Quilt, Cook, Stitch, Breathe!


Sewing machine embroidery. Done by my Viking Designer Diamond machine, this is one of about 12 flower designs in a group, for a quilt I’m making. Most of the designs are smaller than this one.

I’m supposed to put photos on this page…after all it would help support the title of this blog.  I’ve been busy this fall, and kind of jumping around from one project to another. I have some new sewing machine embroidery design collections–designs on CDs– and the first two photos, I was just trying them out on my sewing machine to see what it was like. The green flowers I’m using as one block in a quilt I’m making. My local Viking sewing machine store has classes every month. In September there was a twice-weekly class called ‘Line Art Quilt’. The designs are on a CD, and the class was about making a quilt, from start to finish, with the designs as blocks. The blocks were sewn out, a few each class, and constructed into a quilt. I couldn’t attend class, so the manager gave me the instructions for the embroidery of the blocks. I was nervous about getting this stitched out, but it came out beautifully. The second photo, is actually LACE.  This is from a lace design CD. This one I was really excited about, because I saw different types of lace made at my Viking store, but thought it wouldn’t look as nice when I did it (I don’t know why). I just made this as a sample. I might put a little lace into my Line Art Quilt. I bought the Lace CD  so that I could make small lace table cloths for our living room and maybe some pillows and to decorate pillow cases.

The third photo is a cross stitch design I finished a few days ago. I am going to put it in a simple frame. I’m getting back into cross stitch after a three-year break. I went through all my cross stitch stuff and found I have way too much. I’ve been able to sell some of the unopened kits I had on eBay. It was weird to see all the stuff I have and it made me feel bad that I have so many things I’ve started working on that aren’t finished. Aside from the ‘Line Art Quilt’,  I’m not starting any new projects in 2016. I’m going to work on old projects and finish them. (Click on photos for description.)


My Gynecologist appointment was this morning. I had been nervous about it all last week–I guess thinking he’d be really upset–but my doctor was very cheerful, and unexpected for me, he apologized for the return of the bleeding saying “I guaranteed you a few years ago, you wouldn’t have this problem again, I’m sorry”.  I replied that I don’t believe there are ever guarantees in medicine. He was surprised the bleeding started again, but not upset. I’m set for a D&C in late January, with a few  tests beforehand. He said a D&C, which takes about 20 minutes,  is ‘the gold-standard for diagnosis’ in unterine bleeding cases, so he said he expects he’ll find a non-cancerous polyp or two, just like in 2013.  I was happy to hear that everyone who is a patient in the surgical center or the hospital and ER now gets a quick lidocaine prep before I.V placement. This was one decision made after the hospital merged last summer with a larger, more affluent hospital system. A small decision, but I always freak out about I.V’s, as they always hurt me. As we were leaving the exam room, my doctor said ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine and we’ll keep you completely safe.’  He’s such a nice guy. I just wish he could tell me WHY I have this issue over and over. This next D&C will be my third procedure for bleeding.

We walked into the medical office building this morning, on the way to my gynecologist’s office, and didn’t recognize the place. (I only go there once a year so maybe it was dumb to be surprised the place was different) the new hospital system has been doing renovations. The flooring was different, a sort of a Pergo-style, striped rubberized floor. And the walls were painted a soothing beige (instead of green) with up-lighting on the walls blending into the regular lighting.  Some departments had been moved, and the imaging center where I get my mammo exams, had a huge glass front entrance, a smaller waiting area with new furniture and a larger TV, and a fancy coffee bar with a Corian-style countertop and a Keurig coffee maker. Wow.  Upstairs, my doctor’s office wasn’t different (he paid for the design himself) but the hallway to his office made me think I was in an entirely different place. There were even a few empty office spaces being worked on, which was nice to see since my doctor is the only one on the second floor, except for the blood lab.

I’m glad to get the appointment out of the way and I’m not nervous about next month. I’ve been through this and know I’ll be in and out of the surgical center in about four hours. I would just like normal again.

The last few days, I’ve been upset, due to the return of abnormal uterine bleeding. It isn’t real bad, but I’m not supposed to have any bleeding at all. Four years ago, I had a Novasure procedure, to burn off my uterine lining, but that failed. How, specifically, my Gynecologist knew it failed, I’m not sure. But, the problem is back again, so I have an appointment this Friday. Of course I’m not looking forward to it, and I’m really down about the bleeding. I really thought it wasn’t going to come back again. I know the drill: blood test to see what, if anything, estrogen is doing to affect my uterus (four years ago, there was no measurable estrogen in my blood) . Then, likely a trans-vaginal ultrasound, which I absolutely hate. Then, maybe surgery. I don’t do well in surgery for a few reasons, so I really hope whatever is going on will be easy to deal with.  Sometimes I really hate my body!

What’s with the ‘thick eyebrow‘ fad?  I’ve seen many photos on my Facebook timeline of young women with really thick, drawn-on eyebrows. They are often ‘friends of friends’. The eyebrows are ugly. I hope this trend ends soon. It looks ridiculous. I’m glad I’m in my 50s and not influenced by anything anyone else does. I wear clothing I’m comfortable in, and I don’t wear makeup too often. When, I do wear makeup, it takes me 5 minutes to apply: moisturizer, foundation–applied lightly; eyebrow pencil and a Clinique Chubby Stick lipstick. I don’t usually use face powder over the foundation…don’t see a need for it. No mascara at all–as ALL the mascara on the market make my eyes sore and red-even though they’re all hypoallergenic. I stopped wasting my money on mascara years ago.

I do like Bare Essentials mineral makeup and have used it for years.  My foundation is Cindy Crawford’s ‘Meaningful Beauty’ cream. I don’t buy it off the TV, but from eBay. I can get just a bottle of it without the whole ‘kit’ thing. It’s great stuff and does what the TV ads say it does.

That’s all my make up. And, I ascribe to Cindy Crawford’s belief that make up should take only 5 minutes to apply. I usually don’t have more than 5 minutes to apply it anyway.

My last post was 6 months ago, in April…Right now, I’m going through something I’ve not acknowledged before. I have been dealing with depression. I sat and thought about this the other day and realized that I have been depressed off and on for a long time, probably years, and have just not dealt with it. So now I am. I am getting off of Facebook for a while and staying off social media in general and just trying to deal with problems and get my head together. Mostly, the depression is about our bills and the lack of money to fix up our house so we can move. We’ve wanted to fix our money pit of a house for years and as far as that goes, we can only do two small fix-up jobs a year, not like we want–a gut job to our living room and kitchen. So, I’m dealing with the realization that our hoped-for dreams for our later years (moving to a better neighborhood) are not going to happen. With this realization, we have to figure out what we’re going to do. I guess this is what poet Langston Hughes meant by ‘dreams deferred’.

Will I be taking Paxil or Buspar? No. I once took one, then the other years ago when I was depressed. Neither one helped. In fact, I felt worse. I was suicidal and took myself off of the offending med the minute I realized how I felt…then I reported it to my doc when I saw him for my scheduled blood pressure check. I think it was Paxil, but not sure. I don’t know enough about meds today to know if there is anything new I could take. Right now, I want to deal with this depression myself and see how I do.

In cheerier news, Brian finally got a house. I’m not going through the long story, which spanned 3 months…Brian had to deal with a jerk seller who kept screwing with him–signing the purchase contract and then cancelling it in anger when the appraisal was too low, (he had been warned). Then, he changed his mind after a bad storm, which tore up some trees on the property and, I guess made the seller realize he didn’t want to deal with the house anymore…so he asked his agent to get in touch with Brian and started up the process again. (Brian’s bid was the only one the seller got in 5 months the house was on the market). Then, there was haggling over getting the price down. It was a mess. But, Brian got the house he wanted…a ranch, with 2 bedrooms, Central A/C, a 2-car garage, new siding, new doors, new driveway, all appliances, new floors, a beautiful bathroom. The house is totally NEW inside and out. It had been a flip purchase and the seller gutted it to the studs and rebuilt it. The seller erred in the fact that he thought he could buy for $8,000 and renovate then sell for $60,000. Not in the area we live in, not realistic…some houses a block away have sold for only $48-50K. Brian’s house is a tiny place, but gorgeous. Everyone who’s seen it has been shocked that he got such a nice house for 50K. Brians house

Life with the dog has settled down. Cody’s not as frantic as he was in his puppy days. Cody still has some days where he seems to bounce off the walls, and he still doesn’t mind as well as we’d like, but things are better. We dealt with huge holes dug in the yard, those don’t happen now. We dealt with Cody eating almost every non-food item he saw (yard furniture, plastic trash cans, part of our barbecue grill, aluminum downspouts…that’s a short list. I don’t know how he didn’t hurt his intestines and his teeth and the inside of his mouth. I swear, for a while, I though Cody was a goat, not a dog. He loves my cats, especially Buddy (the yellow cat) and Buddy tolerates him to a point. Apollo has hissed and swiped at Cody ever since Cody was 8 weeks old and Apollo still looks at Cody as the devil. Hissing and swiping from Apollo still goes on; I think it always will.

I haven’t been quilting in a while. I got burned out on it. This summer wasn’t as hot as last summer and I thought I’d be able to do some quilting or just some needlework in my sewing room, but it turned out the room was too hot. Brian had warned me that his old room was a hotbox in the summer. Even with a fan it was still too hot, so I avoided the room. We’d been so busy helping Brian move and clean his old apartment that I didn’t think to put aside any time for myself. Now that Brian’s settled in his place, I have time.


 So….long time, no see!  There have been so many things going on lately, I don’t know what to talk about first. I guess, leading from November’s post, I should mention that we finished the second bedroom, it is now my quilting/sewing room. It is painted in pretty light blue, I wanted a relaxing shade. We got the carpet steamed cleaned by Stanley Steemer, though the people who represented them and did the steam job didn’t do the best job, the carpet took two days to dry! There’s an awful lot of furniture crammed into this 12’x12′ room, more than I expected. Mike decided for me that I would have our bedroom’s 37″ flatscreen TV in my sewing room. I didn’t want it, but he said, “Okay, we’ll pitch it”.  What? Pitch a perfectly good LCD HD TV, only four years old?? (My sons have larger and better ones, so they didn’t want it) So, the TV is in my space. I don’t turn the TV on much, but I suppose with warmer weather coming and storms happening, I will have it tuned to the Weather Channel. I am a weather geek. I wanted to put my big oak desk that’s downstairs in our dining room up here in this space, but no one was willing to move it up here. To be fair, I decided we needed the desk to stay where it is, even if just to junk up the top with all sorts of stuff and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The desk drawers hold office supplies–all sorts–from files to boxes of tape to pens, so I didn’t want to give that up. We have one closet in this house, the upstairs hallway and so we store stuff wherever we can, in crates, desks, etc.  I had to get a new desk for my Mac computer and I found one that fit perfectly between the room’s window and a table I have set up for cutting fabric. It’s large enough to hold my printer too, so in all, I’m happy. I have storage in here for fabric and a large IKEA shelf on one wall that Brian left when he moved. It’s so nice that the room is finished, I didn’t think it ever would be. It’s my space to sit and unwind and think while I fiddle with my fabric or read quilting blogs or books or whatever I want to do. Have I been productive? Not yet!  I’d love to be, but I come up here mostly in the evening after Mike is home from work and I’m frazzled from dealing with the DOG and the house and everything. I have a quilt in progress, one that has hundreds of little pieces that have to be sewn together to make blocks, so that is progressing. Photos will be up even though the space is messy.

Mike is back to mandatory OT. I don’t mind the money, but I worry about him, he is 58 and the OT is tough on him. Thursday night he didn’t come home from work until 10:45 p.m., almost a 13 hour day. I do my part by not hasseling him about stuff and only asking for help around here when I really need it. I am doing almost as much work around here alone as I did when Steve and Brian were living with us. I keep lots of lists, because some days my brain is somewhere else, and I keep Mike abreast of oil change for the car, appointments on his days off, and stuff that needs fixing around here. So, my sewing room is a refuge to me.

We had a little scare back in January/February. Mike had severe pain in his right shoulder, which started suddenly last summer. For a long time, he thought the pain would go away, but it didn’t. Long story short, he saw an Ortho doc. The doctor said Mike had some muscle tearing (rotator cuff) and some wearing down of bone, but not badly enough to need surgery. Doc said all that is due to working and age. The Ortho doc was very nice, not pushy at all about surgery, telling us that shoulder surgery should be avoided until it’s a last resort, as the recovery is long. Mike and I both breathed big sighs of relief. Mike was so nervous that he was going to be laid up after surgery and not be able to pay bills. But, crisis averted–a couple of cortisone shots and then, Physical Therapy was prescribed by the Ortho doc–and Mike went faithfully and did everything the therapist said to do. Mike’s shoulder is 100% pain free now. While going through therapy, the therapist mentioned to  us that we should buy a kneepad (like a soccer kneepad with soft foam, not hard) and make a pad for Mike’s shoulder, to use at work. The top of Mike’s right shoulder had a very obvious dip in it, like a ‘v’ and Mike had very little strength in his right arm and hand, and the therapist was concerned. Mike and I went home and drew up on paper what Mike needed in a shoulder pad for carrying his ladder on his shoulder, and I sewed one for him, with–believe it or not–two kneepads–one on top of the other–with seat belt strapping sewn on with velcro, so he can remove the pad when he wants. Mike wears the shoulder pad under his coat and it has worked great, the ‘dip’ in his shoulder is gone and Mike carries his ladder on his shoulder all day with no problem. Strength has returned to his arm and hand. We took the shoulder pad to the Ortho doc for Mike’s checkup, to show it to him, and the doc freaked–he’d never seen anyone do anything like this. He suggested we patent it! He was so pleased when Mike told him he’s fine, he put Mike through some exercises and said “Rarely do patients with such severe pain and with loss of strength in their arm recovery so quickly without surgery”. He had a big smile on his face.

My sons are doing fine. Steve is happy living where he is and happy working at the high-end tattoo shop (about an hour north of us) and to see him, we have to make appointments. I should post a photo of him and maybe some of his tattoo work. Brian is fine, but is going through more stuff in his life. Sometimes I worry about him. He finally got rid of his mooching roommate, they aren’t on good terms anymore (gee, wonder why) and Brian knows he’ll never see the $5,000 that the guy owns him. But, lesson learned. He is alone in his apartment and is lonely, but is not, for some reason, too social. I think he has Social Anxiety Disorder. He doesn’t have a girlfriend and says he doesn’t want one. But, living alone, he has more money now and is eating a good healthy diet, he got tired of feeling bad all the time and has cut out fast food and stuff like ice cream, he’s lost weight and looks good.

Brian’s up for a promotion at work and is waiting to hear if he gets a second interview (of three or four–what a pain). He was JUST about to apply for a mortgage (I mean, the same day he asked me to go to the mortage company with him–he got the call for the first interview) and now that he is up for a promotion (a computer repair position with Comcast–repairing servers and the like, not residential computers) his house plans are up in the air. The job is an hour west of us, and so now Brian doesn’t know whether to get a house where the job is, or where we are and drive two hours a day…he doesn’t want to be late for work, BUT, home prices in that other area–WOW, big time prices, WAY too high for Brian, well for most folks, $150,000 and up! 

To make matters a little interesting, our next door neighbor died last month, she was in her 80’s. We liked her and had a good relationship with her and her late husband. Her house is JUST what Brian is looking for and now that it’s vacant, Brian is wating to see (via what we hear from our neighbor’s family–they like us and talk to us every week or so when they are next door cleaning the house) if the house is going up for sale. Brian told us if it does, it would be very hard for him to not bid on it, if list price were in the range he can afford. I told him I didn’t think he’d want to live next door to us, but he said “Why not?” (I honestly didn’t think Brian was so attached to me! Mike said he isn’t surprised at all.) The house is very simple, small, one story, with a small yard, central air and a garage, that’s it. I think a good sale price would be 37K. The city we live in is quite run-down, it’s a steel mill town; U.S. Steel laid off over 16,000 workers in 2008, many people moved away and our city went bankrupt. There are empty houses all over and lazy (absent) landlords who don’t keep up their rentals, so I don’t think our neighbor’s family would get 40K for the place. But, right now, they don’t know what they’re going to do, so we will see. I told Brian the Catch-22 is that he may want to live next to us, but he’d likely not be able to move if he wanted to as not many homes sell in this town without a big reduction in list price. So, Brian’s waiting to see what shakes out job-wise and otherwise.

I’ve written a novel and it’s time for bed, almost midnight. I’ll have to post about the DOG and cats later!

As usual, my life moves slowly, not much excitement. Carrying over from the last post, we decided for sure the roof is not going to be repaired. I talked to my youngest son, since some of my inheritance money is promised to him for a down-payment on a (someday) house, I wanted to see how he felt about that promised money possibly being used for a roof repair. While he didn’t much care what I do with my money, he said, as Mike and I did, “No sense spending thousands on a roof that isn’t leaking in order to save $700 on our homeowner’s insurance.” So that’s settled.

Since last posting, I have almost no pain in my left hip, as I have had for three years, and NOW, I have intense muscle spasms in my left hamstring and all the way down my left calf. It’s really bad. The spasms and pain is almost 24/7. I was up at 2:30 a.m. this morning and didn’t get back to sleep. I just laid in bed, trying to relax. I don’t know what to do about the spasms. I’ve tried ice, heat, massage, ointments, mild exercise, stretching. Nothing works! Mike has even massaged my leg and that doesn’t work either. My muscles won’t relax. I’m taking GNC Woman’s Ultra Mega Vitamins and 400 I.U. Vitamin C in hope that supplementation will help. The pain’s getting to be too much.

On the quilting front, all my quilt fabric is stored away, so I can’t get to it. My sewing machine is put away too and as a result, I can’t do any quilting or sewing. I am bored stiff most of the time. We were making progress on the bedroom/sewing room and then everything ground to a halt when my muscles spasms started. I can only stand up for about 20 minutes at a stretch and then I have to sit. We have only a ittle prep left to do, most of the taping–for painting–is done. The rest I can’t do–Mike will finish it on a stepladder. Then painting starts. It’s getting to painting that is driving me nuts. But, the other day, we finally ditched our 1980s oak entertainment center in our living room for a small glass TV stand with a floating mount, so now the TV ‘floats’ and our living room looks so much bigger. Mike now has to buy storage for his 400+ DVDs (and counting). We settled on ‘Billy’ shelves, with doors, from IKEA. It’s getting Mike TO IKEA to buy them that is tough to do. He is a super- procrastinator. He’ll make excuses on top of excuses. Most of the stuff done around here is done by me, because I get tired of waiting for Mike to do it. Only the most physically demanding stuff I leave for him to take care of.

The pets are doing fine. Apollo still doesn’t like the dog. Cody loves everyone, even the cats. Buddy is warming to Cody, but still hides if Cody is too rambunctious. We had a dog trainer come here last month and he spent about five hours with us. He helped us with Cody and Cody now is calmer, minds somewhat better. He is still really bull-headed, and I think he always will be. I worry that he is getting into bad habits that we won’t be able to break.

I was, however, somewhat taken aback by the trainer and his demeanor in our home. He is an older man, and given his many years of experience with dogs, he is a controller. He sat down and proceded to tell us what to do with our dog crate. He said “Move it out of the room”. Well, there’s no place else for it go but where it is. It is right behind my computer chair. Who is he to say what is best for us in our home? Then, he said the floor (Pergo) “Will be all scratched up if you don’t move the crate”. Well, the floor’s not scratched, I move the crate and vacuum under it every other day. After that, he was upset with us that Cody was neutered. He couldn’t understand why we would do that. (Probably looking for future business). All of our pets have been neutered. Then he really got me upset when he bossed us about how many treats we give Cody. We give him four or five a day. The guy got mad and said “No, no no! Too many! No more than two a day and give Cody mothing bigger than a nickel, break the treats apart!”. What the hell? Unfortunately Mike had already paid the guy, otherwise he wouldn’t have been paid. If we had known this trainer would be a bossy pain in the ass, we would’t have called him. That was not the last of his bossiness, he said a few other things. I held my tongue, which I don’t usually do. I nodded my head and listened to him; waited until I could tell he was getting bored, then I mentioned we had to leave and run a few errands, just anything to get rid of the guy. He quickly packed up his bag of training aids and left. Good riddance!

Brian is still wanting to move from his apartment, but is stuck for the time being. His credit isn’t up to snuff for a house yet and now, with home prices going up, it is discouraging for him. He is trying to get rid of his mooching roommate; the guy owns him close to $5,000 for rent, etc. Never paid a dime to Brian the entire 2+ years. Brian knows he’ll never see the money. I guess roommate is ‘supposed’ to move out next month, we’ll see if that actually happens. He’s not on the lease, so Brian has leverage.

Steve is moving in a few weeks. He moved last August into his girlfriend’s (Nicole) grandmother’s house. It was vacant because grandmother has Alzheimer’s and had to be moved to a nursing home. Nicole’s parents were worried about the house being stripped. The rent was really low compared to rent in the area, so they agreed to move into the house. Well, since Steve started working (in August) at a tattoo shop an hour north of the house, his commute quickly got to be a bit much–an hour each way, five days a week, and driving home late at night. So, they found a rental house about 10 minutes from his job. Nicole is a graduate of Aveda (Hair) Institute and is looking for work in the same area. Steve is very happy at his new job, is making more money and seems much more relaxed. His clientele is more of an upper-income level and he doesn’t deal with bikers looking for tatts now. He said he did a tatt for a film producer (new Transformer’s movie) that was in the Detroit area for the movie and the guy gave Steve a $200.00 tip. So, Steve is as happy as a pig in a mud puddle.

Time for me to stop and get dinner. Hopefully, I will post again later this month.

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