Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Knee Verdict - Osteoarthritis

I liked this orthopedic doctor at the local Almana Hospital way better than the guy at Saad Specialist Hospital. The last guyistened for me for a second, touched my knee cap a little, had me move my leg to see where I felt pain and diagnosed me with tendinitis. I'm not saying I doubt that I have that. He just didn't actually try check the motion of my knee or anything much at all.

Today he moved my knee join in all possible directions and instantly said, "Yes, you defininitely have a problem!" as it cracked, popped and made awful grinding noises. Brian mentioned that my dad and brother had both already had knee surgeries. The doctor told me straight out I was WAY too young to have osteoarthritis though it fit.

He ordered an X-ray and had good news bad news from what he saw. Osteoarthritis that is medium severity on the way to bad enough for surgery. For now I do thigh strengthening exercises and walk. No jogging. I got 4 medications to use. One to lubricate the bad joints (within 4-5 months of beginning a daily dose of it), one for pain today, vitamin D (because as he said everyone here has vitamin D deficiency because they don't spend enough time in the sun) and a topical cream called No-Dolor (which means "no pain" in Spanish.

I told him I don't exercise because exercise is what causes the pain. If I don't exercise I used to feel better. He told me the brace I am wearing us weakening my muscles so I will stop that and start doing weighted exercise to strengthen my thigh and take the stress off the joint again.

My favorite question confused me at first. He asked if I sit on the floor. I had to think for a minute. Yes, occasionally I sit on the floor with the kids or something but I probed to make sure I understood and he clarified, "Culturally you don't sit on the floor do you?" As he looked at my fair Caucasian face and light brown hair. Oh! "No. I don't sit on the floor." I realized he meant did I sit on the floor for all my meals etc. But in my head I thought, "No way! That would kill my knees!!" 

So no surgery recommended for now though I still hurt every day. And sometimes I hurt a lot. It won't improve quickly, especially because I need to quit wearing the knee brace which is guaranteed to add to the pain threshold for several weeks.

I just don't know how this mid-thirties body will ever survive to old age without being utterly miserable if it started breaking down at the age of twelve. Sad but true.

On the Agenda Today

Cook dinner from whatever vegetable Ben grew in the front yard.

Go to the doc and get my knee troubles seen about again.

Tennis lessons for the kids. With no school the coach has offered so many bonus unexpected lessons I decided to declare our offical family spring break activity "Tennis Camp".

Play with Brian because he took the day off work to chill with us in the compound.

Make chicken cordon blue for dinner.

Make leave rubbings and write storybooks.

Watch three big kids Heeley all over the house.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Composing New Lyrics

I love spring break! When else would Madison and I have time to sit and compose new lyrics to a Suzuki violin song? We are really enjoying ourselves together this morning.

We are working on Gavotte today from Suzuki Violin Book 1. Here is what we came up with:
You can find a blossom in all colors here
In my flower jungle I grow lots of cheer
Velvet petals covered in the morning dew
Swaying in the wind saying, "Hi!" to you.
Repeat verse 1
When the sun goes down my jungle comes alive
Busy, busy, busy like a grand beehive
Getting dressed and cooking for the festival
Life at night is never very, awfully dull.
All my royal subjects bow to me.
Waiting, watching, all wanting to see
Three baby blossoms new to our home
Pipsy, Popsy, Tipsy all three.
Repeat verse 3
"Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!" they say.
Ready for a great big rest at day.
Moonlight is fading quickly away
Lighter, brighter. Welcome day!
Repeat verse 4
You can find a blossom in all colors here
All the flowers see the baby blossoms bloom
Watching them with pride, as they grow quickly up
Stretching to sunlight, they wait for rain.
Then the garden gates unlock and people come
Basking in the beauty of the garden sun
Flowers shine and glow and beautify the world
No one knows about the midnight festival.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chicken Lollipops for Dinner?

Another cool find here. Zing Chicken Lollipops. In the freezer section and appear to be dinner food rather than dessert as I would think of as a lollipop.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Kids on Career Day

Today is career day at school and the kids get to dress up. I brought some fun clothes from Hong Kong as souvenirs for the kids and hadn't given them out yet because I was too darn tired to unpack my bags. Last night I had a plan for the boys at least. I asked everyone to write down five career ideas and we would figure out how to dress like those things. 

I knew that Ben would write soccer player and I was fairly sure Jacob would too. I had Manchester United jerseys to give them. Madison was just pure dumb luck. She wrote down movie star. I bought her an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen. Our clan was excited for school this fine career day morning in Saudi.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ashlyn Eye Improvement!!

We had our first follow up with the eye doctor today. After six weeks of patching six hours a day Ashlyn's vision went from 20/70 to 20/40. Madison started at 4 years old and went from 20/200 to 20/70 in six months. After four years she was able to get to 20/40. All of these numbers are WITH GLASSES ON.

Patching is such a wonderful, difficult blessing. Kids hate it. Parents hate it. But the benefits are so evident. I'm so thankful for the eye tumor scare at the pediatrian visit four and a half years ago that put us in the right office to get Madison so real help all those years ago. No tumor was found but we never would have known what could have been because the doctor we had been seeing didn't believe in patching at all.

Ashlyn will check in again in six more weeks and then we go from there. I have high hopes for her and love this doctor. Ashlyn is quite pleased that he recommends 30 min to an hour of her patching time to be with close work helping solidify the link between eye and hand. Ipad was top of his list. No complaints from her on that persecription.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Familiar Asia

I'm off on a fun adventure this week to Hong Kong with my girlfriends from Saudi. Four years I missed this weekend retreat with Singapore ladies for one reason or another while I lived nearby. Now that I'm crazy far away and it's way less convenient, I've found a way to make it happen. I recruited a few Saudi friends and we booked tickets!

I'm excited on so many fronts, not the least of which is the joyous reunion I am about to have with my Singapore sisters. From what I see on facebook, 10 + of my dear friends are coming to Hong Kong this week too. One of whom, sweet Teena, is coming three days early with us to tour and shop and play before the conference even begins!!

I'm currently sitting watching the inflight map with a little digital airplane creep across the tiny TV screen. I am getting more giddy by the hour. (That would be American giddy, not Singapore giddy which means feeling like you may pass out. Haha.) Just fifty five minutes left until I am in proper ASIA again!!! 

When we approached the gate to board this flight, I began to feel a little more at home. There were so many Asians! During the flight I slept then got up to brush my teeth and stretch a bit. As I stood waiting for the stewardess and her cart to move slowly along so I could return to my seat I stood in the dim cabin peering around at the beautiful sleepy faces on board with me and I got a little choked up. These are my people. I yearn to live in Singapore again. To be able to walk freely and safely among the people and shop in Chinatown or get chicken rice at the hawker. To sweat as I wait for a bus or train, to carry my groceries home in a granny trolly from the local market and know the weather will be the exact same all year long. And I miss Gina. 

My Saudi home is my home now. My family is happy. I am happy there too, but I feel so incredibly torn. Seeing my Asia love spike again today floods my heart with happiness. I want to feel attached to Saudi, to feel fiercely loyal to the people and the culture but compound living with drivers and rules about everything is so exclusive. Abayas and security worries and company lock downs hamper that effort every single day. I have wondered how I will ever feel a part of my new place. It isn't impossible. And the more good Saudi women I have the chance to meet the more my heart will grow loyal to a new people. I'm sure in our three years it will come. I even bet that six months into Singapore I still felt a similar out of place-ness, like a spectator in a silly game.

So, this week I will revel in the fun of Hong Kong. Shop and eat. Soak up the sisterhood of renewing old friendships. Listen and learn how to be brave and have courage. That is what I am here for. A refresh to bouy me up another few months to make me a better wife and mother to my sweet family. And soak in Asia!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Inside the Lines

I'm trying to figure out the car pool for next week when I'm away and Brian is on duty with the kids. So I printed this week and crossed out the day the kids have no school. Then to make sure I didn't mistake it for another week I wrote in big, sloppy letters across the top "Hong Kong" but Ashlyn says it's a big fail.

She's feeling an incredible amount of consternation over my schedule and has instructed me that "Teacher Vera says trace the things like this and don't go out of the lines. 

This is the right spot to write.

This is the wrong place to write.

She's been chastising me for about five minutes.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


We loaded the kids in the car to run out shopping for a garden hose today. Of course they asked what we were going to get so Brian told them we were going to get something so great it was better than their wildest dreams. So Jacob immediately requested a lion, Ashlyn two giraffes and Madison a unicorn.

We may need a bigger car to get all this home.

I Need an Answer

Having a driver is a blessing and a curse. I do a whole lot of riding these days since it's illegal for women to drive and its about an hour to take the kids to school in the morning or pick up in the afternoon. So I either talk and play with Ashlyn or make use of my data plan on my mobile phone. But today I had some legit stuff I needed to do in the tiny window of time during the drive and Ashlyn was super chatty. Finally I knew I was too deeply involved in my research when I noticed from her car seat she was saying, in a very stern parent voice, "Mom! I need an answer from you!"