Friday, June 27, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

For the past few weeks, we were “hosting” an extra exchange student and her mother who was here visiting from Germany. The original host family asked her to leave when school was over so we invited them to stay with us. Some people just shouldn’t host! Although it turned out good for us, since they were an absolute pleasure to have around. Lots of fabulous German food was prepared (and I got some great recipes – mmmmmm, Mousse Chocolate) and they were ever so appreciative of anything we did for them.

Last weekend I made buttermilk pancakes – a quintessential American food – then we headed up to the Sawtooth Mountains for a hike. (Knee issues? What knee issues? Besides, the doctor told me I should be exercising, so it was kind of sanctioned by my medical provider, right?) The boys stayed home, my husband because he had a lot of things he wanted to get done around the house and my son because the last time he went on a road trip with a bunch of females he found himself having to say things like “My eyes can’t roll far enough back in my head to respond to that.”

On our way up to the mountains, we stopped for ice cream in Idaho City. On a whim, we went into the Rusty Spur Old Time Photo shop. We had an absolute blast dressing up as floozies and having our pictures taken. The business is run by Steve and Joyce Eason, who had their little granddaughter helping out that day. They were kind enough to let us take some shots with our own cameras after we had purchased the “official” picture, so we have quite a selection of silly pictures. Here’s the one taken by the Easons:


If you’re ever in Idaho City, I highly recommend a visit to the Rusty Spur. Worth every penny just for the giggles you get trying on the clothes!

The Sawtooths were absolutely beautiful, as always. We stopped by Redfish Lake for some pictures, went to the visitors’ center, and then headed for the Fishhook Creek trailhead. The two-mile-long Fishhook Creek trail is an easy hike, with a little bit of a climb at the beginning. The trail meanders along the creek through pine trees and an occasional aspen grove. There were plenty of wildflowers blooming – bright yellow mountain mules ear, lavender dwarf lupines and violets, delicate white phlox and blossoms on wild strawberry plants.


The trail ends at a lovely meadow at the foot of the mountains. We took the requisite pictures and then headed back – encouraged by a gang of mosquitoes that had taken up residence at the end of the trail. And us without our bug repellent! My knee held up pretty well until about the last half mile when it complained most vigorously about its overuse.

But the pretty? Was ever so worth the pain:


And getting to hear “Hakuna Matata” sung simultaneously in English, Italian and German was priceless.

We bid a sad farewell to our German guests. Hosting exchange students, be they your own for the year or someone else’s for an unexpected few weeks, is an awesome experience. Unfortunately, all that awesomeness just makes it so much harder to say goodbye. I am so not looking forward to next weekend’s departure of our sweet little Italian girl.

So, that’s the good and the bad. The ugly? Well, the MRI results are back and I apparently have a torn meniscus which requires surgery. Thankfully, it will only be an out-patient arthroscopic surgery. I’m hoping for a much easier recovery from this surgery than the last one, which involved not only ’scoping the front of my right knee, but opening up the back and removing a cyst. Arriving at the decision to leave the left knee’s cyst in place truly sucked, though. My doctor decided to inject painkiller into the front of my knee to determine whether I would still hurt in the back when the meniscus was taken care of. I’d feel a little pinch, he said. Liar, liar, pants on fire, I should have responded, in a very mature manner. HOLY CRAP THAT HURT. I cried like a baby. If you ever hear a doctor tell you an injection into your knee is not going to hurt very much, RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN! Oh, but that would be the problem, right? The inability to run.

So, exchange student going home on Sunday, and knee surgery on Wednesday. I’m really not looking forward to next week. Send chocolate.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

And nobody was chasing them!

My husband and daughter ran the Sawtooth Relay last weekend:



They were part of a six-person team and each member of the team ran two legs. The significant other ran the shortest distance - but he had to crest the summit at 8,701 feet (rated as "Very Hard" - gee, ya think?). That leg was 5.35 miles and had an elevation gain of 1,331 feet. In exchange for that, he got to run the finishing leg, which was the easiest segment of the race. The kid ran two "Moderate" legs. I do not think that word means what they think it means.

The race organizers have this to say about the relay:
The daylight course and start times provide teams with a view of the Sawtooth Mountains at dawn. The Stanley to Ketchum course will also provide spectacular views of the White Cloud Mountains to the east as participants wind their way south along the Salmon River. Don't miss the meadows of multi-colored wild flowers on each side of the highway along the Salmon River valley floor. Half way through the 62-mile course, participants will crest Galena Summit and view the Big Wood River drainage with vistas of the Pioneer and Boulder Mountain ranges.
Personally, I would have been way too busy trying NOT TO DIE to look at the views.

The only thing having to do with legs that I've participated in lately is an MRI of my left knee this morning. It is truly amazing how difficult it is to hold perfectly still while the machine is buzzing, humming and making knocking noises. I kept worrying I was moving too much by breathing and they'd have to start all over again. But I managed to breathe in a motionless enough manner and should have the results on Monday. Ah, aging. What fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As the scale turns

Holy cow! It looks like some folks have actually been checking in to see if there’s anything new here. And there’s been nothin’ but how many cannibals I can feed for over a week. Now, while that’s very helpful information for anyone who is looking to feed a bunch of cannibals, thought about traveling to Idaho to kidnap and cook me, and wanted to find out if it would be worth the effort, I guess it’s time I updated.

I’ve been avoiding discussing the whole Weight Watchers journey for awhile. Not only because I don’t want to turn this into some kind of food journal and description of every little bump in my journey (or giant mountain, as the case may be), but also because – well, I’ve been hiking up one of those giant mountains since I flew off to Colorado to visit my dad for the last time and it’s hard to admit it in writing for the world (*snort*) to see.

I’ve also been avoiding going to the meetings and getting on the scale so I don’t have to see either. Out of sight, out of mind, doncha know.

I've been eating pretty much whatever I want for the last six weeks, and I haven't been working out because of the arthritis in my left knee. It’s hard to work up any enthusiasm for climbing on the ol’ elliptical when it’s difficult to walk without limping. Never-you-mind that losing some weight might actually help diminish the pain. I’m not very logical when I’m cranky and hurting.

And yes, I would like some cheese with my whine, thankyouverymuch. Yummmmm, cheeeese.

You can see what I’m dealing with.

Well, since I’ve paid in advance for this session of the Weight Watchers at Work meetings, I decided it was time that I drag myself to the conference room for the weekly torture and get on the damn scale. I arrived a wee bit late so I had to wait until the end to get weighed. Now, Weight Watchers isn’t exactly like AA (“Hello, my name is Sharon and I’m a whale”), but we do have to go ‘round the table and talk during these meetings. I just couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm or positive outlook because I was simply dreading the number I was convinced I would see at the end of the meeting. I was downright petulant.

I’d only weighed in once since returning from Colorado and I had gained 1.6 pounds at that weigh-in. It’s been about three weeks since then and not a point has been counted in that time.

I actually lost .6 pounds. I was stunned. (In fact, I got off the scale and got back on because I was positive it had malfunctioned.) That means that I’m down a total of 15 pounds since I started this time around. Of course, if I’d been exercising and following the program I would be looking at a bigger loss now, but I’m just relieved I didn’t have a bigger gain. I may actually be motivated to start working the program again.

Beginning tomorrow.

Because today?

I had a sandwich to celebrate.