Here we go

An extra day for the year, so I’m going to grab it and growl.  It’s time I jumped back into my work (quilting) with some seriousness.  I don’t know all of the things that have been plaguing my feeble little mind lately, but I’m going to defeat them and just get on with it.  Having lunch with the girls really helped yesterday.  Nothing like being in the company of people who really know you and being able to talk about anything.  We had a lot of laughs and some good food too.  I really do love going to a place that serves breakfast all day, because eggs and fruit is an ideal meal for me.

As for Mr. Rolling in the Deep (who, I suspect, has been popping in to see what I’m up to), “If his present regrets are half as strong as mine, he will suffer enough.” ~ Jane Austen (via Marianne Dashwood).  I shall miss his stories and poetic license, but let him go.

Off to turn on the little oil heater and quilt till I wilt.  It’s going to be another great day!

It’s going to be a great day

No cancer!  Hello?  I know, I haven’t said much, and it’s probably part of my feeling really down lately, but I’ve had this thing hanging over my head for a while.  I had a spot on my mammo in the fall and they wanted me to come back for more screening mammograms, ultra sound, etc.  Now that I’m retired, all these tests are really expensive, and, having been through the scare three times before, I just didn’t want to waste the money on tests that weren’t going to tell me if I actually had cancer or not.  I told them if they really wanted to know, I’d consent to the biopsy, but they didn’t want to do that, and I didn’t want to spend the money for the ‘we’re not sure’ tests.  So, for months now, when I get breast or chest pains, I wonder.  I can be a horrible hypochondriac if left to my own devices.  Since I’ve been feeling so crappy lately, I finally decided to give in to the six-month diagnostic mammo of the left side only, as I promised them I’d do, and I went yesterday.  Unlike your regular screening mammo, where you phone in or get a message the next day telling you whether you have anything to worry about, when you go for the diagnostic mammo, they sit you in a room and have you wait for your results.  I was pretty sure this was nothing, but when the door finally opened and the doctor came in with two nurses, I was afraid they were on hand to catch me if I fell after the diagnosis.  However, all he said was, ‘well, we don’t think there’s any reason for concern at this point.’  Halleluia.  So, $131 later, I’ve got nothing to worry about till I go the next time and they call to tell me I have another lump and they want to do more tests.  It’s getting to the point I’d prefer to just have them removed so I wouldn’t have to deal with it any longer.

I did actually get upstairs to quilt yesterday.  I’ve had to dissect a couple of the patterns I’m using on this quilt and add parts around the plain apples in the blocks because, as I thought, the single apple was not enough quilting for the snowball blocks.  I think they’re coming out nicely now and I have developed a plan to get through the rest of it, so hopefully, I will finish it this week.

I also have a little fun planned for today.  Two of my former co-workers and I are going out to lunch.  Actually, one is my sister-in-law, who at one time was the undergraduate secretary in Economics, and the other is the former graduate secretary, my friend Georgette.  We were, at one time, what my brother called ‘the three amigas,’ as we often would spend our lunch hours or after work time in my back yard, drinking wine, margaritas, or martinis, and we were all fairly close.  Then my brother married Becca (the undergraduate secretary), and Georgette took up with a man the rest of us found to be of questionable character (no longer any question – my brother, sister-in-law and I still don’t like or trust him), and I, of course, am on my own.  Now that we’re all retired, we’ve decided to get together once a month for lunch.  Last month’s outing was really fun, so I’m hoping today will be the same.  Then it’s off to the store to buy more rye flour for bread, and back home to quilt and take the dog for an afternoon walk.  We’ll need it so he’ll forgive me for not taking him to lunch today.

Almost there

Well, yesterday was a bit exciting.  Many of you know that I have an antique Willcox and Gibbs chainstitch machine like this one:

which I used to use for stitching backings and tops to long zippers before loading them onto my longarm machine.  Well, the little screw and bushing above the needle fell out a while ago and I’ve been unable to find it.  Either the victim of aggressive cleaning (doesn’t happen often around here, but when I clean, it’s thoroughly), or it became a cat toy that fell into a crevice somewhere and will never be seen again.  A few weeks ago, I took it with me to the hardware store, determined to find something that would fit in the space and allow the machine to work again, but I wasn’t very successful.  The very helpful guy at Jerry’s told me what I really needed was a fabricator who could make me something to go in there.  Well, I just happen to have one of those, and he is, in my opinion, one of the best in the business.  He’s my brother.  Currently a welder/fabricator at Johnson Crushers International.  So, yesterday, I took the machine to Ted, and within about a half an hour, he had it up and running for me.  I’ll have to run it slowly for a while because he didn’t have the precise materials to work with, but he will obtain some and make me the right parts.  I’m so excited!  I absolutely love this machine and it’s been a real time-saver for me.

As you know I’ve been feeling awful lately, and am afraid I’m now coming down with the crud.  Aches and pains everywhere and I seem to have swollen glands.  At any rate, I’ll have to stay in and quilt.  I have been taking the dog for a walk every day, but we missed Saturday because we walked on the cinder stuff with Ginny and Kallie again on Friday and we had terrible sore feet and ankles on Saturday.  Well, I did, and Ozzie looked really beat, so we took a break.  We went this morning and, although it was only 33°F, it didn’t feel all that bad, until we turned around to come home.  A bit of a north wind blowing, so I didn’t notice it so much on the way out, but coming home I froze.  I did have to change back to the parka this weekend.  Too, too cold for a fleece vest and a gore-tex jacket.

Well, I almost (I’m trying, I’m TRYING) have myself psyched up to go quilt, so I’m about to grab my IQ tablet and head up the stairs.  I know it’s cold up there, but I’ll crank the tunes and be warm in no time.

What a good day

It was only 29°F when I got up this morning, but the sun was shining, without a cloud in the sky, so Ozzie and I headed to Walterville to walk around the power canal with my sister and her dog Kallie.  I haven’t plotted the whole walk, but if you go once around the pond and down the canal trail, it’s supposed to be about 4.2 miles.  We went (almost) twice around the pond and down the canal trail today, and also tacked on the walk to and from my sister’s house, which adds about a half mile.  So, a bit above 5 miles today, probably almost 6.  My back had been bothering me last night, enough to get up and put my electronic muscle stimulator on, so after we started around the second loop at the pond, I could feel my back and my leg starting in again on me, so probably about a third of the way around, I asked for us to head back.  We got to the junction of the pond loop and canal path and met someone with another dog that would have been heading in our direction and, since the dogs were not interacting well, we started down another trail so as to separate them.  By the time we got back to the house, not only was I tired and my hip screaming, but my sister was also tired.  I made it home and made something I’ve not had in ages for lunch.  A tuna salad sandwich on toasted sourdough pumpernickel bread!  OMG it was so good.  Of course, my sandwiches are only half-sandwiches or open-face sandwiches, as I don’t have enough room in my little tummy for 2 slices of bread along with a dose of protein, but it was excellent, just the same.  I then did some redesigning on the IQ as both my customer and I feel those little apple blocks are a bit too sparse, and now I’m set to take a nice little snooze before watching the evening news and going back upstairs to quilt.

Oh – I forgot.  The forecast for today was rain, but as I said, when I got up it was really sunny.  We had our walk, sat and talked for a bit, tried to trim Ozzie’s toe-nails and, even with a muzzle on, he nipped me, and then when we headed back to town, we could see the huge wall of clouds coming in from the west.  So, at least we got in an excellent walk in the sunshine.  It’s getting pretty dark out now, even though it’s only 3:00, so I know the rain is coming.

Edible bread!!

No blood sugar crash!  I can occasionally have a piece of toast or a sandwich!  You have no idea what a breakthrough this is for me.  I know I’ll still have to watch it.  If I start eating a lot of carbs, I’ll undoubtedly gain a lot of weight.  I guess I’ll slice this stuff up and freeze a couple of slices per package.  I have one of those Food Savers that can suck most of the air out of a package, but not crush it, so I can preserve the bread well.  Maybe this will help cure my depression!  Well, that and I’m sitting here under my full spectrum bulbs knitting.

A well-timed nap

. . . or, the bread also rises.  I decided before I napped with the kids, I’d throw all the ingredients for bread into my bread maker and let it whip some dough up for me.  As those of you who read this blog often know, I have a blood sugar problem which prevents me from eating simple carbs (bread, rice, pasta, etc.).  So, I have been on the search for breads with a low glycemic load.  This means they have to be made with ingredients that won’t spike my blood sugar, which will cause my blood sugar to plummet really quickly.  Over the weekend, I tried a recipe in my Low Glycemic Load Cookbook.  It was disgusting, and I mean that in the strongest of terms.  It did not rise well, it was gummy, chewy, and just ew, ew, ew.  I had two bites, considering well on the second bite if I could ever eat it again (NO), and threw the rest out.  I did a bit more reading and learned that sourdough bread and pumpernickel bread generally do not have a huge effect on blood sugar, so I thought, what could be better than sourdough pumpernickel?  So a few days ago, I made the sourdough starter, and today I threw all of the ingredients into the bread maker.  Once I made sure it was all mixing well, I went off to take my nap with my pets.  Actually, I decided against lying on the floor, and went into my bedroom with my quilt.  Within a minute, I had three pets snuggling with me.  We dozed off and about an hour later, the alarm went off on the bread maker.  I staggered into the kitchen, got the dough out of the machine, shaped it, and put it into the bread pan (which I had had the foresight to prepare before I napped).  I covered it with a wet towel, and went back to sleep.  Yep, I was still too sleepy to stay awake.  I finally woke up about 2.5 hours later, and when I walked into the kitchen, the bread had risen nicely.  I preheated the oven, put the bread in, and 45 minutes later, voilá!

It’s really dark, but that is because it’s made with dark rye, molasses, and cocoa powder.  And, it is really, REALLY good.  I’ve got about another 30-45 minutes before my blood sugar should bottom out from eating bread, so if I make it past that and am fine, this will become the bread that I can eat.  I’ve got a few smarties and a piece of cheese at the ready in case I crash, but I have a good feeling about this.  Actually, that may be because this is the prettiest loaf of bread I’ve ever made.

What a nice walk

Well, Ozzie and I got ourselves out there.  It’s only about 40°F (about 4.5C) out but the sun is glorious, so we took our 4.4 mile route today.  I actually saw some daffodils blooming, people are starting to plant peas in their raised beds, some yards have those springtime flowers planted in them (I’ll be darned if I can think of their name) and violets, crocus, and snowdrops are popping up everywhere.  I’m back home and yes, I’m still tired.  The two cats and the dog are asleep on the rug in a spot of sunshine, and I think I may take a pillow and my quilt and ask them to move over.  Looks like a great place for a nap.