Wednesday, March 27, 2019

52 Weeks February

I'm a little slow posting February's weeks. I'm keeping up with this fairly well. I'm also working on consistency in my health goals. I need to work a little harder on those.

I've had a lot of dental work done during February. You can see evidence of that in weeks 6 and 8. The work is continuing into March. Things will (hopefully) be finished up this month. 

I'm still working on learning how to use my quilting machine. I've had a little trouble that I hope to resolve this coming weekend.





Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Spring Haiku and Dem Bones

One lonely azalea
blooming where she is planted
harbinger of spring


 At one time, I had a redbud tree in our front yard that was my harbinger of spring. Sadly, we had to cut it down. This weekend when I saw this single bloom on our (huge) azalea bush, I was reminded that spring is indeed on her way to us.

I've been working on my "build bone density" plan. I have a chart and every day I fill in the square on the things that I have done on my list. I've had to accept that I'll never do it perfectly and that just because I won't do it perfectly does not mean I should sit down and not even try. On some days, that is the temptation--to sit. This feels like an uphill battle and I am working on climbing that hill.

I've talked with our wellness person at work. She is helping me set up a strength training routine. I"m grateful to have that resource. I'm often surprised that more people around me do not take advantage of the various things the wellness person can help with. I'm doing that twice a week and hope to soon move up to three times a week.

Since we've switched to daylight savings time, I'm trying to walk 30 minutes 5 times a week (wellness lady's "prescription"). That gets me the 150 active minutes recommended by whoever recommends stuff like that! I may get back to playing tennis. It's been so long. I am afraid I won't have the stamina needed to play three sets (or 30 minutes, whichever comes first), much less do three 30 minute rounds.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bumps in the Road

It's my birthday month. January was my checkup month (the first one of 2019, there will be more). For a month now, I have been pondering the news I was given at my last visit. The medicine I take to protect me from recurrence of breast cancer causes low bone density. I do not (yet) have osteoporosis but I do have osteopenia. They want to start me on bone medicine. The doctor (bone expert) prefers Prolia injections. He made it all sound so safe and simple. I resent him not being forthcoming with me. I want to give him "what for" and tell him how rushed I felt when I saw him. I wish I'd seen him before I saw my breast people. I feel like she would have taken time to talk things out with me. She did call me back after I left a message but the phone call felt rushed too.

I've been looking around and that stuff comes with some heavy duty (possible) side effects. Maybe none of them will affect me. But if they do, it could be debilitating. I think the truth of the matter is the people recommending this stuff do not really know what all it can do or how long it stays in your system. It does seem to help increase bone density. I mean, it's made from something in the ovaries of genetically engineered Chines hamsters, what could go wrong?

I've joined a Facebook group of people who have been on the injections or are considering the injections. Someone on the group mentioned dried plums (prunes) being good for building bone density. The study was sponsored by the plum folks so I'm taking it all with a grain of salt. But I have a little time before I have to decide what to do. I have a few options. None of them are all that great. For now, I believe I'm going to try the prunes (6-8 per day, a nice sweet little snack!), and get back with my regular walking program, along with a few other helpful things. We'll see how it goes.

The thing is, what good will it do me to not have a recurrence of breast cancer if I am laid down by this medicine? Granted, maybe that won't happen to me. Maybe it will all be just fine. But if it's not, what then? I've said I don't know how to make this decision. I've talked to a few friends. My GP is not at all alarmed by the prospect and praised Prolia. I have an appointment next week with our wellness nurse at work. I've laid things out for her in an email. I just want to talk about possible consequences of my choices.

This has been a discouraging development. I feel a bit like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I probably can't ignore osteoporosis but maybe I can live with osteopenia a little longer. The bone doctor says I'll likely have osteoporosis in six months.


I came across this Thoughtograph/thang when I was transferring files from my old laptop to my new one (let me say I now understand why they want a hundred bucks to transfer files over from old to new). I feel as uncertain as I have ever felt in this journey.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

52 Weeks January

Something new I'm trying this year: a (more or less) daily collage that I do in an old calendar. When the week is over, the page is finished. I'm going to try and post each month as I complete them. We shall see how that goes. Maybe this will mean I will at least post something here once a month?

 Week One

Week Two

 Week Three


Week Four



Monday, January 14, 2019

In This Moment

When you look up from writing in your journal and it feels like
you're looking at a tiny abstract work of art
and all it is is
the inside of a security envelope with paint slapped on
and mounted on an ordinary paint chip from the hardware store.
Add the smell of the lilac candle,
and just for a moment or two, 
you wonder how life could get any sweeter than right now,
in this moment.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Bucket List Item Procured!

One of the biggest surprises for me in 2018 was my purchase of a used quilting machine. It all came about in what felt like a magical way. I'd only been looking and dreaming about owning a quilting machine for over 20 years. Every once in a while I'd check online listings for machines. On this one day, I decided I'd check Facebook Marketplace. I saw a new listing for a complete setup, and it was located in my area. The price was good. I contacted the seller and we went to take a look at everything. The machine belonged to his mother, who had died over a year ago. It had been sitting in an empty house all that time. There were a few less than perfect spot. Dogs had chewed on the wooden frame. Rodents had chewed the power cord for the machine. In spite of those few issues, I fell in love.

We heard more of the story from the son. His mother had purchased the setup at a Houston Quilt Show (several years back). For a couple of reasons (one of them being that she got sick), she never got the chance to actually use the machine. I wanted a little time to research the machine and the frame, and to check reviews for possible issues with the machine. I told him I'd let him know in a couple of days if I wanted the machine. He'd only had one other person come to look at the machine and she'd decided it was too heavy for her to manage.

I knew I was entering a personal danger zone because the guy was nice, he had a sweet family, and I was in his mother's house with loads of evidence of her craftiness (thread! fabrics! yarn! patterns! loads of stuff!) and I was hearing this sweet woman's stories--and identifying with her. I needed a little space to keep myself from saying I'd take all the things for no other reason than there was a sweet story involved! So I went home to think about it. I dreamed about it and dug around on the internet for more information. I called a couple of days later to tell him I wanted it. I'd asked for a reduction in price, and we "met in the middle" on that request. In retrospect, I could have been less enthusiastic and waited another week or two. By then he might have wanted to pay me to take it off his hands! But I didn't want to stick it to him, and he didn't want to stick it to me. We both got a fair deal.

We picked most of the equipment up the day after Thanksgiving. When I started putting things back together I noticed a few (important!) things missing. For instance, the presser foot was nowhere to be found. Twice, he texted me back to let me know he'd found more things that went with the machine, including the missing presser foot!

Over my Christmas break, I worked on putting everything back together. I watched my DVDs on how to load the quilt and adjust the machine. I had a DVD for the machine and a DVD for the frame. Both DVDs had differing instructions for loading the quilt. It took me several tries (and left me with sore and pin pricked fingers) to get the practice fabric loaded. Loading the quilt is the most important and time consuming part of the whole deal. I had a few mishaps with the practice fabric, one of them being that I kept forgetting to put the blankety blank presser foot down! I've used sewing machines all my life. This was a mistake I ought not to have been making!

I finished my practice piece and decided to "go big or go home" so I loaded one of my quilt tops on the frame. Sure enough, I forgot to put the presser foot down a couple of times. I had to rip those stitches out and begin again. But it all worked out and I was able to complete my first actual quilt top! There is only one small area that should have had a little more quilting because I'd....wait for it...forgotten to put the presser foot down and didn't realize it until I took the quilt off the frame. I'll fix that in some less than perfect way. The good news is, the machine tries to tell me when the presser foot is up and I'm learning to recognize that sound sooner rather than later. I'll get into a very precise order of action that will help me remember to put the presser foot down. Everything is so new at this point and there are so many details to remember before starting to quilt.

I'm going to name her, the machine, but I haven't thought of anything yet. I thought about naming her after the original owner but that seems a little weird.

She's not the latest and greatest model but she is simple and easy to maintain. She's also surprisingly easy to maneuver! I have a stitch regulator, but alas, the rodents chewed the cords on that too. For now, I am learning to regulate my own stitches. Maybe one day I'll see if someone can fix the cords for me. Or maybe not.

This room was a bedroom added on to my grandparents' house. A couple years ago, my uncle and cousin detached the room from the house, pushed a trailer underneath the room and hauled it up to our property. My grandmother kept her quilting frames in this room. She would have been tickled pink to see this setup and to know I am sewing in the same space she sewed in.

The red strip is the side border of the quilt. The purple is near the top. The edges are the hardest part for me to sew right now. There is too much thinking involved and I tend to slow down, which messes up the stitches. But practice will bring progress!

And here is my first completed machine quilted quilt! All that is left to do is to put on the binding. My time ran out so that project will be waiting for me when I return.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Haunting Questions of October


Butterflies do not seem to be skittish creatures. I wonder how high they can actually fly. This one would dip down to the flowers and flit about, then soar up above the trees before coming back again. He/she looked like he/she was soaring joyfully. I enjoyed watching. How do they know how to adjust for wind speed? I'm not sure I really want to know. If I did, I could easily ask Google for the answers. 

That's not one of my haunting questions! Earlier this month, an online person asked me to tell them about my art. The question has been haunting me ever since. First of all, art. Me? Yes, me. Art!

All I really know is "...the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." (Henry Van Dyke)


Another haunting question came up when of the instructors at work casually mentioned to me that I was very creative and she enjoyed seeing some of the things I did (when I posted them on Facebook). We talked a bit about the joys of being creative and she told me about jewelry she was working on, and how she was learning to improve her skills through videos, and Skype with an instructor. That's a sad thing about wanting to learn more about an art process, when you can't find anyone or anywhere to learn more about it in person. The internet is handy for a lot of things but sometimes you just want a flesh and blood instructor standing in front of you, helping you along.

As we talked, the question that came up was "what are you working on now?" 

I don't really have answers to either question at the moment. I'm okay with that. At the moment.