Saturday, February 28, 2009

One of those Dreadful Medical Posts with TMI

How I became the bionic woman

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How I became the bionic woman

That, in a nutshell, is where I am now. I've had weeks of pre-op appointments. I have this ingenious torture device sitting here waiting for me. I have to strap into it and lay back while it flexes and straightens my hip for hours. And I've been given a brace - from my waist to my ankle. Lovely. All these things ready to be used after my surgery next Tuesday. To top it off, I don't get to shower for two weeks after the surgery (ewwww!)

I'm a little nervous about the whole thing. Like any person in this day in age, I used Google to see how people have done with this particular surgery. I wish I hadn't looked. It wont be a miracle cure and it seems that the real pain relief may take up to a year to happen.

But I'm grateful to live in a day and age when there are treatments available, and I'm grateful I live near a major medical center that has one of the world's experts on this type of procedure, and I'm grateful that I have a husband who can work from home and take care of me and the kids.

So wish me luck. Tuesday's the big day. Not sure how regular I'll be with posting but hey - with all that time strapped to that machine, hopefully I'll be able to use my laptop.

I've prepared as best I can - I bought a bunch of new cute pajamas. I'm sure it will make all the difference.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's Blog Vacation Time

I am stealing this concept from that genius Holly, over at June Cleaver Nirvana. I'm taking a little break to catch up on reading blogs and visiting. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finished for Friday: One Word

Lit and Laundry

I hope you can join me with something you've finished up this week. Please add your link to Mr. Linky and grab a button from my sidebar to link back to me if you're playing along.

This week the kids were home from school and we had days and days of rain. Good stitching weather. I have a lot of works in progress, but a few little things that I actually finished. These two embroidered blocks are from the "Christmas Wishes" block of the month project offered free by Gail Pan. I just love them.

OK, I know Valentine's Day is over, but that doesn't mean I got everything done in time. This is another free design from The Workbasket. I did most of this one while sitting with Drama Girl watching an old BBC production of "The Six Wives of Henry VIII." She's studying Katherine of Aragon for a school project. It was a perfect movie because Queen Katherine is doing embroidery in almost every scene.

Now it's your turn! Thanks for playing along.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Virginia Souvenirs

I'm presenting another small dose of my extensive collection of pink Staffordshire souvenir ware. I love these two pieces.

First, a plate "Made exclusively for the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities" according to the backstamp. It features the Old Church Tower in Jamestown, Blair Tomb, Captain John Smith, "The ships that brought the founders of the nation" (can you name those three ships?*) and Pocahontas.

The picture of Pocahontas confused my children for a long time. She doesn't look like the character in the Disney movie. To their minds, the plate was totally wrong. This is one of my lovely pieces of china that my children refer to as "plates with dead people on them." Sigh Nobody appreciates my collection.

Next I have a mug that fascinates and amuses the Civil War buff in me. It has Robert E. Lee's headquarters at Gettysburg on one side, and the Virginia State Memorial at Gettysburg on the other. Why is this so fascinating? General Lee lost the battle of Gettysburg. But who remembers the general on the winning side anyway?**

* According to the plate, the three ships were the Godspeed, the Sarah Constant, and the Discovery. News to me. But I grew up on the West coast, so somehow I missed this particular history lesson.

** The winning general at Gettysburg was George Meade. Raise your hand if you remembered him.

Vintage Thingies Thursday is hosted by Colorado Lady. Please go visit and see the wonderful vintage items everyone is showing.

Way Back When-esday: Piano Recital 2004

In defiance of Mr. Anonymous and his comment yesterday, I am posting a picture of my cutie bugs from one of their first piano recitals back in 2004. As you can see, I had a little trouble getting all 3 to look at the camera and smile at the same time.

Recitals mean playing on the gorgeous gigantic grand piano at the rec center, dressing up, doing your best, but most of all - eating cupcakes and brownies at the party afterwards. I think that's the most important aspect for my kids to this day. Sweet playing deserves sweet rewards.

You can play along with Way Back When-esday at Twinfatuation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Post You Disagree With

I'm going to lose readers with this one, but I'm sitting here stewing so I'm going to get it off my chest.

I'm a private person. Really. It's ironic that I keep a blog, but as you'll note, I don't give out my real name unless you email me privately about something. Mainly I do this to protect the identity of my kids, who are the cutest things in the universe. I would be horrified if somebody tracked them down in real life because of pictures or information on my blog. Call me overprotective.

This morning I stumbled onto yet another blog where the author insists that we all reveal our email address in our Blogger profile. The author even gave instructions on how to do this, because clearly, anybody not publishing their email just didn't know how to do it.

I beg to differ. I really don't want my email exposed to spam. It's as simple as that. I like one simple email address where I get all my mail, and it stays absolutely clean. I'm not interested in having a second email account just for my blog.

I don't expect fellow bloggers to respond to my comments via email. If anybody would like to reach me, they can use the javascript link to my email in my sidebar.

So when I come visit your blog, please don't be offended that my name says "no-reply blogger." It's not about you, it's about me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yet Another Insane School Project

"Mom, in history class we're doing biographical reports, and we all get to dress up as our character."

My mind raced. I've been down this road before. Madame Curie wasn't too hard. Amelia Earhart was doable. What fresh costume did I have to come up with this time?"

"That sounds like fun honey! Who do you get to be?"

"Now mom, don't panic. I know how you are. They said just to make our costumes from things we have around the house."

"Sure dear. I'm sure we'll manage something simple but effective. Who. Who are you going to be?"

"You see, I was sick the day they handed out names. I sort of got an extra name the teacher thought up."

(I'm getting pretty nervous at this point. Clearly, she is holding back on revealing her subject). "Who?"

"Katherine of Aragon."

"Sure. No problem dear. I'm sure we can come up with a costume for you from stuff we have around the house."

AAAACK. Let's get serious! How am I going to pull this one off?

I will admit, Katherine of Aragon was a pretty cool woman though. She was Henry VIII's first wife. Now, if I can just figure out how to make that signature peaked hat she wore. I'm open to suggestions. I hope I get an A for this project.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vacation in Captivity

Who came up with the idea of "ski week" anyway? Does everybody really ski? Do kids in Hawaii have ski week?

I really don't like this extra week off. I would rather have the kids in school this week, and start school after Labor Day, instead of the third week of August.

In just a few more weeks they'll have Spring Vacation. Plenty of down time there to beat the doldrums and give their brains a rest before the long academic push to the end of the year.

But the reason I'm really grumpy? Rain. It's raining cats and dogs here. Great if you're going up to the mountains skiing I guess (which we're not - husband doesn't get the week off for some reason). So I will be here for a week. With the kids. With pouring rain outside. Oh my.

I sense a relaxation of the video game rules coming on. I also think I'm going to need to slip out to a quilt shop today for some mental health supplies for myself. I'm also bracing myself for a Harry Potter movie marathon.

It's going to be that kind of week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Finished for Friday: Valentine Doll Quilt

Lit and Laundry

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope yours is full of love and chocolate. I made this little doll quilt to mark the occasion. Tomorrow I'll be making my husband his favorite - a giant heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie. If I'm lucky maybe he'll even share it.

The pattern if found in the book "Little Quilts," which is one of my favorite eye-candy quilt books of all time.

Did you finish any projects this week? Link up and let us see. Please link back to me, and feel free to grab the button from my sidebar.

Happy Thursday: Woo-Hoo

I am very happy this Thursday because of good news on the volunteer front. Among my volunteer careers, I coordinate the tutors at the local elementary school. It involves playing matchmaker between tutors and students, coordinating schedules with tutors, students, and teachers, and a mountain of paperwork for each. I've done it for a few years and I'm passionate about the difference the program makes in the lives of children.

But I've had enough now. I had the unhappy task of telling my supervisor that I am not going to do any volunteer work next year. It's all taking its toll. I need to take a breather.

We both worried about finding a replacement for me, and happily yesterday the perfect parent stepped up to the plate. She'll do a wonderful job and I have a great sense of relief that all my hard work will have some continuity.

Happy Dance time!

Happy Thursday is hosted by Goddess in Progress.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Music

"Mom! You have to see this! This it the most totally random piece of music ever."

"Actually honey, that's kind of a famous song. I played that on the piano when I was your age."

"What? That's crazy! How could this be a famous song? It's bizarre!"

And then it hit me. I knew what the title meant, but he was reading it rather literally:

He's been walking around waving to the walls and saying "goodbye old paint!" ever since, and laughing every time. For the uninitiated, "Old Paint" is a horse. This is an old cowboy song. I guess his music teacher didn't explain that.

I'm still playing songs that sound like what they describe. Currently on my music stand is a song about a bunch of dancing elves. Makes about as much sense as singing about an old horse.

I think I totally cheated on the picture part of this, but if you want to see real pictures, like of cute kids and sunrises and other tangible things (maybe even some paint) go visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus who hosts Wordful Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Angel Cat Debut

Angel Ashleigh

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Angel Ashleigh

I want to thank everyone for leaving the kind comments and sending emails etc. It really means a lot to me and my family. Coping with the death of a pet is part of being a pet owner, and at their age, my kids understand it all well. It's touching to see how they are treating eachother much more gently than usual.

We've had some fun reminiscing about her, so I hope it doesn't seem too odd to post something a little lighter today. Through the tears we're celebrating the joy she gave us. We're also lavishing attention on her sister Nina, who is wandering around the house more than usual. Not sure if she misses her sister yet or not.

I feel so lucky to have the support of all of you. Thank you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It's done.

What is humane?
What is selfish?
What is kind?
What is responsible?
What is the right thing to do?
What is more agonizing?
What is more heartbreaking?
What requires more bravery?
What requires more trust?
What is more painful?

I would have been ok
if my husband hadn't sounded so sad on the phone
I would have been ok
if the receptionist hadn't cried
I would have been ok
if each of the nurses hadn't made a point to come in and give her one last hug, and even a kiss
I would have been ok
if the vet hadn't been so sad and sorry.

I tried to be brave. I really did.

But as I drove home from putting my dear cat Ashleigh to sleep, I bawled. As I drove towards my house I saw two dear friends out for a walk and they waved happily. I stopped the car and told them what had just happened. They enveloped me in hugs and love and support. It was exactly what I needed at that moment.

If I am not brave, at least I am blessed with wonderful people around me, supporting me, sympathizing with me when I need it the most.

Goodbye Ashleigh.

Guest Post: The Mother

ThreeUnderTwo had a veterinary emergency this morning, so she issued a cry for help.

And all she got was me.

The veterinary emergency got me thinking about the whole kids-and-pets thing, which, as every mother knows, is a constant source of maternal frustration and kid-parent friction.

As any mother of teenagers would, I have a lot of kid-pet stories. Stop me if you've heard this one.

Some idiot decided that it would be a great idea to give out live goldfish as prizes at one of those stupid school carnivals.

(As a rule, I avoid school carnivals like the plague. No, more than the plague. We can cure the plague now. I'm trying to remember WHY I ended up at this one. Karma, probably).

The kid recipient is SO excited to receive his goldfish in a baggie that you have no choice but to take it home.

The goldfish, of course, can't live in his little baggie forever, so you stop by the pet store and buy a fish bowl. You're now ten bucks into this free goldfish prize.

So, you get home and you start reading up about fish and aquariums and tanks and oxygenators and ammonia and everything, and you realize that you're doing it wrong.

Back to the pet shop, where you pick up a real tank, with an oxygenator and the ammonia filters. You get the little snails that eat algae and the little green things that are supposed to make the goldfish happy and the treasure chest that makes your kid happy. You are now forty dollars into the FREE goldfish.

Your child SWEARS that he will take care of the goldfish. He PROMISES that he will keep the tank clean. (Get it in writing. Or on tape).

But, as every parent knows, children are fickle. Today, their goldfish is their cherished prize. Tomorrow, they have better things to do.

So you end up cleaning out the tank and taking care of the goldfish.

Inevitably, the goldfish will die. Your child will be heartbroken. Because now, it's his prized possession again. Only it's dead.

Back to the pet shop. You replace his goldfish. While you're there, the pet store people give you a lecture on how to properly care for your goldfish, this time around, preying upon your grief like a funeral supplier trying to sell you a $15,000 casket. You end up leaving with another 40 bucks worth of accessories and accoutrement.

Your child SWEARS that he will take care of THIS goldfish.

You are now $80 into the damn FREE goldfish.

The goldfish will die. They do that.

The cycle repeats.

Until someone gives your child a PUPPY.

The Mother (where she writes about the people who make mothers' lives miserable, including, occasionally, the children.)

PS: I still have that damn aquarium. It is currently in my garage, being inhabited by cobwebs and ghosts of goldfish past.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

CSI: Kitchen

The Crime:
Excessive cutlery consumption.

The Evidence:
Five knives discovered on the cutting board after the morning rush.

The Facts of the Case:

  • Only four people in the house actually consumed toast or otherwise prepared bread products that morning.
  • The toaster, a cool retro model purchased specifically for this toast-loving family, has four slots, allowing four pieces of bread to be toasted at one time.
  • The only available condiments for spreading were margarine and peanut butter
  • Everyone in the family ate breakfast at the same time.
  • Those who made themselves sandwiches for school also used either margarine or peanut butter.
The Suspects:
Everyone in the family except the mom, who neither consumed toast nor prepared a lunch for herself.

The Sentence:

All suspects are required to listen patiently to yet another tirade from mom about the overuse of resources. While she's at it, she's going to talk about the excessive amounts of laundry, and why does everyone keep stealing the pens from the mug by the phone. If all suspects exhibit a contrite attitude, they may waive the part of the sentence which includes mom's usual lecture about the towels on the bathroom floor.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Finished for Friday: Cutting My Right Arm Off

Lit and Laundry

I can can kiss my children goodbye and send them to camp for a week. I can kiss my husband goodbye and watch him leave on all his business trips. But take my sewing machine into the shop and I have anxiety attacks. Here's what my sewing table looked like, a black hole:

I had procrastinated doing this for so long that it was a full year overdue, so I'm very proud of myself that I finally bit the bullet and did it this week. Of course, the experience wasn't without drama.

I took my machine to Eddie's Quilting Bee. They were having a big sale and party and the place was packed. As I stepped up to the register with my beloved, Eddie came across the store to greet me warmly, because he remembers how much money I always spend my sparkling personality.

"Ah yes! How are you doing! Wait a minute, let's have a look at that" he said as a few customers lined up behind me with their purchases. He took the cover off and opened her up. "That's what I thought. You have a plastic hook. You're going to want to replace that with a metal hook. Works much better. It will be a whole new machine."

Did I mention Eddie is quite a salesman? I nervously eyed the backup that was increasing behind this sole register. The pressure was on to finish the transaction. And everyone was listening. What if the word got out that I had this inferior plastic hook? What if the word got out that I didn't keep my sewing machine up to date. I started to sweat. "How much is that?"

"$110." I tried not to gasp at the amount. Then rationalization brain kicked in. 1) I didn't take my machine in for servicing last year, and this is about what that would have cost. 2) This is my instrument of therapy, and I don't splurge on much of anything for myself. 3) Probably some other random thoughts popped in there, not the least of which that the backup in the line was at least a dozen shoppers now. I agreed to the upgrade and watched sadly as they took it to the back room.

Of course, I swore I would get a lot of non-machine sewing done. Applique a dozen blocks, baste some quilts. It didn't happen. I mourned. Finally the day came to pick it up.

" Ah yes, there you are. The hook." Eddie was all smiles. "This is a great machine. Did you know I could give you a trade-in of $700 if you'd like this nice machine here? I could give this one to you for. . ." At this point Eddie seemed to mull over a special deal just for me. After a pause he named an amount. Let's just say it was 4 figures. Did I mention Eddie is quite the salesman?

Do people actually just walk into a store to pick up a newly-tuned machine and trade it up like that? I wish I had that kind of money. I love how he was treating me like a Serious. Grown-up. Important Quilter. One for whom apparently money was no object when it came to their craft. Unfortunately, money is a bit of an object so I had to decline. Love ya Eddie, maybe next time.

So the overdue annual tune-up was my finished project for the week. What did you get done? If you've got any kind of finished project, please
  • link up with Mr. Linky below
  • link back to me
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Closet Fossil

I've got a goofy vintage thingy this week. I unearthed this gem a few days ago when I was cleaning out my closet. I don't know how long it's been in there, or where I got it originally. This gives you some idea of how often I sort through things in my closet.

Let's examine it, shall we? Note the phone number: 4747. It's hard for me to tell from my little bit of research, but4-digit phone numbers were probably used in rural areas until the 1950s.

The address, 541 Tyler Street in Monterey is now a liquor store in a modern building. Gone are the days when old Jimmie Hernandez handed over your shirts on a nice wooden hanger. Mr. Hernandez, wherever you are, your advertising has lasted longer than even you imagined. I've just made you immortal on the internet.

It's 3 am and I can't sleep so what the heck, let's look into the history of hangers. Did you know Thomas Jefferson is credited with inventing the first wooden one? And up until the 1920s, we all folded our clothes. It was retailers, with their enticing displays of garments on hangers that transformed us. All of us except my kids that is. They're still not much into this whole "hanging" fad.

A quick look at eBay reveals that this model of hanger is referred to as "California Style." The scary thing? If you search on "vintage hanger" on ebay it comes up with a whole slew of listings. People collect hangers.

That's it. I need to go back to bed. Wish me luck, I have another MRI today (oh joy!).

Vintage Thingies Thursday is hosted by Colorado Lady. Pay her a visit and see the vintage things that are even more interesting than this hanger. Then go impress someone with that tidbit about Thomas Jefferson. Then think good thoughts for me. Then finish something up quick so you can join me tomorrow for 'Finished for Friday.'

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordful Wednesday: Kids = Noise

Once, the house was noisy with squealing babies. Then, the house was overrun with toddlers who could shriek and giggle and bang pans like nobody's business. When they hit elementary school the kids could screech "Trick or Treat!" loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.

It figures they'd find some way to turn up the volume again in middle school.

Wordful Wednesday is hosted by Angie at Seven Clown Circus. And seriously, you have to click over there to see the picture she has today. It's hilarious.

Don't forget to join me on Friday with something you've finished!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dear PTA

Dear PTA

Stop looking at me like that. I am absolutely not going to volunteer for a position next year. I have paid my dues, attended your meetings, served on committees, negotiated, communicated, kept the books, and even (shudder) recruited.

I know your crafty ways. The gentle pleas from the Principal. The earnest hints from the President. You try to lure me with promises.

"You wont have to go to all the meetings"
"It's all set up - it practically runs itself"
"Lots of people will step up to help you"

Lies. All of them. I must have been born with some sort of tattoo on my forehead that says "Sure! Pick me! I want to volunteer!" The kind of tattoo that I can't see in the mirror but everyone else can see and snicker at.

The annoying thing is, I love the access that being on the PTA provides. At every meeting the Principal gives an update with all the nitty-gritty of what's going on around the school. The 10 of us who attend all find it enlightening. Then we move on to the business at hand and have a lot of intelligent conversations, a few disagreements, but ultimately, we decide things. Important things. Things that affect all our kids, our school, our budget.

I'm frustrated that more people don't attend PTA meetings. Did they decide that they were finished being interested in education once their kids hit middle school? Did they, as one officer likes to put it "figure we're running everything just fine?" I don't know - to me that approval looks more like apathy.

I want to set a good example for my kids. I always want to show them that I'm involved and I care. This year has really taken its toll on me because of some rather sloppy bookkeeping on the part of the Treasurer who came before me. I've had to put in a lot of hours untangling a monstrous mess.

So I care, and I want to be there. Maybe one committee. But no more.

What am I saying. Somebody please stop me.

A Blogland Round of Applause

Isn't my new blog design gorgeous? Let's have a round of applause for Tonya at kpw designs for doing such a great job.

It takes a lot of skill and creativity to get inside someone's head and translate their words into something visual. I think she's summarized my style beautifully.

It also takes a lot of patience to work with a blogger who keeps thinking of different things she wants to add and adjust. Tonya was so patient with me, and did she work FAST! I can't recommend her enough.

So if you're reading this in a reader, take a moment to click over and leave a comment. I'm sure Tonya will read them and appreciate them.

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation hosts "Makes My Monday" and today I'm joining in because my new blog design absolutely makes my Monday!

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