Monday, December 31, 2007


That's all I want to say. It's a few minutes until 2008.

My wish for everyone....

Let's Make it Great!
In 2008!

Health and Happiness to you all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Make it Fabulous!

O.K. That's enough of that, I need to post something that's nicer to look at than that picture of me last year!

Let's move on to something knitterly!

There is a lot of symbolism and memories associated with this next knitted project, but tonight I'm just going to focus on the wonderful-knit-ness of this scarf.
If I get too much into 'the story' (which, as I've been reminded, is always better than reality) then this blog has the potential to become a 'downer blog'. I don't want to have a 'downer blog'. I've seen some, and I can't tell you which ones they are, because I didn't go back to read them because....say it with me....they were 'downer blogs'!
So here is a lovely ribbon scarf that I presented to my friend H in the lovely pink box with self 'bowing' closure. The kit came from Sheep Strings in Huntsville,ON and was packaged in the box so that it must have surely been meant to be knit and presented as a gift. (follow the link to get the story and maybe order a kit for yourself!)
It's quite a soft, delicate accessory that I know will look fabulous on it's new owner!

It was worked with two different ribbon yarns and the ends of the rows, where the yarn changes occured were left longer to create a fringe running along one of the long edges. Beads were then added to the tales and the fringe at the end to give the scarf some weight and sparkle!

So that was what I produced from a kit.

This is something that I came up with on my own. :o)

When my niece was born (almost) 2 years ago, her room was to be decorated in a Winnie the Pooh theme. I found this neat fabric, not like I'ld seen other places, at F & K Textiles in Bradford, ON. I then found (in the discontinued, $2-$3/m rack at Fabricland, this tigger striped flannelette; it had a grease stain on part of it, but I could work around that and I grabbed it! When you get a fun fabric like that you really don't want to mess around with it too much (and I still fool myself into thinking that I'll finish things faster if I keep them simple!---Who's fooling who?) so I just figured out a letter 'O' and machine appliqued it to the front and used the same 'tigger' fabric for the backing. I chose one of my decorative stitches on my machine and, again, kept it simple for the quilting.

And it was there that I stopped. I was uncertain about the binding and so there it sat, and sat, and sat. I moved it around quite a few times, but this year I decided, 'That's it! I'm finishing it and getting it to her before it's too late!"

And I did.

I've faced that 'uncertainty' trait quite a few times this past year, sat down and researched whatever the issue was, and then realized that the only thing to do was to try. Just do it! Nobody ever died from a 'not perfect' quilt binding! The sweater that you made doesn't look the same as the picture? Call it a 'design element' and move on; there's a lot more yarn out there waiting for you to turn it into something fabulous...maybe not perfect, but fabulous all the same!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me!

It's been a year today since I had my last chemo treatment.

A few weeks after that I was given the all clear from the doctors, along with, "see you every 6 months for the rest of your life."

The next two pictures are courtesy of my dear friend P who calmly escorted me to two of my treatments, knit with me while waiting, held my hand while crying (I'm not sure if it was both of us or just me; felt like just me).

I took along with me, to my last treatment, the comfort shawl that my dear friend E made for me. And I KNOW I cried when I got that and read the sweet words in the card that came with it; it truly was (and is) a comfort! The scarf I wore whenever I wanted to look half decent (which felt increasingly difficult as time went on) was from my brother years ago, and I received so many compliments when I wore it that I figured that it must look alright!

I look a little zoned out in this picture; well, I did have a little somep'n somep'n (had to think how to spell that) to help 'settle' me. My translation is: The medication didn't really relax me, but it did enable me to at least sit through this final treatment and not BOLT out the door!

I guess each hospital has a special way for you to honour completing your treatment and at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, you get to ring the bell on your way out!

And ring it I did!!! (I'm pretty sure P was choked up for this one) Also, just to clarify any confusion (and because I'm still a girl) the camera adds 10 pounds and so does chemo! (at least 10 lbs.) Looking back on this picture I remember how all the people in the waiting area were so supportive and congratulated me and wished me well and how warm, sincere and caring they all were; I hope they got to ring the bell as well.

That was December 28,2006.

By January 1, 2007 I was ready to start the new year and say BYE BYE to 2006!

One of the things that I looked forward to most was...

Stitched West in California!! My hair had started growing back in mid February and so when my husband and I headed to California I thought, 'it's California; I can have any kind of hair I want there' and went without a hat or scarf or anything! M said that I was easy to spot in the airport!

There are stories about flight delays etc., but one of my fondest memories is a lady running after me after we had landed to ask me how I had been allowed to knit, or even bring my knitting to the waiting area? And since knitting was the main reason I was there, I was tickled! Two words: Bamboo Needles. I'm usually a fan of Addi Turbo, but I figure on the plane it just makes sense to go with the Bamboo.

Word to the wise----Always check with the airline and be prepared to mail it home if they won't let you take it with you!

One of the best things about 2006 was the birth of my second niece O. It was so wonderful to have a new baby to cuddle, love, and think about the future with. I remember holding her and not wanting to give her back to her parents, because the next day I was to see the surgeon that would give me the biopsy results was just soooo much better holding a sweet new baby. So here's the beautiful face that made me smile (and still does) whenever I looked at her for the past year and a half.
And here's our big girl with the sweater that I made for her for Christmas. When I gave it to her I said, " Thank Heaven for little girls", because that sweater was supposed to be for my daughter and when that didn't happen it was supposed to be for my eldest niece and nooooo; so here it is six years later and yea! A little girl that can wear it! It's mauve chenille (If I ever want to knit chenille again, remind me how much I hate working with chenille. Every few years I make something to remind myself how much I dislike it; I don't want to do that anymore, so help me out will you?), with a maripou (sp?) trim for the sleeves and neck and pewter clasps. It's a kit, and except for my procrastination qualities, was an enjoyable project.

I celebrated my one year anniversary with some friends and their kids and had a lovely and lively evening! Just the way it should be....

One year later.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Just Call Me Mother of the Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas; actually, I hope everone has a wonderful EVERYDAY! I know this concept goes around about Christmas just being another day and we put too much pressure (especially) on ourselves to make it P E R F E C T!!

Not gonna happen!!

But, still, there's so much I want to do, and there are soooo many good ideas out there of things to try to do. Things to make, things to bake, cards to write and people to see; (un)fortunately they ALL tend to get geared to be a MUST for Christmas Day or to the few days that surround it.

Well here's the story of one of the self imposed pressures---also read, leave me alone, I'm having fun!

First: choose two fabulous, coordinated fabrics, with at least one holding some meaning to the intended recipeint.

(what appears as blue is actually grey; quite stunning! And it was soft like silk too!)

Next: layout a design for the item that you intend to design for your loved ones. And then, set up your basic assembly line, and ponder (best to record your ponderings) in which order to complete the know, bottom pieces first, all the same coloured thread at the same time, same pressor foot at the same time, etc., etc.

The larger black item is meant to be the half silhouette of the female body; when I tried to sketch and cut out the entire curvature (because we're meant to have curves!!) it ended up looking like...

The Stanley Cup.

At least I know where the designer got his inspiration!

O.K. so you've got the machine part of the assembly completed and now it's on to the embellishments! And this is where you get to change your mind and EDIT your design! So plan for 2-3 of the extras that you wanted to add will be put away for another day.

See, that's satisfactory...a little white star hung by some gold yarn; should look pretty good. So do all the finishing work and then display infront of the Christmas tree that your mother crocheted for you when you got your first apartment when you were 19 years old, in preparation for the photo shoot. And...

The back view of the ornament, that when presented received questions like, "is it a purse; how do I get into it?" and "is it a bookmark?" I like the bookmark idea; it'll be enjoyed all year long. But the purse thing? That's just too fiddly for me!

And here's the front view of "The Red Hot Mamas" ornament as inspired by Cotton Picker (see previous posts for link). And doesn't the star look 'fabulous' with the gold streamers?! Isn't it interesting how much something can change by turning it upside down and adding just a bit more sparkle?

So, I completed 8 of those before the party on Saturday night. And it felt good that everyone really did appreciate the effort that went into them. On Sunday, it was the dash (unfortunately a slow dash) to my parents after my son's hockey game (he tied; they remain unbeaten!) for the family Christmas gathering. Another wonderful meal and lots of laughs. The laughs are pretty easy when there's a two year old running around (two next month for all the detail oriented people out there!) Anyway we got home pretty late, but luckily the dog had behaved and all she had for me was kisses; no mess to clean up----Yea!

So the next morning is Christmas Eve; I'm still thinking that I can get some things sewn up for the kids and I'm enjoying my coffee in my studio and down comes my daughter....looking like she was going to cry or that somebody had just done something awful to her; so I ask her, "What's the matter?"

"I feel like I'm going to throw up RIGHT NOW!!"

And here comes another one of my finest moments as a parent...


I get her turned around and we're heading out of my room when, BLAHHH! The poor thing, she was so worried about not getting barf on anything, that, well, it was all over her instead. Got her cleaned up and she really felt tons better after throwing up. Now, could someone please explain to me why a child who's bedroom is on the second floor, will pass their father who is in the room next to them, and who has a ensuite in the room; pass the main bathroom; turn right, instead of left to the two piece on the main floor, to go down the stairs to tell their mom, who is in a room, overflowing with yarn and fabric and not known for her organizational skills re: aforementioned yarn and fabric, to announce that they have to throw up "NOW!"?


And it gets better.

My son threw up twice that afternoon, but I guess when you're 11, you figure out that the bathroom is the way to go. My daughter didn't throw up anymore, but did have a nosebleed and while it was obvious that she had a fever, denied feeling anything untoward (now, you never get to use that word!) I did get the P.J.'s finished for them, but not before they went to bed; so the jammies were waiting for them when they woke up in the morning. Everybody managed to sleep through the night; infact I was the first one up at 7 to look after the dog. But I hadn't had a restful night.

The kids and I, all droopy and pale, sat around waiting for my husband to come down so that the kids could 'do' their stockings. We had a lot of fun opening the gifts and seeing just what each of us had come up with for the others and when we were done, I said, "I get the couch!" I was there for a little while and then got kicked out (actually left voluntarily) so that High School Musical 2 could get it's debut. I went upstairs to bed and there I stayed for the day. Yup, I had nothing left for the day that I prepared so long for. And next year, it's gonna be different...I've already got it planned out!

Do we ever learn? Please tell me it's not only me.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and many, many more!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Still here

Hi there. I keep logging on; wanting to post, but I never get to have the camera and the time all lined up together. So sorry, it's late and I want to F I N I S H wrapping. Yes, I'm that close. As I pointed out to my fellow knitters this evening at the CC tonight though, there's 5 more days to be able to do more!
It's not like I'm all efficient and actually finished all that I started out to do...HA! What did happen though, is that I've finished the stuff that stood a reasonable chance of completion last week, but I still have a MULTITUDE of ideas and plans set aside....waiting....and wishing.
So, no pictures ( I just checked if there was anything here to show you...nothing too exciting; the exciting stuff is on the camera!)
I'm off, wrapping and dreaming and sipping some bedtime tea. All in all, a festive evening.
So long.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just Let It Be

Last night was our 'Cast Off Christmas' and , as usual, it was an affair to remember! We are an eclectic group bringing many different talents and personalities to each gathering. Some of us are bound by 'rules'; where other's of us challenge any and everything and yet some vacillate (how cool is it to be able to use that word?!) between the two extremes. And so this year we broke with 'tradition' and had a true potluck ie. nobody knew what anybody else was going to bring for our Christmas dinner! We didn't know if there would be only salads or maybe just buns! We decided this as a group and while there was concern that somebody would go to all the trouble of cooking a whole Turkey and then have nobody eat it (that objection was quickly put to rest by everyone giving assurance that they would not prepare a Turkey; problem solved) but as the day approached I have to say, as the hostess, that I started to stress....what if we needed something that I didn't have?! Would there be enough? Maybe I should just get a feel for what people are bringing; I could do it sneaky like and contact people on a one-on-one and be reassured that it would all work out. In other words, I was looking to control it, to have it perfect, to take complete responsibility for EVERYTHING!! Luckily I have friends that prove to me (every week) that it's not necessary to have everything perfect (no matter what you hear and see on the radio and t.v.); that it's o.k. to allow the universe to unfold as it was meant to. And if that meant we only got 15 desserts, bad could that be anyway?
The only plan we had was to meet anytime after 5 at my home...and the food started arriving. We had two different kinds of baked cheese appetizers, shrimp, savoury filled puffed pastries, a tossed salad, a beet salad, two different kinds of pasta salad, a five cup salad, cheesy potatoes, curried veggies and rice, pork tenderloin in a tomato sauce, and two kinds of meatballs each in their own crock pot! The meal was completed with a large tray of squares (and of course tea or coffee). Oh yea, I think there was wine too. ;o) We could not have planned the meal any better! We had some of everything that would make a dinner party and it was all DELICIOUS!!!
This was a shot to capture the empty plates! I should have gotten a before shot for you, but they were FULL and it got pretty quiet as we all enjoyed the fabulous fair. Just look at those plates~~~EMPTY~~~ 15 empty plates! There is no better compliment to any cook!
Sometimes the Universe unfolds in an unthinkable direction and all we can do is sit and ask Why? We're not supposed to know all the answers, we're not supposed to be able to make everything better; 'perfect'. Stuff happens, bad stuff and good stuff and all we can do is focus on what we have now. We have friends that will stand by us whatever we're facing, and sometimes that makes us cry, but mostly we have friends who love us and make us laugh. We have friends that with a few clicks of a mouse, a few whirs of a sewing machine and a few whisshh of an iron remind us of what is beautiful in our lives. A strong, young and happy boy and a precious new baby girl...that's what my friend Ruth has in her grandchildren; she also has all of us wishing, hoping and praying that 'better' is what is meant to be today. Please God, let it be better.
We also had a Cookie Exchange this year. Everybody brought thirteen packages of 6 cookies and we set them up on the table and then everybody went around and picked up a package from each pile and left with 6 1/2 dozen different kinds of cookies. We sampled some of the goodies for dessert and....damn we're good! AGAIN!!!
My kids were home to help with coats and transporting things into the house and for the exchange part of the party (Watching 15 grown women go nuts opening Christmas gifts was quite the sight for them. I got to use "It's my house and we'll do the gift exchange my way" line; it was very empowering!) and they were just over the top seeing all the pretty packages filled with goodies!
We do a gift exchange every year and I like to have a little something for everyone (if I can) and this year after checking out some other blogs I had this vision. Kind of foggy at first, but the more I let it swirl around in my mind the clearer it became. I wanted to make an ornament for everybody and I like to put a lot of significance in all that I create...this conflicts with the whole 'Let It Be' concept, but it's surprising what happens if you allow yourself to be open to all the possibilities...this is where I find salvation in the above mentioned conflict.

When I choose fabrics, yarns, everything I want it to have a meaning. I chose Blue homespun to remember our friend Carole (she loved Blue), scraps of fabric with little skeins of blue yarn, blue Noro Silk Garden yarn that is from Carole's stash ~~ legacy yarn, and on the reverse I chose to fussy cut from blue Christmas fabric angels, stars, bells, candles etc. I miss Carole, but until I wrote how much of her is in the ornaments, I didn't quite realize how much. I also included some festive ribbon and a Christmas button to secure the hanger. I had wanted to try stamping on fabric and found a stamp to sum up some of my feelings for these dear friends of mine.


are those people who know

the words to the song

in your heart and sing it

back to you when you have

forgotten the words.


And with this fabric stamping attempt, I learned to 'let it be', to be patient, to keep trying, that it would not be perfect; especially having never done it before! I did the best I could and some of them were o.k. and some of them are now in the garbage...and that's o.k. too. I had also anticipated putting an eyelet in the top of the ornament for hanging; again having never done this before, I started to finish these jewels approximately 4 hours before the Cast Offs were expected (it's genetic; I get it from my mother! :o) Anyway, yea, the eyelet thing didn't work, I was patient, I kept trying, it wasn't even close to perfect! So I did the best that I could do and accepted that the eyelet idea was NOT to be...but now what? Think. Think. Buttons? Buttons. I had exactly 15 Christmas buttons that can support the hanger and the ornament; I just had to let it be.

I started with two pieces of 4" x 6" fabric; I wanted to practise my free motion quilting and stippling, so I used flannel to line the blue side for the applique and to give the whole ornament more body. I found the free motion to go more smoothly on the non-flannel lined side and the stippling over the scrap of fabric looked better the faster that I stitched.
They're cute little projects, but not necessarily quick...of course I'm struggling with trying to make it perfect and accepting what happens when you just let IT be. Things will work out the way they're supposed to if we stay out of their way; yup, fabric, yarn, people... let them show you what they want to be...Just Let It Be and we'll all be a lot happier with the results.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy...

Every year I VOW that it will be different this year!
I will NOT plan to make something for everybody I know; I'm gonna keep it simple; I'll keep calm about the whole thing...

Yup, every year. And this year was no different.

I vowed. I had ideas. I shopped and stash dove to brings said ideas to thruition.

And then....

I stress, stay up too late, forget to eat and feed my family and just generally can't stand how wonderful everything turns out!!! (Except for the mess and the general lack of well being in the family department)

Here's a wall hanging that I completed for my friend J. She had a Christmas party Saturday night and was presented with above quilted object to take a place of honour at her cottage.

We've been trying for a couple of years to get together to make a quilt called Dream Catcher; we were supposed to take a course at Jellybean's in Oakville, but the weather was bad on the scheduled day (here anyway) and we didn't make it down there. We have the fabric cut and both of us just need to stay still long enough to actually get're waiting for me to say done, aren't you? Nope, STARTED!! We've set aside Monday afternoons. We have yet to get together on a Monday afternoon, but we've set it aside alright, yup, Monday afternoons; quilt with J.

Maybe next year.

Here is the little sweater that I've let you peek at over the past few weeks. I used Snuggly yarn from the did have a recipient in mind, but that was two years ago....and it was a girl. Now, I made this for a girl too, and added some pink daisy buttons just to make sure that no one got the wrong idea. Another part of the rationalization is that the wee one who gets this sweater is the 5th grandDAUGHTER and second girl to mom and dad. I'm pretty sure that there will be enough pink around that one blue and white sweater won't go unappreciated. I've always wanted to do that twisted cable thing; it looks so challenging, but really quite straightforward and once I got my head (and hands) around cabling without the cable needle, the whole thing just flew!!

Here's another Stash buster!! A fleece housecoat that was meant for my son, but time got away (again) and he had outgrown it before I got it made. The Red Hot Mama's did a kids gift exchange where we drew names and I got (I mean one of my kids got) a little fella' that was the right size, age, etc. and his mom was going to appreciate it too. Fleece is nice to work with because there is no need to finish the seams, ie. it doesn't fray; so you just go along cut it, sew it and wear it! Now this was a team effort as it was my mom who cut it out for me (helping me get it ready for my son); just making sure that the credit is given where the credit is due!

It's funny, I remember a LONG time ago mom and I talking about sewing and both of us agreed that we didn't mind the sewing part, but cutting out would be a job we would like someone else to do. Well, she looked after that housecoat for me and although her grandson didn't get to wear it (he wears the one she made him) the little guy that got it was really tickled; so thanks mom.

I also remember mom showing me how to cut out patterns and how to best lay them out and not waste fabric. And as I was going over all the hints that she has given me over the years I thought about those weights that they sell for holding down patterns and how I don't have any; yet didn't ever see the point. Don't get me wrong I love the gadgets, the new fangled things that make any task or hobby go along more smoothly; to get those fabulous results that we all strive for! And I wondered what they used to do before those weights, because I remember life before the weights.

And then I remembered what my mom showed me to do. Do you have any 'mom' tricks?

So the kids gift exchange with the Red Hot Mama's (and Papa's) was on Sunday...yea, it was a busy weekend! It was a pot luch luncheon and I brought dessert (I usually ask to bring desserts). Well, it was a kid function, but the adults would want something too; so I came up with a Gingerbread Theme. I made a Gingerbread House FROM SCRATCH for the kids; my daughter help decorate it, and a Gingerbread cake with a cream cheese and spiced apple filling...YUMMY!!

Here's most of the Red Hot Babies and the Gingerbread House (I can't believe that I didn't get a close up of the house....duh! -- I'm trying for the Homer Simpson sound there) Anyway, you know how Gingerbread Houses are usually just picked away at with candy all gone; leaving only poor, bare and slimey cookie house?

Four minutes flat and it was GONE!! All of it GONE!! It was like a shark feeding frenzy!!!

I was so happy. :o)

Well, I'm still working on the next batch of Christmas deadlines, but can't show you yet. Any hints though on how people stamp sayings, pictures, etc. onto fabric? I'm not totally disappointed with my efforts, but I'm just wondering what kind of input I can get from other crafters out there. I bet Cotton Picker will have some good advice!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Well hello out there and now that the Christmas Season is officially here; I mean officially as in 'December'...I had a little difficulty saying Merry Christmas (which is still what I say!) when the Halloween decorations aren't even cold yet! But I digress...Christmas is coming and you know what that means?

Yup! A new Whopper Box!!!

I know; really it's the little things isn't it?

When I named this blog I didn't really anticipate a new Whopper box for the seasons, but so far this is really fun.

Did you hear the one about the Easter Bunny laying a 'Whopper'?

(I just made that up; if you think of a funny it!)

O.K. so it's full swing into the To Do list that is ALWAYS too long and so to make sure that I share the stress; I find other people to 'help' me finish some tasks and then put the stress back on myself to make it as easy as possible for them to help me. I think that the most recent example of this is me taking the quilts to a lovely lady who lives about an hour away, asking her to complete them in two days, and then driving back to pick them up. And that should be enough to sum that up don't you think? Nope; let's add 'guilt' about leaving the dog alone too
much and so drag her to and from the quilt excursion.

Looks like she's having fun doesn't it?

At least she wasn't asking, if we were there yet? Or complaining about being hungry (she's a lab; they're always hungry!), or thirsty or having to go to the bathroom or 'he's touching me' or 'she's annoying me.'

All in all, a pretty good co-pilot...except for the 'poop 'n scoop' part. eewww

Let's focus on all the things that we add to our list of 'shoulds' (evil word!) Everybody has a different focus and expectations, but I just want to show you the best way that I've multi-tasked in a long time.

Check this out! Knitting whilst getting a pedicure!

Not wasting Christmas prep time and something that's 'good for me' on oh soooo many levels! All that was missing was a soothing beverage...maybe next time.

Knitting Heaven!

I used the Harmony Interchangeable Knitting needles for this project and I L O V E them! I've completed the knitting and blocking and just need to finish up the assembly and embellishment and then that's....ONE off the list.

I have survived the second snow day of the school year; it fell on a Monday after a weekend that was preceeded by a PA day....yeah, my knitting tension is FINE and the twitching should stop after some more wine. Ha ha. (and I say that with as little enthusiasm as possible)...and you know what? The kids were mad as all get out that they had to go to school on Tuesday! But, really, it was for their own good/safety.

And to keep my sanity, I took Chloe and my camera for a walk around our property.

I'm a little disappointed with this first shot; it supposed to show the snow being supported by the tree while looking up under the branch. It looked better in my head, but I think I'll still try to fool around with it on the printer at the Superstore.

And this next one?

I was going for textural contrasts and an example of white on white.

O.K., I made that 'white on white' part up just now, but the textural thing was really what I tried to capture, like Fiona Ellis in Inspired Cable Knits.
Nature combines different colours and textures without worrying about any rules and it all looks let's try putting unexpected things together and see what happens!

You'll never know if you don't try. See you soon and keep on knitting!

...The kids are home and arguing; so I'm pasting on that smile that says "I love you" and thinking that I'll try to work it that I go out for dinner with my knitters; yup, Life is good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Simple When You Know How...

Well hello again, yarn and fabric fans! We're back and I have some catching up to do!

First, the picture beside us here is of the lovely yarn I was talking about yesterday that I wound to get some quiet time on a Sunday morning. It's called Monarch and it will be socks someday; on Sunday I just needed to wind something soothing.

Second, I called my internet provider, (and now have the number written down at home as well as at the office) and really, the hardest part about fixing the aforementioned problem was describing it to someone who knows a whole lot about computers. Turns out, for some reason the computer thought there was a Broadband option and went looking for it...O.K...right click, delete and BAM we're back in business! It really is cool once someone tells you what to do. :o)

Next, I visited a blog~~~ Girl Gone ThreadWild~~~and she challenged people to post their 'mess'.
Well, I did have a picture here and a nice long explanation about being able to find stuff, and expressed concern about ruining Christmas Surprises, etc. But, while self disappeared and I don't seem to be able to find an 'undo' button and then there's the 'autosave' feature; so I'm thinkin' that it's not meant for me to show you a picture of my 'mess' just now, but you'll just have to trust me that there is a mess and that I have a wonderful system; hide it plain site and nobody would know the difference! It's a system that works for me.

O.K. now we'll go to the quilts that I completed for my dear friend. The first one is a lap quilt using 'Cats on Parade' fabric line in the Sawtooth Star pattern and I call it "I Love You Too". I gave her bits of the fabric 3 or 4 years ago and told her to wait and see what it turns into. This is something that we often do in our family; especially at Christmas when there just never seems to be enough time to finish all the projects that we (mom and I) want to do. Does anybody else out there have this kind of tradition...please tell me I'm not the only one!
I backed the quilt using a complementary flannelette. It's a lap quilt and I like to keep it cozy. I tried a couple of shots to catch the quilting, but no luck, but there's a star pattern to coordinate with the Sawtooth Star. I would've liked to hand quilt this quilt and the next one, but time wasn't on my side (this time).


Now, while I was 'organizing'
my space (see photo above and note referring to 'mess') I cam across a kit that I had bought a couple of years ago and thought when I whipped that together it would do well to accompany the lap quilt! I was able to do it. It was a lot of fun and now there's a wall hanging that all the fine women that visit my friend's home can appreciate!

So, last, but not least...yes, I actually do some knitting too! I was hoping that these socks would be for me, but after 4 attempts (which seems to be the magic number for me starting socks) I was NOT going to rip it out when I finally completed one, but it was too small. I would just have to wait until someone presented themselves that would need some socks.
Well someone has, but they don't know it yet and they won't be checking here either; so it's safe to show you some of my progress. See? Pretty and soft socks; hopefully I will finish them and show you how it all turns out.

I have more stuff to show you and now I CAN~~~another day. :o)

And now before I loose anymore pictures I will post. Thank-you

As far a yesterday and the blankie? I did it, worked on a stitch out of my head that I'm quite pleased with AND whipped up a pair of PJ bottoms for my son to wear out of Flannelette Snowboarders...all while watching Cane! I loooove Jimmy Smits.

Off to see Dirty Dancing tomorrow night with the Red Hot Mamas.

You know what? Life is Good.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I tried 'a' photo and no luck. It wasn't anything especially exciting, just some gorgeous yarn and my coffe cup; and the story of how this is a way for me to relax on a Sunday morning when the children are too loud!~~~well for me anyway. And luckily I have a place to go hide; wind some wool, sip some coffee and dream.
I was all set to call my internet provider and hopefully get them to walk me through whatever is going on with this @#%&^^%# thing...but the number is at the office...yup, just looked in my address book; no number here. :o(
I really do have a lot of neat pictures to post....SOMEDAY...
But right now I have to get back to my Christmas knitting and just for fun I told my daughter that I would knit her bear a 'blankie' for tomorrow's 'PJ and Bear Day' at school. She found a bunch of her old baby clothes, dressed up her bear, made it a lunch and so I think a blankie is just what is needed to complete the ensemble. And it's going to impress the heck out of her for me to actually get it done before tomorrow, and here's my plan...big needles + a few stitches = a little blankie! Tada.
I'll try to get the number tomorrow or call the Geek Squad or something and get some pictures up here.
Bye for now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And Blogger Wins

I don't know what's going on, but approximately 12 hours ago, I sat down and composed a positively stimulating post. There were pictures; there was jaunty banter; I shared parts of my soul (I may be a little over dramatic at this last part), but alas (when in Rome) it was not to be.
I have tried again and again throughout this day to post and the best that I can come up with right now (ie. 12 hours later!) is that I'm not meant to show you pictures today; at least not the 5 that I had selected and since my 'text only' test message worked and I want you to know that I am still here...busy sewing and knitting and baking; boy, it was a good post! I decided to try again with different photos.
I have DSL, but after I've uploaded my pictures it asks me if I want to 'connect' and then tries to dial up a connection...which it can't and doesn't need to, because I'm already online, but when I cancel then the whole system thinks I'm working offline and I've only gotten back this far, by going in the 'back door' through my emails. I'm pretty proud of the fact that I can figure out this much, but annoyed as all get out that I can't figure out what 'their' problem is; I don't know who 'they' are, but they sure have a problem!
So here I sit, sipping tea, longing for bed, and hoping against hope that when I hit save and then publish that at least it will not all have been for naught! ( I spent some time on the weekend with some English and well educated friends...can you tell?)
I wish I could share some more wonderful insights (AND PICTURES!!!), but I'm really tired; so good night everybody.
Maybe tomorrow I'll try just one picture....or maybe next week.
And PLEASE, if anybody knows what I'm talking about here and can offer some advice, I would love to hear from you.
Thank-you and good luck with your computer.


I'm having a fight with blogger; this is a test.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Green Cats?

Helloooo out there! Yes, I know it's been too long, but it has also been too busy! Birthdays, work, school, laundry, appointments, knitting, sewing; did I mention laundry?
Aww, the Laundry Lament; does it ever get old? No, even with all our wonderful mechanical achievements the dirty undies still never manage to make it down to the laundry room, into the washer, into the dryer, folded and returned to their rightful place in the top drawer without the genious that is 'mother'.
And now, back to our topic of the day.
I was reading Cotton Picker and she mentioned that her husband (my uncle) would like a "Green Man"...
So I go with her link to find, not a martian, but a "Green Man". Knowing my uncle and his interest in past monuments I wasn't completely surprised to find the various faces portrayed. I was TOTALLY psyched to find this puppy though:
I LOVE IT!! I love the greenery, I love the face and I was a French Horn player in High School; so this is way cool!! I see this turning into something crafty~~~
Links are like a box of're never sure what you're gonna get! (thank-you Forest) I read some of the references for 'The Green Man" and found that they also mentioned a Green Cat; O.K. let's see what a green cat is all about. I went through the whole thing, but the oooo's and awwww's were audible when I came to this photo.

Young Kitten the first time her eyes were opened. I can barely stand the cuteness! I'm assuming it's a girl, because my orange cats are girls; so there. Just look at that face, go on LOOOK!!

O.K. so maybe you're not a cat person so much, you know they do what they want and not so much what you want. They hack up hair balls (some more than others). They bring you unwanted presents from hunting in the field. And then there's the litter box, the cleaning of which only gets done, again, thanks to the genious, that is 'mother'. Well thanks to the wonder of the internet, my next cat (that screaming you hear, is my husband, swearing off cats for ever more) will have to learn this trick!
His name's Panther and if you look closely those tiny back claws are clinging on for dear life! He has that know the one..."I disdain humans. Why can't I just be left alone; do I bother you when you are in the bathroom?...No wait, don't answer that. I disdain humans."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More about Friends

The weekend was another resounding success!! Lots of wine, women and.... song? Well, maybe just the wine and women. (Our hostesses husband was there a lot of the time, but severely outnumbered!)
Anyway, we went shopping!!
First we stopped at this cool nut place called Picards; I have never heard of it, but definatley think that it should become a family outing, at least for my gang!
Then we went to Joseph's winery. I've been visiting friends in this area for years and have heard about this winery, but never taken the time to stop. Make the time people!! We didn't go for a tour, but the layout was spacious and inviting and the staff extremely helpful. So J and I stocked up on a few of our favourites. :o)
D then packed us into her car and took us to The Knitting Habit in Niagara Falls; (just a note here, that we are not all knitters; these are the kind of friends that take you to a yarn store, go in to see what all the fuss is about and then patiently wait in the car for you to finish your foraging) there was a Clearance Sale! They're closing the store to operate solely online; so I got me some Alpaca Cashmere Tweed to make this...
There's a lovely lace insert in the back; I usually don't like to work detail on a back, because, I won't get to notice it, and often it's cables (uncomfortable) or intarsia (too much work), but this just seemed like a nice balance to the simple front.
And there was some lovely Merino Lace from Skacel and while I'm slowly making progress on the Mystery Stole (that's no longer a mystery) I really do enjoy the whole beading thing and think that this yarn will look wonderful with some beads to make this...
It's from the new Vogue and there are beads (you just can't tell) and the yarn isn't quite that flourescent, but a very cheerful choral!
So after helping reduce their inventory (yes, transit knitter I picked something up for you!) we went for lunch. Now, I'm not sure what direction we headed or when, but we drove under the Welland Canal; THAT WAS COOL!! {You know, it honestly doesn't take that much to excite us/me; so why is it so difficult for some people to think of something?} We stopped at a nice restaurant near Brock University and solved a few of the world's problems over lunch. There are very few things that can't be made better while 'doing lunch' with your friends. We skipped dessert (saving room for dinner!) and headed off to another of my requests. A quilt shop in St. Catherine's had been featured in a quilting magazine and I wanted to check it out; so the four (two wannabequilters and two little-to-no-interest-in-fabricites) descended upon Gone To Pieces and it was lovely!! The displays were inviting and the staff, again, pleasant and helpful and so I bought this...

It's a charm pack in a tin and a book to give you an idea of what to do with charm packs! I love charm packs...and now I've got some ideas to actually use them for something besides fanning them and thinking how lovely they are!

Again, friends...they'll look after you, take you to where you want to go and share in your happiness; thank-you my friends. I hope that I can do the same for you.

Friends also share your pain.

I've lit a candle for a special little boy that's fighting a terrible battle, and when the candle isn't burning I ask Carole to watch over him. W and his family, his whole family, are in our prayers.

Friday, November 2, 2007

That's What Friends Are For

I am right now getting ready for a getaway with my girlfriends; as in, I getaway to one of my girlfriends house and we look after each other. We listen, we advise, we serve, we appreciate and we share.

There are four of us that get together a few times a year, once or twice for a full weekend (or as much as family responsibilities permit) and another couple of times for lunches. We're pretty spread out and it often takes a bit of planning to make these times together happen, but we make it happen, BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT!! We plan the place, the menu, the activities, but always with a relaxed, 'if it works out that way, great' attitude and one of the activities that is scheduled EACH AND EVERY TIME, is the time to sit and share what's been going on for each of us and how it feels; this is a no holds barred kind of weekend, we know it all and we love each other for it all the more!

We've been getting together for about 13 years now, yes, ladies, 13 and, at different points during that time we've sometimes let our get togethers take the backseat and then one of us finds ourselves in crisis and know we need to reconnect. We've found the rhythm that works, we would love to be able to share more time together,but what we've found is the minimum, less than that and we're lost!

We're a good fit, two of us like to make the food, ALL of us like to eat it (it's always different and NOBODY complains), and two of us (not me, so much) like the clean up, well, would rather clean up; that makes for an easy weekend!

Once a month I go out for dinner with The Red Hot Mama's and in the summer we have a pampered weekend away. There is a different feel to this group, it's all about feeling better! As in LAUGHING!!

Basically, I bring the voice of experience to this group, as in, I'm the old one. But the thing that holds us together; that makes us look forward to each month's dinner, is how we can all laugh at ourselves (and those each of us married, as well :o) We all are going through the same kind of stuff, or have already gone through it, so there's no shame in talking about ANYTHING!! And that is always enlightening, if you allow yourself to be open.

Now, something that holds true for both of these groups is that it took a couple of years for me to open up to them, or more accurately, feel part of the group. I enjoyed being with them, but kind of sat around the edge, and you know what?

Life is Short; Jump In!!

Make time to spend with your girlfriends! Husbands, children and for some, parents, will always need your attention, but your girlfriends take you, your stuff, your beautiful self, your ugly self and celebrate life with you! They lift you up and they can bring you back where you belong, too, or they're just there to hold your hand and remind you that you are a good person. Can anyone ask for more?


And that's why you need the time with your friends; to keep your sanity.

When I found my knitting group, eight years ago, it was an easier settling in period. I was in my 'zone' and we were all strangers; we were all getting to know each other.

Knitting can be a solitary hobby or you can choose to share your time, your knowledge or your quest for knowledge. Whatever brought each of us together isn't something that we've really explored but what I do know is that it has provided a lifeline for us!

It may be the need for a clarification of a pattern, to understand a new stitch, it may be to borrow some needles, it may be to get a ride, it might be to get a recipe, it might be to have another pair of hands, or eight, to untangle a wonderfully, fabulous ball of uncooperative yarn.

Or it might be that we came together so that we weren't alone when we heard the words, "they found cancer cells" or "there's a mass on your grandson's kidney" and so that you can celebrate, with tears and laughter, when they say, "you're cured" and "the bleeding has stopped" and "it's favourable".

Don't put it off; dont' stand on the sidelines. All that we know for sure, is that we have NOW! Share this revelation with all who you love, and if they don't get it, that's o.k., you tried.

Just remember to look after yourself and find a girlfriend, or twelve, to laugh and cry with; that's what friends are for.

Have a great week-end everyone...I know I will!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


So this is my first Halloween Blog; do you think I'm into Halloween?

I painted that cat about 17 years ago and is filled with Candy Corn or Harvest Mix every year; I love that stuff. The 'Tradition' at our house are the 'Fingers' (nut free version this year and I like it better!). Did you know about Halloween Whoppers? They go great AFTER the Pinot Grigio that went with the hardboiled eggs, toast and sliced tomatoes with olive oil and Pear Balsamic Vinegar...a fabulous Halloween Feast if there ever was one!

Wine, Wool and's a theme that carries through for every holiday!

You know, dressing up is NOT just for kids anymore! I went to a Murder Mystery last weekend with the Red Hot Mama's and we invited our fella's to play along. There was some duplication of characters which proved quite interesting...

We're both Lady Good Two Shoes; quite a different interpretation don't you think?
This is one of the hosts, and I just had to post it because, well it is soooo not the guy you see before you and isn't that what Halloween is all about?

I've got another quiet alone time right now, because the kids have each gone to a part of town where they're with their favourite friends and there's many more houses to go Trick or Treating at, and M has gone out to finalize a business deal.

We don't get very many Trick or Treaters out our way and now that kids are older it's even less! When we first moved out here we didn't get a sole and I took Candy to the bus stop the next day to try to get rid of it. I complained so much that the kids finally started to come up our way, but now that my kids find the pickin's better across the way I guess it will die down here again too. I like seeing the costumes and I especially like it when the kids say THANK-YOU!!

These two better say Thank-you, that's all I have to say! (See how nice the window turned out?!)

I am thankful for a warm Halloween, and for the reminder to live in the Moment, because that's ALL we know for sure!


Sunday, October 28, 2007


The Creative Festival was FANTASTIC!!! Ruth and I met at the GO bus and decided that we would be fine just taking the one very substantial bag on loan from KGB. Ruth also had her knitting bag and her purse; I had my KNITTER'S backpack and a lightweight wallet to carry over my shoulder. The weather was nice; so we only had light jackets to worry about and we didn't anticipate spending much time outside anyway! We were able to knit and catch up on each other's lives on the way down, because we didn't need to worry about traffic or getting lost (Ruth can be directionally challenged at times) and we just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Ruth had never been to the Creative Festival...mmmmm...(picture me rubbing my hands together)...I had a 'newbie'! And I am the perfect 'enabler' for a newbie. We were hoping to get there for the gift bags they were handing out to the first 500 people, I know, stop laughing; we did see some of the bags, but you know I really do have enough bags already! That's one.
So we start making our way around the show, starting at the back with Alpaca; OMG!!! A lady was spinning it and we were fondling, heaven on earth, I tell you, heaven on earth. Now, as I said, Ruth is a newbie, and we're on a bit of a time restraint; even though we got there first(ish) thing, our plan is to catch the first train out of Toronto to make sure we're home in time for our family obligations; there isn't time to linger at each booth, we have to keep moving! We had everything (except my wallet) stashed in the wheeling tote, nice and sturdy too, not tippy and some of the booths were so crowded it was hard to maneuver so we would spell each other off and let the other one have a fondle.
There were a couple of celebrity sitings and being the stalkers that we are, we went up and accosted Lucy Neatby and Fiona Ellis! We chatted with Fiona, got her to sign our books, (now we have a matched set!) and continued on our way
We worked one side of the hall and stopped for lunch. Ruth was getting concerned because I wasn't keeping up with her in the purchasing department. We had to reorganize the tote and we thought about calling KGB to see if she had another one, because we weren't sure that it was going to keep up with our Stash Enhancing Xcursion. So far I had bought a book, one SweaterKit, a few patterns and a little bit of fabric, because I
really do have enough already. That's two.
We had a couple of hours left to "do" the other half of the room, but that wasn't where the knitting and sewing supplies were highlighted; so we were able to make good time there. We met up with Transitknitter who was working the room in her usual fashion of 'once around to scope and then return for the things you love'; I think this is an admirable choice, but I've been burned using that method too many times. You scope, you ponder, you decide it's a must have, you try to find the booth again, and when you's gone. So I share my wealth of experience with Ruth, whose been talking about making a quilt and getting back into sewing, but (mostly) she resists and sticks only with buying yarn, and books, and nighties (that one was painful. It takes more than a warm body to man a booth at the Creative Festival people! Get help from someone who knows what they're doing! It really is in everybody's best interest!), and a little something for her grandson.
Shopping at the Festival is like drinking at a party; once you make that first trip to the bathroom, you're done; and you'll be making trip after trip to the ladies room. Once you make that first purchase (or two) well, the flood gates have been opened and while I was a little slow out of the gate; as the clock ticked ever closer to the end of my time at this years show I quickly grabbed a few last minute, must haves! That's three? Nope, that's a strike!
By previous years standards I showed amazing restraint; we were able to just take the one bag, we made it to the train on time (Thank-you Transitknitter for hoisting the thing up and down those stairs!) and we have another Cast Off memory to share for the rest of our lives.
And Christine? Hello...I made Ruth stop for a Lemonade. Cheers!

Today is my mother's birthday. And I have something that I want to share with all of you, that played a part in the decision to name this blog. Last year at this time I had just started my Chemotherapy and was scared out of my mind! It was a special birthday for my mom and we celebrated with lunch at the CN Tower. I wrote a poem for the day.


Our hands introduce us to so many wonders...
They are strong; yet soft,
They are small; yet all encompassing.
Our hands can tell stories...
Each scar holds a memory---something held on something that holds!
The work we do can be seen through our hands.
The choice we make to care for ourselves or nurture others can be seen on our hands,
Do we worry about our appearance?
Do we choose ease and function?
From Extravagance to simplicity and back again, using only a file, lotion and polish!
Our hands are sensitive to all that surround us...
They let us know if it is safe? Is there danger?
Is it hot? Is it cold?
Is it dry? Is it damp?
Our hands give us knowledge to go forward in our lives yet with one slight brush of a hand take us to where we once were.
From tiny, soft, defenceless newborn hands that grasp only a fraction of it's mother's fingers...
Our hands grow to chubby, sticky, dependent sources of amusement!
They come along and reach for us to explore our world---and all its creative wonder!!
We use them to taste, to draw, to build, to clean, to hear, to play, to see---they provide one of our senses, but assist in so many others!!
They allow us to CREATE!!
They take the hand of another to begin a family together.
And then the hands that were once so defenceless, now cherish the grasp, as before.
And these hands continue to give love, to teach and to learn.
These hands share the past and the future.
Then the hands, once so nimble, don't always perform as they once did.
They move more slowly and they become more fragile.
They've done good work and served you well.
There's so much still that they want to do---but maybe another day.
But the hands of time keep moving on with much to celebrate!
We gather to hold hands,to clap, to cheer, and to fold our hands in prayer.
We come together with our hands to share...
Share our hope, our memories, our wishes and our dreams.
Our hands can bring and give the comfort like no other.
And when I look at my hands, I see the hands of my mother.
That wonderful feeling is always with me---wherever I go, she is with me.
Whenever I recreate Hot Chocolate for my children and bring comfort to my family---she is with me.
Whenever I stroke a family pet; that's what two hands and a lap are for ---she is with me.
Whenever I knit and sew a gift for a precious, new baby to cuddle---she is with me.
And I will always, always cherish the hands of my mother.

Written for October 28, 2006

I'm thankful for all the friends and family that I got to spend time with this past week and look forward to sharing many more great stories!
Keep on Knitting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This is Thursday!

Yes, today is Thursday! I love Thursday; by far my favourite day of the week! It's knitting night! It's a night that both the kids and I look forward to; I get to spend time with some of the finest women on the planet! And the kids get pizza for dinner! Everybody wins! And when I'm really lucky I get to meet these wonderful women for dinner too; woohoo!!

How much do I love Thursdays?

I plan my life around Thursdays!

I look forward to Thursday more than any other day of the week!

I miss t.v. shows because I'ld rather be knitting!

I can think of very few things that I choose to do other than knitting ( I may do other things out of guilt, but my heart is at knitting!)

I even have a cat named Thursday.

And her sister is called Friday. And everybody loves Fridays! So I've got a lot of love flowing around here. I didn't choose their names, they came with them when I adopted them from the SPCA.
This is Kenny; wanna belly rub? His real name is 'Kenny C the Cat from Collingwood'; quite the handle eh? I was going through a Kenny G phase when this grey tabby kitten found his way to my home. He's such a neat cat. Doesn't pay too much attention to us in the house, but outside? He's just like a puppy, running up to us and loving the company!

So those are my three cats, all with their unique personalities and needs.
Kenny likes pink.
Friday is a talker and enjoys being combed ~ relatively speaking.

Thursday? Thursday is special.

Her Nickname is The Purrminator; she has the loudest purr that I have ever heard! She is very loving and all you have to do is look at her and the purring starts!

She has some, well, hygeine issues though; she's extremely fluffy. She has a bit of a belly and some joint stiffness which makes it a little difficult for her to keep up with 'cat grooming duties'. Ehem. She does not enjoy the whole combing experience...when done by me. And really who else is going to do it?

Well, Pam the groomer, that's who!
Here is Thursday; doesn't she just ooze love?

This is Thursday after a few hours with Pam, our local groomer.

Every three months or so, I take Thursday in for her "Lion Cut" and she loves it! No, really! She just lays there as Pam cuts, and combs and cleans away all the 'nasty bits'. When she comes home, she's light on her feet and she just looks sooo much happier (don't let the miserable look fool you; she had just gotten home and wanted to hit the dog!)

If only people would stop laughing at her.

So yea, we all win on Thursdays...I get to go out, the kids get pizza, and after Thursday gets a hair cut there's less cat hair on the furniture, our clothes...everywhere!

Five things I'm thankful for:

1) Dinner at Kings

2) Both kids feeling better today

3) Talked to my mom today

4) The Cast Offs

5) My plan to go to the Creative Show (or whatever they call it now! Sorry it's late and I don't want to look it up or link it, but you know the one, at the MTCC in Toronto and it's HUGE!!) tomorrow with Ruth! That's a big Woohoo and a Yipee! I missed it last year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tea it was!!

Well I stuck to my plan and did have a quiet evening with tea and lace. It was quite a lovely time and everybody got home safe and sound.

Since that time however, it has been non-stop! Kids here, kids there, what's for lunch; what's for dinner?

And so the Saturday wine and stocking stitch (while watching Hockey Night In Canada---what's a week without Don Cherry?) didn't really go as smoothly as I had envisioned. The stocking stitch part was fine; it was keeping track of the four measley decreases after 9 rows that apparently is too much for my Pinot Grigio accompanied knitting time and so one row had the first decrease and the next row had the 3 (I'll continue counting from the first one -- where it was supposed to be).

It's a skirt and there's a mistake in it and as my dear friend Carole used to say, "A blind man would be glad to see it!"

It's a dreary day here and Chloe has an upset stomach again (code for ewww!), but so far (knock wood) we've (Chloe and I) have managed to keep everything under control (code for outside!)

Five things I'm thankful for:

1) Internet computer stuff---I've found a lot of helpful information and kept up to date in what's going on in people who I care about lives.

2) Pepto bismal tablets (Chloe)

3) Mario put up a t.v. in the basement for me.

4) A chance to have a little nap after everybody went to school because I was soooooooo tired.

5) My friends and family.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I have but a very small window of alone time right now! My son has just gone to a dance; "no, mom you don't need to walk with us to the door." This sentence was quickly followed by a pleading look of, 'don't ask me to kiss you good-bye. PLEEEAASE!!' I didn't, but this kids growing up thing is harder than I expected. He went to his first dance last month and I basically avoided the whole thing by going out with The Red Hot Mama's!---More about them another day. (trust me, it's worth the wait!) So really, this, is the first dance for me, the mother!
My Friday evening mantra: "he'll be fine, he'll be fine, please let him be fine, he'll be fine, he'll be fine."
My daughter has her visit with her BFF extended for another hour or so and my husband is playing poker with some guys.
So I've got quiet time to let you know that it has been a good week. I got a 'good to go' from Princess Margaret Hospital for another 6 months. (I'm not going to dwell on this point, so keep going)
I took my daughter to see CATS this week at the Princess of Wales Theatre and it was a really great day. We took the Go Bus down to Toronto, rode the subway (this is a big deal!) and took the Go Train home. Another success for me! I got to the city --- and home again--- maintained my sanity; I even got some knitting done. Commuting does have some perks!
I finished reading Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair last night, glanced over the patterns at the end of the book and...
started reading it all over again. And this was in the middle of the night using a flashlight! I really enjoyed the book and recommend it to...anyone, she's a funny young lady.
O.K. so that's about 15 minutes of my alone time devoted to blogging; my plan now is to make a cup of tea and work on my Mystery Stole (because nobody is here to interupt me). Yup, that's my plan.

Have I shared with you my two favourite wines in the world?

Yup, I'm planning on tea and knitting lace.

Or maybe, wine and stocking stitch.
It really doesn't take too much to keep me happy; stocking stitch is just fine, if there's wine. ;o)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Looking Out For Number One!!

No guesses; I'm thinkin' that means no lurkers. Well, it's only been a few weeks, so I'll keep trying.

By the way, it's the Travel Skirt from Ram Wools and I've got about 1 1/2" done and therefore was not able to wear it last Sunday. Oh well, there's always Christmas!

O.K. I had a few things to get off my chest.

But before I start, I just want to say that this is not going to be a Breast Cancer blog. I had it, and since this is Breast Cancer awareness month the subject may come up a time or two.

What I do want to talk about, however, is the continued need for all of us to act on our own behalf when dealing with our health.

If you find a lump (doesn't matter how old you are!), get to a doctor! Make them; yes I said, MAKE them, follow up with a mammogram and/or ultrasound.

Next, it is YOUR responsibility to find out the results; do NOT use the, "if I haven't heard from them, I guess there's nothing to worry about" line. Ask when the doctor expects to have the results and then phone or make an appointment to follow up. (this applies to any test, really)

Here's a biggie, and for some reason, I just keep having to learn it over and over again. If something doesn't feel right, keep going until you get answers! You know your body best, you are not bothering anyone; it's their job and it's your life! Speak Up! Nobody can help or know there's a problem if you don't Speak Up! And don't be afraid to ask for help.

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in July 2006 and since then, while I have been very lucky a lot of the time, it still surprises me how often I've had to act as my own advocate and I had a pretty good idea how the system works! But what about all the people who have difficulty with the language, or are stuck thinking that, "the Doctor will look after me" and don't know how the system works?

It's an overflowing system, manned by people; people who are capable of missing something, of having a bad day and not picking up on all the details that are "your life"! It's a system, where you are sent from specialist to specialist, who only look at the little part of you that is their specialty; guess what? There's more to you than that little part!

Keep looking until you find someone who looks at the 'whole' of you and puts all the pieces together to find the answer that is right for you!

In the past year and a half I cannot tell you how many people have had a look at my chest; (not terribly glamorous) asked the same questions; seen the same thing and offered very little advise for any complaints/concerns that I had and just kept encouraging me to move forward. And this was good too, but I still had questions and since I pretty well got the same answer with each person I asked...I thought that this was just the way it was going to be forever and you know, that didn't feel too good.

So, I went to a barbecue in September; chatted with a lady about Lymphedema (hers) and she told me about a clinic in Cookstown where the physiotherapists deal with Lymphedema and by association, many breast cancer survivors; so I got the number.

I was sure I didn't have Lymphedema, my arm wasn't swollen and I had been assured time and time again, that my risk was virtually next to nil, having only had a few axillary nodes removed. What I was looking for, was someone to give me some direction on moving forward, because, while in many parts of my life I had moved on; I didn't feel like it. Because I was still uncomfortable and didn't know what was too much to do or not enough, ie. looking for balance. Sigh.

The lovely lady at Cookstown Centre for Wellness took a short history, reassured me that my risk was decreased for developing Lymphedema (again) because I did not have radiation as part of my treatment, asked a few questions and before she saw my chest told me that I had Lymphedema. And you know, I didn't quite follow what she was saying, because I didn't have Lymphedema, I had a discomfort under my arm, some aching, some throbbing some times, some puffiness under my scar that got red sometimes from the heat; that I thought was fat, and some funny fat deposit above my scar, under my arm where, "that's just the way it healed".

But that's not Lymphedema---uh, yea, it is!

She re-educated me on the lymphatic system, she taught me how to perform self massage; she gave me a massage---no deep muscle, very light touch---she gave me forms and reference material to get set up with compression sleeves in the hopes that this will not get worse.

And she listened.

And when she was done (one short hour) I felt fantastic (and verklempt).

And when I got home and had a look...I could not believe the difference!! I was smooth, I was comfortable, I could reach up and not think I was pulling something apart! And all from a few simple hand movements!

And all because I didn't give up looking for somebody that would have the right answer. It wasn't a mission, but it nagged at me and that's when you should pay attention!

This is not about blame; everyone that was involved in my care did the best job that they could, but not everyone knows everything that there is to know and so, be vigilant and find your answers!

My Granny's life advice was, "Look Out For Number One!" Yea, because if you don't; nobody else is going to!

Have you ever noticed mushrooms?

The leaves are falling and life is slowly fading on this season and up from the ground a mushroom pushes forth; lifting the earth out of its way!
And there they are; up from nowhere...actually from something dead under the ground...leaving the pieces of earth that were in their way laying upside down.
Where pansies, just look at you with a funny look on their faces!

FYI: It took just over an hour to write this, dad. Chloe wasn't impressed.