Thursday, April 30, 2009

Part Two

I had my second appointment with my counselor last night and it went a lot better than the first. Didn't have to reach for a kleenex at all! Either I'm getting more used to Michael's medical shenanigans or my skin is getting "thicker". Like the first appointment, I came out of there with much to think about. The whole issue of selfishness came up during the conversation. Michael's perception is that since I take time to work out, attend church, quilt, attend retreats, etc. that makes me a selfish person. And to be honest, I was believing that. Not anymore. I have to take care of myself, because if I don't, nobody will be around to take care of Mr. Michael, Miss Andrea, Tattoo Boy, Daisy and Smudge. ( Let's leave the pet rat, Marcus, out of this equation!)

We talked about Michael's pulmonologist and how I feel about the physician's lack of caring attitude. She knows an excellent lung specialist and is going to speak with him about reviewing Michael's case. What the heck! It may do Michael good to get a second opinion on treatments at the least.

I also said last weekend's quilt retreat did more to re-charge my battery than any vacation could. Thanks peeps!

Got to thinking about the quilt idea for our guests next month. I already have flimsies that are ready to quilt, so I'll get started on those this weekend. I'll save the cake pattern book for the next project!

This evening, Michael, Andrea and I are going to a play at my church. My nephew is acting in the play which incorporates dinner for the audience as part of the play. It should be interesting, if anything.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hopelessly Addicted

One would think that after a weekend of sheer quilt gluttony, I would be satisfied with not heading into the quilt shops for at least a week. (Think evil laugh here folks!) I found myself needing an escape at lunchtime today so I headed over to Best Friends. I picked up a Very Badly purse kit since Linda kindly offered to help if I needed assistance putting this bag together. Then, my eye rested on a Layer Cake quilt sample. I HAD to have that pattern - it looked so simple and I was searching for an easy pattern to whip up a couple of twin-sized quilts in 2 and 1/2 weeks. (Yes, I am out of my mind!) If Michael protests, I will tell him EVERYBODY at the retreat had a hand-made quilted bag but his poor disadvantaged spouse and the quilts are for his daughters to use when they visit next month.

I had an ulterior motive for going to Best Friends - to avoid Weight Watchers weigh-in this week. (Hiding my head in shame..) But I will get back on the program starting now!

Mistake number one this week was letting Mr. Michael go to the pulmonologist all by himself on Monday. (I couldn't get the time off work) Apparently, the doctor ordered another CT scan for July. Depending on the disease progression at that time, Michael may be referred to an experimental program. That went over like a lead balloon with mister- I- don't- want- to- be- a- guinea- pig- for- anybody. My reasoning is this: there's nothing that can cure pulmonary fibrosis, so why not try something that possibly could? I'll find out more about it.....

The news from across the pond? Three of Michael's four children are coming here on May 15 for a two week visit. You want to hear a nightmare of a story associated with their plane tickets? Michael's ex-wife (Margaret) wanted to book the ticket for son Trevor as a birthday gift. Meanwhile, Lizzy split from her spouse and was all depressed, so I offered to pay for her ticket to come over here with Trevor. THEN, Leah borrows money so she can visit as well. No problemo - we can find the room. BUT, Margaret takes it upon herself to book the worst tickets in the cosmos for those kids. She had Trevor and Lizzy flying into Kennedy Airport from Manchester, England transferring by lord knows what to LaGuardia for a flight to Atlanta, THEN to Cincinnati. A total of 28 hours straight on the road including a nine hour layover in Atlanta. (Remember, these are not seasoned travellers and dealing with transportation in New York would frighten Liz to death!) Leah, she booked on a separate itinerary, leaving England nine hours AFTER Trev and Liz, but arriving two hours before they do! The woman was bloody crackers! The travel agency she booked the flights through refused to refund the money and wanted to charge her an extra $150 per ticket to re-book. Michael's son in law and oldest daughter fought to get a refund or some assistance from the company, but was turned down flat. Ends up, Margaret bought three new tickets, costing less, somewhere else and is going to eat the loss from the first set of tickets. Michael always told me she was bad with money! But in all fairness, I think the travel agency took advantage of her ignorance.

DD (Andrea) hasn't begged to start her driving experience, but did ask if we could start this weekend. There goes my nerves again!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Things I Learned At the Retreat

This was my second ESA/St Jude's Retreat and by far was the most enjoyable time I've had at any retreat. (Course, last year, the only person I knew going into the weekend was Jill.) This year, I felt like I had a whole group of ready-made friends waiting for me. Linda (Piwacket's mum) and I drove to the retreat together. So we had a chance to gab and shop at Valley Quilts before arriving at the center.

So, without further ado, here is what I LEARNED:

-It's useless to try to stay on Weight Watchers during this weekend with all the great meals we were served. I hadn't had a proper dessert in ages and the treats we had nearly sent me into a sugar-driven high. Wonderful stuff! Trust me when I say it was absolute luxury having someone else do the cleaning up as well.
-Crawling into the top bunk is a work out by itself. But once I was up there, it was OK.
-Cindy discovered the floor is harder than her body with her bunk bed attempt. Poor gal!
-Becca gives the impression that she's SO soft-spoken and nice. Just wait until the Left,Right and Center dice surface and she turns into Las Vegas Gertrude! Talk about a hard-core fat quarter gambler. (Love you, Becca!)
-Midnight is not the time to start ripping out mistakes.
-NEVER, EVER give DD her choice in quilts again! I'm still seeing black and white spots.
-Fabric from Connecting Threads is marvelous stuff - so soft and good to work with.
-Linda's every bit one of the nicest people I've ever met. And she's just as addicted to quilting as me.
-Jill needs to be banned from all future raffles! (Just teasing, Jill!) And thank you for the fabric.
-I can win too! I won a lap quilt during lunch on Saturday, a fabric calculator, a baby quilt kit, kids' quilts pattern book, and batting.
-The small gifts/table favors at each meal were so cute. They sure gave me a lot of ideas for gifts for my co-workers this Christmas.
-Next year, I will have all my fabric cut ahead of time.
-It's absolutely, positively marvelous to get away from home for a few days.
-The Peeps are genuinely all nice, creative, beautiful women.
-Never, ever get Sherry (aka Angry White Woman) ticked off.
-Never in the history of quilting have two days gone by faster!
-I'll be there again next year.

Well, it's back to reality. More about that later........

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No Title Comes To Mind- Hodge Podge Post

Thanks to Monique and Linda, I have some ideas about the quilted checkbook cover. Should be something easy to work on.

DH is freaking out about the job the floor refinishers have done. We're not supposed to walk on the floor until tomorrow morning and not move any furniture until Thursday morning. The workers left an invoice at the house for $200 more than was quoted also. So Michael had words with the owner. Ends up, the floor's only getting the two coats it has now - no more and we are not paying the entire bill. Michael feels the firm did us wrong by using products that required more than 24 hours of dry-time. He told the owner again about his lung condition, the dry-time issue, and the shoddy clean-up. The owner denies Michael discussed all this with him when the quote was done. Sorry, but we mentioned it to all three firms that quoted the job. We wish now we had gone with the more expensive/national business quote. But, it's done.At least the floor looks nice. I have Thursday off and can start moving things then. The kids may have to sleep in the family room tonight since their bedrooms are at the far end of the house beyond the floor job. I think Michael's having an easier time breathing today, so perhaps yesterday was the worst for fumes and dust.

Friday cannot come fast enough. I sorely need this retreat since I cannot remember the last time I turned on my sewing machine! My goal is to at least get the fabric cut for Andrea's black and white quilt before Friday. Good thing I pulled all that stuff out of the sewing room before the floor work was started! I won't be able to get into the sewing room until Thursday.

With the kitchen being all topsy-turvey, we went to Olive Garden for dinner last night. Yum! I spent an hour working out afterwards, but it was well worth it. I'll attempt to fix a meal in our kitchen tonight - it'll have to be something simple.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Looking For Help!

I'm looking for an easy pattern for a quilted checkbook cover. If any of you peeps coming to retreat have that and can share it with me, I'd greatly appreciate it. Here's the story behind it: Last week one of my co-workers asked me if I knew how to make these. She wanted something to distinguish her checkbook from her mother's checkbook. Her mom was ill, so she had assumed responsibility for the mom's banking, bill paying, etc. I told her I would look into it. Sadly, her mom passed away yesterday morning. I know it's not much, but I would like to get this small gift done for her.

Well, I've finished all the medication my doctor prescribed, but the shingles are still there. Feels like a rug burn at present which is infinitely better than the sharp stabbing pain from last week. Just wish my energy level would recover.

Spent much of the weekend getting ready for the floor refinishers - packed up china, tossed stuff into baskets and shoved stuff wherever I could. The contractors showed up this morning and after 90 minutes of work, showed me how beautiful that floor is going to look. OMG! If I didn't know any better, I'd swear they were installing all new wood. But, oh my the dust! Even with the floor to ceiling plastic walls, you can still feel the dust in the house. At least the house will have received a good thorough cleaning when this is all over with. Michael's holed up in our bedroom, sealed off from the work, so I don't think he'll be affected too much by it.

Went to a small quilt shop in Trenton on Saturday for their fat quarter frenzy sale. Picked up a few quarters and a piece of fabric on sale that will go nicely with the "cheater" panel I bought for Mom at the Lebanon show. My parcel from Connecting Threads arrived on Friday. I've already cut the fabric from the kit, so I'm ready to sew first thing at the retreat. And since I had some time to spare this morning, I started cutting the fabric for a quilt Andrea wants. Then, picked up some cute pieces at Joann's yesterday for pillowcases, plus the ribbon I need for Jen's project. So, I'm very well stocked for the weekend, thank you very much! Especially when you consider all the 5" squares and 2 and 1/2" strips I'm bringing.

Good thing I'll be getting a ton of sewing done this weekend since I can't get into my sewing room until at least Wednesday.

Andrea and I have dentist appointments this afternoon. Yuch! At least it gets me out of the office early. Tattoo Boy has agreed to let the floor contractor into the house tomorrow morning, so I won't miss time tomorrow. Time wise, this is going to be a crazy week. Late to work on Wednesday, no work at all on Thursday and Friday.


Friday, April 17, 2009

On The Mend

I promise y'all not to over-expose myself during the retreat next week. Nudity just ain't my thing, folks. So, if you're expecting to see a naked quilter, then you need to go somewhere else! Trust me, I look FAR better with clothing on!!! Shingles are already well on the mend and expected to be an unpleasant thing of the past by next Friday.

My energy level has gone back up a bit, so I spent some time in the sewing room last night. Found my two shoe boxes of fat quarters, reorganized my nickel squares into some order of colour, and found some flannel for a project Jen wants to share with us. A quilt shop not far from here is having their monthly fat quarter sale this weekend, so I may drive there tomorrow to pick up a few. Heck, they're only $1.50 each which is great for quilt shop quality. I picked up a pattern that looks like a jigsaw puzzle made from fat quarters, so I may splurge and get enough for that project. It could be a great quilt for one of my nephews.

HOWEVER, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous tomorrow and Michael may have other plans. Tattoo Boy has promised to help me with rehabbing the back yard this spring.

Like many of you, I've watched the U-Tube clip of Susan Boyle's performance at "Britain's Got Talent". Gobsmacked is a great word for it! (You Brits know that word, as for us Americans, think dumb-struck and you have it spot on.) It's such a great story and brings me to tears every time I watch the video - yes, it's now on my favorites list on the home pc. Susan is going to be tough to top in this competition and it's just unfortunate that we have to wait until close to the end of May to hear her onstage again. From what I understand, she performed on the first night of round one. Wow, what a way to start.

Need to dash off to a (yawn!) meeting. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Better Day

I suppose the shingles are getting better - my back's only felt like a knitting needle went through it four times this afternoon. The achey owey part is right along the bra line. Trust me when I say I have discovered a new use for mini-pads.

During dinner last night I mentioned to Michael that two of my quilting buddies had backed out of the retreat. Why did they drop out?" he asked. I explained to him their reasons which he promptly discounted.

Me: "OK smart guy, why did they drop out?"
Michael: "Because they didn't want to room with a shingles-ridden, diseased creature."

Ouch! That hurt! It's too bad that shingles aren't contagious or else I know the first person I'd like to give it to!

The rest of the evening wasn't much to write home about. I stayed out of my sewing room in favor of curling up on the bed with a quilt and Smudge. Nothing wrong with that. Smudge liked a bit of down time with his mum.

I ordered a kit from Connecting Threads today from their new Kyoto line. Hoping it will arrive in time to bring it to the retreat. No shortage of stuff to work on, trust me. I have a tote full of nickel squares and several patterns I want to attempt. That is in addition to the smaller projects and classes which are being offered at the retreat. At the Lebanon quilt show I picked up a "cheater" block of Bible verses and symbols which I thought my mom would like. I'll select some fabric to go with it and hope my fellow quilters can give me some ideas on how to finish it up, 'cause I sure don't have a clue.

AND, it's tax day. Guess what Tattoo Boy is doing?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


No, not the kind that goes on the roof of a house. The red, boo-boo looking, achey, hurting kind stemming from the chicken pox virus. Ever since last Thursday I've had an achey spot on the left side of my back which radiated to the front. I figured I just pulled a muscle during a work-out. But when it didn't get better, I had Michael look at the area.

"It's spider bites," he proclaimed. "I get 'em every now and then:" And he didn't stop there. In his estimation I must have a low pain tolerance and am a real wuss. He wouldn't accept my assessment that it was shingles - I was making it all up, he claimed.

I toughed it out until yesterday's doctor's appointment. Yep, it's shingles. Now taking two prescriptions in addition to the Advil I was already using. Bit better today, I think. Now, if I could just avoid stress.

Anybody want to adopt a 61-year-old Englishman?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not a Quiet Easter Weekend

Finally convinced Michael to see our doctor since it was obvious to me that he didn't have just a garden variety cold. Even colds can knock him flat with his pulmonary fibrosis. So, now he's taking three different medications, on oxygen and refuses to use the nebulizer. Is there any other more stubborn man on the planet? I ran out to the grocery store to get a few things on Thursday night and by the time I returned, Michael had puked up all his dinner and medication, and was sitting in bed devouring a Klondike bar. (Sorry about the graphic description!) He forgot to flush the toilet and I went bonkers with the disinfectant.

Meanwhile, it was my daughter's 16th birthday and we still had the sleepover since we kept Michael confined to the bedroom and the girls stayed in the family room and kitchen. The girls were still sleeping when I left the house for an hour on Friday morning.

I wouldn't have left, but I had an appointment with a counselor to talk about Michael's terminal illness and how badly I seem to be coping with all of it lately. I know Michael wanted me to see our doctor, but I don't think a family practitioner is equipped/trained to handle situations similar to ours. So, if you think I'm weak, I'm sorry. But, I believe it took strength to seek help. And I'm praying it will help me cope through this and what's to come. The counselor gave me a couple of areas to work on - one being exercise. The other was when Michael does stuff like leaving his garbage all over the floor, not flushing the toilet and wants us to do things he's capable of doing, I'm to speak firmly and softly and say,"Michael this is unacceptable." Well, after three "unacceptable" conversations on Sunday, he stormed, "What is this unacceptable crap?"

With Michael feeling a bit better and sleeping (finally) I got some sewing done on late Saturday afternoon. Then I managed to escape to the sewing room again yesterday afternoon to cut some more five inch squares.

I met my brother and his wife for church yesterday morning. Can't tell you how wonderful it was to attend church with part of my family. (I usually go alone.) It was a beautiful Easter service.

So, that's my weekend. Not filled with quilting and sewing. I feel like I've returned to this office to escape home for a few hours. Andrea's off school all this week. It's just too bad we couldn't do something fun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What A Weekend!

Ever have a weekend when you look forward to returning to work? Nah, didn't think so. But I was close to thinking I needed to return to the office so I could rest.

I pieced and quilted a small table runner over the weekend for my sister-in-law's birthday gift. turned out quite cute. All I have to do is finish sewing the binding and it should be done before long. Worked on this small project a bit at a time - whenever I could escape from the other tasks at hand.

Laundry, groceries, cleaning bathrooms, bedrooms, sweeping and mopping kitchen floor, wiping all the counter tops. Not my idea of fun, but it surely needed doing. Surprised I didn't fall asleep when we were at the movies on Saturday night.

Sunday's supposed to be a day of rest? Right! After I came home from church, Michael informed me he needed my help lifting a few things in the garage. His idea of lifting included me cleaning out the garage and sweeping all the muck accumulated during the winter. Then Michael had a contact of his from Craig's List deliver a truck load of landscaping rocks. I helped Tattoo Boy shovel all these bloody rocks from the truck. Dinner? No sweat - on the grill which caught on fire.

Is it any wonder I'm enjoying the quiet at the office today?

Stay tuned....we're having the wood floors in the house refinished which means packing up EVERYTHING in those rooms to protect them from the dust.

No rest for the wicked.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Ramblings of a Mad Quilter

My fabric acquisition skills were getting rusty, so I popped into a local quilt shop yesterday during my lunch break. Who wouldn't rather fondle fabric than eat? I realize it has been months since I set foot in this shop, but for nobody to greet me, ask me if I needed help, etc. was somewhat of puzzle to me. Maybe they were having a challenging day like mine.

One bit of good news brightened my outlook considerably. Tattoo Boy has been accepted for the university's art school beginning fall quarter. Thank you, Lord!!! We will take him out for dinner soon to celebrate as soon as we can find a date when he's not A. working, B. teaching Tae Kwon Do class, C. working out at the gym or D. eating everything that's not nailed down in my fridge.

Michael's lung condition has deteriorated to the point where he needs oxygen most of the time. However, it hasn't affected his ability to leave nasty notes on the kitchen waxboard about the pets or the state of HIS office. There is nothing finer than going into the kitchen and reading a list of complaints first thing in the morning. I'm being sarcastic here, folks. The PURPOSE of the waxboard is to create grocery lists and communicate. Well, since the kids and I have cell phones, we don't use the waxboard for communication anymore. Except Michael. I may ban him from using the board.

Seriously, I am at a loss with that man at times. I know he's not physically able to do as much as in years past and that vexes him greatly. But there are things he CAN do and he won't. And if I don't do them for him, well, that creates moaning from him and guilty feelings on my part.

No plans for the weekend other than the normal cleaning, laundry, etc. - trying to catch up on the household chores so I won't find a waxboard note for a while.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ginormous Struggle

I hate Wednesdays! Weight Watchers' weigh in is Wednesday at lunchtime.

Ever since I met my current husband, my weight has been a concern. It's a flippin' miracle the man even looked at me twice! He makes no bones about it (pun intended) that he is attracted to thin women. (think Calista Flockhart, here people) And to be honest, I don't like heaving about with extra baggage.

At my heaviest three years ago, I was under treatment for high blood pressure. I've managed to shed the pills, 35 pounds, and my blood pressure's in the normal range now, but I still have 30 more pounds to lose.....and.....I'm stuck. Been stuck for a long time.

Last week I literally went into a crying jag at the scales - I was UP 3.4. In the name of all that is holy, I had no clue WHY. Today, I'm down 3.6. I should be wahooing, high fiving, but I'm not. Because I know it's a struggle and this war will never be over.

At least I've won this battle.