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Feeling Accomplished with the Hodgepodge


Y’all, it’s the last Wednesday of the month!  Can you believe it?  I know that I can’t!  Let’s celebrate with another round of Hodgepodge questions.  Thanks, as always, to Joyce for being our fearless leader!

1.  What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

Loaded question, Joyce!  Until I started teaching, I was a product-oriented person.  I love seeing projects through to the end, whether it’s getting my college degree (I went back in 2006 and finished in 2008), knitting up a big blanket or a pair of socks, or whipping up a delicious, vegan dessert.  Here’s a picture of the Vegan Flourless Black Bean Brownies I made a couple of weeks ago.  They are incredible!  A friend at school, my taste tester, concurred when I took a few in to her.


I love to challenge myself in whatever I do.  That makes me feel accomplished.

2.  If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

It’s kind of funny, but in a roundabout way, Rebecca and I have talked about doing our own Dancing With the Stars recap show.  We really, really need our own podcast.

Ok, so back to the question.  If I had my own talk show, I think I’d first invite Rebecca Jo because we share so many things in common.  Y’all, we would have the BEST time breaking down all things about “Survivor,” “Dancing With the Stars,” Disney, working out woes, healthy eating, fur babies, and other random topics.  Heck, I think I’d have to have a segment just for her each day.  Seriously, though.

Guest #2 would definitely have to be an author.  I think I’d invite Neal Shusterman, because I am a total fan girl.  I love everything he writes.  He’s wickedly creative; his books hit my heart in a number of ways and are oh so popular with my students.  I’d like to pick his brain to see what makes him tick (I think I’d be a little scared . . . that’s how deliciously inventive he is).  You should check out his newest book, Scythe.  Oh my gosh.  I think I read this in under 24 hours.


Guest #3 would be someone musical.  Rebecca, since you’d be a regular segment, you’ll love this one . . . Steven Curtis Chapman.

Now, I’ve always been a fan, but I recently started following his Instagram account.  That’s how I learned about the video he recently produced for his song, “We Remember.”  Y’all, it made me cry.  The video with pictures was posted on Facebook.  The one below doesn’t have the pictures, but you can still listen to the song.  What a beautiful way to honor those who died while serving our country.

3.  Do you have a great burger recipe? What’s in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

I have been cooking a lot of dishes from Megan Gilmore’s book, Everyday Detox.  There’s a black bean burger recipe in this book that is super easy to make and rivals any you’d find in a restaurant.  When we go out, I’ve found it difficult to find many places that offer a veggie burger that doesn’t have an egg as the binder.  Chili’s does a decent job though.  My favorite place, though, was at The Cove, in San Antonio, Texas.  We found this place when we went to Rooster’s basic training graduation.


They definitely catered to alternative diets . . .


I got the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger.  It.  Was.  Divine.


4.  What’s the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

Hmmm . . . tough question.  As a control freak, I don’t always adapt well when monkey wrenches get thrown into my plans.  Adjusting on the fly often does lead to anxiety.  I’m learning, as a teacher, that I have to anticipate changes in the schedule or even changes in the middle of a class when things happen.  I’ve seen that fighting against the necessary adjustments only makes my life (and others’) miserable.  Learning to go with the flow is a constant lesson.

5.  This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

Our last day with students is this Friday.  Hallelujah!  I love the kids I teach, but this profession is exhausting, so it won’t surprise you when I say that my plans will include sleeping . . . a lot.

This year has been especially challenging given my personal life of late . . . broken ankle and sick husband.  I need to rest.

I will also continue rehabbing my ankle.  I’ll also be working out at home, as I’ve been doing the past couple of months.  I’m going to try to walk either daily or every other day.

I need to keep my ankle up as much as I can too, so that will be a happening thing between my bouts of exercise and physical therapy.

I plan on reading.  I’ve got a stack of books from my classroom already sitting on my dining room table.

I have a couple of knitting projects I’d like to finish up . . . one with a deadline that needs to be met.

I’m also planning on bing-watching this past season of Arrow.

I’d like to work in my front flower beds.  They are weed-laden.  Ugh.  Not being able to do much because of my ankle has set me behind in so many ways.

I’d also like to clean out the garage.

Oh, and I need to get a new screen door for my patio.  I took the old one down last summer and thought I’d be able to install a new one; however, finding one I liked from one of our local hardware stores has proven difficult.  I’ve decided to hire a company to come in and do the task.

Hmmm . . . I also need to get a couple of blinds replaced in my house.  The dogs have done a number on them.  We are that house with torn up binds . . . in the front no less.  Sigh.  This is my life, y’all.

In between all of those tasks, I plan on visiting the beach as often as possible.  This girl needs some Vitamin Sea therapy!

Oh, and then the Mr. will be having a BIG surgery the end of June, so there is that.  I’ll be spending the second half of the summer helping him recoup.

I’m tired just typing that.  Can I please have an extra two months after summer to recoup from the summer?  Ha!

6.  My Random Thought

Can I take a second to brag on this lovely Pashmina scarf that Rooster and his gal sent me for Mother’s Day?


Rooster bought it in Thailand.  I’d been waiting for just the right time to wear it, so I paired it with a short, black dress the Mr. bought me a few months ago.  I googled how to wear it around my waist and voila!

It’s 100% cashmere . . . so soft, and the colors are VIBRANT!

Happy Birthday, Rooster

Twenty-three years ago, the Mr. and I made our way to the hospital.  Rooster had decided that he was ready to make his appearance.

His was an arrival that was much anticipated.


Even Chicky was excited!


He was a cutie patootie from the start and knew exactly which team to root for . . .




He has grown to be quite the young man . . . full of love for his family, which now includes his sweet bride of a year . . . love for the fur babies that are naturally drawn to him . . . and love for his country.

He is tender-hearted, loyal, and determined to forge his own path . . . traits I very much admire.

I thank the Lord for allowing me the honor of being this sweet boy’s Mama.

Happy Birthday, Rooster.  I pray that you feel the love that reaches out to you daily but even more today on your special day.

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.

I love the above photo because it really does remind us what the day is about.

It’s not about a barbecue or a day at the beach.

It’s not about a day off from work or a sale at the mall.

It is a day to honor those who lost their lives in service to the U.S.

I don’t know that I fully appreciated this day before Rooster joined the Air Force.  Now, I recognize what a selfless act it is when people serve in the military.

They are often separated from family.

They miss out on celebrating life’s milestones . . . children’s first steps . . . babies’ first words . . . birthdays, sporting events, and graduations.

But Memorial Day goes beyond that and honors those who missed everything.

I cannot imagine being the wife or mom of a lost service member.  The void left behind can never be filled.

I have a friend, Jane, who lost her husband during Vietnam.  They were high school sweethearts and had not been married long before he died.  Their son grew up learning about his father through his mother’s stories and those of others who knew him.

The pride and love Jane still has in this precious husband of hers is evident every time we talk.  Her story is one of so very many.

So, today let us send up a prayer of thanksgiving for those who died and a prayer for those left behind.

Weeks 27 and 28

Well, I never got around to writing a Week 27 update on my ankle recovery. Truth be told, I’d been sick that week and spent Sunday trying to recoup. Updating two weeks’ worth of progress should be interesting.

Let’s start with Week 27.

That Monday’s physical therapy started pretty much the same as always . . . a warmup on the bike followed by stretching on the slanted board . . .

I’ll probably say it every time, but this is my least favorite exercise.  Stretching out my Achilles’ tendon is still incredibly painful.  I never would have thought that being bound up for nine weeks would require so much time to recover.

I’d been experiencing more discomfort than usual with that tendon, so my therapist decided he needed to work on it.  He found more knots that had to be worked out . . . knots that would continue to plague me if we didn’t do something, so I prepared myself . . .

I know for a fact that this is the one part of his job that my therapist doesn’t like . . . inflicting pain on his patients.  I think it hurts him about as much as it does us, but it’s necessary for recovery, so endure it we must.  I did . . . without tears . . . but with a lot of grunting and gasping.

Surprisingly, I had a good Tuesday.  I’m usually plagued with pain after getting my leg worked on, but it was one of my better days.

Wednesday was bad, though.  I didn’t take pictures of my therapy the rest of that week, but I remember that I hurt . . . a lot.  Such is my life right now.

I still worked out, even sporting a fun pair of shorts that the Mr. bought me after I fell in love with the Wonder Woman movie preview we saw at the theater the weekend before.

I don’t think I’d be as far along in my recovery without my Beach Body Piyo workouts.  They make me feel strong, and I am getting my flexibility and balance back (along with my abs).

Week 28

So, today, May 28th, marks the 28th week since I broke my ankle.

That’s seven months, y’all.

Crazy, eh?

I was back on the board on Monday . . .

Yes, those are my Wonder Woman shorts.  I’d washed them, I promise.  I like to dress in fun workout clothes; they inspire me.

That’s the back room, where I do my plyometric work, sans jumping, which I still cannot do.

For my mat work, I asked the therapist if I could go up in weight.  I upped the ankle weight to five pounds.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

The jump from four to five pounds was brutal.  I have to do single leg raises with them . . . 30 raises on each leg.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t walking normally after I finished.  Ha!

I try to push myself when I go to physical therapy.  My goal is to get stronger without setting myself back.  It’s often a tough call, which is what my therapists are so important for . . . helping me learn to understand my body’s cues and putting the brakes on stuff I cannot do yet.

On Tuesday, during my Piyo workout, I decided to try the burpees instead of doing the modifications.

Although I didn’t experience pain during the movement (I made sure not to jump down too hard), I paid the price the rest of the day.  My foot hurt in the front, where the ankle and foot connect and bend.  It made for a hard day on my feet.

I told my PT about it the next day, and he chuckled.  He knows that I’m hell-bent on being an overachiever.  He knows I won’t do anything that will cause me to injure myself, but he continues to caution me about pushing too hard too soon.

The best part of therapy, besides seeing the baby steps I’m making, is the electric STEM therapy and ice at the end.  The young lady who applies the nodes has the special touch, let me tell you.  On Wednesday, she got them on just the right spots, and we’ve worked hard to figure out the best settings.  I was in absolute heaven . . . the reward for working so hard and staying diligent in this recovery process.

My therapist and I had talked more about how important it is to stretch my calf and Achilles’ tendon.  I wound up ordering, from Amazon, the following board . . .

I really like this board.  It was a lot less expensive than the wood ones I’d seen before, and it’s very sturdy.  It’s also adjustable, so you can increase or decrease the angle for an easier or tougher stretch.

I’m going to be using this on the days I don’t have physical therapy.  The more I can stretch my muscles, the more complete my recovery will be (and the less pain I’ll be in).

So y’all, do you want to know how stupid / stubborn I am?

On Thursday, during my Piyo workout, I did more burpees.


I am a glutton for punishment.  I limped into school (I work out in the wee hours of the morning before work).  It was ugly, let me tell you.  I had to put my TENS unit on during my planning period and keep my foot up most of the day.

Yeah.  I’m not too bright sometimes.

I should have really known better given that my school’s graduation was the next day, and I’d be on my feet for a very large number of hours.

What a wonderful night celebrating some pretty inspiring kiddos.

By Saturday, my foot was feeling better, so I got up, did a tough 48-minute workout, and then walked the first leg of the newest Hogwarts Running Club race, the Sirius Half Marathon.

This race benefits Mission K9 Rescue, which provides much-needed rehabilitation and rehoming to service dogs.

Oh goodness, y’all, but this hits my heart in so many ways.  With my Rooster serving in the Air Force, my love for fur babies, and my admiration for the HRC, a selfless group of runners/walkers, I didn’t waste any time in registering.

I knew the distance wasn’t something my ankle could handle at one go, so I’m breaking it up into bite-sized pieces.  I haven’t been able to walk further than three miles since I broke my ankle, so Saturday was a big day for me.  It helped that Super Sis called right at the beginning of my walk, and we talked the entire time!  Thank heavens for my wireless ear buds!

I even dressed in honor of Memorial Day . . .

If my Airman (Rooster) was at the finish line, I’d probably make a miraculous recovery and actually RUN to him.  Nothing slows down a mama when it comes to wrapping her arms around her children . . . especially children who live all the way across the country who she can’t see very often.

I managed to burn a LOT of calories during my walk.  Who would have thought it took so much effort to talk and walk at the same time??

My pace sucked, but I had promised the Mr. that I wouldn’t go too fast.  I’d had a rough week on my ankle, and he had seen me in a lot of pain each day.  He didn’t even want me to go, but I have a hard time listening to advice sometimes.


And so it is that I’ll begin Week 29.  I kind of feel like I’ve hit a place where I’m not progressing very quickly.  At the beginning, I saw big improvements.  Now, the steps forward are smaller, and that frustrates me.  It’s like going in to get a haircut and walking out and nobody noticing because your hairdresser only trimmed a half an inch.

I guess that’s what these posts are for, though.  When I look back in a few weeks, I’ll see big improvements across larger amounts of time.

I am still grateful, and I am still in awe of God’s healing power and perfect timing.  He knows what is best, and He’s still working, even if I don’t see big changes.  I continue to trust Him and #findjoyinthejourney.

Never Say Never to the Hodgepodge

It’s no accident that we keep meeting up like this.  Thanks to Joyce and her fun questions each week, I haven’t completely lost my blogging mojo, although my energy for doing anything beyond doggy paddling through these last few weeks of school has been a struggle!  Why don’t we go ahead and get to the questions before I get completely lost in a pity party.

1.  What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

To have a prominent color, one would have to be a decorator of sorts.  I am not that.  Yes, I’d like to redo some rooms, but I lack the time, energy, or money.  What mostly dominates my house is a natural look . . . faux wood floors, oak (I think) kitchen cabinets, and a lovely oak dining room table.  We like the country look around here, but we haven’t quite matched everything.  I think I should have titled this post as “The Struggle is Real.”

2.  What’s something you’ll NEVER do again?

I’d like to say that I’ll never break my ankle again . . . or any other part of my body, for that matter.  This recovery process is for the birds, let me tell you.  It’s long, arduous, and painful.  If I had two good ankles, I’d kick myself every day for being so clumsy.  Yet, there has been much to be thankful for, as I share in my weekly updates (which I didn’t do this past Sunday because I’d been sick).  But yeah, I pray that God helps my bones get strong and gives me better balance so I don’t do this again.

3.  Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don’t.

Ways I Fit:
1.  I’m a pretty nurturing person, most of the time, and will go all Mama Bear on you if I think one of my babies is being trifled with.
2.  I like all things sparkly, be it jewelry, pretty t-shirts, or race bling.
3.  I have mad organizational skills.  That doesn’t mean I enjoy cleaning (see my first point below), but I can walk into a room and see how things should be ordered fairly quickly.
Ways I Don’t Fit:
1.  I don’t enjoy cleaning and feel no obsession to do so.
2.  I don’t wait for men to do things for me but usually consider myself able to complete almost any task.
3.  I don’t like chick flicks very much, because I don’t want to get in my feelings and cry.  Give me an action film, and I’m all over that.

4.  May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I have never owned a motorcycle, although I did have a moped when I was a child.  I have ridden a small motorcycle before and was a little nervous.  I’m not sure that I’d hop on one and go for a ride these days.  I’ve heard of too many people getting into accidents with them, so I’d rather not take my chances.

5.  If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

If someone wanted to understand me, they should go back and read my blog over the last few years (especially the past six or seven months), watch me dance (I’m not great, but I’m not afraid to cut loose), and listen to me talk about the books I’ve read for my classroom (young adult novels).

Y’all, I live my life out loud.  I don’t put on airs.  What you see is what you get.  I am passionate about my faith, my family, and my calling as a reading teacher.  That passion seeps out everywhere.

6.  My Random Thought

One year ago today, the Mr., N, and I headed out to watch our Rooster graduate from Air Force Basic Training.  After not getting to see him for nearly eight weeks, we were one day away from the BEST hug.  It was one of the most emotional weekends of my life; the patriotism flooded every cell of our bodies as we watched over 700 other young men and women run into the Reception Center during the Airman’s Run, loved ones cheering them on like the grandest of Olympic events.

Later, after the Airmen had changed, they returned to the Reception Center, received their coins, and then recited the Airman’s Creed and pledged their service to our country.

I wrote about that weekend in a series of posts that starts here.  I don’t think I can go back and read it; I’d probably cry all over again.

Watching my sweet son walk with purposed steps was something else, let me tell you.  He’d found his calling.

As you celebrate Memorial Day, please take time to remember those serving, both in uniform and those left behind to tend the home fires, Rooster’s “N” among them.  Take a moment to honor those who paid the ultimate price.  Their stories are tragic; their service beyond compare.

Can’t Live Without the Hodgepodge

It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time for another batch of questions that reveal more of my dark secrets.  Just kidding.  Ha!  Link up with Joyce when you’ve answered in your little corner of the world.  Thanks for visiting!

1.  May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm…

Are you a pack rat? Even if you’re not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what’s yours.

I don’t really think I’m a pack rat; the Mr. would disagree.  I mean, of course there are things I’ve saved over the years, but I’ve tried to set aside only those things that my children might want to pass along to their own children one day.  One thing I will not part with is my yarn stash.  I haven’t been knitting as often as I’d like, but I need to be able to dig into my stash for projects that come up.

2.  What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don’t?

I should know how to grill and how to do taxes.  Neither interests me much, but I think they are important!

3.  Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

I sometimes crave sugar, but I can’t say that I eat a lot of it.  I mean, sure, I make vegan desserts, but I know I can go without the sugar.  I’ve given it up before, which was hard, but I lost the craving after a few days.  I went cold turkey.  I don’t like for things to control me . . . especially food.

I do not use artificial sweeteners.  They are horrible for your body.  I never let my kids use it when they were growing up either.  I refuse to even buy regular toothpaste because it is sweetened artificially.  I don’t use sugar substitutes either.  When I dine out, I never get dessert.  The only time I did was the week the Mr. and I spent at Disney a few years ago.  Most of the restaurants had vegan desserts.  The local places we frequent do not.  I’m usually too full to indulge anyhow.

4.  What’s a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can’t imagine living without?

I have been wearing skinny jeans for a couple of years now after being petrified to try them on.  They are my favorite type of pants to wear now!  Of course, it helps, mentally, that I lost weight around the time I started wearing them.  That did my confidence a world of good.

5.  What’s a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

With high school graduations around the corner, I can’t help but think of the song, “Here I Go Again.”  It was my class song when I was a senior, and every time I hear it, I get chills.  I mentally check off every student in my class.  It’s easy to remember the names because there were only eighteen of us.  I use this song in the slideshows I create for my classes each year.

6.  My Random Thought

A couple of Saturdays ago, I attended a wedding shower.  As I was leaving, the bride-to-be handed me this . . .

It was a homemade body scrub . . .

I used a little bit a few days later and oh my word, the mint was so relaxing!  I’m determined to learn how to make my own.  A friend of mine sells essential oils, so I’m going to see if she’ll give me personal class on her products.  I know I’d come out cheaper making my own, and it would probably have even more benefits than the store-bought kind.

I hope you guys have a great week!  As of this morning, we have twelve more days of school, but who’s counting?

Week 26

Let’s catch up with Week 26 of my recovery from my trimalleolar fracture.  I was going to write yesterday, but I had a busy Mother’s Day and was pretty tired by the end, so, um, yeah.

So, last Monday, when I got to physical therapy, my therapist decided to have me try something new.

Yeah, that’s me . . . on a mini-trampoline.

My task was to bounce on my toes, without letting my feet leave the trampoline.  I had to land on my heels and pop back up on my toes.  He told me to do this three times for thirty seconds.

I lasted two times through and just about died twenty seconds in.

The pain was so bad that I had to get off.

I immediately talked to him about what I was feeling to see if it was normal, and after figuring out exactly where the pain was coming from, he decided that I wasn’t ready for the impact yet.

So, the exercise had to be shelved.

For the time being.

It was one of those frustrating moments of this process, but I’m working hard, so it’s not a “me” factor but a time factor.

Part of my recovery process has involved building up my bones.  I’ve been drinking smoothies on a regular basis.

I ran out of the Juice Plus brand I’d been using, so I tried the one in the canister instead.

All I can say is NO.  It was tasteless and pretty gross, even with the homemade vegan fudge I put in it.

I’ve got more of the Juice Plus on the way.

On Tuesday, I was pretty sore from my trampoline adventure the day before, so I took it easy.

On Wednesday, I had to go to a classroom upstairs.  Going down two flights of stairs was not fun; stairs still give me problems.

I held onto the rail when I went down, I promise.

My right knee still won’t bend well when I step down, and my hip does a weird misalignment thing too.  Strength on that side is not up to par quite yet, but I’m working on it.

That afternoon, I had therapy.  My therapist and I talked about getting inserts for my shoes.  He’s been pretty concerned about my pronated foot and the lack of an arch, so to speak.  He did some research on the computer while I did my exercises, sans the trampoline.

This is what I wound up buying on Saturday . . .

Icing down was wonderful.  While I was sitting there, I talked to another patient.  He and I have been at therapy for many weeks together.  Our therapist jokingly told us that we are now “lifers.”

Say what?

He explained that we’ll have other injuries that will have us returning to them for rehab.  My jaw dropped.  I insisted that I have no plans on getting injured again, but my therapist told me that the odds are ever in my favor that I will have some other body part go out on me.

So the skeleton below, in full view of my chair, was apropos.

Overall, my week was actually a good one for my ankle.  I’d had a rough start, but I was determined not to overdo things.

I did a virtual 5k on Saturday, but I want to save the details about that for a separate post.  The good thing was that I did not feel tremendous pain, so it was, pun intended, a step forward.

I also hit the beach on Sunday, again – another post for a separate day, and I even pulled my beach wagon from the car to through the sand and back at the end of the day.  My ankle hurt some, but it wasn’t too bad.  More steps forward.

It’s so strange how I can have horrible weeks of pain and then, randomly, have a good week.

It’s as though the good week I’ll have here and there is a rainbow of hope I need to see that God hasn’t forgotten me . . . that the rain will stop one day . . . that beauty is being woven from the many trials I’m going through.

I saw the following posted recently on Instagram, and boy, did it hit me hard . . .

Writing these posts is part of the telling of my story; however, I’m not at the part where I can do it without crying.  I still have so much healing to do, literally and figuratively.  I hope that one day, I’ll be able to go back and read these posts without getting emotional.  For now, I continue to document my highs and lows, remembering always God’s grace, provisions, and blessings throughout the journey.

Memory Lane May Hodgepodge

Well, the list is shorter, but that doesn’t mean that the fun has diminished.  I am thankful that Joyce opted for fewer questions in lieu of scrapping the entire Hodgepodge thing.  Thanks, Joyce!  Now, let’s get on to the questions!

1.  Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you’re a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother’s experience.

Oh gosh, but I can’t pick one favorite thing from my life as a mom.  I have so enjoyed just being a mom.  Watching my children grow up into God-loving, responsible adults has been an incredible honor.  When your kids are younger, you often doubt yourself and wonder if what you’re doing is right.  Then, BAM.  They become adults, handle the adulting thing extremely well, and you praise God for working through the mistakes you made.

My experience differs vastly from my own mother’s experience.  I was able to stay home with my kids for eight years, and after that, I only worked part time until Chicky left for college.  My mom worked all the time, even when she didn’t have to financially.  She always seemed preoccupied with other things and hardly ever attended school functions.  I didn’t want to miss anything, so I scheduled my life around my children because, after all, they’d only be young for a short time.  I think that made a huge difference in my ability to impact their lives because I was more present for them.  I made a conscious decision when I had my children to be a better mom than what I’d had.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I believe that our relationship is indeed closer and much more positive.

2.  In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.

Well, I am the teacher in my family.  Chicky followed in my footsteps, and Super Sis is also a teacher.  I appreciate how much time we give to our students . . . the extra love we pour into their lives . . . the way we fret over them.  I like that we can let down our hair and be silly with them, no matter the age we teach (I teach high school, Chicky teaches elementary, and Super Sis teaches pre-school).  I appreciate that we spread the love of Jesus without necessarily talking about Him (although Super Sis can since she works in a Christian pre-school) through our actions.

3.  Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad…which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

I would not go for any of these because I am a vegan.  I have seen recipes for mock tuna salad.  If memory serves correctly, I think the recipes typically call for cashews or almonds.

I really don’t eat bread . . . the calories and all . . .

4.  Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don’t have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?

I have a desk at home and at school.  My desk at home is pretty organized but dusty.  My desk at school has an organizational pattern to it.  Everything has a place, but it sometimes looks messy.  I usually sit down to blog in front of my recliner with my laptop on a small card table, although I’m sitting at the bar in my kitchen typing the Hodgepodge.

5.  When I was nine years old….

When I was nine years old, I moved from Colorado to a small town in Alabama.  It was a bit of a culture shock, and it took some adjusting when fall and winter rolled around and there wasn’t any snow on the ground.  I loved growing up in the country, though, although making friends was really hard.  Everyone else had been BFFs since the womb.  Still, I remember that age because it was such a pivotal time in my life.

6.  My Random Thought

So, a few weeks ago, I noticed one of my student’s fingernails.  They were painted a lovely color . . . one that looked great on her.  I tend to pay attention to these kinds of things, you see, because I’m a frilly kind of gal.  I complimented her a couple of times and finally asked about the polish.  She tried to tell me where to find it in the store, but I couldn’t locate it.  One day, she brought her bottle into class so I could see it.  I took a picture of it and went looking for it a few days later.  Walmart didn’t have it, but CVS did.

I am such a sucker for nail polish!  I must have all the pretty colors, so of course I didn’t buy just one bottle.

It’s not exactly a gel, I don’t think.  It’s like a gel, but you don’t need a light to set it.

I read a few reviews about it to make sure I was following instructions properly . . . giving it enough time to dry (same time as regular polish).

I had a hard time deciding which color to wear first . . .

After consulting my stylist (aka, M, from my previous post), I opted for the lighter color, “Stay Classy,” because I had a wedding shower to attend, and I’m all about being classy . . . Redneck classy, I mean.

So far so good.  I’ve washed dishes a couple of times, and it’s staying put.  If I can get a week out of the polish, I’ll be happy.

Week 25

I’m a day late in posting this, but Sunday just got away from me!

I’m continuing with my week-by-week recaps on my progress after sustaining a trimalleolar fracture in November.  Week 25 got off to a pretty good start.

I got up early, as usual, on Monday and did the Sweat Piyo video.

You better believe that it lived up to its name.

While getting ready for work, I listened to another episode of what is quickly becoming a favorite podcast, Glorious in the Mundane, by Christy Nockels.

I listen to one episode nearly every weekday morning.  I found myself teary-eyed as she talked about writing your story.  My new Hogwarts Running Club t-shirt, which I’d already planned on wearing, matched up perfectly.

I don’t think that I’m writing my story, per se.  I feel as though I’m living the story that God has already written for me.

I hope that by choosing joy in my journey, especially during these past 25 weeks, others are being encouraged as they go through their own challenges.

Yeah, I got a little in my feelings Monday morning, that’s for sure.

I had physical therapy after work, and although I’d been feeling good all day, my ankle started hurting pretty good during my exercises.

Calf stretches will always suck no matter how many weeks go by.

I asked my therapist about the pain I’d felt in the inside-back of my ankle the previous Saturday during my walk.  I figured it was residual pain from one of my fractures.

After pressing around on the inside of my ankle, he determined that one of the tendons beside my tibia (I think) was to blame.  I can’t remember exactly what he said about it . . . maybe that it had thickened?  The thing I heard loud and clear was that he was going to have to “work” on it.

More of that in a minute.

Before he got to “work,” I had to finish my other exercises.

I had asked about going up to a harder color on my band, and let me tell you . . . going from green to blue was akin to moving from jumping off the edge of the pool to jumping from the high dive.

The ankle raises and clams (when the band is around my knees) were brutal.  I knew I’d be feeling them for days on end.

After finishing everything else, I eased myself onto a different table and waited for my therapist to finish up with another patient.  My ankle was definitely in the mood to swell.  Sigh.  The struggle is so very real . . . every day, y’all.

To make me more comfortable, we put a wedge under my leg.

I could have used this after I broke it.  That’s how comfortable it is.

Then, it was time for the tool.

Oy vey.

My therapist apologized.  A lot.  I assured him that I knew that it was part of my journey.  Besides that, I’d already been through so much with my ankle, that a span of temporary discomfort wouldn’t matter much.

But the pain, y’all.

I’ve never had a massage before, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.  All I know is that the feeling alternates between burning and extreme pressure.

“Relax your foot, ” he said, and then chuckled because he knew that as tense as I was, relaxing was the last thing I could do.

When he finished, he told me that I’d be bruised and sore for a few days.

I remembered the first time he’d ever used the tool, during my first visit.  I couldn’t even sit in the tub without pain, and the bruises lasted for a couple of weeks, at least.

I got pampered afterward, though, so the pain was worth it.

I was STEM therapy along with a heating pad.

I’ve only gotten the heating pad one other time . . . after a different session with the tool.

My therapist told me that the heat would increase the blood flow, which is what he wanted to help my tendon loosen up.

Here’s what my leg looked like when I got home . . . the bruise full-on in the making . . .

So y’all, that was just Monday!

Tuesday, I was a little sore, but the day wasn’t too bad.

Then, there was Wednesday.

Um, yeah.  I knew it was going to be bad when I felt pain before I even got out of bed that morning.  I took my TENS unit to school and hooked it up during my planning period.

Take a moment to notice how high I had it dialed up. When you have an injury like mine, it takes a lot of electric stuff to get through.

It was destined to be a weird day.  When I got to physical therapy that afternoon and started to change, my deodorant exploded all over the restroom.

I tried to clean it up, but it hardened as soon as it hit the wall and floor, and all I managed to do was smear it, so I sheepishly made my way to the front desk to tell them that I’d made a mess of things.


Everything I did at physical therapy hurt . . . a lot.

The ice pack was a welcome relief when I finished.

One of the gals in the office, a former student of mine who graduated a couple of years ago, gave me a ride home because the Mr. had needed our car so he could go to an appointment at the Mayo Clinic.

Ms. M ran me home to feed the dogs, and then I treated her to Olive Garden.  Then, she drove me to Walmart to buy more deodorant.  Ha!

God has put this sweet girl back into my life at just the right time.  She’s been a huge blessing to me since I started my physical therapy in January.

I didn’t let the pain slow me down too much the next morning.  I was determined to get my workout in before school.

Then, I got a ride to school from my friend, Megan.  The rain made it a dreary day!  I had to carefully make my way inside so I wouldn’t trip on the slippery sidewalk and the wet floors inside.

My friend, K, picked me up from school (because it took a village to get this teacher around last week), and I immediately changed into my pajamas and put my foot up.

Friday was a “rest” day in my Piyo program, but I just could not do nothing, so I popped in the Hammer and Chisel ab videos.

One of the things that’s made this recovery process so hard for me is not being able to work out like I used to.  There are still so many things I either have to modify or can’t do yet.  The ab workouts allowed me a taste of what I had before.

School was lovely.  My district was observing Teacher Appreciation Week, and my school did a fantastic job doting on us.

This was the catered luncheon we got to enjoy on Friday.

The Mr. was able to pick me up from work that afternoon, and later that evening, we headed out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Being in so much pain all week had stressed me out.  It was nice to be able to let my hair down a little and relax.  I went to bed at 8:30 that night and slept over ten hours.

My long sleep allowed me to wake up refreshed, and my ankle was feeling pretty good.  After another Piyo workout, I went outside for a fairly leisurely three-mile walk.

My ankle felt good until about mile 2.  That’s when my tendon started hurting.  It eased off a little before the pain returned toward the end.

On Sunday, I took it fairly easy, indulged in a little pool time, and then prepped my food for the week.

I can’t say that I feel like I made any progress last week.  I tend to gauge this through the barometer of pain.  I don’t know if that’s fair, but it’s the only thing I know to do.  Just when I think I’m doing something better, I get hit with stabs of pain when I don’t expect them.

It’s a frustratingly slow process, but once again, I have to stop and remind myself that I am doing good.  The pain is unnerving but not a sign of anything bad.  It just is what it is.

And so I continue to praise God for what He’s doing that I may not be seeing . . . for continuing to knit my bones back together and strengthening the muscles and tendons connected to these bones.

Would you continue to pray for my healing and pain management.  I’m a pretty tough cookie, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I was in tears a few times last week because of the pain.  I hate being a baby, but heck, I did break a few bones, so I guess I’m entitled a little.

Thanks, sweet friends.

The Force, Cinco, and the Hodgepodge

Happy May!  How fast is this year flying by, y’all?!  Seriously, though.  What a great way to kick off a new month . . . Hodgepodge-style, of course!  Thanks, Joyce, for the fun questions you post each week.  Thanks to all of you for visiting my little corner of the blog world too!

1.  Can you tell I’m embracing a Cinco de Mayo theme here this week? Do you like Mexican food? What’s your favorite dish? How about on the side-black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, rice? What about heat-mild, medium, hot? Will you celebrate with Mexican food and drink on May 5th aka Cinco de Mayo?

Mexican food is my absolute favorite!  I could seriously eat it every single day.  Just ask the Mr.  I typically order bean burritos and refried beans as my side.  Yeah.  That’s a lot of beans.  Shall I sing the song for you?  heehee

I like things spicy, but really, if I’m getting Mexican, who cares?  Just give me the chips, salsa, and burrito.  I’m a happy camper!  I don’t know if I’ll be celebrating on Friday.  The Mr. will be coming home from another appointment at the Mayo Clinic, so depending on what time he gets back into town will determine if we go out for dinner.  I’d love a margarita though!

2.  Ever been to Mexico? For work or holiday? Love it or no? If you haven’t been is this a place you’d like to visit? Can you speak Spanish?

I believe I went to Mexico when I was a little girl.  It was my dad’s turn to get us for part of the summer (my parents were divorced), and I remember taking a long road trip.  I also remember him telling me not to drink the water.  He offered me beer instead, which I did not drink.  My dad was French.  Need I say more?  The only languages I speak are English and Redneck.  I understand a few Spanish words because I teach a lot of ESOL kids, but I could never carry on a conversation in this language.

3.  What’s one thing you may accomplish this month?

I may finish a knitting project I started a couple of months ago.  I find myself napping or watching TV in my down time lately.  I need to finish this project so I can move on to the next one!

4.  If you were mayor of your village, city, or town, what’s one thing you’d like to see changed, done away with, revamped, or accomplished? Is serving in public office something you’ve ever seriously considered?

I have never aspired to public office, but if I did serve as mayor, I think I’d find a way to get curbside recycling started.  When I lived in south Florida, I was able to recycle paper, plastic, and cans.  Up here, I have to take my stuff to recycling dumpsters across town.  It’s very frustrating, but it’s something I do because I believe in it.

5.  What’s something that may be popular, but that you just don’t get?

How about that new Starbucks drink . . . the Unicorn Frappuccino?  Here’s an article I just found about some other new things Starbucks has planned.

I actually posted a link for a recipe that Detoxinista, a gal who’s written a cookbook that I prepare from weekly, created as a healthier alternative.

Borrowed from Detoxinista’s website (I hope she doesn’t mind since I’m giving her credit here).

I think that the brouhaha surrounding it has actually been good.  I’d like to think that it’s making people aware of how unhealthy drinks such as this one are.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like a Starbucks hot chocolate every once in a while, but ever since I re-started my fitness journey a year and a half ago and started monitoring what I’m eating, I’ve become leery of wasted calories and other things contained in such drinks.

So yeah.  I don’t get it.

6.  Can’t let this week slip by without mentioning Thursday May 4th is Star Wars Day. As in ‘May the 4th be with you’ ahem. Are you a fan of the Star Wars series? Exactly how much of a fan are you? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being ‘I’ve seen every film, own the action figures, might have dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween one year‘, and 1 being, ‘what’s a Vader?‘ -where do you land?

I love this movie franchise and would rate myself as a 10, given Joyce’s criteria.  I have seen every film, many times, I’m pretty sure we own some action figures, and I have dressed up as a character for Halloween before (when I was a child).  In fact, the first movies came out when I was little.  I remember going to the theater to see them.  I had a Star Wars themed birthday party one year.  Because I had one moment when I was cool.

I even used the Star Wars theme of passion and ill-fated lovers when I did my student teaching seven years ago.  The teacher I was working with was covering Romeo and Juliet.

I rest my case.

7.  Scroll back through your blog posts and in three sentences or less tell us the general theme of your fourth blog post. Does it still ring true today? Is it a topic you re-visit on your blog from time to time?

Oh my goodness . . . what a walk down memory lane!  I had to go all the way back to November 2007 for that fourth post!  Can you believe it’s been almost ten years?!  Here’s the link to it.

Not surprisingly, I wrote about knitting and a swap I’d participated in.

All of that yarn has been knit up since then.  In fact, that Big green yarn became a hat I became infamous for during high school soccer games.

Knitting has definitely been a theme in MANY of my blog posts.  When we traveled for soccer games, I always found yarn stores.  Las Vegas had, by far, the BEST ever!  Of course, I blogged about my splurge, much deserved because I’d just finished my coursework for my Bachelor’s degree.

It’s through knitting that I’ve met some of my best friends.  In fact, it’s because of knitting that I started writing a blog!  When I signed up for Ravelry, a website dedicated to fiber arts, there was a spot on my profile page for a blog URL.  I did some research and voila, a blog was born!  I mean, I had to have something to put in that blank, right?

8.  My Random Thought

I really want to use this space to vent a little . . . but I’m not.  I think I’m going to pray about what I want to vent about.

Instead, I’ll post these happy pictures, taken last Thursday.

Please admire my double chin.  I take enough selfies.  One would think that I’d remember to hold the phone up in the air, not down.  Sheesh.

Here’s a picture I took Thursday evening when I attended my nephew’s baseball game.

That’s super sis.  Hey girl!

Super Sis’s family lives a couple of hours away, but my nephew’s school was playing a high school next door to me (my school’s rival team), so it was very convenient to watch him.  I’d never seen him play before but knew he was an incredible athlete.  We have always said that he’s a female version of my Chicky.

He was first up at bat and by golly, he hit a home run!  It was his second ever!  He hit the first one a few games ago when Chicky was visiting.  We think it must be our side of the family that brings him uber good luck when we are in attendance.

His team beat the local team . . . which was ranked first in the state.  Whoop Whoop!

It was a fun way to break up the week and put a smile on my face going into Friday.

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