Archive | February, 2015

Hanging by a Thread

27 Feb

Quite a while ago, I bought a very pretty set of quilt, dust ruffle, pillow shams, and curtains for our guest room. Most of the time the quilt is covered by the usual detritus of a sewing room, but a few weeks ago I decided to wash the thing. Once a decade, whether it needs it or not, is my motto. Well, when I pulled it off the bed, I realized it wasn’t actually quilted.  The top is stitched to a three inch wide green strip, which is sewn to a twelve inch wide strip of the same white floral fabric as the top. Those three rows of stitching are all that is holding the top, the batting, and the back together. If I had washed it all of the batting would have come apart and I’d have had one ugly lumpy mess.

The machine quilting I've been doing to make this monster washable

The machine quilting I’ve been doing to make this monster washable

So – I managed to stitch the green strip with big Xs, and have one row of plain stitching four inches from the edge of the white strip. I’ve also sewn around three of the big roses on the top of the quilt. A much more involved job than I anticipated, mostly because the blessed thing is so big.

I have done most of the straight stitching on the Xs using straight pins to mark the lines, but when it came to the long rows along the edges I decided to use a marker. I have a fabric pen, but the line fades so fast by the time I get to the end of the quilt it’s gone at the beginning. Tailor’s chalk doesn’t work on white fabric, so I grabbed a blue marker off the table. I had only gone three inches when the fabric sort of puckered under my hand, and as I moved the marker to smooth the cloth I discovered I’d grabbed a Sharpie – a permanent marker! – instead of the washable Crayola next to it.

I think I would have simply laid down and died, just flat on the floor, if I had ruined that blasted quilt at the last minute.

Still plugging along at it.

I’m Not Crazy…

24 Feb

…I’ve just been tested.

The Squire and I went down today to meet with a neurologist. I had made this appointment before I discovered my problems were more likely associated with Vitamin D toxicity, and was sorely tempted to cancel it, but The Squire said we’d be better off safe than sorry, so away we went.

We had a bit of a chat, and then some fairly simple tests – what year is this? Date? Month? Approximately what time? Could I spell “world” backwards? Take this paper in your left hand, fold it in half and give it back with my right hand. The doctor said there’s not a thing in the world wrong with me, and not to worry.  He did say he’d never heard of the Vitamin D business, but I told him if there was a weird reaction out there, I’d be the one to have it. Such as the time a “non-drowsy” allergy med put me to sleep for two hours.

One of my friends had a doctor who asked her to repeat a list of words backwards, and do all sorts of crazy things. “Jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton” sort of nonsense, and she was actually put on medication and told she had Alzheimer’s, so I figure I got off easy. And she’s perfectly fine, too.


A Bit Unclear on the Concept

22 Feb

Veggie burger

It Won’t Work

19 Feb

That’s an old (fill the ethnicity or denomination of your choice) expression for “we’ve never done it that way before”.

The Squire, as I have mentioned before, needs new shoes, which necessitates a trip to North Carolina to get a mold made. He has relatives in the area, so whenever we go down that way, we always stop in and see everybody.

He left home a few days after he graduated from high school, and every trip he’s made since, he’s gone to Newport, Tennessee, first, as it is the farthest, and then worked his was back up north, through Asheville, and Canton, NC. Well, it turns out the friends with whom we were going to stay in Newport are having company during the time when we would be there, and it just wouldn’t work out that we’d even be able to have dinner with them, let alone a decent visit. “Well, why don’t we just do the trip backwards? We can do Newport last.”

“We can’t do that. We’ll just visit my sister and we won’t see Dick and Jane.” I love his sister dearly, but she smokes non-stop and my poor lungs just can’t hack it. (Pardon the pun.) She knows this and understands it, but it means we’d have to stay in a motel. Dick and Jane are friends from the early days of our marriage, and we’d both miss the chance to spend time with them.

Finally, I pointed out that if we did the trip backwards, we could get the molds for his shoes made on our first day on the road, instead of the last, and the woman who makes them would have a week’s head start.  Now, that got his attention.

This morning, my back surgeon gave me permission to travel, and the weather down south will be in the 40s and 50s, while up here it will be in the teens and 20s, so we’re good to go.

Alas, Poor Yorick

18 Feb

Never let it be said I am a fan of grackles, but I do understand the birds have to eat, so we keep putting out vast amounts of seed when it snows. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to fill the feeders for a few days, hoping they would find another place to haunt, and then it snowed Monday night, so we were back at it.

This morning I went out to fill the tube where we put peanuts for the squirrels and found a grackle inside, curled up with his head under his wing, frozen solid.

He received a ceremonial burial in the trash can.

Incompetence, Thy Name is Comcast

17 Feb

For reasons which defy logic, it is less expensive to use Comcast for TV, Internet and phone service than it is for only TV and Internet.  We really like Vonage, because their rates for overseas calls are very low – most of Europe is free and even my bi-weekly call to Australia is only 2 cents a minute. When you talk for an hour, that adds up! Comcast offers total US calling, but their overseas rates seem to date from the 60s. Anyway, after some toing and froing, we decided to go with them anyway.

I worked for Blue Cross for ten years, and I thought I knew incompetence inside and out, but Comcast beats all.

The Squire spent an hour on the phone on Friday, getting bounced from pillar to post, and then again today doing the same thing. I cannot tell you the number of times he repeated his name, address and both our regular phone number and his cell number. Nobody seemed to know what was going on. One young lady promised to call him back within fifteen minutes; that was a little after noon, and it is now 4:30.

It finally turned out that nobody – nobody! – can figure out how to change our phone over from one service to another without changing the number, which we refuse to do. We’ve had the same number since 1972, and it’s a really easy one to remember. When I got sick in 1982 the part of my brain that does numbers disappeared. Anything I knew before I turned 40 is still in there, but after that – forget it. I’ve told the girls they can never change their phone numbers, because I won’t be able to call them.  It’s bad enough that I have to tell folks I don’t have a cell because I don’t know the number.

They’ll never believe I don’t have a land line.


15 Feb

First time for everything.

Fr. M decided to cancel church services this morning. At 10:30 (right now) it has warmed up at bit; the temperature is 8F, with a wind chill of -14.  Last night when we went to bed, the wind chill was -27.  Our car won’t start, and the kitchen pipes are frozen. (We will NOT go into the numerous times I have suggested to The Squire that we wrap them with heat tape.) Fortunately, we still have running water in the bathroom, so we’ll manage.

Everything is sealed as tightly as possible, with a blanket over the kitchen door, and the dining room drapes shut and then pulled up and tucked into the window sill. That window is already triple-glazed, but you can still feel the cold reaching through the glass.  The thermostat is set on 70, but the dining room is only 61 degrees. We are ensconced in the den, with an electric heater running.

Last night, we turned the heat down to 63 when we went to bed, but because the furnace was chugging along trying to keep up, our bedroom got so hot I had to open the window!


13 Feb

A few weeks ago I had an MRI of my brain because I am exhibiting some of the same symptoms – primarily confusion and forgetfulness – that my dad showed before he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I requested a copy of the “films” (actually a CD) to hand carry to my neurologist, whom I will see next Tuesday afternoon.

Several months ago I had gone to my endocrinologist to see about increasing my Synthroid dosage, as I am always exhausted and cannot control my weight. Instead of that, she put me on a very large dosage of Vitamin D.

So – Sunday I took the CD to church, because one of our members is a radiologist and I wanted him to take a look, even though he wouldn’t have the prior films for comparison.  Nothing particularly outstanding, but he did ask what meds I am on. When I mentioned the Vitamin D, his face lit up. “That’s your problem. Too much can cause confusion, as well as fatigue and diarrhea.” Great.  I have always slept more than the average bear, but for quite a while now, I have been getting up at least once a night to trot to the potty, and I have been sleeping between twelve and fourteen hours a night.

So much for “pepping me up”.

When I saw the doctor yesterday and practically got down on my knees to ask for more Synthroid (honestly, you’d think I was looking for real drugs) she said too much was bad for my heart, and would make me hyper. Well, the extra 25 pounds I’ve been lugging around isn’t doing my heart much good, and frankly, considering my sleep habits, a little bit of “hyper” might be a good thing.

A Larger Can

5 Feb

It has been said that when you open a can of worms, you always need a larger can to put them back.?????????? All of this mess on this end of the table came out of one of my mom’s tubs. Even at that, it’s not as bad as it could be, as I have tossed a lot, and mailed off scads of pictures to various relatives.  Just to add to the  fun, The Squire decided this was a jolly good time to go through his genealogy pictures.

We are both handicapped by the fact that nobody thought to label the back of their photos. My dad had a scrapbook dating from before the time he met my mom, with lots of pictures of Carol and Mary, but no last names. There is also a small mountain of pictures from pre-war Pearl Harbor. The landscapes are all labeled, but who does he mean by “the three of us”?

The poor Squire is doubly frustrated because his aunt kept a perfect scrap book, with names, places and dates, and when she died, her daughter promised faithfully to send him “all of mom’s pictures”, which she did. By ripping every single one out of the book. When he received this lumpy package, he called her, and she was astounded that he wanted “ahl thet ol’ wrahtin’ an stuff. I just tossed that in the far.” (You need a strong Tennessee accent to do that line properly.)

I’m down to the last one or two inches of this second tub, and I may just dump it into the third tub and go do something more productive, such as catch up on my ironing.

Back – Again

4 Feb

The Squire and I went up to Bel Air yesterday for yet another injection in my back.  Generally, I can drive myself up and hop in the car to go home, but the last two trips I’ve had to have an escort. This trip did seem to be a bit more involved than the last few, and I had more trouble walking than I anticipated. My leg felt fine on the outside, but when I got up to walk across the recovery room, my muscles were numb on the inside, and I moved like a person with an ill-fitting prosthesis.  I had intended to swing by Joann’s and select a pattern to make our great-granddaughter a spring dress, but The Squire put the kibosh to that, and insisted we go straight home.

Just as well. He helped me up the stairs, fixed me an ice bag, and I slept for two hours.

I was showing my doctor my thumb, and told him I had regretted ever having it done. He admitted “it’s a tough one”, and referred to it as Game Keeper’s Thumb. Apparently, back in jolly ol’ when the Laird shot a mess of pheasant, it was the Game Keeper’s job to go collect them all and wring the necks of the birds that were still alive. (Not exactly a Game “Keeper” in my opinion, but who am I to argue?) He would grab the bird’s neck with both hands and turn in opposite directions.  Eventually, the twisting motion would dislocate one thumb or the other, and the poor guy would be out of a job. I guess he could feed the chickens or something. The Squire said he just grabbed the chicken by the head and swung it around a couple of times.

I am almost down to the bottom of tub #2, and once this is empty I’ll take a break for a while, and maybe work on a dollhouse. I have one that desperately needs to be finished up, and is very close, except for a bloody thatched roof.  At least I can get The Squire to help me with that; sorting photos was strictly a solo performance.