Monday, February 8, 2016

Saying Good-Bye For Now

I am going to be off line for awhile and I have no idea for how long.

I do not know when I will be able to respond to any comments left at this time as well.

I love you all, you have given me joy, shared our families with each other, our creativity and mostly our quilting journey over the years!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Long, But Humourous Read

This is a very entertaining speech about quilters and there's a lot of truth in it. It's very long and don't hesitate to bail out if it doesn't resonate with you.  

A speech on quilting

As you know, I'm a lawyer when I'm not sewing (or knitting). As such, I subscribe at work to e-mails that tell me of the latest decisions of the important courts here in Canada. There is one such e-mail prepared weekly by a local law firm. I always scroll to the end where, after the serious stuff, there is a section titled "Last Word". Today, it was about a speech given at a conference on quilting (Quilt Canada 2010) by Allan Fradsham, a criminal court judge in Calgary, Alberta, where the conference was held.

Here's the text. It's long but amusing, and so worth a read:

“When, some years ago, Gloria told me that she was going to build upon her years of sewing experience, and take up "quilting", I thought she was telling me that she was going to take up a new hobby or a new craft. I was completely oblivious to the fact that what she was really announcing was that she was taking up membership in a tightly knit (if you'll pardon the expression) group of individuals whose loyalty to one another makes motorcycle gang members seem uncommitted, and whose passion for quilting activities makes members of cults look positively disinterested. As is the case with many spouses, I was completely unaware that there existed this parallel universe called quilting.

However, to be completely unaware of a world-wide sub-culture operating right under our noses and in our homes is a bit obtuse even for husbands. But there it is, and here you are. And, most oddly, here I am. You might wonder how all this came to pass; I know I certainly do.

I cannot now identify what was the first clue I detected indicating that Gloria had entered the fabric world equivalent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts. It might have been the appearance of the fabric. Bundles of fabric, mounds of fabric, piles of fabric, towering stacks of fabric. Fabric on bolts, and stacks of small squares of fabric tied up in pretty ribbons (I later learned these were "fat quarters" which to this day sounds to me like a term out of Robin Hood). The stuff just kept coming into the house as thought it were endless waves crashing onto a beach. And then, just like the waves, the most amazing thing happened: it would simply disappear. It was as though the walls of the house simply absorbed it. Metres and metres (or as men of my generation would say, yards and yards) of fabric would come into the house. It would arrive in Gloria's arms when she returned from a shopping excursion. It would arrive in the post stuffed in postal packs so full that they were only kept together by packing tape (these overstuffed Priority Packs are the equivalent of me trying to fit into pants I wore in law school). These packages would arrive having been shipped from unheard of towns and villages in far away provinces or states or overseas countries (I am convinced the internet's primary activity is not to be found in pornography; that is just a ruse, the internet's real function is to facilitate the trafficking and distribution of fabric). Wherever we went, be it in Canada, the U.S., Europe, wherever there was a collection of more than three houses, Gloria would find a quilt shop from which she would pluck some prize from some bin with the enthusiasm and unerring eye of an archaeologist finding a new species of dinosaur.

And of course, the reason that there are quilt shops everywhere is because there are quilters everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. A few years ago, Gloria had been visiting her sister-in-law in Kelowna. While there, she found and purchased a Featherweight sewing machine. I understand that making such a find is a matter of such joy that it may eventually attract government taxation. When it came time to fly back to Calgary, Gloria worried about what the people at airport security would have to say when she tried to take the machine onto the plane. She need not have been concerned. Now, airport security takes pride in preventing me from carrying onto a plane a small squirt of toothpaste left in a rolled up toothpaste tube if the tube in which it is lodged did at some point in the distant past, contain a prohibited amount of toothpaste. My spot of toothpaste is a national security threat. However, when it came time for Gloria to go through security with the Featherweight, which is made of metal and has needles in secret compartments, airport security came to a standstill. Why? Were they about to confiscate the machine, and detain the person who dared to try to board with it? Of course not. They gathered around it in awe and admiration, asking Gloria questions about where she had found it, and expressing admiration for her good fortune in finding it. And why did Gloria get such warm treatment when I am shunned for trying to maintain some degree of oral hygiene? Well, the answer is obvious; the assembled airport security staff were all quilters, complete with the secret handshake.

Maybe I should have twigged to what was happening when the washing of all this fabric led to having to replace our washing machine, which was clearly not designed for such industrial use. Now, let me pause here. I understand that there is an intense debate within your world about whether or not fabrics should be washed upon purchase. I do not wish to be caught in any cross-fire between the two camps, for all I know, as an outsider, I may not be authorized to even know of the controversy. I do suspect that if men were making the decision, quilting would involve lot less fabric washing and a lot more beer drinking.

I did eventually discover where all the fabric went. It went into drawers, cupboards, shelves, and, eventually it completely filled up a closet, which took up one full wall in Gloria's newly built "sewing room". What we now call Gloria's "sewing room", we used to call "the basement".

I have discovered that one of the art forms mastered by quilters is the ability to purchase container loads of fabric, conceal it in the house, and camouflage the purchase so that it slips right under the nose of the unsuspecting spouse. As a loving and obedient spouse, I have on many occasions found myself in quilt stores where I serve two useful functions: I can reach bolts of fabric stored on top shelves; and I can carry numerous bolts of fabric to a cutting table. However, I have also started to listen to what is said in quilting stores, and one day, in a little quilting shop in the heart of Alberta farming country, I heard something that made it clear to me that quilters are so clever and, dare I say, devious, that there is really no sport for them in fooling we naive husbands. Gloria had decided to buy some fabric (which is similar to saying that Gloria had decided to breathe), and had gone to the till to pay for it. Upon running through Gloria's charge card, the clerk quietly said, "Now, when you get your credit card statement, don't be alarmed when you see an entry for our local feed store. We run our charges under that name so that if a husband looks at the credit card statements, he will think that the entry is just something he bought at the feed store for the farm". That sort of financial shell game would make Goldman Sachs proud. I knew at that moment that there had been a major and probably irrevocable shift in the world's power structure. I concede it is basically over for the non-quilting husband.

As you have been told, I sit as a criminal law judge, and as such I often find myself sitting on drug trials, or issuing search warrants in relation to drug investigations. I must say that the more I learned about the quilting world, the more I started to see similarities between that world and the drug world. It has caused me some concern.

We all interpret events from our own perspectives using the lessons we have learned through life. When I saw the extent to which Gloria's collection of fabric was growing, I began to worry. In the law relating to drugs, the amount of a drug one has in one's possession is an important factor in determining the purpose for which the person has the drug. For example, if a person is in possession of crack cocaine (to use a drug with an addictive power equivalent to fabric), one look at the amount of crack the person possessed. If the amount exceeds the amount one would realistically possess for personal use, then one may reasonably draw the inference that the purpose of the possession is not personal use, but, rather, it is for the purpose of trafficking the drug. So, you can imagine what I thought when I saw Gloria's collection of fabric grow to a point where she readily admitted that she could never use all that fabric in several lifetimes. I reluctantly concluded that I was married to a very high-level fabric trafficker. Mind you, in order to qualify as a trafficker, one does have to part with fabric, and I see very little evidence of that happening.

In fact, the more I thought about the parallels between the quilting culture and the drug culture, the clearer the similarities became. Consider the jargon. I have learned that this vast collection of fabric, which is stored in our house, is a "stash". Well, drug dealers speak of their "stash" of drugs. Gloria speaks of doing "piece" work. In the drug world there are often people who bring together the crack cocaine dealer and the buyer; think of a real estate agent, but not as well dressed, through perhaps somewhat less annoying. Those people speak of breaking off a "piece" of crack as payment for bringing the parties together. Sounds to me like a type of "piece work". Those who transport drugs are often called "mules"; I have frequently heard Gloria refer to me as her mule when I am in a quilt store carrying stacks of fabric bolts (or did she says I was stubborn as a mule?). Well, it was something about mules. And I should think that this whole conference is a testimony to the addictive qualities of quilting.

In my role as a Sherpa, I have accompanied Gloria on various quilting expeditions, and I have been impressed by many things. One is, as I have mentioned, that no matter where one goes, there will be a quilt store. The proliferation of quilt shops makes Starbucks outlets seem scarce. One day Gloria led me into a hardware store, which seemed odd to me, that is until I discovered that, as I walked towards the back of the store, the store had become a quilt shop. The metamorphosis was extraordinary, and very crafty (if you will pardon the pun). At that moment, I knew how Alice felt as she followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole. Suddenly, one was in a different universe.

Another thing I have learned is that the operators of quilt shops have great business acumen. In one of Gloria's favourite shops, upon entry I am greeted by name and offered a cup of coffee. If the grandson is with us, he is allowed to choose a book to take home. It is all so friendly that I don't even notice that I cannot see over the growing pile of fabric bolts which fill my arms. I wish that my doctor did such a good job of distracting me when it is time to do a prostate exam.

I have learned that quilting is both international in scope and generous in spirit. I have learned that quilters are quick to assist those in need, and that they have always been prepared to stand up for what is right. For example, I think of Civil War quilts, which often conveyed messages about the Underground railway for slaves escaping to Canada. I think of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, and the Quilts of Valour project. At one point, I thought of suggesting the creation of an organization akin to "Doctors Without Borders", but decided that an organization called "Quilts Without Borders" would indeed be illogical.

And of course, there are the resultant quilts. We have quilts throughout the house. They adorn beds, chesterfields, the backs of chairs. They are stacked on shelves, they are stored in drawers, they are shoved under beds, they are hung on walls. There is even one on the ceiling of the sunroom. They compete for any space not taken up with the fabric, which will eventually result in more quilts. I live in a cornucopia, which disgorges quilts instead of produce. I have decided that quilts are the zucchini of crafts. But who can complain? Quilt seriously, each one is a work of art, and an instant family treasure. While family members and friends are delighted to receive them, I churlishly begrudge seeing them go out the door.

Though I tease Gloria about the all-consuming nature of her obsession, I am constantly amazed at the skill necessary to create those works of art. I stand in awe as I watch her do the mathematics necessary to give effect to (or correct) a pattern. When she quilts, she combines the skill of an engineer, a draughtsman, a seamstress, and an artist. Her sewing machines require her to have, as she does, advanced computer and mechanical skills. She knows her sewing machines as well as any Hell's Angel knows his Harley. She uses measuring and cutting tools and grids, which would challenge the talents of the best land surveyors.

In short, I am very proud of what Gloria does, as each of you should be proud of your own skills and creations. They are impressive and very evident at this Conference. On behalf of those of us who wouldn't know a binding from a batting, I simply ask that when you finally and formally announce that have already taken over the world that you find some simple tasks for us to do to justify our existence. You might call those tasks... the QUILT PRO QUO.

Gloria and I very much appreciate your warm hospitality this evening.

In closing, the hotel management has asked me to remind you that those found cutting up the table cloths for quilting fabric will have their rotary cutters confiscated and forfeited to the Crown.”

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Cup of Love

A Very Special Cup
This cup is a very special cup of love for so many reasons, and I know many of you are trying to figure out what is so special about it.

First it is just a cup.
Second it is an empty cup.

Ahhh, but in 2009 this cup was the last Christmas gift I opened from my mom as I kept looking out our Aberdeen window for snow. 

I love snow. Little amounts, large amounts, to me it is a special gift from God. You open your windows and the first significant snow fall of the year happened during the night and you open your door and it is absolutely peaceful outside, not a sound, not a print in the snow, magical!

Just as I unwrapped it, my husband hugged me and said, 'I'm sorry baby, no snow this year on Christmas.' But look I said as I pointed to the window, it is snowing. He thought I was joking, but sure enough there was snow and just enough for a snowman!

My mom passed away February 2010. I think of her every time I use this cup, I think of her every time I use one of the worn out dish towels I have because she sent me brand new ones every Christmas and now...all I have are the ones left.

This morning as I was opening my eyes to get out of bed to help my grands get out the door to school, my amazing husband walked in and asked me, 'are you awake?' I was and to my amazement he is standing by our bed with this cup full of warm delicious coffee.

Yes, it may be just a cup to many, but to me, this cup speaks love. It speaks caring. It speaks miracles.

I have been married to my amazing husband for 34+ years and this was the first time EVER in our marriage (unless I was bedridden) that he has ever brought me a cup of coffee in bed!

I am just so blessed!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

It Is All About Those Concerts and Traveling in 2016

As my grandchildren get older it gets harder to find them that perfect Christmas gift that won't just sit around and collect dust and is not electronic.

Christmas 2015 was perfect and taught a few lessons.  Our granddaughter was given an IPhone 5 by a friend who updated to the 6, so she sold it for $200, then traded her IPOD for an Android phone that sadly did not work. It was a lesson learned that she should always have an adult with her when doing things like this and not run to the end of the drive to meet with someone!

However, she took the $200 and went out and purchased everyone on her list (a total of 12) and all the gifts were thoughtful and meant something to the receiver.  

For her 2 cousins that traveled up from Arizona she got them headsets to go with the portable DVD players hubby and I got them for their trip home.  One was Minions, the other Hello Kitty which is what each loves.

For me, a gift card to JoAnn's, her Papa, a gift card from Cabella's, her dad (well she had given up part of her Christmas from us as each of her siblings did to get him special glasses so he can see real colors as he is color blind...he cried like a baby!), boots for her soon to be step-sibling, a video for a younger soon to be step-sibling, Wall Decor for her aunt that spelled out MOTHER, WSU socks for her sister, etc..

I was so impressed she had $4 left over that I told her next, year, she could do my shopping!

Since she and her Papa have been fishing buddies since she was still in diapers and always listen to classic rock while fishing, I got them tickets to see the last Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath concert and I am talking close up tickets.

I made a scavenger hunt and it was funny to watch their faces as they tried to figure out the clues but at each clue was a clue...the first one was a CD for each of them...classic Black Sabbath. They were so excited to have music for fishing (Really??Said with sarcasm). Then they found Ozzy glasses and thought they were sunglasses for fishing (I am NOT related to, then tee-shirts and finally, the last clue they figured it out!

Years ago I was all over that music and I still listen when hubby and I travel, but the two of them are like two peas in a pod and both are looking forward to wearing their tee-shirts, glasses and spending the day together. My hubby even took the next day off so they don't have to rush getting home!

Then, the other three (2 grands and a soon to be 3rd grand in the form of her mom marrying our son) and their tickets are to see Toby Mac/Building 429, etc. on tour.  Tickets were for hubby and I as well and we will stay overnight after this one.

These concerts will provide years of memories and collect no dust and I loved that.

One of our church members does Hip Hop Christian Music and he is amazing. His name is Kurtis and goes by Triple Thr33 and has created a music company, Ephesian Music Company. If you have a family member who loves Hip Hop Christian music or Hip Hop, I highly suggest you head over to the link above and leave Kurtis a comment and tell him the Kester Family from CCCOG told you to stop by.

You can also check out his Facebook page. Our grandson loves HipHop however, I am not a fan of the vulgar stuff and banned it but he was on top of the world the other day when Kurtis handed him a hoodie with his logo and 2 tickets to his upcoming concert for he and his dad. I purchased the items, but asked Kurtis to personally hand them to our grandson so it would have more of an impact!

Not always at a Christian venue, Kurtis goes to many other Hip Hop music venues so he can help others change their lives, so our son and his girlfriend are going to the one Kurtis told us wouldn't be good for the kids.  They will have a night out and as members of our church as well, they can reach out to others. 

I also have several trips planned this year for hubby and I. We need time for us as as we get older, I want time for us! The kids and their dad can hold the fort down.

I hope you all made wonderful memories this Christmas!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Docs Are Not Always Right...

I have Fibromyalgia and Arthritis. It is just a fact of life that I live with everyday and on some days, I live with it more than others when you factor in I live in WA and it gets wet and cold.

In 2004 I began having issues with pain in my wrists, hands, back, hips, elbows and my doctor couldn't figure it out so off to see a Rheumatologist who said while I did not have Carpal Tunnel, I would benefit from a ergonomic keyboard. My 911 center had no problem with that or getting us new chairs.

The pain got to a point where I could not do my morning exercise routine due to pain in my back, hips and feet so off to see an amazing ortho. doctor I know and he sent me to a specialist that deals in Fibromyalgia.

By this time, my riding my bike daily or walking had been cut down to barely moving without pain and my feet well, that would take longer to diagnose.

It was determined I had Fibromyalgia and learned it doesn't go away, most of the medications they have for it are placebo because they do NOT help my pain and at the time I weighed 142 pounds and was wearing a size 10. NO!!! I was NOT over weight/obese!

Odd things then began happening:
2006- I broke my  right Tibia and Fibula  just walking! (I was told I probably had Osteoporosis but tested negative)
2007-Finally out of my cast, completed PT, moved to Washington and stepped over a curb and fractured my outer right metatarsal (back in a boot!)
2008- Broke the same metatarsal and this time my doctors told me I was just clumsy. 
2009-Pain in my back that I have had for years was so horrific that towards the end of the school year, I began to drag my foot.
That year, I had 2 back surgeries...first to correct the damage to about 80% pain free. The second because after removing my stitches, my incision began to open itself back up! Yuup...that was fun! NOT!!!
2010-I fall on the ice and tear the ligaments in (you guessed it) my right leg!
I also found out I have Neuropathy in both my feet but an NOT a diabetic. (Neuropathy is better known as diabetic nerve pain!)
2011-It is discovered I have lost 80% of my hearing in my right ear and my left ear also has some hearing loss.

As you can see, I can go on as I have spent as much time since 2007 in a walking boot I swear as I have out of one! 

At times in the mornings, I have to get out of bed and use my walker to move around for about 30 minutes or so because I hurt and am stiff, but I keep moving, one has to!

My Rheumatologist I have now just seems to do the same thing over and over again..draw blood, touch my hips, have me walk 2 feet one way and 2 feet the other writes me a script for an NSAID and a low level pain pill and says, 'contact me if you need renewal.'

We have NOT done a bone density scan since 2008. He does not discuss with me the fact that two of my fingers on my right hand are beginning to twist, it is as if, I am there for a prescription and nothing more with the exception that if I lost weight, I would feel better!

Well, I have lost 30 pounds and guess what? I has NOT helped with the pain, my feet are so bad at times, I shuffle, my right hip hurts so bad at times hubby told me it is time to see my regular doctor so she can order an XRay.

All I am saying, is doctors do not have all the answers, their medications do NOT stop everything or heal everything and weight loss while I understand I needed to lose pounds, is not always the miracle pill it is pushed to be!

Know your body. Know how it works and what helps and what makes things worse.  

One thing I love is grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit. However, if I have more than a small glass or half in a weeks time, I will get what is known as a 'Fibro Flare,' so grapefruit isn't my friend as much as I would love it to me. On the other hand, I can tolerate orange juice and oranges. 

I am often times told, exercise will help and I know it does to a point, but I cannot do back nor my Neurosurgeon will allow them. Everyone thinks crunches are the only answer, however, they are NOT for everyone.

I can't do a push-up, even in high school when I was at the top of my athletic game, I could not. So someone telling me to keep trying isn't going to make it happen.

I am looking forward to 2016 and becoming healthier, but I will do so on my terms and my bodies terms and I am NOT going to allow doctors who refuse to consult with each other on my care to dictate what will work for me and what won't.

I will give them the respect they deserve. I will listen with an open mind and I will modify things to my body and how it feels and I hope each of you does the same thing!



I am a member of Blog Lovin and so many other bloggers are as well. However, I have an issue with not being able to respond or leave comments on their posts as each time I get a response back that the email I sent did not go through.

Has anyone else experienced this? 
Does anyone else have a 'fix,' for it?

I love having a cup of coffee in the morning and reading and seeing what my blog friends are up to, but I feel sad I can't respond!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Meta,Keta, What? Loosing the Pounds The Right Way!

I have struggled with my weight off and on for years. 

Growing up, I never had an issue, but looking back, I realized it was how and what I ate and how my body used the calories to produce muscle or fat.

Trust me, I am not going to get all scientific on you here, I am NOT that good at translating my nutritionists talks into English, but I know growing up, things were different.

I come from a family of 6, we all ate breakfast every morning (Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Eggs & Bacon, Poached Eggs (okay, so my dog ate my poached eggs...blech!) and the only time we EVER had boxed cereal was Saturday mornings because it was mom's day to sleep in!)

So, up early, breakfast and out the door to the bus stop which was NOT at the end of the drive, but about a quarter mile down the road. It was a the bus stop for all of us country kids and picked up about thirty of us.

School lunches were delicious, they were cooked by amazing school cooks who loved what they were doing and it showed in our food. Fresh salad with vinegar and oil dressing, whole milk, home made hamburger buns with our burgers, fresh veggies and desserts that melted in our mouths.  Rarely did anyone toss food into the trash and always if there was seconds there was a line.

Then it was outside to play for a full 30 minutes, running, tag, basketball, football, dodge ball, jump rope, relay races, we had a blast.  

Today, sadly as it is, dodge ball, tag, snowball tosses and anything else that might remotely cause a child to be hurt is banned. Who bans tag? As a substitute teacher, it depended on the school.

Class wasn't over at 2 or 2:15, it was over at 3:30. 

I loved Mondays, it was my moms grocery and baking day and she always made peanut butter and oatmeal cookies. We never at Oreo's, Nutter Butter's or even chocolate chip cookies growing up and my dad banned chewing gum!

Mondays you got 2 cookies and an apple for snack. The rest of the week you got 1 cookie and an apple and trust me, my mom knew how many cookies were in the Mickey cookie jar I now have.

Homework, chores and then outside until dinner.

Dinner was shared as a family with 4 at the table and 2 at the breakfast bar as our kitchen was small. MILK was the drink at the table...not juice, not soda, not water, but milk. Water was what you had the rest of the time, soda was not in our house growing up.

Dishes were done by the two of us who were chosen that evening to do them and then back outside until bath time. No snacks after dinner with the exception of Saturday night which was ice cream night.

What I didn't know what my metabolism was working like a well oiled machine because my body was getting the nutrition it needed and plenty of exercise.

Overtime, I allowed simple, quick and pre-packaged to enter my life and my families. Lucky for me, hubby and the kids are always active, but I had a sedentary job and the weight packed on and on and I would lose and gain.

Recently, I decided I had to change, something had to give I joined Body Change by John Cena the wrestler/actor and trust me, I believed it would be a waste of time and money, but it sure beat dieting.

Within three weeks, I had lost 12 pounds and continued to lose and my doctor was thrilled but sent me to see a nutritionist who loved John's plan, but tweeked it some more.

John says to eat lots of beans. My nutritionist said no beans, no starch, no sugar, no pasta, no rice, no corn, no grains and I am thinking, I am going to die!

Funny, I have lost almost 30 pounds and I am still here...I eat eggs and bacon or sausage for breakfast, nuts, protein drink, cheese stick for morning snack, salad for lunch and dinner is usually meat. I drink a lot of water, coffee or tea.

Here I am last year in Phoenix visiting with a friend and you can tell I was pretty bottom heavy.  Fast forward to yesterday exact same outfit and I can now see where I lost 30 pounds.

I still need to lose many more, but this week, I will have met my first weight loss goal of 32 pounds.

My next goal will be another 25 pounds and I know whether I exercise or not, get sick or not, develop an abscessed tooth...I can still lose by not counting calories, not eating diet food, but understanding how my body and metabolism and ketosis works to burn fat.

I cannot wait until I show the same outfit with 57 pounds gone. WOW!!! That is like 5 bags of 10# potatoes, a 5# bag and a 2# bag, now to me, that is a visual!