Saturday, 22 October 2011
That's me. My blogging love and attention have been over here. I'm sorry.
Please forgive me, because I'm back.
Slowly I'm redefining my role as a crafter, mom and wife after nearly four years being held hostage over here. Still there, but trying to be more here!
We have been in our Wexford house since March and patchwork classes began in late September. Really, I wasn't interested in patchwork classes--as I have such limited time and, honestly? What I wanted is a quilting, stitching group gathering where I could work on projects I love but for whom I had little time.
I get it. I should start my own gathering, but it's baby steps--this redefining of life. So I enrolled in the local class for a committed-two-hours-of-sewing a week. I haven't sewn consisently on any one project in years and let's face it, my sewing can always use some instruction.
We meet at the local community centre and the only slot open was the beginners' class. Most other students are older and only one or two know me. As I begin this new quilt--which jumped ahead of all the rest--guilt washes over me. I find myself rushing through my sewing.
The quilt is the Jacob Ladder block, so I am working hard to ensure sharp points. Immediately I took a generous 1/4" seam so already I fail the class, with a block measuring 11" when class sample is 12". My teacher, a friend, has already scolded me on my fast pace. She says many of the ladies know who I am and they expect me to breeze through the class with beautiful work. "So slow down!"
I'd rather not have such expectations of me from strangers. Lord knows, I let down my own family enough! I'm content when I can finish 30 decent blocks. I reckon, 30 perfect blocks will come to me when I'm in my 50s. My brain has limited time for too many responsibilities (wifery, motherhood, accounts, sales, writing, etc.,) that my perfect stitches are not at the top--nor am I the one who makes the featured quilts over there.
I will continue going to sewing class and I'll do my best, but hopefully one or two of these women will take the time to get to know me. Up til now, I'm still very much a 'blow in' in the village and to them.
I've shown my teacher the shrunken block to her dismay, but to my credit, they are all consistently shrunken to 11".
So my block is wrong, but it is consistently wrong.
Worse, if you consult my unfinished projects, each would say they're unloved and that I've been unfaithful.
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Much like my trapped nerve which serves to disturb my mobility, sleep and mood. Dr. Google says these pressing pests have a way of going away on their own. Treatment is simple a form of pain suppression.
Sunday, 7 August 2011
The morning I was sewing, the in-laws dropped in. Handy enough, I was just finishing one and my MIL was thrilled when I gave her the first one.
You can't see the fabric up close, but the floral pattern is a vintage print that came along in a box of excess scraps from a fabric company in Dublin. It seemed to be a perfect fit for Nanny.
This will tell you how behind I am on posting. My scramble to make these bags one morning--and I did, three in one morning-- was for my daughter's teachers as thank you gifts back in June. Needless to say, the girls were delighted to model before taking to them in as gifts.
Sunday, 19 June 2011
Oh, the amount of times I think of my blog. I love writing and I love writing about my life. This blog was born more than three (four?) years ago. At the time, I worked in an office as a production manager. Looking at my posting history, one might think I did nothing at work. When actually it was quite the opposite--I was very good at my work. HA!! That's not fair. really.
My managerial role was to keep the designers in an ad production studio supported and ensure we made daily deadlines. The reality was the team was that good. My tasks included morning production conference calls; the remainder of my day was to put out fires and resolve problem escalations. The truth of the matter, the artists in the studio were that good--beyond the morning, my role rarely kicked into gear--when it did, it was five minutes before day's end and a working mother's worst wish, but that's another post.
So at my desk, I had plenty of time to write and explore blogs. Irony was this particular company disallowed any internet surfing. Click to any website and a forbidden code appeared. Yet, click to blogs, and viola! I remember thinking how insanely ineffective that IT functionality was. I also figured my postings must fly below the radar, or the IT guys really digged my blog!
My blogging changed when I began working for the magazine. My life changed. I've worked hard to keep my family the same. (Not sure I've succeeded.) I've lost hold of my friends (all of them) and cherish to death those who allow me to lose touch and welcome me anytime. At the height of my blog, I was crafting. Naturally, some of the best bloggers and blog followers are crafters. So I'd like to come back, but I've got a guilt block. Not a writer's block, but guilt. I want to come back with craft. I want to show my creativity and be visually interesting. Meanwhile my mind is bursting and my hands have not known craft for two or more years, beyond the odd project.
So I've decided to come back with or without craft. The creativity will follow, I believe.
When Words Stiffle Us
Last night I had the most vivid dream. It was unreal. This morning it was our entertainment at breakfast.
I was in Disneyland Japan with a tour of quilters. There was one lady who kept trying to steal people's valuables while we stood in line for the park's rides. I was asked to mind someone's camera and caught this lady in the act. Holding tight to her hand, I summoned the park police and told the theft she would be left behind in a Japanese jail. The Japanese cops arrived--they were two sumo wrestlers in police uniforms with a third regular-sized dressed cop. They let the thief go. I went to the cop upset asking why they let her go. He explained that they had to honour the tourists and airlines so as not to cause problems. I began talking fast with my annoyance of this, and the cop raised a microphone to my face and suddenly some liquid sprayed out the end much like a clown's trick water ring. Only, once this water hit my mouth, my lips went numb and my words were drooling slurs. Ultimately. I became the one who missed the flight out of Japan.
Back in reality, we laughed hard.
The girls wondered aloud if there was a Disneyland in Japan.
DH wondered aloud where one could find that special liquid.
And I , well, I wondered if it was time to return to my blogging.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
We awoke this morning to buckets of rain. This meant two things.
1. I would have a guilt free day working on my laptop indoors.
2. The line of clothes outside were washed, dried and now wet again.
Yesterday was sunny skies, a near scorcher. I was working all day so I had the usual lost Saturday guilt. Doing three loads of wash, I thought the scales of justice balanced. That's if I remembered to bring in the dry wash from the line last night.
In reflection it is has been seven years since I entered into a tumble dryer
The weekend had began with beautiful weather and I was able to celebrate with the photography of the latest quilt. With help from my neighbor who did the peicing and quilting, my US vision has come to life.
Here's a sneak peak.
This Tribute to America quilt is my design and as soon as I can get a fresh coat of pain on our foyer walls, I'm hanging it over the staircase.
From Irish sea to shiny American sea!
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Babydoll is adjusting well to her new school. We did have to explain to Babydoll why telling new classmates that you are from California is a bit of a stretch. From California and born in California have two different meanings.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
This evening, Babydoll, at one month shy of 8yo sat beside me at the computer and typed her first story.
Cue the kleenex.
In actual credit to her, DH and her teacher, she had penned the story yesterday using a story board approach. Teacher identified sections (Begin in one World; Move to an imaginary world; Identify a problem; Resolve the problem) and Babydoll set the scene in a full tale. Tonight she became an accomplished writer.
A classmate of hers is using a computer, as Teacher said it is allowable, she saddled up to one of our computers and next thing I know Babydoll is changing font sizes for titles, and a colour code (desktop publishing? be still my heart) for emphasis within her colourful tale of a human condemned to life as a troll.
Maybe I do have the knack of a writer? I'm not faking this gig afterall? The written word has been seeping out Babydoll's pores since she first held writing utensils as a toddler, and by golly, this trait came from me. Seeing her at the computer, with poised fingers at the proper 10-finger type positions, I felt so accomplished. Nothing like her Dad's hunt and peck, but rather like me.
Monday is coming fast and we have decisions to make, do we plan our move? Worse, I'm expected at a parents' meeting for a school we may not be attending in 11 days (mid term soon kicks in).
Better still, I could ditch the meeting and really "make" my mind and pop down to the Make and Do group stitching in the pub. Sometimes being a responsible adult is hard. I went to Make and Do last month and loved it. I took an applique chicken. Given that it is set in a pub with pub lighting, one would highly recommend sorting colours earlier in the day. I had stitched my brown chicken's outline, only to realise I was using purple thread. Want to know how I knew? I pulled out my camera and flash shot it. So for the next three colours, I chose by camera.
Time will tell, even over the next 24 hours. Come Monday, I may not get anywhere yet. DH arrived home and Babydoll said, "Dad, look at this! Mom said my story is great. I'm a real writer! She said I get it from her cause you only hunt and peck!"
I'm too busy walking on eggshells.
Friday, 4 February 2011
For those of you living in FaceBook Land, you’ll know I came through the surgery and hospital stay with my own comedic episode, some sleepwalking (oh, yes I did!), and an addiction to posting and commenting on FB.
(Why did I never listen to DH when he said I should get a smart phone many moons ago? Sometimes I swear it would be easier than ignoring him—but then where would be the fun? Smart phones are brilliant, never out of touch with anyone—unless you count the person with me in the room, the one I don’t see cause my head is down at the phone. Rude, I am. But very thankful I finally listened to DH.)
So, I feel fantastic. The surgery was neat and tidy—nothing really daunting to share. Oh, but get this: in the operating room (or theatre, as we say in Europe), one wall had floor-to-ceiling windows! Seriously, I was wheeled in and transferred to the operating gurney, legs facing the windows (in addition to surgery, I’m having a D&C and second coil inserted...v@gin@lly. Sorry for the visual. But. SERIOUSLY. People.).
It was the fifth floor. I could see rooftops and, honestly my mind was blown. Really, all I wanted to do was ask the porter to unlock the gurney’s breaks and wheel me back to my room so I could get my smart phone. (Told you, I was obsessed with FaceBook.) But I didn’t. I started chatting with Dr. New—cause we’re friends now. Asking him, how did they get windows when Grey’s Anatomy and my two C-sections, even my last coil got a tour but not a room with a view? Then I asked, could that be legal? (I might’ve had a cocktail by now from Dr. Anaesthetist) I remember saying, “someone could do a fly by and look right in!”
Alas, I was soon in lalala land. When I awoke, I was back worrying about whether they managed a keyhole surgery or a stomach incision. I was delighted when recovery nurses said all was done using simple keyholes: one for camera, one for prongs and one for pulling out. Later that day, Dr. New came to my bedside to report the good news, though the recovery nurses had taken his thunder. I was already back to the subject of windows.
DH was there (with flowers, might I add?) and I was explaining to him how wild it was to have floor-to-ceiling windows in the surgery room, with a patient on the table and jet planes taking a peek in. (an overactive imagination? I thought not.) At this point, the doctor retorts, “You do know, there is special lining on the windows that prohibit seeing in from outside?” He said it very condemning, as if I, myself was charting a voyeurism trip.
Me, a pilot? I think not. But, if I was, you know I’d bring my smart phone!
Friday, 21 January 2011
Our Wicklow home. sigh
We have options, not always are we given options.
I like options. Don't you?
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
I have 20 sumsomethinking teeth in my mowth.
When school started, we enrolled Babydoll in the Homework Club. Every day she returned home with completed homework, but riddled with silly, rushed errors. We were paying for this teacher-tutored program and expected better results, so we approached the principal one day about this quandry.
"Oh, yes. Well, we help your child with her homework. But we DON'T do their homework for them. The teacher simply reviews and signs it."
Ok. Who needs corrections when you've got 20 mathmatical, thinking teeth?
Monday, 17 January 2011
In the morning was AWCD meeting with me manning the membership desk; the afternoon was for grocery shopping.
We were not yet bare in the cupboards, but the fridge was empty. I've always advised DH to buy nonperishables in twos, even if you need only one. Safety in numbers. With double your need, you've insurance for when you need another.
Thursday night I listed my grocery items while I checklisted all the things needed for AWCD. It would be a full day; I had already planned on not working in the office. DH also ordinarily works on the magazine, but for the first time in months, he had a job of plastering planned. He too was checking his gear and loading the jeep the night before. He had organised a late arrival to the job so he could walk the girls to the bus stop.
The AWCD meets in Ballsbridge, close to the centre of Dublin and to get there in time, I leave really early. On this morning I was twenty minutes from Ballsbridge when his call came in. “You took the jeep!” “Yeah, uh?” In my mind this was no huge revelation: whoever has the girls, by default keeps the family car. The jeep is a two-seater. UNTIL, he reminded me he had a plastering job. Not only did I have the jeep, I had his gear too. Uh oh.
A hundred ladies waiting for sign in badges from me and a grumpy (self-inflicted, I know) DH looking for his jeep and gear. A rock and a hardspot. You been there? I chose to continue on, set up the membership desk and then proceed to abandon it in search of DH. I had asked him to use the car and begin to come in my direction. That didn't sit well, but he didn't really have a choice.
I did have time to snap at a few ladies. There's always that couple ladies who come early, and while I come early to set up, I can be pretty annoyed when I can't use that time to set up. Let's say I had a few apologies to make when I returned to the meeting.
Course my exit wasn't near as smooth as that. I was so worried DH would be really mad, I totally lost my nerves and viola! my parking ticket went missing and I was gated in. With DH's fifth phone call, as if knowing it would help, the waterworks started; I was crying. I suspect that is when he went and ordered a late breakfast, 'cause when I finally pulled up he was smiling with a cup of tea in one hand and a crossiant in the other.
The rest of the day was uneventful (thank goodness). Grocery shopping went smoothly, I even thought to buy a bottle of red wine. Lord knows I needed it. That evening, looking over the rim of my glass, with the now-empty bottle in sight, I heard DH say, “don't you wish you had bought that second bottle?”
Went on to have a great weekend by attaching the binding on three quilts! Check 'em out:
pic 1 is for a friend's baby; pic 2 and 3 are matching quilts for the girls. Babydoll's has pink binding and Cutiepie's has pink binding
Saturday, 8 January 2011
I'm also going to try to carve out more sewing time. I thought about calling it "creative time", but honestly creative time is always happening. What is needed is more execution time. The last sewing was the girls' Christmas skirts. Here is the promised photo of skirt set 1.
If I were to do them again, I would shorten the front panel. Due to natural waist/swag of the girls bellies, skinny or chubby (and I have one of each!), the panels lay longer than the skirt hem, whereas it would look best if they align. Just a tip, if you're watching at home!
They're mock Scottish skirts. The girls are interested in Scotland, my father's origin, so that was nice. The fabric itself had a sweet story--originating from a special request from one friend to another friend's visiting relative. "I'd love some plaid fabric and teddy fabric." She made her children pajamas. Years later, the unused remants found their way back to the friend's house, until recently they were passed on to me.
Several skirts later, I'm craving quilting time. I hope to get to that soon.
In the meanwhile, my cliche takes centre stage. Empty the house of sweets and snacks. Begin the daily walks. Weigh myself.
We have no weigh scale in the house. We used to have a fancy digital scale. A fancy tempermental scale that you had to step, pounce, step back, wait, re-step, and settle before it would reveal the magic numbers. I was hardly impressed. And even less bothered when it stopped working last year.
I missed the swinging climb of the numbered wheel in a traditional scale. The glassy big electronic diameter of Fancy Scale did nothing for me. DH was its only fan. Personally, I think DH admired the scale's larger-than-usual size. As if by some crazy relation, the more weight, the more acceptable coming from a larger instrument.
Yesterday I found my fitness partner.
A small tidy black and white traditional scale costing 8 bucks. Already DH disapproved. He is the ultimate salesman's target--if it doesn't cost much, it mustn't be good. Quite honestly, I don't need to pay a lot only to be told I've eaten too much. As DH and I were debating the quality of the new device, the girls wandered in. Alas, children have a way of putting all in perspective.
Cutiepie: "Cool! Mommy bought a time machine!"
Oh, don't we wish it were a time machine?
One by one, we climbed aboard and waited for the numbered wheel to stop.
The mom in me fretted as my pre-tween daughters weighed themselves. I figured if we took very little notice of it, we could avoid setting in a deeply-rooted self-conscious.
As DH's size-11 feet covered the entire scale, its numbers spun, bobbing to the nearest to last increment. Cutiepie made her second hilarious observation:
"Whoa!! Daddy made it go almost right back 'round to zero!"
That's right, DH might just like this time machine yet.
May your timing be right for you!
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
In September, I was in the hospital for a Minera Coil Insertion (aka IUD). A three-inch T-shaped device is a form of contraception inserted into the uterus. My cervix is tricky, surgery is necessary to insert anything as it was also necessary to extract my babies!
In September and October, I was in extreme pelvic and stomach pain. Several doctor appointments and nothing suspected; more tests scheduled for December. (I'm a public patient in Ireland, thus time delay. Luckily, I'm pretty resilient. It takes a lot to take me down.)
Meanwhile, on November 5 after Houston, I awoke to lower left back pain. This, I diagnosed myself: a kidney stone. My kidney spent the next night spasming with the stone finally lodging in the tube. After 136 x-rays and admittance to the hospital, I was prepared for surgery to break up the stone and reset the uretha tube.
Before surgery, the doctor came to my bedside and said he had to discuss something with me. While following the stone movement in x-rays, they found something else. They had been following another moving target. My coil. It had ruptured the uterus and was now touring my insides.
In early x-rays, the coil appears in the uterus region, but upon closer look, it's behind the pelvis.
Other x-rays show the coil in the abdomen beside my gall bladder.
And yet, other x-rays show the coil behind ribs.
The doctor team was, and are, dumbfounded at its mobility and are anxious to remove the coil from the abdomen. Then, as if there wasn't enough bizarre activity, my original OBGYN doctor called my urologist surgeon during surgery and said to leave the coil in. (Apparently they are buddies and Dr. Urlogy sent an x-ray on his iphone to Dr. OBGYN.)
Why Dr. OBGYN wanted to halt the surgery for the coil eluded us all. But he did.
My first visit out of the hospital, of course, was to see Dr. OBGYN. He said he was sorry, it had never happened before, and the act of trying to find and remove via stomach surgery could be worse than if it was left to be in the abdomen. “So just leave it in your abdomen.” I think not.
I actually think he thought I would just roll over and go away. When I said I was going for second opinions, he agreed to consult four colleagues for what to do.
What made it worse, was back in September, in recovery I commented to the female doctor in training that I never even met Dr. OBGYN. I thought it odd that he did not introduce himself before or after surgery, so I had asked her, “Did he even do the surgery?” She said, “Oh yes, he did. You were too groggy to remember him.”
Now when he and I are in his office, and my coil in my abdomen, he introduces himself. (Note to self, he's never met me before.) He began reading the operating notes to me, stressing it was a very difficult insertion for “her”. I told him “she” said he had done the surgery, to which of course, he defensively denied.
Despite this blame game, Dr. OBGYN came back shortly with a new recommendation that the coil be removed. Which is a good thing as all my queries had been returning with vehement yes for removing coil. Surgery is scheduled for 28 January.
Can you believe? Crazy stuff.
Beyond Cutiepie's birth, which was blissfully seamless, this has been my longest experience with Irish health system and Irish hospital staff. The professionalism and the care shown by hospital staff was bar none the best I've ever experienced anywhere. So considerate and caring.
Equally so, they were incredibly candid. With each changing of staff, the nurse would lean in and say, “I saw your x-rays. Wow! That's really bad!” As an American, I was shocked. But I appreciated the humanity of the reaction. It also validated that I wasn't overreacting.
Have you ever heard of such a mess?
So I am now preparing myself for stomach surgery later this month. I trust all will go well.
I'm thankful we're not talking about a certain surgery in, say, nine months?
Because THAT very well could have been the case with contraception gone AWOL!
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