Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 578

As I was harvesting things from the garden today I realized I'm going to miss it. Not miss the weeds, not miss the mud and the bugs. Certainly not miss the bending over. I'm going to miss the convenience of having veggies right close. I'm going to miss having the peace of mind in knowing who and what has touched my produce and what pesticides are on it. (None.) The money aspect of the garden has been a relief, too.

Juicing has been expensive, but being able to go to the garden and grab some kale, chard, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and beets when I need them has helped ease the pain when I have to buy the rest of the fruits and veggies at the store.

Except October is almost here and the garden will soon be winding down. Not yet, though. My Swiss chard is still going strong. Just look at the gorgeous green leaves! For some reason I thought it important to show how big the leaves are, hence the ruler in the picture.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 577

The way I see it, I saved $75 today.

Today was the quilt show in Boise, the same one I went to with my daughter back on Day 115. Daughter couldn't go this time around, but I talked hubby into it since he's getting along pretty good with the cane. Except I changed my mind at four o'clock this morning. There in bed, not able to get back to sleep, I started thinking.

$13 for gas.
$12 for admission.
$25 in fabric and/or patterns and/or whatever. (Who can go to a quilt show and not buy something?)
$25 for lunch. (Hubby is limited on what he can eat so when we go out he has to be picky. Which sometimes means expensive, but since he doesn't get to do it too often I let it slide.)

Right now with hubby on sick leave and not knowing what the future holds, me working part time when I can, and the medical bills we just paid off, I figured I had better ways to spend $75. And a quilt show wasn't it.

So no pictures of quilts or fabric or purchases. Thank goodness I spied a butterfly out the window, glowing in the afternoon sun.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 576

A full day of sewing. Of being tucked away in a room as the sewing machine hummed and hummed and hummed. The quilt top I did on Day 570 for one of the Alaska kids is now an official quilt. And again, I practiced my stitching before turning myself loose on the real thing. I just love how the stitching looks on the bright backing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day 575

One thing I've learned over the last couple years is that I have several choices, but the choices are so extreme.

a. addictive pain pills
b. anti-malaria medication
c. injectable medication that can cause TB and lymphoma
d. injectable chemotherapy drugs
e. anti-inflammatory medication that caused my husband's kidneys to shut down
f. a diet that consists primarily of fresh kale/celery/chard/carrot/beet/pepper/cucumber/zucchini/apple juice
g. all of the above
h. none of the above

At times I've tried all of the above and other times have tried none of the above. But now I'm at a crossroads. Based on the symptoms - on the severity of the rebelliousness of my body - I must make a decision. I must take power of my situation, over my pain and stiffness and fatigue and everything else that represents a body out of control. 

Even kitty notices something is off. When I got home and headed to the bedroom she crawled up just about as close to my face as she could and dozed off.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 574

A single brown leaf amidst all the neighboring healthy green leaves. Slowing being eaten away, possibly by some disease.

The best representation of how I feel on Day 574.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 573

Today's picture may be boring but it shows something I'm proud of. After this weekend's trip to the quilter's house I realized I needed to do a better job with my quilting stitches. So when I quilted the top from Day 571 I paid particular attention to my work. Today's picture is a close up of my fine work. (Or at least work that is getting closer to fine.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 572

Where do you think a view like this can be seen? A park? Someone's yard? Nope.

Looking out the window while sitting in the chair at the dentist's office. Hubby was in the chair (whew, not me!) but I took the picture. No matter what time of year it is, it's such a pretty sight.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Day 571

More coughing, phone calls, and NASCAR watching. A rainstorm, a long nap, and another quilt top for the Alaska kids.
 No thanks to the kitty who plopped herself on the ironing board just when I needed it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 570

I set out to make today a sewing day and I did it.

Luckily I had some motivation after I visited a quilter today, and it was another quilter who took me over there to visit. Having never seen another quilter's space it was quite the exciting morning for me. I got to see all her beautiful work - beautiful fabrics, beautiful stitching, beautiful patterns - and ask lots of questions of both of them. It made me think about maybe making a quilt (or two) for myself.

But not today. I picked out the fabric on Day 561 for those Alaska kids' quilts and they've just been waiting for me. So today between the trip to the quilter's house, a variety of phone calls, a coughing attack that lasted hours, a little bit of NASCAR TV watching, an even little bittier nap, and a power outage, I managed to get two tops together.

I may still add some borders, but otherwise I'll be ready to sandwich them together and get them headed out the door. (Faces have been blurred for obvious reasons.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 569

She found the praying mantis on Day 553 and just the other day when we were cleaning the front flower bed we found him again.

But today's picture is of the dragonfly she found in the backyard. Such lacy looking wings! But I regret to say the dragonfly in the picture has expired. I don't know what it was that took its life before we got to it, but one possible explanation is the horrible air quality. Too many forest fires for too long have created terrible breathing conditions.

They have created a colorful daytime sun, though.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 568

She complained about having too many fabric pictures and she complained about too many food pictures on the blog. But guess who wanted me to take a picture of the chocolate chip cookies she made?

Here ya go kiddo, here are your cookies. They were so delicious! But no more complaining about my pictures, okay?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 567

My daughter helped get today's picture.

My back and body have been bugging me so I've been having trouble getting anything done around the yard. I've needed to tackle the front bed for quite some time but knowing the additional aches it would produce I've been putting it off.

No more. Today we deadheaded, cut back out of control plants, and pulled up wayward grasses. Now all we see is what we need at this time of year. Thanks to my daughter's help, mums, Lady's Mantle, and some foliage from fall bulbs as they make their way through the soil are all that are left.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 566

We gave our daughter our old car when we bought the new one a few months back. We knew then that it wouldn't be long before the car hit 100,000 miles. Not that 100,000 is bad, but it was what kind of service came with that 100,000 miles that hit her pocketbook hard.

She has a boyfriend who is a car guy so he makes sure she takes care of her vehicle properly. They took it in for a tune up, which turned into a replacement of a timing belt, which turned into replacing other belts, which turned into flushing coolants, which turned into replacing filters, which turned into two days of service, which turned into a huge bill.

$1,525. Poor kiddo.

Thank goodness the holiday season is coming soon and she can get lots of hours to help replenish her savings account.

She'll probably have to work as hard as these two spiders hanging out at our house.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 565

I sure like it when I find a picture first thing in the morning. Even better, I didn't have to even get dressed or step outside to get this view out my dining room window.

What appears to be the sun touching the ground is actually the sun's reflection in the Snake River. The actual sun is higher up in the tree.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 564

The year and a half before I started this blog I had gone through a lot. Back injury, three surgeries, lots of physical therapy, and excessive amounts of pain medication. Since then I've gotten myself off the pain medication but replaced it with multiple rheumatoid arthritis medicines. Then I went through taking myself off all those medications, too. Except now something needs to change.

I don't know if it's stress or not taking care of myself properly or what, but the pain, stiffness, and fatigue have returned full force. I've been fighting it for a while now and it has been getting the best of me. So Friday night I did it.

I took a pain pill. Took another one last night, too. But the relief I was hoping for did not arrive.

Although the pill did have me behaving like our cat in a sleeping-in-the-daytime kind of way.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 563

First it was that I was taking too many food pictures. Then it was because I was writing too much about Christmas stockings and taking too many pictures of fabric.

So for you my daughter, I have three new pictures. No stockings, fabric, or food. Any complaints about a spider hard at work, a Black-Eyed Susan up close, or the clouds in front of the sun?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 562

Every time I go to one of the meetings put on by Idaho's State Dept of Education I always walk away thinking about how I'm not living up to my full potential. I see all these folks around me - some I've know for years - who have gone on to get advanced degrees. Master's degrees, doctorate degrees. Folks who have moved on to higher up jobs in other school districts (or even at the state level).

But not me. I started a master's in Curriculum and Instruction and didn't finish it. Same for Technology Integration - halfway finished and stopped. I was going to get a master's in Administration so I could be an elementary school principal but pulled out the week before classes started.

My inability to live up to my potential bugged me all the way home from today's meeting. But then I got home and saw the pictures on my living room wall. Each and every picture I took myself with my family beside me (except that scary suspension bridge from this summer - that was a solo adventure).

Memories over potential, I say!
Mt. Rushmore...Statue of Liberty...The White House...Glacier Bay NP, Alaska...Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada...the middle of the Yukon Suspension Bridge...Mexican Hat, Utah...inside Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Big Island of Hawaii...Niagara Falls, New York at night...Fireworks at Disney World, Orlando, Florida...Volcano eruption at Mirage Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Day 561

It took a phone call to give me some inspiration.

I've been hanging out with Christmas fabric for quite some time now. Sewing scraps, strips, and squares into bigger pieces. Cutting out lots and lots of stockings. I've kind of got lost in the repetition. I've been frantically working so my box of stockings can be one of the first that Stockings for Soldiers receive when they open their doors on October 1st. Except somehow I overlooked that they open October 15th instead.

I'm so thankful for those extra couple weeks. I've needed to get started back on some kids' quilts but my inspiration has been gone. But along came a phone call this afternoon that changed that. A call from someone who shares an enjoyment of quilting. Just the conversation got me thinking, and more importantly, got me moving.

At least I've now chosen the fabric for the next batch. Baby steps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day 560

I was starting to feel a bit sorry for myself today. My back has been killing me, my arthritis has been flaring up in a big way, and even my "new" knee (the one with the replacement) has been causing me troubles. I'm not feeling in control of my pain and I'm not feeling in control of my life.

But when I got home from taking hubby to therapy, I had a package waiting. Christmas fabric from Ruth. A package stuffed as full as full can get. As I opened that package and sorted through the fabrics I looked around my sewing room. I have quilt tops and pictures on fabric ready for quilts and lots and lots of Christmas stockings all around me. On my table and on bookshelves and even stacked on the floor. All for charity.

In that moment I recognized that the doggone pain clouds my thinking. No more feeling sorry for myself! I'm ever so thankful to have what I have. To be able to do what I do. And for Ruth for sending the Christmas fabric that will soon be sewn into stockings for soldiers.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 559

I predicted I could get 12 Christmas stockings out of the fabric squares I discovered in a drawer.

I was wrong. I got 14.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 558

A huge gotta-get-it-done kind of day where hubby tagged along. While there were so many good things that happened today - the relief of getting some of the medical bills paid, the finally feeling of getting a couple small checks deposited that had been sitting on the desk since mid-July. Having a daughter want to hang out with her parents as they ran errands. Having my mom be able to use up some of our surplus tomatoes and seeing some stockings she sewed for me for Stockings for Soldiers. Another finally feeling with a clothing return at the store, checking an eye doctor appointment off my list, a trip to the craft store, and a daughter who put the donation bag in her car to save us a stop and bagged our groceries for us at the grocery store.

But I think hubby had one and only one thing that stood out in his mind. The Ram. On Day 528 when he was in the hospital he had suggested I go to the Ram for my meal of the day. It was delicious then, so today I let him cheat on his diet and took him to the Ram. Bourbon Black Jack burger with a side of coleslaw (no fries allowed on his diet, but I did allow him three.) Heaven for him! My patty melt was heaven too, as were the ice cream cupcakes that the four of us shared. Both the strawberry and peanut butter were equally delicious in their own way.
Mom's stockings

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 557

I'm still working away at scrappy Christmas stockings, but during one of my breaks I was at the computer in the den. I sensed the cat was underneath me or beside me.

Yep. No wonder she was so quiet.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 556

Thanks to the armoire, turtles, and Ruth I'll be making even more Christmas stockings for Stockings for Soldiers.

The armoire: When we moved the armoire this week I had to find new places for the things that were housed in that piece of furniture. When I started opening drawers in my sewing room I came across some squares of Christmas fabric that I bought back on Day 185. (A whole stack is right there in the middle of the third row in that day's picture.) How I forgot about having them I'll never know. But now that I've rediscovered them I'm using them with some other red, green, and white scraps from Day 273 to make even more patchwork-y stockings.

The turtles: When I finished up all those big turtle pillows for The Painted Turtle Camp on Day 154 I had lots of odd shaped pieces of fabric leftover. I tucked those pieces away thinking I'd use them in some way. Today I cut them into more workable pieces and am combining them with the Christmas squares for more stockings. Between all those scraps, strips, and squares I think I can probably get at least a dozen more stockings with the scraps I have but I'll still be short of my goal.

And then along comes Ruth, a reader of this blog. She e-mailed me, offering to send more Christmas scraps my way. Of course I took her up on her offer. Thanks a bunch, Ruth!

With all that, I've made two stockings so far today. These patchwork-y ones take so much longer than if I was using yards of fabric, especially when I'm combining Christmas squares and fabric strips and ovals from the insides of turtle shells to come up with a Christmas stocking.

But the time it's taking me doesn't matter. The only thing that does matters is that this stocking will be hanging on a soldier's wall in Afghanistan at Christmas.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Day 555

I knew it looked bad before I started working on it in February.

Then when I finished on Day 354 I thought it was a big improvement.

But after trying to work from home this last month I realized the den was driving me nuts. It wasn't the best set up and it was still a bit messy for my tastes.

Fast forward from February to this first week of September. Add in daughter's strong boyfriend who moved the armoire from the sewing room into the den and I finally feel good about the less-cluttered work space.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 554

Whether it has to do with Christmas stockings or hubby's kidney issues, everything is a numbers game.

Hubby still has a full time babysitter. Our daughter covers Tuesdays so I can go to work and I cover the rest of the days. 24/7. Nonstop. Where he goes, I go. Where I go, he goes. If I need to go to the store he comes along and sits in the chairs by the deli, or the bench by the bathrooms, or in the car, or sometimes he walks part of the way with me. 22 days of it.

But today's number game for him was a little more promising. He had a visit to the nephrologist (kidney specialist). On Day 506 his kidneys were operating at 20% of normal. Thanks to his extensive hospital stay and the right course of medications his kidneys are up to 50%. Only when they begin pulling back on some of his medications (which won't happen for at least a couple months) will they know more about the outlook, but the doctor is quite optimistic about his progress so far.

As for the Christmas stockings for Stockings for Soldiers:
99 made. Six more out of scraps. Six more out of even smaller scraps. Discovery of leftover Elvis scraps netted four more stockings.

115 total. Mom sewed up 10 for me, leaving me 105 to sew. Last year I did 80 (I think). I was hoping to double that number (that would make 160) but unless I find more Christmas fabric hiding somewhere or I make hubby go with me to the fabric store with me it won't happen.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 553

I love it when my family helps me find my picture of the day. I love it even more when they bring it right to me while I'm working inside. And since I love my daughter lots anyway, I especially love today's picture.

When you deadhead flowers at my house you never know what is going to crawl up your arm!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 552

It wasn't only yesterday's quail that reproduced like crazy. My Christmas scraps have done the same thing.

Those 99 stockings I cut out produced scraps. Those scraps were put together to make six patchwork stockings. The creation of those patchwork stockings created even more scraps. Those scraps were then put together to make six more stockings.
I thought I was done until I turned around and looked behind me. I still have scraps from the Elvis-themed Christmas stockings. Guess more patchwork (and scrap) stockings are in my future.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 551

It seems like forever I've been waiting to take this picture. In reality it has just been since Day 405. Back then I snapped this shot of a pair of quail:
It seemed like all spring not a couple days would go by without me spying a pair roaming around the yard. I just knew there would be lots of babies this year.

I was right. I've seen lots of babies these last few weeks and just haven't been able to get them all in the same frame. I tried my best today and got quite a few of them, but I still didn't get them all.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 550

My attempt to be perfect almost kept me from today's picture.

On Day 518 I cut out 99 Christmas stockings for Stockings for Soldiers. On Day 544 I took all the scraps left over from cutting those stockings and sewed them into strips with the intent of making patchwork stockings. And today, after looking at the finished product, I almost didn't turn them into stockings.

But I looked beyond my need to impress others and looked at the needs of others. Those scraps allowed me to make six more stockings, stockings that six soldiers wouldn't have received otherwise.

With these six new stockings I have even more - even smaller - scraps. More stockings perhaps?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Day 549

Some days I'm impressed by the picture I take. Some days the picture is just so-so.

This one here started out as one of my so-so ones. Just another picture of another flower.

Only when I put it as the background on my computer did it become a wow picture. What a gorgeous site every time I get on the computer! I need to start using my pictures more often.