Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quiet On The Western Front.

Hi!  Remember me?

About three months ago, I was reviewing blog entries and thinking that my blog is a bit  I thought I should probably find some new topics/projects in the areas of knitting, family, baseball, etc. to write about.

Then, in late September/October, I took off on vacation with my DH to visit family while they're spending a year in Alabama.  We had a WONDERFUL week, checking out the Birmingham area, playing with the grandkids, and just enjoying family time.  Even our youngest daughter and her husband came down from Boston for a few days!  Everything was perfect.

Shortly before we left to come home, both DH and I started to come down with colds.  By the time we got home, mine was making its usual progression to a sinus infection.  That seems to be my pattern for the last five years or so, and I finally know the drill (yes, I may be a slow learner...):  when the headaches start, call the doc to get some antibiotics, because it's not going to go away like a "regular" cold would.

So, that's what I did.  I made my appointment to see my doc.  By then, the headaches were feeling like something other than a sinus headache, and pain relievers weren't making a dent. When I described them to her, she said they didn't sound like a sinus headache, either.  Thankfully, I have a proactive doctor!  Rather than trying to fix it with antibiotics, she suggested we first do a CT scan.  I had one the next day and was in the hospital by that night after finding a cyst and tumor on my brain.  Come to find out, the headaches were the result of the left side of my brain being pushed to the right side of my head due to swelling from the cyst.  Ouch!

Two days later, a neurosurgeon removed the stuff, and two days later I was home.  Two days after that, I was informed that the pathology shows I have brain cancer.  They don't know what causes this particular type of tumor; however, they're the most common tumor in adults, the medical community doesn't know how to cure them yet, and they know they're not hereditary.   Sounds pretty special, doesn't it?  Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

In early November, an MRI revealed that they didn't get all of the tumor during the first surgery and that I'd be having more surgery to get the residual in December.  Yay, me!  Some things are just so much fun, you have to do them twice.

To this point, both surgeries and all follow-up have gone smoothly, and I've just begun radiation and chemo treatments.   Yes, simultaneously.  I intend to do everything within my power to fight this off and live a healthy, productive life for as long as I possibly can.  After all, I still have many people left to annoy around here. :-)

I have been the most boring person when it comes to health.  And, I mean that in a good way!  The last time I was overnight in the hospital before this little episode is when I was born.  I've not been on any prescriptions for my entire life.  Until now, of course.  I exercise, and--for the most part--I eat well.   Apparently, brain cancer doesn't care much about all those things.  When it's your turn, it's your turn.

Now, don't expect that this is going to turn into a cancer blog...that is not my intent.  I just think it's interesting how life changed so quickly, and completely took my focus off of my "boring" blog.  And, I decided that I should probably post something before those of you that DO actually read this wondered what's become of me!   I'm still here, and will again be searching for interesting stuff to post about.  Stay tuned!

Before I go, one small note:

In the few short months since I've been involved with all this, I've seen some valuable lessons brought front and center with great clarity.  I've always believed these things, but have really seen them in action lately:  
  • Faith, family and friends will get you through just about anything. I've always known this, but have been astounded at the love and compassion all of my family and friends have demonstrated.  It's humbling and inspiring.  People can be amazing. A couple of examples:  
    • Both of our daughters were on planes as soon as they found out about my first surgery; one of them with two small children.  Keep in mind, they both live 2,000-3,000 miles away.  No small effort for them to get here without a great deal of planning, quick action, and yes, travel fare!  And then?  Then, they turned around and came back out for Christmas!  DH and I are so blessed to be the recipients of that much love.
    • Two friends who drove 4 hours each way to decorate our house for Christmas.  They both realized that I shouldn't be on ladders, lifting stuff, etc., and gave up one of their weekends to do it for us.  Those are true friends.
  • All the little b.s. that happens day-to-day doesn't really matter.   Deal with it quickly, but then move on. Look for a way to impact someone's life in a positive way, and your day will be well spent. 
  • It's really easy to overlook the simple beauties in everyday life unless you focus some effort on catching them.  Don't go through your day on autopilot!
An eagle resting on the Deschutes River during one of our recent walks.   Beautiful!

Okay, enough lecturing!  Go out and have a great day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby Blanket Bingo. Knitters: Chime in, please!

I've been perusing Ravelry, and while I love all the sorting and sifting capabilities of the site to narrow down what I'm looking for, the choices still seem to overwhelm.  I'm getting ready to start some new projects, and a baby blanket is among them.  I'm not looking for anything too elaborate; just something cuddly and warm that will keep my interest.

I'd love to hear from my knitting friends what your favorite baby blanket pattern is, and why.  Please post a comment if you have one to share.  I'll owe you one.  Thanks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And so it begins.

No, I did not spray paint these.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Holding on.

I'm holding on to the last gasps of summer, not ready for it to leave. The calendar and the temperature are saying otherwise, though, so I guess I'll try to be a big girl and deal with it. One of my coping mechanisms will probably be food.

While I probably should have shared this recipe with you weeks ago (you know: when your tomatoes were starting to ripen, rather than when you would be getting ready to yank the plants out), I didn't want to let it slip my mind again until next season.  Besides, one of the beauties of this simple recipe is that the ingredients are available pretty much anywhere at all times of year now, so you can insert a little taste of summer into a dark winter day.

I know of one person who reads this blog that will run, screaming, from this post due to the fact that the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes.  But, if you're like me and you like them, this is a salad you should enjoy. I clipped it out of a random magazine years ago--it was either Prevention or Reader's Digest--and since I get requests for the recipe every time I take it somewhere, I thought it might be nice to share here.

Caprese with a Twist 
(serves 4)
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup cubed mozzarella (1/3"-1/2" cubes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slice and chop the first four ingredients.  Add to bowl and toss with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes so the flavors can blend.
Chopped Caprese Salad.

Even DH, who doesn't like olives, likes this salad.  Go figure.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We interrupt this blog for a little venting.

It's times like these when I wish details didn't matter so much to me.

I started to cut out a bag this morning using this beautiful Amy Butler print from the Midwest Modern collection.  I've always loved this print; it's so vibrant and dramatic, isn't it?

I took great pains to center the motif and ensure it was vertically straight.  But apparently, either I didn't get enough sleep last night or I should've had a fourth cup of coffee this morning, because I forgot to check my horizontal alignment.  It wasn't until I got the piece cut out that I noticed the problem.  Do you see it?

Do you see the top edge?  The design is off by a good half-inch from one side to the other.   Whether that's intentional (God forbid.  Who in their right mind would do that to this particular design, which is so carefully aligned in every other way?!?) or whether it happened during the screening process or at some other point in the production of the material, I don't know.  What I do know is that it bugs me.  A lot.

I get really annoyed when I think about the fact that I pay more for higher quality designer fabrics.  Seems to me part of that should include some quality control.

I can't bring myself to move ahead.  So I'm back to the drawing board--literally--to come up with a more forgiving pattern that won't make the fabric shout "LOOK!  LOOK AT ME!  SEE HOW CROOKED I AM?!"

Wish me luck.  And worry about me a little, because now I seem to be working with talking fabric.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seamstress. Sewist. Sewer. Ugh.

Photo courtesy Museum of American Heritage.

I don't like any of them. 

The names, I mean. 

I know many individuals who sew--myself included--and I like them just fine.  But none of these titles works for me.
  • Seamstress:  Sounds like I should be sitting at a treadle machine--or maybe even with just a needle and thread--with an oil lamp lighting my way.  Very Little House on the Prairie.  Very...crafty.
  • Sewist:  ???  WTH?    Where did this come from?  And does it mean I'm also a knittist?  I don't think so, Tim.
  • Sewer:  Umm...has anyone else noticed?  I can't look at this without pronouncing it "sooo-er".  As in...well, you know.  Ick. 

There has to be a better alternative.  Someone?  Anyone?  Please and thank you.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I've been looking at it for at least three months, telling myself I don't really need one.  And that I should probably wait for the next version to come out.

But, then I tell me that I could do all sorts of cool things with it that would eliminate my having to carry around quickly-outdated hard copies of stuff.  And that I wouldn't have to haul my laptop everywhere.

In the debates between me, myself, and I, it isn't exactly clear which one of us won, but I now have an iPad.  Or, as Apple likes to say, I now have iPad.  What's with that?  Weird. 

Anyway....after little more than a week, here's what I like so far:

I can actually type on this keyboard!

I can buy a data plan when I need it, month-to-month for as little as $15, instead of signing a two-year contract with a $30--or greater--monthly fee.  The rest of the time I can use WiFi.
Most-used apps so far:  Blogshelf and At Bat 2010. lets me haul a game around easily from room to room, complete with gameday audio (because I'm too cheap to subscribe to MLBtv), which is a big deal because we rarely get my teams on TV, and I can't be sitting at the desk all day.


Blogshelf is like iBooks for blogs...a very cool and convenient way to organize and keep up on the ones I follow.  And thanks to the app developer and their "recommended blogs" that default when you open the app, I'm now hooked on The Pioneer have I not been following her up to this point?  I laugh, I cry, I admire her photographic talent, I get hungry...

I can organize my accessory products in albums, instead of a physical book.  Saves photo printing, keeps things current, one less thing to carry.  Very handy.

I can use it in the kitchen to follow my recipes.

Of course, all the basic functions such as e-mail, calendar, web browsing, music, maps and such are terrific, too.  I haven't really begun to dig into all the apps, or opened the floodgates that is iBooks...I'm sure I'll continue to find a million and one more reasons to like this thing.

So, tell me:  Do you have one?  What do you like best about it?  What apps are some of your favorites?