Happy 2012 Wishes to Good Friends Far & Near

The start of a New Year gives me the opportunity to once again thank everyone who offered words of encouragement, cards, flowers, home cooked meals, and just plain spent time with me taking walks and helping to accomplish what were previously small tasks around the house. My family and I are so thankful that I am almost recovered, recovered enough to enjoy the beautiful recent “springlike” days and take a walk in the woods. While I do enjoy my daily visits to City Dock and the streets of downtown, I’m lucky enough to also live within walking distance of Truxton Park. The nature trail behind Bates Middle School takes you on a journey past Chesapeake Children’s Museum over the wetlands beyond Spa Creek and over to the docking area of Truxton Park. The photos were taken at “Lookout Point”. What a great view.
My son Chris continues to be interested in the various mushrooms we encounter, so the photo is of another as yet unidentified by handsome variety. I enjoyed spending time over the holiday break with daughter Alex, who is already back on the West Coast, about to start her 2nd quarter tomorrow but I do miss my son Justin, working hard on the other side of the world and currently in Singapore. At least we can Skype and 2012 promises to provide more flexibility for his travel plans.
Here’s to “New Beginnings”. May everyone have a safe, healthy, joyful, and prosperous New Year in 2012.


Autumn Has Arrived in Annapolis

Today is one of those fabulous brisk fall days you can only have in the Northeast. The sky is a brilliant blue and the leaves still hanging on the trees are various shades of red, orange, and yellow. The brown crumbly ones make a carpet to step upon as you walk down the street.
Systematically I’ve been cleaning out my partner’s desk drawer by drawer, which is tedious work. but I’ve found some interesting things such as a very small watercolor my father Herman Maril painted for me as the card on the top of a present and a tiny sketch of a horse he did that somehow ended up in my possession. I’ll have to get these little items framed for their protection.
As a reward to myself, I’ll take another walk this afternoon but only after I’ve done a certain amount of cleaning, organizing, filing, and sorting that I am reluctant to do. This is how I keep myself motivated.
We had a fairly good turnout for the monthly Writer’s Breakfast yesterday, a total of five of us though not all at the same time. We spent more time catching up then talking specifically about the craft of writing, but maybe next month the conversation will be more focused.
It has now been five days since I’ve put on my brace, and as I sit here at the computer I am focusing on sitting straight and tall. Happy autumn and enjoy the weekend.

Cheers to Good Health

Last night it was time for a celebration as I move forward with my life. I’m pretty much free of the brace. Yes, there is quite a bit of pain as my muscles readjust and it is a deep pain, generating from my back, which is a part of the central core– but I can live with it for now. I’m staying very focused on keeping excellent posture, whether sitting or standing.
So where did Peter and I celebrate? Well we went to the very lovely, off the beaten track for us Annapolitans, Cafe Bretton on Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. in Severna Park. I indulged myself in comfort food: A bowl of onion soup with french bread and melted cheese on top and a half portion of Beef Bourguignon.
Peter selected the special of the evening, wild rockfish with clams, mussels, and scallops. All was delicious. There was absolutely no room for dessert, although the dessert tray looked tempting. We were stuffed. However if you do have a big appetite and can arrive prior to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, they have an early evening special which consists of a three-course meal from the selected menu for $30.95 which is also available prior to 6:00 on Friday and Saturday and from 4:00-8:00 on Sunday. So if you haven’t tried Cafe Bretton, it has been around for a long time and is certainly a restaurant which provides both excellent food and attentive service.
This weekend is Historic Annapolis Foundation’s candlelight tour and the neighborhood where the tour takes place is Murray Hill. This worthwhile event raises money for Historic Preservation in our fair city of Annapolis and always provides creative inspiration for home decorating. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, visit their website.

Horseback Riding Anyone?

“How is the horse?” or “Did you shoot the horse?” have been some of the inquisitive remarks tossed my way when people learn that I broke my back in an equestrian accident. “Are you planning on continuing riding?”
I remember going to the salvage yard to retrieve a few items out of my car that had been declared totaled in 1988. It was traumatic to look at the manner in which the front end had been crunched and the blood on the back seat where my son had hit his head. For the next several years, every time I drove somewhere I was uneasy at intersections, waiting for a car to come careening through a red light. It had happened. It could happen again. Fear fades. It doesn’t completely leave.
I have not gone back to the stables to visit the horse. In my imagination I bring him carrots or an apple and my eyes start to well up with tears. I don’t know if I will ever be able to go horseback riding. First, there is the physical aspect of making certain that my body is completely healed enough to be able to mount and dismount, and then there is the fear factor. I know when you fall off a bike, it’s important to get back on and ride again. So with that thought in my mind, I hope I will eventually get back on a horse, although it may not be the horse I was practicing riding on before, if only for a few moments to walk around the riding ring and conquer my fear and bring closure to a shattering event in my life. But as far as continuing weekly hour-long riding lessons, no I am done. I’m looking for a new recreational sport.

Good News

Yesterday afternoon I learned that instead of having three avulsion fractures in my spine, I only have two! The one the hospital had initially diagnosed in the cervical area, is just a calcification not a fracture! So now I no longer have to tell anyone I broke my neck.The big goal I’m aiming for is to lose the accursed cervical collar which makes me feel like I am the White Queen chess piece in the early movie version of Through the Looking Glass. At the very least I will get a refit on the collar so that it more closely fits my slender neck. Currently I am wearing, and have been wearing for over two weeks the “One size fits all” version. I’m getting “extension x-rays” today, to further evaluate the situation.
Meanwhile, life marches on and I continue to take my walks with Peter, respond to the vast quantities of emails that arrive in my box, write articles, and do a little editing. What I still cannot do is: lift, bend, reach or even comfortably stir the soup heating on the stove… which is all extremely frustrating. Who would of thought I would miss the opportunity to do dishes! But then who likes looking at dirty dishes?
A big hats off goes to my husband, who has now had to dress me in the morning, in addition to himself. (And he is really not a morning person.) And who now has to do ALL the housekeeping. He has always done his fair share but he really has had to step up to the plate, dealing with the present situation. And thank you universe for all the positive prayers and wishes which are helping me to heal.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

I’m going to start with a little Shakespeare:

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

From Macbeth act 2, scene 2

Yes, sleep has been eluding me until I took some muscle relaxers last night (requested a prescription from my GP on Friday) and by taking two, succeeded in getting six hours of sleep, which is far superior to three or four! It might also have helped that yesterday was a busy day with visits that culminated in a family dinner– perhaps superior to the family dinner I had initially imagined on that fateful day two Sundays ago when I took the fall off the horse that led me to ShockTrauma. My middle son Chris is back in Annapolis and has just finished his first week of work at his new job at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center doing research on Chesapeake Bay subaquatic vegetation. (I hope I got that right). He was last night’s chef. But Chris is not the only child with a new job. Eldest son Justin, now in Singapore, started his new job at an international law firm this past week as well. (I’m not going to attempt to describe the complexity of the work he does). Then of course I must mention my lovely daughter Alex in California who just completed leading a group of 13 freshmen through their Week of Welcome (WOW) at CalPoly. Her school term as a sophomore begins on Monday. Well done Alex!

It’s the start of Sunday. I hope to walk downtown to visit the Farmer’s Market, although I suspect our purchases will be fewer since I can’t carry anything, but as the weather turns cooler I am reminded that the Farmer Market days throughout the region will start to wind down and my selection of seasonal vegetables will be greatly diminished. So it is important to enjoy what we have in the present.. particularly those fresh tart apples from local orchards.
I’m going to close with a quote from writer Evelyn Waugh
I haven’t been to sleep for over a year. That’s why I go to bed early. One needs more rest if one doesn’t sleep.

Yes resting is important. So savor a leisurely Sunday, good friends and fun times can be a great distraction.

Navigating with Props

It was another tough night last night, trying to stay asleep for any period of time beyond an hour. I was diligent to take my Alleve an hour before attempting to go to bed, so theoretically I shouldn’t have been feeling so much pain but maybe part of the challenge of “living in a clam shell” is that you just can’t stay in a horizontal position more than four or five hours at best.
Although some people might have assumed I’d be downing the heavy narcotics, due to the extent of my injuries, I have said “no thanks”. I would rather keep a clear head.
Yesterday was my first attempt at going in to the office. I was there only one hour. I think I was worried about how I would be perceived with my weird configuration of the cervical collar and the vest. Some people were cool but there are always folks who feel uncomfortable just looking at someone who might be in pain, it’s almost as if they feel the “hurt” could be contagious.
Today I am back again in the office. I will have been here a little over three hours, and that’s enough. I look forward to lunch and a nap.
Meals, by the way, have to be very small, because with this Total Contact Orthosis Jacket (TCO) you simply have no room for your stomach to expand. It could be a great weight reduction tool if one needed to lose weight. So I’m eating lots of little snacks while keeping up with my walking to at least stay toned. I have to laugh or else I might just cry. Humor is important.