Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hard work

 The back yard neighbor has been bugging us to get the fence fixed.  It really wasn't bad, so maybe he is moving?  But they say good fences make good neighbors so this was the week to get it fixed.  Out with the old and in with the new!  The tennis fence kept the dogs apart while they fixed the wooden fence.
 This huge quilt was quilted on Saturday.  My friend at work asked me to quilt a quilt for her.  She offered to buy the quilt design and I had to try it on a quilt before quilting her quilt.  So, I tried out the design on the big one with no troubles.  Then, I loaded her quilt and man did I have problems. The quilt was fine for the first half and then it skipped stitches.  I cleaned it, I sanded the tracks, I adjusted the weight on the tracks, I fiddled with it for about 4 hours and ripped out stitches and finally changed the needle.  Why is it always the last thing you think to try that fixes the problem?  Well, mostly fixed.  Still skipped a few stitches, but was definitely better.  I'm going to have to have to get the spring that is supposed to fix the problem for good.

I've been working hard this weekend grading as well.  5 classes of lab books.  Multiple labs in 3 of the classes.  Lots of papers still to grade, never enough time to grade.  I wish there were 5 days in the weekend and 2 days of the work week.  When is the next vacation? :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

She's still winning awards

My daughter just started college and today got this giant banner for her high school gym.  She won the CIF Scholar Athlete last year and now gets to have this banner hang in the school gym forever.  I guess it is a pretty big deal to win this award out of all the Northern California female athletes, she was the best overall scholar and athlete.  I'm missing her something terrible today.  I think it is just wrong to raise up a child and then drop them off with a bunch of strangers and expect that they fend for themselves.  I don't think I will ever get used to the idea.  I drove her car to work today too, which didn't help the missing her part either.  I guess I had better get some quilting done.  That always makes me feel better and it helps clean the house a little bit too.  Plus, it makes other people feel good when they are having a bad day.  I just really feel like curling up on the couch instead. :(

Saturday, September 21, 2013

College weekend

 out the window of the dorm room
 the top bunk
 the desk
 room mate's side of the room
 from the doorway
 the sink area
 the towel area--the toilet is behind the door, the shower is to the left of this picture.  Six girls share the suite
 the shower area
 the closet, each girl gets a closet, desk, and bed, there are two dressers for 3 girls.  Doesn't make much sense?
 While in So. Cal, we did a drive by of my old house.  So much has changed.  The flowers are all gone, the front used to have a rose garden and flowers all around the house and yard.  Now, just grass and a couple bushes.

 We drove by, real slow.  Kind of sad to think you can never go home again.  So much has changed.  It isn't the same house.

 I met my brother's family for dinner at our favorite Chinese food place.  When we were kids we at there once  a week.

 They even give you special hats.  Some people think they are napkins, but my son knew right away these are hats :)  Silly people!
 When we were kids, we always made fun of the Moo Goo Gai Pan.  Tonight we finally tried it and it was yummy.
 One of my brother's kids.  This could be my brother's clone!
 We asked the waiter to take our picture.  He asked why we hadn't been back in 20 years.  Said the business was going to close because we weren't coming back every week.  (not that he remembered us, everyone sat at that back booth and had stories to tell--pork fried rice, chicken chow mein, pineapple chicken, sweet and sour pork and won ton soup were the 'regular' items we ordered every week)  My brother wondered if they would remember our order from 20 years ago.
 My little guy ate a few too many fried won tons.
 The place is exactly the same as I remember it.
 Except now it has a take out restaurant right next door.
 Then, I had to take my daughter back to college and LEAVE her.  All alone, in the dark, with strangers.  I hope she will be ok.
Actually, I know she will be ok.  She will be better than ok, she will be great!  I'm the one who will have problems.  I only have boys at home now.  I think I will see if I can find a couple of girls to take home with me.  I'm sure there are some girl children, dogs, cats or fish who need a new home!  My house is going to be mighty stinky with only boys around!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Please pray

My daughter and I delivered this quilt to her friend Aishlyn today who has Hodjkin's Lymphoma.  She is 18 and had just started college.  She will be spending the next six months in chemo.  She said that she will be losing her hair in two weeks.  I know she would appreciate your prayers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quilts for Colorado and the Washington Naval Base

The Samuel Quilt Project is collecting quilts for both the Colorado flood victims and the Washington Naval base families.  If you want more information, they have a Facebook page.  Check them out if you are looking for a group that helps in times of disaster.  I'm hoping to send a few quilts after I take my daughter to college this weekend.  I"m hoping I can get organized and get my quilting back on track.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I'm a scientist, I should have known better

There's one thing I teach my students and that's if you are going to run an experiment, only change one variable at a time.  When trying to figure out what was wrong with my quilting machine and the Y encoder, I messed with two variables at once, the o rings and the weight.  Wouldn't you know, the thing still gave me fits.  So, I remembered the lessons I taught my students and went back to the old o rings and kept the weight.  Sure enough, problem solved.  There just needed to be a bit more pressure on the roller to keep the encoder so it could read where it was on the axis.  Once I got that figured out, quilting this beauty was quick.

I wish this was for a happier occasion, but unfortunately it is for a teen with cancer.  Those quilts are never fun to make and give, but I know the girl will love it.

I'm almost done with my quilt which uses the same fabrics.  Mine is going to be bigger.  I'm excited to actually get to keep a quilt I'm making.

Quilts for Calgary handed out

If you haven't seen this video yet, it's worth the couple minutes to watch it.  Over 1300 quilts were collected and handed out yesterday.  They came from all over the world.  My friend Debbie, the Traveling Quilter and I sent 26 quilt tops that were finished in Calgary.  I'm proud that we were able to help with the efforts.  I'm going to watch the video again to see if I can catch a glimpse of one of the quilts we sent.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


 The Y encoder is giving me the fits today.  I cleaned the track, cleaned the o rings and finally traded them out for some bigger, heavier o rings I found in the tool box.  I also rubber banded some metal pieces I found to try and make the tracking wheel heavier so it will read the y graph.  It keeps making long stitches.  I think the machine is just mad at me for not having quilted all week.  I tried explaining that I had some personal medical issues going on and Rebecca let me know that quilting makes everything better.  Ok, I got the message.  Lots of quilt tops needing attention. I'll try not to go so long in between running you again Rebecca.  I know you need attention too.
This one is going to my friend's mom's cancer treatment center once it is finished.  Big and Blue.  Perfect.

It's over for now

Yesterday I went in for the fine needle aspiration.  Don't let the name fool you.  There is nothing fine about the needle or the procedure.  When I went in, the radiologist explained everything that could possibly happen during the procedure. They would start out doing the sonogram again and start with the aspiration and pull the fluid out.  If the doctor thought he needed to, he might do a biopsy.  I would hear a snapping sound where he took chunks of flesh out.  Then, he might make an incision and leave a marker behind in case they needed to do surgery.  All that just in case.

So I go in and this time I'm not herded into a closet somewhere.  The radiologist said the last time I must have been in the lab down the hall.  She said they treat you like a chicken there and rush you in and out and there are lots of people crying there.  I said the crying lady was me last time.  This time, there was no rushing, they sterilized the area, numbed me up good and used the sonogram to look where they were stabbing me.  The doctor didn't think there would be as much fluid in the cyst as there was and had to use a second syringe to get most of it out.  He couldn't get it all, but got most of it and said it would probably come back because 'that's just what they do'.  He also said that some people just get them and I will probably have to deal with these the rest of my life.  He says they don't know why some people get them and don't know why they come and go.  I'm just the lucky one to get to deal with this.  They aren't dangerous, just annoying, especially when they get so big and painful.

I'm really sore this morning and the stress has given me a horrible migraine most of the week.  I'm hoping that some quilting therapy this weekend will help relieve the stress.

Unfortunately the quilt I'm working on is for the friend of my daughter who just found out she has cancer.  She was getting ready to go off to college and had a strange rash.  She went to the doctor and found out she has cancer.  Plans change.  Now she will spend the next 6 months in and out of the hospital doing chemotherapy.  And I worry about a headache and a cyst or two.

Tomorrow is Binky Sunday.  We will be gathering to make quilts for boys.  I'm always short on the boy quilts.  I'm hoping some of the high school kids join us.  I love passing on my love of quilting to the next generation.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The results are in

Went in to the breast specialist today and had another mammogram and sonogram and the radiologist assures me that the lump is a couple of cysts.  There are two in the left side and one in the right.  I'm going back on Friday to have one of the cysts drained.  It is 5 cm and is hurting.  She said normally they don't drain them, but since it hurts, they will drain it for me.  Since the other two are about the same size, at least I will be balanced :)

I got sad news today, one of my daughter's friends found out that she has cancer.  I'll be working on a quilt for her.  She will be having chemo for the next six months.  She was about to head off to college and had a rash.  She went to the doctor and discovered she had cancer.  You never know how quickly life can change.  Enjoy every day!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Another encouraging quilt

 This one is for the sister of a friend at church.  She just found out she has ovarian cancer.  Must be more common that I thought because this is the second person in a couple weeks that I know who has it.  She is young too, in her 30's.  I figure she could use a little encouragement and I love the quilted words on the quilt.  Her favorite color is pink and I've got quite a bit of pink fabric in my stash. 

How do you like my new earrings?  My daughter love to make jewelry and makes it faster than she can wear it.  Her problem is she can't give it away fast enough.  I asked her to make me these and she was done in about 5 minutes.  I love them.  My problem is I never wear jewelry.  I like these so much, I think I will start wearing them..  I didn't get to start on my quilt today, too busy with grocery shopping and finishing up this quilt and knitting the Dr. Who scarf.  Maybe I will have some time after dinner.

Simple Saturdays

 Working on another quilt for the sister of a friend from church.  She was just diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Her favorite color is pink.  I'm hoping to get this one done today and to get started on my quilt.  My daughter and I went to JoAnn's yesterday and bought fabric for it.  Man, is fabric expensive!  I got fabric for my quilt, yarn for a Dr. Who scarf for the student teacher at my school (I don't get one this year, but our department has one from UC Davis and she saw the scarf I had made for my son and asked if I could make one for her). I also got some jewelry making supplies for my daughter.  $165 later and wow, that's some expensive hobbies we have!  And that was with the $25 teacher discount :)
Here my sons are working on a lego robotics project.  My older son is a mentor for a lego robotics team at the elementary school he went to.  My younger son is on a lego robotics team at his school.  He qualified for the GATE program (gifted and talented education) and this is what they do for part of the year after school.    Their teams will be competing against each other, but for now, the older is teaching the younger the tricks to making a good robot.  The older has to have a prototype to show the parents on Monday.  He doesn't have enough to do with all of his AP classes and band things and own robotics things--he's off today for a meeting for the mentors, he has to help out anywhere he can.  Everyone thinks he needs to get his driver's license so he can take himself all of the places he needs to go.  For some reason, I'm not so excited for him to start driving.  I wasn't so excited for the girls to drive either, but now am glad to have them drive.  Maybe because I'm the one to drive everywhere with them.  I enjoy spending time with them and know once they can drive themselves, I never see them anymore. :(  It's hard to let them grow up.  At least it will be 7 more years before the little one is leaving me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

mammogram results

Got the results back from the mammogram I had on Tuesday.

Hi Marilyn,
Finally got your results- The left palpable lump that you noticed was the same cyst that you had previously had an ultrasound for. The right breast had a mass that may be new or may have grown from previous mammograms. The radiologist wants to do more mammogram views and an ultrasound on the right breast to see if it is also a cyst. I think you are going to be seen in the breast clinic on 9/12 with Dr Sakamoto and they usually have same day appointments for the ultrasound and extra mammogram views that they wanted. I will get your results but Dr Sakamoto may be the one contacting you about the results. 
Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

I have another mammogram scheduled for Tuesday, the 10th and they cancelled the apt. for the 12th because that was just a follow up with a different doctor.  Hopefully I will learn what I need to know on Tuesday and they will say that both masses are just cysts and I can get on with life as normal.  I think I will make myself a quilt.  I've never kept a quilt for myself out of the 1,000 quilts I've made.  Maybe it is time to make one.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My daughter's new friend

This one is for the sweet 80 year old lady who is the neighbor of my daughter.  She has a border collie and comes out every time my daughter brings her dog out to go potty.  She tells the same story every time about how her husband passed away 5 years ago on Valentine's day.  My daughter asked if I could make her a quilt.  The big blocks have dog paw prints on them.  I hope she likes it.

wedding quilt finished

 Here it is, finally finished, borders on, binding, quilted and delivered.  The wedding is this week and I'm glad to have this checked off the to do list.
 This quilt took about 12 hours to stitch out.  Good thing for Rebecca the robot who worked tirelessly without complaint.  Now I understand why it is so expensive to get your quilt professionally quilted.  I love the pattern on this one.  It is called Geometry 2 from and yes, it cost $15!  I really must learn to design my own quilt designs.  I will either make a fortune or save one.  Once my daughter goes off to college, I will have a computer to put the program on and a desk to work at.
 You can see how huge it is with my model laying on it.  It is supposed to be queen size, but it was longer than the 108 inch queen batting I used.  I didn't measure it so I'm not sure just how big it ended up being.  I could do some math, the individual blocks are 7 inches finished, the border is 3 inches finished.  It's just plain big!
 And just so you know not to give your 9 year old the camera and ask him to help you with pictures of quilts.  You never know what he may be taking pictures of!  Thanks for the laugh little guy :)

the numbers keep adding up

Jan 75.78
Feb 54.13
Mar 82.85
Apr 40.9
May 39.6
June 27.36
July 74.67
August 70.27

Total 465.56

That's a lot of miles.  I will hit 500 this month!  Just keep walking, sewing, singing, reading or whatever you hope to accomplish and little by little you will reach your goals too!