Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Zzzzzzzzzz......'s face reality...sometimes when you are recovering from surgery, you just don't feel like much of doing anything.  Not even getting out of bed and socializing with your own loved ones :(

When I first came home, I slept a lot.  Like more than I thought was humanly possible. I was on a ton of medicines, some of which had drowsiness as a side effect.  Couple that with my body needing the extra rest to mend itself, and I was keeping the hours of a newborn those first couple of weeks.

I remember feeling angry with myself for being so tired, especially after the first month or so, when I started weening off the heavy drugs.  I'd get so frustrated that I didn't have the energy that I thought I should have.  But my husband would remind me that my body was healing and that it was okay to have the extra rest.

After going to physical therapy, I would want to come home and take a nap...and sometimes I did!  Physical excursion definitely does me in.  It was worse immediately after surgery, but even now there are days that I'll stay in bed...maybe it's once or twice a week now.  I just don't yet have the endurance that I had before surgery.

I still get frustrated every now and then, but for the most part I just accept that some days I just need a little more battery recharging time than others.  It's okay.  Healing takes a lot of energy and I need to listen to my body so that I can get better.

Are you one of those people who welcomes the down time, or do you despise having to recharge every now and then?

This is my last A to Z post of 2014!  For a click-able list of all 26 How to Keep Busy While Recovering posts, click here.  Thanks for everyone who has stopped to visit my blog over the past month during this challenge.  I hope to see you all around!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: YouTube

It can be used for education or entertainment.  I've found videos on how to dye fabric to interviews with rock stars.  My husband even did a $800 fix on our truck by watching a video, doing it himself, and saving us the money.  There is something for everybody and if you ever need to find an answer to a problem, chances are someone has made a YouTube video on it.

Want to know where to start playing guitar?  Check out Justin...

Want to hear the greatest rendition of a mediocre song made awesome by a couple of average Joes sitting in a pizzaria?  Prepare to have your mind blown.

Do you miss Axl Rose in his prime?  Check out who he's playing with...
**Warning:  Explicit lyrics**

Want to see the funniest geeky clip with a Batman AND Doctor Who?

Are your children Frozen obsessed?  Check out this alternate ending...
(Be warned:  there are a lot of these "How it Should Have Ended" videos and you can be sucked in for hours).'s endless hours of watching more and more stuff that you never even planned to watch.

Have you been sucked in to YouTube?  Do you use it more for educational or entertainment purposes?


Monday, April 28, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: eXamination

Being slowed down for so long has forced me to examine what's really important in my life.  The activities I do...the projects I'm involved in...even the people around me have fallen into a scale-from-one-to-ten-how-loyal-are-you-really.

This last round of surgeries, I have to say that I've been equally disappointed in some people who I thought would have been there for me, and happily surprised by others who have been here to help.  There's family that I thought would have helped more, and acquaintances that have really gone out of their way to make me meals, or offer me rides.  People are always surprising good ways and bad.  It's always a mystery.

Some activities that I have been involved in for a while seem less important to me now.  I really cherish the time I have with my family...especially since I've had more bad days than good lately.  On those good days, I want to spend it with the people that I love and cherish the most.  I want happiness and easiness and no drama (which isn't always so easy with a teenage daughter!).  So certain volunteer causes that I thought were dear to me, just seem so little now by comparison.  I want to get things done and because I'm not feeling well most of the time, I don't want any extra drama or difficulty.  I guess it took two surgeries to open my eyes to some things.

And so my priorities have changed.  I've trimmed the fat, so to speak.  With the people in my life as well as the things I'm willing to spend my time and energy on.

Have you ever had a clarifying moment like this?  If you've had to “trim the fat”, what made the cut for you?


Saturday, April 26, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Who? Doctor Who...That's Who

Yes, I know I've already talked about watching TV with my Amazon Instant Video and Netflix posts...but Doctor Who is so awesome that it deserves it's own post.  It's adventurous and funny and makes me feel better when I watch it.  And feeling better and being in a positive state of mind is helpful with the healing process.

Note to self:  do not write a book on Doctor Who...just a short post is sufficient :)

My Short History with Doctor Who
In 2005 the BBC did a reboot of Doctor Who.  All episodes of DW before the reboot are known as Doctor Who Classics.  I've tried watching several of the Classic episodes, but I can't seem to get into them.  While the stories themselves may be good, I just can't get past the way it was filmed.  Die hard Whovians will probably hate me for not loving the Classic Who's, but such is life.  I can't please everyone.

Anyway, I started watching the 2005 reboot about 3 years ago.  My husband and I were bored over the summer with nothing to watch and we had just gotten Netflix streaming, so we decided to give Doctor Who a shot.  I pretty much loved it after just a few episodes.  And after David Tennant came...oh my...he was just great.  In addition to Tennant being a great actor, he has the best hair, ever, on the planet.  I have thing for hair.  Don't ask.

My Favorites


Favorite Doctor:  As much love as I have for Tennant, my favorite Doctor is Matt Smith, aka:  the bow tie Doctor (that's what my son calls him).  He was the first Doctor I ever dreamt about.

Favorite Companion:  River Song.  I love how strong of a character she is!  And the chemistry between Alex Kingston and Matt Smith is amazing.

Smith, Tennant, and Hurt
Favorite Episodes:
The Girl in the Fireplace
Vincent and the Doctor
(not necessarily in that order)
I also really loved the 50th Anniversary special.  Tennant and Smith were absolutely fantastic!  I really wish that John Hurt could have stuck around a bit more...maybe someday they'll bring him back.  He was such a great Doctor.

Favorite Person to Watch With: my son...he's 10...pretty sure that's the target audience even though Doctor Who is really for anyone of any age.  I just have the most fun watching with my boy :)

BTW...currently, Amazon Prime has all 7 seasons of Doctor Who.

Are you a fellow Whovian? When did you start watching? Who is your favorite Doctor? What are your favorite episodes?


Friday, April 25, 2014

Celebrate The Small Things -- April 25

It's Friday and I'm Celebrating The Small Things!  Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where some bloggers have decided to post about something worth matter how big or small it is.

This week I'm celebrating that my husband was able to fix our washing machine with minimal time used and zero dollars spent.  Let me repeat that last part...ZERO DOLLARS SPENT.  Things like this never happen!  Turns out that one of my daughter's socks got caught in the pump.  The washer was draining and the motor would make a humm, but nothing would happen.  My husband is our washing machine hero of the week.

Of course, he fixed it after I drove a half an hour away and spent the afternoon doing laundry at my mother-in-laws. :)  At least I got a free lunch!

What are you celebrating?

If you'd like to Celebrate The Small Things, head on over to Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, by VikLit, for more information.


How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Vampires...I've Loved You Since The Lost Boys

I love Vampires and everything Vampire related.  I enjoy television shows, movies, and books with vampires.  Why?  I have no clue.  But I've had a fascination with the blood suckers since I saw The Lost Boys in 1987. are some of my faves:


Vampire Diaries
Tru Blood
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Even Doctor Who has a vampire episode: Vampires in Venice (Season 6). Highly recommend.


Lost Boys
Fright Night (the redo because it has David Tennent in it :) )
Interview with a Vampire


Sookie Stackhouse books
A Shade of Vampire (haven't quite finished this series yet, but I'm almost there. And it's PG for anyone who's looking for their teenage daughters)

Are vampire related things going to make your recovery easier?  I don't know.  Maybe if you like vampires as much as me!  You may not actually heal faster, but there is certainly enough vampire ideas here to keep you busy for a while :)

Are you as vampire obsessed as me?  If so, what are some of your favorites?


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Total Ankle Replacement: 20 Weeks Post-Op--Ankle #2

So this week is 20 weeks since I had my total ankle replacement on ankle #2.  I still don't feel “normal” in either of my ankles (ankle #1 is approximately 10 months post-op).  I realize that there's a very really possibility that I might not ever get to “normal”, but I've been pretty disappointed about my level of progress so far.  My husband keeps on reminding me that it hasn't been that long with either ankle and that I just need to be patient and give it more time.  But...patience is stupid.  Just getting frustrated here!

Physical Therapy/Medical Gym
Since last week, I've stopped going to physical therapy and have progressed to the medical gym.  What does this mean?  Not much.  Basically I do all the same exercises that I did while in pt, but I don't consult with my therapist anymore.  I'm lucky that my pt place allows patients to transition to a gym routine like this and I'll probably keep this up for another month or two?  Who knows.  I guess it depends on my level of progression and frustration factor.

I stopped using my aircast ankle brace a few weeks ago while at the gym.  I still wear it whenever I go out, but not at home.  Most of my exercises have remained the same, with the weights changing for some.

Hip machine...45lbs (same as last month)
Knee machine...25lbs (up from last month)
Total Gym...level 6 (same as last month)
Leg lifts...3lbs each leg (same as last month)
Leg Press machine (this is new)...60lbs
Pilates Reformer...
     Heel on bar squats w/ foot flexed... 1 red band (same as last month)
     Toes on bar squats w/ foot pointed... 1 red band (same as last month)
     One legged squats... 2 red, 1 green band (same as last month)

I stopped doing the rebounder every time.  Instead, I've been balancing daily at home...either barefooted, or with my Birki's on.  My balance has much improved!

Unfortunately, the treadmill hasn't progressed as much as I'd like.  I'm doing 10-12 minutes at 1.3mph.  Seems like whenever I'm on my feet for longer than 10 minutes, I start to really hurt.

Range of Motion
My range of motion is pretty much the same as it was last month.  I hope to do a video sometime in the next few days and will link it here.

'Round the House
Still walking with a bit of a limp, which is way more noticible the more tired I am or the more activity I have done.   I can load and unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, and vacuum (one room before I need to sit and rest).  I really try to schedule cleaning time so I don't overdue it and kill myself for the day.  I can cook a little bit...I sit on the counter if I have to be at the stove.  I cannot do a whole big meal, with lots of prep, and the cleanup afterwards.

Out and About
I'm still pretty sore on the days that I go to the gym in the morning and try not to schedule anything for the rest of the day.  But if push came to shove, I'd just slap my aircast on and maybe take a pain med if I really needed to do something super important. 

Like I mentioned above...I still can't really be on my feet longer than 10 minutes.  After that time, my feet start to massively hurt.  I did make a trip last week to Kohl's to get my son a new suit.  We went in, got some clothes to try on, and I sat down in the dressing room to rest while he tried on clothes.  All was going well (up to get clothes, sit down to rest) until I asked a sales lady to check the back for some stock.  We waited about 10 minutes (my breaking point), and then I had to wait another 5 minutes (at least) on the line to check out.  Holy hell...I was in so much pain by the time I got home.  I barely made it out to the car and could hardly walk the rest of the night.  But the next day I was okay, which is a huge improvement.  Before surgery, I wouldn't have been able to walk for days.  I did take a pain med when I got home, and it took the edge off, but I still could barely walk.

Immediate Goals
Over the next month my biggest goals are:  to go to the elementary school to have lunch with my son.  This was a goal for last month that I just haven't had time to do.  

I wonder just how far behind I am than the average person having this type of surgery...if there's anyone out there who can compare, please comment below!

To read about my full ankle replacement journey, please click on the Total Ankle Replacement tab.  

I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have.  Please comment below, or email me privately at:

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Uber-Delicious Cake whatever odd reason, I had a craving for coffee cake one afternoon.  I was still not able to do a full on baking-a-cake-by-myself yet, so I waited until that night when I had some help.  My son decided it would be fun to help out mom that night, so we teamed up, found a recipe, and got to baking!  It came out deliciously :) 

For copyright reasons, I cannot display the recipe on my here for the original link for: Aunt Anne's Coffee Cake

Of course, it was so yummy that I never even thought of taking a was eaten too quickly.  Instead I'll leave you with a super cute picture of my daughter, when she was little, baking alongside my grandmother.  Just looking at this picture and thinking of that day makes my heart sing :)


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Try An Instrument summer, after my first ankle surgery, I wanted to try to learn to play the piano.  The biggest challenge I had is that I couldn't sit at the keyboard too long because my foot would swell rather quickly.  I still have the keyboard in my family room, but it's currently collecting dust.

My daughter started taking guitar lessons in January, and my son joined her about six weeks later.  They would practice and I would feel left out.  I'd pick up my son's mini-strat while he was at school and try to play some chords.  I was picking up his guitar so much, that I decided that I wanted my own guitar for my birthday.  So my husband let me buy this...a few weeks before my actual birthday.

My Taylor GS Mini
I went to Guitar Center (which is a little bit of Heaven on earth) and tried a few guitars, but my Taylor was the one I fell in love with.  And it was on sale!  But it still cost a fortune.  Spending money on musical instruments is a bit more palatable than more frivolous expenses.  It's music for goodness sakes!  And music makes people feel better (which I already talked about here).  So my small fortune purchase was justifiable.  Right? :)

Plus, I can play my guitar while sitting in my recliner with my feet up.  And now I can have jam sessions with the kiddos.

Currently I can play Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley, and the intro to Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd.  I'm awesome.

Here's my daughter stealing playing my Taylor...

Do you play any instruments?  If you had to be on bed rest, or home recovering from surgery, do you think you would play more or less?


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Strike A Pose pictures is an easy way to see how far you've come.  I started taking pictures of my incision the minute I got a first glimpse of it, and continued taking pictures every week for the first 4 months or so.  Looking at those pictures reminds me just how much I've progressed.

If you are a soon to be mommy--take pics of your baby bump!  Check out what this couple did...fantastic!

Maybe you're not up to taking pictures of yourself...take pics of your surroundings, your family, your pets...anything that makes you happy.

Here's a picture of my son playing in the snow...this makes me happy!


Monday, April 21, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Reading Is Fundamental know, most of what I've been recommending has been a lot of TV watching...but I'm a TV junkie, so what do you expect?  I just don't devour books the way I consume entire seasons of television shows in a matter of days.  But when I find a good book, it's hard for me to put it down.  I really enjoy books that are a series because I like to get to know my characters really well.

Reading is a fantastic way to pass the time and it's certainly better for your brain than TV watching.  There is scientific research that suggests that it helps improve your memory, reduce stress, and expands your vocabulary.

Immediately after surgery, I couldn't read.  I was on too many drugs to concentrate on reading...which is why I watched a lot of TV.  I tried the whole audiobook thing, but it just puts me to sleep.  It was only after I got off most of the heavy duty medication that I was able to read again.

I enjoy reading e-books on either my Kindle Fire or my Nook.  Because of my medical condition, I have arthritis, and reading on an e-reader is just easier on my hands.  And the fact that I can get stuff from the library directly on my e-reader or buy books online...the instant gratification factor is undeniable.

Do you have an e-reader?  Do you prefer to read “real” books or e-books?


Saturday, April 19, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Queen For A Day talked about having company over, and friends over, and ordering stuff online...all these things are happening at your home.  Maybe you'd like to get out and go for a little adventure, but you are still weak or, like me, couldn't really walk around.  The answer:  get a wheelchair and have a friend or loved one take you somewhere and be a queen for a day.

You can get a wheelchair a few different ways.  Many insurance companies will let you rent one immediately following surgery.  I knew I would be having a second surgery, so it was cost effective for me to just buy one out of pocket.  I ordered this one online through Amazon.   Many stores have wheelchairs or electric scooters that you can use.  This is another option.  The only downside to this is if they are all taken, you are out of luck :(

Years ago, after I had knee surgery, I still needed to plan for my daughter's first birthday doesn't stop just because you have major surgery!  So I asked my bff if he would be willing to wheel me through Party City.  *Public Service Announcement:  if you see someone pushing someone else in a wheelchair, hold the door!  Jeez, you'd think it was common sense.  Anyway, shopping this way definitely was a time saver.  I wasn't able to dilly-dally in the store like I usually do.  The bff thought this was great and I got to get all the goodies for my baby's party.

A great memory I have is from this past summer when my husband would take me out for “walks” around the neighborhood.  Of course, I was in the wheelchair, but it was helpful to get some fresh air and sunlight.  And being with my hubby and kids made me feel more normal.

If you know someone who is stuck at home, please volunteer yourself to take them out.  To the grocery store, or out for a “walk”, or to lunch, or wherever.  It's not always easy to ask for help, so be a good Samaritan and offer it.

Have you ever been helped or helped someone get out for a day?


Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Pray appropriate that my letter for P happens to be for prayer...and is scheduled to fall on Good Friday.

I will be posting two letters on Thursday, April 17 because April 18 is Good Friday.  As a practicing Catholic, I try not to do much on Good Friday.  It's a day of prayer and reflection, and one of the few days that Catholics are asked to fast (I don't fast because I'm hypoglycemic and get sick if I do).

After my second ankle surgery, I asked if I could see a priest while I was in the hospital.  I wish I remembered his name, because he was a truly nice man to speak with.  He offered me confession and afterward I was given communion.  It was a little spiritual boost for me...something that my soul was thirsty for.

Prayer has gotten me through a lot of tough times in my life and this past year has been no different.  There are times that I need to calm myself...either because I have anxiety, or depression, or pain.  At these times I take out my rosary beads and pray.  It's a form of meditation for me.

Do you have certain prayers or meditation techniques that help you get through hard times?


How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Open A Package...Order Stuff Online! had my second ankle surgery in the beginning of December...which means that I wasn't exactly in the best shape to go out and do any Christmas shopping.  For the past few years I've done a lot of shopping online because I suffer from chronic pain.  I feel like online shopping was made for me and don't know what I would have done if this was thirty years ago and we didn't have everything at the click of a button.

3 places I find it easy to order from:
I've ordered Christmas presents to granola bars on Amazon...they have almost anything you need.  I even ordered my wheelchair off Amazon.  And because I have Amazon Prime, I get most of the stuff I order in two days.
When you need to order things that are specialized or out of the ordinary, Etsy is the answer.  Before my second ankle surgery, I ordered a cast sock to keep my toes warm while I was in my splint.  I didn't know if I would be casted like I was with my first surgery, so this purchase was for “Murphy insurance” when you take your umbrella out just to make sure that it doesn't rain.
Recently I ordered clothes and rugs for my kitchen.  Anything that doesn't fit, or I don't like, can easily be brought back to a JCP store (you can also ship items back, but I find it easier to return them to the store).

Of course, the best packages to open are ones that you didn't order.  Surprise gifts in the mail! :)  A friend of mine recently knit a hat for me right before Christmas.  With all the snow we've had this winter, I've gotten a lot of use of that hat.  Thanks D!

So if you're not in the habit of ordering stuff online, give it a try.  The convenience is fantastic and it helped me feel a bit more normal.  I was able to order gifts for my kids for Christmas, which made me feel like I contributed some.

Do you order stuff online often?  What site is your favorite online store?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Netflix Is My Best Friend has been a constant companion of mine during my recovery period.  There is always something to watch.  For the past few years we've been streaming Netflix to our TV via our Roku box.  I think it costs us $8/month, and we definitely get our money's worth.  There is so much available content that you'll be sure to find something you like.  They have movies, TV shows, documentaries, cartoons for kids, standup comedy, etc.  It's very similar to Amazon Prime.

I think the most mind numbing shows I've watched have been Toddlers & Tiaras and Bridezillas.  I'm pretty sure that the brats from T&T grow up to be Bridezillas.  I can't imagine why grown women would be acting that way unless they were psychologically damaged beauty queens.  If you want mind numbing garbage, or just want to feel better about yourself or your parenting skills, then watch these shows.

Some of the best shows that I've seen have been Lost and Battlestar Gallactica.  I watched Lost when it originally aired...week to week, suffering through the writers strike and all.  The rewatch on Netflix was a joy.  And BSG is just one of the best sci-fi shows I've ever seen.  It deals with artificial intelligence and all the questions that come with it.  I highly recommend both shows if you are looking for something that has some substance to it.

Do you have Netflix? What are some of your favorites?


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Music Soothes The Savage Beast is one of those things that I believe truly speaks to my soul.  Different moods call for different music.  And like our moods affect the music we want, the music we listen to can also affect our moods.  I remember reading that it's helpful for babies to listen to calming, classical music when they are babies.  So I went out and got a Bach tape when my daughter was an infant and played it for her when she slept.  And she's an awesome kid, so obviously it worked :)

Music is an easy way to uplift your mood and help you feel better.  One of my favorite ways to listen to a variety of music according to my mood is through Pandora radio.  (I've already made small mentions of my Pandora listening here and here.)  I love how customizable it is, and that it's completely free!  I listen to it on my TV through my Roku box.  I also downloaded the app on my Kindle fire, but I don't usually use it too much on there.

Here are some of my favorite channels:


Bon Jovi

Plays mostly 80's bands with classic rock mixed in.  So in addition to Bon Jovi, I'll get bands like Poison, Aerosmith, Guns 'N Roses, and Queen.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Gives me classical Baroque era music.  Other than Bach, I'll get Pachelbel and Vivaldi and other composers that I am not too familiar with.  Sometimes I'll also get opera/ballet instrumentals like stuff from Carmina Burana and the Nutcracker.  I listen to this a lot as background music.  Since there are no words, I can't sing I get less distracted.

John Williams

This channel was created by my son.  He loves all the orchestra music from Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  This channel gives us a lot of classic movie instrumentals.  We like to listen to this during dinner sometimes.

Counting Crows

My newest creation is the Counting Crows channel.  My physical therapy office also plays music through Pandora.  Well, one day I commented about how good the music was that morning and asked what she had on.  It was the Counting Crows channel.   Other than Counting Crows, you'll hear Tom Petty, Bruce Sprinsteeen, U2, and Clapton.

The trick with Pandora is that when you first create a channel, you have to really sit there and do your like/dislikes.  If you do this for a couple of days, you will have the perfect channel.  I took a nice hot bath just a few weeks ago and put on my soothing, relaxing Bach channel and heard Pachelbel's Cannon in D three separate times within 45 minutes.  All different covers.  I call that a Pandora score!

Do you think music affects your mood?  What type of music soothes your soul?  What kind makes you happy? 



Monday, April 14, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Laugh...A Lot...and Often

This is something that everyone should be doing regardless if they are recovering from anything. Laughing is just good for the soul!

Do you love baby laughs?

Or perhaps you'd prefer to watch a bride and groom laugh hysterically though their wedding vows?

Even when things are falling apart, laughter is the best medicine...

Laughing is contagious.  There are times when something small and silly will set off one of my kids.  And then the other one will start laughing...and then my husband and I are cracking up too.  I love laughing so hard that my cheeks hurt!  Laughing with my family over the past several months has helped me navigate my way through bad situations and kept me sane.

Laughing makes you happy...and being happy makes you feel better.  At least it does for me :)

Who is your favorite person to laugh with?


Saturday, April 12, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Kindle Fire...It's My Fave am so in love with my Kindle Fire that's it's crazy.  My husband bought it for me right after my second ankle surgery as an early Christmas gift.  The idea was that it would be an easy, portable way for me to remain “connected” to friends and family on the web. 

With my Kindle Fire, I'm able to check my facebook, email, and my blog.  I can even watch movies and tv shows through my Amazon Prime subscription, or through the Hulu and Netflix apps.  And I can do it while laying down in bed because it's so small and light.

And I can load all my ebooks on it too!  I already have a Nook, but it's nice having everything all in one place.  And since I take my Kindle with me pretty much wherever I go, I always have something to read...which has been especially nice when I had doctor's appointments to wait on.

Speaking of of the nice options when using the browser that comes with the Kindle is the “Reading View” button.  I use this to read websites and blogs many times.  All you do is click the button and it makes whatever you are reading easier on the eyes.  So when you come across that blog with the lime green and black color scheme, your eyes no longer need to bug out.  (*Disclaimer...for some weird reason, the “Reading View” button doesn't always show up. I don't know if it's random, or if it's something I'm doing?)

Here it is on my lap with the lime green cover that was picked out by my son :)
Also, when I get bored I play solitaire on it.  My kids make fun of me because, apparently, there are a ton more exciting games I can get on my Kindle.  But I like solitaire!

Honestly, my Kindle is one of the best gifts that I've ever gotten.  It's truly a multitasking machine that I can stick in my purse and take anywhere.  And the best part was that we got it on sale :)

Do you have a Kindle fire?  What do you use it for the most?


Six Word Saturday -- April 12

It's Six Word Saturday time...

I have muscles in my butt!

After months of rehabbing my ankles, I have muscles that I haven't seen in years.  Thank you physical therapy for bringing them back to life :)

Six Word Saturday is hosted by Call Me Kate at Show My Face.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, then describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words and comment down below!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Celebrate The Small Things -- April 11

It's Friday and I'm Celebrating The Small Things!  Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where some bloggers have decided to post about something worth matter how big or small it is.

This week I'm celebrating my 6 month anniversary with my blog!  I can't believe that it's been that long already.  This has been such a huge outlet for me and I'm glad I decided to take the plunge and just do it.

I also started another blog.  In the middle of all the insanity with the A to Z Challenge, I decided to add to the craziness.  I'm insane!  If you'd like a glimpse into the madness, check out:  Visual Proof  I plan on adding to my new blog as the madness comes up.

What are you celebrating?

If you'd like to Celebrate The Small Things, head on over to Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, by VikLit, for more information.


How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Just Ignore The Mess

While this isn't something you technically do to keep busy, it's something you need to do to keep yourself sane.
After having my recent ankle surgeries, it has been really hard to keep up with my regular “maintenance” of the house and all the household chores I normally do.  Especially after my first ankle surgery where I was non-weight bearing for so long, the mess just seemed to pile up really quickly.

So I chose to ignore it.  Mostly.  You can read here about how I tried to ignore it back in February.  I think I did an outstanding job of moving past the mess...if I have to say so myself.

If you ignore it, it will go away.  

Okay, so not really.  But seriously, don't look.

You will one day be able to clean again, so for right now, just ignore it.  If you find this too difficult of a task, call a maid or get some minions.  My kids and husband helped me out a lot, but as much as they did, they don't clean the way I clean.  This is just something that I've had to live with for the past several months.  Nothing I can do but ignore it and look forward to the days where I'm not staring at dust and dirt in places only I can see.

Are you able to just ignore the mess?  Do you have minions of your own?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Imagine Yourself Better...The Power Of Positive Thinking
So I know that you can't just wish yourself better or wake up the day after ankle surgery and imagine that you can walk on your foot and then it happens just like that.  I'm crazy, but not that crazy.  But thinking positively and surrounding yourself with positive things can definitely help when you are sick and trying to get better. Why?  Because the way you think can affect the way you feel.  A great example of this is the placebo effect.  Give a person a pill that they think will make them better, and there are some people that will actually get better. It doesn't matter that the medicine they were given was a sugar pill.  There is a mind-body connection going on in ourselves that we aren't always aware of. 

After my recent surgeries I actually put viewing rules in place so that I could stay in a positive state of mind.  I only watched funny or uplifting shows or movies.  No tear jerkers or anything that didn't have a Hollywood happy ending.  Goodbye to The Notebook...hello to Jim Gaffigan stand up.

I also tried to not get too down on myself when I wasn't progressing as quickly as I'd like.  This is super hard for me because I struggle with patience.  But I have to remember how far I've come and not how far I still need to go.  As long as I'm continuing in the right direction, that's what really matters.
Staying in a positive frame of mind helps me to feel better and, I believe, helps me to heal quicker.  There is scientific research to suggest that you feel less pain if you are happy.  I believe this to be true from my own personal experience.  Don't get me pain didn't go away because I watched a few episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, but watching or doing things that make me happy seem to pass the time quicker.  And time passing quicker is exactly what I needed to get better.

Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?  Are there things you do to keep yourself in a positive state of mind?


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Hot Baths medical condition that I have causes me to suffer from arthritis.  Anyone who also suffers from arthritis knows that some days are worse than others and things like your activity level or the change in weather can affect how achy you feel.  

Solution?  Take a nice long hot bath.  

Fill it to the brim, get the water as hot as you can stand it, toss some Epsom salts in there, and soak until you can't take the heat any longer.  My favorite time to soak is at night, right before bed.  It not only helps with my arthritis, but it also helps to relax me for bedtime.  I turn off all the lights, light some candles, put on my favorite Pandora channel, and just soak.

This winter has been especially hard on me because of all the snow we've had.  So one day I woke up...and it was one of those days that I just didn't want to get out of bed because I was so achy.  So I stayed in bed all morning, then took a nice hot bath around back into my pajamas and that was my day.  I don't normally do that, but it was really needed and totally worth it.

Do you enjoy taking hot baths either for relaxation or as a form of therapy for your aching body?


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Get Over It!

Whether you are recovering from surgery, are on bed rest, or at home taking it slow for any other reason, chances are you will get frustrated and depressed at some point.  You may end up feeling like a caged animal that needs to be let out.  You'll want your freedom back and wonder how it is that you are going to keep your sanity.

Here is the good news...there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

For my first ankle surgery I was only supposed to be in a splint for the first couple of weeks and then go into a walking boot.  Well, at my two week post-op check up I was told that I would be going into a cast for the next 6 weeks instead.  To say that I was disappointed would be a huge understatement.  I was very depressed for the next several weeks.  It was very hard on me, both physically and emotionally.

For the first couple of months post-op I would go up and down my stairs on my butt for fear of falling down.  I remember one day, while going up the stairs, I was in so much pain that I just stopped midway and started crying.  Both my kids came and sat on the steps with me and gave me hugs.  And I realized, that as much pain as I was in, and as depressed as I was, I had a wonderful support system.  These two beautiful children of mine comforting their old mom.  And my husband, who helped me up and down the steps every single time, was there telling me that this wouldn't last forever.

So I needed to stop the pity party and just get over it.  I would get through this.  There was a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Depression is something that I've struggled with for many years, and when I'm physically struggling and in a lot of pain, the depression only gets worse.  So after my surgeries, I had to be on high alert for the signs of depression.  I always try to keep myself as positive as I can.  Little things like opening up the blinds every day to let in the sunlight are a huge help.  Even making sure that I shower and wear a bra are subtle reminders of being human.  So for anyone that thinks that it's easy to say "Get over it!"...please know that I understand that it's not always as easy as that.  But being as positive as I can and trying to count my blessings really goes a long way with feeling better, and less depressed.  And when you are feeling better emotionally, you can physically heal faster.

This too shall pass.  And it did.  And it does.


Monday, April 7, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Friends are Better maybe you're thinking, “Katie, you already had a post last week about having company”.  Yes I already mentioned having company...but having company and having friends over is not the same thing.  Let me explain the biggest differences between company and friends...

Company... you have to have your hair done or in a hat and have showered sometime in the past 24 hours.  With friends, you just need to brush your teeth.

Company...when they come over, your house can't look like a tornado hit it.  With friends...they can see your kitchen island full of two weeks worth of mail, papers from school, legos, and anything else the kids or hubs has decided now belongs on there.

See the difference?

Company is great.  Friends are even better.  So if you are recovering from surgery, or on bed rest, or maybe you're going through chemo a friend.  They will cheer you up and you won't even have to change out of your pajamas.

Has a friend helped you pass the time?  Give them a shout out in the comments!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Six Word Saturday -- April 5

It's Six Word Saturday time...

I survived going to the dentist!

This week I had my regularly scheduled cleaning and I didn't even need to take a Xanax this time.  Progress!  I'm getting more comfortable with my new dentist (this is the third time I've seen her for a cleaning).  Don't get me wrong...I'd still rather go the gynecologist than the dentist.  But, overall, my dental anxiety is in check.  I'm not even going to think about the cavity that I need filled next month.

Six Word Saturday is hosted by Call Me Kate at Show My Face.  If you'd like to join in on the fun, then describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. 

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Eat, Drink, And Be Merry you are recovering from surgery, even just a minor one, then chances are that you were sent home on antibiotics.  Most people know that whenever you go on antibiotics, you need to make sure that you are eating food that has that “good” bacteria in it to keep your belly and digestive system from going on the fritz.  And women especially need to be careful because there is a greater chance of yeast infections when you take this type of medicine.  So get yourself some yogurt, pick whichever kind suits your fancy, and eat it every day until a few days after you're done with your antibiotics.

And for the love of everything that is holy...drink a lot of water.  Like as much as you can.  Because, without going into awful detail, your body gets all kinds of wonky after surgery.  Usually, you are on all kinds of medicines, from pain killers to antibiotics, and you need water to keep thing “running smoothly”.  That's all I have to say about that.

The merry (in my blog title) may be a bit of a stretch if you've just had major surgery, but there are things that can lift your spirits.  Those first several weeks were so hard for me to get up and down the stairs that I just stayed upstairs most of the time and had my meals in bed.  Breakfast in bed...lunch in bed...chili spilled on my lap dinner in bed.  Sounds so nice...until it's not.  And it gets pretty depressing rather quickly.  It really made such a difference when I was able to go downstairs and eat a meal with my family again.  Maybe it's my Italian heritage, but there is something about eating a meal with my loved ones that just makes me happy.

Dear Readers, any food and drink tips for anyone recovering from surgery or is on antibiotics and/or pain killers?

**Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, I'm just speaking from experience.  Please see your doctor for any medical advice.


Friday, April 4, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Documentaries Are Fun

Documentaries cover so many topics that, if you haven't already, there is no reason to not give them a try.  You can find these kind of films on food, war, politics, religion, history, music, famous figures...and the list goes on.

I've watched documentaries on the use of medicine in ancient Egypt to a fantastic film on gay orthodox Jews (Trembling Before G-D).  I've watched band documentaries (via Hulu Plus) on Van Halen, Guns N' Roses, and Queen.  Did you know that Queen's guitarist, Brian May, made his own guitar?  These are the type of cool things you learn when you are laid up in bed and want to watch something a little different on television.

Probably my favorite documentary that I've watched has been Sound City.  It's a film directed by Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, about a recording studio in California that recorded a massive amount of famous bands and albums.  It was recommended to me by my best friend and it was a great watch.

There are documentaries out there for everyone.  Do you have any favorites?  Is there a genre you tend to be drawn to? 


Celebrate The Small Things -- April 4

It's Friday and I'm Celebrating The Small Things!  Celebrate The Small Things is a weekly celebration where some bloggers have decided to post about something worth matter how big or small it is.

Today I'm celebrating getting some feeling back in my foot!  I just realized this a few days ago when I was putting my cocoa butter on.  Right after surgery I realized that a large part of the top of my foot had lost feeling in it.  I wasn't totally surprised, as I have some nerve damage and numbness around my knees because of my knee surgeries.  But I didn't have any problems like this with my first ankle, so while I wasn't totally surprised, I was somewhat disappointed.  My therapist said that it's possible to get some feeling back, but I wasn't very hopeful.  But it's back baby!  Not like it was before the surgery...not back to "normal"...but it's enough for me :)

Also, it's my best friend's birthday today and my family is going out to celebrate tonight with his family.  Happy Birthday MJ!

If you'd like to Celebrate The Small Things, head on over to Scribblings of an Aspiring Author, by VikLit, for more information.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Company Helps a bit of company over helps a ton.  During my first ankle replacement recovery, I was lucky enough to have my kids home for the summer.  What a huge help they were!  And when I had surgery on my second ankle, well...the kids had so many snow days, it was unbelievable.  So I was blessed, yet again, to have them around to help.  They are old enough to heat leftovers up in the microwave and fill my water jugs when they ran low.

I also had “Katie-Sitting” days during the recovery of my first ankle because I had to be non-weight bearing for so long.  There were times when my husband and kids weren't home and I still needed help.  So some of my closest friends came over and “Katie-Sat”.  Mostly they just kept me company, but sometimes my friends helped out with some tidying.  Two of my girlfriends one afternoon cleaned out my refrigerator.  That was awesome!

Another company boost happened when people would drop by because they made a meal for me and my family.  While the meal was great, and very generous, I really loved having someone just stop in for 5-10 minutes and say 'hi'.  Especially in the beginning when I wasn't feeling well at all.  Ten minutes was just enough time to give me a boost of happy without me feeling like I had to entertain.

A big THANK YOU to all my friends who visited, dropped off a meal, or “Katie-Sat” were a blessing!  And to my kiddos...I am the luckiest mom on the planet...thanks for all the help you've given've both earned major heaven points :)

Dear has company been a help to you while your were recovering?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How To Keep Busy While Recovering: Blog

Yes, in the verb.  

After my first ankle surgery, I realized after being non-weight bearing for almost 2 months, that I could make better use of my time.  So I decided to start blogging to help others get information that I was looking for myself, and in the process, maybe help someone else out. 

If you're going in for surgery, and it's possible, I would recommend keeping a blog about your recovery.  Here's why:
  • Keeps family and friends informed of your progress
  • Helps you remember just how far you've come
  • Can help when you're ready for those post-op check ups and answering questions
  • By blogging about your experience, you may be helping someone else out who will be going through the same thing as you.

Expectant moms who are on bed rest or are seriously taking it slow physically, in anticipation of your little one!  This is probably the best reason to have a little miracle growing inside of you and what better way to keep your loved ones informed of your progress.  Plus, maybe your bundle of joy will someday be able to read about all you went through while creating them.  And then you have a written account of all the good (and bad) stuff that you went through during your pregnancy...stuff that you usually end up forgetting just in time to decide to have baby number two :)

Plus, speaking from experience, I've found blogging to be cathartic.  I guess this is why people keep diaries and journals.  Sometimes it's helpful to just get things off your chest and let it go.

For anyone who has kept a blog of their recovery experience, please post your link below!