Reclined Like a Roman: Talus Recovery (Weeks Five & Six)

Sorry its been so long, but here are some details from my weeks 5 and 6 post injury, and the week 3 and 4 after surgery.

I was able to get out a few times, but only with “toes above the nose” which by far has been my least favorite phrase throughout the recovery process. This, for you non injured folks, means reclining such that not only is my foot elevated, but it is elevated so much that your toes are higher than your nose. It really isn’t fun, but I appreciate how it decreased pain and swelling.

My main adventure of week 5 was visiting my family in Maryland. Most years my husband’s family gathers for a family reunion, and this year it was in Maryland. It turned out that the majority of the family was going to be there, so we decided to make the 4-5 hour drive. We didn’t make the car ride pleasantly.

I was in the back seat propped up with pillows, while the dog took my seat. I quickly realized that this made me sick so I took my first Dramamine. It definitely could have been worse, but I learned for the way home that you want to have a pillow under yourself as well. When you sit at that angle you aren’t sitting on the plush part of your tush, just fyi.

The reunion was amazing. I was in a wheel chair but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself. I played corn hole (not placing any foot on my injured foot by the way). Ate yummy food. Rediscovered an appreciation for Maryland crabs (you can totally eat the legs). Took lots of pictures, including with my cousin who also had an injury. It was fun to people watch from my wheel chair and DSLR.

 

Week #6 was about reclining with my brother and his new wife! I hadn’t seen my brother since 2014. He volunteered to come visit so I could meet his bride. I didn’t know what to expect and she humbled me by being such a kindred spirit. :0)

We spent time playing pokemon go, raiding and defeating legendary birds (I actually captured one), he treated me to giant yummy pizza, and a fun trip to michaels. It was pretty wonderful. We haven’t maintained the best connection the past few years, but I’m excited to see what the future brings.

 

Kissed an Alpaca in Amish Country

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This was another year where I did not have the chance to leave the country, but I was able to visit an Amish community and appreciate their culture. Husband and I drove to his hometown area to watch friends be wedded, so my mother in law, and sister in law decided to visit Amish country.

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Of course, you aren’t allowed to take their pictures, so I made sure to bring my pancake lens. The children all scurried away from me anyways whenever the camera would point in their direction (when I wasn’t paying attention).

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One of the first places we visited was a toy shop. We were some of the only customers. After exploring and making our purchases the shop owner decided to have fun with us. He had made these contraptions meant to play tricks/gags on people. I didn’t play along, I struggle with being made to look silly, but my sister in law was nice enough to try to figure the puzzles out.

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The area was absolutely beautiful. There were houses on hills, around dirt roads. It was a quiet area, and it felt like we were in another country.

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We also made sure to visited a quilt shop. We spoke with the shop owner at length while we browsed the items. The handmade items were gorgeous and made with intricate detail. While browsing I kept thinking about how my best friends would be moving to a different state soon taking their 2 year old (now 3 year old) with them. I was heart broken, so I kept picking out presents for her. I mentioned this to the shop owner, and she shared about how her children were moving to a different house further in the area, and she was also sad that she would not see her grand children as often. Sure, my friend was moving states away, and her family was only moving a few miles away, but due to their limited technology the distance would feel the same. It was neat to share that despite our cultural differences.

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In the area, not owned by the Amish was an Alpaca farm. We toured the pens, learning everything that we could ever think to ask about Alpaca’s. The owner teased us into kissing them, and of course my sister in law and I couldn’t resist the photo opportunity!

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I’d never been up close to an Alpaca before, and I was struck by how laid back their personalities were. There were some young ones, cousins, and if the babies went to the other mothers they’d spit at them, so that was entertaining to watch.

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And of course, we couldn’t leave without getting some yummy handmade fudge!

I hope 2016 also has some fun travels :0)

Experienced a Flamethrower

Another “Favorite Unblogged Moment of 2015”

When our anniversary plans were altered at the Outerbanks because of Hurricane Joaquin, we did a small outing together, but decided to post pone our celebration.

Locally there is a large tank museum that we’ve wanted to see, and husby shared that the weekend we planned to celebrate our 6th anniversary, they were doing a flamethrower demonstration. At first I hesitated, daydreaming about a romantic fall venture complete with facebook profile picture worthy photo shoot, but then I realized that likely husband would have the most fun watch the flame throwers, and I was going to enjoy best whatever he was actually interested in, as I obtain so much of my energy from authentic enjoyment. But that is what marriage is about, right, compromise?

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The museum’s controlled attitude was a surprise, as we laughed at all of the signs and that the flash of my camera would hurt the tanks, but embraced our adventure.

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We watched the flamethrower demonstration, and it was sobering to think of its use in war.

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Our adorable anniversary photo? Totally on a tank. Didn’t you know the 6th anniversary is customarily tanks?

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Marveled at a Lindsey Stirling Concert

Another in the “Favorite 2015 Unblogged Moments” series.

Randomly, I discovered Lindsey Stirling and her unique sound of dubstep beats mixed with classic violin via Pandora, and she’s been on of my favorite artists since. Her story of overcoming a horrible critic during America’s Got Talent, is inspiring.

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In 2015 I was lucky enough to attend one of her concerts in Charlottesville, plus it was a fun opportunity to grab a meal with friends that live in the area. We ate at Citizen Burger.

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Our friends brought their dog with them, so we decided to try to eat outside on the patio, braving the mean looking skies. We figured, hey, there are umbrellas, right? And we were warned by the wait staff that we could be outside as long as it wasn’t windy enough to take down the umbrellas.

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Well, a few minutes later, and ALL THE RAIN happened. We ended up sitting across a couple we didn’t know in an effort to have everyone seated quickly so we could make it to the concert. I was incredibly nervous, especially as the most extroverted of the remaining of us (the guy went to return their dog to their home). We made some small talk, discovered they were also going to the concert, it was fun.

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I really enjoyed the opening performances, though I’d never heard of EchoSmith before I was quickly singing “wish that I could like like the cool kids…”

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The excitement to see Lindsey Stirling perform was palpable. I’d only brought my small pocket camera, fearing the predicted rain. This turns out, was a very wise decision as the water flowed down the sloped amphitheater.

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I pushed my way to the side front to snap some better pictures. I found myself down there when one of the dancers through some sort of black cloth towards the audience. I believe it was some sort of clothing prop. Somehow I managed to catch the thing! My victory was short lived as another guy also co-caught it at the same time. I tried to persuade him to let me have it, playing the girl card, but the girl that seemed to be the leader of his small group also decided to paw at it. I realized that they were never going to let it go, so I resigned myself to have a fun story to tell, rather than a physical object. Le sigh.

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It was incredible to see the concert with my best friend R-Belle as she kept fangirling over all of the dancers. I learned that many of them had recently been on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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Turning the flash off, and snapping quickly to hoping to freeze the motion, I managed to get some fun pictures.

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I hope to get to see her again in concert, and definitely upgrading to the meet and greet VIP package.

 

 

Celebrated the 71st Anniversary of DDay

Another post in the “Favorite Unblogged 2015 Moments” series.

My in laws tend to visit in June when they can, and we found ourselves near the DDay Memorial on the 71st Anniversary! I was excited about a fun opportunity, despite that husband was leery of the crowds. We visited later in the day and enjoyed the special events taking place. We missed the music and speakers, but there were still tents and many other things to explore.

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I think you’ll be able to tell from the pictures that husband actually ended up having the most fun of all of us on that very hot and sunny day. He enjoyed scoping out all of the different artillery.

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Plus, it was a fun chance to test out my new Tamron 24-70 2.8 lens. Apparently, working has its perks, even if it takes me away from fun things like blogging.

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This is BY FAR my favorite picture of the day, my husby, he’s kind of handsome.

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A friend of ours in the National Guard had the opportunity to travel to Normandy France for the 70th anniversary celebration ta-d0. I enjoy his stories of meeting people who lived there through the experience, and he enjoyed his trip so much that he plans to return for the 75th anniversary. This means I’ve got a couple more years to talk husby into it and save up!

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Watched Otters Play at Maymont

This is part of the “favorite moments of 2015 that I never blogged about” series. Once upon a time I started this thing called a career and since then I haven’t quiet figured out balance between work and personal life.

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In January we always find ourselves in Richmond lobbying the capitol on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. With my love for adventure and travel I’ve been able to convince hubby to have us visit a stay a day early in order to explore. This past January we visited Maymont, detailed as “an American estate” I was curious about the animals and gardens on the 100 acre area.

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It was slightly misty, rainy when we arrived, but we enjoyed it anyways!

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There were all kinds of animals to enjoy, though many of them I couldn’t get good pictures of since I hadn’t brought my longer lens, the black bear and bald eagles were further away.

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Inside one of the buildings is a petting zoo, despite that most of the animals weren’t out and about because of the rainyish weather.

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Husby and I walked around in the Nature Center, exploring it like children. It was entertaining to watch him and capture fun moments to digital film.

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Husby was trying to get the fish to follow his face, and I’m pretty sure it did!

My favorite moment at all during the day was watching the otter play. A young boy had brought a soccer ball with him, and rolling it around, discovered that the otter interacted with him, and pawed at the glass to get the ball. It was one of those moments as a photographer that you hope for, I couldn’t get enough pictures of the otter displaying his famed personality :0).

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In that one, you can just see his sad little puppy dog eyes as he couldn’t get to the ball and really play with the little boy.

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Otter paws! The otter would press its paws against the glass, before spinning/turning around, and zooming in the other direction.

I can’t wait to find myself in Richmond again soon so I can explore Maymont some more! In googling the website again they seem to offer animal encounters now, even more specialized animal experiences! I might need to add some of these to my 2016 list!

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Reviewed My 2014 Travels

Unlike any other year, because of my brief stint in a full time soul-consuming job, I became behind in my life documentation practices (both scrapbooking and blogging). Also posts were delayed due to taking thousands of pictures with the DSLR in each trip that required sorting and editing.

The main thing that sticks out to me about 2014 were all of my amazing opportunities to travel across the United States! I traveled more this past year than I have in many years, even if I never left the country. And in these travels, it wasn’t just about the places I got to see, or the ways in which I was entertained, I was changed by my experiences in these new locales. Plus, I was able to deepen my relationships with others in the process.

So here is the list and review of all of those wonderful memories that I’m finally posting about (in chronological order):

January: Richmond-Lobby Day, Walked Richmond’s Canals

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February: Florida- Fallen in Love with the Emerald Coast, Fed Penguins at the Gulfarium, Piloted a Ship, Been Snowed-In in Florida

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Arizona- Discovered Desert Beauty, Toured Old Town ScottsdaleVisited My Mom in Arizona

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May: Visited New York City, Toured Chinatown and Little Italy, Seen Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway

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SummerBeen Pickpocked at the Fair

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SeptemberExplored Manteo in OBX

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October: Staycationed at Smith Mountain Lake

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NovemberNature-walked with Family

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December: Celebrated My 27th Birthday, Pet a Penguin at Busch Garden’s Christmas Town, Christmas Towned at Busch Gardens,

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Upstate NY- Christmas’d in Upstate New York in 2014, Toured the Zippo Case Museum

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Here is to traveling with you in 2015 (in a more timely manner of course)!

Visited the Zippo Case Museum

Because I get a little stir crazy during vacations my Italian Mama Bama coordinated with the husband to plan a quick day trip. We went to Bradford, PA to see the Zippo/Case museum. This was a fun trip for my hubby and siblings when they were kids. PLUS, I’m kind of afraid of lighters. (I know so weird, since I’m not afraid of firearms). So we thought it would be fun to get me a nice lighter to get acquainted with :0).

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It is a small museum, but fun to walk through. I had no idea the type of legacy that zippo lighters have. There were many examples of lighters lasting through the wars being inscribed with personal information of soldiers. It was neat to think about what those lighters had witnessed in foxholes overseas.

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Plus, there were all kinds of decorated Zippos with famous musicians and cute Mickey designs.

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A fun family trip.

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Christmas Towned at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens would open for Christmas festivities when I move away from the tidewater. BUT, in 2014 I finally got to go!

After an awesome time getting to meet a penguin, we explored Williamsburg, and then returned to the park.

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I’d read to get there early, and I would definitely agree with this. The rides have shorter lines, and the air is slightly less chilly for the wind in your face rides.

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It was sad to not revisit my roller coaster favs of Apollo’s Chariot and Loch Ness Monster, but it was great all the same.

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We purposely took our time, and I enjoyed having a photographer to take pictures since he didn’t enjoy the rides as much.

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The best time to photograph the lights is during the golden hour when the sun sets but there is still some light. However, husband and I ended up catching the Scrooge, No More show at this time, so whoops.

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The lights were pretty, even if challenging to photograph.

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I’m glad to say that we did the park trip up right. We took our time, circled the park once in daylight and another in the dark. We sat down and people watched over wassail, funnel cake, hot prezels, and hot chocolate. For the record, they sell hot chocolate everywhere at kiosks around the park, but if you want more options get your hot chocolate from the Cocoa Cafe in Holiday Hills.

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A fun date night, but somehow I neglected to get a picture of the both of us :-/.

Pet a Penguin at Busch Garden’s Christmas Town

For my birthday I pulled some leverage to swing a trip out to Busch Gardens. They offered flexible tickets for $12 for certain dates, and one of those happened to be the day after my birthday. Then, I used my cute blue puppy dog eyes to ask if we could visit with the penguins, and it worked!

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I tried not to get too excited about the experience, reviews online seemed mixed, and I knew there was no guarantees with temperaments from wild animals.

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We schedule the early meet and greet, which it turns out is usually the least booked. We arrived waaay early (obviously I was crazy excited).When the park employees waiting for us at the entrance told us that we were the only people on this tour I was proud that I managed to keep my shriek of joy on the inside level!

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Then, the animal trainers met us, and a crew of 6 of them and two of us walked back into the empty park. Once in the penguin area I saw the black footed penguins splashing about in their large aquarium, I was mesmerized.

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The trainers explained various facts about penguins. Luckily my husband was able to communicate with her. My brain just went “PENGUINS!” I was caught up in the adventure of tweaking my manual settings to captures these quick beauties. My new 50 mm lens was perfect!

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After a few minutes of education, the trainer asked if we were ready to meet a penguin. Then, OH MY GOODNESS, there was a cute little buddy who turned the corner.

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Immediately I decided to sit on the floor so I could watch this guy waddle around from a better vantage point. This guy was a magellanic penguin, named Jordan. Apparently, he is one of the most extroverted of the ambassador penguins on loan from the Seaworld parks.

 

At this point we were not allowed to pet the penguin, as he just gets to walk and waddle around us. Reaching out and petting him would have overwhelmed him. I had to hold my hands tightly in my lap not to reach out and cuddle him up!

Jordan the penguin waddled right up to investigate my husband. Husband had his arms crossed over his knees, and we’d seen what the penguin wanted when he cuddle up to the trainers; penguins like belly scratches. So husband moved his thumb ever so slightly on the penguin’s belly, and was rewarded with a happy penguin dance of flailing flippers. I only found this out later, but I mean the penguin was clearly asking for a pet.

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With the 50mm it was hard to get a better shot, being so close to my husband, so I relied on the Busch Garden’s photographer. Honestly, the best thing would be to video tape the encounter so you can just absorb the adorableness.

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Jordan the penguin walked around us for a little bit and we learned more about the personality of these ambassador penguins. The trainers said that they reminded them most like cats and that they have a tendency to chase laser lights around. Watching them waddle, and splash around, they reminded me more of dogs. They look like it a little when they scratch their heads with their feet.

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The trainer got Jordan comfortable and we posed for our picture while lightly petting his back. His tiny feathers were locked together and reminded husband and I of snake scales. It felt less fluffy and more of the smooth velvet of reptiles.

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You’d think after this encounter I could check experiences with penguins off my bucket list, but honestly I’m even more zealous to spend time with them. Seriously, can I just adopt one and raise it? Or is it too late to be an animal trainer? They did say that sometimes people have psychology degrees….I think I’ve found my backup career if counseling people doesn’t work out.

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