Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Confession

Ok, so I cleaned the house yesterday...a usual weekend chore.  Looks pretty spiffy.  Finally got a mirror for the mantel so the funky "modern art" of the tv mount is gone and the holes it left are covered up...a year after we move in to this house.  Better late than never, right?

And as I started thinking about the next two weeks, I decided when I woke up this morning that today is as good a time as any to decorate for Christmas.  All right, all right.  Don't judge!  Next week my schedule is crazy, and I know perfectly well my mother will want help with her house.  I have three parties scheduled at my house the first weekend in December. 

So why not today?  Brian grumbled a little bit about getting the decorations out of the attic...something about taking one holiday at a time.  And believe me, I hate that Thanksgiving seems to get shortchanged these days, but I try to see it this way...Thanksgiving is the warm up for Christmas.  Family time and being together in a beautifully decorated house is important!  And the house looks very festive...or is beginning to.  I need to pick up a few more things to really get it in shape, but that's just one more reason to get everything out before the parties start...I need time to get the rest of my decorations.  (Not that Brian knows that yet...)

And I am giving Brian a reprieve from the outside lights until next weekend.  He seemed satisfied with that.  So while he watched the Military Channel, I decorated around him.  By 11 am, we were in full Tis-the-Season-mode.  And yes, I felt a little like that crazy blonde on the Target commercial...

It was bittersweet this year as I decorated.  This is our first Christmas without my grandparents.  With such a large family, no time of year meant more than this.  We savored our time together each year with my grandparents overseeing the festivities, even when they could no longer host or plan them. 

One of the things I received from their house was the handmade felt ornaments I made for their Christmas tree a few years ago.  There are about twenty of them, and I cried as I put them on our tree.  If their loss was not real to me yet, it certainly is now.  The ornaments comfort me in a way; my grandmother loved them.  I moved their picture into the living room so they could see the tree.  Weird? Maybe, but not even Brian's cancer affected me the way losing my grandparents has. 

And as much as I love this time of year (you should have seen how excited I was Friday night when I discovered that 103.7 had FINALLY started their Christmas music!), it is forever changed and I feel like I am still finding the way to make the most of it.  That's what Nonnie and Grandpa would want, I know. 

So, maybe I started the season a little early.  I just needed to find the love and peace of this time of year as soon as possible.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Catching Up

Brian worked the NASCAR race this past weekend, and rather than spend the weekend by myself at home, I made plans to meet up with a dear friend in New Braunfels. 

Susan and I go back to our college days when my brother introduced us.  We lived together for several years, until I got too cranky to be a good roommate. I take responsibility for our "break up."  I was immature and difficult to get along with.  I had a lot of growing up to do. 

Fortunately, like all my dearest friends, she eventually found it in her heart to forgive my many...uh, quirks... and reconnect. 

That's what Saturday was all about.  We met in New Braunfels and headed into Gruene for the day.  We have a special affinity for Gruene, having seen Pat Green at Gruene Hall on St. Patrick's Day about 11 or so years ago.  Great times.  She still has the tee shirt.  I often wonder what happened to mine.  Sigh.

Lunch at the Grist Mill...their homemade wine coolers are delish.  Then a bit of shopping.  Finally, just sitting under a big ol' tree, sipping wine and watching the world go by.  It was the weekend of the Tour De Gruene, a bike race, so the tiny town was brimming over with cyclists.  Parking was quite the adventure.  The people watching was even better than usual though.  We found a new favorite wine from Dripping Springs to add to our list at the little wine store. 

We talked about her new relationship since her divorce.  We talked about getting older and weight gain and the disturbing little aches and pains we experience now when we get out of bed each morning.  We talked about our illnesses and recent procedures.  We reveled in being fellow liberals.  We filled in all the gaps since we had last been close.

It was a truly great day.  After a short siesta, we went to dinner at McAdoo's (where they had my favorite wine New Age) and then had pumpkin bread pudding with brandy sauce at a bakery called Two Tarts with the best cup of coffee I have had in...maybe my whole life. 

On my way home, I pondered the rekindled friendship and how worth the 3 hour drive it was.  I pondered how lucky I am to have my friend back when she might have stayed lost to me. 

In a month when we consider carefully for what we are thankful, I can say without hesitation that Susan is high on my list.  Friends who have known you through the good, bad, and ugly are too precious a gift to waste.  I am so grateful that my friend has returned to my life.  We don't often get do overs and I don't intend to waste my opportunity.


So, after the MRI, I reported to an orthopedic doctor.  He said he believed it would be best for me to go to physical therapy for a bit to speed up the healing in my calf.  Evidently the tear in my muscle is not severe, but weeks of rest at the minimum is the only way to reverse the damage I have done now.  And rest plus therapy means I am back on the treadmill that much faster.

And as I honestly miss the luxury of running out my stress, I am willing to put in the work.  I reported to therapy last week early on a Wednesday morning.  My therapist is little, blonde, adorable.  Conveniently she forgets to count my reps on exercises, so often if I am not counting for us, I do more than she prescribes.  Though something tells me that she would not consider that a bad thing. 

I am building the heck out of my right leg, so at times I will do the exercises on the left as well.  I certainly don't want to have my right leg to look and feel awesome and be lopsided on the left because I was too lazy to work it, too. 

In addition to the deep stretches and heel raises, I also get an ultrasound treatment and an ice massage.  The ultrasound is no biggie.  The jelly is a little cold, but it actually feels pretty good.  The ice massage...that's different.  They have frozen water in a styrofoam cup and the therapist holds the cup so that the ice is on the affected body part and rubs the ice all over.  You go through several stages...severe cold (and I mean COLD, people), burning from the cold and numbness.  It takes about 6 minutes to get to numb.  And it's a long six minutes, I can tell you.  But you feel as though you have accomplished something by hanging in for that long. 

Then comes the kineseotape.  It doesn't hurt or anything, but I find that my leg doesn't dig stuff being stuck to it.  The tape keeps coming up long before it's supposed to.  Sigh. 

So, I have at least another week and a half before I bid adieu to my new friends at therapy.  If it weren't for the traffic and construction, I believe I would want to continue to go to therapy long after my prescribed sessions are over.  But as it adds to my already full plate pretty significantly, I am eager for the day I am back on the treadmill in the mornings instead of preparing myself for my ice massage.