Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

Twas the Night Before Christmas ... Okay so it is only eight in the morning, but the sentiment still holds and I sit here, in a room lit only by our Christmas tree and a couple dozen strings of mini-lights hanging is loving loops around the ceiling and railings. I am cuddled up under a quilt with a cup of coffee and a couple homemade cookies. The cats are curled up around me and my man is nearby puttering away, making homey little noises. I really do have to say that life doesn't get much better than this.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I love everything about it; the lights, the decorations, the baking, the gifts, the food, the gatherings, the camaraderie. This is the only time of the year that I actually like shopping and that I can tolerate the mall and the crowds.

I love to decorate for Christmas. A tree (or two or three) loaded with sparkling ornaments and lots of shimmering lights. Some greenery, tables filled with delicious goodies, Christmas quilts and pillows, stockings on the mantle and snow globes on the piano. Wreaths and packages adorn my front step. Stuffed animals line the stairway to the second floor. A roaring fire and a glass of wine or eggnog. Maybe an Irish coffee or Mimosa. Christmas towels hanging in the bathrooms. Strings of lights hanging around the room and across the mantle. (And when the cats have grown out of the 'I'll destroy everything by playing with it' stage, I shall bring out my Christmas village with its houses, shops, lights, snow and wee little people.)

I have Christmas bracelets, brooches, hair clips, necklaces and a big box full of earrings. There are T-shirts, sweaters and vests. Cats wearing antlers or jingle bell collars just for fun.

I love any event that draws my family close to my side. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Sunday dinners, and weddings; to me, all these events have one thing in common … there is great joy and happiness for me when everyone comes together. Family gatherings (also known as family rebuttals), are always a hodge-podge filled with food, fun, bickering, snide remarks, anger, teasing, joking, jesting, hugs, kisses, and loud voices but most of all, laughter and love.

For me the Christmas season brings the best of these things together for an extended time. November and December are filled with sneaky trips to the mall, hastily hidden bags and parcels, text message conspiracies, gift plotting, and quick gatherings to plan, shop, wrap or celebrate. I love planning and scheming with my daughters on what trinkets to buy or make for those we love. What gift will bring that treasured smile to their faces?

It isn't about money, or consumerism. It isn't about lights and shopping and commercialism. It is about expressing the deeper, tender emotions that we feel for our families and friends that we aren't always comfortable sharing. It is an excuse to hug friends and strangers to make them, and us, feel good.

I believe in Santa. There, I said it. Mock me as you will, it doesn't bother me one bit. But before you do, let me explain. For me Santa Claus is a symbol of all that is right and good in this world. The loving, caring, sharing, and kindness. He is the embodiment of what we could be, what we should be year round. For this one month, he reminds us to be better, kinder, more generous and forgiving. Walking the mall, I see smiles and hear manners being used. I hear excuse me, please and thank you. I see random acts of kindness. Someone buying a stranger's coffee or running down the mall to return a dropped glove or scarf. For me, Santa is a symbol of a conspiracy ... a conspiracy of kindness and good deeds. And that my friend is a good thing.

I hope for all the best for you this holiday season. May you be blessed with love and happiness. May you find a moment for a random act of kindness or giving.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the conspiracy!



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honoring Our Veterans

Thank You
Today, I stand before you
Thanking our veterans.
Those who serve now, or in the past.
Those that live, those injured and those who died
To protect our freedoms, our rights.
Keeping us safe in our beds.
Sacrificing their lives
Missing their families
So that mine might be safe
From tyranny and atrocity.
I am on my knees in gratitude
For their time, their lives, their effort.
But mostly for their scars
Those we see and those we don’t.
Today, I shed a tear for them all.

In gratitude.
Lest we forget.

Every year, I think of our veterans and give thanks.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fabulous 50

Yes it is true! Today I hit 50.

A number of years ago,when I was in my 20's, I actually thought that 50 was just about the end of the road. I worried that 50 was ANCIENT. You know ... creaking bones, grey hair, weak muscles, loss of memory .... shoot I DO have all that.  Yikes!

We'll I am older and wiser now. I know that the best part of my life is just beginning. I have a fabulous family and great friends. I have a good job and an appreciative boss (even if he does have an issue with me breaking the stapler repeatedly.) I have pets who love me. I'm a published writer. I'm happy and healthy.

Yes, all in all, my life is pretty damned fine!

And to top it all off, yesterday my darling daughters and their husbands threw me a fabulous birthday party. Friends and family arrived bearing hugs and gifts. (I'm not going to ask why so many of them brought me alcohol. I'm just going to drink it and be grateful.) There was great food, a STUPENDOUS cake, and balloons. I love balloons. There is just something about them that makes me smile.

How great are these balloons!
They just make me smile!
And to make it even better, they got me this cake. And yes I proudly admit that I am a Trekkie!
This might be the most perfect cake, EVER!
This photo in no way does justice to the painting given to me by Cousin Marnie.
So soft and romantic, it reminds me of Thomas Kinkade.
Today on Facebook, and on my author's loops, I received birthday wishes from tons of people. It was fabulous. It gives a girl a warm fuzzy feeling when she is remembered by her friends and family.

Today, I say thanks to everyone for sharing my birthday, whether in person, by card, by letter, by e-mail, or text. It means a lot that you took the time to share my day.

Hugs to you all

Saturday, October 20, 2012


My Happy Place!
I've been a busy girl lately. As you can see from the picture above, I'm spending a lot of time in my new happy place with my Granddaughter Fiona. I'm working on client quilts and making baby quilts and receiving blankets. I'm working away on my newest project, a black and white Drunkard's Path quilt.

A Sweet little baby quilt I worked on for a client.
First two blocks of the Drunkard's Path for my man.
This Drunkard's Path started a few years ago in a class I was taking at My Sewing Room in Calgary. As projects sometimes do, it got set aside because it had no immediate recipient. A while back I decided that it would make a lovely quilt for my husband's bed and I hauled it out again. Much to my dismay, I discovered that I only had half enough blocks and not enough fabric to make more. Oh golly, gee whiz, heck and darn, I would have to go fabric shopping. *LOL and huge grin.* So I picked up a few more fabrics. 8 meters in half meter cuts is a few, isn't it? And the cutting has once again begun.
A few of the fabrics
for the Drunkard's Path.
Then came the Creative Stitches Show here in town and a bunch of cute children's fabrics jumped into my bag. Don't you hate when they do that? I've decided that it isn't a problem, as I have a number of baby quilts I need to get done. And besides who could possibly resist the Berenstain Bears?
Feeding my addiction for cute kid's fabrics.
I bought these and a few others yesterday.
Being this busy hasn't stopped the creative process. I'm coming up with a couple cute ideas for simple quilts. They will be good patterns for beginners or for those looking for a fast easy project. All I have to do is find time to make samples and finish writing the directions.

Stay tuned here for previews of new patterns and the exciting details of where you will be able to purchase digital copies of my current line.

Happy quilting

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ladies and Gents: Please Welcome Baby Fiona

Can I have your attention please? I just want to say, "Oh my God, oh my God, Oh my God."

My first grand baby has arrived. I am so excited. Every spare minute I have is spent holding her in my arms. She is sweet, adorable and completely cuddly. I'm not getting any quilting done, nor am I writing, doing housework, laundry or anything else. But frankly, I don't care. :) I'm getting in lots of cuddle time.

Thanks to my darling daughter Wendy and her husband Duncan for giving us such a precious gift.

Thanks to daughter Tina and her man Scott for helping out wherever they can.

I'm thinking I should probably be finishing Fiona's parent's wedding quilt, or maybe putting the binding on her first quilt from Gramma. But instead, I think I'll head over for another cuddle.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Just Because I Wasn't Busy Enough

Any of you that follow my blog on a semi-regular basis know that I tend to be a strange combination of lazy and nutso busy. I've got my pattern business going, my longarm quilting, my writing, all my sewing and crafting for myself. I try to work out regularly. (Stop laughing, I do try.)

So what did I do? I went and got myself a job.

Foolish, I know it. I'll be working at The Pet Stop. Darling daughter Wendy is going to be taking maternity leave. So the shop needed some help for the duration. As for me, a bit of extra money is always nice.

Plus, I've heard that the more you have to do, the more you actually accomplish. Another axiom is "If you want something done quickly and efficiently, ask a busy person. They'll get it done and done right the first time." I'm kind of counting on that!

I am still working on new pattern designs, and trying to figure out how to sell digital copies. I'm trying to catch up on longarming all of my own quilts. (I think I have about 30 to do.) Then there is the danged baby quilt, some soft baby books ... need I say more. (Not sure if I am bragging or complaining here.) I have friends and relatives that I need to be visiting. Oh, and I'm thinking of making a couple of cat/dog beds to sell.

On that note, I had best get showered and start my day.

Hugs to you all

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Value Of Procrastination

I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. I have an uncanny ability, some might even call it a talent or gift, for avoiding work. If there isn't an imminent deadline lurking, I can find something to do to avoid working on the things I should be working on. My current project, besides client quilts, are all related to the soon-to-arrive grand baby.

Earlier this week, I headed into the studio to work on the curtains for the nursery. They are hemmed, I just need to straight stitch around the little animal appliques I have added to jazz them up a bit. I did two or three of the appliques and my hand started cramping. (I still have issues with my joints on occasion, depending on what I have been doing.) I wanted to be in my studio sewing, and since applique and precision just wasn't in the cards, I started looking around for an interim project and came upon a package of rope I had purchased for a class a couple years ago.

Inspiration! I would start covering the rope to make a dog bed for my friend Linda's yap dogs. I dug out my bin or scrap strips and started sorting. The ideal width to cover the rope is 2.5 inches, exactly the width I cut my binding strips. I pulled all the binding strips out into a pile few of them end to end and I was off covering that rope.

Crazy Fabric Bowl/Cat Bed

Here's the instructions for this silly diversion. Sew a bunch of 2.5 inch strips of fabric end to end. I sew them together with a 45 degree seam as they lie flatter. Press the seams open and press the entire length in half lengthwise to make a long skinny strip with a fold down one side. I may have gotten carried away with the number of strips, I did every 2.5 inch strip in my scrap box. The picture below is of what was left when I finished the dog bed.

Roll of left over binding strips.
Note those sexy paper scissors I
Use as thread snips!
Cover the rope with the fabric strip by wrapping the rope in the strip with the raw edge tucked inside. Straight sew down the strip to hold the fabric tight to the rope.

First section of covered rope. Note the lump on the right where
I cheated and joined the strips with a straight seam. Bad Cathy!
Start sewing the strip together with a zig zag seam, pressing them tight together as they pass under the presser foot. I like to use a walking foot, but it will work with your normal foot. I use a wide zigzag with a medium length. If you start with a long strip and double back on itself, you will get an oval as shown below. If you start with a tight curl, you will get a circular bottom.
Base of dog bed.
Keep sewing around and around until you have a large enough base. Once it is big enough, snip the rope off and secure the end. Now, stack the rope on top of the last round and start sewing it in place. The first row is basically stitched right on top of the last row of the base. Keep stacking and sewing until you have reached the desired height. (Or until you run out of rope.)
Finished dog bed. I haven't quite
perfected getting the sides
to stay straight.
Note how the sides of the bed are warbly, this is because I used a softer rope. This is the effect I wanted, soft and squishy for the dogs to lay on. If you want a firm sided bed, use a stiffer rope, just be certain that it is soft enough to stitch through easily.

Sir Winston Churchill,
claiming the bed as his own.
To heck with Linda's dogs.
I finished the bowl and threw it on the floor to take a picture of it. As you can see, the cat instantly claimed it as his own. So much for a dog bed for Linda's dogs. I guess they get the next one.

Now, I'm off to the studio to sew those curtains, or maybe make another dog bed, or quilt a baby quilt, or alter those silk pajamas or work on the quilt I started in the middle of the dog bed eight point scrappy striped star quilt. Or maybe I'll start something new. You never know what will happen when I hit the studio.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Fidgets, Tangles and Distractions

As you probably know, I work for myself. This is a mixed blessing. I can set my own hours and take time off whenever I feel like it. However, I am seriously hampered by the fact that, as a general rule, I am fairly lazy. I work best with deadlines; in reality that is the only way I get anything finished. This often means long days and weird hours. Procrastination can lead to some pretty busy days.

While quilting doesn't take much focus, concentration, or brain power; pattern design, instruction writing and novel writing does. I do a lot of plotting and mental revisions while I quilt, which means my brain is quite active. No snide comments please, I'm trying to make a point. The point of this is ... crap I forgot.

Oh yeah ... sometimes, the mind just needs a rest. The trouble with me is, I get twitchy if I have to sit still for too long. I need something to occupy my hands while my mind unwinds. I do hand applique, some crochet, embroidery and knitting, but find that they often require more brain power than I am willing to expend. This is why I took up doodling.

I blame Jill Buckley for this. I was reading blogs in late 2010. (Yes, I was procrastinating.) Anyway, I stumbled upon The Quilt Rat Blog. This is Jill's blog. She is an artist extraordinaire. At the time, she was having a contest to win one of her doodles. I entered and I won, and I was completely inspired. I rushed out, got myself some books, pens and card stock and started doodling.

Pardon the flash spots.
I have them behind plastic in an album
to protect them from coffee!

Ya, I sign and number them. Some day I might be
famous, er infamous, or something. LOL
I will never have a steady hand at this...because I am twitchy, and impatient. Another important fact is that I cannot draw. I took a drawing class once, but the instructor told me to give it up, I would never be able to draw. I was young, I listened to her. Today, I might just give her a cuff upside the head for being nasty.

These days, my creativity is geared more to quilt designs and writing, but I do love to doodle. If you want to see some really impressive work, check out Jill's blog or pick up a Zen Doodle Book like this one.
Totally Tangled: Zentangle and Beyond

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Random and Irrelevant Thoughts

This post is nothing but a random collection of thoughts. How unlike me. (*grin*) I want to begin by thanking my rheumatologist. She worked hard to bring relief to the agony I was living. I thank heaven every day for her. She gave me back my life.

This is the quilt I gave to my Rheumatologist
for giving me my life back.

The next thought that comes to mind is my Rogue's Gallery. I love family pictures. Keeping them in an album doesn't really suit me, because i never see them. So, i keep most of them tucked away, but i have many on display. The stairs between my main floor and second floor are circular, so as you come up the stairs, there are three walls which make a perfect display place for the pictures that I love. There are individual shots, family shots, pet pictures, group pictures, and even some collages. There is no order, none at all. I just whack them up wherever they fit. Frame color or size doesn't matter, neither does subject. Funny thing is, it works for me, and it makes me smile.

Left Hand Wall

Right Hand Wall

Center Wall
Bulletin boards for pictures sent by friends and rellies.

I do love my pictures, and have them all over the house.

The only thing worse than that are my books. I have stacks and piles of books in every room. No you can't borrow them, and no I'm not going to trade them in or sell them. The very idea! I AM shocked!

Okay, there may be something worse than pictures and books. Quilts and fabric, but that is an entirely different kettle of fish and I refuse to get into that.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Check Out These Buns!

Bwa ha ha. Check out the ancient burner
 cover in the background. LOL.
It covers the hole because the burner
shorts out. Sigh!
Yesterday, I had this sudden irresistible urge for steaming hot, fresh out of the oven, homemade buns with delicious butter melting on them. You know the urge was strong, because I am not a baker as a general rule and I actually gave in and made them. Even though it was hot as blazes outside, I whipped up a small batch of buns.

And let me tell you this, they were stupendous.

I have to admit that I mix the dough in my bread maker because I have a bum wrist. But I never bake anything in it; I shape the buns or loaves and let them rise before baking. It gives lighter fluffier buns. And we all want light-fluffy buns.

Delectable Buns

1 1/3 cups       Milk
2 Tbsp             Olive Oil (or butter or margarine)
1 ½ tsp             Salt (Don’t skip any of this or your bread will be grainy)
4 cups              All-purpose flour
2 tsp                Sugar
2 tsp                Quick rise yeast

Measure and mix the liquid ingredients in a large bowl. (Or the break maker pan)
Measure and add the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the flour and add the yeast.
Turn the break maker on to the dough setting: or mix and knead well until you have a nice ball.
Wet dough needs a sprinkle of extra flour. Dry dough needs a dribble of water or milk.
Cover and let rise 1.5- 2 hours. (Or run through the dough cycle.)
Shape into rolls and place in a lightly greased pan.
I like to make clover leaf buns by putting three small balls of dough into a muffin tin.
Let rise until double in size.
Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
I like to rub a small amount of butter on the top of them when they first come out of the oven to make them soft.

They are best still screaming hot out of the oven with a bit of butter and some cheese.
Time for some new yeast. These did rise, but not
as much as they usually do.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Rocking Out The Studio

Okay, so I have talked a bit about getting back in the saddle. (Gratuitous Stampede reference.) But have yet to actually do so. Until today.

Oh yeah!
Woot woot!
Go me and boo yah!

I finally got off my butt and and went into the studio. This time, I actually did something. My last few trips have been in a supervisory capacity only. I sat on my stool and told the Spawn how to quilt her baby quilts. I did nothing but watch.

But today, that all changed. I headed into the studio, cranked up the stereo, loaded a quilt and quilted the entire thing. Man, let me tell you, I was rocking out the studio today. Hopefully nobody was watching me through the window, because I was so happy to be working that I was dancing around like some kind of mad fool. (No snide comments please.)
Working on a sailboat quilt. It belongs to a friend.
I think I have had it for ten months.
Note that I haven't changed the winter quilt to spring yet.
I have to confess that I had completely and totally forgotten how much I love quilting. If I didn't need to rest the bum knee, I would still be in there. Next up ... hmm. Should I do another client quilt or perhaps one of my own, or maybe a baby quilt, or a friend's quilt. (Friend's don't count as clients, because they don't get a choice as to when I will do their quilt, what thread I will use, or how it will be quilted. I'm a bit of a control freak some times.)

This is me saying, so long for now and thank god I'm quilting again. It is soothing the restless, creative beast inside me. Sometimes, writing just isn't enough, I need hands on therapy.


Monday, June 18, 2012

She Waited Eight Months for Her Quilter!


I've been sitting and thinking a lot lately. About life, the universe and the meaning of being alive.

Ha, caught ya! You actually believed that didn't you?

Okay, I have been thinking, but mostly I have been thinking about all the things I would like to do in my studio this coming week. Yes, I actually have permission to enter the studio for short periods. I have about a thousand projects I would like to get started on, but I'll have to go slowly. With my gimpy foot and leg being on my  'driving' foot, I won't be able to piece for long without cramping it up. But hey, I'll take what I can get. I'm excited here!

I don't think I can stand long enough to do an entire quilt at once. But I can load it and come back later and quilt on it for about 15 minutes at a time. So, while I'm not ready for customer quilts, I can get started on baby quilts for the new grandbaby, coming in September.

I have decided to make a few panel quilts and wall hangings. I have a whack of quilter friends all promising pieced quilts to this baby, so I'll go panels, and make something special for when she (we have been told the baby is a girl) moves into her first big-girl bed.

I've also bought the stuff to make some jazzy, adjustable diaper pants. I am gonna be one busy chick in the coming months. I've got baby stuff to make, a wedding quilt to quilt, customers who are waiting very patiently for their quilt. (I appreciate the patience Colleen, eight months is a long time to wait on a quilter.) So to all my waiting clients I have to say, "Thanks for your patience. Your quilt WILL get done. Soon!"

In my off time, I'll be busy with my writing and trying to get the next book published. And let us not forget writing blog posts for two blogs. And I want to go visit my folks for a few days, and go to Newfoundland again for a lacrosse tourny in August. (Cross your fingers and hope for that one.) Love those Newfies!

So, I'm off to watch lacrosse and then home to clean the studio so I can get to work next week. Celebrate with me folks, I'm on the mend and ready to rock and roll. (Or quilt and write as it were.)


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Best Danged Dad In the Universe

             Dad, on this special day, I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know how much you mean to me.
            There are a lot of fathers out there and after close examination of all of them; I have decided that you are without a doubt the best father in the country. Perhaps even on earth. Hell, you’re the best father in the universe. Bar none.
            You held my hand through life’s ups and downs, hugged me when I needed it, and when I didn’t.  You disciplined me when I deserved it and skipped many times that you should have. You gave me money, values, dreams and ideals.
             You taught me many things, and I could never list them all. So here is a small sampling of them:
  • Always give 110%.
  • Go hard or go home.
  • Eat what’s put in front of you.
  • Eat your veggies. (Okay, I still don’t eat ‘em.)
  • Never give up.
  • Hold onto your dreams and fight for them.
  • Stand up for those you love.
  • Help a friend.
  • Help a stranger.
  • Be kind to kids, dogs and old people.
  • Hug your kids and praise them.
  • Support your family and friends.
  • Listen to your mother, she the smartest woman I know. (And she is.)
  • Find your values and stay true to them.
  • Fight for what you believe in.
  • Celebrate the joys in your life, embrace the sorrows.
  • Honesty and integrity make the man.
  • Manners are free.
  • Stand up and fight for your country.
  • Life isn’t easy, suck it up and get on with it.
  • Sometimes you have to hold your tongue. (I have yet to master this.)
  • Read a book.
  • Work hard.
  • Play hard.
  • Love hard. 
            Because you have such a great way of wording things and such a creative mind, I want to share a few of my favorite, classic advice quotes.
  • “Shit or get off the pot.”
  • “Get your damned ass out of bed and do something useful.”
  • “Life isn’t easy, suck it up and get on with it.”
  • “I don’t care what career you choose, dig ditches for all I care. But you better be the best damned ditch digger there is.”
  • And my personal favorite, “Fuck, fight or hold the light. Just do something to help.”
             There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate all the things you have done for me, all the times you have been there for me. Hell, I even appreciate all the times you reprimanded and disciplined me. I especially appreciate all the creative ways you taught me to curse. You made me who I am today, and for that I am grateful.
            With all the love the one person can possibly give. This is your favorite daughter saying thanks dad. I love you, I’m proud of you and I wouldn’t trade you for anything.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Ten Reasons to Keep Your Man Out Of Your Studio

1.      He will, without doubt, step on the needle you lost last week.
2.      He will be able to count your works in progress and ask why they aren’t finished.
3.      He will discover that the cost of your quilting ‘tools’ rivals the cost of his power tools.
4.      He will wonder why you need an entire library of quilting books and patterns.
5.      He will want to know when the fabric bomb exploded in your studio.
6.      He’ll want to know why a grown woman needs crayons, felt markers, coloring books and a felt board. Men just don’t understand the creation of applique.
7.      He might discover your hidden supply of chocolate and hot tamales and want to share.
8.      Or God forbid, he might discover how big your stash really is.
9.      He’ll want to know how you can work in that mess and won’t understand that you know exactly where everything is. (More or less.)
10.  He’ll start touching stuff and moving things around and you might have to kill him. (And digging a hole in the yard big enough to bury a man is sooo much work.)

This is all tongue in cheek of course, except number ten.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day from The Brat Child

        Okay, I’ve decided to honor my mother this mother’s day with some top quality poetry from her daughter the gifted writer. *snort* Hey, no laughing this is serious business!

Let’s start with me. Daughter: the things I was as bratty child and have grown out of as an adult. (I think. I hope!)

D: dishonest
            A: argumentative
U: ungrateful
            G: galling
H: hateful
T: toxic
E: exasperating
R: rude

Now onto what Mother means to me… Mother’s Love And Caring

M: is for the mud I tracked across the floor a hundred times.
O: is for the orange juice you caught me drinking from the jug.
T: is for the toilet paper I never refilled.
H: is for the heated arguments that should have gotten me a slap upside the head.
E: is for my over-blown ego and your ability to ignore it.
R’: is for the rude replies and ignorant responses.
S: is for the shirking of chores and lazy-ass behavior.

L: is for the lies I told that you let slip by.
O: is for the obnoxious eye-rolling when asked to do something.
V: is for the vet bills for all my pets.
E: is for every time I was nasty to my sisters and you didn’t kick my ass.

A: is for Andrea, the sister you gave me who got blamed for my misbehaviour.
N: is for the nights I kept you up wondering where the hell I was and with who.
D: is for the dollars I wasted, extorted and ‘borrowed’ from you.

C: is for the chair I put through the china cabinet window: you don’t want to know how.
A: is for the annoying, stupid things that kept you awake at night.
R: is for my reign of terror over house, home and family.
I: is for all the ice cream I finished and blamed my siblings for.
N: is for the noisy, head splitting, rock music. Bet you regret giving me that stereo!
G: is for going to bat for me all the times I did something rude or idiotic in public.

            Good gravy, how could you even stand me? Thank heavens for a mother’s love that keeps her from killing her offspring!
            This one is for you Mom. I owe you and Dad for everything I am, everything I have achieved and accomplished. The stupid, irritating and annoying parts of me are all my own doing. You and dad are fabulous parents and I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me. Nor can I apologize enough for the stress, trials and tribulations. Even if they were all Andrea and Jean’s fault. J Oh wait; they might have been Kevin’s fault too.  

Who me? Clearly I am the picture of innocence.
            I love you Mom, more than words can ever express.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Restoring My Faith in Today's Youth

                Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that on occasion I use this space to vent about my life, its issues and my problems. They will be delighted to learn that today I am NOT going to vent. Today I celebrate!

            There is a lot of ugliness is the world. Open any newspaper, turn on the radio, the television or fire up the Internet and you will find countless stories of the atrocities people commit against each other. Over the years it seems that we are feeling increasing despair for our youth and are complaining about how cruel and selfish they can be. A lot of those stories are true, some of them are sensationalized.

But what about the kids that aren’t total screw-ups? Why do we never hear about them? Do they not exist? Can all of our youth be as bad as the media makes them out to be?

            Today I saw something that restored my faith in humanity and in our youth.

            While I was out-and-about with a friend, we pulled up to a light and there, at the side of the road, we saw an elderly woman who had lost control of her walker/chair, had fallen off the curb and landed on top of her walker. We had no more than noticed her when we saw a teenage boy sprint through moving traffic to her side. It was clear that she was unable to stand up unassisted. As he gently helped her up, three other boys dodged the traffic to help.

            Working together, they gently set her on her feet, righted her walker, reattached its basket and returned her parcels to the basket. Although we couldn’t hear their words, their expressions showed that they were reassuring her and making certain that she wasn’t injured.

            It was a very touching moment, and lasted less than the duration of a red light, but it was enough to remind my friend and I that good does still exist in this world, and there are still young people unselfish enough to help a stranger and ensure she was unharmed. Sadly, it is unlikely that the local media will ever hear of this kindness and the world will be poorer for not knowing about this not-so-small act of kindness by our youth.

            To those four boys, I would like to say “Thank you. You’ve done a good deed and should be proud of yourselves.”

            My faith in today’s youth, in humanity, is restored.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fun and Games: Medicine and Applique

Close up of one block.

Today I have to update my beef about the medical system. Parts of it do work! Over the past week I have seen 3 ER docs, 2 Ortho docs, 1 rheumatologist, 8 med students,1 family doc, and 2 neurologists. If you add in the two radiologists who have looked at my X-ray’s and MRI, I have seen a grand total of 19 doctors in one week. Some of them, I have seen more than once. They are all confused about what is happening with my knee/calf/foot, none of them have seen anything like this before. So, they bumped my MRI up to emergency and I have already had it. How fabulous is that? The system can work!

As it turns out, I have a severe sprain/strain of my MCL (a ligament in my knee.) That explains why the knee is sore, but not why the calf/foot are buggered up. They are hoping that the issues lower down are related to the swelling in the knee. One would think that if your knee has a severe sprain that you would remember damaging it. Not me! I have no idea what I did. I’m not sure if that is a comment on my coordination (or lack thereof) or on my mental acuity.

Yesterday I was back at the rheumatologist’s office. She froze the knee (which hurts like a bugger), aspirated off a small amount of icky looking fluid and injected some steroids to speed the healing. She is optimistic that it will help the knee, but isn’t sure about the rest of the leg. We shall see. The rheumatologist was fabulous and her staff wonderful. Except for one little thing …

Had to decorate my Band-Aid myself.
I sat up after the brutally painful procedure and looked at my knee. All there was to see was this wee tiny flesh colored Band-Aid. So I said, “What all that pain, and I get this crappy little Band-Aid? Where’s the Hello Kitty Band-Aid? Old people like fun Band-Aids too. I would have settled for Batman or even smiley faces.” They did get a laugh out of that.

An old work in progress that I am revisiting.
One to more pertinent things relating to sewing, quilting and fabric … I have discovered that while sitting to sew, or standing to run the longarm is still quite painful, I can do short spurts of hand sewing. (Thank God for good drugs that are controlling the Rheumatoid Arthritis.) I could be doing the bindings on some of my WIP’s but have decided to focus on something more fun. I am doing some hand applique on a project that has been underway for a number of years. The blocks are supposed to be Six inches square. Much too small for a beginner at hand applique like me. So I enlarged them to nine inches. I think it is coming along quite nicely.

My lovely friend Mrs. Brown has brought me this beautiful purse from Hawaii. It is so nice to have such generous friends. I’ve carried the purse for one day and have already lost track of the number of compliments I have received for it. My other friends and family have been fabulous too driving me back and forth to appointments with no complaints. Thanks everyone. Your help means a lot and there is no way to express my gratitude.

Hugs and keep quilting

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reports of My Death Are Exaggerated!

           Wow! What a slacker I am. It’s been ages since I’ve posted anything here. In my defence, I think it’s been close to two months since I set foot in my studio. My life has been sadly bereft of the longarm, fabric, sewing, quilting, and hand-work. I haven’t even fired up the computer to design anything on EQ7. Pathetic.

That’s not to say I have been slacking off. Okay, mostly I haven’t been slacking. We all need some R&R, me included. My attentions have been focused elsewhere. I’ve focused most of my attention of my writing career and my health which is the subject of this rant post.

During the middle of last week, I had cause to visit the local emergency room. TWICE! Now if our medical system worked like it should, one visit should have been sufficient to solve my dilemma. Instead it took two trips and I still have no diagnosis.

The saga begins ... Recently, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and that is the root of all my problems. The arthritis caused issues with my knee joint and it was all downhill from there. Knee swelling turned into calf cramps which became swollen foot and the inability to stand or walk. Since I’m on a new regime of drugs, I contacted my rheumatologist who said, “Go to emerg and get checked out for blood clots, what you are experiencing is NOT a drug reaction.” So, off I trot. (Okay, my man drives me and I use a wheelchair.)

I got lucky, emergency wasn’t busy and I saw the doctor quickly. In a nutshell, he had no idea what was going on and recommended an ultrasound to ensure that there were no clots. Here’s where the medical system gets a big fat FAIL!

Please tell me why, at eight o’clock at night, in a major hospital emergency room I can’t get an ultrasound?  The department was closed and all the staff gone home. The alternative would have been an MRI, which I am already on the waiting list for. But, those folks were gone home too. So here we have a woman in need of tests, and the machinery stands idle. I have to go home, get the ultrasound the next day at a remote site and go back to emergency with the results. While it does not appear to be a blood clot, they have no idea what is causing the pain.

 Skipping to the point of this rant, tell me why with an MRI waiting list that is months, if not years, long the equipment stands idle for much of the day?

I don’t know about the rest of the folks in line, but I would gladly show up at 2am for my test, just to get the damned thing done and my problems fixed. Can’t they staff the thing 24 hours a day? Nurses work shift work, why not MRI techs? Is this a union issue? Does the equipment need a long cool-down time after running a day? Perhaps the machine needs a nap? Is it a political way to control the dispensation of health care? I’ll tell you what it is! It is complete and total insanity!

Hire the staff and man the damned equipment 24/7 until the backlog is gone!

 As it stands for me, they still have no idea what is wrong. The leg is improving, but not with any great speed. So I wait for spontaneous recovery and an MRI. On the plus side having a chronic, debilitating disease has turned out to be a great weight loss program! The new meds have killed my appetite and I’m dropping weight like a stone. J Go me!


Side Note: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," is a Mark Twain quote from when a newspaper mistakenly printed his obitauary.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What do Vodak, Kids and Chocolate have in common?

Okay, okay. I know. Monday is supposed to be the worst day of the week. And for a lot of us, it often is. But for some strange reason I woke up this morning feeling very grateful. Weird, I admit!

I started pondering this strange phenomenon and a list began to grow in my mind. So here it is in no particular order ... the things in my life that I am grateful for.

1. My darling husband.
2. My lovely sweet daughters. (AKA the Spawn)
3. A bushel full of friends, male and female.
4. Cupboards full of fabric.
5. My lovely longarm machine.
6. Chocolate.
7. Beer and vodak.
8. Books, books and more books. (Yup, I'm a reader.)
9. My cats. Sir Winston Churchill and Miss Trixie.
10. My soon to arrive grand-baby. (September can't come soon enough for me.)
Does my  new grand-baby look like me?