Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It could be Thumpin' for Thumone who is No Relation but it could be Thump'n Thpethul Just for Me!

Well, it's not the ankle that's been turned; it's the knee.

I've seen the physical therapist twice and I like him. And not just because he said that this dratted thing will get better. He's just a nice and decent guy who wants me to work hard but not hurt myself in the process. He said to apply ice as many times per day as I want, but not to leave it on longer than 15 minutes. He said I can walk up to 1000 or 1500 steps on a flat surface (yesterday I managed 750 around the track). I rest and I elevate. I take Advil.

Last evening my Circle met at my house for the annual autumn pot luck dinner. I sent out a notice ahead of time that I would need help. One sister came early and set up the chairs. Afterwards, they wouldn't let me near the kitchen and after they left I found the dishwasher had been emptied and loaded and some marvelous left-overs had been placed in the fridge.

Still, somehow, I had done too much. I went to bed at 9:30 and the entire leg throbbed for an hour or more before I was able to finally get comfortable and sleep. Today that has stopped and I mean to keep it that way.

In other Big News, I was the recipient of a most astonishing Random Act of Kindness. A huge box arrived via UPS (does anyone else find herself humming, "O-ho the Wells Fargo Wagon is A-Comin' Down the Street" when that big brown truck pulls up?) and once Himself had brought it into the foyer I could tell it was way too heavy for the Darth Vader flannel sheets I'd ordered for a certain young man's Christmas gift. I couldn't imagine what it could be. We opened it up and -- gasp -- inside was a Go! Accucutter! We were both mystified as we sat down to lunch. And then I recalled that a dear-yet-geographically-remote friend/quilter/Scrabbler had mentioned that she had sent me something and hoped I would like it.

Like it? I am bowled over.

Come on, knee, I have work to do!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This and That

Disclaimer: The gorgeous photo to the left has nothing to do with this post. My son-in-law took the picture of our older granddaughter this summer and I just need to share it!

So, here are some random accomplishments, thoughts, and observations of recent time:

  • I've been working diligently on the Monster blocks. These are from a now unavailable pattern by Sue Garman that I've had for at least ten years. It is a baby quilt size pattern and I'm going to interpret it as a twin size quilt for Grandchild #6 who is due to move into a big boy bed sometime in the next year. There are nine blocks and I'm hand-buttonholing them. They take time. In some cases there are several layers of bonded fabric and it hurts the fingers a bit to push the needle through. But I'm loving the results. The final project must remain a secret until it is finished, but perhaps I'll share a preview of just one block.
  • I went through my Kaffe/Brandon/Philip scraps (of which there are many because I keep buying scrap bags from Glorious Color whenever she has them) and selected a bunch of green/purple/blue pieces for two sophisticated baby quilts for boys. All of the pieces for both quilts are cut. One will be a Louisiana block and the other the Mazed pattern adaptation. I started piecing the first one yesterday. 
  • People have been so solicitous about The Knee. There is some improvement, but there is a long way to go. I spend a lot of time in my recliner (hence the astonishing progress on the Monsters). Yesterday Honna showed up with dinner and a balloon. We'll have her yummy chicken tonight and it has been a very long time since I've had a balloon!
  • Why is it that when I remove nail polish at home it takes forever but at the salon it comes off Just Like That? Obviously they have some sort of industrial strength remover that isn't available to the rest of us. Snarl.
  • I read We Are Not Ourselves recently and loved it. I had been on the library's waiting list for months and when we were going away for a weekend I broke down and bought it. Well worth the price and I'm glad I bought the real book rather than the Kindle version because it definitely  must be shared (my sister has it presently).
  • I tried the crescent roll apple dumplings recipe and oh-my-gosh don't tell my Weight Watchers leader but they are delicious! No link being provided; there are a couple of versions and Google has them all. 
  • I still don't have even one of my lap quilts for veterans assembled and am ashamed about that. I'm still hoping to get one done before October 7 but those Monsters are so addicting . . . . 
  • I miss the autistic kids and their teachers more than I can say. 
  • Oh, all right, here it is. But don't blame me if you develop a rapid addiction.

Friday, September 26, 2014

In the Pink: A Flimsy

The quilt for the ballet school's breast cancer fundraiser is moving right along. The leg pain won't let me sit for long periods of time, so sewing a quilt top is a perfect activity for me: Stitch a little, press a little, stitch a little, press a little, stitch stitch stitch press a lot stitch a little more . . . .

I'm liking this a lot.

You may be thinking it wants a border. I concur. Border fabric has been ordered from Glorious Color and their service is so speedy, I'm likely to be posting a finished top by Tuesday.

Thanks to those who asked/commiserated about the leg. I started physical therapy today and will be going twice each week until further notice. I like the guy and I felt some improvement even with just one visit. Next week I believe he'll give me exercises to do at home. And he's cleared me to walk some, just on level surfaces.

What surprise me is how tiring having this kind of an injury is. I came home from PT and took a full hour's nap. This after sleeping 8 hours last night. And I know tonight won't be a late one, either.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mancuso Show at Oaks

Last Friday, when I still had a leg to stand on, Marsha and I drove out to the Mancuso Quilt show at Oaks. I didn't take a lot of photos and sometimes I get impatient when bloggers share a bazillion show photos. I'm going to share just five.

I took this picture for Joe. When we drive up to the end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike on the way to Chautauqua, there is an area where all at once these gorgeous windmills appear. Joe always admires them, and I've come to love them, too.

My sister is fond of giraffes, and I thought this was a splendid zarpy quilt.

This was an interesting project. It is a diary quilt. Each week the maker created a block that somehow represented something that was going on in her life that week.

No explanation needed, I believe.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Leg to Stand On

It started sometime early in August, around the time I'd increased my walking regimen from 6000 steps to 10,000 steps per day. All at once my left knee became very particular and persnickety. It liked to walk, and walk I did. But it developed a peculiar dislike for the edge of a chair, especially the edge of the elevated bar stools where we eat most of our meals in the kitchen. It progressed to complaining on a car ride longer than an hour. Then it got insistent on only one sleeping pose. But it was inconsistent, and because of that, I came to believe it would shape up on its own, and walked some more, partly because I liked it and partly because it liked walking.

Four to six weeks later, it was no better. Truth be told, it was worse. I could no longer kneel and when I would set out to walk it would take a couple of hundred steps before the discomfort settled down. And then it got much worse, to the point where yesterday, when it migrated loudly to the front of the knee,  I knew there was something terribly wrong and phoned the doctor, who -- thank goodness -- could see me right after dinner.

It was a long day. Awful things went in and out of my mind. I'd seen friends who had knee replacements, and noted the long haul of getting back to whatever the  new normal was going to be. I'd worked on a hospital ward where leg bones were attacked by cancerous tumors. And my years as a medical transcriptionist had exposed me to a variety of knee and leg conditions, one of the more melodious being tear of the medial meniscus (a 1-1/2 page report, usually). By dinnertime I was in tears, partly from the pain, partly from the guilt at not listening to Himself when weeks earlier he has suggested seeing the doctor, and partly from fear of the outcome.

He graciously agreed to not only drive me to the doctor but to accompany me into the exam room. Dr. S. listened attentively to my absolute tale of woe, with Himself filling in some forgotten details, made notes on her little laptop and then, without so much as a worried look said, "I can tell you exactly what this is."  And she did. It is "patellofemoral pain syndrome" and is common among women and athletes. She explained that in my case she believed it to have been brought on by taking on a serious walking program without quadriceps strengthening. The solution, she said, involved ibuprofen, ice, cutting back on the walking, and physical therapy for which she would write a prescription. She also took the precaution of ordering an x-ray, but believed it would reveal nothing of interest.

Heaving a sigh of relief and nearly letting those tears come out, I asked again about the name of the condition. It was unfamiliar. When she said, "It used to be called chondromalacia patella," I brightened. Of course.  I remembered that lovely, rhythmic name from the medical transcriptionist era. I had developed a little tune to say it with (but I won't try to reproduce that here). It was like meeting up with an old friend acquaintance I hadn't seen in years. But one I didn't care to get to know any better, nonetheless.

Clutching my prescriptions, I hobbled out of the office and to the car. Then we did the only sensible thing a body could do: Stopped for a therapeutic small Blizzard to take home. Small, I said. Chocolate. With Heath Bar. And it did me at least as much good as the ice and ibuprofen that followed.

PS: The graphic above is from this blog and now that I've discovered it, I will visit it frequently because I am convinced the artist is a genius. She doesn't say anything about not borrowing her work, and I've always been the sort to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Check her out; I bet you'll be smitten, too!

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Not Very Smart"

It turns out that her daughter is a nurse on another floor, and that daughter is the one who requested that I visit the patient.

She was 80 years old, but I would have guessed her to be 75. She was sitting in the chair, supported by pillows, with an oxygen cannula helping her to breathe. I pulled over another chair and settled in for a chat.

I have to say that I straightaway I liked her. A lot.

I began, as often I do, by asking what had brought her to the hospital. She replied that it was her breathing.

And then she got to the point. "I'm a twin, you know." I hadn't known. Her fraternal twin sister had been "the smart one." "I'm not very smart," she told me. "But my sister was smart." The sister had died at 39. My patient had now lived twice as long. We talked about the special bond of twins (my own mother was a twin); my patient will always miss her sister. She thinks of her every day.

She rambled on. She'd been in the hospital for pretty many days, not exactly certain. And she didn't know when she'd be going home. The diabetes was the problem, she said. She had it and didn't know anything about it. "I don't WANT to know about it. I'm not smart enough to understand it." I was taken aback. This was the second reference to not being smart. She lives alone, and people were worried about that in connection with the inadequately managed diabetes. I inquired about perhaps attending a patient information class on the subject, but, no, she didn't want to do that. Her daughter, the nurse, understood the diabetes and would take care of it. Her daughter was very smart, she said, "not like me."

Our conversation wandered around and soon the beeper shrieked and I needed to leave. We said a prayer together, and I said I would ask Sister to stop and see her on Monday, and off I went.

All the way down the hall(s) she stayed in my mind. I conjectured that her parents had been the ones who had given her this terrible message, the self image of stupidity. We tend to believe what our parents tell us about ourselves. I wondered what they would think, how they would feel, if they knew that 75 years or so after receiving that message, after marrying, keeping a household running, raising a family, helping at least one child through college, after all of that, she still believed what they had said.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In The Pink

Last spring my daughter invited me to attend a tea party at her daughter's ballet school. My understanding was that it was a fund raiser for the ballet school, but I was mistaken. It was a fund raiser for breast cancer research. Each year this ballet school director raises thousands of dollars for this worthwhile cause.

It was a glorious affair! Moms, grandmoms, and little girls all dressed in their finest finery and on their best behavior (well, most of us). The tables were elegant and bedecked with tiered trays of tea goodies. There were two rooms full of tombolas of all kinds. People were wearing hats. The high point of the afternoon was the "fashion show" where the little girls walked down the runway to show off their beautiful dresses.  What fun we had!

I told Sherry to ask the director if she would like a pink baby quilt for this year's tea. Well, yes, she would. And what would be better for a pink quilt than Tula Pink? Perhaps Tula Pink's blocks with Kaffe's and Brandon's and Philip's fabrics? Yes, I think so, too. I started my blocks late Friday afternoon. Here's where I am at present. I'm thinking twenty-five blocks with lattice and cornerstones. I'm thinking pink. And I'm having fun. Stay tuned, please, because the twenty-fifth block will prolly be finished on Tuesday. And, yes, I'll be wearing my hat to this year's event. I know exactly where it is.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Where Did You Go, O Dish and Spoon?

I'd pretty much reached the conclusion that -- like the dish and the spoon -- my blogging mojo and my quilting mojo had run away together. I wasn't exactly sure when they'd left, nor did I have a clue as to where they'd run off to, but it was pretty clear that they were gone. It went on for a little more than a month. I tried to blog and I tried to sew, but I just wasn't feelin' it. So finally I just gave up. I stopped trying to blog. I stopped sewing except for a couple of necessary things -- blocks for a swap deadline and sample blocks for upcoming bee participation.

I couldn't even pinpoint why they'd left. I know I was saddened -- perhaps to a disproportionate level -- by the departure of the autistic school from my work place. There is also my perception that The Little Church is dying and that I'm sitting a death watch as I work. But that is a post for another day. Finally, there was the aforementioned influx of hurtful input from readers, comments I might have just shrugged off had it not been for the other sadnesses.

Then, much as they'd run away, those mojos  appear to be back. I don't think they've quite settled in yet, taken off their shoes and unpacked their bags, that kind of thing. So I'm going to be gentle and not make a lot of demands.

Yesterday Marsha and I went out to the Mancuso show at Oaks. We've done it before: I drive, she navigates, and we both do a B+ job. I didn't have an extensive shopping list and neither did she. I had told my daughter that I would make a baby girl quilt to donate to my granddaughter's ballet school tea party that raises money to fight breast cancer, and I thought I might find some fabrics. That was all I wanted and nearly all I actually purchased.

I wasn't home more than an hour before I was digging out Tula Pink and pressing and straightening pinks and violets. And after dinner I was back at it.

They haven't said where they went. Or what prompted their return. Or why they didn't even send a post card. But I think that the fewer questions asked, the better.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Company I Keep

In the years I've written this blog, the past two and a half weeks have been the longest I've gone without a post.

I've been thinking about blogging, and about Facebook, the two social media that I'm familiar with. I don't know about tweeting or being linked in and I don't do instagram or any other things. But the two I do use have given me plenty to think about.

The up-sides of social media, imnsho, are many and splendid. Social media provides a way to know what's going on with people we care about but who live too far away for us to see very often (or, in some cases, ever). Blogging has brought so many lovely people into my life; some I've met up close and personal and they did not disappoint. Others, probably I'll never meet, but I love having a virtual relationship with them. One blogger, well, I have no idea how we found each other, is a thinker and a writer and just a lovely soul and I'm excited that we have, at last, set a date to meet next month in her city. I was surprised when someone I was in school with for, I think, 13 years, but never was really close to sent me a "friend" request; that felt good because I didn't think this popular person would even remember me.

There's another side, though. I think that social media is contributing to a loss of civility. It is too easy to make a quick, judgmental response to a post on Facebook or in a blog. People "speak" hastily, not thinking about whether what they are saying might be hurtful. People respond in ways that they wouldn't (I hope) if they were in the room with the other person.

I went through a spell shortly before my self-imposed blog break where a couple of people castigated and insulted me because we had differing views on, of all things, the ice bucket challenge. Another individual flat out told me I wasn't fit to be a chaplain because I believe that a woman has the right to choose whether to be pregnant or not. Someone else  denounced me as "non-Christian" because I think everyone should be able to marry whoever they want to marry.  A Tea Party member finds me ignorant because I trust our President.

I thought a lot about these things, and about another person who is very, very quick to tell me that I am dead wrong even if the issue is a matter of opinion, not fact. I have had about enough of the quick and easy criticism from a woman who treats me as if I am an inept subordinate.

I asked myself, "Is my life richer and better because 'Delia' is my Facebook friend? What about 'Suzanna'?" And the answer was unequivocally "no."

So I've done a bit of "unfriending."  And there may be more to come. Because, frankly, I don't need to hear negative opinions of my character, I don't care to be told my politics are erroneous, and I don't want to be told off because I don't want to be bullied into having a bucket of ice dumped on my head.

I'm thinking of that famous quote attributed sometimes to Plato and other times to Katharine Hepburn: "Be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle."

If you're a Republican, if you are committed to the rights of the unborn, if your conscience tells you gay marriage is a sin against God,  or if you need to put ice on your head to avoid giving to charity/need to post a video saying that you DID give to the charity, go ahead. I won't tell you that you are wrong, evil, non-Christian, or anything else. I won't say hurtful things about your positions.

I can live with our being different. If you can't, then, regrettably, we need to go our separate ways.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014