Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Diz-KNEE World (part 1)

We have returned from Disney World.  This trip we travelled with my parents and stayed off-site, so it had a very different feel to it than our normal Disney World adventures. 

Friday - November 2

I worked until noon, got the car packed, and we headed up to my parents' house to meet up with them to go to the airport.  I forgot our magic bands, so we turned around to pick them up, adding an hour to the drive.  Thankfully, we had left with enough time that we were still not rushed.  We got to my parents' house, loaded their stuff into my truck, and then off to the airport.  We had dinner at a diner in the terminal, and then waited for our flight to board.  I used a four point harness system for Evan, rather than lugging his car seat onto the plane.  The flight was very bumpy.  The fasten seat belt sign was off for only 15 minutes of so of the three hour flight to Tampa.  Evan wound up projectile vomiting about 20 minutes before landing.  We cleaned him up as best we could.  After the flight landed, we let everyone else deplane, and then we changed him out of the clothes he was in and into a fresh set of pajamas.  We then rode the tram to the terminal to pick up our checked luggage, and then another tram to the rental car station, where we picked up the mini-van.  All loaded in, we were on our way to Disney World, where since I had checked in on-line, I got a text that our room was ready, so we headed right there.  Since we were coming in one night before our stay at the timeshare, I booked one night at Disney's Art of Animation resort.  We finally found our way to the room and got Evan into bed.  Jennie and I went for a walk to burn off the stress, and then back to the room to sleep.

Saturday - November 3

Saturday morning we work up and Evan was in awe at the theming of the room.  We walked from the room to the food court and he saw characters from the Cars movies.  We had breakfast in the food court and the scooter rental company delivered the scooter I was going to use for getting around the parks.  We then walked all through the Cars area, where Evan was so happy to see them.  We then walked by the main pool which was Finding Nemo themed.  Next area was The Lion King, and finally through the Little Mermaid Section.  We took lots of pictures and the joy on my son's face was priceless. 

My dad and I took the luggage to the timeshare to drop it off with the front desk so it would not be in the car, and so I had room for the scooter.  I really wanted to go swimming but this was the coldest day of the trip, so we opted not to.  We made our way to the Magic Kingdom.  Since Evan is a bit taller this year, we were able to ride more things with him.  We rode on Splash Mountain with my parents.  Evan sat between my dad and I in the back row.  When he got off the ride, he said, "That was awesome!"  Jennie and I then rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with him.  I sat next to him and Jennie rode behind us.  Since it was only a lap bar, I kept my one arm in front of him, so he didn't dive under the bar.  We got off and he had such a grin on his face.  "That was soooo cool!"  We then made our way across the park to get something to eat for a late lunch at Columbia Harbor House (which seemed to become our place in the Magic Kingdom for lunch).  We then rode on Ariel's Undersea Adventure, which is one of Ev's favorite rides.  He, Jennie, and grandma then rode on the carousel. 

we headed back to the timeshare to check in and get settled. 

We had dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe where Jennie's brother met us.  He had moved down to Orlando in November of last year and we had not seen him since Christmas when I flew him up.  Wiped out from a long day, I think we all fell asleep quickly.

Sunday - November 4

We were not going to any of the parks today, instead it was a day to visit family, chosen and blood related.  After breakfast, Jennie, Evan, her brother, and I were off to see family,  We first stopped to see Lee Ann and Ron.  Ron just had knee surgery but he was walking pretty well, and it is always nice to visit them.  We jokingly call them Evan's Florida Grandparents.  It was nice to visit with them and just hang out.  I miss them a lot.  

Then we were off to see Jennie's cousins in Northport, about 2 hours away (south of Sarasota).  We had a nice time and Evan got to see his cousin and meet his two new cousins.  We had a nice time hanging out.  Unfortunately for them, their landscaper kicked up a rock and it spiderwebbed the sliding glass door to the back of their house.  As we were eating dinner, it shattered and came down when the wind picked up a little.  Thankfully, Jennie's brother and her cousin taped plastic tarps on both sides of the window, so the glass shards were contained.  The landscaper was out there boarding up the door as we were leaving, and I have heard he has made good on the repairs.

End of October Recap

The end of October has been busy.  From seeing my cadet get married to Halloween, and preparing for a trip to Disney, its been a mad rush it seems.

My knee seems to be doing a bit better yesterday and today.  Today, I was able to walk two full blocks to get some lunch and then two blocks back without any additional pain.  That's a whole lot better than two weeks ago, when I could barely walk a block without wanting to cry.

For my cadet's wedding, I was one of her bridesmen.  She insisted I sit during the ceremony and took care to include me, but to ensure I was not in too much pain.  My brace fit beneath the tux pants.  I stayed off my feet as much as I could while also giving Jennie a break.  Evan was a monster on the dance floor.  He didn't want to dance at first and then he didn't want to stop.  He only stopped when the music was over.

The rest of the weekend was one of sitting on my tush and doing as little as possible.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  Evan was dressed as Wall-E. Jennie made herself an Eve hoodie and one for me as Mo.  It was well received by the neighbors.  I tagged out after trick-or-treating at the 4 neighboring houses and manned the candy table we setup outside the garage.   We had candy, non-candy, and non-food treats available for the kids, along with adult beverages for the parents.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Weekend Update

Friday was a pretty good day.  My new knee brace came in, and yeah, its the proper size. 
DonJoy Armor Knee Brace

I wore it Friday afternoon and evening.  It's not easy to sit in a chair while wearing it and I can't fully straigten my leg easily.  The good thing is that it supports the knee so I don't feel like I am constantly going to fall over.  After picking up Evan from school, we hit the Dutch Market for steaks, veggies, fruit, and some other items.

Saturday was a busy day.  We all woke up late.  We had some errands to run, which mostly revolved around finding a dress shirt for Evan for a wedding this coming weekend.  Burlington was a bust, so we went to Khol's which was a successful trip.  We went to Barnes and Nobels so Ev could look for some new books and to use up his gift certificates.  We had a snack in the cafe, and I stayed there while Jennie and Evan looked at books.  He wound up getting 7 new books.  We came home and had lunch.  Then we headed down to Hammonton to the olive oil store, as we were running low on some flavors.  They were having their Halloween/Fall Festival, but it was ending.  Evan fell asleep, so we were able to get some supplies, and then headed to the toy store there.  He woke up so he could look at the toys.  I told him he could get a small toy, so my goofball picked out a flamingo finger puppet, because "I want to make people laugh!"  I love his personality.  After Hammonton, we headed in the opposite direction to Mt Laurel to hit Costco for some groceries.  Then it was time to head home, have a light meal and pass out.

Sunday, it was smoke all the things.  I smoked a whole chicken, a rack of ribs, and 10 sweet italian sausages.  We had guests coming over for dinner.  Yes, all that for 4 adults.  I ran out to get bagles in the morning, because I was craving a good bagel.  I had to run to the hardware store a few times to get supplies for Evan's halloween costume.  I did some work on it after Jennie completed the painting and things wouldn't stay attached.  I also deconstructed my gorget as the rivits were all rusted out.  I'll hopefully be rebuilding it this week.

Last night for dinner, we ate all the meat and hung out.  It was a nice quiet afternoon/evening.  I got Evan to bed, and nealry fell asleep with him.  We watched one episode of Forged in Fire, and I was out.  I woke a few few times during the night, but it sure beet the perivious night's 90 minutes of sleep.

Today, I am working from home, trying to stay warm.  I made iy up and down the staits this morning without needing to use my cane.  Small victory, but one step forward.

Friday, October 19, 2018


Well the knee is still bothering me.  I'm very thankful to my boss who told me: I don't care if you work from home all the time, do what you need to do.  Last night, I work up and had to go to the bathroom.  I stood up, took a step, and went crashing down.  Thankfully I landed on the bed, and not on the floor or on the dresser. 

I miss fencing.  I was tempted to go to Bhakail this week, but I had things to do and by the time we finished dinner, I was done.  I have not touched my swords or gear since River War except to wash what can be washed. 

I commented on a friend's post that one must allow themselves to suck.  It it the only way to get better.  I am realizing with even sometihng simple like walking, that I can't get frustrated at what I can't do, I have to embrace it for the things I can do at this time, and know it will get better.  I don't have a clue how long it is going to take me to heal up so I can resume normal daily activities, not to mention athletic pursuits.  I do know when I start fencing again, not an if but a when, that I will have to relearn from the ground up.  Hopefully, all those years of drills will come in handy.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Self Care

So last week was interesting. 

I turned 45 on Friday.  Some days I don't feel older than 30, and some days I wonder how I made it this long.  I got an awesome Boba Fett painting from Jennie, and Evan wrote me a story and illustrated a book (Jennie wrote out the words he dictated).  We went out for lunch at a local restaurat, which we had been to before.  It was beautiful weather and we sat next to the open windows.  That evening, Jennie made chicken and pasta with a prosciutto spinach cream sauce.  It was delicious.  She also had asked me what kind of cake I would like, so I asked for a strawberry shortcake.  She and Evan made it together.  He even helped decorate it.  My cadet, Malcolm, Charitye, and TJ came over to help celebrate and eat cake.  TJ brought over some macarons which were delicious.
I woked from home the majority of the week.  I miss working from home and find I am actually much more efficient and successful when I am working from home.  I was able to keep my leg elevated.  On Tuesday when I was actually in the office, I was almost in tears from the walk from the garage to the office (all of 1 block).

Wednesday, I sent a form for a temporary handicapped parking tag to my doctor.  It was completed and returned to me on Thursday, so I dropped it off at the police station along with a check. Friday, they had it ready, so I picked it up after lunch.

The knee brace i ordered came in on Friday.  It would have been a great birthday present for myself, but it didn't fit and actually hurt.  My legs are wider I guess than comparable sized legs due to development from hockey, skiing, and fencing.  The sides of the frame were pinching down on the sides of my legs, rathen than the support cross member sitting on my thigh.  I wore it for a few hours, but it was getting more and more uncomfortable.  I got a return authorization and will be shipping it back and ordering a new one in a larger size today. 

Saturday, we were supposed to go apple picking with a few people, but we cancelled due to the weather.  We headed north and had lunch at our old local diner in Warren.  It was nice to see all the familiar faces and be warmly greeted and catch up.   We used to eat there at least once a week while living with my folks.  We then went over to Jennie's cousin's house for a family get together.  After eating there, we headed to our favorte sushi place to meet up with my parents to celebrate my birthday.  It was a lot of food. 

Sunday was somewhat of a lazy day, but looking back we did a bunch of things that needed doing.  We hit the hardware store for supplies for Evan's Halloween costume.  We hit Staples as I needed toner for my printer.  We hit Kohl's Off-Aisle, looking for a lunch bag for me. Then we took Evan to the local farm so he could get our some energy.  We took the hay-ride to the pumpkin patch and got a "HUGEST" pumpkin according to Evan.  We were tired, so I ordered a pizza for dinner.  After that, it was early to bed. 

Today, I am in the office.  Of course the meeting that I came in to attend in person was cancelled. 

We are heading to Disney World in a few weeks with my parents, so this morning, I reserved an electric scooter.  I'm stubborn and not happy that I won't be walking around, but I do realize that it won't be a good vacation for anyone if I'm in pain just getting out of the car.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ortho follow up

Brace I ordered today
So i had my follow up visit with the orthopedist this afternoon.  It is neither a torn MCL (which is a slight tear, but nothing to worry about yet) or meniscus tear.  Instead, it is a really bad bone bruise.  Prognosis is good, its just going to take a while to heal.  I ordered a knee brace to give me some stability and hopefully its in before we leave for Disney World.

Figuring that I did the damage about 5 weeks ago, and the fact that I have not let it heal, since we didn't know what it was, he said I'm looking at another 4-6 weeks.  I was advised no running, jumping, squats, biking, etc and to limit my walking and activity, as any movement aggravates the bruise and since there is no place for the bruise to swell like muscle, it takes a LOT longer to heal.

Hopefully, this means I will be able to heal up, get in a few weeks of practice before K&Q Rapier in December.

Friday, October 5, 2018

MRI Results

The results of the MRI are not what either my primary care doctor or orthopedist suspected.  I will be calling the orthopedists office this morning when they open to schedule a follow up appointment so I can get a plan for treatment.  If treatment options are surgery or just physical therapy, I am going to opt to go the surgical route so that it will be stronger for the future. 

Hopefully I'll have more answers than questions soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Today was my MRI on my knee.  Thankfully I am feeling better and not coughing or sneezing as much as yesterday.  My orthopedist should have the results in a few days.  Then I'll know better where I stand and what the options are. Just in time for my 45th birthday.

Since we are going to Disney World at the beginning of November, I'm now looking at scooter rentals.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Doctor's Appointment

And then the witch doctor, He told me what to do
He told me:
Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang, Walla walla, bang bang

The verdict on the knee is a severely torn meniscus.  They are sending me for an MRI to determine the extent of the damage. No fencing for now, rest as much as possible. Ice and Vitimin I as needed.  Surgery is likely.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Self Care

So I have made an appointment with an orthopedist for Monday, October 1.  The pain is getting worse overall.  I can walk on it, but with it wet out today, I used my cane to get from the garage to my desk.  I was not plannign to use it, but 3 steps on the sidewalk made me rethink things, and I grabbed it from my trunk.  I had to call Jennie last night while I was upstairs and she was down to help me get my sock off.  Grrrr, frustrating....

As such, I am going to be skipping coronation and a bachelor party this weekend.  I hope everyone has fun.  Bring me back good stories.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

River War

We were running a little later than I had hoped but I still made it in time to fence in the first tournament, Collin's Body Parts tournament.  I have fenced in this format before and while I don't care for it, I had fun fencing.  I think I only lost one or two bouts in my pool, likely to Eldrich and/or Melchior.  Eldrich and Thomas dB made it to the finals with 16 points a piece. I forget who won. 

Lorenzo was going to run a cut and thurst tournament, but there was only one entrant, so instead he ran a single rapier or rapier and buckler tournament.  I went out with single rapier.  I used my 36" blade.   There were about 13 entrants.  I took a bye in the 2nd round to rest my knee (more on that later).  I had some wonderful passes, pulled off a beautiful attack vs Atilla, and lost to James in the final.  He pulled off a beautiful attack/body void and I tagged him late in the back.  I decided to rest up for the remainder of the day, and my cadet was forcing me to sit out.

I think I either strained or slightly tore my MCL a few weeks back while we were on vacation in NC.  I am feeling pain on the inside of my left knee and the joint feels unstable.  There is sometimes a lot of pain or a little pain depending on what I've been doing.  It was bearable, just feeling like I had tweaked it, but its been getting progressively worse.  The most painful time is putting on socks, shoes, underwear, and pants/shorts, becuase of twisting the leg to get them on.  I wore a knee brace while fencing yesterday, and I'm sure it helped.  Between bouts I was talking with Thomas dB and telling him how I felt like i had no push from my back leg due to the knee.  So, next bout, what do I do?  A full lunge with a beuatiful shot at my opponent.  I paid dearly for it.  I was not intending on throwing that shot, instinct took over.  So for the time being, if I fence, I have to figure out a way to limit the damage I do to the joint and the pain I will cause myself.  I am going to try and see a doctor next week to at least get an evaluation. 

I am not sure if I will be going to coronation or not this coming weekend.  I had hoped to go, but it is up in the air.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

No practice this week

No practice this week due to celebrating teh Yom Kippour holiday and other issues.  Tuesday evening, I developed a migraine.  It was so bad not even a narcotic pain killer put a dent in it.  Add to that a knee that is still hurting, and I knew I was not going to make practice in Bhakail this week. 

Instead, we had a nice break-fast with Murray and Chrissy.  I made my version of eggs benedict:

  • Croissants
  • Prosciutto
  • Chipolte holindaise sauce
  • Poached eggs
We served it with cauliflower hashbrowns and prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Dessert was some fresh berries:  Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries.  Overall, it was a nice evening.  I started feeling the migraine coming back, so I lowered the lights and took some meds.  Thankfully I stopped most of the symptoms and we were able to resume as normal. 

I got a decent night of sleep after watching Forged In Fire.  Evan work us up around 4:00, and Jennie went to comfort him.  He was worried all night someone was going to take his bunny away.  Its the one suffed animal he bonded with and we are not sure where this idea got into his head.  Unfortunately, I think he's inheritied some of my anxieties.

This weekend is River War in my home barony of Iron Bog.  Collin Monro is running his "Body Parts" tournament.  I think this is payback for my tournament idea at Bhakail Commons.  There will also be melees, as befitting a "war".  Let's see how my body holds up.  At least it is close to home.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Falling Leaves / Roses Tourney

I love the Roses Tournament.  I have been fortunate to be sponsored for the last three years by Duchess Aikaterine and be on her team.  I wish my fencing was a bit better.  It was good, but I did something to my left knee last week and it was giving me problems.  Add that to my right ankle, and I was in a lot of pain after the day.

Friday, I worked a half day and then we go the car packed up.  We headed out around 2:00, grabbed some lunch on the road as we got a late start, and made our way to the hostess with the mostest, Miss Sally's house in Easton, MA.  Connecticut was full of Connecticidiots as traffic was pretty bad on both the Merritt and 95.  We arrived and I was tired, having been up since 5:30 AM.  A quick dinner and then I was done.  Sleep was restless, Evan was coughing all night.  I was snoring pretty loud according to Jennie.  I could not get comfortable.  She wound up sleeping on the couch in the living room.  Neither of us got rest.

Saturday, we had to wake Evan up, which was unusual.  We got dressed and headed to the event. Dragging my stuff from the parking lot to the field, I twisted the already aching knee.  We found Mercedes and Frasier and staked out space for TOAD-landia.  Antonio and Stacey got onsite and I helped to unload their trailer and setup the TOAD fly.  Before morning court, Lissa gifted me with a beautiful piece of pottery which I in turn gave to my wife.  Lissa, Declan, Aibhilin, Lorenzo, and his girlfriend joined us, which was very nice.

I got some warmups in with Doroga.  I used his height against him by staying in a low crouch and forcing him to adjust to the height difference.  I also used my 37" rapier, giving me a mechanical advantage against his 45" blade and long arms.  We fought with rapier and dagger and then with single rapiers for a few passes.  They were a lot of fun.  I think I strained something in my right foot while fencing him.

For the tournament, Duchess Aikaterine's team consisted of:

  • Sir Antonio, MOD, OGR
  • myself, OGR
  • Xavier the Sinister, OGR
  • Gregori Rogue Montana, Silver Rapier
  • Mable Fortune
One of the problems with the Roses Tournament has been finding teams to fight.  We managed to get in 6 fights with other teams.  We were later told teams needed 5 fights.  We were asked not to fight anymore (officially).  I had good bouts with Remy, Ogedai, Aesa (from Maine), Jamie, Christofel, and my cadet neice: Muirenn.  All were good, challenging fights.

I was thankful that my team was told we were done.  I know it was only 6 fights but also a lot of standing and by that time, I was done.  With Evan having a cough and Jennie and I both tired, we made our way quickly and quietly to the car.  I managed to find Evan's hat and sunglasses in the bathroom on our way out.  

We got back to Sally's house, I got in a shower, and then we headed out for dinner.  I needed protein, so I had a steak.  Then I had half of Evan's cheeseburger.  I was a bit hungry.  We got back, hung out for a bit, and we all turned in early.  This time I slept on the couch so Jennie could have the bed.  I knew I'd be snoring as my nose was stuffy.  

Sunday morning, we left Sally's and headed over to see Zsuzsy.  We had brunch with her, and then we went to her workplace, Salon Zed.  Zsu cut Jennie's hair and it looks so good on her.  We were out of there around 1:30 or so, and on our way back to NJ.  Connecticut was still the same when it comes to traffic.  We got to our town about 7:00 and went for sushi before getting home.  I got Evan to bed, and then soon we passed out. It was good to be in our bed.

This morning as I type this, my foot and knee still hurt.  The ankle hurts too but about what is normal, considering we are expecting rain.  Hopefully I'll make practice in Bhakail this week.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ducal Challenge

I had a good time at Ducal Challege. The roads were wet and we left a bit later than we had hoped. I really need to remember to pack the night before. We were staying Saturday night at my parent's house, so we had to do some extra, non-event related packing.

We got to the site, checked in at troll, and then to the MOL table. I dropped the tray of baklava on the rapier prize table. The ground was damp and there was a slight slope to where we were to be fencing, so I opted to use a two handed sowrd in the list, rather than risk going for a lunge and hurting myself (as my ankle had been bothering me for a few days).

The pools were called, and I wound up in a great list with Justin Aucoin, David Tanguay, Matthew Kriebel, BobbyTights, Ilene Boucher, Kate Sokol, Annie Mohawk, Douglas Brooks, Nicolas Ferrero, Lindsay Gobin and one other who I cannot recall. A newly authorized fencer was very nervous when going to the list, so I talked to her a bit, hopefully got her to relax and have some fun. McCoy Munoz and Daniel Vildoso, thank you for marshalling our pool. I had a good day in the pool, coming out without any losses.

There was a break before the 16, so I got in to crongratulate Whitney Sternberg on her impending elevation as we would not be able to stay for court. She is going to make an awesome peer of the society.

I should have stopped in to see Ellesbeth Donofrey, but timing was not in my favor. Congratulations Ellesbeth Donofrey, well deserved, and you have been a force of nature for good in the society for many years.

In the 16, my first pairing was with Ray Edwards, of course. I missed him by " " that much..... but it was a great fun bout. I miss you terribly my brother.

Second round was against Mike Bannon. He knows me well so I had to change things up on him. I was lucky to leg him, but i forget how long his reach is for a guy who is not so tall. He was almost able to get me a few times, so I had to be cautious and setup and wait for my shot.

Third round was the baby OGR, Doroga. I came in under him, and it was a beautiful double tap, first to the belly and then light tap on cup. We laughed about it, but it was a good bout.

My final bout of the day was with Frank Hetherington III. I over extended and took too long to recover and he pounced on the opening and hit me so nice and clean. Every time I fence him, he continues to get better and better.

In the prize selection phase, I was lucky enough that my first choice was still there, so I have added another piece of art to the Thomas V. Berger gallery.

It was fun to see Evan playing with Turi and Kathleen's children and Lukesand Erikas' son. They are all so cute together. We packed up and headed to my parents' house to get changed and drop off Evan.

After a quick snack, we headed to Antonio and Stacey's house, where we knew people would be heading for dinner. We arrived and Marietta was there waiting for the food, but Christopher Butler was waiting at the train station, so I volunteered to pick him up. It was nice chatting with them both when we got back to the house before everyone got back from the event. I somehow managed to hurt myself when walking. Ice pack was gotten and I put my leg up for a bit. I did it again later in the evening. Not sure what happened, but Rachael Dufford got me her cane so I had some support. (good to have a cadet who likes to fight rigid parry).

We got back to my parents' house and tried to pass out, but a little boy takes up a lot of room in the bed. I woke up and made another tray of baklava for Rosh Hashannah dinner that evening. Jennie, Evan, and I headed out for dim sum with Miriam H Friedman Berger, Tom, Tina Edana, Maxine Lee. As always the food was good, but the company was better.

I passed out for a nap on the couch during the Giants game. Dinner with the family was had, and we headed home. It was a good weekend, but I want to know where it went.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Training Day #1

So I need to get into shape.  I've talked a big game about this, but tonight, after getting Evan into bed, I rode my exercise bike for the first time in a long time.  I am a sweaty mess, but I did a 20 minute spinning workout, following an online video.  1 day down, more to come....