Friday, December 18, 2015

Finishinfg Touches

 This is how I start my day.   Whether Eric leaves to teach his classes or sleeps in, as soon as he is out of bed I have the doxie horde with me.  And then it is hard for me to want to get up.  They don’t always lie around like this, sometimes they are all over me.  And you know I hate that.  Also they tend to come and go, jump down at the slightest sound and then bound back in acting like “we found you.”  It’s a great way to start the day.

And when I finally get up and ready to face the world I walk out into our living room to what is our Christmas tree this year.  Although not an original idea, it was one I saw online last year and spent most of the year trying to get it implemented.  First we had to find a wooden ladder, which was not as easy as I thought it would be.  Then, because this was going to be our Christmas tree, I decided to paint it forest green.  We bought premade shelves and I have since decided they also need to be painted but that will wait for later.  Anyway, after the ladder was properly prepared Eric took over adding the lights and then arranging the village pieces.  We are both thrilled with it.

Oh, you may have noticed the big empty space at the bottom.  We decided that with our three doxie babies, who have to get into everything, we would do better to not set up any of the village down there.  We do have three large animated Pooh pieces that may make an appearance before Christmas gets here.

The last few years that I worked I used the word “whatever” quite frequently.  It seemed that decisions were made that I thought were either illogical, not well thought out, or just plain stupid.  However I was not consulted for my expertise nor would my unsolicited input be appreciated so I would utter “whatever” and attempt work within the new guidelines.  I became known for the word.  So when Eric saw this clock he knew it was made for me: I agree.

I have nothing creative to show.  I will show what I have made as gifts but they will be shown after Christmas.  This has not been a year for creative gift giving so my offerings are quite small and humble.  But I couldn’t let this season of gift giving go without something made by me.  I am so grateful for my family’s response to my illness that I needed to respond with a little something that wasn’t bought but made.  And the thing I am most grateful for is the gift that God has given all of us who would receive it, that of his son’s sacrifice that assures us of eternal life with Him.  That gift has made everything worthwhile.

Health Update:  I was supposed to start an increased medication this week but turns out my white blood cell count was low (800) so it was put off for at least a week.  Other than that I appear to be doing well.  This pause in chemo therapy seems to be common but it was the first time it had happened to me.  I am having some pain problems with my hip replacement.  I was going to talk to the surgeon about it but my appointment this week was postponed (he had three emergency surgeries) until next week.  I just hope it will take care of itself rather than me having to go back in the hospital.  I REALLY don’t want to do that ever again.

Eric starts a 3 week semester break tomorrow: I will probably be spending more time in the studio for a while.   Have a great week and a Merry Christmas, just in case I don’t get back here for a while,  Gari

Friday, December 4, 2015

Off and On My Needles

I am always happy when I can report that I have completed a knitted item.  I am a very slow knitter.  It doesn’t bother me until feel I should have something done and I don’t.  These socks were started in March but I became sick around April/May and finally wound up in the hospital for half of July and again for a week in August.  Then it took me another few weeks to get back to knitting.  Since these socks were planned as a gift I focused on them and had them ready to gift on time.  I was almost as excited by them as my daughter was.

Meanwhile I had started on these.  I call them my “leftover” socks using the leftovers from earlier socks.  There is no rhyme or reason as to the order of the yarns but next time I may plan first.  I am putting two rows of the black/white between each new yarn.  This has been so fun, especially since all I am doing is knitting a plain stitch over and over.  I think I am about 2 1/2” away from starting the heels. 

I am sharing on Patchwork Times, come check us out.

Hope to see you all next week,  Gari

Monday, November 30, 2015

Birthday Month Part 4 & Conclusion

Nov 26:  It is hard to believe that Birthday Month is coming to an end.  Today I got another AU ornament.  Initially I decorated the bedroom with them but on Iron Bowl Saturday Eric used them to decorate our front door to ward off evil Bama spirits.

Nov 27:  My gift on this day was a pair of AU tights for me to wear on my birthday.  I was quite concerned as tights have never been my friends.  However I have lost enough weight that they fit great.

img_0289_22796295334_oNov 28: It’s a new iPad.  I have an old one that has difficulty holding a charge and Eric has been keeping it going for me.  Now it will be easier to charge it and my responsibility.  And I had it up and running before I went to bed (tech savvy).

And on my birthday we had all four of our children here: first time all together in 27 years.  I felt like crying but I didn’t.  We even had three of the four spouses plus some of the adult children.  There were lots of laughs and a significant amount of AUBURN/alabama trash talk.

As you can tell from this picture, fun was had by all.  And I spent the whole day smiling, I was so happy.

11-29-15Nov 29:  Before I could get up Eric presented me with these owl wind chimes.  The owl is beautiful and the chime is delicate.  I think I will attach it to the bed so I will hear the chime with movement.  I wonder how long that will last.  Winking smile

Nov 30:  My last Birthday Month gift is on back order and didn’t make it here.  I guess the good news is that I still have one gift to look forward to.  The bad news is that it leaves this month incomplete.  But it has been a really fun month and I have enjoyed sharing it.

done and gifted
One more thing, I did get these socks done and gifted to my daughter on her birthday (16th).  Because they were started before I got sick and were finished after I finally have begun to feel so much better, they really felt special.

And now we leave Birthday Month and enter the Christmas season.  See you back here next November 1st for another Birthday Month. Meanwhile we will continue with our regularly scheduled knitting and hopefully quilting blog.  Have a great week,    Gari

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Birthday Month Part 3

For anyone who hasn’t been reading my blog I feel I should explain what is going on at our house.  At the end of June my arm broke, almost on it’s own.  I had to have surgery to put it back together which included a metal piece to hold the two pieces in place.  While cleaning up the break the surgeon detected cancer in the bone.  A biopsy confirmed that diagnosis but found it was breast cancer that had migrated to all the bones of my body.  This diagnosis insured that my cancer was incurable but with medication could strengthen my bones and perhaps increase my lifetime.  I opted for medication rather than chemo and/or radiation and have been on two different medications since that time with positive results.  Oh, and I got to have two other surgeries, getting a pacemaker because my heart decided to cut back on beating (27 beats per minute) and hip replacement because the orthopedic surgeon, after looking at the x-rays, decided that there had been such significant deterioration that it was likely to break on it’s own.

Anyway, my husband decided to not take any chances that I might not be here for my next birthday and has made this Birthday Month the best one ever: a gift a day.   

Nov 18:  My husband has a great sense of humor.  And although we don’t feed the dogs from our plates, he recognized this expression as theirs.  And when you have 4 of those faces looking up at you, it is sometimes hard to ignore them.

Nov 19:  I collect glass owls: they can be found all over the house and even in the studio.  So this little crystal owl is a perfect fit.  It even has the body that matches the topaz, November’s birthstone.

Nov 20:  One may have noticed a Daschund bias.  I have had and loved Daschunds all my life and right now we have 3. Thus IU got this scarf.  It is really heavy so when we get those few really cold days this winter, I am ready to face them.  Isn’t he cute?

Nov 21:  What we are looking at are the flowers.  My husband knows that I love getting flowers and these appear to be lasting for a long time.  They really do add a soft touch in front of my owl lamp, don’t you think?

Nov 22:  This is a “giant” dark chocolate bar.  I had just explained to Eric that dark chocolate is good for the heart and this showed up.  Do you think I could convince him that pound cake was good for bone reconstruction?  

Nov 23:  We are decorating parts of our house for the Iron Bowl: we have our children coming and will be dealing with some Alabama”  fans.  So today’s gift is a cute ornament to show our preference for Auburn.

Nov 24:  It’s another sleep shirt and I love it.  Eric has been buying from Christmas catalogs and he is doing such a great job in finding things that I am loving.  I have now slept in this and then I laugh at it when I wake up and look down.  I have to admit though that the dogs don’t seem to be overly impressed.

Nov 25:  This one really made me laugh.  Several times a week Eric has heard me moan about having come from getting dressed but forgot my reading glasses, which I really need.  So I start pouting as I trudge back to the bedroom to get them. I have several pair but he got these for me and is insisting that they be kept in the living room, just in case I forget again.

That’s if for now but we still have a few days coming and that includes my real birthday.  But I cannot tell you how much fun this has been and not only for me, Eric has enjoyed it, too.  And I keep wondering how he is going to top it next year (I do plan to be here).

Happy Thanksgiving everybody,   Gari

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Birthday Month Part 2

11-10-15To continue:  Nov 10 – This t-shirt night shirt really had me laughing.  We are currently owned by 3 doxies and have had doxies for many years. I know I will wear this shirt out.

11-11-15Nov 11 – When I first found these candies they were called Dutch Mints and I fell in love with them.  They have become very hard to find but now we can get them online. This is a pretty large bag of them and will take me awhile to eat: I don’t share them easily.  Angry smile

11-11-15Nov 12 – I don’t know why Eric got me this shirt, I am the most soft spoken and sweet person he has ever met.  Well, maybe sometimes I can utter a sarcastic comment but, oh,OK, I not only can be sarcastic but I married a sarcastic man and raised 4 sarcastic children.  Get togethers are always fun.

11-12-15Nov 13 – I love Tervis cups and tumblers and getting one with the Grinch inside will absolutely start the Christmas season off right.

img_0247_22618893269_oNov 14 – On this day I got flicker candles that even have a remote.  This is going to allow us to have a romantic atmosphere in our living room, along with 3 doxies and one 15 year old blind Shih Tzu.

11-15-15Nov 15 – I saw this on TV one day and pointed it out to Eric.  I figured that it would be perfect for me to fix my own breakfast on the mornings he teaches.  He laughed at me and that was that.  Imagine my surprise when this showed up.  Do you think he is telling me to get up and take care of myself?  I could but I am enjoying being spoiled.

11-16-15Nov 16 – Many years ago I became an Agatha Christie fan.  And that was followed by the Christie movies made in England and shown on PBS.  There have been several Miss Marples, of course I only really liked one, but only one Poirot and I’m not sure I could accept any other.

11-17-15Nov 17 – Yesterday Eric gave me this beautiful t-shirt that I am wearing today.  It’s a good message and very attractive, too.

Health Update: this seemed like a good place to say that I saw the oncologist yesterday and he is very pleased with my progress.  So much so that next month he is putting me on a stronger “chemo” pill.  I make sure my family remembers that my cancer is incurable but we are working on quality of life and lengthening the time I have with them. And the good doctor seems to think we are accomplishing that. 

And, since I haven’t received a gift today, Crying face, I will wish one an all a good rest of the week.    Gari

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On My Needles

almost done

I am almost done with these socks.  I am a very slow knitter and I tire quickly so it really takes me a long time to see completion.  I have started the ribbing so I should be done by Monday morning.

I will be listing with Patchwork Times.  Gari

Monday, November 9, 2015

Birthday Month: Part 1r

In my family we/I celebrate Birthday Month.  It is only for November babies and primarily for female family members.  In fact I started it for me and then over time others have joined me.  Over the years it has resulted in some extra small birthday gifts and it has been a fun game.  This year however has been quite different.  So far I have gotten a gift from my husband every day: 

Nov 1 – IMG_0215
We love calendars and I love owls so here I am already ready with my bedroom calendar way before the new year.

Nov 2- IMG_0217
And then I was gifted with a pound cake, my favorite.  I have been sharing but mostly because hubby cuts the cake for me and somehow winds up with a piece for himself.

Nov 3 - IMG_0218
This, despite the size here, is a small calendar which will replace the in in the bathroom.  I almost could use the 2015 one since it didn’t get changed from May until October when I finally felt well enough to get around the house.  But I am sure the 2016 one will be more accurate.

Nov 4 – img_0230_22482338788_o
This is a miniature violin that represents a family joke.  My sister will be laughing when she sees this and I hope my mother will also.

Nov 5 – img_0232_22905688865_o
My husband knows that I love old murder mysteries.  One year I got all the old Charlie Chan movies which we watch all throughout the year, every year.  And now we can add the best of Sherlock Holmes.  Yippy!!   

Nov 6 - IMG_0221
This is an Auburn pillowcase on my down pillow.  It gets a bigger picture because 1: I am an AU graduate and 2: AU won its football game Saturday and that is a real accomplishment this year, and 3: I am an AU fan no matter how the football team does on the field.

Nov 7- 22468553139_f683762ec6_o
This is actually a bracelet with a saying I had come to live by several years ago.  It has especially become true this past summer as my physical health became our primary concern.

Nov 8 – img_0231_22887244012_o
On this day I got this burlap bag.  Eric is always encouraging me to continue with my creative projects.  And I need help in carting them from one place to another.

Nov 9 – img_0229_22482321348_o
Imagine my surprise today when Eric presented this to me while I was still in bed.  I was not sure what he was trying to tell me.  Smile with tongue out

The first couple of days I was surprised but after a while I started looking forward to what would come next.  This has become a very fun game and I am enjoying it immensely.  Also, I am a very lucky lady in that even after almost 55 years of marriage, 4 children, first at home with us and then moving away to start their own lives and families, my husband loves me and has never been afraid to show me how much.

Health Update:  As of today I am no longer receiving any services from Home Health.  I am doing well on the extra strong drug I am taking and am feeling fine.  There is no question that I have a serious condition but it is not stopping me from enjoying my life. 
Have a great week everybody,  Gari

Monday, November 2, 2015

On My Needles

almost ready 4 heelI was a little more productive in October.  I have been knitting on these socks since May.  Of course I stopped all knitting (and quilting) in June and didn’t pick up anything until September.  So I am very pleased with where I am on these: I am almost ready to begin the heels.  I will be doing the FLK heel on them and, after several viewings of the videos, I assume that I will have no problems with them.  Then just a short leg on each and these should be done, hopefully, by mid-November.

I have other socks on needles.  They are going to be my leftover socks using only leftover yarn from earlier completed socks.  I don’t know how they are going to look but I think they will be fun to knit once the different yarns come into play.  However since I only have the toes done I have quite a ways to go.


I do have 5 finished washcloths which I will consider as one finish.  These are my mindless knitting projects and I really do enjoy making and using them. 

Health Report:  Today I had my monthly oncologist appointment.  Every month I have had to have blood drawn and the lab report is sent to him.  He then determines how I am doing.  So far my blood has told him that both me and the medications are doing well.  However, for the next two months I have to do this every two weeks (bummer).  Each time the doctor has to decide if I continue on the medication based on my blood work.  So far I haven’t had any of the side effects that are listed on 2 pages but I don’t have any control over what my blood tells him.

One more piece of good news is that I am being dropped from Home Health because I am doing so well.  This means no more aides, no more nurses, and only 3 more physical therapy sessions over the next 2 weeks.  I have really appreciated the help I have received from these workers and will miss our talks but I am also looking forward to not having to plan my days around when they are coming.  I know that I will need their assistance again when this disease really takes over so I am going to enjoy this respite for as long as these medicines give me.  And maybe I will be able to get strong enough to be able to get back to quilting.

Speaking of quilting, I have downloaded the instruction sheet for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery that begins on November 27th.  I plan to pull as many of the colors she has chosen from my stash as I can and then see about another fabric shopping trip.  I have done only one of her mysteries but I started the last one and still have everything boxed up hoping that I can get back to it.  This time I am thinking of making a small throw and not a full quilt.  Also this time I am thinking of using the same colors as Bonnie.  I wonder if I can do it, I usually want to take off on my own.  Winking smile

We had company last weekend, our oldest son and his wife came to check on us.  And for most of the day our puppies were all over them getting as much love and attention as they could.  However all that activity eventually tired out the most energetic of them.  Sadie 10-31-15

Sadie was completely worn out and fell asleep on two pieces of furniture.  I guess there wasn’t enough room for her on the footstool so her head had to go onto the table close by.  Poor baby.

And now I had better get busy doing my exercises before the PT person gets here to check on my progress.  Have a great week everybody,  Gari

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Stitching–Some Family Time

I don’t think I even set foot in the studio last week.  On Monday I saw the orthopedic surgeon’s nurse practitioner who told me I was free to do as much as I could.  I complained at the slow progress I was making and she reminded me that I had had 3 surgeries within 5 weeks (none my idea) and that my body was still reeling from the assaults.  So I stopped my complaining.  Then it was off to breakfast out and some shopping at the drug store (which has been getting a lot of our money).

On Tuesday I visited with the cardiologist.  I was again reminded that every time you go to a doctor you have to give them all the same information that you just gave the other doctors.   Anyway, he was pretty happy with how my heart and pacemaker are working together.  He did think there was room for improvement and turned the beats per minute up a bit.  I can’t tell the difference.  Both of these doctors don’t want to see me again until mid-December which is just fine by me.

And today I started the new medication that is supposed to be more potent in cancer retarding.  I will see the oncologist in two weeks and he will be looking at my lab work to see if it is doing what it is supposed to do.  Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile we have been visiting with family.  Our daughter came by on Saturday and we fell into watching football.  She is a rabid fan (wrong school) and yells as though she were in the stands.  She and hubby were so involved I called her the son he never had: I don’t think any of our three sons are as passionate as Lisa.
Kia Soul
We offered to take her to lunch and she drove us in her new car.  Then the funny thing was that she paid for lunch.  Not bad, huh?

Two for the road.

And I must say we looked pretty good in it.

Ryder 10-18-15

This past Sunday we went to Florida to visit our grandson, his wife, and their really sweet son, Ryder.  We treated them, and ourselves, to Red Lobster where I ate 1# of crab legs and drawn butter.  I was still cracking shells long after everyone else was done: it was worth it!!

Mom & Ryder reading

Back at their house his Mommy read to him.  Look at how involved he is in the book.  He is not quite 11 months and you would swear he was reading along with her.

Ryder and Dad (Chris)
And then it was time to climb on Daddy.  We were again impressed both with how happy a baby Ryder is and his parents approach to parenting.

I do have to say that I was quite tired by the time we got home so was in bed early.  Now I just have to get myself motivated to do my exercises and then move on to fabric manipulation and then yarn entanglement.

I hope everyone who reads this has a great week with a sense of accomplishment, great or small.  Gari