Thursday, October 29, 2015

Today's post is brought to you by the letter W

Walking, Wellness, Weight loss, Weather, Winter, Windows, WIP's

and .....Wrench

How's that for a mixed bag?

Walking has been prescribed by my Dr to help with my cholesterol levels and I have been pretty steady with it. I have to say that I always boasted about my cholesterol levels being great despite my diet and weight, but alas! ....the boasting has ceased. I really do not want to take cholesterol meds so the only way to improve things is to move more and eat less (and a little wiser [hey! Another W word!])
There have been a few times where I have wanted to skip my walk but I can honestly say I have been very faithful with it since the 22 of Sept. The only day I missed was a day I did yard work and then got called in early for an appointment and coupled with another appointment I arrived home in the dark and very hungry for supper, so I decided the yard work would have to stand in for the walk that day. I have walked in pouring rain

Yes this is me!

I have walked in the dark by flashlight....

And I have walked on some absolutely beautiful days!

Theses were taken at Daley Point, a local place that is a favourite with nature lovers. Mr O and I had a lovely walk that day and of course had a pocketful of seeds to feed the friendly feathered friends along the way. If you look at the next few pics you can see the birds perched on my hand getting seeds. A favourite thing to do along that trail!

We live on a secondary highway that is well travelled. One never knows what one will find along the road on a daily walk. I have often said that there are quite a number of vehicles on the verge of collapsing in a pile of rubbish at any given time if the number of nuts and bolts and hub caps that I see daily on the road are any day last week, or was it the week before? My oh my the time goes by so fast...anyway, one day while walking, I found this on the side of the road

An 18" pipe wrench! Seriously! I told you that there were vehicles on our roads in danger of falling apart and apparently someone had to do some emergency repairs along the way, because this is usually found in a plumber's  toolbox not a mechanic's.  ��
Something else that was left alongside the road last week was a little piece of me, because 
I lost three pounds last week, bringing my total loss since August to 13 pounds. I know I have a long way to go, but you have to start somewhere.

I was in to the hospital this morning for more blood work and have an appointment next week for results to see if my hard work has reaped any reults in lowering my cholesterol numbers. Actually my good cholesterol is too low and my bad is a touch too high. The body is a strange thing eh? The same regime (diet and exercise) will bring the low number up and the high number down or at least thats what I am hoping for.

Last week I was able to attend our annual guild Fall retreat. I have missed the last couple of retreats with all my travelling so I was thrilled to be able to attend. I had big plans of accomplishing many things but did a little too much socializing I guess because I only finished one small project.

It is a larger version of the Sew Together Bag. This one is called The Bionic Gear Bag by Sally Thompson. I purchased it through Craftsy. In my defence it is a rather involved project with several fabrics (further complicated by me because I chose directional prints) and applying 5 zippers thus making 9 different compartments to this notions bag. The pattern was 42 pages long. I found it to be a little "wordy" thus muddling my thinking process at times. I am someone who likes to say, " Just the facts Mam, just the facts." 

I will say this though, have to marvel at a mind that can come up with a pattern like this!

While at retreat, Mr O sent me a weather update. The first was a video asking me if I could see the snow..."not really" was my answer, and then another followed...with the same question...
"Can you see the snow now?"
( I was going to show you a video of heavy snow falling but seem to be having trouble to install Vimeo on my ipad)
I had only to look back through older photos to jog my memory of just how much snow we can be gifted with... But now? Snow! It was only the 17th of October for mercy sake! Winter is coming. We have been away South for the last couple winters and this winter may be a little hard to adjust to. 

This may be me before long. 

My last W is WIP's. While cleaning in my studio I decided to corral all my Works In Progress. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a few others lurking about but this pile is enough to spur me on to trying to finish some of these projects. With Christmas looming on the horizon some of these just may be turned into Christmas gifts...

I realize that this may not seem like a huge pile but there are three quilt tops in there and many other various projects so I do have my work cut out for me.

Speaking of work...I have been cleaning windows and washing curtains  amongst the walking and Dr appointments and other daily affairs. I love clean windows, but they never stay that way very long. I read somewhere to clean them with Rainex(car windshield stuff) because apparently it helps them to stay free of rain streaks and fly specks etc. so that is on the agenda for tomorrow for the outside of the windows. I am curious to see how it works.

I have to tell you I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this post and If I was a journalist or story teller and was given the assignment of writing a story using walking, winter, wellness, wrenches, windows and WIP's in it my first reaction would be, "seriously! Are you kidding?" but that seems to be what I have done.

I leave you with a W tongue twister.

Whether the weather be fine or whether the weather be not. Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot. We'll weather the weather whether we like it or not.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I Should Have Seen It Coming...

Well I am out of hospital with a clean bill of health so far! Well not squeaky clean, but they are leaning to the idea that I had a low grade viral infection which may have caused the general malaise and fever. In the process they found some polyps in the bowel that they removed and took biopsies,  gastritis in the stomach, apparently my good cholesterol is too low, so I need to exercise more and be more diligent about diet, but all in all the reports were good. Still waiting for Cardio Ultrasound results, gallium scan and biopsy results, but I am expecting nothing major. One very bizarre thing they did find was a benign tumour on the lining of the brain. It is an old tumour though and they know this because it apparently has calcified and that takes ten years to happen. So that is not to be worried about either!
I should have the rest of the results by the first week of October when I return home from our vacation.
Yes! We are on the road again...on our way to Regina Saskatchewan, a two day stop there to rest up and pick up our grandson who is going to accompany us to Yellowstone National Park. 
Expect some pictures!

Our furst day of travelling was in Canada, but today on our second day we crossed over into the US with plans of entering back into Canada via North Dakota just south of Regina.
Mr O is always so prepared for these border crossings. Make sure there are no prohibited foods in the cooler, have your passport out and open, have your toll money ready...check, check, check!
We rolled up to border patrol booth and instantly set off alarms. First question was, "who was recently hospitalized?" I am thinking...seriously! How do you know that?!
Apparently the radiation levels in our vehicle were too high and set off alarms!
We were asked to pull over and I had to get out of the car with a guard and go to a shelter to be scanned and radiation levels taken. While that was happening they were checking the levels in the vehicle with me out of it...all good.
They really were very good about all of it, and asked for papers from the hospital but I told them it had only been a little better than a week and I had no result papers yet and before long we were on our way. 
This had happened to a relative of mine a while back but I didnt know the details and really never even thought about my nuclear tests posing a problem. I should have seen it coming though...

I joking told Mr O while I was in hospital that with all the tests and dyes injected in me I would glow in the dark, I guess I wasn't too far off eh?

I will be crossing the border again in two days back into Canada..should be interesting to see what transpires. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A+ Would Be Nice, But As Long As I Pass.....

My plan the next day after reading my last post was to be a bit more positive. Goodness! It sounded like something from  Lady Sings The Blues 

and I really should have been singing something from Oklahoma instead...maybe Oh What A Beautiful Morning!

I even took some pictures of my quilts airing on the line and my view from the hammock while having a little rest to add to my post.

You see I figured as long as I was on this side of the fence things were good and I really shouldn't be complaining. I even managed to finally put the last 3 sides of the border on my BFF quilt! 

I tried to pick a favourite block but that's like trying to pick a favourite grandchild...they're all unique and special for different reasons or qualities, so I gave up and decided to just show you a close up of a few different ones.
I went to the golf course with Mr.O and walked 9 holes (5km) with him in an effort to get some excercise and build up some stamina. 

It was a nice walk and I have to say I enjoyed it, but there was not much stamina built up on my part. By the time I Got home I needed a nap!

I had planned to tell you all about our little quilt show here in Tabusintac for Old Home Week

I was going to tell you all about the lovely visit from family. My brother, and cousins family. 

My brother enjoyed the sightseeing, the ocean, the campfires every night.

I even turned over my kitchen to my cousin's husband who is a chef and Italian to boot. How could I go wrong with roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables and porketta ( pork loin stuffed with spinach and sun dried tomatoes with garlic and parmesan) on the menu. 

My meagre contribution to the meal was homemade coconut cream pie.

Yes indeed, that was my plan, to blog and bring you up to speed on all the happenings at Winterpast. However I really was not feeling to perky and ended up running a fever of 100 - 101 all week and consequently I ended up at the ER to have things checked out. I must say I had a wonderful thorough Dr. who really took time to try to help me. One of the blood tests showed slightly elevated CRP (?) which caused him to consult with an Infectious Disease Specialist in Moncton who suggested I be admitted so here I sit. 

I have been poked and prodded and filled with so many different kinds of dyes that I have warned Mr O I may glow in the dark once I get home. But the good thing in all of this is that my heart has been thoroughly checked with cardio ultra sound, my torso has been injected with dye to check most organs, Have had a total body bone scan, and I am still in the process of more testing. I am going down in a couple hours for a colonoscopy and upper gastro scope, so there won't be many areas that have not been checked. Thorough blood work and head scans, have revealed that there is a brain but nothing else that should not be there. No TB, no HIV, no diabetes, or cholesterol problems.(very slightly elevated cholesterol numbers but nothing that needs meds) Still waiting on cardiac results and bone scan results etc and I know I will not pass with A+ in all the tests but as long as I pass that is what matters. There may be a few lifestyle changes to be made, but if it makes me healthier then it is worth the work. I have to say that Mr O has been my rock ( and of course my faith in God). I really feel for people who go through illnesses alone. It must be so tough. He has tended on me with meds, blankets, cold drinks, hot drinks, heat bags, ice packs, meals, encouragement and moral support etc etc etc. 
i have to tell you though, that it pays to have worry wart for a daughter because as soon as she received a call from Dad saying Mom was in hospital she booked a flight from Regina to Bathurst. She had to come and see for herself that Mom was okay. Thanks Michelle! So good to see you, even if it is For a short spell under less than great conditions.

Monday, August 10, 2015

How In The World Did This Happen!

I was a fairly healthy child growing up. No medical problems. Oh sure I had a few sniffles, measles, and mumps, but I managed to avoid chickenpox, and tonsillitis and appendicitis and broken bones etc. Even as an adult, I was alway strong and yes I had a few surgeries and a broken ankle, but for the most part I was healthy. Not prone to flues and colds etc. BUT let me tell you that since I have returned home from Arizona, it has been one thing after another! I know we had a busy winter and it was a long tiring drive home and me in my infinite wisdom thought it wouldn't bother me to jump in the car by myself just 10 days after returning home and drive 1500km back to Ontario by myself to join up with friends for a quilt retreat. It was just a week and I could always catch up on my sleep later...
After returning home I had to return back to Northern Ontario just a mere 1900km jaunt but I was flying so it was not too bad right? 12 busy days with very little sleep tending to family affairs was tiring but I could rest when I got home...I rested alright!
The very next morning after arriving home I awoke with a vicious cough that turned into pneumonia that plagued me for the whole month of June. I have never been so wiped out...between the meds and the illness I was totally useless! For 4 solid days I hardly left my bed and I was more than a little grateful for such an attentive husband! God Bless him.

I was not totally recuperated when we turned around and drove back another 1500km each way to Ontario for our grand daughter's grade 8 graduation. It was tiring but so worth it...she looked lovely and also was awarded The Math award for the school, The Music award, an Honor Roll award and General Proficiency award (highest marks in the school). Well done Emma. I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

I was blessed to be able to have a very close friend come back home with us for a week. We had planned on making a quilt together during that week. The pattern was called BFF and we really have been bosum friends for many many years. We shared fabrics and so our quilts were pretty much going to look very similar. AND we were determined to finish it in that week before her husband came to pick her up and take her away on a much deserved vacation for both of them. We spent hours yakking, reminiscing, laughing, cutting, sewing, pressing, and yes ripping! So many hours that we stayed up til 2, 3, and even 4 in the am working on our quilts. We didnt quite get the last borders on, but it wasn't for lack of trying and  I have to say they were close to being finished. 

Denise and her husband left to finish their vacation and the next day I absolutely crashed. I had a pinched nerve in my neck,( taking a fall while demonstrating something I'm sure was a bit instrumental) and a headache that lasted for 10 days resulting in many meds, a day at the hospital on iv, cat scans, more meds, massage therapy, my blood pressure was totally out of whack causing very weak, almost fainting spells. Oh and just when I was starting to come around from that viscious headache I fell down the stairs on the deck and planted my face on the metal chaise! Thankfully just bruised knees, a lump on my jaw and stiff shoulders and back, but nothing broken. Sheesh!
I just couldn't figure it out??? I could always keep this kind of pace before and carry on, but Mr O sat me down and explained that I had crashed; hit the wall; and then reminded me I was not 21 anymore and that I needed rest because I had 5 people coming to stay with us in just a weeks time and if I did not rest I would either be in the hospital or totally unable to cope. 
How does this kind of thing sneak up on a person? I think sometimes we think we are invincible, unstoppable, and stronger than we think. Well let me tell you I have had a rude awakening!
Remember that line in the Wizard of Oz...Dorothy you're not in Kansas anymore...
Well Wendy you are not a young woman anymore! I'm not ready to put out to pasture but I sure can't keep the same pace I used to. I always used to tell my kids and grandkids this little saying, when they stayed up too late and were dragging their butts the next day..." You can't expect to prowl with the owls at night and then soar with the eagles in the morning." Well kids...your Nan has had to take her own advice these days. So if you were wondering where I have been, now you know....for the most part in bed or at the Dr's. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Celebrating a National Holiday (warning- photo heavy)

A National Holiday you say...well maybe you've never heard of it, but yesterday was National Sewing Machine Day! I didn't even know about it until I read it on the Aurifil Facebook page in the morning.

If you happened to miss it don't fret because apparently it is celebrated TWICE in the year. 

Date When Celebrated : June 13th and September 10th

I'm not sure exactly why but it may have something to do with the fact that there seems to be a difference of opinion as to when the sewing machine was actually invented. on one website here is what I read...

Sewing Machine Day celebrates a very important invention ----- the sewing machine. The first sewing machines were made in France in the 1830s. It wasn't until 1846, that they were patented in the U.S.

On another website I read this...

Skilled cabinet-maker and English inventor, Thomas Saint, received the first patent for a design of a sewing machine in 1790.  It was meant for leather and canvas, was never advertised and no evidence of it, other than his drawings, could be found.   In 1874, William Newton Wilson found Saint’s drawings in the London Patent Office, made adjustments and built a working model.  This model is currently owned by the London Science Museum.

    • Walter Hunt invented the first American lockstitch sewing machine in 1832.
    • John Greenough patented the first sewing machine in the United States in 1842.
    Accounts say that Thomas Saint received a patent for his invention on September 10, 1790 but as for June 13th, it is not known why this is a second date for the holiday.

    Enough of the history, and a little of the day...yes I did some sewing yesterday, in the morning and then spent the rest of my time cutting scraps into 2.5" squares and strips or 5" charm squares in an effort to organize my sewing space. 
    I have 6 sewing machines in my little space and I keep threatening to get rid of some of them, but when push comes to shove I just can't bring myself to do it. Each one has it's own redeeming feature even if it is only the fact that it looks good or was owned and used by a previous family member.

    Would you like to meet my "family " of machines?

    Well you all know Ruby...she is my current work horse.

    Before Ruby came to live at my house I had my QC6260
    I was never able to come up with a name to suit her and now she sits on the sidelines nameless but faithful; waiting to be called up when needed.

    If you can think of a good name for her I am open to suggestions. I have entertained the idea of Jenna or Jenny (she is a Janome after all)

    My serger that I have had for 4 years and just learned to thread this week! Shame on me!

    A VERY old Eatonia sewing machine that belonged to my husbands parents. It is all seized up and doesn't run and I keep threatening to toss it, but I cave at the last minute.

    An Elna Supermatic circa 1952.
    This is a copy of one given to me by my Grandmother. The original was weaselled out of me by a sleazy sewing machine salesman who knew the worth of the machine when I did not. I traded a good, top of the line  machine for a bottom end Omega because I had a broken bobbin casing...I have since educated myself!

    An antique machine I bought almost 40 years ago and have also threatened to get rid of, but darn it! How can I? it is just so pretty...and it sews well!
    Just look at the detail on this machine...

    Singer Treadle circa 1887
    That's 128 years old people! How many things made 128 years ago look this good and still function?
    See why I can't get rid of it!

    So there you have it...these are the machines that live at my house and held me celebrate National Sewing Machine Day, but it gets better folks! Yesterday my sister was at a yard sale almost 3000 miles away from me and she sent me a text and photo and said, "hey Sis, are you interested this?

    Umm let me think...YES!! Is the Pope Catholic?
    Of course I am interested! 
    This machine my good friends is what is called an Elna Grasshopper. It has all it's parts and accessories including case. It is Elna's answer to the Singer Featherweight. I had never heard of it and after doing a bit of research this is what I found out.

    The color and the styling resembled an insect. Thus, the first sewing machine made by Elna became known as the Grasshopper.
    The Elna Grasshopper was in production from 1940 until 1952, and was one of the best selling sewing machines of the time.
    It was the first mass produced portable free arm sewing machine, and gave the Singer Featherweight a run for its money.
    The Grasshopper was invented by a Spanish Civil War refugee named Ramon Casas, and mass produced in Geneva, Switzerland by the firm, Tavaro S. A.
    While the Grasshopper was not released for public distribution until 1940, it has actually been around since 1936. At the time, Europe was embroiled in World War II, and Tavaro was involved in manufacturing munitions.
    However, due to the Swiss policy of neutrality, the war related product line was eliminated. With the factory quiet, Tavaro shifted to making sewing machines and the world was introduced to the Elna Grasshopper.
    The Grasshopper’s efficient and functional metal carrying case was ideal for wartime.
    Whenever bombs were dropping, bullets whizzing through the streets and soldiers were marching through small towns, the Elna sewing machine was easy to pack up and compact, making it possible for refugees escaping the horrors of war to carry it as they fled to safe havens on trains and buses.

    At A Glance

    When you first see the case, you aren’t sure what’s inside. Then after opening it up you are first struck by how cute the whole thing is… a little green sewing machine tucked inside with a metal accessories box, operating manuals [this one had two] and an electrical cord.
    Elna Grasshopper, first sewing machine by elna
    Elna Grasshopper, first sewing machine by elna
    The machine itself looks kind of funny. There’s this metal thing hanging from it. At first glance, we weren’t sure if it was a hanging rod or some weird attachment.
    Upon further inspection, we realized it was a knee controlled replacement for the traditional foot pedal.
    Elna Grasshopper at a glance
    Elna Grasshopper at a glance
    The next thing that caught our attention was the fact that the fly wheel is at the bottom of the machine, not the top.
    At least it’s still on the right hand side. The motor is located directly behind the fly wheel. It really looks a little funny, but very innovative for when it was made.
    The power switch is located on the very top of the machine. The light housed above the needle, giving the user the best possible illumination while sewing, a definite improvement over the Featherweight.


    This odd looking all metal portable sewing machine is equipped with the following standard features:
    • Straight stitch only
    • Knee lift
    • Two owner’s manuals
    • Carrying case doubles as work table
    • Free arm

    Working on the Elna Grasshopper

    The carrying case is functional in more ways than just providing a neat means of transport for the Grasshopper. It converts into a sewing table.
    Carrying case converted in to a sewing table
    Carrying case converted in to a sewing table
    I’m not sure how many other portable sewing machine carrying cases have as many unique features, but this one has certainly got to be at or near the top of the list.
    Unpacking the case is reminiscent of opening one of those surprise gift boxes. As we opened it up, we found not one but two owner’s manuals, the accessories box, an electrical cord … of course the sewing machine itself… and once it’s empty, it lies flat to form a sewing table.
    I am making a trip to Saskatchewan in 2 and 1/2 months to visit family and this baby is coming home to live with me! 
    Oh and I forgot to tell see the sticker with the price of $50.00 on it in the first picture...that is not what I paid. I purchased this little gem for $30.00! 
    Thanks Barb! I owe you one!

    Now that's how I celebrated national Sewing Machine Day!
    What did you do?