Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Couple of Busy Days

I love nothing better than spending days sewing, but when I do, everything else seem to pile up!  I am looking around my house as I type this and I know I need to spend some time tidying and cleaning!

Yesterday, I worked from home.  Afterwards, I put gas to the car ($2.75/gal; I put just over 10 gallons).  Then, went across the street to the grocery store and bought cat food ($6.99/bag with $2 off coupon), a birthday card ($1.00), a pint of milk ($.99) and bananas ($.59/lb = $.91).  Canned tuna was on sale for $.50/can and I wanted to buy some, but it was the last day of the sale and they were all out of stock.  However, the cashier gave me a rain check good for 10 cans.  I will buy the full amount, later this week.

I didn't take pictures of the groceries or do a separate grocery post because, well, when you spend under $2 on groceries, that's hardly worth mentioning, is it?  So far in August, I've gone grocery shopping four times, as follows:

8/1 = $2.81 (bread and grapes)
8/8 = $6.59 (bread, bananas, lettuce, cold cuts)
8/13 = $7.95 (bread, beef chuck steak, ice cream)
8/15 = $1.90 (milk, bananas)
Amount spent on groceries in August = $19.25
August grocery budget = $75 + $7 carried over from July = $82.00

After I came home and put away the groceries and cat food, I wrote out the birthday card, wrapped up the gifts I had bought earlier, picked a grocery bag of curry leaf sprigs, and went over to my friend's house to wish her daughter a happy birthday and to give the curry leaves to my friend.  I declined dinner, but my friend served my dinner into a container to bring home, anyway:

Rice and Curries

Rice, fish curry, mutton curry, water spinach, bitter melon, and green beans.  I had some last night, tonight, and there's enough for tomorrow, as well!  Everything tasted very good, except for the bitter melon, of course, which just tasted bitter! 

Today, I went to the office.  During my lunch break, I called the surgeon's office and left a message asking if I should do a biopsy; will wait and see what he has to say.  After I came home, I did a load of laundry (bath mats, etc.), commented on blogs, video chatted with my daughter, cut a few more pieces of fabric for the mountain climbing quilt, and called my brother's wife.  My brother suffered a set back on Monday - he's back in the ICU.  Poor sister-in-law sounded really stressed.  One of my friends phoned and I had a nice chat with her.

Daughter's conference ended today and she found some time to visit the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis campus, see the Stone Bridge, and visit the Mall of America, before her flight back.  She had a safe flight back and got to her apartment around 6:30 p.m.  She really enjoyed her trip, she said.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My friend's generosity
- My brother receiving all the medical care he needs
- My friend's phone call
- Rain checks
- My daughter had a safe trip and a safe flight home

Thursday's To Do List:
- Go to the office
- Dental appointment
- Water the front garden
- Call my sister
- Maybe go to the pharmacy (if dentist prescribes additional antibiotics)
- Tidy the house a bit

All depends on how I feel after the dental work, of course. 

How was your day?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mile-a-Minute Quilt: On the Road to the Mountain

Sometime back, in 2015, I believe, I started sewing a quilt using a type of patchwork known as "mile-a-minute".  Basically, it was sewing an assortment of scraps to each other until one has made a big enough piece of pieced fabric to cut out a block of a preferred size.  These blocks are then sewn together to form the quilt top that is very similar to a crazy quilt.  It is called "mile a minute" because it was supposed to be a very quick way to piece a quilt top, although I didn't find it to be all that quick, myself.  But, I figured it was a good way to use up some of the scraps I had accumulated - the pieces of fabric that were too small and odd shaped to be used in other quilts but which I was loathe to toss because, well, tossing fabric is just not something I can bear to do!

I spent several days sewing blocks of scraps together.  My two bottomless baskets of scraps were plonked on the big dining table, along with my sewing machine, cutting mat and box of thread and I set up the iron and the ironing board next to my table, as each time a piece of fabric was sewn on, it needed to be ironed out before sewing the next piece to it (and this is where I found it to be most time consuming - as a rule, I rarely iron each and every time I sew a seam!).  Soon, the fabric scraps overflowed the baskets and onto the table top as I pulled out different scraps, and some spilled to the floor!  A much delighted Dancer, who was, of course, ever ready to lend a helping paw, would rearrange the piles of scraps and take naps on top of them, etc.  The whole place resembled one big MESS, but Dancer and I spent many happy hours, sewing.

Then, I put it aside for some reason.  I don't quite know why - most probably, I needed to tidy up the table for some reason.  The pieces I patched became yet nother "work in progress".  I mentioned it in a post on Works in Progress in February, 2016.

Mile-a-Minute Quilt Blocks

When Bushlady likened my cancer treatment to climbing a mountain, I decided to make a quilt I called my Mountain Climbing Quilt.  And I decided to incorporate the already in progress Mile-a-Minute quilt patches into the Mountain Climbing quilt, because, although I knew what I wanted that mountain to represent, I couldn't quite focus on it at the time.  On any given day, I could only focus on the steps I had to climb that day - the hour-long drive to the clinic, the 3-4 hours long chemo treatments which stretched longer, sometimes, due to the waiting time at the clinic, the drive back, the repeat visits on subsequent days for injections and hydration treatments, the nausea, the lack of appetite, the trips to the lab for blood work, the need to depend on others because I was unable to do certain things, etc.  All I could manage was mindless piecing of scraps of fabric to make 6 inch blocks which I attached with strips of solid colored fabric to each other to form long rows.  So, that's what I did, until I had pieced 96 blocks which I proceeded to sew into 8 rows of 12 blocks each.

Eventually, I began to sew the mountain.  In my mind, the way I had envisioned it, I had a quilt with a central panel containing the mountain and the mile-a-minute blocks surrounding it.  But, quilts evolve as they grow, piece by piece, block by block.  At least, my quilts do.  What I had envisioned was not working out the way I had planned.  The mile-a-minute blocks didn't really go with the mountain quilt block!  They demanded to be featured in a quilt of their own!  That's right, it was going to be not one but TWO quilts!

I have been working on both quilts these past couple of weeks!  Both tops are more or less completed, but I have to attach the final borders and buy the quilt batting and back and bind them.  But, in the meantime, I want to share the Mile-a-Minute quilt top:

Mile-a-Minute Quilt Top

I am calling it "On the Road to the Mountain"!

Another View

Dancer has given it his seal of approval, while it was still in progress, before all the rows were sewn together:

Dancer Approved!
Every single scrap is what I had in my stash!  Including the purple used in the setting; there's just enough of the purple fabric to put a border on the top and bottom.  All the thread is also what I had on hand - some of it was from my mother's thread collection!  I have a purple bed sheet that was given to me, that I might use for the backing (because purple is my color, as you know).  All I really need to buy for this quilt is the batting.  Unless I decide to use the blanket I have on my bed, already.  It is a twin/full blanket which just covers the top of my queen size bed, but that is just how big the quilt top is, right now.

Monday: Appointment with the Surgeon

Yesterday, Monday, I had an appointment with the surgeon.  It went just about as well as I had expected it to, which really isn't saying much!  The appointment was made for me by the oncologist's office.  I assume they didn't tell the surgeon's office of the reason for the visit and, apparently, the surgeon's office staff doesn't believe in pulling up patients' charts and reports prior to the appointment for the surgeon to review.  At least, not until the patient actually shows up at the appointed time, and even then, the file probably contained only the basic information, because, apparently, the file didn't include a copy of my ultrasound and mammogram results! 

Because, when the surgeon came in to see me, he asked me if this was a routine, follow-up visit, and I had to update him about the lump I felt, the ultrasound and mammogram results, etc.  Sigh.  I told him I had copies of the results with me and he asked me to give them to the receptionists to make copies for his files. 

Anyway, he examined me and gave me his opinion without the benefit of, or being biased by, the scan results!  LOL. He thought he felt more than one cyst, he thought it felt more like a thickening of the tissue, maybe even a clogging of a blood vessel, and that it was in the skin layer; he didn't think it was cancer, though.  He said he could remove it if I wanted and it could probably be done during an office visit, but he said, if it didn't bother me, to leave it in place because, due to the radiation treatment, any incision he might make will take a long time, from several weeks to several months, to heal!  Well, the cyst doesn't hurt me or anything and, as long as we are sure it is not cancer, it doesn't bother me, so I decided to leave it in place!  What I don't need, at this point, is another wound that won't heal for several weeks or months!

He, too, remarked on the redness and swelling and said it was due to the damage from the radiation.  He said my body was trying to heal and repair itself and there were a lot of new blood vessels as a result.  I assured him it looked worse, earlier (it is, after all, almost one year since the radiation was completed).

Anyway, I have an appointment to see him again, in two months.  I know his office staff made copies of my scan results from my copies.  What I don't have is a copy of the actual mammogram results, only the letter I received stating that the results were normal.  I shall be sure to request a copy of that, if there is one, when I go to see the oncologist, at the end of this month.  I shall also update the oncologist on my visit with the surgeon.

I felt physically and emotionally drained after my visit to the surgeon.  So, I just came home and rested and sewed.  In between, however, I replaced a burnt out light bulb in the family room ceiling fan light fixture, watered the indoor plants, cleaned out the fridge, took the trash and recycling cans to the curb, put water to the back garden, put away a load of laundry, and tidied one shelf in the linen cupboard, the shelf with the towels.

Tidied Shelf with Towels

I plan to do the shelf with the bed sheets and pillowcases, next.

Later in the evening, cousin P called to find out how I was; I was glad to hear that she was able to get a ride to the funeral with our other cousins, after all, on Saturday.  She said she left her house before 11:00 a.m. and didn't get back till after 8:30 p.m., as they attended mass, the burial, and the reception, afterwards!

Still later, in the night, daughter texted me and we spoke on the phone to say goodnight.  She said she had a full day of conferences/workshops, but later, she did a bit of sightseeing with her colleague who is attending the conference with her and they went out to dinner. 

Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- A good visit with the surgeon
- Having the foresight to bring copies of my scan results reports with me!
- A safe drive to and from the clinic
- A cooler day (only in the 80s!)
- Daughter is enjoying her trip

How was your Monday?

Monday, August 14, 2017


When one doesn't have a design wall and spreads the quilt-in-progress on the bed, and there is a resident cat, this is what happens:

First, there is a blur:

The Blur

There is much rolling around and squirming and then, the blur resolves itself into Helpful Designer Kitty:

Dancer Helps with the Quilt
Then, he proceeded to take a nap on the quilt top and, of course, I didn't have the heart to pull the quilt top from under him! 

I spent most of the day sewing my quilt.   The top is almost done, except for the final borders.  I need to buy the quilt batting and figure out what I am going to use for the backing.  I usually use a bed sheet or a single piece of fabric for the backing, but I am thinking a pieced backing might be another way of using up the stash! 

In between sewing, I did a load of laundry, washed the dishes, cooked the beef I bought yesterday, cleaned the kitchen a bit, cleaned the litter box, spoke on the phone with my neighbor T (our weekly Sunday morning chat), and watched TV.  I also called my friend S and left a message.

Today, daughter left for Minnesota for a three-day work-related conference.  She called me before she left her apartment; she was flying out from San Francisco and had to leave her apartment before 9:00 a.m. to get to the airport on time.  She called me when she got to the airport and, again, when she boarded the plane.  I turned on the altar light once I knew she had boarded the plane.  It was a five hour flight; she arrived in Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m. our time which was 7:00 p.m. their time.  She found her way from the airport to the hotel and texted me to let me know she arrived safely and I turned off the altar light.  She's sharing the hotel room with a colleague, so we are not video chatting tonight, for the first time since she moved away, 3 years ago!  She went out to dinner with her colleague and called me to wish me a goodnight.  She was happy she was able to watch an in-flight movie and has already picked out the movie she wants to watch on the flight back! 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Daughter had a safe flight to Minneapolis
- She was able to watch an in-flight movie
- She was able to find her way from the airport to the hotel
- Weekly phone calls from neighbor T
- Being able to spend most of the day, sewing

Tomorrow, I have my appointment with the surgeon.  I am hoping I'd be able to make a trip to the fabric store for quilt batting, either before I go to the appointment or after.  

How was your Sunday?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Hot Water and Patchwork

Quilt in Progress

This morning, quite early, I went to Home Depot to look at water heaters.  One of the sales persons pointed out one that met my specifications (40 gallons, natural gas heater, etc.).  Then, I went home and waited for my neighbor.  Neighbor came over a short while later and told me that he, too, had been to Home Depot, earlier in the morning to get an idea of what they had and prices.  We agreed to meet at the store in half an hour or so.  I showed him the one I had picked out earlier, he agreed it would be OK, and he also picked out two new flexible pipes for the fittings.  Then, I paid for everything (water heater cost $535, the two pipes were $25 each; the total, with tax, came to $615.01) and neighbor loaded the tank into his van and brought it over to my house.   Then, neighbor proceeded to remove the old heater and install the new one.  It took him about 3 hours.  The new heater is bigger around than the old one was, but it still fitted into the little metal storage structure.  And now, I have hot water on tap, again!  Neighbor also reattached the handle to my sliding glass door as that had come loose (I had tried to fix it, but he wasn't happy with my efforts!)  Before he left, I paid him something for installing the water heater for me. 

In the afternoon, I rested a bit; then went to the pharmacy to pick up my medication refills.  Then, I stopped at the grocery store for some bread ($.87), a piece of beef chuck steak ($3.59 @ $4.99/lb), and a container of ice cream ($3.49); I didn't take any pictures, but my total came to $7.95.

After I came home, I cleaned the bathroom, took a warm shower (just enough hot water to take away the chill of the cold water), watched news, had a cup of tea, did some sewing, and chatted on the phone with one of my friends who called.

Later, I video chatted with daughter.   She has to attend a 3-day conference in Minnesota for her work.  She will be leaving tomorrow morning and returning on Wednesday night.   One of her friends has sent a package, addressed to both of us, from Hawaii (her home state).  Daughter wanted me to wait until she comes home next to open it, so I put it aside until then. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Helpful neighbors
- Hot water on tap!
- Warm showers!
- My prescription refills were ready without any drama!
- Playing with fabric.

Tomorrow, I have to do the dishes, do a load of laundry, cook the beef I bought, and call another friend to see if she'll be home so I can drop off a gift for her daughter who just celebrated her birthday. 

How was your Saturday? 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Slow Thursday

I've had a fairly slow day, today.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I double checked my calendar and I realized that the podiatrist's appointment was scheduled for next week, Thursday, not today!  But, it was scheduled for the same afternoon as the follow-up dental appointment, just two hours apart!  That's not enough time for me to go from one appointment at one end of town to another at the other end of town, especially if there was a delay at the first appointment or slower than usual traffic on the freeway!  So, I called the podiatrist's office, this morning, and rescheduled the appointment for the following week, as I didn't want to reschedule the dental appointment.

I went to the office today, but decided not to go to the farmers market.  I thought it would be too much to have a croissant on top of yesterday's hamburger and sundae!

I dozed a bit on the sofa after I came home.  Cousin P's phone call woke me up and after we chatted for a bit, I called neighbor E to tell him my decision to go with a regular water heater.  He said he will be able to install it on Saturday, but he wasn't able to tell me what time.  I said it was fine, whenever he could spare the time would be fine with me.

Then, I called cousin P to let her know that I needed to be at home on Saturday as neighbor E was installing the water heater then, and, will not be able to go to the funeral, in case she was counting on riding with me.  I suggested she asked one of our other cousins for a ride, but she said there won't be room for her.  I am sorry I am not able to give her a ride, but getting the new water heater installed is kind of important to me - I am not that fond of cold showers! 

Later in the evening, I watered the front garden and video chatted with my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- My eye and tooth are feeling better, today
- I was able to reschedule my podiatrist's appointment
- A safe drive to the office and back
- A drive through the park on the way to and from the office
- A cool evening after a rather warm day

Plans for tomorrow include going to the office and maybe a trip to the bank.

How was your Thursday?  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hump Day Slump!

Just in case anyone is wondering (I know I have one or two readers who might not be familiar with our idioms), Wednesday is known as "hump" day because it is the middle day of the work week - it's an uphill climb on Monday and Tuesday to make it to the top of the hill or hump on Wednesday and after that, it is downhill all the way to the longed for weekend!  

Why the slump?  Well, all the recent excitements of the last few days sort of caught up with me, today.  It has been practically non-stop since the mammogram on Thursday, July 27, almost two weeks ago, hasn't it?  The anxiety of waiting for the mammogram results, the appointment with the radiation oncologist on the following Tuesday (August 1), the root canal on Thursday (August 3), the development of the stye over the weekend, receiving the mammogram results on Monday, the water heater quitting on Tuesday   It's hard to maintain that level of intensity!

Today, I felt tired.  My eye was much better, but staring at the computer all day at work caused a slight headache and my root canal tooth ached a bit (I am hoping it is not an infection, although I took all the antibiotics I was told to take).

Before I left for work, I called my aunt to wish her a safe flight, as she was leaving for France, today.  Later in the morning, my cousin P called to give me the phone number of the company that installed her tankless water heater for her.   But I didn't call the company, because I have decided to go with a regular tank water heater.

I had taken cold cuts sandwiches, a banana, and cherries for my breakfast and lunch and some raw cashews for a snack, but, around 2:30 p.m. I wanted something different for a snack.  So, I went down to the drug store/pharmacy and prowled along the snack aisles.  The cookies didn't appeal, the chips didn't appeal, the chocolates and the candies didn't tempt.  Even the ice cream didn't appeal.  How sad is that?  I just talked to my friend who is the pharmacist there and shared the good news about the mammogram results with her and went back to the office without buying any snacks!

But I more than made up for it on my way home!  I stopped for a hamburger ($1; 260 cals) and a hot fudge sundae ($1.49; 330 cals - without peanuts)!  Not the healthiest choice of dinners, obviously.

Came home, ate my hamburger and sundae, took an ibuprofen, and took a 2 hour long nap!  Felt better after that, but it means I didn't do anything after I came home, other than reply to a friend's email and video chat with daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:
- A safe drive to and from the office
- Air conditioning at the office, even if it was too cold for me (I was wearing a sweater and still felt cold!); fans at home
- Hugs from colleagues when they found out about the mammogram results!
- Naps on the sofa
- A drama-free day

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the podiatrist.  Usually, they call me on the day prior to my appointment to remind me, but this time, they didn't call!  After the earlier mishap with the appointment with the radiation oncologist, in July, I don't want to assume anything, so I will call the podiatrist's office in the morning to confirm the appointment.  My plan is to go to the office in the morning and then, go to the appointment in the afternoon, and then, come home.  I haven't decided yet if I will go to the farmers market in the morning.  It all depends on just how loudly I hear those croissants calling my name, I suppose!

How was your "hump" day?  Do you, too, experience a slump some days?