Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Club Med, Day 2

We've mostly settled in to the room, got the beginnings of a routine down, although there are still a lot of things that have to get into a regular time slot--the physiotherapists have a rather large window of when they'll stop by...

He had a good breakfast of bacon and french toast (ate a few bites of the french toast and ALL the bacon), then we found out that he was going to get a PICC line put in today.  Because it's not the most comfortable procedure and he needs to lie completely still, they needed to knock him out.  To do this, of course, he needs to have an empty stomach.  This means six hours of no food.

We burned up an hour or so by going down to the play room where he found two drawers full of Lincoln Logs.  He and a little girl spent some time building towers and parking lots, we chose a couple books to read, and headed back to the room.  He worked on his math homework for quite a while, finishing several pages of fractions (much to the amazement of the doctors and nurses who came in and asked him if second graders were really learning fractions already).

The school teacher at the hospital stopped by to ask if we would use their services--she can coordinate with his teacher to get additional assignments if he needs them, or get a good idea of what concepts, activities and projects they are covering in the classroom that aren't reflected in the books or handouts.  Good deal!

We were told that they got an appointment time to get the PICC at 2:30.  Our 2:30 appointment time turned into 3:00...then 3:30...then 4:30.  He was complaining about being hungry by then, but he had been good about it until then.

FINALLY, they had the room open so they could do the imaging and feed the line in.  He got back to the room around 6:30, where his dinner was waiting (it had just arrived and it was on a hot plate, so it was still pretty good.  He's now alert and getting his next doses of meds for the evening through the PICC line, which is less painful, but unfortunately is going to be more restrictive for movement and activity--they don't want him to be unplugged from it too often in order to keep it safer from infection.

While he was out in recovery, his nurse brought a box of Legos from the play room for him to play with.  After he ate his dinner, he started playing with them and hasn't stopped yet.

There's not much point in making him go to bed yet--he's got another treatment in an hour, so I might as well let him stay up a bit longer.  Right now we're watching the Anatomy of a Tsunami...something on PBS.  Should make for interesting dreams, right?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Club Med, Day 1

We've checked in at "Club Med" for a 10-14 day stay for Mr. B to get IV antibiotics and lung therapies, including a new one that we found out tonight would be starting called hypertonic saline in addition to the list he's already got.  This will cause lots of coughing, but hopefully will bring up a lot of the gunk that's been stuck in his lungs, clear up the infection, and bring his lung function tests back up to the levels he had been at.  Getting the IV in was a bit of an adventure, but once he calmed down for just a few seconds, it was over with quickly.  Now he's calmly having dinner and watching Puss n Boots.

In the meantime, I have my laptop, my phone, a book to read, and my card weaving to keep me busy.  Ben has his DS, a stack of movies, some books to read, some little plastic pirates & stuffed animals, and we got a fresh pack of Uno cards to play.  There are also crafts that we can do (bringing them back from the activity room) and of course, homework.  Sure would be nice if there was a table in here, though.  Even a little card table would be nice.

Our view is a little less than ideal...unless you happen to like Bob the Builder.  Apparently Waldo can be found somewhere in this construction site and they move it every day.  Too bad I'm nearsighted.  Maybe he'll be able to see it out there.

More tomorrow.

Monday, February 20, 2012


This weekend, I was finally able to cash in my birthday present (received last spring) by going to my first-ever quilt retreat!  I signed up several months ago and had been mentally preparing for it.  A week before, I had a Pirate retreat at my house where friends came over to work on their respective projects.  In attendance were Sharon, Linda, Michele, Jean, KayLee, and Lauri.  Retreat is a loosely used description; I'm not sure if we're actually retreating if we still have children underfoot.  Miss O arrived with Sharon, and Mr. L. arrived with Lauri.  Of course, the kids ran upstairs with my kids and we didn't see hide nor hair of them...except at mealtimes.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures...again!  We all worked on our various projects.  I was happy to have been left with three quilts to work on from Lauri, Sharon, Michele and on Monday, got a quilt from Donna.  I've got a couple more quilts in line that I have to finish so get caught up!

I spent most of the Pirates weekend and then the following week prior to the retreat chopping up scraps and fabric remnants into squares for a scrappy 1930s project called 'Merry Go Round' from the February issue of the American Patchwork & Quilting magazine (the one on the cover).

Friday after hubby got home, I loaded up the car and headed out.  What I thought was going to be 30 minutes up the hill turned into an hour, but I finally arrived at retreat center.  I quickly settled into the room, grabbing the bed behind the door.  By "settling in", I mean I just tossed all my stuff on the bed and left for the main hall.  I hoped my roommate, Mary (a woman I never met before), didn't mind.  [This photo was taken the next day, after both beds had been slept in.]

Arriving at the main hall, there were 36 tables set out in groups of six.  Not knowing very many people, I figured I'd just choose one at random, in the middle of the room [my seat is just beyond the garbage can in the middle, there].  I unloaded the sewing machine & all my supplies on the table, plugged in, and introduced myself to the two ladies nearest me.  I ended up sitting across from an author, Terry Martin (who is hilarious!) who asked if I was immune to raucous laughter and borderline humor.  I told her that I was the daughter of a Navy man and she'd have to try really hard to offend me.  She warmly welcomed me to the group and I set up my gear.  I started sewing all those half-square triangles together...

Aaaaaaaaaaalll those half-square triangles.

So hours and hours and hours later, I finished sewing 60 pairs of 5" squares and 60 pairs of 3" squares...then it was time to square them up.  I cut them 1/8" larger because no matter how hard I try, they end up lopsided and, far too often, too small.  SO...I squared up all those half-square triangles.

Aaaaaaaaaaaalll those half-square triangles.

By then, it was Saturday evening.  I spent all Friday night and all day Saturday making these things.  120 half-square triangles.  That's a lotta triangles.

In between sewing and squaring, there was fantastic food:  salmon & wild rice for Friday's dinner; scrambled eggs, waffles & sausages (and probably the worst-tasting vegan meat substitute patties ever...a cross between grass and cardboard) for Saturday's breakfast; homemade bread sandwiches for lunch; spaghetti with three kinds of sauce and fresh rolls on Saturday evening; fresh baked cookies; ice cream with all the fixings, and many other lovely things!

There was a block raffle underway--each person makes one block called Road to the White House in red, white and blue fabrics (appropriate for an election year).  When you finish your block, you put your name in a baggie and the name pulled out of the sack wins the pot!  The drawing was scheduled for Monday, and I wasn't able to stay that long, so I'm not sure who won.  My block is the brighter colors, on the right.

Saturday at dinner, we arrived to find a new book at each place setting from Martingale (donated from an employee at the company who was attending) and some other little gifties.  I got one called "Another Bite of Schnibbles" along with a pen, a pencil and pocket notebook.  Then after dinner, there was a raffle of all retreat attendees--everyone got a number and they were pulled out of a baggie and more than 40 gifts were given out...I only got one, a packet of fat quarters (from at employee at Clothworks Textiles), but most of the ladies got two prizes.  Ah well.  My number was being elusive.

After dinner, I was able to start sewing all the large half-square triangles into pinwheels!  Each one measures about 8", and there were 36 of them in total.  Or at least there was when I sewed another 12 into half-square triangles...I had used the directions from the magazine rather than my modified numbers.  Just about everything I do ends up King size, and the directions in the magazine were for a queen.  Luckily I still had lots of 5" squares left over to make up the difference, and I still had lots more after that.

The pack of fat quarters that I won was from Clothworks' highly-popular Paisley Denim series--it was released in September and sold out in two months.  I hope they do a re-print, since I *love* it!  The paisleys have some periwinkle in it, and the colors just make me so darn happy!  I'd like to make a quilt for my bed with it someday.  I chopped up the fabric into some 4" squares and made a laptop satchel.  OK, I have a bunch of work left to do on it, but I have the liner cut out which needs to be quilted and the pockets need to be added inside it for cables, mouse, papers, pens, or any other bits that I need.

I got to bed by 1 a.m., but I didn't sleep as well.  The bed was very firm and, as you can imagine, I was uneasy sleeping with an almost complete stranger in the room.  Turns out my roommate was sewing in a different room than I was (along with three or four other ladies, even though there was plenty of room in the main hall), so we never really got to know each other except in passing in the morning and evening.

On Sunday morning, we woke to SNOW!  Most people across the Midwest would say, "Yeah?  It's February.  What did you expect?  Yogurt?"  But no, it's unusual that we wake up to snow out here...then I realized that we might be a bit further up the mountains than we usually are at the coast.  Looking up the elevations, it says that where we were had an elevation of 420 ft.  My home town is about 350.  Doesn't make sense, does it?  Maybe it's just because it's further inland.  No idea.

I toddled off to breakfast a little after 8:00 only to realize that I had missed the breakfast service--which must have been at 7:00 or 7:30.  I never did see a time posted anywhere that told us when meals were served--I just followed the crowd at chow time.  Of course, I wasn't following anyone at 7 a.m...just dreaming about Lady Gaga...can't explain that one.  I got a cuppa tea and ate a breakfast cookie I brought with me.  Thankfully, they had fresh coffee on all the time, and a hot water spigot so you could get hot drinks round the clock, which I totally took advantage of!  I brought a box of my favorite tea and refilled my mug several times over the weekend.

By noon Sunday, I knew that I was going to have to wrap it up and head home eventually, but I wanted to get all the blocks sewn with the outer strips and small half-square triangles before I left.  As it turned out, it was a good goal--by 4:00, I had finished all 36 blocks!  I had wanted to add the sashing strips and cornerstones over the weekend, but I forgot to bring the extra white fabric with me, and I didn't have enough time anyway.

I arrived home to real life...and by that, I mean a dirty dishes, heaps of laundry, and no dinner plans.  I picked up steaks on the way home and they were magnificent...and it was wonderful to be home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Long Waits...

I know it's been *ages* since I wrote on this blog.  I just have been quite busy and have been on my toes all week.

My Darling Son was "excused" from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills for lack of ability to withstand the long minutes--about an hour at a time, but up to two hours a day--of testing.  The first test he tolerated for most of the time, but near the end, he slumped in his chair, slithered onto the floor and was a royal disruption to the class.  It was recommended that since this is only 2nd grade and not required state testing, that perhaps it would be best if he were excused for the hours that they will be conducting the tests, which is mostly in the morning.  It gives the other students the opportunity to concentrate and is easier on the teacher, too.  After Monday's adventures, he stayed home all day on Tuesday, was home for the morning on Wednesday and today, and will not need to be at school until a little after 11:15 tomorrow.  Just what I wanted to do...make extra trips into town and have to put off running errands because I have a child underfoot.  I wanted to finally get a chance to go to the GS store to get badges that the girls have earned, but it's too far to go for a quick trip, he'd be bored, and it doesn't open until 11.  Lame.  I was hoping to have the badges on hand for Tuesday's meeting, but I'm thinking that I'll have to postpone it until late February.

However, on the bright side, we have had an opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with him, and today Ben and I picked Kelly up from work and went to have lunch at a sushi restaurant.  The little Japanese ladies there were impressed that he wasn't one of those chicken-nugget-and-soft-drink kids; he ordered the five-piece sushi lunch, miso soup and tea.  He ate all of the sushi--salmon, tuna, red snapper, albacore and shrimp!  Three ladies came over and talked to him about his choice of lunch and thought he was charming!  He was, of course, very charming... :)

We go to get sushi fairly often--a couple times a month, if we can--the kids love it, especially those conveyor-belt types.  We have a big stack of plates at the end, and in this case, Emma ate half of these. She joked that when she starts to date, she's going to have to go out with someone who can afford to feed her.  Yeah, she's not one of those salad-eatin' chicks.  We went on to say that besides screening them for genetic mutations, we'll also have to do a credit check to ensure that they can afford her.

Last week Thursday was our Girl Scout event, World Thinking Day.  Now, traditionally this is held on February 22nd, but apparently it can be held at any time during the month of February, as our service unit has proven.  Ours was about three weeks early, was not as heavily attended as last year, but our girls looked fabulous, were gracious hosts, and had a blast.  Mrs. C. dressed us up with clothes from her closets and a few borrowed pieces from friends.  Cammie and "Mini" (kneeling in pink) wore saris from our collection, which Mrs. C. carefully and expertly pinned and wrapped around the girls.  We had a bonus troop member for the evening--the littlest girlie in brown, Miss S.  Now you can see why I didn't know how to answer the question during the interview: "What will you do to encourage diversity in your troop?"  This looks like a Benetton ad, doesn't it?  We can't get much more diverse.

Tara's last Packer quilt came off the frame recently.  I'll be handing it back to her on Monday.  I understand this is the last of the late Christmas presents that will be mailed off to the grandkids.  This picture, of course, is the unfinished quilt; I have to take pictures of the finished product yet.  I have another of Tara's quilts on the frame now, and have two more waiting in the wings.  I miss being that productive--I've been in a slump these past few months, focusing on other projects instead.  This weekend is the next in the gathering of the Patchwork Pirates...the Pirate Retreat commences and I hope to get a bunch of 1930s pieces cut out for the big retreat the weekend after, and maybe start sewing them together.  I'm hoping that over the next two weekends I can get a lot done.

I really should look at my box of UFOs and see if I can get one or two of those finished and ready for the summer quilt show.  I have enough UFOs that I have taken to calling my closet "Area 51"...time to clear out some of these aliens and make more projects that I can show off as Stuff I've Made.

I did finally complete the bulk of the Retro Girl Scouts book.  I have a little more space to fill here and there, some clip art to tweak, spell and grammar checking, as well as a final once-over for layout, but this 225 page magnum opus is ready for print and limited distribution.  I will be making copies for all the girls and we'll be working from that more than the Big Purple Binders that came out this year, or from the lame "Journey" books that they're also selling.  Apparently I am not alone at thinking this massive change was a huge fiasco--not just that it took too long for the binders to come out, but they have little substance for the expense.  It seems more and more that GS USA is in the business of selling books, clothing and trinkets and raising a new group of activists rather than being a group dedicated to teaching girls to be strong, independent, adventurous contributors to society.  To learn and grow within themselves is not as important as "changing the world."

Dad's surgery went fairly well--he ended up with a triple bypass and was sent home after five days of recovery.  It's been a long uphill battle with his home recovery, but it's not easy having your chest cracked open and put back together.  Love ya, Dad...get well soon!  The view from his hospital room was quite nice, though.  It was a lovely sunny day when I came up to visit. The skies were mostly clear, you could see the river and the heart of downtown from up on the top floor.