Monday, November 28, 2011

Up, Up, and Away

Another WDW memory from last summer!

And then we had to go home. Oh boy. All week Kevin had been asking, facetiously, if we could rent a car and drive. Or if Christopher, who was already back home, could take the van and come and get us. The experience of flying to Orlando had not been good one. The pressure differences in the cabin bugged him from almost the moment we took off. "Swallow" I would tell him, and the overly exaggerated and contorted act would begin. Eventually he complained that his throat was hurting. After what seemed like forever, we reached a cruising altitude and all was well...for a few minutes. And then we began our descent. Oh boy. The photo on the layout below was taken before we left the gate at New Orleans, when everything was still exciting and fun.

Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey, Little Yellow Bicycle, and Creative Imaginations. Fabric tag-Little Yellow Bicycle. Chipboard airplane-Maya Road. Chipboard phrases-Jenni Bowlin. Letter stickers, metal alphabet nailheads, ribbon, and airplane charm.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Tag #2

My next tag incorporates shades of teal in the ribbon and on the "Autumn Wishes" card along with the more traditional colors of fall, rust and orange. I love the combo! The quote on the playing card seemed a great sentiment for the season, "These are days of miracle and wonder."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Tags

When my friend Nancy Burke started her 12 Tags of Fall project a week or so ago, I tried to resist playing along. I still have mountains of Walt Disney World photos to scrap and a ton of other projects on my to-do list. Who has time for tags? And fall...what's that? Rustling around through my stash of stamps, patterned paper and embellishments, I realized that I had precious little in the way of fall stuff. Duh. (When you don't have much of a fall, you don't accumulate fall "stuff"!) Still it didn't take long for me to shake off that negativity and get totally caught up in this creative seasonal diversion. Here is my first tag, an ode to the fairs and festivals that populate every weekend this time of year:


Friday, November 4, 2011

Beautiful Views

Walt Disney World is such an explosion of sights and sounds, that it can become overwhelming. So many people. So many attractions. Always rushing from one place to another. Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in. These two pages feature two of my favorite photos, taken when I managed to do just that.

When the crowds could be no thicker down the main drag of the Magic Kingdom, we decided to take a leisurely ride on the train that skirted the perimeter. On the way up to the platform we got a good view of the maddening crowds we were trying to avoid.

This next page features a scene quite divergent from that of Main Street, a serene view of the Expedition Everest namesake "mountain" with prayer flags draped across the vista. This is about as close to the real Mount Everest as I'll ever get!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

One Thing's For Sure...

Kevin will NEVER entertain thoughts on becoming an astronaut, pilot, or anything else that sends his body into warp speed through either the atmosphere or the space outside it. Epcot's simulator attraction, Mission:Space had two options from which to choose:

  • GREEN-the "lighter" version of the attraction with simulator action similar to Star Tours at Hollywood Studios.
  • ORANGE-the vomit-inducing, high velocity centrifuge that isn't for the weak of heart...or stomach.
Knowing how much Kevin enjoyed the intense roller coaster rides, Rock N Roller Coaster and Expedition Everest, we figured he'd be cool with the the all-out version of Mission:Space. While the rest of us opted for the Green queue line, he joined Brendan and Laura in Orange. OMGosh, what an experience! During the ride, Laura could hear him lamenting over and over..."I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't like this! "When it finally concluded, he stepped out of the ride and walked right into a wall! Nope, no astronaut aspirations for him. This page features the brave crew BEFORE boarding the "death chamber".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Star Tours

The longer we stood in the queue, the more warning signs we read. Eventually, Julie chickened out...and Tommy stayed behind "to keep her company". The rest of us had an exciting adventure on the flight simulator, modeled after those that are used to train astronauts and pilots. With all the dips, turns, twists, and climbs, it actually felt like we were dodging asteroids and swooping down on extra-terrestrial landscapes. Later that same day, we rode again and the scenario presented was completely different from the one experienced earlier. How cool!

The papers from October Afternoon's Rocket Age were perfect for this layout about our "ride through space".

Since I hadn't bought any of the embellishments for this line, I decided to make my own decorative bottlecaps.

Supplies: Patterned paper-October Afternoon. Label and word stickers-October Afternoon. Corrugated letters-Jillibean Soup. Felt letters-American Crafts. Glitter star-Junkitz. Small stars-KI Memories.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Remember This?

Facebook Flair! Remember when these faux buttons adorned everyone's profile page? It was kind of like collecting bumper stickers and slapping them all over your car...only more easily removed. Some of my favorites are the "i-Bob", Blue Dog, and Cookie Monster sitting in front of his PC, utterly alarmed at the message saying "DELETE COOKIES"!

They're gone from Facebook now, but I captured a screen shot of my "Flair Board" before they disappeared, with the precise intent to scrapbook this phenomenon. And that's just what I did, using papers almost as colorful as my buttons.

Patterned paper-BasicGrey, October Afternoon. Flowers-Prima Marketing. Letter stickers-Doodlebug Designs Inc. Chipboard letters-American Crafts. Flourish border-KI Memories. Other-dye ink, extra-large brads.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama

Christopher's new home-away-from-home is quite the space! Four guys share a generous kitchen and simply furnished living-dining area, complete with microwave, full size refrigerator, lots of cabinet space-for what, I wonder? And they each have their own bedroom! He's on the ground floor, so no waiting for elevators or hiking up and down stairs. I can't think of a more perfect arrangement.

Also, his dorm is only half a block away from the newest dining hall which operates more like a food court, with areas for various types of cuisine, all included in his dining plan. Choices include Asian, pizza, fruit and salad, pastas, baked potatoes, veggies and meats, drinks and desserts. When eating there during freshmen orientation one evening, the manager came around hawking "FRESH ROLLS, GET YOUR FRESH CINNAMON ROLLS!" We didn't even have to get up from the table. Tray in hand, he was passing them out, hot from the oven, with tongs. Can you say "freshman fifteen"?!

And the campus. Tradition and beauty all mixed up together.

Oh, and then there's football. It's expected that Alabama and LSU are going to be the big SEC contenders, one of which could have a shot at going to the Sugar Bowl, which is the BCS championship this year. Exciting times at Alabama. Roll Tide!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Best Salmon Ever

When Kevin was about 2 or 3 of age, we discovered that he liked salmon. It was a pretty weird fare for a picky toddler who otherwise existed on more simpler foods like Cheerios and chicken nuggets. But whenever we served it for dinner, he ate it, in spite of the slightly fishy smell pervading the kitchen! I would rub the fish down with a little olive oil and generously sprinkle lemon-pepper on top before baking. It was a favorite of everyone at our house.

And then I tasted Salmon in Bermuda. Maybe we were just extremely hungry after hiking the Railway Trail that morning. Whatever the reason, this citrusy relish-topped salmon from a little counter service eatery in Hamilton could well be "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"!* I would LOVE to know all the ingredients that were used, and I even tried googling recipes that I thought might be similar. No such luck. I wish I could recreate this dish at home, but I will have to settle for the memory instead.

Supplies: Patterned paper-BasicGrey (Out of Print collection), Letter stickers-BasicGrey, KI Memories, Corrugated letters-, Felt leaves-Making Memories, Fiber, Dye ink, tag, burlap.

*There's a show by this name on the Food Network, a channel that is on at our house almost as often as Disney. Tommy is a cooking show aficionado!

Friday, August 12, 2011

100 Days of Summer-NOT

I WISH there were 100 days of "summer"! Alas, summer, as defined by Kevin, is from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next, and there are only 74 days between the two. 74 days of relaxing, unstructured freedom. Days to fill with swimming and board games (Bananagrams and Spongebob Monopoly are faves), a vacation to the beach (Disney this year), sleeping in and staying up late. Days without school. And in case I didn't emphasize it enough, DAYS WITHOUT SCHOOL! Yep...100 such days would be nice, but I'm sorta looking forward to the routines of fall. (Did I say that?!)

Supplies: Patterned paper-Simple Stories (100 Days of Summer collection), BasicGrey, Lace cardstock-KI Memories, Stickers-Simple Stories, Bingo Card-Jenni Bowlin, Chipboard letters-American Crafts, Letter stickers-BasicGrey.

The two little girls in the photos below are my daughters, now 28 and 30! I recently came across these photos from a company "picnic" on the beach in Biloxi. The kids swam in the murky gulf water while the adults played volleyball in the sand. Fun times.

Supplies: Patterned paper-Simple Stories (100 Days of Summer collection), BasicGrey, diecut paper-BasicGrey, flower-Prima, dye ink.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lollipop Flowers

The whole family, my sisters and brother, our spouses and kids, all dressed up as hippies for Mardi Gras this year. During a break in the parades, Kevin posed with his cousins and a friend, hamming it up for the camera. I scrapped the picture with cool papers from the Basic Grey "Out of Print" collection. After assembling the page, and scattering a dozen or so punched flower embellishments over the top, it just didn't seem complete. The little flowers were cute, but not substantial enough. "Hmmm..." I thought, "maybe I could make some of those lollipop flowers I'd been admiring on other people's pages!" And I did. Sooo easy. Instructions: Cut out circles of varying sizes from patterned paper. Ink edges. Wet edges slightly and bend upwards. Let dry. Layer and finish off with a button.

I'll be making these whimsical, fun flowers again!

Patterned paper-Basic Grey (Out of Print, Wander, and Oxford Collections). Edge punch, flower punch, dye ink, mini-brads, ribbon, and heart pins.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New York, New York

On our first afternoon at Walt Disney World, we arrived slightly early for our reservation at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant so decided to take a short walk down the "Streets of America". The forced perspective of this scene is so cool! The background of buildings is actually a two dimensional "cutout", with painted facades. Step back and it is a realistic portrayal of the New York skyline. Although I didn't capture the entire scene in my photo, I was able to add my own illusion by extending the buildings onto the page using the various patterned papers. As for the rear-view photo of the family, let it be known...if you don't stop for a picture, I'll shoot your butt! ;)

I entered this layout in a contest at 2Peas and won stuff from one of my favorite companies, BasicGrey! Yeah!

Supplies: Patterned paper, chipboard letters, chipboard sign, and rub-ons-BasicGrey, Chipboard apple-Maya Road, Chipboard car-Cosmo Cricket, Taxi brad-Karen Foster, Calendar-Jenni Bowlin, ribbon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

To the Moon!

I had no grand plans for this title, and was only looking for a nice mix of naked chipboard letters when I stumbled upon an "0" that was long and skinny. Wow, what do you know, it was perfectly suited for a planetary ring!

Supplies: Patterned papers-BasicGrey, KI Memories. Chipboard letters-BasicGrey, Making Memories, and American Crafts'Thickers. Acrylic paint-Ceramcoat by Delta. Other-Spaceship pin, ephemera.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Triceratops Spin

On the day we went to Animal Kingdom, we hightailed it to Dinoland, expecting to ride Primevil Whirl, the calmer of the park's roller coasters. We arrived to find it boarded up, and down for maintenance. (I wondered why no one else was sprinting down the path behind us. They already knew!) So, while Laura set off to pick up Fast Passes for Expedition Everest, the more terrifying coaster, we had a leisurely spin on the "Tops", little dinosaur cars that went up and down, around and around...a tame ride to start the day, and one of the few on which Tommy would join us! Whee!

Supplies: Patterned paper-My Mind's Eye. Flowers-Prima Marketing. Chipboard letters-Basic Grey. Chipboard clock-Heidi Swapp. Flower punch, mini-brads, buttons.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tomorrowland Speedway

This wasn't on my list of to-do attractions, so when Laura, Julie and Kevin got in line to ride the cars at Tomorrowland Speedway, I took a seat in the grandstands and took pictures instead. Kevin was not thrilled with his experience. The pedal on the car was extremely difficult for him to press and steering provided yet another challenge. "I'll never be able to drive!" he lamented. I assured him that when the time comes, he will be taller, stronger and capable. We have a few years yet. Thank goodness.

Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey. Chipboard journaling spot-KI Memories. Cardstock letter stickers-Sticker Studio.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Temple Ruins

Disney's attention to detail fascinates me, especially at the Animal Kingdom theme park. Everywhere you turn, there are incredibly realistic interpretations of places near, far, or imaginary. In fact, the "Imagineering" is what sets this place apart from say, the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Along the Maharajah Jungle Trek, crumbling murals depict the history of Amandapur and its rulers. You can find the complete (his)story here. And as you walk the paths in the land of Asia, pay attention to the little things, such as the grouping of jugs and pitchers with a sign "Safe Water for Travelers", seen in the layout below.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Executive Designer Joe Rohde said "Detail is there to make you believe in the reality of the story you're immersed in." They have certainly achieved their goal. I didn't even realize there were REAL water fountains just below the cluster of vessels until I read about them in another of Shawn Slater's blog posts. To create such authentic detail, Disney designers actually went on location, researching Asian customs and practices. Now that's a job I'd love to have!

Supplies: Patterned paper and letter stickers-Basic Grey. Ribbon, lace, fiber, and buttons,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Tree of Life

A few years back, and apart from any planned Disney vacation, I picked up a book about the making of Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World Florida. It was a fascinating account, describing in detail how the park came together, along with its iconic symbol, the Tree of Life. Did you know that there are almost 400 animals carved into its cement exterior?! The animals seem to be born from the branches and trunk, taking life from the tree. And I guess that's how it got its name.

Looking back at this picture, I wish I had taken the time to zoom in on a few of the carvings, or photograph it from different angles. I kept thinking I'd have another opportunity to slow down and take more detailed photos. But it didn't happen. By the time we were heading back out the park, and past the towering tree, I was too tired to even look up. I'm glad I got this one nice shot!

Supplies: Patterned paper-Fancy Pants Design, Chipboard Tree and paper bird-Maya Road, Cardstock border stickers and journaling card-My Mind's Eye, Chipboard circles-Bazzill, and Chipboard letters-Basic Grey.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Magical Time

When the realty company called to tell us that the beach condo we had booked was being taken off the rental market, we were disappointed...for all of two minutes. I immediately set to work, trying to figure out if we could "do Disney". Could we manage it logistically and economically? The older kids were psyched and ready to chip up for their airfare. Kevin was ecstatic. Chris was planning a trip with some of his classmates, leaving a couple of days after graduation...for WDW! His trip would overlap ours. We were able to book a family suite at the All Star Music resort. It all came together...and we had a magical time.

When we returned, I checked in with the group at Disney Scrappers just in time for some challenges, the perfect incentive to get busy and get scrapping. Below are the first two pages documenting our trip.

The proprietor's warning sign at Kali River Rapids had me laughing...and convinced dh to stay behind (with my camera)! But I did manage to snap this photo of scenery before getting into the queue for our wet ride. Supplies: Patterned paper-Cosmo Cricket, Basic Grey, Chipboard letters-Basic Grey, calendar card-My Mind's Eye, Cardstock stickers-Little Yellow Bicycle, Sassafras, corrugated cardstock, twine, bottlecap, rubber stamps, and tag.

Hands down our favorite WDW show was Finding Nemo, the musical. There was such an amazing multi-tasking crew of performers. They played the role of actor, singer, and puppeteer...and did so beautifully. It's not to be missed! Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey (Lauderdale), Cardstock letter stickers, Foam fish-American Crafts, tag-KI Memories, rub-on letters, sequin trim, fiber, lace, brads, flower punch, and heart pin.

Inspiration in a Box

...a priority box. After digging deep into my stash these last few months, I've rewarded myself with a few new supplies, just in time for summer scrapping. First up, the Margarita collection by American Crafts, perfect accompaniment for my vivid pictures from Bermuda. Love these brightly colored and shimmery accented double sided papers. The page is embellished with all sorts of things from my stash-American Crafts foam accents, felt flowers, an MME deco brad, a KI Memories acrylic tile, and metal letters from Making Memories. The flip-flops were rescued from a cake top!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation Get-Away

Finally, I scrapped a couple of photos from LAST year's beach vacation and they are two of my favorites! It was fun mixing patterns and colors on my page, Pit Stop. Along with a photo from inside the restaurant, I included another one of the sign out front. Its colors inspired papers that I chose. An old technique fave was revisited: painting, sanding, and antiquing chipboard. Pen-stitching gives everything a bit more dimension. Fun stuff! Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey, October Afternoon, and Bella Boulevard, Letter stickers-Basic Grey, Chipboard letters-American Crafts, Chipboard accent-Jenni Bowlin, Postcard journaling card-October Afternoon, chipboard-Maya Road and more, bottlecap, label.

My son...and his quirky ideas! Kevin explained to us one day why certain birthdays are more special than others (in his mind). And it's mostly about being old enough for certain privileges. I've had the journaling on my desk for a couple of years and am finally getting it documented! LOVE how this number paper works here. It's also a good use for this random beach picture without going beachy. And, if you haven't noticed, bottlecaps are becoming my trademark accent. Love them! Supplies: Patterned paper and cardstock stickers-Cosmo Cricket, ticket-Jenni Bowlin, tags, and rubber stamps.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Catching Up

School's out for summer! (Can't you hear the Alice Cooper anthem?!) A little more than 9 months ago, Kevin was heading off to his first day of 5th grade. I snapped these photos of his smiling face and scrapped them recently. Supplies: Patterned paper, cardstock stickers-October Afternoon, chipboard-Maya Road, chipboard letters-American Crafts, acrylic accent-KI Memories, and buttons.

A couple of years ago, we evacuated for a hurricane, spent an interminable two days in a hotel and couldn't wait to get home, even though our house had no electricity. Home sweet home! Supplies: Patterned paper-, acrylic shape-Maya Road.

Now that Kevin is a Boy Scout, I'm missing the twice yearly family-centered Cub Scout campouts. Sniff-sniff. These pictures are from our last campout before his "graduation". Supplies: Patterned paper-Cosmo Cricket, October Afternoon, Ribbon-KI Memories.

Our little Super Hero shows off his web-throwing skills as Spiderman. Supplies: Patterned paper and journal block-October Afternoon, Bingo card, month card, and letter stickers-Jenni Bowlin, cardstock sticker-Sassafras, chipboard letters-American Crafts, brads and ribbon.

Whew...still going strong and scrapping from the stash.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Four More

I've been wanting to do this FOREVER...take leftover letter stickers and collage them on a page. I love how it turned out and can't wait to try it again...maybe in a shape next time! Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey, Bingo card, chipboard button-Jenni Bowlin, Cardstock stickers-Sassafras, letter stickers-Basic Grey and more.

Boy pages can be pretty too! Especially when the pictures include rainbow colored bubbles! Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey, October Afternoon, Transparency frame-My Mind's Eye, Foam and chipboard letters-American Craft, Acrylic sticker-KI Memories, Flowers-Prima, ribbon, and heart pins.

Easter morning and it's all about the candy! Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey and The Girls' Paperie, Cardstock letters-Basic Grey, Flowers-Prima, Chipboard "K" accent-Sassafras, Acrylic sticker-KI Memories, ticket stub-Jenni Bowlin, metal egg accents, buttons, ribbon, and flower pin.

Monday, April 25, 2011


So many weddings! Life's come full circle as nieces, nephews, and friend's children are all getting married, all at the same seems. Already this year, we have been to three wedding ceremonies, have one this weekend, and another two this summer! A few weeks ago, we went to a gorgeous affair at Holy Name of Jesus, complete with a small orchestra providing the church music. But the absolute best idea for fun and memories was a photobooth at the reception. How cool! Guests took turns donning hats and masks and other props, then having their photos taken in the booth. One strip of pictures went into the couple's book and the other the guests took home for themselves. Here's what I did with ours:

Supplies: Patterned paper-Basic Grey, KI Memories, Sassafras, October Afternoon. Letter stickers-Basic Grey, Jenni Bowlin. Chipboard elements-Cosmo Cricket, KI Memories. Label stickers-October Afternoon, Jenni Bowlin, Sassafras. Card-Sassafras.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blast from the Past!

Aside for the occasional piece of cardstock, I haven't spent a dime on scrapbooking supplies since the middle of last year. And it's not a problem. After several years of DT work, my stash is overflowing with papers and embellishments perfectly suited for today's pages. I am out to prove that you don't have to have the latest and greatest to put together fun and pretty layouts. Here are a few of my favorite recent creations.

White space. Always a problem for me...because I want to fill it up! The clean and sparse style is not my forte. But looky here; I did it! And I've put to good use a trio of fabric rosettes given to me by scrapping friend, card-maker extraordinaire, Nancy Thomas. Thanks Nancy! Papers,journaling cards-October Afternoon. Chipboard letters-American Crafts. Ticket-Jenni Bowlin.

Believe it or not, the bright rainbow colored background papers are from an old MME Christmas collection! Topped with overlapping strips of various sized Sassafras papers they take on a brand new look. Sheer letters-Heidi Swapp. Fabric letters-American Crafts.

Assembling this page was a real blast from the past! At the bottom of a drawer of supplies, I found those old acrylic Junkitz letter discs and the metal art dragonfly. The distressed metal was coated with acrylic paint and rubbed off slightly with my fingers. The flowers are a combination of ancient artifacts from Prima, Heidi Swapp, Imaginesce, and a flower punch. Remember those HS sheers?! The mini brads are from one of those famous LM swaps. Sigh. Good times. Patterned paper-My Mind's Eye, Scenic Route. Fabric letters-American Crafts

My old scrapping friends might remember some of the elements on this page. Most are repurposed from old design team work: the Christmas tree and poinsettia from a card, the woven paper heart from an ornament! LM projects reborn!

I can't even remember the company name, but the patterned papers and coaster board elements on this page have to be 7-8 years old. Yikes. Why did it take me so long to use them?!

Stay tuned. You never know what I am going to find and use next!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Back to Spinning

The final test. I went to my first spinning class since surgery...and it was great! I seemed to get a good range of motion, even better than when I was on the bike at physical therapy. I could set my seat height same as before and it felt like old times. Yeah!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Closer to Fine

At over two months out, the knee is great. Although I'm still attending physical therapy twice a week, I should be "graduating" soon. Then it will be all on me to keep up the strength and flexibility that I've accomplished. I'll have to get over the fact that it will never bend to the degree that a normal knee will, but I'm told that with 130 degrees (the maximum that I've mastered, and possibly the maximum that this knee is capable of bending) I can do most things necessary in everyday climb up and down stairs comfortably, ride a bike (back to Spinning!), etc. There's still some swelling and the numbness of my shin is looking more and more like it's permanent, but I can only hope that my left TKR has as great a resolution.

Physical therapy additions:
*Eliptical-10 minutes. When I began, the PTA asked if the resistance was too hard...or too easy. It seemed doable. A few minutes later, whew! It was really quite a workout.
*Stair stepping-Up and down, 25 reps, slowly, leading with left leg, working the quad.
*Balance and strength- stand on left leg, slight bend, 1 minute x3. Look ma, no hands!

Therapist insists that I should continue to ice the knee. Brrrr. In this weather?! At night, I just stick it out from under the blanket and it's cooled down naturally. LOL! I must remember to take time out during the day and use the ice.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A New Normal

I'm beginning to "forget" about my knee at times. Which is a good! Walking is pretty much back to normal, with no limping or favoring one knee or the other. You wouldn't even know I'd had surgery except for the 6 inch scar. The only things that slow me down are stairs and getting in and out of the car when the seat is pulled up. Stairs are pretty easy going up. I can take the steps alternating legs, without hanging onto the rails. Going down is another matter. Shallow steps are no problem but steps such as those outside my back door cause the knee to bend more than is comfortable. I take them gingerly while holding onto the rails.

I recently reduced physical therapy to twice a week, in order to "save" days for the right knee replacement, in case I schedule it for the fall. I feel like I've accomplished most of the goals set forth, and can do further strengthening on my own. Once released I'll take my exercises to the gym at Elmwood and work out a work-out.

It's official. My knee length discrepancy is 2.5 cm. or approximately 1 inch. That's quite significant, so I had a of heel lift made for my right shoe. Sidney Stokes, of Fit Feet, measured me and created the custom cork-like lift. The lift itself is NOT 1 inch. 1 inch is undoable. It wouldn't work with most shoes, and would probably be a bit uncomfortable. Instead, it's about 1 1/2 cm. Now I feel a lot better balanced. Hopefully when the next knee is done it will even things out and result in legs that are closer to the same length!

Problems that I am still experiencing at 7 weeks:
*Swelling. It's not uncomfortable, but the left ankle seems to have disappeared for good. Even after a night's sleep, the swelling remains.
*Numbness and hypersensitivity. The left side of the left leg is still extremely numb in places (and may be like that for good). The hypersensitivity doesn't seem to be as severe. I've decided to slowly decrease and then discontinue the Lyrica that I've been taking for the nerve ending pain so that I can see if it is getting better or if it is the medicine that is keeping it in check.
*The unexpected appearance of a dark purple line directly under the skin of the scar, which may have been caused by a tiny ruptured blood vessel. After a week, it is hardly noticeable.
*That "band around the knee" feeling that I've heard mentioned on TKR health boards is still there. It is really weird. It feels like someone has placed a think rubber band around the knee. It's not painful, but a very strange feeling for sure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My PT Workout

A couple of easy days later, swelling is under control. Thank goodness, since this morning's physical therapy was quite a workout and lasted 1 1/2 hours. I thought I'd try to list the exercises we did today, which included a couple of new ones:

*First, ice on the knee, with a pad under my heel, with slight electrical stimulation, designed to relax the knee, reduce swelling, and prepare me for the workout to follow.
*Next, several minutes of biofeedback, 10 seconds of working the quad (intensely pressing the back of the knee into the table) followed by 10 seconds of rest.
*Not sure of the name of this next machine. It's sort of like a stepper. I step down with the tkr leg, pushing it back until it locks, holding for a few seconds. Then I push down with the other leg. Repeats for 6 minutes.
*10 minutes on the bike. No resistance. Simply meant to loosen up and work the bend. It's kinda hard to get the seat at the right height for the pedals and NOT stress the knee on the upstroke. Ouch. But it gets easier as the time progresses. I usually try to get a bit of an aerobic workout with this exercise. It's just 10 minutes but it's better than nothing!
*With this next exercise, the knee pushes against a pad with moderate resistance. Straighten, hold for a few seconds with knee locked, then bend. 3 sets of 10.
*The same machine is then set to do hip abductor exercises for the tkr leg. Push leg out to the side, bring back down slowly. 3 sets of 10.
*Since my quad is getting stronger, they have added in the machine where you lie back and push with your legs against a resistance. 3 sets of 10.
*I refer to this next exercise as self-torture. For some reason they have replaced the machine that bends the knee with a do-it-yourself routine. I lie on my stomach and hold a strap that is slipped over the shoe of my tkr leg. I pull the leg towards my buttocks, holding the knee at an uncomfortable stretch for 10 seconds, then slowly lower the leg to the table. This self-torture is repeated for several minutes.
*The leg curl is an easy one, but only if I'm on the right machine. For some reason, the "other" machine causes my knee to "pop". 30 reps on this and then calf stretches. With a strap hooked over the toes of both shoes, pull back for 10 seconds, and relax. Repeat for 3 minutes.
*Another new one, this exercise involves walking backwards (with a strap and moderate weight) for a few paces (until the end of the rope so to speak), then walk slowly forward. The backwards walk works the knee which is straightened pulling back until locked against the weight. Walking forward works on balance as the weight is pulling on the one knee while walking towards the machine. 15 repetitions took probably 15 minutes. Whew...I could really feel this one on the back of the leg!
*Finally, time to ice the knee and work the quad with electrical stimulation of the muscle.

After such an intense therapy session, Tommy was surprised to see me doing my at-home exercises this evening. LOL!

Saw "god" today. My surgeon. The guy I've only seen three times in my life for probably a total of 10 minutes (not counting the time he spent in surgery with me unconscious)! And I'm being generous. I am so used to NOT seeing him, that I had already asked the PA all my questions and was getting ready to leave, when she said, "Hang on, he'll be in to see you in a few minutes". Huh? And he really did come in to see me. Looked at the scar, pushed the kneecap around a bit, had me straighten and lift, then bend to my maximum. Everything looked fine, fine enough that I don't see him for 6 months!

Oh, and now I am a card-carrying metal detector setter off-er. When I cause the alarms to go off at the airport, I'll have a card to show the TSA employee who will be eyeing me quite suspiciously and take me off to be searched anyway. I'm sure it will be fun.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas and New Year's was a busy week. I managed to attend three physical therapy sessions and did a lot of work each time. Flexion has reached 130 and from what I've heard various manufacturer's replacement knees have a limit. I wonder what mine happens to be??? So we are no longer concentrating on the bending part. It's the straightening and strength of my quad that apparently still needs work. So we work.

And just when I'm feeling pretty good, I do too much. We attended a wedding the night before New Year's Eve. On my feet a lot that day, I went to bed with a pretty swollen leg and woke up with it not much better. But I couldn't afford to stay off of it on this day of all days. We had so much to do to prepare for our NYE party that night. First, we made a WalMart run before the crowds got too bad. Arrived home and wanted to just sit back and relax a bit before the real cleanup and food prep began. But no, a new problem. I seemed to have developed a UTI. On NYE of all days, when none of my doctors are in their offices. I had to go to an urgent care center to get a Rx. Sure don't want a raging infection of the urinary tract to compromise my new knee. A week of Ciprofloxacin should do the trick.

Now...back to preparing for our party. Roasts to cook. Table to set. (Thankfully the silver serving pieces had tarnished little over the year and we let go of that chore.) Cleaning house required most of my effort. Vacuum, "swiffer", dust, straighten. By 8 o'clock, and the arrival of our first guests, I was already pretty tired, but still had to cut the roasts and make the gravy! The next three hours were pretty much a blur. The roasts, although a surprise substitution, were a hit. Last year's guests who were making a return visit were expecting Tommy's gumbo. LOL!

We had a nice crowd. Friends and family. Plenty food. Sparklers and fireworks. And a grumpy old maid neighbor threatening to call the sheriff's office. Hahaha. Nothing new. Except by 11:40, after a few of our guests had departed, we agreed that we must be getting old because here it was not yet midnight and we were slowly fading too. I was exhausted. Later, when everyone had gone home, Tommy sent me to bed too, and he did the rest of the cleanup. I couldn't have managed. I hope I can recover sufficiently for physical therapy on Monday.