Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Aftermath

Christmas eve we had dinner of beef tenderloin...I wanted to do the old family beef fondue with mustard and chili sauces, but I decided to cook the tenderloin whole in an Asian-inspired sauce with soy sauce, honey, ginger powder, garlic, and pepper.  In fact, it turned into a rather international dinner...French bread, Swiss cheese fondue, and Asian beef.  It was delicious!

Afterwards, we cleaned up the dishes, and went to open presents.  Each of the kids had five or six presents consisting of games, videos, and assorted entertainments.  Kelly had two presents--a cozy sweater and a wonderful Sounders rain jacket.  I had one gift...an iPod gizmo for my car.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you...I love my iPod gizmo.  I hope it will significantly improve the sound in the car--the thingy I have only works in the right speakers, which doesn't work well with some songs where they play with the balance between speakers.  [I asked for a GPS gizmo for geocaching, but I also complained about the sound quality of the iPod.]

Christmas eve, Santa came and left gifts for the kids and stuffing the socks.  Ben got two DS games that are for the 3DS, which sucks because he doesn't have a 3DS.  Maybe one of the girls will be nice enough to allow Ben to borrow their 3DS thing from time to time, but I'm thinking that we may have to trade in the DS for a 3DS, which will cost $150.  Ben has a savings account with some money in it, and we can pull the money out for that.  I just didn't want to buy another DS machine--we've already purchased five of them.  Stupid machines.

The other thing we did was get Emma a phone.  I've never seen her so happy!  It'll be so much nicer to be able to text her and say, "I'm running late" or "Math teacher needs to see you after school" (they email these notices to the parents...like it does any good if you're not anywhere near your computer during the day and don't know that you're supposed to pick them up late).

We goofed around for a few hours, then went visit Kelly's uncle who lives in town, but we never see him.  They have an open house every year and people come by and nibble, chat, and view Marjan's little village of lighted ceramic houses, train tracks, and characters.  She has a pop-up shelter on her deck with walls on it, a mini heater, and filled with tables covered with these little homes and winter scenes.  I love the look of these things, and someday I'd have my own collection.  When I do, I'd like to get this Christmas Story house, which comes complete with the Fragile leg lamp in the window.  It has a whole series of buildings, so you can create the entire town.

Christmas dinner was turkey, red potatoes, green beans and bread...I was going to go all-out and make cranberry sauce (I'm the only one who likes it), and home made bread, but I really didn't have enough time or energy.  Kelly picked the carcass clean and is making soup with the leftovers.

Now that the holiday is over, I'm hoping to have some time to put a new outfit together.  This is the one that I have in mind--something from the Ottoman empire...Persian...or Turkish...I have some blue linen and some yellow, too.  I have the undertunic made already, as well as the salwar (pants), and I'm betting I could make two layers over the Christmas break--one in dark blue and one in the medium blue...but I need some muslin to make the pattern first.  I want to have them done by 12th Night, which is the second weekend on January.  I'd love to have something to show to the Costumer's Guild, even if it doesn't count towards my Journeyman level...but I can get the documentation done for the other pieces and bring them to show.  I had entered them a couple years ago and they LOST the records!  So while they had the information and sent me the beads for my achievements in the Junior and Senior levels, they somehow didn't get the records put where it could be found again.  Mysterious.  Luckily, I have most of the documentation in the computer and I can throw together a group of items to show...hopefully I can get this train back on track and I can get a few steps closer to finishing my Journeyman level costumer challenge!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Gifts

I finally decided to make some American Girl dresses as gifts for some little girlies I know.  I pulled out the dress pattern that I bought about three years ago and made copies of the pattern.  I didn't want to cut the original pieces, in case it gets lost.  Of course, I cut too many pieces for the first dress, not quite clear on what pieces are for which garment--there are three garments in this pattern for a shirt, a dress and bloomers.

I first made a dress from yellow and blue Civil War calicoes, and then made a pair of red bloomers to go with them ("That ain't nothing but my red silk petticoat you done give me.").  I then made a dress and bloomers from some 1930s repros in lavendar, green and white.  Both still need snaps on the shoulder straps and either elastic or ties in the bloomers, but they are otherwise finished.  I want to make a couple more outfits tomorrow for some other girlies I know.

We're now just a couple days from Christmas and I'm still stumped on what to get Kelly.  He doesn't want Cabela's gift certificates--he has nothing he needs there.  He wants a band saw.  That's a bit out of our budget.  Everything I get for him is the wrong color, the wrong size, the wrong brand...so I often end up feeling like I wasted time and money buying anything since he doesn't like it.  However, last year I got a gift certificate for a loom from "Kelly Wood Products"...he was going to make something for me, but in the last 363 days, it has not yet materialized.  I'm thinking I'll give him a gift certificate for something...maybe I'll fulfill it before Dec. 22, 2013.

As of this morning, I still needed to get a few more small gifts for Christmas morning.  Ben still believes in Santa, and I have a few small things set aside for him, but I still needed to get a couple more things for the girls.  I was thinking about making a doll dress for Emma (even though she doesn't play with them anymore, she expressed an interest in having a couple more outfits), and I thought I'd make a little doll quilt for Cammie...something I could make really quickly in a day.

So this morning, I set off to the stores before most people had finished their first cup of coffee...on a Sunday.  I also think a bunch of people were still in church, so I found a decent parking spot at the various stores and was able to get a few more little things for the girls and I did find something for Kelly.  He better like it...or else.

I also sewed a few strips of fabric together to make a doll quilt for Cammie.  I've kept this carefully hidden from her, so this should be a surprise tomorrow when she unwraps it.

This afternoon, Cammie and I sat down and made a couple of dresses for the American Girl dolls while watching Christmas movies.  She picked the fabric for a dress to make and I walked her through the process.  In the meantime, I made two dresses for Christmas gifts.  This first one is shown with its pantaloons, and on a doll.  After fitting it on her, I realize that the straps are *really* long.  Almost twice as long as they need to be.  Not sure why that is...I'll have to make some alterations and figure out how I want to attach the straps to the dress in the front.  I could use velcro or snaps.  I don't really want to do buttons, but that's also an option.

Here she is in her pretty little sundress!  This is such a cool pattern and there are so many options to alterations, design elements, added aprons, trims, etc.  I'm so glad that Cammie made one for herself so that she can do more in the future.  Hers is made from three different blue fabrics...I didn't get a picture of it yet.  She's still got to add the bottom trim as well.

This second one isn't actually done yet.  It still needs the bottom trim fabric. I may make it in yellow and make it ruffle instead of lay flat, just to mix it up a little.

But the kids are currently distracted with a movie so I am going to go wrap Santa's gifts...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

HP and the Sunshine Band

The sun has broken free and is giving us that blessed combination of bright skies, cool air, and complaining kids.  Complaining because they need to play outside when the weather is good, but they don't wanna.  They claim it's raining but it's nearly cloudless out there.  Interestingly, it's the neighbor kids who are complaining louder than mine.

I finished three more HP blocks for the quilt.  First a bunch of books on the shelf.  Woo.  I'm looking forward to stitching all the labels on all the books--not that I really enjoy the embroidery, but it'll be fun to figure out which books have which titles.

I wasn't entirely happy with the fabric choices I had--I really needed a light grey for the wings of the snitch--you can barely see them against the background, and the paper of the books is almost the same color as the background, too.

Finally, there is the shelf of identical books.  I think these must be part of a series--Standard Book of Spells, books 1 through 6.  He never did go back for his 7th year, so I'm thinking that's what they'll be. This is the last block of the second row, which means I'm officially 1/3 done with the blocks.

Next up:  Hedwig.  It's another one of those blocks with some 58 pieces to it.

However, I'm thinking now might be a good time to catch up on some holiday plans.  Gift bags for the in-laws & beloved friends.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Concert

Not surprisingly, the end of the world failed to come.  I guess that means I get to try to finish more of my UFOs, and hopefully get the Harry Potter quilt done!  Someday...after I get my long arm machine fixed.

Last night, the school hosted its annual Christmas musical spectacular!  It started with a couple of numbers from the Kindergarteners, who then sat in a line on the stage to watch the beginning band.  Cammie is sitting on the left in the plaid dress (a second-hand purchase for a grand total of $7!  And it still had the NEW tags on it.)  This is the best photo I got of her all night--she was sitting still with the band and in the front row.

When the band started to play, she was hidden behind the music sheets and I could only see the skirt.  The band was awesome!  Considering this beginning band just started playing three months ago, they played "Joy of a Man's Desiring" and "Jingle Bells" and they did a great job!

This is the rest of Cammie's class (once again, we were so far back that I couldn't see if the photo was blurry until I got home).  She wasn't in this group because while Cammie and a few others are in band, the rest are in choir.  

At the end of the show, they have the big all-school number.  This year they mixed it up by singing "Silent Night" in four different languages--English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and sign.

Ben was in the front row, of course, bowing deeply at the end...no one else was.  A mom near me says, "That's not my kid..."  I leaned over and said, "No, it's mine."  We had a good laugh--she's a sweet lady.

I have to get a new headlight for the car--I swear I just did this a year ago...but maybe it was the other side.  Luckily they're easy to replace, but you'd think they'd last longer than 7 or 8 years.  I bet the headlights in the cars from the 50s and 60s lasted decades.  Now I have to figure out what kind of headlights I have now--yellow, white, blue?  No idea.

The other day, I was looking at a recipe that called for "full cream milk".  I thought, 'What the heck is full cream milk?  Is it whole milk?  Or heavy cream?'  So I went and opened the Google machine and I came across this article on healthy food written by the Daily Mail in the UK, and it's a bit of an eye-opener, but affirms some of my thoughts on "diet" foods.  Substitute foods are bad for you (no kidding!) and you should eat natural whole foods in moderation.  Butter, eggs and milk!  Shocker.  The biggest surprise was realizing that 2% milk is still low fat when you think that 20% is the limit for everything else.  2% fat is 98% FAT FREE!  Whole milk is still less than 5% fat, or 95% fat free.  Nothing unhealthy about it.  Drink whole milk and ENJOY!  And I get to enjoy some high-fat egg nog with a steak and veggies...but I need to cut back on the sugar and go for more walks.

The little kids are out of school now--finally...a few of the schools finished up last week--and Emma gets out of school today in a couple hours, and she is going directly to the theatre with her buddy, Miss E to go see the Hobbit.  Kelly went and saw it with his Dad last week.  I'll probably see it when it comes out on DVD.

This afternoon, I hope to get some sewing done on the Harry Potter blocks.  I also still need to take the broken part in to the sewing store.  I better get dressed and get on with my day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Wake

I went to the Thursday night guild meeting and picked up a couple of packets for the raffle quilt they are assembling.  I got kits #11 and 12, which are part of the pointy border areas that go around the edge of this spectacular batik quilt.  It's all paper pieced, which I have gotten into a little recently...see posts on Harry Potter Quilt of Insanity.  Here I am sewing the fabric onto the paper.  OK, the paper is just used as a sewing guide, since the fabrics have to be sewn to each other with at least 1/4" seam.  You first sew pieces 1 and 2 together, lining them up behind the paper (holding it up to the light...).  Stitch and flip, finger-pressing open, then add piece 3.  Repeat to end.  The paper will later get torn away and the pieces will look like this!

OK, not exactly like this.  The extra bits have to be trimmed up around the edge, but the instructions said to leave that to the assembly team to complete.  They don't want to risk anyone accidentally cutting into the main part of the design...they probably don't have extras of this paper pattern.

But before I started these, I made one more HP block from the kit.  It took a LOOOOONG time to make this one with all the little bitty pieces.  I turned on a movie when I started and finished about the same time as the movie.  Seriously.  I think I like using this box as a photo box for the blocks...although I think I should probably press the blocks with an iron before photographing.  The books look a little lumpy.  I haven't decided if this is just an hourglass or if this is the Time Turner.  It's a bit big to hang around the neck, so I'm going to say hourglass.  I can't imagine Hermione tucking this down her robes without looking...suspicious...or in need of the hospital wing for an engorgement charm gone wrong.

Since then, I started another block of books, but only have 1/3 of it done.

After the Friday shooting, it was difficult to focus on much, so I spent a great deal of the weekend just puttering around.  I finished the baby quilt on Saturday, despite having a broken stitch regulator.  I need to take the thing in to get fixed...hubby suggested that I just take the broken part in rather than hauling in the 70 lb. behemoth...a much less physically-taxing endeavor which I am in favor of.  Maybe I'll do that in the morning.

I also mailed out a bunch of Christmas cards, which I haven't done in three years.  In the process, I discovered that I was missing a great many addresses in my book, or had ridiculously outdated information.  A high school friend was still recorded under her ex-husband's name; cousins still listed at university addresses, even though they graduated years ago; spouses and children were missing completely...luckily I have most of them on Facebook, so was able to get new physical addresses for many--others haven't written back yet.  I sent out about 40 cards--one of them still went to the wrong address (I got the corrected version after it was already in the locked outgoing mail slot).  I could have sent more but I ran out of momentum and stamps, even after a store run to get more stamps.  I'll catch 'em next year.  Or in three years.

Santa, I am not.  As per usual, I'm making a mental note to make a list, and hoping I have the forethought to check that list twice, once I find it again after losing it...  I hope that we have a fairly balanced number of gifts for each of the kiddos and a good selection of toys and games, and I will have likely failed miserably at making sure that no one feels that someone was favored over someone else.

I hope at least that they'll think well of me when I'm old enough to go to the retirement home.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I don't normally allow my Facebook and blog lives overlap (other than sharing pictures) but I found this to be really funny.  A friend (acquaintance) posted one of those text images to her wall:

"If you have a friend who tells you that they are leaving their marriage because they've "fallen out of love" or they're "no longer happy." Being a Real Friend doesn't mean hugging them and helping them pack their bags. Being a Real Friend means telling them that they're about to make a terrible decision and encouraging them to fight to restore their Marriage."

Why is this funny?  Because she is divorced.  She was also sleeping with a married guy who eventually divorced--for the second time--and then married her.  She moved into his house within a couple weeks of the former wife leaving.  That's irony.


The weekend was spent sewing a bunch of 4 patches together.  I just got the bug to sew some of the scraps together, so I grabbed the baggie of 3" squares and found that many of them had two or more pieces of each fabric, so I matched lights and darks into 4-patches.

On Monday, I went up to the guild meeting, probably the last one for the next few months. My DH's union is in the midst of negotiating a new contract, although I don't feel that they're really negotiating in good faith--the company offers a crap contract and the union doesn't bother to counter-offer before threatening to strike...they're going to be nice and wait until after the holidays...gee, thanks.... So we won't be able to spend $30-40 a month on gas to and from the guild meetings, and we'll likely have to cut out all entertainments from movies to non-food essentials...maybe even turning off cable.  If it gets really bad, maybe I'll find a job...depends on how long the strike goes, I guess.  In some ways, I think it'll be good to try to focus on local functions & guilds for entertainment, but at the same time, I know I'm going to miss going up there.  I will probably renew the membership and go up from time to time to keep in touch--maybe in the summer when there are fewer issues with getting up early the next day to take the kids to school.  I got home at 1 a.m. after spending a bit of time with my sister.  The visit was nice, but then I realized that it was already 11 pm and I had to stop for gas before hitting the road.

Anyway, the guild meeting was a Christmas party potluck and raffle with the "high end" raffle goodies.  During the other 11 months of the year, the raffle table has small bundles of fabrics, books, sewing tools & trinkets offered at 3 tickets for a dollar.  During December, they have $1 raffle tickets for much larger items.  A few of them were nice, but I got the impression that they were not as amazing as they have been in years past.  The Olfa mat was half the size as previous years; the Ott Light was a table top version, not a floor lamp; the kits were miscellaneous fabrics (some of dubious quality) and had just a couple yards, not a big basket full of new fabrics; the books looked second hand or at least several years old.  They did have $50 gift certificates for several different area stores, but since I don't live up there now, I wasn't that gung-ho about dropping tickets in those containers...I'd have to spend $35 just to drive there.  I entered a ticket to win entry into the spring retreat, but alas, didn't win that.  I dunno...it just wasn't up to par.  

I did buy $10 worth of tickets and was able to bring home one of the prizes:  a bin of weird fabrics.  Upon closer inspection, there were 12 fat quarters of mixed genres, one yard of modern fabric in brown & blue (not my style, but I'm sure someone will get a nice bag out of it), and a fat quarter from a Big Box Fabric Store that shall not be named.  There were also a couple of other things in the box--a membership pin, a fabric glue stick, which should come in handy, and a marking pen.  I really just wanted the bin.  

I also bought one ticket for the Christmas raffle quilt, which was far smaller than previous years.  I'm not sure if they didn't get enough participation, which is possible, but I don't remember hearing more than a mention of it once or twice during the year--then again, I was overwhelmed with the quilt show, so my participation was limited in every other arena.  It's a tree skirt.  I don't recall the exact size, but it's about 55" across; just smaller than a standard round banquet table.  I quilted it (no mention of that at the meeting...thanks for the promo, guys!), but didn't win it.  Didn't even catch who did win it.

So I got home (very late) and slept fast for a super-busy Tuesday.  I sewed a few more 4-patches together and figured out how many I'd need for a twin-size if I alternated the 4-patches with solid squares.  I thought that sewing two 3" squares together into 4-patches, I could pair them with 5" squares, which I have a TON of!  Oh wait...math is wrong.  I need 5 1/2" squares.  Dang.  Gotta cut more scraps into 5 1/2".  Then I almost forgot that it was a Girl Scout day.  Extra caffeine to drag me through the day.  Went to bed early that night.

Then yesterday was the usual church in the morning at school, which Ben and I skipped and went to get a muffin for breakfast--he didn't eat enough that morning--and then it was an early-release day, so scooping up kids, off to karate...fast dinner...skip evening karate for the girls so they can catch up on homework (but Ben went).  Hopefully they're good now.

Finished sewing the 4-patches that I needed for the twin quilt and found a baggie of 5 1/2" squares--not enough of them to actually make the top, but maybe 50 of the 80 that I need, so it's a start.

The dust in the house is starting to get to me.  Mostly it's the old carpets...I can smell it and I want, more than anything, to rip out all the carpet and have a giant bonfire in the street.  I'm waking up with a stuffy nose and we've already put the dust covers on the pillows and mattress, and it's still bothering me.  I'm also really frustrated with my clothing and my dresser.  Maybe I should just pare down to a few outfits and toss out anything I haven't worn in at least two years and make a t-shirt quilt out of the stack.  More projects....

Friday, December 7, 2012

No Rest for the Weary

I starting piecing the 9-patch blocks into big 4-patches--each 9-patch had sashing strips on two sides, then I sewed four of those together to make bigger blocks.  In this picture is the 4-patch blocks and strips of 9-patches that I had to add on the bottom edge and right side to even out the numbers.  Or rather, ODD out the numbers.  There are 9 blocks per row, 9 rows to the quilt...81 blocks.  Part of the plan to assemble this quilt is to alternate 9 patches with dark squares in the corners and center, and light colors in the corners and center.  This, I think, helps make it twinkle.  If quilts can twinkle...I suppose they can...

This morning, I got up, thinking that it was going to be a great Friday...that I could finish assembling the quilt top and get some work done on some other projects.  I got Ben through all his medications, loaded the kids in the car, and dropped Emma off first.  She hustled up to the front doors of the school while I took the little ones to their school.  I was about half-way there and I get a call from Emma.  She fell on the stairs and chipped her tooth.  Oh no!!

Dropped off the little guys and called the dentist.  They said they could fit her in at 10:30, so I went to pick her up and wait for an hour before heading over to the dentist.  They fixed her up and her teeth look like nothing ever happened.  She wouldn't let me take a picture of her broken teeth, but imagine the left front (her left) missing the chunk below the braces...it was about 1/4 to 1/3 of the front tooth. We didn't realize it at the time, but she also chipped the other tooth, too--not as significantly, but he filled that one, too.  Now we have the waiting game to see if there was any nerve damage that would mean a root canal and more work.  We also have to bring her in later, take the wires off to be able to see underneath the brackets to make sure they got it all cleaned up.  We have to coordinate that with the orthodontist...who I'll have to call next week.

So, by NOON, I was back home and ready to get started on some sewing.  Sheesh!

In about 90 minutes, I finished assembling the quilt top...minus a couple of borders, that will be added on soon.  It now measures 98" square, so once I put a couple borders on it, it'll be closer to 108".  As a Hobbit might say, "Bigginses."  I even considered making this two twin size quilts, but decided on one giant one instead.

No worries--I have plenty of squares to make into more 9-patches...3" squares, 4 1/2" squares and gallons of 5" squares.  In fact, I could take the 3" squares and make them into 4-patches.  These will measure 5" and I can alternate them with the 4-patches.  I'm sure I can make a few twin size quilts out of the scraps I still have lying around.

Hopefully we'll have a less adventurous weekend.  I have a 40th birthday party to attend tomorrow, but other than that, I'm not making any plans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Out of the Box

In order to keep things organized in my sewing room, I decided to box up some of the fabrics in groups for projects.  Some of these are blocks that were swapped with the guild and I wanted to keep them separate for future quilt projects.  I may be able to combine some of these--like the bugs, birds and dots--for a fun kids quilt.  These boxes are from our Friday night pizza orders!  Of course, these are *clean* boxes that we get our chicken wings in, not pizza, and the wings are first wrapped in foil, so if the boxes are greasy at all, they get pitched; they are not used for fabric storage if they're at all dirty.  Of course, recently the pizza place recently reduced the number of wings from 10 to 8, so they also reduced the size of the boxes.  Not something that is very useful now...not really.  Maybe I'll have to order larger boxes of 16 instead of just small boxes of 8.  The kids will eat them all, so it's not a worry about waste of food, and chicken wings will keep in the fridge for a day or two if they don't eat them all.

It's been a weird week for me--I started getting a pain in my neck a couple weeks ago when Ben was in the hospital that still hasn't fully subsided...it's better, but not completely gone.  Then about four or five days ago, my back suddenly started to hurt.  I was just sitting in a chair, minding my own business (waiting for the kids at karate or something) and it just started to ache then grew to discomfort, then eventually to pain over the course of 30 minutes or so. Over the next few days, it was troublesome getting up stairs, in and out of the car, and simple things like getting dressed.  Sleeping hurt.  The walk in clinic doctor suggested I take some pain pills and go see a rhumatologist.  He also ordered a blood draw to do some tests, and the vampire who stuck me hit a nerve.  It hurt closer to my wrist, just a couple inches below my thumb.  After a couple days, it hurt MORE and started to cramp up.  I went back to the doctor this morning to make sure it wasn't anything to worry about.  He thinks it'll slowly repair on its own.  Let's hope so.

I also went to the chiropractor today who worked with my back for 20 minutes and although I'm not "cured", I sure feel better.  He was able to unkink my hips and back that were so frozen that even the Miracle Balls couldn't fix it.  The only thing that irritates me about this chiro is that he's chronically late.  I either have to assume he's going to be 15 minutes late for the first appointment of the day or make an appointment later in the day so his tardiness doesn't piss me off.  My friend, Jade, tells me that I need to tell him so.  I should...after he's done working on my neck.

With a kink in my neck and my back tied in knots, I sure wasn't feeling like doing any holiday decorating.  The younger kids took the initiative to do it.  Kelly pulled the boxes out of the garage, and they pulled out the tree and assembled it, then decorated it by themselves.  They did a great job!  They even put on some of their new hand-made decorations that we did in Girl Scouts the other day.  Way to get into the Christmas spirit, kids!  We still have a bit of decorating left to do and the necessary tidying up--putting the boxes away, hanging the Christmas quilts, and hanging the lights outside.  The other neighbors have gotten their lights up on their houses, which looks festive and lively...twinkling in the breeze...especially when the wind is blowing like it has been for the last few days.

Emma's hexagon quilt is coming along quite nicely.  Since my back was hurting over the last few days, I needed to do some sit-down projects, so I got the pieces sewn into rows. Hanging the rows up every 30 minutes or so helped stretch things out after sitting, but kept me from doing anything too strenuous, like lifting, bending, or standing too long.  Just 22 more seams to go on the body of the quilt...although I have to add 30-60-90 triangles on the ends of these rows to make them square.  THEN I can sew them into a quilt top and add borders.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Out of Whack

I'm enjoying watching the neighbors setting up all their lights and decorations around their homes.  I'm only just starting to get in the holiday mood--after having our Thanksgiving usurped by medical issues, I was having some difficulty being all merry and bright.  Now that we're settling into a new routine with scheduling new medications (only one more week of this chaos), and things are looking good (medically speaking), I'm now feeling more of the joy creeping back in.

Unfortunately, my back is still out of whack.  I'm going to call for an appointment with the chiro tomorrow and see if he can unkink things.  The Miracle Balls aren't doing quite enough to untangle my hips, back, neck and shoulders, so a big nudge from a professional is what I need.  I'm not totally crazy about the guy I've seen before, but the reason I stopped seeing him was for unprofessional reasons--he was routinely late for morning appointments, which ticked me off.  I talked to the gal who recommended him, and she said that I should just tell him why I stopped coming.  She agreed that it's not cool to pull that kind of thing; she's been seeing him for years and said that he would appreciate the honesty.  We'll see if I actually say something.

One other things I realized about using the Miracle Balls is that the carpet stinks.  I don't have a shampooer anymore, and with my back all tied up, renting and carrying the industrial thing up the stairs doesn't sounds like a great idea.  A friend suggested that I sprinkle baking soda on the carpet...I'm going to have to get an industrial size box.

I quilted up two small quilts yesterday.  The first is a small wall hanging for Michele.  I quilted some leaves into the yellow sections and did a simple echo around the foliage, and then removed it from the frame.  I think I will put it back on and do some quilting in the brown frames--maybe something that looks like wood grain.  I didn't have any brown thread, so it seemed a good time to stop.

Then I put on a quilt for a new customer, Karen M.  She is a teacher and is making this baby quilt for a co-worker--her first quilt ever!  She took a simple panel and added a couple borders on it, then did the same for the back to make it large enough.  I quilted it with Dr. Seuss feathers, but I called it "Monkey tails and banana peels."

I started putting Emma's quilt top together by sewing the half-hexagons into strips.  It takes a lot of organization to do this.  The first problem was that I had laid them out horizontally on the design wall and I needed to take them all down in order to make room for tacking up the finished rows.  Actually, the rows have become columns...if that makes any sense.  I couldn't take them down one row at a time and put it back easily...it would have taken a lot more pins to tack it up and keep it organized.  In this way, I only need one pin to hang each column and keep them in order.  In addition, each row had to have 15 or 16 pieces in each row sewn in order.  If one gets out of order, the whole pattern will be thrown out of whack.

Did I mention that when I got my blood drawn, they hit a nerve?  Yeah.  That was delightful.  Instead of feeling the stick in the elbow, I felt it about 3" above my wrist, near my thumb.  Like someone jammed a nail in my arm.  It took about an hour before it stopped stinging, and now three days later, the stinging sensation is back.  I was looking online, and it happens sometimes and can take days or weeks for it to stop stinging...and in rare cases, is permanent.  I hope this isn't permanent--it wasn't like she was digging around looking for a vein, she just snagged it when she stuck it in.  Hopefully that's not something that's permanently out of whack but will just take a few days to heal up.  However, even though my weight has creeped back up to where I was a couple years ago (sadly), my blood pressure is still 107/80, and my resting heart rate is 72.  Weirdly, my temperature was 97.0.  I'm just a cool chick, I guess.

Cammie and Ben got to assemble the tree the other day and did all the decorating themselves, including putting the lights and ornaments.  They did a great job!  There are still a few more items that need to be set up (like the nativity and the Advent quilt), then we can take all the boxes back out to the garage.

I'm looking forward to feeling better, decorating more, and fully enjoying the holiday season.  I have some great ideas for Christmas shopping and making quick--but thoughtful--gifts.  I wanna be all Christmas Cookies & Holiday Hearts...bring it on!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Week in Review

So from a prolific weekend to a week of chaos...

Sunday, we got home from the hospital--late, as it turns out--and I directed Kelly to order pizza so everyone could just eat when they had the chance.  Ben and I got home around 7:00, ate, and eventually got to bed.  Ben was on a goofy schedule from the hospital, so he didn't get to sleep until very late--after 11 pm, so he was groggy in the morning.

Monday, I got the kids off to school after running Ben through all his medications.  There are two meds that he had started before his hospital stay, and the doctors decided that he needed to continue those for two more weeks.  OK...but this adds about 30 minutes to the regimen in the morning and it causes chaos to his meals since he can't have dairy within two hours of taking one of the medications...that means we finish his night feeds at 6 am so we can give him his meds at 8 am, then he can't have milk until 10 am.  That makes it OK for lunch and after school snacks, but dinner has to be timed correctly before we give him his nighttime feeds again.  Juggling complicates things.

Then the after school nuttiness with karate & cub scouts and homework...then it's suddenly bedtime, then it's past bedtime, then it's GO TO BED ALREADY!

Tuesday, Ben had a better day since he wasn't exhausted from the night before.  After school was Girl Scouts, which I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to, but I was there!  We made some Christmas decorations from pony beads and buttons.  Totally fun!  Unfortunately, Ben was still there and he was getting underfoot and causing chaos.  Kelly wasn't able to get there to take him away until 4:45.  We finished at 5:00.  He took him off to his therapy thing and I slapped a dinner together.

Wednesday, was another crazy day of school, karate, and homework.  I went shopping for some new pants at And inexplicably, my back started to hurt.  The muscles tensed up and have been spasming since.

Thursday was my "slow" day, but since my back was still sore, I decided to go to the doctor after I dropped off the kids.  I don't have a regular doc, so I went over to the walk in clinic.  He asked what I was doing when it started to hurt, and amazingly, I wasn't doing anything.  I was sitting in a chair.  He decided to run some tests and the only thing he came up with is that I have inflammation.  No kidding, really?  He suggested that I talk to a GI guy about the colitis (which *may* be related to the back spasms), or maybe I'm just really stressed out.  Gosh, ya think?

At least Bekah came over and we had Thanksgiving Part II...I got turkey breast, red potatoes, frozen pie and pre-made rolls.  Then I started to think how fun it would be to do a Redneck Thanksgiving...have things like Spam, tater tots, biscuits, and Hostess Fruit Pies...although I'd have to find a substitute for the Hostess brands, now.  Yee-haw!  Then I gave Bekah the 101 on quilting--ironing and cutting fabric!

Friday...oh the fun continues!  TRAFFIC COURT!  That's right, ladies & gentlemen...I got my first-ever American speeding ticket.  After fretting about it for days, I went in with all the other infractioneers and we waited our turn and were called up alphabetically.  A few people before me, a guy we'll call Mr. M., was called up for a speeding ticket...which he received driving a car that was not his...was borrowed...without permission...twice...and they dealt with both speeding tickets he received, even though the other ticket wasn't going to be dealt with until January.  Eventually, it was my turn.  I was called forward and they knocked my ticket from $124 to ... $100.  Really?  That's it?  All that fretting was NOT worth $24.  Well, $21 since I had to pay for parking.

I'm going to go take my Vicodin and contemplate my navel.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Prolific Weekend

I went through phases of lonliness this weekend, not having anyone to call up and say, "Hey, let's go get some dinner and see a movie!" or "GIRLS' NIGHT!"  The few that are close enough to call up were otherwise occupied, as could be expected during the holiday weekend.  My best buddies--my 'wives"--are too far away for a get-together.  Despite having lived here for five years now, I really don't have many girlfriends that I can call up and invite out for a girl-date.  I know lots of people, but few close friends nearby.  Sometimes things just click and it's like you've been friends forever, and you can call them up anytime and say, "Hey, let's go!" 

But I spent most of my free time sewing.  Because we will be coming home in the next day or two, I decided to bring my sewing machine home with the quilting stuff to get it out of the way.  We will probably have to make a couple trips as it is, so the less stuff we have to haul around, the better.  I got the Irish top finished a few days ago, so I brought that home, along with the Harry Potter blocks that I started.  You saw the first four blocks, and here are the next two:

Block 5:
This block's tipped book has better perspective than the other block that I altered, but it's just more boring books.  More embroidery of book titles later.  I stopped by JoAnn's today and picked up some embroidery needles and skeins of thread to do a bit of embroidery on the blocks tomorrow and Monday, assuming I'll have time to do so.  Purse project...I really need to find my Pigma pen to write the names of the books on the spines so I can embroider over them.  A list of the book titles are found here.

Block 6:
And the most recent block--three more books and what I suspect is a vial of Professor Snape's memory juices.  This may be the last block I make for a few days.  Gotta catch up on other things.

I finished arranging the pieces for Emma's One Block Wonder.  As I sat catching up on my TV shows recorded on my DVR from the week, I kept glancing over at the quilt pieces hanging on the design wall.  There were just a few of them that were out of place and it was bothering me, but I didn't have the time or energy to really look at it and figure out what was wrong.  Today, I saw a few pieces that really needed to be moved, so I shuffled them around. I think I'm finally satisfied with the arrangement.  These, of course, are just stuck to a flannel sheet; they still have to be sewn together.  To the right, a monster for Ben's monster quilt.

I kinda fumbled around, looking for something a little less mentally taxing than the Harry Potter blocks, and I saw this pile of Road to the White House blocks.  After counting them out, pairing them up, and sewing them together, I laid them out and discovered two things:  1) I mis-counted the blocks.  I thought I had 42.  I had 45.  2) I couldn't find a layout I liked that worked with the way I had sewn them together.  I messed around with the blocks and decided on a new layout--I tried ric-rac and diagonal stripes, but neither of them appealed to me.  Then I laid them out in this Around-the World style, which meant tearing the stitches out of about 8 or 10 seams.  When I laid them out in this more pleasing arrangement, I then realized I needed 4 more blocks.  Drat.  I found two red and two blue fat quarters that went well with the blocks I already had, so I cut up the fabrics and sewed four new blocks in about two hours.

I laid them out on my bed and assembled in sections and now the top is done! It needs a couple borders for the drop on the sides of the mattress--I'm thinking I might put the borders on three sides and skip the pillow tuck. I might do three or four strips alternating white, then red, then white again (and red again, if I go with four stripes), which will give a flaggy effect...although I'm concerned it may look too busy...maybe I'll just go with one red and one white and keep it simple; blue squares in the corners; and binding it in red. I may have to buy red fabrics for this part--I don't think I have a single red fabric that is big enough to accomplish borders.

So tomorrow it's back to the hospital for at least one more night.  Hopefully we'll be back home Monday night.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Post

Kelly delivered Emma to Grandma's house Wednesday afternoon after she got her flu shot and completed her glucose tolerance test.  After dinner arrived for Ben, we went on a date night, taking in a movie, "Argo".  The film was pretty good, although I felt like they really rushed through a lot of the background information on the state of affairs in the Middle East during the 70s, and then finally got to slow down a bit for the meat of the story.  It, too, felt a little rushed--they could have spent a lot more time with the development of characters and giving a more detail of the culture and turmoil of the time.  It was good, but I almost feel like I need to watch it again to catch more of the details, but it wasn't exactly the kind of movie you watch over and over.  Kelly dropped me off at the hospital and then spent the night at home while I stayed another night at the hospital.

This morning, he stopped by the grocery store and bought some supplies for a Thanksgiving feast at the deli counter--roasted turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce with almonds (??what??), and a shrimp platter.  We all shared the shrimp and a couple hours later, Kelly was having an allergic reaction.  Great.  It was just some hives and itching, but this isn't the first time he's reacted to shellfish, and it's likely it won't be the last.  I wondered about the length of time it took to have the reaction, but the online info said that it could be a few minutes or up to 2 hours, and it fell into those parameters.

Kelly and I celebrated our Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital's cafe, a poor excuse for a food service area if ever there was one.  However, they made an effort to have decent Thanksgiving fare for those who are forced to be there over the holiday.  It wasn't terribly crowded for dinner, and we got the Full-Meal-Deal of turkey (a bit dry, but tolerable when doused with gravy), mashed potatoes (intolerable, even with the gravy), stuffing (meh), cranberry sauce (pretty good, actually), rolls (real white bread or brown bread), yams (not my thing), and broccoli (overcooked by the sight of them, so I gave them a miss).  They also had slices of pie, although they were out of pumpkin (not a problem--I prefer apple, which I took, but they also had pecan and blueberry).

The evening was quiet--unusually quiet for a hospital, in my opinion.  However, I overheard someone say that many people put off going to the hospital until after Thanksgiving, in the same way that the hospital staff were asking us if we wanted to jet out early.  Everyone wants to enjoy the holiday, damn the consequences.  Not my logical mind.  We decided to go with the standard of care, rather than cave into the pressure of making an emotional decision.  It's dinner.  We can have that another day.

Anyway, Ben played a puzzle game on his DS, Kelly watched a movie on my laptop, and I sewed a few more quilt blocks for the HP Project.

Here's the 2nd, 3rd and 4th blocks:

These two blocks are books and a flask for some potion or other.  The tipped book was supposed to have more pieces to it, showing a bit of the cover, but the perspective was all off and it bugged me, so I opted to omit that detail.  It made the block easier to construct, at least.  With the color of this vial, I'm going to say that it probably contains armadillo bile.

This last block is probably going to be one of the more complicated in the lot.  The eyeglasses have 40 pieces in it, and caused me to mumble more than a few curses, let me tell you.  I even hexed it a few times, just for good measure.  Luckily, I won the wizard's duel and have set it with another pair of books.  Then I looked at the photo I printed up, and the lenses are supposed to be white.  Too bad.  I'm not doing it again.

I have one more block in the top row, then I'm onto the next row!

Around 9:00, I decided to call it a night with the sewing and pack it all away. So, after I cleaned up the sewing mess, sweeping up the bits of paper and snippets of fabric and thread, Kelly took the suitcase of dirty laundry and headed out the door...leaving me to stay here for another night.  Not sure how this is fair, exactly, since neither one of us needs to be anywhere in the morning, and I've spent 2 nights in 10 sleeping in my own bed.  However, I am committed to going home tomorrow night to sleep in my own bed for the weekend and take the first round of things home that we will not be needing for the last couple of days.  I may take my sewing machine home, too.  Maybe I can bring the finished book blocks back and embroider the names of the book titles on them.  I'll have to get the book lists for the classes, and a few of the books from Harry's personal collection, like Quiddich Through the Ages, and maybe even a few of Hermione's favorites...Hogwarts: A History.  


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harry Potter Thanksgiving

Now that we're in the wind-down to the countdown the holidays (starting officially at 8 pm today), I thought I'd take the time to make some Harry Potter quilt blocks this week.

I started at the very beginning.  It seemed a very good place to start.  (Oh, wait...they traditionally show that movie at Easter, don't they?  Or am I thinking of the Wizard of Oz?  Or did they give up that tradition and assume that everyone has these movies on DVD now?)

Officially, it's called the Project of Doom and the designer created a bunch of paper pieced blocks, making a new one each week for 30 weeks.  I figured I could probably make one or two blocks a day and get a good start on the project before we're sent home.  Right now I'm sewing in a less-than-ideal work space, not having brought my cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter, so I'm going old school with scissors.  I did pack up a collection of fabrics a month ago in anticipation of this stay, adding a fat quarter of fabric here and there as I went.  Accuracy is a concern, but thankfully the scissors err on the big side, rather than too small.  Most of the pieces of the blocks are marked with sewing lines, so it really hasn't been a problem.

First block:  the crystal ball from Professor Trelawney's class!


Several of the nurses have come by during the course of the day to see what I was sewing on, and to see the pattern that I printed out.  I had made a color copy to refer to as I did the assembly and put into the box with the fabrics.  Many of them grew up with Harry Potter, or at least were young adults during the HP craze, so they are delighted with the pattern.  Several more said they wished they knew how to sew.  I encouraged them to take a class and named a few stores where they could look into it.  I think it's a great shame that our society knows how to program a hand-held device but can't sew on a button.

I'm not sure how I'm going to put the titles of the books onto the spines, but I think I may do some embroidery for some of them--especially the dark colored books.  The light colored ones I can use permanent fabric pens (the archival acid-free ones we use to label quilts) with a light box and templates.

So we aren't getting out of here for the holiday, but should be heading home on Monday or maybe Tuesday.  We had to forego the trip down to visit with Mike & Laura (whose belly looks like a basketball stuffed under her shirt).  Kelly brought QFC deli Thanksgiving complete with potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and turkey, as well as a shrimp platter (that we quickly devoured).  When you boil it all down, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what you have...and eating a lot of pie.  So while we are still short a pie (which I have requested from every doctor and nurse that walks in -- they always ask, "Can I get you anything?" and I say, "Get me some pie!  STAT!"), I am thankful that Ben is getting the best care, is improving in health & weight, and getting the most amazing (and expensive) antibiotics to kick the pseudomonas out of his lungs (which moved in without an invitation... the bastards).

Ben hasn't been much of an eater despite the quantities of food that have come to the room.  He had breakfast (eggs with ham and peppers cooked in and bacon), second breakfast (scrambled eggs without ham), lunch (pizza pocket), and a second lunch with more breakfast (turkey sandwich and more scrambled eggs), and he only ate a few bites.  He's like an anorexic hobbit.  Kelly even tried to get Ben to eat his peaches by playing music.  Apparently this band is from Seattle and are big Sounders fans, so they played the halftime show at the Western Conference finals last week.  Kelly went there with "Gang Green", his game buddies.  I might be able to be one of the game buddies next year...we're waiting to hear back about ticket availability.

Ah well, back to HP blocks.  I'm nearly done with the second block and might be able to start on the third block today, too!  Have a magical Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hospitalier Pour Enfants: Day Seven

I'm having to stretch my language memory (or rather, exercise my Google skills) to come up with more creative titles for these pages, whose headings, like my life, takes on a kind of monotony.  I'd much rather have some other kind of monotony, like having to go shopping for shoes or elegant gowns before going out to dinner with some dignitary before jetting off to an exotic locale, but alas, this is not the case.  The drudgery continues.

The morning after the little guy's surgery went rather as planned, him with a tiny bit of bloody discharge, but otherwise seemingly untouched by going under the knife.  His weight was down slightly, but that is not too surprising since he hardly ate yesterday.  After dinner tonight, he was only down .2 kg from the day before, so he's bouncing back.

We wandered down to the play room and picked up some things to keep us entertained--unfortunately, I will have to find some substitute material to make the frog keychain; the plastic stringy stuff they included is not working well.  I'm thinking we could probably find some waxed dental floss to use.  I'll take pictures of that when we get it underway.  I also picked up some cool Hobbit posters from the movie...I don't know where those ended up.  I guess I can run back and get more tomorrow.

We got a rather interesting surprise visitor today--Russell Wilson--the STARTING QUARTERBACK OF THE SEATTLE SEAHAWKS!  Oh, he's a good lookin' fella.  Ben, in his usual way, was underwhelmed.  It wasn't a Sounder, but an athlete from a sport he doesn't watch.  However, he did get some signed photos and a sort of play book of other teammates.  I'm really disappointed that this photo is so blurry--had I known, I would have insisted on them taking another shot and turned the backlighting off, or just taking a pic of him and Ben alone.  Look at the size of those mitts...dang!  As Heide pointed out--hands that big can only mean one thing--a lot more yarn needs to be used to make gloves.

Grandma (my MIL) had just left with Cammie, so they missed this excitement.  They were headed back to G-ma & G-pa's house for a few days.  Em and Kelly are still at the house, but we might send Em over to G-ma's as well (against her will, I'm sure).  Not sure what the plan is for the holiday.  The doctors were discussing it in the hallway making it sound like they considered springing us from here tomorrow so we can "be home for Thanksgiving" but considering we don't have any plans at the moment, don't have family really close by, and I'm sure as hell not going to spend 10 hours cooking a meal after spending 10 days in the hospital, I would rather they ensure that Ben is fully rid of the pseudomonas infection instead of kicking us out early and having it return.  Don't make an emotional decision override logic and reason.  If they wanted us to stay the full 14 days, then keep us the full 14.

I worked on the Triple Irish Chain quilt a bunch today and was able to finish the main part of the quilt top before bed.  It's just large enough to fit on the hospital guest bed, which measures 50" x 70".  I will be adding 6" - 9" borders all around (probably 3" strip of white followed by 3" blocks, or maybe pairs of 3" blocks), so it should measure 62" x 82" or 68" x 88", a nice twin size.  I still have LOTS of squares left over, and 9 blocks that were finished but not used.  Not sure how I managed that, so I may end up making more blocks and making a companion quilt.  Of course, I considered just making more blocks and turning it into a King size, as is my SOP (standard operating procedure) but stopped myself when I saw how well it fit on the bed here.  The quilts that I brought with me are not quite big enough and just a bit too big...maybe I need to actually pay more attention to standard bedding sizes.  Pfft!  What a ridiculous idea!

Well, off to take a quick shower before bed, then watch a movie or something while my hair dries.  Who knows...maybe Mauro Rosales will stop by tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day Six at Kinder Haus

I had the weekend off to get out of the hospital and relax a little.  Friday night was pretty quiet as my mother in law had taken the two girls for the weekend.  I threw the laundry in the wash, drank a cider, and caught up on my favorite reality shows:  Mystery Diners, Amazing Race, and Restaurant Stakeout (which is essentially the same as Mystery Diners).

File:Coiffe (Bundhaube).jpgSlept late, showered, and dressed up for the event and feast on Saturday.  Midhaven was hosting a pair of Royals for their event, where guests were making hats, books and kid kits for Kingdom largesse (gifts for the Royals to hand out to visiting dignitaries, contest winners, and people who help them out especially during their reign).  I made a Viking coif and a soft leather bound book like the ones found at Nag Hammadi.  These books were fairly easy to make, although the stitching the quires into the leather was a bit more challenging for me--the lighting was a bit dim and I had dark leather, so I couldn't see the pre-punched holes very well.  This would be easy enough to make with leather scraps from Tandy or even ultrasuede from the local fabric store.  The paper she used inside was regular typing paper.  I'll have to make some of these again--they were really cool!  The history of these texts is really interesting--the original finder took them home and someone in the family started using these ancient things as firestarter!  It was later translated and found to be a rather unusual translation of the bible with additional stories (like Jesus had a brother named James).  Fascinating stuff.
File:NagHammadi 1.jpg

Got home late Saturday after talking with Mom on the phone.  Watched some of my other shows--CSI: NY and 48 Hours.  Slept a bunch more and finished the laundry I needed to re-pack for the hospital.  Sleepy type of Sunday, packing, cutting some 2' x 5" rectangles for quilt blocks that I will be working on this week, and hopefully I can get the quilt top assembled in the next couple of days.  I don't know how big this quilt is going to be in the end...I was thinking about making it twin size, but with the extra blocks, it may end up being more full size.  I may have to arrange the blocks to make sure that the layout is attractive with 49 patches in each corner.  I don't need to make it 100" long, though, since the twin size beds all have foot boards that don't work well with long quilts.  Probably 80" long is plenty, and these are 10" blocks, so I'm thinking I need a 5 x 7 grid...35 blocks with 6" borders...that'll be 62" x 82".  Perfect.

Now I'm back at the hospital and they've been testing the little guy's glucose levels which have been erratic during the overnight feeds.  During the day they seem to be normal, but when they do the night feeds, his numbers shoot up to 200-300.  Not sure what that's about, but it could be CF related diabetes.  This is when the pancreas is sluggish from all the inflammation and the islets aren't excreting insulin when it's needed.  By morning, when the night feed is finishing, his numbers have been back up to normal, so they have talked to us about the possibility of introducing a small amount of insulin at the beginning of the feed to help absorb the sugars at the beginning of the feed until the pancreas can kick in.  Great.  Just one more thing.  Let's bring up the medicine count to a nice round dozen, K?

Surgery tomorrow.  Pray that all goes as smoothly as the first four times they did this same surgery and that he'll be back in the room without complications.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day Three at Chez Children's

The first night here wasn't bad--the couch wasn't terribly uncomfortable and we weren't disturbed every few hours by staff during the night.  They snuck in, took vitals as necessary, and left us to sleep.  Last night, unfortunately, they were not nearly as quiet or subtle.

Blood draw for medicine levels at 6:30 pm was not well-received, and the scheduled blood draw at 10:30 was late.  By 11:30, the vampire hadn't returned to draw the blood, and the orderly available wasn't qualified to do the arm draw...only the finger poke.  So she came in and poked his finger and milked the blood from it to fill the small vial.  It was unpleasant, to say the least.  He was not a fan of this activity.

At 3:30 a.m., they woke me to help hold him down so they could poke him for his glucose level, which is a new procedure they started 6 months ago on CF patients.  Many of them have symptoms of diabetes, but it's not type 1 or type 2; they're islets are *working* but due to inflammation, they are often sluggish to get started and can cause diabetes-like symptoms.  I have no idea why she felt the need to wake him for this procedure, let alone wake me to assist.  They weren't very gentle, or seemingly, experienced.  Thankfully, we have a different nurse tonight.  Someone named Jenny...that's the name of a 40 year old, not a 20 year old.  The 20 year olds are named Jennica or Brittney.  There's hope.

Don't get me wrong--99% of the people I've worked with here are amazing and always polite, ask if they can get us anything, and are always willing to jump up and do the littlest things, from getting a cup of water or extra blankets for the beds.  They're really great...but it's a teaching hospital, so sometimes the learning curve is a little steeper for some people.  Patience from the patients...

The doctor on call this week is the awesome Dr. G...always a great leader, a great doctor, and a great conversationalist (and a proud card-carrying, self-proclaimed geek).  He'll go to bat for the parents and teach the young doctors when the parents ask why things were done a certain way.  Like "why did they need to do a blood draw at 11:30 at night?" The answer is that they started his medication late in the afternoon...they should have started it earlier in the day.  'Keep in mind,' he said, 'what the schedule will be like for follow-up testing later, and how it can impact the patients you treat and their families.'

I've been having some great conversations with a respiratory therapist named Elizabeth.  She's about my age and height, from Tennessee, and is just a joy to talk to.  We have a lot of the same small-town attitudes and logic (especially when it comes to the new food service rules that were enacted at the hospital), both have "high maintenance" kids, and enjoy a geeky conversation.  Her visits to work with Ben have been fun for all of us.  With her urging, I looked into--and found--the web address to write a carefully-worded letter to the food service about their decision to eliminate comfort foods and non-diet drinks for the highly-educated employees who can make their own decisions and the stressed out families who are just looking for something familiar and soothing.  I may draft another version that I can post publicly in other forums, but the web-based forum did not allow me to copy the text to paste it elsewhere.

While we have been here, I started working on quilt blocks that I goofed up about five years ago.  When we were getting ready to move South, we borrowed Mom & Dad's 29-foot RV and went to an RV park in the area where Kelly's job was located.  It gave him an easy commute to work in the mornings (reducing it from 90 minutes to 15) and allowed us an opportunity to explore the area.  While we were encamped in the confined space, I brought along my sewing machine and began assembling 1930s Triple Irish Chain blocks.  Unfortunately, I didn't pay close attention to how it was supposed to be assembled and I did it wrong.  About 20 times.  Each of the 49 patch blocks was supposed to have a white square in the center space on each edge, but I had put a colored square instead.

Now that I have a lot of sitting time and needed a UFO project that I could bring with me to work on, I thought I'd bring these and fix the bad blocks.  I have torn out the four squares per block and began replacing them with the white pieces that I had pre-cut before coming here.  Sorry the photo is so bad--the overhead light was more like a spotlight that over-exposed that nearest row and underexposed the far rows...but you get the idea.

My next project here will be a more elaborate paper-pieced Harry Potter quilt found on Sew Hooked...or Fandom in Stitches...which will eventually look something like this:

The Project of Doom on display at Hennig House Quilts

I have no doubt that it will look slightly different in the end, using different fabrics and possibly setting the blocks differently, but you get the idea.  The bottom corner block is supposed to be a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, but it's really hard to tell and every time I look at it, I have to think about what that is supposed to be.  It may be that it's just too small on this image and in person, it makes far more sense, but I may adjust that block design some.  What you can't see here at all is that the books have some of the titles on the spines... "A History of Magic", "Hogwarts: A History", "Standard Book of Spells, Grade 1", "Travels with Trolls", "Voyages with Vampires", etc.  I wish I had an embroidery machine to do all that fancy stuff, but alas...that was available on the Viking 500, not the 400.  I guess I'll have to use a Pigma pen and my very best handwriting, or draw it on and embroider by hand over the top.

Kelly is going to take the weekend shift while I get a couple days to sleep in my own bed....the bliss of the simple things in life.  Clean laundry and a comfy mattress.

This evening, Bekah came by with a pizza (charging $10 a sniff to passers-by) which we enjoyed for dinner.  Shortly afterwards, Kelly and his mom came to visit with Cammie.  She helped us eat the pizza as well as Ben's leftover salad and bacon, and Kelly and his mom went to the cafeteria for dinner.  She finished her homework while we knitted and visited.  She worked on a scarf with some yarn I had given her from the Big Pink Bin (it looks like Noro type yarn, but it's softer and at least partially synthetic--I think it may have been a cheap Fred Meyer Noro-knockoff yarn; I'm not sure of its origin).  I finished up a pair of socks I started at Heide's a few months ago.

Cammie brought all of Ben's homework and the class "pet", King Pork Chop.  Each student gets the opportunity to take him home for the weekend, and the class decided to allow him to bring him to the hospital over the Thanksgiving break.  He needs to write a few paragraphs about what they did together and add pictures to the pages.  This is one of the photos that will be going into the book once I print it out at home...if I can print it out.  The color printer has been on the blink lately.

Next up for me is to read a couple of blogs I follow, then off to bed.  G'nite!