much difference a month makes in the position of the stars. That is my favorite part of the hot favorite part: stargazing. We're up here on the east hill, next to the big dark mountain, far enough away from the bright part of Tinsel Town that we can see stars. Mars is big and orange, too, directly south of the Dipper. I get to admire the night sky tomorrow, too, and every night I feel like it after this, because I have a removable cast now! YEAH!!

WARNING: Squeamish people stop reading now...

 This was before they removed the old steri-strips that covered my dissolving stitches, so the wounds look rather grotesque. They're actually healed up very nicely and I expect they will lighten and fade just as the ones from last year have done. Did you know that it is a law that the doctor has to write "yes" on your body part with marker on the area where the surgery is to be done? Also, in addition to the tendon repair on my ankle/foot, the lengthening of the tendon on my calf, and the bone repair on the outside of the foot,  I also had a curled up toe straightened. So this a total foot rebuild. I'm good for another 150,000 miles. (Just a little gear-head lingo there.) 

It is still quite swollen and, in my previous experience, it will remain that way for several months. It takes a lot of activity and (ultimately) compression stockings to get the edema to go away. I'll still be non-weight-bearing for another two weeks, at least, possibly three. I'm supposed to gradually work my way into using my full weight, not just start up one day using it totally. Crutches...blah. Then, physical therapy for eight weeks, wearing the ortho boot for at least six weeks of that time during the rest of the day. But at least I'll be able to walk on it without any assistance. He pointed out that my tendon is about the consistency of jello right now, and the bone needs six full weeks to grow before I attempt to use it.

So, if it heals up as well as last year, I should be back in normal shoes, with a brace, by the end of May. I could be out of this boot before school ends. Whooooo hooooo!! Swimming will be full on by then, and I can spend the summer getting my stamina back through laps and water aerobics.

 I've got one more class to take during the June summer session, and then I'll be able to apply for graduation and I'll be finished with the master's degree. Wouldn't that be something if next fall, all I'll be thinking about is simply starting a year of fourth grade? No surgery, no college classes, no limping? It's my dream!