Monday, July 29, 2013

Mike Update

Prayers and positive energy of any nature are still needed from friends and family, including those from the world of web.  It has been nothing short of a terrifying roller coaster ride.  Mike has gone through respiratory failure, septic shock, kidney blockage, and colitis over the past few days.  I think they have it under control and, bam! something else happens.  One day at a time.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hospital Again

We had to call 911 yesterday.  Mike became disoriented and could not catch his breath, then started shivering uncontrollably.  While it looked like he was stable around 10 at night, he took a turn for the worse during the night.  His blood pressure dropped and he once again could not breath on his own.

Positive thoughts and prayers, please.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

:Home Again

Mike was discharged from the hospital yesterday and was very glad to get home.  He is getting a long, good night's sleep.  He was impressed with the care taken, but no matter how pleasant they try to make it, a hospital stay is still a stay in the hospital.  Sleep is always interrupted for some necessary monitoring, not to mention the needs of other patients.

He is walking about and sat outside on the deck last night for a time.  I think his feet still hold him back more than the heart surgery.

The heat has broken, but it is not the bright sunny day we were least not yet.

I met my son for supper on Monday night and had a very pleasant time and a really good salad supper.  We treated ourselves to creme brûlée for dessert and it was delicious.

On Sunday, Mike called me in the morning and told me not to visit that day.  He was still in the ICU--only because they did not have a regular bed available until that evening--and Saturday night had been chaos.  The man in the next bed had come in with a bullet wound to the head.  I did not need arm-twisting to keep me away so I went to my daughter's.

I took my grand son on a hike.  My grand daughter had been hiking all week during day camp and was quite done with it.  He is six so we only went about a mile and a half, but it was a very steep incline.  My daughter was grateful for the subsequent early bedtime as he was tired out afterwards.

I also managed to keep my library obligations and spent some time on Monday morning making tile coasters and then denim containers with the kids in the summer reading program. I think that they were two successful activities.  Sparking a bit of creativity is a kick.  It is amazing to see just how intuitively creative kids can be--some more so than others, obviously, but I think it was fun for all.

So now I will stick around the house for a few days to keep an eye on how Mike is managing.  I hope it stops raining so he can sit outside and I can get to some weeding.  It has been over a week and although I thought I was quite thorough that last time, some of the weeds are scary looking.  They can hide and then pop out after you turn your back.  And this summer, they have been well watered.  They don't seem to mind all the rain at all.  Pesky.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mike Update

Mike continues to do amazingly well.  He is up and moving about.  He did say, "I probably don't really feel as good as I feel--they give me some good pain meds."

He was waiting for his supper last night--a fruit cup and an Italian lemon ice--with his usual anticipation.  I was facing him when I saw his droopy eyes light up and he said, "Wow, now that's some waitress!"  I turned and there was the nutritionist delivering his meal in person.  She was the vision of a young Gina Lollabridgida.  

Yep, same old Mike!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Long Day

Mike's surgery lasted five hours.  His aorta was repaired but the aortic valve was beyond repair so the surgeon replaced that with a new part fashioned from bovine tissue.

He went from surgery into intensive care where he was kept under sedation for the afternoon.  Towards evening, they started cutting back on sedatives and as of 9:30 our time, he was responsive.

Fortunately, I have not had a whole lot of experience with visiting intensive care patients, but I have to say I was really surprised at how strong he looked considering the invasive nature of the surgery preformed.  This will be a rough night for him as they adjust for medications for pain and do the ICU monitoring.  It does look like he will be in a regular room sometime tomorrow.  So my outlook is remaining positive.  He will have a wicked scar, though.

It has been a long day.

Surgery Underway

Mike and I relaxed all day yesterday and went out to get sushi for our supper.  It was a good way to go on a hot, steamy night.  We treated ourselves to some wine as well.

It was up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to arrive at the hospital for 6.  I am not much of a morning person, but it would have been kind of rude to call a cab for Mike.
It was 76 degrees already when we left the house.

I got to stay with him until they finished in pre-op.  It did not take so long and he is in surgery now.  The pre-op nurse happened to be a friend of my sister's growing up.  She also had some vicarious fame a while back because her husband is Capt. Phillips of the pirate capture story.

So now I am in waiting mode.  I thank every one out there for all the prayers and positive energy sent our way.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Colors

I was very happy to notice these bright colors at the JCPenney store when I was there last.

It seems as though it is always easy to find pastels and muted colors but not always brighter hues.  I snatched up some tee shirts and a flower patterned skirt.

I am a "spring" but bright, clear colors of spring.  Have you ever had your colors done?


Scam alert!  We have gotten a few of these robocalls.  They say that there is no free lunch and we keep that in mind.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Vermont Summer

Last Monday while driving home from the hospital, I took the interstate, I89.
Local people are pretty much aware that the eastbound lane is down to one lane going down French Hill as a large washout is being repaired.  Then there are the signs informing out-of-the-area folks (Flatlanders, as we like to call them) that the right hand lane is closed ahead.
So I noticed that a full half-mile before the anticipated lane closing, all the VT cars are single file in the left hand lane.  We have toodled up and down the eastern seaboard states many, many times and honestly never saw anything like that happen before.

I had to water my tomatoes yesterday for the first time since I planted.  It is supposed to be hot and humid for the beginning of the week.  So far the weather people have got it right.  But at least we are getting some welcome sunshine.

I have heard the thing about women not sweating, merely glowing.  I am glowing so much lately that I am afraid a passing satellite might report the suspicion of a nuclear plant meltdown near Jericho.

I managed to salvage some blooms from my garden.


There was a program at the library this afternoon on flower arranging.  here are after shots:

The instructor did this one.

This is mine.

and I did the little herb bouquet.

Now I am back to the library to meet with the writers' group.  We have had a six week hiatus.  I am looking forward to being with this group again.  It is great to have the kind of support a group that really gels can provide.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A scattering of this and that...

I did a program for the library's summer reading program--metallic embossing.
There was a huge crowd.  I think the lousy weather has lots of parents scrambling for activities for the kids.  It was fun, but I was tired afterwards.

I have some cute photos of the busy crafters.  I won't post them because I do not have parental permission.  There was glitter involved for those who so chose so try to imagine.

It looks like the roads around town have been put back together.  It is all patchwork style.  We hope that the pattern of sudden heavy storms has finally moved on.

Farmers are taking a beating.  This is a picture of a huge mud hole in the middle of a corn field. 

I have been struggling through the pants fitting class I signed up for on line.  I am pretty close to having a pattern altered.  I have a muslin practice that fits--and two others that do not even come close.  I think that on line is not the ideal venue for something like this.  It is true that I can go back and replay parts, but there are so many, many details to keep in mind and so many examples of the possible modifications based on individual figures that it is easy to get confused.  If I ever get a chance to do an in person workshop, I will take it.
In the meantime--skirts are always nice.

We had a play date--the group of women that gets together for making cards and eating lunch.  Did I show you the birds we made last month?  This time we made flowers.
 I have not taken a picture of the flowers yet.

I have a new vacuum cleaner--a new Eureka, same model as I had before, the one that broke.  The old one was under warranty, but the part was back ordered and would not be in until the end of August.  The manufacturer told the repair shop that they thought it was reasonable to ask me to wait.  I thank the repair shop for working to get me a new replacement.  Of course now I will have to do something about those furry/dusty creatures living under the bed.

Mike and I went out for lunch today--a beautiful sunny day without oppressive humidity.  Mike ordered fried clams--just wait until he has cardio rehab.  I think he realizes this and wanted to sneak a last plateful in.  I had a caprese salad and grilled shrimp.

The Shanty is in downtown Burlington, overlooking Lake Champlain.  
 There is a nice view even on a bad day.  This was not a bad day though.

There is a very new building across the street...

Right next to a very old building or two.

I have been out of sync a bit and I realized that it is because my schedule has been so thrown off.  There is the time spent in the hospital and at doctors' offices, of course, but there was also my own routine and I think that is more the key.  I got to do my Friday vacuuming and all of a sudden it seemed like the universe has aligned itself once more.  If I don't do the Friday vacuuming how do I know it is Friday?  And if I don't know that it is Friday, how do I know what day it is on any other day.  

The sun is shining, my vacuuming is done, and I had a nice lunch with my sweetie.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Mike and I spent Monday in the bowels of Fletcher-Allen Health Care so that Mike could have the catherization process to assess his heart and arteries prior to surgery.

He has an aortic aneurysm right at the aortic valve which means that he will be having the artery reconstructed and the valve repaired.  There is a possibility that he will need to have the valve replaced with an artificial if his is too damaged.  Surgery is scheduled for Friday,  July 19.

It is a big operation--with a fairly long recovery period.  However, we feel fortunate that the aneurysm was discovered before it got to bursting stage.  Mike had no symptoms.

There was, of course, a great deal of waiting involved in Monday's procedure.  The cardio unit was a very busy place, but we were impressed with the friendliness and cheerfulness of the staff.  We met the surgeon and his PA and nurse.  Mike was very comfortable with all three.  They did all the preliminary work-ups before we left so that saves another visit.

So now I have homework to do.  We got all kinds of printed material and also a DVD related to homecare after the surgery.  I will have to get myself prepared and put on my Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy.  God help us both!

By the way, Mike absolutely refused to let me be the one who wheeled him to the lobby when it was time to go home.  And he told everybody why.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Resistance is futile?

It is time for me to re-read the War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.

He is an author I would not ordinarily choose to read.  His books are about military stuff and wars.  He is an ex-marine after all.  According to his bio, he was made an honorary citizen of Sparta--for what that may say about him.

But I have read the War of Art, and it is time for me to read it again.  From the introduction:
There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this:  It's not the writing part that's hard.  What's hard is sitting down to write.

That is really no secret.  It is not that I have not been doing things.  I have, but I still have a nagging feeling of being stuck, of spinning wheels.  Spinning wheels is an apt image.  It is my mind that is spinning, and that means that I am not fully present with what I may be doing.

It affects everything.  I cook a meal and everything on the plate is the same color.  I don't enjoy the meal.  I sit down to do some sewing and I get distracted by re-organizing patterns or fabric scraps.  Sit down to write...well, I am at the computer and what would be the harm in checking out Pinterest and Facebook and e-mail, and blogs, and a shopping site or two...time to go make another uninspired meal.  I read a book and think I am enjoying it.  The next day, I cannot tell you one thing about it.

Pressfield calls the problem RESISTANCE, a toxic force that sets in when we have an artistic urge, an urge for self-improvement of a physical or a spiritual nature, and urge to learn something new or to do something good ("anything that derives from our higher nature").

I call it lack of attention.  I think Oprah would call it lack of INTENTION.

I recall feeling that Pressfield was kind of an over bloated ass about a lot of things.  It irritates me that the imagery of something as hateful as war is used to encourage creativity and spiritual growth.  But...does that make him entirely wrong?  He is a military man expressing himself in the vocabulary he knows.

I can see a struggle between resistance and intention, but metaphor other than war might apply.

I intend to re-read this book looking for valid points that I can translate into my own vocabulary, my own world view. a complete flight of fantasy...I write my own book and get invited to appear on the Oprah network to promote it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy July 4th

The fireworks started pretty early in this part of the world.  As has happened on a regular basis lately, the mid afternoon sky turned very dark.  Huge thunderheads amassed themselves off to the north and then there was the ear splitting BOOM!

We ran around closing windows, and just in time too.  The sky opened up and for a while it rained so hard I thought we were in Florida.

The streams are gushing, taking driveways and large parts of roads, flooding the river banks and heading toward the lake.  Our road crew is once again engaged in the Sisyphean task of hauling gravel and rock to shore up ever increasing erosion of the town highways and byways.

And then the sun came out.  The water is still rushing off the mountains, but people who want to see the fireworks might be able to if they can get out of their own yards and find a open road.

I hope that you were able to enjoy the day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Antioxidants and The Color Purple

You are on the internet, so you know about antioxidants and the "super foods" that contain them.

It is known that antioxidants shield cells from damage by free radicals via some complicated chemical action.    We are led to believe that antioxidants' cell level action by extension protect us against cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. It is a buzz word on food packages (being currently over taken by "gluten free")

Or maybe that is a lot of hype.

I am distressed to have food label buzzwords brought into doubt.  Oh, well,  antioxidants are slowly but surely being replaced by gluten free.

Anyway, the antioxidant foods are generally high in fiber and low in bad fat and cholesterol.  That can't be a bad thing.  And if you eat them, you are getting some good vitamins.

And I don't care so much about scientific studies.  When I drink this smoothie, I can actually feel the antioxidants forming an army to protect me at that cellular level.

I know that I gag at the very sight of those green drinks, but I have no problem whatsoever with this purple one:

I make it in my blender with yogurt, a handful of frozen blueberries, a teaspoon of chia seeds and another of flax seeds, and about a half cup of acai juice.  I always think I should have thrown in a bit of honey, but I always forget, and maybe a little sweetness would make me feel less virtuously healthy.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Antique Cars and Quilts

The other day when I was driving through the town of Brandon VT, I noticed all kinds of antique cars parked around the green and up and down the business lane.  I stopped to snap a few pictures.

There was a club ride taking place and I guess that Brandon was a good place to stop for lunch.

On Sunday morning, I went to the Vermont Quilt Festival (billed as the oldest --37 years--and largest in New England) at the Vermont State Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, VT.  There were sign all over the place warning, "NO TOUCHING THE QUILTS."  Talk about torture.   Photography was allowed, but of course I did not remember to bring my camera and my phone is a stupid one and the battery was dead anyway.

There were programs, lectures, demonstrations, vendors, and quilts.  So many quilts, both old and new.  I did find a section that had quilts that looked as though they might be on a par with mine.  Then I noticed that I was in the "Kids Who Quilt" exhibit and most of them were done by 9 to 11 year olds.

Life is not a is not a is not a competition...

I had to keep that in mind after I ran into a sewing friend who asked. "Don't you just want to run home and start sewing?"  I was actually thinking about going home and packing away all my sewing stuff, but that is a negative attitude and I am determined to stay positive.  I am at the age where I should be exhibiting calm wisdom.

Oh, but in addition to staying positive, I have had a long standing battle with the little "should lady" who lives within me.  Life is a major balancing act, is what it is.

I don't remember if I posted my last two quilts, but here they are: