Photo A Day: Day 3 (Something You Adore)

The mountains! And that guy, of course. This isn’t Colorado, it’s Park City, UT. There are so many things to love about Denver and Colorado but the mountains top my list. Hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing – so many fun, active things to do! There are also cute mountain towns with unique, local shops and friendly people.

But the thing I love the most about the mountains is the smell – the fresh air filled with scents of pine and dirt. It’s intoxicating!

Photo A Day Challenge: Day 1 (Me)


I’ve seen friends on Twitter (looking at you, Courtney!) posting about this Photo A Day Challenge but didn’t really know what the deal was until last night. When I read the challenge, I wanted to participate too!

The Photo A Day challenge was created by blogger, Chantelle from fat mum slim.  She created the above schedule as prompts that I’ll be following. Feel free to join in too! Post to your blog, twitter, facebook, Instagram or just keep it to yourself. If you post to Twitter, you can tag with #janphotoaday.

So, in addition to my normal posts, you’ll find a second post with a photo that pertains to the above topic for the day.

Without further ado, here is photo 1: Me!

This photo was taken after my very first half marathon – Rock N Roll Phoenix, January 2010. I ran with one of my best friends, Sarah, and finished in under 2 hours (1:59:39). This race still stands as my personal record (PR) that I’m looking forward to beating later this year.

Crutches Aren't All Bad

When people see me on crutches, whether I know them or not, they look at me with pity and remark how terrible it must be to be on crutches. Generally, I agree – crutches are not the first accessory I’d choose with my outfit – but in the 7+ weeks I’ve been on crutches this year, it hasn’t been all bad.

In fact, there have been some definite perks of crutches.

Driving the Grocery Cart: As ridiculous as I feel driving one of these through the store, it’s still fun to slowly motor through the store. Without these motor carts, though, there’s no way I’d make it through a shopping trip.

People holding doors/carrying things for me: I’m a fiercely independent woman (sing it, Beyonce!) and for the first few weeks of surgery #1, I insisted on doing as much as I could for myself – carry my own water bottle, struggle through heavy doors. I quickly learned to take people up on their offers to help. As my arms and legs get tired, I really appreciate the courtesy extended to me.

Turning lights off/closing doors from a few feet away: Enough said.

Fiance making/bringing me/cleaning up after dinner: Major perk. I’m really enjoying the catered service while it lasts.

Surefire Conversation Starter: I’m a very social person and enjoy chatting with people – friends and strangers alike. Crutches and a knee brace always get a good conversation going and it seems that everyone has knee issues!

Crutch Buddies: If I have to use crutches (and I do), my leopard print Crutch Buddies have been a fun way to show some personality and help pad my arms and hands. And the pocket is SO useful!

I don’t mean to say that it’s all roses on crutches because it’s definitely not. Looking at it from a new perspective makes using them easier to tolerate for the next 5 weeks (1 week down already!)

But while we’re on the topic, I share a couple of my most loathed aspects of crutches.

Crutch Rub: This was an majoryly painful issue for the first few weeks of my first surgery in October (see here) before I started using Crutch Buddies. After being out and about for a while or crutching a long distance, relatively speaking, my underarms are burning with Crutch Rub. It’s far more tolerable with the leopard print padding but still hurts!

Bathrooms: Getting in or out of them, using them, everything. Hard to get into, many are small, water on floor. I HATE bathrooms on crutches. And crutches + bathrooms + That Time Of The Month = really not awesome.

Hot and Bothered: Crutches in the winter makes me a hot mess. Literally. By the time I get my clothes changed, I’m feeling pretty toast. Then, I put on a winter coat on in my warm apartment building. THEN, I crutch across the parking lot and am officially sweating. A lot. Fortunately, the past few days in Denver have been unseasonably warm so I’ve been able to ditch the winter coat and feel a lot more comfortable and less sweaty.

It goes without saying that the obvious can’t-carry-things/hard-to-get-around/tired-arms reasons apply here too. But at this point, that inconvenience is just part of the package and not worth getting pissed about anymore.

And generally, besides the few issues above, it’s not THAT bad. I mean, did you see all the great things that happen with crutches?

Perspective, folks.

Wedding Wednesday: Save The Dates!

**Wedding Wednesday is a feature on my blog documenting our wedding planning process – thoughts, reflections, ideas, milestones. Follow along as we plan a wedding in our home city of Cincinnati while we live in Denver. You can find all my wedding posts here

————————————————————————————————

While Alex and I were at home in Cincinnati for Christmas, our families and friends wanted to know how wedding planning was going. My standard response has been, Eh.. it’s going. Slowly. It’s not that I/we aren’t excited – we very much are! – but things like surgeries and cross-country road trips and the holidays have taken up a majority of our time the past few months.

Now, with my second surgery behind us, we (read: I) can start to focus on getting wedding stuff in order. New Years Eve brought the new year but also the realization that we’re getting married in 8 freaking months! Holy smokes! I can’t even believe it.

We asked my brother to take some photos for us while we were at home so that we could have a few to use on things like Save the Dates. Chris took some really great photos for us in the short time that we were at the park.

We tried to take some photos with Philly, our dog, but she still very camera (and life) shy. Helloooo bright sun light!

This park has sentimental value to us – not only is it one of our favorites in Cincinnati (Eden Park) but that gazebo in the background was where Alex’s parents got engaged.

We picked out a photo that we loved, poked through different ‘Save The Date’ ideas and settled on a magnet design from Magnet Street. I really loved using the Magnet Street site – unlike most of the other sites I looked at, I was able to upload my photo, play around with colors, fonts and sizing before ordering which made me feel a million times more comfortable about giving Magnet Street my money. We also opted to purchase the customizable magnet carrier card to send with our magnets. Of course, I can’t speak to the quality of the product yet – we should get our Save The Dates next week, I think – but so far, I’m pleased with my experience with Magnet Street.

Quite a few other wedding ‘to do’s are in the works but most important to me to find a(n) (affordable!) photographer. Our wedding is the Friday of Labor Day weekend which seems to be a bit less popular than the Saturday or Sunday of Labor Day weekend but I don’t want to risk not having a great photographer or paying a boatload of money to document our wedding.

Help!

  • Are you in the Cincinnati area? Do you have a photographer that you love and would recommend?
  • Did you plan your wedding from afar? What are your tips for finding a quality photographer without being able to meet in person?

Do share!

Onion Layers of Knee Surgery

Today is my first day back at work in just under 2 weeks and first day back after surgery. As much as I love sitting on the couch and passing the days away with Netflix, I’m really excited to be around people again and to get back into a normal routine.

Coming back to work does mean that I had to find work appropriate clothes to put on. I’ve spent the better part of the past 6 days in t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts or undies (don’t judge – sometimes it was too much work to get the shorts on), so part of me was looking forward to getting dress like a productive member of society again. Because my knee is still really swollen, most of my work pants don’t fit so I’m in yoga tights today. I’m not sure what I hadn’t thought to wear these the first time around!

On Saturday, I was allowed to take my bandages off and shower for the first time since Tuesday. The first shower has definitely been one of my favorite days (surgery #1) - to wash off all of the hospital funk and feel clean and new again is the huge mental boost during the hard first few days of surgery.

As I was getting ready to shower on Saturday, it struck me just how MANY layers of equipment and protection I have in these first days and weeks. Like Ogers, knee surgeries are like onions (Shrek anyone?) and I thought I’d give y’all a peak into mine.

Layer 1: Knee Brace. Same brace as surgery #1 and I’ll be wearing this for the full 6 weeks that I’m on crutches.  

Layer 2: Game Ready Ice Sleeve. Best. Thing. Ever. The nozzle at the bottom connects to a machine that circulates cold water and ice through the entire sleeve.

Layer 3: TED/Anti-Embolisim Hose. I wore this for the first 5 days after surgery. It’s a tight compression sleeve, essentially, to help prevent Pulmonary Embolisms. More on this in another post.

Layer 4: Gauze and Sterile Padding. Lots and lots of gauze.

Always funny: marking the correct leg for surgery.  

Layer 5: Sterile Tape over Continuous Stitch. I’m really hoping this is a dissolvable thread, like last time. I meant to ask but forgot. I’ll find out on Friday at my post-op appointment.

5 fun layers! No wonder my leg felt so heavy last week.

Today, I’ve lost the Game Ready sleeve while at work and am no longer wearing the TED hose or gauze pads so I’ve graduated a bit and am down to 3 layers. I’ll lose the Game Ready for good this weekend and the tape on Friday and be down to just the knee brace for the next 5 weeks. 

Bye bye onion layers!

One Little Word for 2012

One of my favorite blogs is a personal and craft blog by Elise Blaha. She’s incredibly creative and talented and I love to marvel over her projects.

Earlier this year, she posted about her word that she’d picked for the year. I was intrigued, read a bit more about it and had forgotten about it until I saw her post again about her word (here).

In fact, this concept of choosing a word (or letting the word choose you) to be yours for the year came from Ali Edwards. More about One Little Word here.

I really love this concept of picking one word as a mantra, reminder, pulse for the year so I’ve decided to pick One Little Word for myself for 2012. After rolling around a couple of words in my mind for the past week, one word jumped out to me that I couldn’t shake.

My word is: PERSPECTIVE

2012 is going to be a big year for me and I know that keeping things in perspective and looking at life from another person’s perspective will be key for me.

  • Currently, I’m on crutches and recovering from surgery. Soon, I’ll be walking again and getting back into my active life. I know as I get to that point, I’ll need to keep my expectations and perspective in check. To not compare where I am to anyone else. To not get frustrated. To keep my recovery and progress in perspective.
  • I’m getting married this year. As we continue to plan our wedding, it will be so important to keep the key aspects in perspective. To remember that the wedding is about the marriage and not the details of the day. To look at the details and events from other family member’s perspective. To realize at the end of our wedding day, I’ll be married to my best friend for the rest of my life and that’s what is most important. Perspective.
  • Trials and triumphs in my personal life (work, play, life). There will be bad days, there will be really great days. I want to do a better job of keeping it all in perspective as I journey through this next year. A lot can be learned when looking at the same situation through someone else’s life.

As I start this new year, PERSPECTIVE will be in the back of my mind, keeping me in check. I hope that this will make me a more tolerant, patient and thoughtful person in 2012.

If you picked a word for this new year, what would yours be? 

LGSMASH As A #FitFluential Ambassador

Today has not been a very great knee day so far. (Surgery was on Wednesday; read more here)

After too much nausea last night, I’d decided no more pain pills. I’d rather have a bit more pain and feel like a normal, clear headed, not sick-to-my-stomach person than to have a bit less pain and feel like garbage. So I didn’t take any medicine before bed.

I woke up this morning to a knee that was on fire with pain. HOLY cow. And we’d run out of ice for my awesome Game Ready Ice Machine. And I desperately had to go to the bathroom. So I did what any normal person in my painful situation would do – I cried. I didn’t remember surgery being so painful last time!

After I calmed down, got some more ice in the machine and ate some toast, I decided (with gentle coercion from my fiance) it would behoove me to take some medicine, if only to take the edge off the pain so I could function without tears. So far, so good.

While I’m feeling pretty decent, I wanted to share some exciting news I got last week during our epic cross country drive: I’ve been selected to be a FitFluential Ambassador! (!!!!!) So many of my favorite bloggers and twitter friends (Courtney, Heather, Kia, Suzanne, Shut Up and Run, and so many more!) are #FitFluential and I’m so excited to join the team.

As I’ve been on this journey with my knee surgeries, I’ve blogged about it for two reasons: to give my condition (Osteochondritis Dissecans) a real voice where there was none and secondly, to encourage and inspire others. To inspire other injured athletes to overcome their injury and get back into the game (or run or bike), inspire those just starting on their health journey to keep going (if I can do it after 2 knee surgeries in 3 months, anyone can!), inspire those who are able to walk, run, play to appreciate their abilities while I can’t.

What does this mean for you, my reader? I don’t anticipate much changing. You can expect to still read about the surgery recovery and in 6 weeks, how I’ll start getting myself back into regular physical activity safely. I’ll continue to blog about healthy recipes when I’ve made something extraordinary that needs to be shared. Healthy living, healthy recovery, same ol’ lgsmash.

It is my promise that FitFluential will do nothing but enhance the your reader experience.  Thank you guys, the friends and readers of LGSMASH, for your support through my surgeries and recovery. It’s meant the world to me and I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with you!