Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Season 2009

Hi there everyone!

I am sorry it has been so long since I have posted. A great deal has been going on here. If I remember right, the last time I posted was right after Thanksgiving. Things have been good here this Christmas Season.

Rachel's appointment in Chicago about her eyes was a long one. She and Jack left here early that day, dropping Sarah at school and then heading up north. The storm that was going on in the Upper Midwest at the time, missed between here and Chicago, so driving in bad weather was averted. They arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. Jack did have a long walk from the parking area to the building, but once in the building, Rachel snagged a wheelchair for him. Matthew, Rachel's oldest brother, met them at the hospital. I finally got a call about three hours after the appointment started, they were being given a short break, while Rachel's eyes were being dilated for the next phase of the appointment. I was told everything was going well at that point. The next time Jack called was about three hours later when he had arrived at Matthew's apartment to drop him off. Matthew only lives about a fifteen minute drive away from the hospital.

In that call, Jack told me that the doctor wants Rachel to see another doctor in Peoria, which is only an hour from here. This doctor would place some sort of prism in Rachel's glasses to help her eyes see single instead of double. If the prism in her glasses work then she would have that prism surgically placed on her eye. If it doesn't work, then we would be back to step one, which is what do we do now? We need to get hold of this doctor and make the appointment to see him, but he was very hard to get hold of during the Holidays!

Jack had to start taking over a great deal of the driving duties because my glasses did a disappearing act in the middle of the night in early December. We still haven't found my good glasses, (I am wondering if our cats played hockey with them!!) but we did find a pair that I can see well enough to drive in during the daylight hours. I discovered I can see well enough to stitch, but not do much computer time. This also means that Jack doesn't really want me to drive when the roads could possibly be bad, which that is fine with me! Also, in a weird way this is a good thing because it is making Jack have to do more moving around. Because of his sciatic nerve pain he spends a great deal of time off his feet.

I do understand that it can be painful for him to be on his leg too much, but I think he needs to be on it a bit every once in awhile. The sciatic nerve problem isn't the only reason he stays off his feet, he has been 'nursing' a bad wound he got on the bottom of his foot Presidential Election Day, 2008. He actually had to have surgery the day after the election. We took him to the Emergency Room after Jack picked me up from being an Election Judge. They started surgery the next morning at 7:00. He was going to the wound clinic weekly until September because of that. The area has reopened and so now we are doing the same things the wound clinic was doing. We are discussing that he will probably need to go back about his foot, but he is trying to delay it until after January 1, because that is my birthday. He wants to be home on my birthday, not stuck in the hospital.

The girls finished up their second quarter of school when Christmas Vacation started. We don't know their grades yet, for certain though because they didn't get their report cards. Rachel thinks that she has straight A's. This would not surprise us, as that has happened most of her quarters of schooling. Sarah isn't really sure of her grades. The last two days before Christmas break, Sarah had to take semester finals. She thinks she did well on her exams, but isn't sure what the percentage of the test will be on her final grade for the semester.

Rachel was in the children's Christmas program at church. She played a Shepard because she is one of the tallest kids in her age group. She did a great job. Jack did take a picture of her in her shepard outfit, but hasn't downloaded the pictures taken yet. GRRR He wants more pictures on the camera before he does any downloading.

On the stitching front, I did finish Sassy about a week before Christmas. I was having trouble scanning her because of the size of the finished piece. Jack took a picture for me, but it didn't turn out right, so Tina ended up taking a picture of her the day we opened presents. She turned out so great!

On Monday of the week before Christmas, Jack and I were talking about what to give Tina and Harold for Christmas. Jack asked me how much of Sassy I had to do and I went and got it and showed him. At the time, I had most of the cloud above her head, some of each color blue, her eyes and the outlining of her left paw. I told Jack that if I was allowed to just sit and stitch that I would be done by Friday. Well, I felt like the week was against me because on Tuesday and Wednesday both we were having car problems. Because of those I was getting little done. On Friday morning I woke up at 6:30 and counted exactly how many X's I had left (plus the eyes and outlining). I had 782 X's to complete. I then sat down and began to stitch. All of the X's were in the actual cloud. Jack dealt with whatever the kids needed as well as everything else. I was only taking short breaks here and there for eating, bathroom, etc. When it came time to outline her left paw, I pulled up the actual picture of her and saw how her paw was laying. Then I drew the outline on my pattern. I originally stitched the outline in the color Tina had picked out for this. Jack looked and thought that the color was too bold for that, and so then he picked out a softer color. I then frogged the first color and replaced with the second color. Then it came time for the pupils of her eyes. I started to do them with black beads as was originally discussed. I was using a size 28 needle for this and the bead was too small to fit over the eye of the needle and broke. I then tried threading an actual beading needle and was having issues finding the eye. Jack started helping me thread the needle using the magnifying glass and then realized that the bead was too small to represent Sassy's pupil. We then looked at buttons, but all my buttons were too big. Then we decided that it would be best for me to do the Satin stitch to fill in the pupil area. Once that was done, she looked so life like to us. Just like she was saying, "My ball!" Sassy loved her tennis balls.

Tina and Harold loved it and started crying when they saw her. They didn't know that I was done with her. Jack and I wanted to frame her, but we couldn't get to it. I was relieved that they loved the finished picture as much as I did.

I have also been stitching on a hot pad/coaster that I wanted to have done by Christmas, but missed the mark. It is for my son in California and his wife. I have told them they will be receiving a late gift. As you can see, I don't really have that much more to do. I hope to be done with this before the first of the year. Then I can start on my next project, which will be IS 40:31. Jack has been wanting me to do that one since he got home from the nursing home after his cancer surgery. I had two different patterns of the project and he finally decided on which pattern he liked better while I was doing Sassy. I could be mistaken, but I do not think it will be too hard to put the parts of this coaster together to complete it properly.

My Christmas from Jack nearly put me in shock. Jack put something on lay-a-way in April. I had no idea what it was, other than suspecting it was a piece of jewelry. I thought maybe a Mother's ring because of the time of year the lay-a-way started. But, boy, was I wrong! He had been debating himself all year whether to give the gift to me for Christmas or my birthday, since the following ring story happened from just after Christmas til the day after my birthday. Most of the people he asked opted for Christmas. I am glad that he gave it to me then! :) The picture isn't the best, but the ring is a new wedding band. See, after Jack had his cancer surgery a couple days after Christmas of 2006, (December 27th) he slipped into coma. During this coma, he and I could communicate. December 31 that year was a Sunday. I went to church with my sister-in-law (the one from Texas) and girls. It was the first time I'd left his side for more than a few minutes since he went into coma. While at the church, just as sure as he was sitting next to me, he said, "Honey, let me die!" In response, I said, "No. The girls and I need you!" A few seconds later I felt a tug at my wedding ring. I looked down and saw that my rings were broken. The wedding band in one spot, the engagement ring in another. Also my diamonds had popped out. My finger was bleeding. I refused to take my ring off. Even though the gold was poking me. On January 1, 2007, my other sister-in-law (the one from California) arrived. As a family we prayed over Jack's bed. He had started improving almost immediately upon the conclusion of the prayer. About 30 minutes after we prayed, Jack was improved enough that the doctors took him off some of the things they had him on. He was out of coma by the morning of January 2nd and well enough to be transferred out of ICU by the afternoon of the second. The eerie thing to some, but not Jack and me, is not how God worked and made him better, but that the first thing Jack said to me when he came out of coma on January 2nd was, "Did I break your ring when I pulled on it? I was so mad when you said 'No, the girls and I need you!' " Earlier this year Jack put my original wedding band in for repair. He wants it to become a family heirloom. An example of how much we loved each other to our future grand children. He said that he wants our wedding bands to be looped together, by his band being cut, put in the circle of my ring and being re-welded.

I did get sad news a few hours ago. My oldest Aunt - she turned 84 October 21 - passed away in her sleep last night. She has been in a nursing home for several years, suffering with Alzheimer's. I started crying because at one time Aunt Dot and I were close but the last time I spent any time with her was before we moved from California and that was in December 1990. Jack helped me feel better. He told me to think of it that she and Uncle Don are finally together again and that could be the best Christmas present she could receive. Uncle Don plus her mansion in Heaven. I do feel better about her death since Jack pointed this out.

Back to the not so sad. The girls enjoyed their Christmas. Jack and I got Sarah a MP3 player and Rachel a sterling silver charm bracelet. They were very happy. Jack received a huge amount of tools. We realized how much he was in need of tools when the car broke down.

The praise report that I have is that we had a large hole in our living room ceiling and a smaller hole in the bathroom wall that needed repair. The ceiling hole happened when the roof had a leak. The leak was fixed, but not the inside damage. The bathroom hole happened when Sarah kicked out when she was straightening her hair while on the bathroom floor. I am still trying to figure that one out! I mentioned this to a church member. He mentioned it to another church member who happened to be part of the local crews to build the Habit for Humanity homes. They came over together a few days later and repaired the holes in a matter of a couple of hours. The Lord is good! :) I was worried about these holes because our heat was escaping right out them and I could just imagine the power bill! The house was warmer almost instantaneously! That did take care of some of my stress. It showed me that the issues I am stressing over will be resolved, eventually.

We are in the midst of our first real snow storm. We had received some snow three different times earlier this year, but no storm even completely hid the grass. Right now it has been snowing dor about eight hours and we have about six inches of snow. It is still falling. Rachel has been having alot of fun, going outside and playing awhile and then coming in for a warm up.

Well, I should be signing off, I have made this long enough, I just wanted to try and get every bit of news in since it had been so long since my last post. I pray everyo9ne had a great Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Her Body is DONE!

Hello, All!

I wanted to let everyone know that I finished Sassy's body on Thanksgiving morning. I wanted to show you all that day, but I haven't been able to really get on the computer, so I hadn't post a picture. I felt so good when I finished Sassy's body, that I took the project over to Harold and Tina's to show them the project. I think I now have Sassy 85% (?) done.

Thanksgiving day went very well for us. Jack made the turkey and cornbread stuffing as well as oyster stuffing. He also made his macaroni salad and one sugar free banana cream pie and a chocolate chocolate chip pie. We went over to our friend's home and Tina made Ham, green bean cassorole, mashed potatoes, and cream cheese pie. Another friend came over and brought the bread and another couple desserts. We ate until we stuffed ourselves and tyhen some ate even more. I ate more on Thanksgiving Day than I had all week because of my stomach issue. I was gladly surprised that my stomach didn't argue about eating!

I ended up going back to the doctor about the thing under my arm on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. She said that it was soft enough that she could drain it. The doctor did put me back on the anti-biotic. When I left the office, the luimp was about the size of a dime, much smaller than it had been. It has since increased in size. It almost feels as big around as it was before she drained the lump. I believe it is now being considered a cyst. It is not painful today, although there are some days that it is painful to the touch. I will call the doctor at the beginning of the week and let her know that the cyst is getting bigger. What worries me so much about this is that Jack is not the healthiest right now and we are looking into eye surgery for Rachel in the near future. (She has evidently been seeing double her entire life. We found out earlier this year!) I need to stay healthy to take care of everyone!!!

Well, I hope everyone had a great holiday and I pray that the rest of the season goes great for you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Life This Week

I have not been able to stitch near as much as I would like in the past week or two. I was hoping to have more of Sassy done than I do by now. I had actually put in quite a bit of the cloud around her left ear, and then started thinking I may have accidentally 'erased' part of her ear when I was creating the pattern on PCStitch, so, rather than keep going on that part of the pattern, I frogged and then started stitching more around her right eye. I am going to take a closer look at the original download of the picture onto PCStitch before I tackle all sides around her left ear. I would rather be safe than sorry. Part of me doesn't feel like I have done very much, but another part says, "yes you did"! You can definitely see where her right eye will be as well as the top of her head and even the bridge of her nose.

I have the coaster/hot plate for my son and DIL kitted up, but I do not know if I will be able to finish it by Christmas. I may take a break from Sassy after I finish her face, so I can work on the coaster/hot plate. I had originally hoped to get Sassy done by her birthday, December 1, but I doubt that can happen, since that is only 10 days away now. I may shoot for her date of death instead now, January 16.

My husband has not been feeling very well the past week or so. He has Meniere's Disease. It is an inner-ear illness that causes dizziness and disorientation. This is what originally took him out of his job. Anyway, the disease comes in spurts, what we have come to call 'spells'. They have tended to come more severely when the weather does a change. The poor man has been in a spell for basically a week! Can you imagine you world on "washer fast spin" for a week? He says things finally appear better this morning. I am so happy at this news! Each spell takes a little more of his hearing away. He will eventually go completely deaf in the effected ear.

Rachel brought home her mid-quarter report of what her report card would look like if she received it now. She was very happy. At this point, she has straight A's! I have to admit, I was a bit surprised because she keeps telling me that she is struggling in math and is having a hard time understanding it. In the past three days, she was having to show the factors of all the numbers between 1 and 100. She was having to show which numbers are "prime". She had three days because on day one, the teacher asked for 1 through 36; day two, she had to show 37 through 60; day three, 61 through 100. The assignment really frustrated her, but she did get it done. Rachel is in fifth grade.

Sarah's mid-quarter report came in the mail because she is in high school, and they don't pass the reports to the students at that level. Her report showed she is struggling in a couple of her classes. Sarah admitted that she probably needs some tutoring in those classes, biology and algebra, but she thinks she should do it by herself. Knowing Sarah, what it comes down to is she hates asking for help. She told me this morning when I was taking her to school that where she is goofing up in biology is on the exams. In the classwork part of the class, she does fine.

This week, one of her classmates has been helping her study for an exam she missed because of a migraine headache. Sarah actually spent two nights at the classmate's home because Sarah has been helping her get around lately. The poor girl massively hurt her foot on the side of the pool at the YMCA and has been on crutches. She will continue to be on crutches for at least another week. Jack and I are proud of Sarah for stepping in and helping her. It makes us feel like we are doing something right. I know earlier this year I stepped in and helped our good friends in town first when the wife had to have neck surgery and was off work for almost three months and then last month again when the wife's mother became ill and died. I think Sarah realized how important really good friends could be when I did that.

We have finally figured out what we are doing for Thanksgiving next week. Jack will make the turkey here. He is also going to make his famous macaroni salad. We will take those over to our friend's home. They are making a ham, green bean casserole, and I don't know what else. Another friend will bring a pumpkin pie and another dessert. We have not heard anything from our son, Matthew, who lives in Chicago about him coming down on the day. We kind of doubt he will though because he has no car. He sold it earlier this year. Our other son, John, lives in California, so we know he won't be coming. It would be too much of a trip for he and his wife and three young children. John's oldest is 5. The youngest just turned 2.

I have a lump under my right arm which the doctor is calling a boil. She put me on an anti-biotic last week, which she said would help it. Thus far, it doesn't seem any better. As a matter of fact, now it is painful to the touch. Before it wasn't. The lump is literally almost the size of my armpit. Jack said he has never seen a boil that big. I am not done with the medicine yet, though. If it doesn't appear any better when I finish the medicine though, trust me, I will return to the doctor!!

I do not feel bad at all. As a matter of fact I feel pretty good. I was able to get alot accomplished around the house this week. Hope everyone is doing well. If I cannot post again before Thanksgiving, I pray everyone has a great day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

What the Week Entailed

Last week I showed you the progress I had on Sassy. I meant to get more done on her than I did, but I thought you would be interested in the progress I did make. So, here it is! I was able to complete the bottom few rows of the picture on page 4 and then I completely stitched her tennis ball she loved. I also have managed to outline the rest of her head, put some of the color of her face and somewhat outline her eyes. Sassy's eyes were unique in that her left eye is blue and her right eye is brown. I also managed to get the majority of the blak part of her nose done. I guess I should be proud of my progress?

This week at home first of all involved driving the girls around on Saturday night to go trick-or-treating, which was a great deal of fun. Sarah dressed up as a witch, using the little black dress she wore to the homecoming dance and Rachel was a pirate. The only props I had to purchase this year was a hat for Sarah and a sword for Rachel. Rachel's outfit was Sarah's a couple of years ago. They both looked great. A good friend of mine did take a picture of them, but hasn't downloaded the picture yet, so I cannot show you. Part of me wants a camera for things I want to show everyone, the other part of me is scared of not being able to operate everything properly since I am not very savvy when it comes to things like cameras downloading or computers in general.

On Wednesday Rachel went to chime choir practice. She really enjoys that.

Jack and I went to breakfast on Wednesday as well. We had a great time! We are going out on a date tomorrow night. The date tomorrow night requires reservations and is a Western theme. That is all I know. I had to go buy me a jeans skirt yesterday and Saarah and I are getting ready to go shirt shopping. My clothes size has drastically reduced. I bought a size 22 skirt. The last clothes I bought were 30!

This morning I swam 16 laps at the Y. I found out not long ago that 36 laps is eqivalent to a mile.

Well, I must be going. Hope everyone has a great week!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

New at Bolgspot!

I am new at blogspot, but I felt like I needed to open a blog here. I hope everyone will enjoy my work and my blog. I am very new to this so it may take me awhile to actually build the blog.

I am proud of myself! I finally got the beads put on my blue bookmark that I am giving someone as a gift for Christmas. I think it turned out pretty nice. I was having trouble getting the beads on because the needle I had that a bead would fit on had too small of an eye for me to thread. I thought about it, and finally decided to try a thinner cross stitch needle - ended up using size 26 - and even though it was a tight squeeze, it worked. Thanks to a great friend in ILCS, I don't believe I'll be having that problem anymore. She gave me the tip of using size 28 needle for beading. She said she does all her beading that way, so I think I will try it, next time I need to bead a project. I put a light blue ribbon on the back of this bookmark to hide what I call the under stitching. It hid it well and I like the way it looks.

The other project I finished lately are a baby bib and a bookmark for my church's bizarre. I started work on them a few weeks ago and finished them up in short order, honestly. I had a book of baby bib patterns and was RAKed a book of bookmarks. I used one of the bookmarks from that book for the church bizarre. Maybe next years bizarre I can contribute more than just a couple of items, but I'll have to see how everything goes in life this next year before I can commit to that. I put a yellow ribbon on the back of this bookmark to hide the under stitching. I finally got the blog to work with me about adding more than one picture. YES!!!!!

I have also been working on a project I named "Sassy", because that is the name of the dog. Sassy was our best friend's dog until she passed away in January of this year. Her owners gave me a picture of her that I put on PCStitch and turned into a pattern. I recently reached the being 60% done mark. I scanned a picture of her a couple of days ago. I have done work on her since this picture was taken and feel like I am moving along faster, now that I finally finished her back. I am working on page 4 now, which has a big part of her face in it. Her face does not have NEAR the amount of colors that her back did!

I also want to do a coaster for my step-son and DIL for Christmas but haven't even started that one yet.

I am willing to accept any and all help with this blog. I am so a fish out of water when it comes to computers!

I hope everyone has a great week! I will try to post at least weekly, if not more.