Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Toughin' Out Winter....

And Old Man Winter just keeps hanging on!

The temperature just keeps fluctuating, with front after front pushing through.  We have had some of the most bitter cold this season - seriously, lows in the single digits make it mighty hard to get moving in the mornings!

As we get into February, we have ice on the ground.  Granted, temps today edged up slightly above freezing, so everything is dripping.  But, it still cuts right through me every time I take the dogs out!  I cannot state emphatically enough...


Oh, so ready to work in the flower bed out front, cutting back the brown and tangled mums and lantana.  The large flower pot is filled with freezer burnt geraniums.  Leaves are piled up in the beds and we need a new layer of mulch.  I am eager to get my gloves on and get out the clippers and rake and get down in the dirt!

One side of the house is scraped, sanded and primed, just waiting for a fresh coat of paint.  All we need is warmer weather so we can get out there and get started.  This is a photo of the way we left it at the end of Summer.... not so good, to say the least!

Not only does the dreary weather affect me physically, but emotionally, as well.  Some days, I find that my outlook and mood are as gray as the day outside. 
I know that most of the rest of the county is also locked in this "deep freeze" pattern.  Are the gray and dreary days starting to wear on you this Winter?  Maybe if we all close our eyes and wish together, very hard, for Spring to come early, it will!  Who is with me in a concentrated effort to "wish" on Spring???
Stay warm, Friends!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting Into A Groove!

With the new year ticking away, I am struggling with getting back into some sort of a routine around here.  What with recovery from my total hip replacement and having a flexible work schedule (meaning, I've mostly been working from home the last six weeks), I am finding it difficult to re-establish a daily routine.

Oh, I know what I need to do.....without a doubt, I do!  

However, I find myself slipping into a routine that will need to be modified as I continue to heal and life returns to "normal".  I have fallen into the habit of sleeping until I wake up naturally most mornings.  Even though my room is situated on the southeast corner of the house, the sunlight doesn't even have me stirring until around 8:30 or 9:00.  This is probably due mostly to the fact that I have turned into a night owl - crawling into bed with a book or my laptop and reading long after the house is quiet and Eddie Dale and the pups are asleep and snoring.....

When I get up, my only thought is getting into the kitchen and starting that pot of coffee.  If I don't have an appointment outside the house, I find myself dawdling around.....I can easily spend an hour or more just settling in with a cup of coffee and checking e-mail and Facebook!  So, it's already mid-morning before I even think about showering, which seems to make me feel guilty about the dawdling.  Feeling like I need to get moving, I will skip doing my physical therapy at this premium time of day and move on into the showering/makeup process.  I've deliberately scheduled most of my physical therapy appointments in the afternoon so I can have my "pokey" mornings.  In the evenings, I will hang out in the recliner after dinner and watch television until at least 10:00 pm, then retire to bed and do that "reading thang" for hours!

In the last week, there have been some changes.  I have been getting out of the house more and more - not only for the physical therapy appointments, but to go to the office for a bit, even a run to the grocery store with Mom or lunch out with Eddie Dale.  A couple of days, my appointments have been earlier in the morning, so I've set my alarm and gotten up by 7:00 am.  It actually felt really good that I was able to get up and around and be on time.

Which brings me to where I am now -

I need to establish a routine, where I will be getting up each morning and having a cup of coffee and then moving right on in to my physical therapy time.  Getting moving and exercising loosens up the stiffness I feel after lying in bed all night; and it energizes me to boot.  So, I need to do that pretty quickly.  At the opposite end of the day, I need to get to bed at a reasonable hour each night and get enough sleep so that it feels "natural" to wake up earlier and still feel rested.  (No more reading til 1:00 or 2:00 am, as that just encourages "sleeping in"!)

As I begin to head in to the office a little more frequently, and for longer periods of time, I think it will be beneficial to have P/T out of the way and be "limbered up" early in the day.  Perhaps another benefit of starting out the day earlier and working on building my stamina is that I will naturally feel more tired in the evenings and fall into bed and sleep better?  At least, that is what I am hoping.  

As for recovery - Nearly at the six week mark, and I am still chugging along.  At this point, the discomfort is mainly from the incision site and scar tissue.  It is just going to take time for those severed nerves to calm down and heal.  The hip joint, itself, doesn't pain me.  No clicking sounds, no "catches" or odd sensation upon moving it.  I do have some muscle soreness from the physical therapy exercises, but "muscle soreness" is much different from "joint pain".....and I can deal with it, knowing that it will ease and get better as time goes by. 

I know I am getting pretty much back to normal when I find myself cleaning house!  My mom is still helping with vacuuming - but, that is mostly because she really wants to help.  (And, I don't want her to feel like I don't need her!)  Yesterday, though, I even mopped the kitchen while she vacuumed the carpets.  (That was really rewarding because that floor really needed to be mopped.....it was disgusting.....) 

Next step - driving again.  My surgeon said to wait six weeks.  Honestly, I don't think my thigh muscles were strong enough - or quick enough - to attempt driving until about this past week.  But, now that I am feeling stronger, I'm itching to get behind the wheel! 

However, the thing I am most excited about is losing these dang compression hose!  Today is my last day to have to wear them.....and, I shall not miss them one iota!!! 

I promise my next post will not be about my post-surgery progress!  Although it has been my total focus for the last six weeks, there's a lot of other stuff to talk about.  So, time to start moving forward!!!

Enjoy your day, my friends!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Well, I have been thinking about it.  And, I've come to the conclusion that I really did need to work on a post about my "one word" I selected for 2013.  Since it has been a whole year, here is a quick link to travel back in time and read my original post about my word selection for last year - TRUST.

Looking back over the year, "trust" was a word that really played a large role in my life.  I've admitted many times - I am a control freak.  I instinctively want to "trust" in myself.  But, myself lets me down quite a bit of the time.  

Face it, I need something - SOMEONE - bigger than me to depend on!

Early in the year, I came across an affirmation that I wrote up on a sticky note and attached to my mirror.  (You can read about it here.) This became my mantra for the year.....

In an effort to foster an attitude of "trust", I would say this out loud as I dressed each morning.  When I would get stressed, or worried, I would repeat it - even though it was done through clenched teeth, at times. Sometimes, when I felt like I was sinking below the surface, this mantra literally got shortened to "Oh, God, help....". 

2013 was one of those years when I either had to "trust" or worry myself to death!  

This year saw my business grow, but in this business there is a lot of work up front, with the payoff coming later.  Somehow, the payoff always seemed to come in the nick of time.  

This year saw the arrival of two new grandbabies - both girls - and both healthy!  

This year saw my oldest son pick up and move to San Antonio, without a job; but, now he has his insurance adjuster's license and a career with a great company.  

This year saw my youngest son get engaged.  

This year saw me dealing with chronic pain from advanced osteoarthritis in my right hip, ultimately resulting in a total hip replacement - from which I am still recovering. 

Without "trust" there were points in this year when life would have been overwhelming or unbearable.  But, this little word hovered in my mind throughout the year and spurred me on - mostly because I made an effort to stay focused on it.  When I felt the focus slip away, I felt the calm that resulted from the focus slip away, too.  

To sum it up, maybe the whole point of this concept of "one word" for the year is to bring deliberate focus and awareness.  For me, that is what it did in 2013.  It got me honed in on a spiritual attitude that I needed to incorporate into my daily walk.  

I haven't selected a word for 2014 - I've been so busy recovering and rehabbing that I am just taking it day by day.  It's taking all my energy just to heal and get well right now.  I don't doubt that some word will creep into my mind over the coming days and weeks and settle in for the long haul.  Until then, I am still focused on "trust" - after all, my need to "trust" is ongoing!  

If you are doing "one word" for this year, I would love for you to leave a comment and share.  Hopefully, I will be able to settle on a new word and share that with you soon.  Hopefully, we can be an encouragement to each other with our "words"!  

Update on recovery - Physical therapy continues!  Each time I go, my therapist pushes me a little more.  But, he says I am ahead on recovery.  My incision has healed enough to start doing tissue massage daily, in an effort to smooth out the collagen fibers and soften up the scar.  I am walking without the cane, unless I feel really tired or sore and start limping.  I have less than a week until I get to burn my compression hose and start driving.  I made my first trip to the grocery store with my mom yesterday and I've been doing more and more of my own housework.  Feeling good, folks!!!

Until next time, stay blessed and warm, friends!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts for the End of the Year....2013

New Year's Eve.....only hours away from 2014.  How the heck did that happen!?!?!?  I know this much for sure - it snuck up on me when I wasn't paying attention. 

At any rate, I don't have any resolutions for the new year.  I don't have a post about my top ten projects or posts - a "year in review" post, if you will.  I don't have a word selected for 2014 - or even a post about the word that I chose for 2013.  I honestly don't have a plan or direction for "Janie's Porch" for the new year.....

However, I am not going to let that deter me from writing. 

Sure, there are days I would love to have one of those beautiful, glossy blogs that never fails to impress multitudes of readers with professional quality photos and original craft or decorating ideas.  You know - the ones that are always perfect and on target with blog trends?

As much as I would like to have a blog like that, it's just probably never going to happen.  I don't have the time to "develop" a blog that would be a widely followed, money-making machine.  But, even if I did, would I want to? 

I look at it this way -

Janie's Porch is not a "crafter" blog because I'm not a really crafty person.  Face it - if I did a craft project a week to share on the blog, I would have to find a place to use the crafted project.  Never mind the fact that we have a small cottage and our style is growing increasingly "pared down" and "simple", so there's not room for lots of projects.

Janie's Porch is not really a "decorator" blog because the number of decorating projects in our modest home is limited.  While it was lots of fun to show you the transformation of our living room this past summer, the only other decorating I did for the year was shifting a little here and there and finding new curtains for our two bedrooms.

Janie's Porch is not really a "foody" blog because I don't cook much.  Honestly, my wonderful husband cooks way more than I do around here.  So, recipes and kitchen tips are going to be pretty darn sparse over here, folks.

Janie's Porch is not really a "spiritual" blog because my faith is very personal to me.  I have a daily walk and relationship with Christ that is an extremely important part of my life.  However, I am not a devotional leader or teacher who feels qualified to try to guide others.

Janie's Porch is not really a "family/motherhood" blog, even though you do see a lot of family related posts crop up.  However, we are empty nesters, so there is not a lot to share about the trials and joys of motherhood on a daily basis. 

Goodness, I've just given you a huge list of what Janie's Porch IS NOT.  But, at the same time, I was really giving you a pretty good list of what Janie's Porch actually IS.  Because, you see, Janie's Porch is a little bit of a lot of those things.  Someone once asked me what kind of blog I wrote.  And my response was that it is a "life blog".  I just write about my life, our life, on a variety of different levels and topics.

That's actually pretty simple, when you get right down to it.  Janie's Porch is just about whatever suits my mood when I sit down in front of the computer.  I don't have a posting schedule - heck, I probably post at the wrong time of the day.  I do have a Facebook page, because I really enjoy Facebook.  But, I am sure I don't utilize social media in a way that "grows" my blog.  But, heck, my blog is not my business!  It is my hobby!  It is a fun and creative outlet for me.

SO, I'll just keep it that way.  I post when I can and when I feel like I've got something to share.  I love to hear from folks that they enjoy a post now and then.  I like to look back through my own posts and relive events and feelings that I've written about.  It works for me, though.  

I hope you will keep dropping by, even though I am just flying by the seat of my pants over here.  I know I will keep writing because Janie's Porch is a labor of love for me!  

P.S....a quick update on my recovery: 

Today marks four weeks since my surgery - anterior approach total hip replacement.  It's been a bit of a blur for me - albeit, the first few days were a drug-induced blur - but, still it's hard to believe that it's already been nearly a month.  My recovery continues and I notice small improvements almost daily.  Physical therapy will be ongoing for a while yet, but I get around the house pretty well now.  The mornings are still stiff and painful, until I get moving around.  I still can't find any other comfortable position to sleep in other than flat on my back.  The area around the healing incision sight still feels like a big block of cement embedded in my thigh rather than my own skin and muscle.  But, the healing continues and I only have a couple more weeks of wearing these awful compression hose and no driving!!!  Hope to have more good progress to share next time.  

Check back "next year" to see how things are going over here in my little corner of the world....Janie's Porch.  Until then, wishing you a blessed new year - stay safe!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our Holiday Home Tour - Finally!!!

Now that I am "getting back on my feet" - literally - I thought I would share a bit of our Christmas cheer with you.  Although we kept it really simple this year, it has felt warm and cozy while I have been mostly homebound during my recovery this holiday season.  Won't you step on inside and have a look around????

We only have one tree this year....and it is has been pared down considerably.  Nestled to one side of the living room, this is the second year we have used this "pencil" style, pre-lit tree.  The size is just right for our space and I love how quickly it fills up with ornaments!

Rather than drag out our bins and boxes of our cherished ornaments (after all, anything you unpack and use has to be repacked!), I went to Walmart and purchased all new silver, gold and cream colored ornaments.  For about $15, I got plenty of these shatterproof ornaments and glittery snowflakes to dress the tree; then I dug around in storage and brought out our gold icicle ornaments and crystal drops to fill in the empty spaces. 

 I love the beautiful gold fabric ribbon from Michael's - and better yet, it was on sale 40% off!  I wrapped it around the tree and made double bows for a tree-topper.  I absolutely love the simple elegance of our tree this year! 

Again, keeping in mind that anything I unpacked would have to be put away after the holidays, I kept our credenza display very simple.  This beautiful nativity was purchased at Kirland's several years ago for only $10.  I admit, I hadn't found a spot for it here at our new home in the last three years.  So, it felt new again when I brought it out.  (Unfortunately, Baby Jesus got a hand broken off during the unpacking, and I have yet to get it glued back....)  I used the beautiful mercury bulb lights that I purchased at Big Lots a few months ago - simply draped over some greenery and finished with some more ivory and gold fabric ribbon from Michael's.  With a crystal hurricane lamp and some simple votives, this vignette is a reminder of the reason for the season! 

I was looking forward to working in some decor on the round coffee table, since this is it's first year in our living room.  Ivory "prayer candles" from the grocery store, a gold charger, some silver glass balls and a few little bottlebrush trees.....and I have a glowing display in the center of the room!  

The burlap wreath was the result of a "project party" at work.  One of the ladies gave us the supply list and we all met up at the office one evening and to create these rustic wreaths and share a meal.  I used more of the ivory and gold ribbon and an inexpensive floral pick with greenery, berries and pine cones to dress this up.  

In the kitchen and dining area, I once again dressed the corner hutch with greenery, twinkle lights, jingle bells and my beloved little elves.  We started out with multi-colored lights (because they were already twined around the greenery), but had to replace with a new string of clear lights a few days ago.  I think I am really loving the brighter look of the clear lights! 

To add just one more bit of simple Christmas style to this area, I hung a grapevine wreath with some holly and a red & white gingham ribbon on the architectural window hanging on our bead board wall.  It's a small touch, but really adds some cheer!

Since I have been home from the hospital, I have received two lovely baskets of poinsettias.  Mom helped me set up some small tables to display them in the living room, so we could really enjoy the pop of seasonal color in that room.  I think they are the crowning touch to our simple holiday decor! 

So, that is it - our cozy little cottage, dressed for the holidays.  We are very blessed to have such a warm and inviting home to share with family and friends.  And I am very thankful to feel recovered and well enough to share this post with you - even though it is already only a couple of days until Christmas! 

Have you ever taken the approach of downscaling in your holiday decorations?  While it has been a nice change for us around here, how did it work for you?  I hope you will take a moment to leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me!  

Wishing you many Christmas blessings....


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Skinny on Recovery...

Christmas is right around the corner and I haven't really done a "holiday" post, shown you our holiday decor, shared any yummy recipes......Should I be feeling a bit guilty????

Well, to be honest, I don't feel guilty.  I won't allow myself to....(even though, as I sit and browse all the beautiful posts on other blogs, I am slightly tempted to feel just a wee bit like I've been slacking.)  

Of course, most of this is due to the fact that I am still recovering from my total hip replacement on December 2nd.  Things went well - except for the reaction to the morphine that left me totally nauseated and unable to keep anything down the first 24 hours.  I ended up only spending two days in the hospital, as the doctor wanted me home before a winter storm hit and things got icy.   Once I was home and settled, the real recovery began.  

The first few days are a bit of a drugged blur, thank goodness.  I remember hurting; I remember needing help just to get out of bed, feeling totally dependent on my husband and my mom, who were taking care of me around the clock.  But, by the end of the first week, the physical therapist from the home health agency was coming to the house and working with me.  Once I was moving around more, each day seemed to get just a bit better.  The anesthesia and heavier drugs worked their way out of my system and I felt stronger and more like myself every day.  

I rested, slept and watched TV in the recliner.  (I think I have seen every single Hallmark Christmas movie ever made!)  I fell in love with green Jello.  I gradually regained my ability to focus and read e-mails and texts (although answering those the first few days was difficult, as the medication had letters floating in front of my eyes).  It took me over a week to actually pick up a book and concentrate enough to read!  But, the haze began to clear as my body began to heal. 

As for regaining my mobility - at first, I leaned heavily on the walker and it was a lifesaver when I was using the toilet.  (I swear, I never realized how much upper body strength would come into play!)  Now, I only use it when I first get up in the morning - I am so stiff and ache all over from lying so rigid on my back while asleep.  During the day, I have already graduated to the cane and am allowed to walk short distances inside the house without the use of the cane, as long as my gait doesn't become compromised.  (No limping allowed!)

This week, I have been out of the house daily - to the doctor's office and P/T, to the office for a few minutes, and even to Kohl's with my trusty walker for a single spin around the store (which was plenty, believe me!).  Just last night, Eddie Dale loaded me and the dogs up and took us to the Sonic for supper and to prowl around a nearby neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. 

I have to say, I am thrilled with how recovery is coming along - as is my doctor and my physical therapist.  I am trying really hard not to be impatient and overdo it!  I have no doubt that as I continue to heal, I will be so glad to have this new non-arthritic hip!  And, although this holiday season has been quite different from the usual "hustle and bustle" of prior holidays, I am sure it will be one I will always remember.  

With my mom's help, I was able to get the house freshened up a bit and drag out the camera for a few photos.  I am working to get them edited and hope to have a post up shortly to show you how we ended up decorating for Christmas.  Trust me, it is simple this year, but still very cozy and festive around here.  

So, how about you?  Are your holiday preparations coming along as planned?  What's happening in your little corner of the world as we barrel full-steam towards the 25th?  





Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ready for December....and All It Brings!!!

December 1, 2013.......

We have made it through Thanksgiving and what a delightful day it was!  Bonnie hosted the celebration at their new home this year and it was such a treat not to have to make all the preparations here.  Ben traveled in from San Antonio; Sam and Savanna were there; Bonnie and her brood; and Mom brought Bob from the nursing home.  We were all together, except Matt - who is a manager at a nameless store that decided to open on Thanksgiving....thus causing many of their employees to miss family time that day! 

We feasted and laughed....and enjoyed being together!   Not only were we celebrating Thanksgiving, but it was also Eddie Dale's birthday. 

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!  After rounds of doctor visits and tests, I am preparing to be at the hospital tomorrow at 10:00 to get my new hip.  Although I had lists a mile long, I know there are bound to be some things that I didn't get done.  But, all will be well!  I will have no restrictions - other than driving for the first six weeks.  (And, let me tell you - that is a restriction that has me pretty chapped!)  

I am so antsy today, that I can hardly sit still and make myself write a post!  But, the next few weeks will be slow and I plan to do a lot of "catching up" here on the blog.  I am looking forward to it!!!

Back soon!!!

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