Thursday, November 25, 2010


Well, Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers... Enjoy your turkey drunk today and shopping frenzy tomorrow!  Wish I could be in the States shopping... but not in the crowds!  I love our shopping trips to the US.  We usually stock up on all of the nom noms that I can't buy here.  The selection of soy based products here is very limited.  There is one store which sells soy yoghurt. I can get soy milk and almond milk easily enough, but other delicacies aren't as easy to find.  Like soy ice-cream that actually tastes good... Soy cheese, dairy free foods in general... Love shopping at Whole Foods in Duluth!!

I went to the dentist for the first time today since my decompression.  I'm just happy it's been 5 months since my surgery!  The little jerks and movements during the cleaning would have been really unbearable before now.  My hygienist was really good about not moving me into any hyper-extended positions.  Everything was good.  I have a bit of a stiff neck and mild headache now, but I usually have a headache after lying on my back with my mouth stretched beyond the limits of the tendons.  And this afternoon I get to go to the orthodontist - I broke one of the permanent retaining wires - two dental professionals in one day - LUCKY ME!  :P

Mum and I went to see Mamma Mia on Monday night.  Now, if you're a 70s child - which I am; you were brought up in a house filled with music day in day out - which I was; and you knew every ABBA song by the time you were 8 - which I did; this is the show for you!! And, even if you vaguely know who ABBA is, enjoy an excellent live musical theatre show, then get your butts to the box office when it's in your neighbourhood!! It was phenomenal.  The singing, the choreography, the storyline, the comedy... all top notch.  It was so much fun.  It was my first "loud" event since my surgery, and despite clapping and tapping my foot all night, singing along and standing for a good 8 minute ovation, I didn't feel bad on Tuesday - stiff and a little tired, but NO headache!!  I couldn't go to events before my surgery for the last while... shags (aka Doe and Buck, Jack and Jill, pre-wedding social - NOT the British shag), concerts, conventions, etc... the noise and the crowds were way too much for me to handle.  I'd have a headache for days. So, I was very happy to have such a wonderful time and NOT spend the next few days suffering for it.  
Still working hard work-hardening... About 4 hours a day most days.  I see gains and I have set-backs, but all in all, I think I'm doing well.  My physiotherapist did some more assessing and testing yesterday and it is still indicating a nerve issue - especially in the radial nerve.  Only 5 days until I see the orthopaedic surgeon for the neck and head MRI results and HOPEFULLY a diagnosis.  I cannot shovel snow, carry much, scrub the bathtub, but in time I hope I will have the strength and range of motion to be able to do so again.  Not that I miss scrubbing the bathtub ;P  (wishing this blog had smilies available...)
Now, off to the orthodontist... 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Snow is falling, though not quite as heavily as it was a few minutes ago.  It blankets the already covered lawns and walkways.  It clings to tree branches and windshields.  It creates driving havoc. My husband is hard at work sanding the roads making them safe for the trip home from Sunday Christmas shopping trips.   But the freshly fallen snow also creates beauty. It creates almost a quiet hush over the neighbourhood, with the exception of the cries of excited children.
The neighbourhood children are all busy building snowmen and forts and piling the snow as high as they can to slide down it on their toboggans and snowboards.  They take a wheelbarrow and literally shovel the snow off the road or the neighbouring lawns and pile it up.  Their cheeks are rosy and their woolen mittens hang from their strings, heavy with balls of snow, and wet from play.  They take turns pulling each other on a sled, up and down the cul-de-sac.  For them, snow means Santa will be here soon... soon enough!! Only 33 days away! Yikes!
I must confess, I'm getting in the spirit earlier this year than years past.  Maybe because I'm not at work and I've had time to think about the holiday season.  I started my Christmas letter a couple days ago and today started on my Christmas cards.  My international ones should have gone out last week... opps!! I'll get those out tomorrow.  
I was even prepared enough to mail my cousin's parcel to Finland by the end of October this year.  And it arrived on Thursday!! Hurray!! The past two years I mailed it before mid November and it didn't arrive until February!  Happy Valentine's instead!  My cousin has a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and she is the reason I send gifts.  I have no little girls in my family and my girlfriends all have boys, multiple boys!! So spoiling a little girl at Christmas is wonderful.  I bought her a Tinkerbell doll, which H allowed her to open already.   And saved the rest of the parcels for Christmas.  Her daughter said that Santa lives in Canada!  I can accept that and will fill that roll happily!
I visited my first couple of craft shows yesterday as well, which always gets me in the mood for Christmas, even if I'm not buying... ideas and looking at the Christmas crafts always helps set the atmosphere.  I did buy some Finnish cinnamon twists... soooo yummy, and Finnish dark rye mini bread rounds.  They're like a flat bun... slice, butter (or margarine in my case), fresh roasted turkey... Delectable.  I love my ethnic background cuisine...
I was going to start my Christmas baking today, I even bought most of the ingredients last week... but I was sidetracked by... well... okay, I just found the couch too comfortable and really couldn't decide at all what I want to start with!! Nanaimo bars... Raspberry macaroon bars... Butter tarts... Stained glass cookies... Ginger cookies... Just for starters.  I always bake, lots, and give some to my bachelor uncle and my papa.  My grandma in the past few years always had me make her Nanaimo bars for her as she had trouble with.  I found the recipe online and modified it so that it was perfect... and now I'm the Nanaimo queen of the family.  This week mum, papa and I will also make our first batch of stollen - German fruit bread - NOT fruit cake.  This light, almost fluffy bread is filled with almonds, candied peel and red and green cherries.  It's as much of a Christmas family tradition as turkey and sweet and sour purple cabbage for dinner!
The snow has slowed considerably... It's almost warm enough to turn to rain... I would have gone out to shovel the driveway, but tried the other day and failed miserably shovel in hand... way too hard on the shoulder.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Up, Down, and Jumping Through Hoops - EDITED

Up... way up... We (well, hubby) buys a lottery ticket every Wednesday and Saturday.  And every draw he checks the numbers and like the weeks, months, years before, we don't win.  Okay, we won $94 once.  Once.  Pffttt!! Big deal.  That was ages ago.
So Sunday, I was at my first craft show.  And hubby shows up.  Uh, hubby doesn't come to craft shows unless I ask him to help me carry my totes in.  So when he arrived at the show I was pretty surprised.  I like surprises.  He poses the following question...
"How close can you be to winning 6-49 (our lottery) without actually winning?"  Think, think, think... One number off on every one?  was my answer.
"How about 5 out of 6, and the sixth number off by one digit.  We had 34, they called 35."  OMG - so what does that mean?? We were 1 digit away from winning $16 MILLION dollars!!! Yep... We got third prize... which doesn't amount to much in comparison... but $1500 and change is not a bad thing!! So that evening we walked to the corner store where we always get our tickets and let the owners validate the ticket.  This way they get credit for sell and validating the winning ticket.  Then on the walk home we contemplated what it would have been like to win $16 MILLION!!  Yeah... pipe dreams... but oh how we love to dream...

THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED BY THE BLOGGER.... Thanks to my loyal reader who did get to see the whole thing...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Look Ma!! It's my (new) brain!

I had my brain MRI yesterday for the post-op baseline.  I've sent the CD-rom off to my neurosurgeon this morning.  I was fortunate to get my old PC up and running yesterday afternoon and got to see my images before I sent it to Dr. Gentili. (craziness... can't load the CD on my Mac!)

Look!! There's all kinds room for my brain!! I'm so excited!!

With my diminished headaches and improvement with the other symptoms like my speech, vision and thinking, I'm sure the neurosurgeon will say the surgery has been successful.  (Okay, I had to spell check diminished three times to spell it write - maybe my cognitive is still a little off!)  I'm extremely happy with my progress so far.  If I had to, I'd go through it all again.  Well, maybe we could leave out the brachial plexus injury...

Speaking of the shoulder, I was back at physio this morning for another set of instructions and to report to my physiotherapist.  She was so happy with my little spreadsheet I developed to track my progress.  So I will continue and I will add the other activities as she assigns them.  Today she also did some assessing for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS).  I am positive for it in one of the 3 or 4 positions.  So, there is another piece in my puzzle.  I will also likely need a custom wrist splint made for me to go back to work.  I have the $25 one from the drug store, but it is aged and falling apart so when it comes time to replace it, it will be custom.  In addition to my typing and writing and grip strength I am also putting books up on a high shelf to simulate filing minute books at work.  And yes, I'm sore.  Time for some down-time before I make dinner.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

I'm so tired of writing for my work hardening that I can't come up with any ideas for my blog.  Yep.  Writing up to 8 times a day can really throw writer's block at you.

So here's where I stand.  Waiting to see the orthopaedic surgeon on November 30th.  At that appointment she will have my neck and head MRI results to see if we can figure out why my shoulder feels like someone has a flame-throwing pointed at it right now. And why my fingers on my right hand only work when they feel like it.  The rest of the time they feel like wood.  

I persevere with work hardening up to four hours of the day now.  Typing, writing, pushing and pulling drawers, screwing nuts on bolts, squeezing the life out of my squeezy thing - a motorcycle, and my stretches.  I'm tired.  I'm sore.  And I'm pushing through.

In other exciting news Disney is coming out with a new princess movie!! Tangled will be out November 24, 2010, and introduces Rapunzel to the little girls of the world.  Quite by coincidence my Halloween costume is Rapunzel!! And I got quite a few comments from little girls last night as I handed out treats!  Next year I'll be right in fashion!

We had a great Halloween this year.  The weather was mild and dry with little wind!!  I remember years with snow storms and tugging my costume over my snow suit.  We had 65 kiddies stop by, which I thought was lots for a Sunday night. I ran out of candy and turned off the lights about 8:15.  Not bad.  Our first treaters were here around 5:30, just as I lit the pumpkins and candles.

No, I'm not as talented as the fellow who carved the pumpkin in my last post, but here are my pumpkins all the same...  And I cheat.  I put these guys away every year and take them out next fall.  They're foam!  One of the best craft inventions ever!  One of the girls that came by asked if I painted the pumpkins white!! She hadn't seen a white pumpkin before.  I had to softly tell her that they are foam.  And then she laughed.  But yes folks, there are white pumpkins!