End of the Year Thoughts

As the current year comes to an end, a brief mental visit as to what transpired throughout the course of this past year shows the usual ups and downs most normal years bring, plus a few extra bonuses thrown in. The bonuses come in both good and bad forms.
This last year, Veronica and I went on our very first cruise. We went to Alaska. That cruise awoke our traveling spirits and since that last cruise we have booked 2 more cruises for this upcoming year...one to Alaska for 8 days and then one to Europe, a Baltic Capitals cruise in September.
We also went to Las Vegas this last year. Enjoyed it enough to do it again sometime in the future.
Another trip was to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN area. We rented a cabin there and we always have fun when we go. I am sure that we will return sometime in the future.
Unfortunately this last year also brought along some unexpected medical issues...mainly my foot problem, which effected several trips and normal day to day living and things that I usually do. I have been dealing with this foot issue for approximately 7 months now and it culminated in my having foot surgery, 5 weeks or so ago. Based on how my foot reacted to the surgery, the outcome wasn't as positive as I had hoped. I have been working very hard on my stretching exercises in order to overcome whatever issues the surgery did not fix. Today I decided to put my sneaker on my left foot. I had been wearing a walking boot but I found that it gives no support to my arch or foot in general and I felt that it was not helping the situation out any by wearing it. So far the sneaker and the orthotics that I have in the sneaker seems to be helping out quite a bit. With a little luck and some hard work on my part, I will be able to put the foot issue behind me. Only time will tell on this issue.
With the new year approaching, Veronica and I have lots to look forward to and many changes seem to be coming our way. There will be more on those changes in the near future but for now, I don't want to say anything that might jinx those changes. Superstitious....not me.

So Whats New

Actually not much but thank you for asking...lol. Been kind of quiet around here. Veronica and I spent a rather quiet and subdued Christmas around here. Because we have so much travel coming up this year and all of the associated cost, we decided to keep this Christmas rather inexpensive. Actually it turned out well. We each got items that we really wanted. We had a really nice holiday and our evening meal was great. All in all, it was a really good day. I have been really working on my foot and ankle. I have been doing my exercises sometimes 4-5 times a day. I am really trying my best to get it back into shape. We have got many a miles to travel this year and I really want to be able to walk it all pain free. I even made up my own type of exercises. The therapy people and my doctor told me some exercises to do but I took it upon myself to modify them a bit. I usually do them bare footed while standing on the carpeted floor. I decided that it made more sense to do them in a tub full of warm to hot water. The heat and moisture would be used to keep everything loose and allow everything to stretch better. So far it seems to have helped out some but only time will tell and we will see where I am at after a month or so.

Foot Concerns

I have been doing my stretching exercises a couple of times a day and I realize that I have only been to one physical therapy session but I have some concerns about the status of my foot. Before I started doing my stretching exercises, my foot felt a whole lot better than it did before the surgery. Now that I have started the exercises and physical therapy, I have started to have pain in the same area as where it was prior to the surgery. I am hoping that this is residual pain from the surgery but it feels almost exactly like it did prior to the surgery but just on a little lower level. I plan on giving it some time and then, if it does not get any better, I will go in for a second opinion as to what is going on and what can be done at this point.

First Day Of Physical Therapy

To day I went to my first day of physical therapy. I will be going twice a week for at least 4 weeks. From there I will see how I feel and decide whether to continue for a couple of more weeks. Feels good getting back into the swing of things. The foot has been feeling better and hopefully that trend will continue as I get into my therapy further.

The Best Yard Ornaments That Money Can't Buy

My friend Ken Gauthier, from Canada, sent me these photos of of these live yard ornaments. They beat the hell out of having pink flamingos. Thanks for sharing these with us Ken.

Becoming Mobile Again

Today is my 3rd full day of being on my surgically repaired foot. The pain is deminishing as each day has passed. I start my physical therapy on Monday and I don't forsee having to go to too many sessions. In about 2-3 weeks I should be able to rid myself of the walking boot and get back to my sneakers. Today we went to Walmart to do a long needed food shopping trip. Because I have only been on my foot for 3 days and I still am not moving at high speed yet, I decided that it would be best to use an electric cart while in Walmart. The hard concrete would not have done my foot any good either. I never realized how slow those carts move. I figured that Walmart makes sure that those carts move extremely slow so that those who use them might find more things to buy rather than quickly whizzing by all of the products and not putting anything into your cart.
My friend Ken Gauthier, from Ontarion province in Canada, sent me the following joke. Thanks for sharing Ken.

Deer Season

A hunter and his friend were sitting in a tree stand stand near State Highway 481 in Maverick Co.Texas, early one cold opening morning.

Suddenly, a huge non-typical buck walked out over the corn they had spread in the senderos with a tailgate feeder. Moving quickly, the hunter carefully aimed the Leupold scope on his .300 mag at the unsuspecting buck.

As he was about to squeeze the trigger on this deer of a lifetime, his friend alerted him to a funeral procession passing slowly by down 481. The hunter pulled away from the gunstock, set the rifle down, took off his hat, bowed his head, and then closed his eyes in prayer. His friend was stunned.

"Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen you do. You are indeed the kindest man I have ever known, and I feel lucky to call you a friend."
The hunter shrugged.
"Yeah, well, we were married for 35 years."

Back On My Feet

This morning Veronica drove me to my Podiatrist appointment. I am now walking again with the aid of a walking boot on my right foot and my "Even Up" sole on the sneaker of my left foot. The first several steps were awkward but I am slowly getting used to taking baby steps again. There is still some pain...down about 60% from where it was pre-surgery. My doctor told me that I would have to wear the walking boot for about 2 1/2 weeks or so and that I also would need to do some physical therapy. He did tell me that after a period of time and doing what I am supposed to, that he is confident that the remaining pain that I have, will go away. Today I will be doing a little wash and do some cleaning up around the place...putting everything back where it belongs. I am not going to push it too much today, so the rest of the wash will have to wait until tomorrow. It will take a couple of days to get my walking legs back but I can't tell you how great it feels to be moving around again, instead of hopping on one leg. I called the Physical Therapy place and I am scheduled to go in there on Monday for my first visit. I am slowly on the comeback trail now.

Extreme Canadian Ice Fishing

John Jakobs, my friend from up in Ontario province of Canada, sent me this video of extreme Canadian ice fishing. These folks are a lot hardier than I am. Just watching this gets me to shivering..brrrrrr.

Passing Time

7 days to go until I return to my Podiotrist and get permission to walk again. Hopping around on one leg has got old. Even with the use of my 4 legged walker, the hopping tires a person out and it makes my hip hurt on the hopping leg. I have learned to improvise in order to get things done. It usually takes me about 1 1/4 hours to get through my morning routine. I take my time because there isn't much else for me to do. I roll around on top of he bed to make it...from one side to the other. Then hop around to get the comforter straightened out. Hop around to put clothes in the hamper. Hop into the kitchen to drop off any trash I have accumulated. Then I hop into the bathroom to take care of business there...brushing teeth next to the tub while sitting on a metal folding chair, then kneel on the chair for my morning wash up, then wash my hair, fold the chair up to make room, so that I can hop about with my walker. Hop...hop...hop...that's all I seem to do. I only spend a little while in the computer room and then off i go...hopping between bathroom and bedroom. I seem to be spending more and more time in the bedroom because I have everything located close by...my lap top computer, food, drinks...all within a short hopping distance of my bed. I sure will be glad when I get the ok to start walking. When I do start walking again, I have to use a walking boot for an unknown period of time and because the walking boot has a sole that is higher than the sole on the sneakers that I wear, I had to get a product called an "Even Up". You attach this product to the sneaker on your good foot and it raises that foot up to the same level as the walking boot. That way you are not injuring your back, knee or hip and you are not walking all cockeyed or in a circle. Not matter what I have to use, it sure will be great to move around on my own two feet again. Only 7 more days of hopping left.

Polar Bear Tales

My friend John Jakobs, from Ontario province in Canada, sent me this story and photographs about a rather friendly Polar Bear. Thanks John for sharing this with us.

Norbert Rosing ' s striking images of a wild polar bear coming upon tethered sled dogs in the wilds of Canada ' s Hudson Bay. The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his dogs when the polar bear wandered in.

It ' s hard to believe that this polar bear only needed to hug someone!

The Polar Bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs.

May you always have love to share,
Health to spare,
And friends that care

More Moose Stuff

Ken Gauthier, my friend up in Ontario Canada, sent me the following story and photographs. I do not know the names of the people who lived the story or took the photographs but I want to thank all involved for sharing and a great job was done to save this young moose. Thanks to Ken for sending this my way.

Chapleau is located 120 miles west of Timmins, Ontario
Chapleau excitement! This weekend, we came upon this Cow and Calf on a very small island. As we were taking pictures, the Cow took off in the water towards shore and the calf followed. As we turned the corner of the island, we saw the Cow almost on shore but the calf wasn't even half way to shore yet. All of a sudden, I noticed that the calf wasn't going to make it. As we were heading towards the Calf, it went under a few times. At one point it stopped moving. As we got about 10ft away, it started moving and coming up to surface again. When we got beside it, all I could see was his ears. I grabbed the Calf by the ears to pull it up a bit and then I lifted the Calf right into the boat. The Calf coughed a few times and started breathing. We took a few pics as we rushed to shore to drop it off to Mommy. An experience of a life time.

Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to say "Thank You" to all who have left comments and sent me emails containing well wishes and get well soon. I appreciate it. Sitting hear listening to the new John Mayer CD that Veronica got me. It is a good one. I especially like the song titled Heartbreak Warfare...damn good listening. Going to be one of those lazy days here....looks like rain is coming and then it is supposed to get windy tonight. Just one of those lazy days.

First Podiatrist Visit Since Surgery

To day I had my first Podiatrist visit since my surgery. After being prodded and probed a bit, all seems to be going well. The doctor told Veronica to make sure that I bring my walking boot to this office visit. I thought and hoped that maybe I would be allowed to started walking with the boot on. Way in the back of my mind, I knew not to get too excited about this possibility because I was only 1 week out from the date of the surgery but this hopping around on one foot using a walker was already getting old. Unfortunately my doctor only wanted to make sure I knew how to put the boot on and wear it while I was hopping around on the other foot...just a little extra protection for the injured foot. He told me that I would not be able to put any weight on the foot for 2 more weeks and another appointment was made for that date. So now my goal date for walking again is on the 16th of this month. After that, I will be having some Physical Therapy and then I can hopefully put this behind me, with the outcome of being able to walk pain free again.
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