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!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Checking In

Our Tuesday morning ENT appointment turned into a checking in at Children's.  We thought that *maybe* we would be able to put it off until after Thanksgiving, but the availability of the surgeon to get the nasal polyps taken out was for next Monday...or January.  We'll take Monday, thanks.  They wanted to get him started on antibiotics right away, so we opted to admit him that morning.

They took us down to an available room on the first floor.  And by first floor, I mean the dungeon.  This room was a little dirty when we got there (Cheerios were still on the floor by the window), and a few things were a bit beat up from years of wear and tear.  It could really use a remodel.  The view is of a gravel....uh...well, I'd say it was a courtyard, but apparently you can't get there from here...or anywhere.  There's a basketball court/playground a couple floors up, so there were two soccer balls, and at least four other playground balls, a sock, a shoe, a slipper, a plastic dinosaur, a couple of legos and more in amongst the gravel.  It's like a Where's Waldo of toys.  Pull the curtain.  Problem solved.

We got him settled into his room by 11:30 and we left to get luggage, cars, and other necessities (phone chargers, sewing machines & computers).  Kelly was able to come back with his work computer and got caught up on some of his duties, and I stayed behind to run the Girl Scout meeting.  The other GS leader is away visiting her mother in Michigan, who is ill, and Cammie had volunteered to run the meeting, so I really had to be there.  The two co-leaders were there, but one is very inexperienced, and the other is not interested in leading or public speaking--she's very shy.

The meeting went really well--the girls had a great time!  We did the Detective badge where we played a memory game (like you do at baby showers--they put 20 things on a tray and you have a minute to look at it and then you have to recall what you saw on the tray...I usually did poorly at those games), we looked at fingerprints, handwriting samples, wrote in "invisible" ink (lemon juice) and they followed the clues to find the badges that were hidden in a treasure chest.  As I suspected she might, "Minnie" (not her real name) spotted it instantly and suspected something was up with that box.  She *knew* it as soon as she walked in!  She's got quite the powers of observation.  I told her that she's going to have to look into being a detective!

I got home after a quick stop at the grocery store to get emergency rations for the girls--canned soup, cheap pizza, pop tarts, Lunchables, etc.--and threw the last of the luggage into the car, and went to another store.  This time to grab a sandwich for me and indulge in a $25 adjustable height table.  They didn't have the turkey & cranberry wraps anymore (popular item sold out early) so I chose a turkey deli sandwich.  I admit, I played frisbee with the tomato in the parking lot (it landed in the bushes where it will either get eaten by a passing critter or compost nicely into dirt), then ate about half of it on the way down.  At that point, it was raining hard enough that I needed both hands and my full concentration.

Finally got to the hospital again at about 7:30.  Ben was playing games with a volunteer while Kelly was working.  I got settled in, ate a bit more of the sandwich, made two trips to get all the luggage (still some groceries and Legos in the car...I'll get that tomorrow).  A little while later, one of the doctors we saw back in March came in on her rounds and took the time to play a game of Connect Four with Ben.  There are some really special doctors that work here, I tell ya.

Getting myself settled in for the night...and for most of the next two weeks...which means that we will not be able to bust him out for Thanksgiving.  I may see if we can take the girls down to visit my brother for a day or an overnight, but we can't take him out for that long.  Maybe down the street for an ice cream if the timing is right, but not 130 miles away.

Let me know if you want to stop by.  The cell reception here is bad...did I mention it's a dungeon?  But email works great.  Drop me a note and let me know.  We're not going anywhere.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Next up...

Another finished quilt for Tara.  Next is a quilt for a person-yet-to-be-named.  And by that, I mean a very tiny person who hasn't been introduced to the world yet. :)

I'm really frustrated with iTunes.  I purchased quite a lot of music through them, and every once in a while, I go to sync my iPod, and some of my music is missing.  I can't figure out where the songs went, and I know I purchased them thru iTunes.  It's not showing up in my "purchased" file and I can't find anything else that would tell me where it might be hiding.  It also loses contact with my home network, so music we purchased and downloaded onto our server can't be installed either.  Frgariralian.  Stupid technology.  Why can't things just WORK?

Feeling a little under the weather, which is too bad since the weather is so nice!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

I was introduced to a fantastic site:  the Free Motion Quilting Project!  This young gal, Leah Day, has created over 365 different free motion quilt patterns for home or long arm machines.  There are simple, complex and really complex patterns that you can do on virtually any sewing machine.  This gives me a challenge to do a bunch of them on various quilts I have laying around and bring my long arm quilting to a whole new level.  I'm working on Tara's friendship quilt from Common Threads that she gave to me more than a year ago, testing out patterns #31, Lava Paisley and #112, Rainforest Leaf for this split half-square triangle block.

I tried to go geocaching again, but I was having difficulties with my phone's GPS.  The thing keeps directing me about 20 meters further west than where I'm supposed to be.  This is more than just a little inaccurate, and in looking for the caches today, I would have needed hip waters...or snorkel gear.  I knew what area it was supposed to be in, but I couldn't find it.  This six-month-old cache said that it was covered in moss as part of the clue, but everything was covered in 2" of dead leaves, something the guys may not have taken into consideration back in June.  Another one told me *exactly* where to look in the hints, and ignoring the GPS coordinates on the phone, I couldn't find that one, either.  I need to find a cheap GPS unit that'll get me there.  Otherwise, this is no fun.  It doesn't help that these passionate cache hiders are seemingly obsessed with hiding the micro size tubes.

I met someone for lunch, but had to leave just after the food arrived because Emma is sick.  I'm not feeling all that well, either, but it may have been the Benadryl.  And now I'm supposed to drive.  Don't y'all feel safe on the roads?  Good luck to all of us....especially on this election day.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

House Wish List

When we first looked at this house, we knew that it was nearly perfect.  No house really is *perfect*, but it was as close as we were going to get without building it ourselves.  It had enough bedrooms, bathrooms, and closet space, and the bonus space I needed for my sewing room and an extra bay in the garage for Kelly's shop.  It was also in a great neighborhood, had a yard large enough for our needs (no dog and no real intention of gardening, but enough backyard for the kids to play), and not on a busy street or under power lines.  It was also a short drive to Kelly's workplace and didn't require him to get on the interstate to get there.  There were few things it didn't have from our checklist when house hunting.  We were happy enough to have found such a place that was immediately available, even though it was at the top of our budget.  We haven't done much to personalize it since moving in--the carpets, wall colors, and even the window coverings are all what was there when we moved in.  The only major changes we've made is replacing a couple of windows in Emma's room and the countertops in the kitchen.  We have lots of great plans for the house, none of which we can really afford at this time.  Here's a few things I'd like to do.

1.  Front staircase:

This is the way it looks now.  And yes, I cleaned up a bit around it to make it photo-ready.  You should see the pile of ill-fitting shoes that need to be donated that are just out of view.  Nothing like photographing your house to clean up one corner at a time.  I always liked that the opening of the staircase wasn't pointing directly at the front door (I think there's a fung shui thing about this).  However, what we have just seems sort of...plain.  I knew it could be easily gussied up with the right design.  
Gorgeous staircase  Craftsman Staircase Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and IdeasThis is what I found.  I took one look at this and said, WOW!  This would look so nice and really give our "Craftsman Style" house a much more period feel.  Yeah, our house was built in the late 90s, but it's listed as a "Craftsman Style" in the description of the property--probably why I liked it so much was that the layout was so comfortable like an old Craftsman house.  I love the pillars with all the detailing and the lovely natural wood.  The paint on our railings are chipping and peeling so eventually I will have to touch it up or replace it.  I also love the door on this side of the stairs for storage.  Not sure if it's worth moving the doorway from the dining room to the front room--of course, we have bookcases in front of that area now anyway.  

2.  Hardwood floors:

Of course, we will be including hardwood floors throughout, upstairs & down, and on the stairs--the carpet is the same age as the house, and from what I understand, carpet generally lasts about five years and we're up beyond 12 now.  I've been scoping out flooring options online, wondering if I could do it myself or if I should hire it out.  I estimate that it's going to cost upwards of $5000 to get it done using some inexpensive hardwood (not laminate), and that includes upstairs and down.  With the lung issues that my kids are having, the more we can do to reduce allergens, the better.

3.  Kids' Bathroom:

The kids' bathroom has had some flooding issues.  The bathtub was filled to the brim and then they played Storm at Sea and saturated the floor.  The water swelled the caulking from previous storms, so it leaked down into the floor, into the space below and started pouring out the dining room below, setting off the smoke detector.  The drywall on the ceiling below is damaged as is all the cardboard-like trim around the edges of the bathroom.  We would like to put in heated tile floors and trim to avoid future floods and make it as comfortable as possible for the little tootsies that touch the floor.

We'd also like to put a window in that bathroom--something really small--just enough to open to let some steam out.  The bathroom fan is not working very well--I don't know if there's a blockage, or if the fan isn't strong enough for the space, or if it's just broken, but it's not sucking the steam out after the long, hot showers.  A window that can open would certainly help a lot, but we also need to replace the fan.

4.  Downstairs bathroom:

Due to some minor flooding (toilet overflowing) and not being aware of it for some time (child closed the door and failed to mention it to me), the wood floors warped.  I'd like to replace this with tile as well.

5.  Fireplace:

Tile fireplace  Craftsman Fireplace Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and IdeasOur fireplace is a little odd--it's in the corner of the room.  Not sure why they decided to do this in the design, and it's not something you can easily fix without re-routing all the vents and things, so I guess we'll have to take this weird design choice and run with it.  The surround looks very similar to this one, except mine is painted white, of course, and they put large white tiles around it instead of these smaller, more colorful ones.  I love this look, especially with the natural wood.  I'd love to update (or back-date?) my fireplace with this type of tile and the lovely blue and orange slate ones on the floor.  It's a gas fireplace, so there's not any worry about making it fire-proof or worry about sparks hitting the floor, but if we're making changes to the floors anyway...

6.  Laundry room:

Right now we don't have a room, so much, as a pass-through from the kitchen to the garage.  There's no place to store baskets of laundry as you process them from dirty to clean, no folding table, and at this time, no door to close to reduce noise.  The door was taken off the hinges to get our dining room table into the house as we moved in, and we realized that putting the door back would get in the way of anyone trying to DO laundry.  I can just see me now, shoving clothes into the washer and someone comes bursting through the door and pinches my hand in the washer.  We just left the door off, but I'd love to put in a pocket door here to cut down on the noise.

The bigger plan is to knock out the wall behind it and build a 10 x 15 (or larger) addition to make a real laundry ROOM.  Something with a folding table, cupboards, utility sink, ironing board--the works.  Kelly drew up the idea on SketchUp and even put in an attached, external shed for garden tools, and a crawl space access.  This is a biggie, so it's not likely going to happen, but if we win a small lottery, it's going in!

7.  Back porch:

Back doors for the patio.  Spaces Craftsman Double Patio Doors Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and Ideas - page 3
The wood on the back porch is rotting and needs to be replaced.  We'd like to change the layout of the porch a little bit to make it easier to go out to the patio from the back door.  maybe something a bit wider and deeper, or maybe without railings--just steps going down in different directions to get to the water spigot, the swings, and the patio.  I'd also like to get some new doors on the back.  The slider doors are narrow and clunky, and the locking mechanism is fussy--you have to close it just right to get it to lock correctly.  I worry that eventually it's going to be insecure or that someone isn't going to lock it right and we'll have intruders...vampires or bigfoot or something.

8.  Front porch:

Crown molding & picture rails  Spaces Craftsman Crown Molding Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and Ideas - page 6
There's nothing really wrong with the front porch, but it's rather narrow and doesn't get used.  I'm wondering if there's some way to open it up a little to make it deeper, more welcoming, and make use of the space.  Soft cushions would help, but given our weather changes, I'm not sure what I'd do with them in the "off season".  Bag 'em up and put them in the garage?

The bushes out front are also pretty overgrown and need to be trimmed back.  I hate to kill perfectly good bushes, but if they're too big and still growing, I will need to get something that won't grow quite so tall.  Short shrubs.  There's a really big hydrangea at the end of the porch, rather than a rail and spindle barricade, to keep people from wandering through and maintains privacy for someone sitting and having a cuppa, but the bushes in the front make it almost like a fortress.

I'd also like to get the front door replaced with a door that has windows on it.  For security purposes, I'd like to be able to see who is at the door before unlocking it.  We have a peep hole, but like so many of them, it's placed so high up that I'd need a step stool to look out.

9.  Woodwork details:

Gawd, I love this dining room!  Craftsman Ceiling Grid Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and IdeasBack inside the house, I'd like to replace all the crappy wood trim (that's actually some kind of fiber board that wrinkles when it gets wet, as you can see in the bathroom photo), and add ceiling boxes, wainscotting, and picture rails.  Simple little additions can add so much richness to the space.

10.  Appliances:

OK, so we got a new dishwasher a couple years ago, settling on white to match the existing appliances, and within a few short weeks, one of the kids fell on the door (while it was open, of course) and broke it.  It's still *on* and it still closes and works, but it requires a bit more brute force to close it and if you open the door a crack, it falls all the way open.  So you can't just open it a crack to allow the steam to escape, you have to let it open all the way and then walk around the door until the dishes are cooled down enough to handle them.  I asked about getting it repaired, and the guy at the store said that we'd have to replace the entire door, which costs almost as much as the dishwasher itself.  Figures.  The original microwave died, so we replaced that with a stainless microwave, thinking that we'd replace all the appliances with stainless as they died, so it doesn't match the other appliances--and of course, we thought, "why didn't we think about making the dishwasher stainless when we replaced that?"  The new microwave also acting up--it quits in the middle of cooking things, for no apparent reason.  Not sure what that's about.  Then Kelly picked up a small fridge for our milk and medicine since we never seem to have enough room in our regular fridge for food and medicine, especially when you're getting 90 days of medication for two kids and getting 4 to 6 gallons of milk at a time.  I didn't go with him to pick it out, and I was picturing something more like a wine fridge, but it arrived back at the house--black.  So now we have black appliances, white appliances, and stainless.  I hate the fridge--it's too narrow.  The oven is electric.  I'd love to be able to replace all of them with matching appliances and install gas in the kitchen.

Sewing room solution  Google Image Result for there it is.  The top ten stuff I'd do to my house if I had a lottery winner.  #11 would have been to put in fancy shelves in my sewing room.  I had looked at some ideas at IKEA and they had the Billy bookcases that might work well.  Again, more stuff I have to dream about.