Thursday, December 31, 2009
I do. It's a way for me to look back at what the past year has brought and a look forward with a fresh new perspective. I don't make them to stress myself -- more to take a good look at what I'd like to change, improve or even to stay the same. And I don't make resolutions about things I have no control over. I can't take the cancer from Steve's head and I can't determine the gender of Steph's baby -- but I can pray to God about those things.
I make lots of the usual ones: Exercise more (or more specifically, walk 30 minutes 5 days a week). Eat right -- cut the junk out of the diet (this goes good for about a day).
And then I make resolutions about my quilting. These are probably more goals than resolutions, but looking back over the past year it seems that I didn't accomplish as much as I would have liked. I have at least 6 different applique projects going and none of them are close to being finished; so my resolution is to work on only 1 applique project this year until it is finished. The rest will wait their turn. The one I plan on working on is Primitive Garden -- it is now going on 3 years old. I really like it and I really want to finish it.
For the first 6 months of the new year I will be working on projects with Kris -- some are finishing quilt tops that are not finished, some will be starting a few new projects. We have contracted to do the program in July for our former guild and I want to be well prepared for it.
Some of my resolutions pertain to my longarm quilting and also to organizing my sewing areas. I've already started one -- sewing scrap batting pieces together. I'm always surprised at how long it takes to do this -- most of the afternoon, and after piecing 9 new pieces of various sizes, I found a couple of more pieces to add to them, so will finish that project later today or tomorrow. And resolve to do it more often so that it doesn't take all afternoon!
I consider these free battings -- it's just excess batting that I've cut off from quilting tops, or sometimes I've cut the wrong size. I use Warm & Natural almost exclusively, so they're all the same and I have plenty of my own quilt tops to quilt with these.
Some of my resolutions pertain to organizing recipes (I tried that last year, and still have stacks and stacks of recipes to go through); finally doing something with the stacks and stacks of pictures that accumulate, and of course the stacks and stacks of paper - receipts and tax info, etc. I did start a new card file system for paying bills this year that works out really well and reduces the amount of paper to be filed -- I pay most of the bills online anyway and it was getting ridiculous printing off copies all the time. So -- some of my resolutions do get resolved!
I resolve, once again, to take more pictures and post to my blog more often. (If I keep throwing this one at the wall, eventually it will stick!).
2009 is almost over! I am looking forward to 2010.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
An update on JR: his surgery went well. He's not a happy camper with the cone or having to stay in his cage for any length of time. We'll have to put him in it when we head to Wisconsin tomorrow for our Christmas celebration with the kids and grandkids, but he's mostly laying next to me wherever I am all day long! Doesn't he look pitiful here?
Merry Christmas to all and I hope 2010 will be a healthy year for everyone!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Late yesterday afternoon, I let JR outside to take care of his business (we live in the country, he's 9 yrs old and doesn't like the cold -- he sometimes goes wandering through our woods, but never off our property). I did not go out with him. He came in a few minutes later limping. We assume he chased a squirrel or a deer -- he does think he's Rambo.
So, today we got him in to see the vet and as was the case 2 years ago next month, he has torn the ligament in his knee -- last time it was the right rear leg, this time the left rear leg. Needless to say, his surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. He'll go in early in the morning and we'll pick him up late afternoon.
The vet thought he'd have to put it off for a week -- into the new year, but I'm glad he got him scheduled this week -- I want to start the new year being through with surgeries!
The vet did not have to put him out to make the diagnosis - this is one of those good things/bad things. It was quite obvious without sedating him. It also makes me hurt to see him limp.
I bought the Susan Boyle cd the other day -- what a treasure her voice is. I'd definitely recommend the cd.
Listening to my new David Bailey cd's today -- he's a folk-type singer that writes his own songs -- he's a 12 year brain tumor survivor.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
This first shot was taken from our back porch looking northeast towards the road at the front of the house and includes our view of the fields and woods and hills across the road.
This second view was taken from the back porch, just outside the library doors, just looking at part of our woods back there.
I do love looking at the beautiful fresh snow -- but am glad I don't have to go anywhere in it!
We had plenty of warning about this snowstorm, so I managed to run up to Steph's on Monday and run into our little town on Tuesday to pick up a couple of gallons of milk. Now we can sit by the fire and watch the world go by.
I made spaghetti and meatballs from scratch today -- just seemed like a good day to do that.
Monday, December 07, 2009
And, Kevin's pathology report today showed that the margins are cancer free, so it looks like they got it all and he won't have to have further treatment at this time, other than a PSA test every two months for awhile.
A new baby.
Good news at the surgeon's office.
A safe drive to and from Wisconsin today.
Bill got the snowblower prepped and wood in for the fireplace -- winter storm heading our way by Wednesday!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Steve's new chemo treatment was today and it went very well also. The infusion of Avastin was 90 minutes (for the first one; it'll be 60 minutes next time and 30 minutes each time after that). He was able to eat lunch while he was receiving the chemo and doesn't expect that nausea will be a problem with this protocol. He will continue to receive it every other week for 9 months - 1 year. He will have an MRI sometime in January.
They are also on their way home from Madison (they were able to stop and visit with Kevin before they left -- that's how we know all 4 of them are on their way home this afternoon!)
It's nice to finally have some good news!
Obviously -- our sons are doing well today.
All the prayers sent up from all over cyber land for us. We can't thank all of you enough.
Friends and Family.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
To say we were terrified would be an understatement -- sure brings home the fact that we're dealing with a life/death situation here. Thank God Steve's a fighter.
So next week, Kevin has surgery on Monday in Madison and Steve has treatment at the same hospital on Wednesday -- nice of them to at least go to the same place -- kind of like one-stop shopping.
We had our Thanksgiving last Sunday, but hope yours will be great.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Steve got a day pass yesterday and today to spend some time at home and he's enjoying his weekend. He's hoping to go home permanently by the end of this week, maybe even Thursday. He's doing well in his rehab and hasn't had any seizures for 3 days now -- which helps a lot.
This quilt was made at least 10, if not 15 years ago in a class. The applique is all fusible and blanket stitch -- which is not my favorite way to do it, but I like the quilt anyway. I have it hanging in the clutter/sewing room this fall.
Yesterday I went to a "Creative Day" hosted by a friend of mine. There are quilters, knitters, cross-stitchers and scrap bookers among the attendees, hence the name Creative instead of Quilt day! I brought my "Starstruck" quilt that I started two years ago. I finished the blocks that were half done and started to put it together. I didn't get as far as I should have -- spent too much time eating and talking, but made some progress anyway. I do love the scrappiness of this quilt, so hope to finish it sometime soon.
Steve's having a good weekend.
Time to relax, regroup, plan for the weeks ahead.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I finally managed to finish the witches quilt. I like how it turned out and the legs hanging free make me smile, but I really don't care for this type of pattern - the Buggy Barn way. I'm going to give this to my daughter, because I think the grandkids will love it.
I spent some time this weekend making backings for a couple of little quilts that have been sitting around collecting dust. Now I have 3 small projects waiting to be quilted, with bindings made too. It's nice to move things from pile A to pile B!
Steve is doing better every day and is looking forward to going home.
Getting back into my routine a little more. I need to clean house and run errands on my usual days - it's just a quirk in my personality, I guess.
Getting into the sewing room -- it calms me and centers me.
Friday, October 16, 2009
This morning he had another MRI, which showed that she did in fact get all the tumor, everything looks good, no sign of a stroke, but a small area of bleeding on the left back, bottom side and nothing to worry about as it is probably due to the stress on his brain from the previous radiation and surgery. His brain is swelling, but she is controlling that with steroids. He was fully awake and lucid today and hungry! They had to do a swallow test and have him on a thick liquid diet for now.
He is in intensive care, of course, so we only visit for a short time and then give him an hour or so to rest - which is rather difficult when they are constantly monitoring him -- but hey, that's why he's there. Probably be in hospital through the weekend and possibly early next week.
Please continue praying -- we appreciate the prayers.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
And this is the finished table runner top made from the ruler. It's really a fun pattern to play with.
I finished 8 witches blocks and didn't make legs for the ninth, so saw no reason to finish it. The pattern calls for 8 of them. I'm glad they're finished and hopefully it won't take long to put that top together. I started piecing another twister top as leaders/enders, so hopefully I'll have two tops done at the same time.
It was a wonderful quilty day here today -- rainy and cold outside, toasty warm with logs on the fire in the kitchen fireplace, bread in the breadmaker and leftover stew for dinner tonight -- no cooking!
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
As my leader/ender project, I've been piecing these blocks. They are 9" finished. I bought a kit that makes into a table runner and the special ruler which is Twisty something or other -- of course the ruler and instructions are upstairs and I'm in the basement, so I'll have to try to remember to photograph it. These are really fun blocks to put together, so I will be making another quilt with this ruler -- and some of the charm square packs I've bought.
Getting somewhat back to normal around here -- whatever that is.
Spending some time sewing -- it sure calms me down.
Getting my tulip and daffodil bulbs into the ground today.
Kevin (56) was diagnosed with very aggressive prostate cancer. On a scale of 1-10 with one being the least aggressive, he is at a 7 or 8. Not a lot of time to waste. The good news is, the scans show that it has not yet spread. The surgeon in Rockford wants to do surgery sometime in the next month -- he has to heal from the biopsy two weeks ago first. They have an appointment with a surgeon at UW Madison to get a second opinion. Basically, he'll have surgery by one or the other and it doesn't sound like he'll need chemo or radiation -- so that is very good.
Steve's (40) surgeon took a good look at the MRI results, called the kids and suggested she remove the nodule without waiting 6 weeks to see another MRI. His tumor was a Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), which is the most aggressive form of brain cancer and it ALWAYS comes back. So, while it is the size of a pea (as opposed to the tennis ball she removed the first time), she wants to take it out. This is a good thing -- and actually makes us feel better to have it out than wait around to see if it'll grow. She also thinks she can do this with a small incision and thread a scope through one of the screw holes holding the piece of skull in place that she removed the first time -- much less time for the surgery and quicker recovery. Surgery is scheduled for the 15th. Probably won't have to do any more chemo or radiation after surgery either.
So, while it has been a rough couple of weeks, we'll make it through. I want to thank everyone for their prayers -- believe me they helped tremendously.
And, I want to thank Kris for getting me out of the house last Saturday and to the quilt shop and lunch and a couple of other stops. It was a great day, even though it was cold and rainy. And I have finally started sewing again -- and actually looking forward to whatever time I can squeeze out of the day to sit at the sewing machine! And next time I'll have pictures!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
My quilting friend Kris gave me this charm pack of Gobble, Gobble fabrics from Moda by Sandy Gervais and challenged me to make a quilt. Snowballs from charm squares are easy and I love the fall fabrics, so this was a quick quilt to make. I added the applique because I thought it needed something, but maybe just a print border would suffice. Either way, it's finished and hanging and that's a good thing.
Tuesday this week I went to Madison with Steve & Kim. He's been going every 3 months for an MRI and check up. All of his scans have been clear since the surgery, radiation and chemo. I haven't gone along on most of them -- some have been scheduled at oh dark thirty in the morning. He always calls me as soon as they leave the building, too. So, this time we made plans to do other things after the appoiontments at the clinic and it included a stop at a quilt shop! And no, Kim doesn't quilt, but they stopped for me anyway.
Steve's scan this time showed a small white spot that hasn't been there before. Ian (Dr. Robbins) and Dr. Mehta think it looks peculiar and they aren't sure what it is. So, instead of 3 months return visit, he'll have to go back in 6 weeks to see if it is still there, if it's grown, static, or gone altogether. Ian did say that it does not look like a recurrence -- he actually came back into the room and said that. And I tend to believe a man who only treats brain tumors and even though he reminds us of the absent-minded professor, he has probably seen enough recurrences to know what he's talking about. And he waited to get Dr. Mehta's input and we haven't seen Mehta since the first month or so. It is quite possibly a necrosis (dead tissue -- kind of like scar tissue from the surgery/radiation/chemo). Necrosis is probably pretty common in brain tumors -- at least I've read about it quite a bit.
We were all a little freaked about this spot --- just because we expected the scan to show nothing like all the previous ones. I am not allowed to go back with them ever ;-)! Cooler heads prevailed after we digested the information. Steve has a great attitude and pretty much hit the nail on the head here. I told him earlier in the day that I already had a talk with God and this cancer is not coming back ever.
The quilt shop was Stitcher's Crossing and also had a large yarn section and a large cross-stitch/stitchery section. And, of course I bought a few fat quarters and two books and the new Quilt Sampler mag.
Spending the day with Steve & Kim even though the news wasn't as good as we expected.
I have a lot of confidence in Ian and the UW Madison clinic.
New quilt books to soothe the soul!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
So, Bill managed to survive, but then last Thursday night he had chest pains and nausea, so ended up back at the hospital overnight. They did a nuclear stress test the next day and his heart is okay -- can only think it's an esophageal thing. They did cut one of his blood pressure meds in half -- he does not have high blood pressure and I think too much med was making him dizzy. It's been a trying month. He is home again and went to see his doctor today and everything seems to be fine, again. We are getting to be on a first name basis with the Byron Fire Department/Ambulance though -- and that's okay because they are all great professionals and certainly set my mind at ease when I see them pull up.
A week after the accident, I left Bill to his own devices (with our friend/neighbor to keep an eye on him!), and Steph and I took the grandkids to the Milwaukee Zoo. We had a wonderful day. The first picture is Briana, AJ and Will (who did not want to have his picture taken!). Briana has the patience of Job with the boys. She is truly a blessing. I had to ride the skycar with her because she knew Mom wouldn't! It was actually fun -- even though I don't care for rides either.
This is AJ after having a blueberry slushy! He's 5, need I say more?
And this is Will, age 2 -- the climber. He has absolutely no fear and will climb on anything - never mind that on the other side of that wall was the pond. Grandma added a few gray hairs that day!
We did have a great time and hope that next summer we can plan an outing for every other week when Briana is home (she has to go to her mother's in the summer every other week).
And just to prove to myself that I have accomplished something quilty this month -- I finally finished block 8 of the Primitive Garden quilt!
Bill is back home and well.
Grandchildren -- they are so much fun.
I seem to be in a quilting slump, but enjoying reading and wasting time anyway.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Bill had been mowing lawn, first with the lawn tractor, then with the big farm tractor -- he does the deep ditch across the road with the big tractor and the perimeter areas of the corn fields and the lane, etc. At first I thought he was calling JR, but JR was in the front yard looking at me and trying to figure out where Bill was, too. Finally, I heard Bill say my name and looked out through the trees and saw the small front wheel of the tractor sticking above the ditch across the road. (It's really a steep incline).
I took off running and as I got across the street and could see Bill pinned beneath the tractor, a car went by and I flagged them down (had no idea who they were). They stopped and the wife called 911 on her cell and the husband pulled a pad from his trunk to hold above Bill to shade him from the sun. Bill was lying face down on the ground with the steering wheel of his Allis Chalmers pinning his left leg to the ground. Keep in mind that my husband is 83 years old!
I know where God was on Monday -- out on a rural road outside of Byron, IL! The very excellent Byron Fire Department came in this order: 1st the chief in his car, followed immediately by the asst. chief in his car, two fire trucks and the ambulance, then the chaplain in his own car (and at that time they cancelled the LifeLine Helicopter because Bill was breathing and talking), and then a county sheriff's deputy arrived and in between all matter of friends, neighbors and passersby. There had to be at least a dozen firemen on the job between the trucks and the ambulance. They managed to use their extrication equipment to lift the tractor enough to cut the steering wheel and free Bill and get him into the ambulance.
So...the rest of Monday and all of Tuesday was spent at the hospital; they took x-ray after x-ray and ct scans right and left (and reported to me that yes, in fact, he does have a brain); he spent the night in the hospital, they did more x-rays and the upshot is...he has no broken bones. He is bruised, has a black eye on the left side as well as bruises on the left side of his face, and an huge bruise on his hip, which is the sorest part, even though the steering wheel pinned him just behind his left knee. The numerous xrays were because they kept seeing something on his femur, but finally determined it was an old injury (and Bill can only remember hurting that leg when he played high school football!). They sent him home yesterday with a walker and instructions not to put any weight on the leg. He's really sore, but really thankful he's alive, plus he feels really stupid! He's mowed that area countless times in the past 15 years and for some reason as he was on the slope, he turned down instead of up and knew immediately it was going over -- he attempted to jump off and that's probably what kept him from being crushed by the wheels, but he did get caught by the steering wheel. Today he switched to the crutches we have and that works better for staying off the leg than the walker. Thankfully, the bath on the main floor has a shower without a tub, so it's easier to access, and Kevin brought the shower chair out today so he can sit while he showers.
Sew... why am I showing pictures of the porch? Because today I went back and rewashed the windows and finally put the screens back! And I haven't gone out to look at the tractor yet. Our friend and neighbor righted it Monday afternoon and managed to haul it back to the shed. He and Bill will work on repairing it (one wheel is broken and the steering column and wheel needs to be replaced, along with the seat and who know what else!) when Bill feels up to it. And you know he'll be back out there mowing as soon as he can! And me... I'd settle for calmer times and maybe taking a stitch or two on one of my projects.
Obviously, I am so grateful he wasn't hurt worse or killed.
The Byron Fire Department -- they've been called out here at least a half dozen times -- usually for Bill's heart problems. They are totally professionals and I am very thankful we have them available.
The couple that stopped when I flagged them down -- they told me their names, but I can't for the life of me remember them -- but I am forever grateful they stopped.
Neighbors and friends.
Family -- the boys and their wives came to the hospital when I called and Steph was ready to drive all the way down with Will in tow, but we insisted she not come.
The staff at the hospital -- the trauma crew were not only efficient, but had a great sense of humor too.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Will's second birthday was last week and we celebrated on Sunday afternoon. I just love this picture of big brother AJ helping his little brother blow out the candle on the cookie cake. How precious is that?!
I haven't done any decluttering or spring cleaning projects, my gardens are weed infested once again, and I don't have much to show for anything I've done this summer and yet the summer is flying by. We've had weird weather -- haven't gotten any tomatoes from the garden yet at all and wondering if we ever will; the green beans are fabulous though, the beets are as well, and the cucumbers are probably going to take over the world. Bill has gotten tons of blueberries from his bushes too.
The weather hasn't been too hot.
A quilt finish and I love the finished project.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
And I managed to finish a quilt -- albeit a wallhanging and nothing special -- but it's done and hanging!
Not much going on around here -- Bill was sick most of last week, but is feeling much better now. So of course, while he was sick, I ate myself out of house and home -- guess I really am a stress eater! vbg Now he's well and I'm back on track. In fact, Kris and I are walking with the cross country team she coaches 3 mornings a week -- and boy was I sore after the first day and 4-1/2 miles -- and I'd say it was a brisk walk -- not a saunter...and exactly what I need. Even though I was sore that first day I really felt good all day.
I bought a set of dvd's by Patsy Thompson last week on machine quilting and have been studying them. I really like her technique, so will be practicing my own version soon.
Sunday we're having all the kids over for brunch for Father's Day and my birthday. We're doing it a week ahead so the kids can attend the other side of the family's celebrations on Father's Day. I plan on having most of the food made tomorrow so I only need to throw things in the oven on Sunday and can enjoy the day with the kids.
And that's about it at Porchrocker's Place -- relatively quiet but thankful for Steve's test results and that Bill is better.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
This quilt is just 16" x 18" and actually is Kris' quilt that she gave me. I pulled a backing yesterday and threw it on the machine today and jumped right in with a little meander with a three petal flower thrown in there. Dawn Ramirez' DVD - Pajama Quilter was originally my inspiration along with Mary. I'm giving this one back to Kris and let her bind it!
In reading Mary's blog, she showcased a quilt her mother made for her that was quilted by her sister, Deb. I hadn't been to Deb's blog in a while, so I went over there and was totally in awe of what she does with a longarm! Wow, some tiny little all-over feathers as fill in. I will never be that accomplished, but boy, what an inspiration her work is.
So, I grabbed a backing fabric and threw my appliqued tree on the longarm and filled in the background with the tiniest stippling I've ever done. Now, keep in mind, this is my first attempt and I realized after I started that I should have set my stitches at least at 12 per, and didn't want to go back and pick stitches, so did the whole thing at 10 per. Also -- I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand (had surgery years ago on the left), and when I finished one section, my hand was so numb I couldn't press the stop button! vbg I still don't know what I'm going to do with the border -- maybe just stitch in the ditch between the borders and call it good. Anyway -- it's not great, but I feel pretty good about it anyway and feel really good about just jumping in and having a go at it.I quilted one other little quilt today for Kris and just freehanded some little pumpkins in with a little meander...it's a small Halloween quilt.
So, obviously, I spent my day quilting and it was wonderful!
JR seems to feel better after having an upset stomach earlier today.
I spent some time rockin' on the porch this afternoon, reading a book - so nice.
Getting inspiration from other quilters.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
While I was fixing dinner tonight, Bill was just sitting at the island in the kitchen waiting for dinner to be ready! He spent all day working on the running board for his truck that broke a couple of weeks ago. Ford doesn't make them anymore, so he's fashioning his own -- he did this for the one on the driver's side a year or so ago and it looks like factory installed, but it takes him awhile! Here, he looks like he's pondering life - or maybe giving me the evil eye for snapping his picture!Gratitudes:
Accomplishing a great deal in the yard so far this week. It's nice to enjoy the fruits of my labor -- no weeds and pretty flowers and a cob-web free rocker to sit on!
Phone calls from the kids - always good to hear from them.
Touching base with Kris after a busy week -- it feeds the creative spirit!
Friday, May 22, 2009
This is a shot of the right side of the porch -- there's a swing and a park bench on this side, along with my porchrocker.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Anyhow, for years I've been fighting his shedding, difficulty in bathing him, and picking up leaves and stuff that cling to his coat when he comes in from outside. And, finally, it occurred to me to have him groomed -- I told the groomer to make him look like a real Jack Russell (she wasn't even sure he was a JR until she clipped his coat yesterday!). so, here he is in all his glory -- looks like a completely different dog and he wasn't real happy about it at all yesterday, but he's getting used to it and so are we. I'm looking forward to not having to clean up after him so much!
Friday, May 15, 2009
This was just a panel I've had in stash and I added borders and quilted it. It's a cute kids/baby quilt.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
We exchanged gifts and had cake and then they all left. I took a nap (we had a wedding in Milwaukee last night and I was done in). Then Bill decided to take me out to dinner tonight, so I went upstairs to get ready. There were two envelopes on the dresser in the bedroom, addressed to Dad and Mom. Mine was a card with a recorded message and the song "Lean on Me" played after the message. Steve recorded the message -- and yes, I cried -- what a sweetheart I raised. It's nice to know he turned out so well -- and so did our other two. In this day and age, I think we're lucky in that respect. Thanks, Steve - I love you too.
I haven't updated my blog in ages and have been busy doing lots of stuff, so I'll have to spend some time this week getting caught up. Not tonight, though.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Will doesn't care about such things -- just give him a ball and some other toys and he's happy as can be.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
And here's the back of this quilt. It really wasn't intended to be a reversible quilt; I was just using up stash to piece the backing. But I like the result a lot. It's a great place to put leftover blocks. too.