24 February, 2015

Accepting the Unexpected

I'm a planner. I don't like surprises; my ideal day skips right along from one scheduled and anticipated event to the next. Yesterday wasn't that ideal for me. It all started out okay... but then, when I plunged my hand into the freezer to remove what I needed for our dinner (pre-planned and on the calendar, of course!) something wasn't quite right; there was no icy blast of air, no rock-hard piles of carefully wrapped steaks, chops and fish... in fact, I was greeted by the exact opposite. Warm air, not good; thawed meats and prepared-ahead casseroles, they weren't even slightly cold... the contents were a complete loss. This refrigerator-freezer is probably 25 years old, it has served us well as a kitchen back-up; in all honesty, it is used almost as much as our primary one. It was dead. I had not planned on this.

In the mid-afternoon we lost our power. It was back on within an hour later; I have no idea what happened, but the day's plan was eroding... and fast. What next?

Now, imagine if you lived without weather forecasts (in a cave?); you would just wake up in the morning and deal with whatever the weather gods have in mind for you that day. Welcome to my world; this is what we awakened to today... surprise! I don't like surprises. I need to work on my flexibility.

I imagined that Mr. Goodneedle and I would shop for a new refrigerator-freezer to replace the one we've lost, I was looking at the planner to schedule a time to leave with one eye on the now snowy roads... perhaps we'd have to wait. He had another idea altogether... he thinks he can fix it! Oh. I hadn't planned on that. I should have... what was I thinking? After a string of suprises it's comforting to recognize that this handy husband will most definitely take the time to try and fix what's wrong before we hastily schedule any appliance shopping trip; that's a behavior I can always plan on. I had almost taken leave of my senses; reacting to too many surprises all at once, I can't be held accountable. He's got the back off of it now and a volt-ohm meter in his hand, all is right with the world...
...There was that light and fluffy, smooth loaf of bread I expected to remove 
from the breadmaker to serve with our spaghetti and salad this evening... 

 I'm going to go do some stretches... I'll jot that down on my calendar!

Life is Good!

23 February, 2015

Resurrection Spray?

I never gave a lot of thought to what a four year old might think the purpose of an exterminator would be; I just assumed that Gregory understood they kept one's home free of bugs by the obvious method. Apparently he thinks that the bug man, by use of his magic spray, is able to perform the complete opposite!

Gregory spent the night with us on Saturday; when he came out of the bedroom yesterday morning he tenderly cradled a dead lady bug in his softly closed fist. "Nana", he said "you need to call the bug man, I think this lady bug is dead and it needs the spray"!  He gave it to me and I placed it on the bathroom vanity, I didn't want to traumatize him by pitching it in the waste basket. I caught him examining it a short time later... "it's still dead" he said, "you need to call the bug man now".

The sweet innocence of his heart, one that believes in a world where life can be restored through a well-placed squirt, is enough to melt my own. 
Life is Good!

21 February, 2015

Creating Order

I reorganized the pantry yesterday, creating order out of what had become a drop-off zone for almost anything even vaguely kitchen related; chaos reigned in there. The floor was stacked with odds and ends as well as small appliances and the leaf for the kitchen dining table. Mr. Goodneedle suggested adding an additional shelf, around the top, to free up the floor space. It was a brilliant idea!  He took care of his part; but I knew, all along, that my charge would be to take everything out and not only rearrange the pantry into an orderly space but to cull each unused or unwanted object and toss every outdated food item. A task that seemed monumental to me as recently as three days ago was finished before lunchtime yesterday; today I am reenergized whenever I open the door. This photo represents much more than a neat and orderly pantry though; it speaks to me about discipline. Ever since my shoulder began aching my daily life has slipped into a disorganized mess. Yes, I have been keeping up with projects and deadlines but there's been no order to any of it; it's all been hit or miss. On Fridays, my self-imposed cleaning day, I've done what I could and left the rest... the cumulative effect of that behavior has not been ideal. Our Christmas dishes remained in the cupboard because I simply didn't want to even think about lifting the stacks of plates and moving them. I didn't realize at the time that the shoulder pain was ruling me. The last straw came this week when I left the laundry basket on top of the dryer and refused to carry it back to the bedroom, I knew how much that would make my arm ache if I did. Suddenly, I looked at what had become of my otherwise orderly life and laughed. Why was I being so stubborn; where was that discipline that I so desperately needed?  After the pantry re-do, with two doctor's appointments behind me and a schedule of physical therapy stretching out in front of me I happily took back the reins to my life! I can do this. I realigned my priorities and will follow prescribed directions to the letter. Today the house is clean; dusted and vacuumed like it hasn't been for months. Oh, and the Christmas dishes are safely stowed for next Christmas in their designated cabinet. I've created order in my own little nest once again; as well as in my mind and spirit, it's all good.
Life is Good!

20 February, 2015

It's Frozen!

So, after suffering with a painful left shoulder since October I decided, at long last, to go to the doctor. Yeah, I know... but, I thought I could treat this myself! To begin with I did away with the heavy handbag swinging off that shoulder; I used moist heat, I used ice packs, I used a sling, I strapped it up, I wore a compression sleeve, I took ibuprofen... nothing worked. Finally, on Tuesday, I cried "uncle". After a quick trip to my PCP's office yesterday morning and an even faster referral to an Orthopedic Specialist I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder yesterday afternoon. Well, all things considered, (it was 2 degrees outside our back door when I got up today) what isn't frozen? I received a cortisone shot in the shoulder which immediately freed up the movements within; that, in itself, was next to miraculous. I had my first PT session this morning; all went well, the therapist is great and I have a printout of exercises to do at home as a supplement to my workouts there. This is going to take time... but it will get better. The Ortho doc prescribed some high-powered pain meds and suggested taking those prior to each session with the physical therapist; I did that, the session went just fine... but, it didn't sit very well with my stomach and I was sick as a dog (sorry, Hannes!) after returning back home. I believe I'll cut that dose in half for next time. It's onward and upward from here. The best news? If it doesn't hurt, keep on doing it, that includes longarm quilting! The puzzled look on the therapist's face when I explained what a longarm machine is, and asked if it would do any harm, was priceless... he hadn't a clue.
Life is Good!

19 February, 2015

Snow Day(s)!

Snow in the south usually results in just about everything being shut down, all activities are canceled or postponed; the inch+ of snow (plus a healthy layer of sleet on top) that arrived on Tuesday did all of that here!  I know my friends and family to the north are shaking their heads; that's okay, as a result of having nowhere to go I have done a LOT... my "to do" list is punctuated with nothing but check marks!  You know how you pile up the supplies for certain projects and think to yourself "sometime... when I have nothing else to do and nowhere else to be... suddenly it dawned on me, today is that day, I can work on all of those things! I sewed pillowcases, I put binding on a quilt, I loaded a quilt on the longarm, I caught up on my block-of-the-month and I stitched up a monochromatic block for the True Colors workshop being help at my LQS. (At first I tried my hand at improvisational piecing but that was an epic failure; I went with a traditional Blazing Star block instead and even designed a setting for this ongoing workshop/challenge.) I'm feeling successful in my accomplishments, all of this gives me time for my newest hobby: watching the meterologists and news anchors make the most ridiculous to absurd weather related comments in overly dramatic tones. Yesterday on the local news: "Prepare yourself for the coldest temperatures you've ever experienced!" Really, how would he know? If he's referring to temperatures here, I do recall it being this cold before. But, this morning, I heard one even better; our local weather person was all bundled up standing outside on an interstate overpass, when she wearied of reporting about the visibility of her own breath she said this: "what people have to be careful of is the black ice, mainly because you cannot see it. Can I get a close-up camera shot over here of this patch of black ice?" Huh? I thought you just said one could not see it! Yes, it's cold. Yes, it can be dangerous driving if you don't know what to look for and you don't adjust your speed. This all makes for some pretty hilarious viewing. I honestly don't know why it's important to bundle up the weather people and send them outside to report on just how cold it is... you can't SEE cold; all we can see is how many layers of clothes in which they manage to wrap themselves! Personally, I'm content to stay inside where it's not cold and check off all those pending projects one by one... today is the day! How do you spend your snow days?
Life is Good!

17 February, 2015

A New Batch

I have a new batch of quilt blocks ready for tomorrow's "Bible" study; the monthy meeting that Quiltkeemosabe and I have to compare notes and share tips on our construction techniques for the blocks out of Rosemary Youngs' Quilt Block Bible.
Pictured here are:
Row #1 - Log Cabin and T Block
Row #2 - X Outline, Lantern and X Star Block
Row #3 - Doris' Delight Star, Grandma's Star and Radiant Star
Row #4 - Ribbon Star, Star of Spring and Shooting Star
They've all been fun and each is challenging in its own way. This brings the cumulative total of completed 6" blocks to fifty one blocks; we're twenty five percent done! Sadly, time will tell if we'll actually get together tomorrow or not, an inch of snow and sleet last evening has left our roads in poor condition for driving. I'm hopeful we'll experience a big melt today. I have little room to complain; my friends and family in New England have really been dealt a heavy hand when it comes to snow and ice. These cute little blocks can wait, safety first; I suppose I can always find something else to work on if we need to reschedule!
Life is Good! 

16 February, 2015

Pillowcase Project

"Can you help the youth with a project to sew pillowcases that will be donated to the children's hospital?" she asked; "of course I can", I responded. I had no idea about the project or what I needed to know ahead of time to be of any assistance when our Director of Student Ministries posed the question to me a few weeks ago at church. All I knew was that whenever I have the opportunity to help children with any sewing project it is going to be fun! She sent me a link to this website and I tried out the pattern listed there... I was impressed! It didn't take me long to unearth a few pieces of fabric from the stash closet and stich up this example; the instructions were clear and the result was a well constructed, bright and cheerful pillowcase. The group gathered after worship service yesterday, fifteen children ranging in age from seven to ten years. For most of them it was their first time seated behind a sewing machine; their enthusiasm was contagious! They were excited about the fabrics that they had selected and brought, about sewing and about helping other children; it was a wonderful afternoon.
Check out the link and consider stitching up a pillowcase or two to brighten the day of hospitalized child with a life-threatening condition, it only takes a few minutes; look for a local chapter near you. I know I will sew up many more of these. Better yet, if you're given the chance to spend some time stitching with children, DO IT; it will be the best time you've spent... I promise!
Life is Good!