Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas is merry, indeed!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter and Merry Festivus. ;)

All is wonderful in my neck of the woods. My husband arrived home this week for R&R. We totally lucked out b/c he wasn't supposed to come home for R&R until the end of Jan/early Feb. Then in October-ish, he was contacted and offered an alternate R&R date. We were less concerned that it was Christmas and more thrilled with it being earlier than the other date. Earlier is better! (well, unless you're at the beginning of the deployment then earlier is not better LOL)

Anyway, here are a few photos of the day he arrived. That family picture is a funny b/c my hubby and some of his guys began the Afghanistache Project. Yes, I hate it. He loves it. And he thinks it's funny that I hate it. He shaved it the day after he got home. He said it was b/c I was nagging. I thought it was just a Christmas present I deserved. ;) But he is totally anticipating the regrowing. LOL

Also, please remember our deployed military members and their families as they are separated this Christmas. Until you've been in their shoes (as we were Christmas of '04 when my hubby was in Iraq) then you can't know or understand the heartache. God Bless our military!

In knee news, I absolutely hate being on crutches. Hell. on. earth. 5 weeks left and I'm counting every. single. minute. It's not the end of the whole recovery process (which is months long), but the end of totally not bearing any weight. Less crutches. Yay. Anyway, I found a clip on youtube of my microfracture procedure in the exact same place as mine. Check it out if you're interested. ;)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Knee Arthroscopy, Military Wives and Thanksgiving Vacation...

Just wanted to let those of you who've not given up on my blog a note to say that I'm recovering nicely from my knee arthroscopy on Dec 4th. My principal diagnosis was chondromalacia of the media femoral condyle (damage to the cartilage in my knee). Treatment was microfracture surgery. I also had chondromalacia, grade 3, of the patella (which means it's arthritis LOL). The doc "cleaned" it up. So, now I'm on crutches for 8 weeks. No driving. No weight on my right knee at all (b/c of the microfracture procedure). At. all. I start physical therapy next week. But things are fine. The first 2 weeks they wanted me to be able to bend my knee to 90*, but I can already do that. Mainly things are difficult b/c I can't drive and I'm on crutches. Since I can't use my right leg at all and I'm on crutches can you imagine trying to swiffer the bathroom or carry food from the counter to the table? Some things cannot be done and others take 3X as long. Not to mention having to rely on others to bring me places.

Now, for a bit of gush of my friends who are military wives.

For an army wife as independent as I am the hardest part has been asking for help. My neighbor and friend Jen is a saint. She has brought me to both of my doctor's appts this weeks, to the PX as well as to Charlie's doc appt b/c he decided ;) to get strep throat at such an inconvenient time. I'm second guessing the decision to have this done while Cory is deployed. But I'm very lucky to have all these wonderful people here...those who brought me to the hospital, brought me home from the hosp, visited me while waiting to go into surgery (which was very hard b/c I was the only one there w/o a spouse) and then, besides Jen, I have had friends who've picked up items for me at the commissary, brought meals over and helped with the boys. Military wives are THE BEST! Which brings me to something Cory read. Cory was reading "Kilrone" by Louis L'Amour. If you don't know Louis L'Amour is a very well-known author of westerns. Kilrone was written in 1966. He emailed me this:

"Kilrone is a ex-Army Calvary Captain during the western expansion days of America. He runs across a troop of Calvary soldiers fighting Indians and he is wounded and the soldiers are all killed. He travels to the nearest Army post and the remaining troops decide to scout for the Indians. Kilrone is left to defend the post against 400 plus Indians with a hand full of soldiers and women and children. L'Amour's thoughts on the family members were as follows:"

'The women, rising as always to an emergency, when more often than not they functioned at their best, bustled about and were busy. He was not
worried about the women; he knew that in those around him he was especially fortunate. These were soldiers' wives or relatives, bred to a realization of frontier life and the possibility of frontier warfare.
Not one of them was likely to falter.'

And those are my girls. :)

Anyway, I thought I'd start my entries about our recent trip (pre-surgery). We drove from Kaiserslautern to Garmisch where we spent the night. I've done an entry on Garmisch before, but it bears repeating...Garmisch is beautiful. This was the view from our balcony.

The next morning we drove to Vicenza, where we booked rooms in lodging on Caserma Ederle. A friend of ours recommended a few places to eat, but it was already dark and and we were tired, so we opted for a place right out of the gates.

We thought the shot glasses were pretty funny.

Toasting to Thanksgiving vacation 2009 with yummy limoncello:

The next day we drove to Venice. Did you know there are parking garages in Venice/Venezia? For some b/c I've never been there...I thought there was a train bridge or a ferry that would take us to Venice from the mainland. Nope. We actually drove across the bridge and parked in a garage. More to come tomorrow...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Knee update...

For my family and friends, I finally had my MRI a few weeks ago. The results? Well, probably it is an osteochondral injury. If that made you think of arthritis then you get a prize. Okay, not really, but you're right on track. ;) See the tiny bit of shading on the right tip of the femur? The cartilage below it? That's what's causing all of my problems.

It could not be. The only definite way to find out is for the doc to scope my knee, which is the next step in this ongoing process. So, when I wake up, I'll know. If it is the osteochondral injury (and I wake up w/ the doc having done the microfracture procedure) then I've been advised by a couple different orthopedic surgeons that it's in the best interest of my long-term knee health to quit running. *sigh* So, I know what the best and worst-case scenarios are. I'm expecting worst, but hoping for the best. I haven't run since early June (I so miss running outside). I've been going to the gym to bike, use the elliptical or swim (getting into a swimming suit is pure torturous hell for me, just so ya know). I'm getting used to my new routine. And, it's all good. Not what I want, but I've accepted...zen, baby. :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

La Vie Boneheme...hee hee

Sunday morning we got up and headed to Kutna Hora-Sedlec Ossuary. It is a small chapel beneath the Church of All Saints. The Ossuary is known as the Bone Church. The short version is that an abbot returned from the Holy Land with dirt from Golgotha which was sprinkled in the cemetery. People heard this and wanted to be bured in this holy spot. Many years and deaths later (the Plague, wars, etc), new construction led to the bones being exhumed. In 1870 František Rint was given the job to organize the bones. The Bone Church is the result of these 40,000-70,000 bones. This was at the top of David's list of places he wanted to visit in Europe. I read an article in which an employee was interviewed about the church. She was asked if she was scared working there and she said no, it's the people who are alive that you have to worry about. LOL Amen, sister. ;)

We drove the hour and half scenic route to Kutna Hora-Sedlec from Prague. Crazy GPS.

We returned to Prague and Old Town Square to grab some lunch. There were a bunch of vendors set up and we took advantage of the convenience and price. We had
langos and shisk k bob on roll. The langos had a ketchup based sauce topped w/ cheese. The dough is fried. You just can't go wrong with fried dough.

We then located the Golem (a character in Jewish folklore). "The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel the late 16th century chief rabbi of Prague."

And, yes, I did purchase some Bohemian crystal.

It was a great trip. I really enjoyed Prague.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The never ending la vie boheme....

Okay, we headed to Prague Castle.

St Vitus Cathedral on the Castle grounds

Okay, Blogger is not letting me add any more pics. I'll start a new entry. *sigh*

Sunday, September 13, 2009

La Vie Boheme continued...

I left off at lunchtime. Our tour guide Pavlina took us to have traditional Czech food.

Having the famous Czech beer. Although it was draft. I'm not impressed w/ draft beer. Must be all those nights of drinking cheap draft beer in college. LOL Czech Rep has the highest consumption of beer in the world. Hmmm....anyway, "The Pilsener style beer originated in western Bohemian city of Plzeň, and further south the town of Budweis lent its name to its beer, eventually known as Budweiser Bier Bürgerbräu thus Budweiser."

Pork and dumplings (boiled bread)

goulash and dumplings

Next was the famous Charles Bridg. Lining the bridge are 30 statues of saints and patron saints. One of the most well known statues is of St JOhn of Nepomuk who was thrown in the river at the request of King Wenceslas. Queen Wenceslas confessed to John and he refused to divulge her confession to the King. So, off the bridge he went. ;) Anyway, it's a tradition to touch the statue. Although, our tour guide said that locals don't touch the statue. There is a cross on the bridge at the spot where JOhn was thrown off and that is what the locals touch. So, we certainly weren't going to be so touristy as to touch the statue. LOL

King Charles and my own Charles (right before entering bridge)

On the bridge:

The cross of St John that we touched

Next we headed to the tram to go to the Prague Castle. It is the biggest in the world. We saw the changing of the guards.

Be back later....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

La Vie Boheme!

With the hubby gone, I've been a little nervous about traveling by ourselves. I wanted to go somewhere over the long weekend, but was on the verge of chickening out. Until my friend Samantha emailed and asked if anyone wanted to do anything. So, I said "how about Prague?" At the last minute I made hotel reservations and mapped our way before I had a chance to back out. Should I even say that there was an adventure? Or is that a given? ;)

The directions said 5:15 hours to get there. We left at 3:15pm when we picked up the boys from school. We rolled into the hotel at about 11pm. The weather was awful. It was raining so hard that people were going 50 mph on the autobahn. There was construction in Prague. It was just a pain. I was so happy to get to that hotel...I can't even tell you.

Saturday morning we booked a tour to see all of Prague. It started in Wenceslas Square. St. Wenceslas is the patron saint of Bohemia which is the region of the Czech Republic that Prague is in. Wenceslas Square is the area of the city where people gather for important events. The Nazis demonstrated there. The Soviet Army rolled in in 1968. The Czech people protested here. And the people gathered there at the end of the Communist rule.

From there we saw the Estates Theater where Mozart performed. He premiered his opera Don Giovanni here.

We then (I think?) headed into Old Town Square.

Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

Astronomical Clock

We then headed to the Vltava River for our boat cruise.

Famous Charles Bridge in the background

After our cruise we headed to the Jewish section of Prague, Josefov.

Jewish Cemetery. The headstones are just the top layer. The graves are actually buried to the street level.

Okay, I'll be back. Such a packed day. I'll be back for lunch and the rest of the day.