Friday, October 21, 2016

Checking Back In Quickly

Just a quick update.

My cancer was progressing in spite of being on the clinical study, so my doctor has withdrawn me from the study and started a new chemo regimine. I've already had one treatment. If the amount of fluid that accumulates in my abdomen is any indication, it's working already. Hopefully it's killing cancer cells, too.

I just finished 16 days in hospital. Without going into too much uncomfortable detail, I couldn't hold anything down - liquids or food. We seem to have found the magic combination of meds and care. Unfortunately I'm on TPN (nightly feedings through my port) while NPO during the day (other than sips of clear liquids for comfort and taking meds). It's not fun, but I'm home! And I'm trying to do as much as I can to regain as much of the strength I lost in hospital.

DH and I have a move to get ready for. I won't be any help so we will have to have this move done professionally, with the help of friends to box and pack. I feel so helpless - not a feeling I'm comfortable with but one I'm learning to get used to. The hard way. Of course.

I hope to be able to get some time in sewing room this week ... we'll have to see if I'm up to it. I definitely plan to go to the Ts' swim meet this weekend. Not every single event like in the past, but I will be there! Seeing them swim is one of the things that keeps me going! ;-)

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Quick Check-In

I'm still taking a blogging break, but I did want to pop in and give you all an update.

On the 19th, I had my monthly blood draw, and my cancer markers came back high ... Dr. Powell was concerned about the increase and ordered a CT scan last Friday. Yesterday DD, DH and I met with him to discuss the results. As we suspected, the cancer is back ... the good news is that it's early and there isn't a lot of cancer or fluid built up.

Dr. Powell recommended that I participate in a clinical trial designed for women like me whose cancer came back within 6 months of finishing the first round of chemo. The options in the study include oral meds that target the cancer cells or standard chemo. The treatment I will receive will be chosen randomly. I'll be having several tests over the next week to ensure that I'm healthy enough to participate and establish baseline levels for future labwork. I will be closely monitored and can withdraw if it becomes obvious that the treatment I'm receiving isn't helping. Not to worry, though, as there are still lots of other treatments available.

We're hoping that we'll still be able to go to Hilton Head as planned next month, but it's already looking like we'll be leaving later than originally planned. Obviously our priority is to get this cancer under control.

I would really appreciate your prayers that the treatment will be effective and that I'll tolerate the treatment with minimal side effects.

Sunday afternoon I headed back to my sewing room. If you all remember, I've been debating what to make next. I had so many ideas that I was suffering from "analysis paralysis" ... plus many of my choices would require some stash enhancement (aka a trip to Homestead Hearth). As I was checking Facebook Sunday morning, I saw a granny square quilt that I fell in love with. It was an "aha" moment ... #1 it is a perfect scrappy quilt, so I could use my stash - #2 I have a 2" (finished) square die so cutting my scraps into usable pieces would be easy peasy - #3 it will be perfect for quick and easy chain piecing which will be perfect considering I may not have large blocks of time to spend in the sewing room (what with getting ready to move). I pieced together 3 blocks Sunday afternoon. Here are two of those blocks.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another Blogging Break

If you remember, DH and I stayed with DD and her family when I was first diagnosed. It was a little crowded and no one had any real privacy, but we loved being with them and miss being actively involved with them on a daily basis. We've dreamt about finding a large house with a separate in-law suite or cottage (with a little acreage and of course a pool! if we're going to dream, why not dream big - ha!) ... only to realize that we'd need to win the lottery first to be able to afford it. We have managed to find an alternative ... we're going to buy the house right behind DD's house. ;-)


We will be closing at the end of October, which seems like a long time from now, but I think most of you will agree that the time will pass by entirely too quickly. So DH and I will need to get right to work on packing and getting this house ready to sell, as well as planning the improvements and upgrades we'll be making to the new ... unfortunately that won't leave much time for blogging (especially since we are still planning to be in Hilton Head for two weeks next month). Suffice it to say, we're going to be busy as bees. ;-) Once we get moved and settled in, I plan to be back with a full report.


So until then, I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trip Report - aka the Best Week of My Life

I have to admit that I was a little concerned whether I'd be able to tolerate the drive (12-1/2 hours) and whether I'd be able to enjoy my time away and whether I'd be able to keep up with everyone else and not be a burden.  Thankfully my concerns were for naught ... I really didn't have much pain and was able to do whatever I wanted.  The only activity I wasn't able to participate in was the snorkeling ... and only because I couldn't wear a mask over my glasses and I'm as blind as a bat without them.  ;-)

The beach in the panhandle is absolutely the most beautiful beach I've ever seen.  Unfortunately, it's not the flat, solid beach conducive to walking (like the beach at Hilton Head).  Even so, it was the beach, and we loved every minute of our time. 

We were blessed with beautiful weather the first 7 days ... sunny and warm in spite of rain in the forecasts.  Alas, the rain finally materialized the final 3 days ... thankfully there was a break in the rain each day so we could get back out to the beach. 

This was our view crossing over to Destin - our first view of water.  I was practically giddy with excitement, and this was just the bay.  ;-)

 Our view at lunch that first day in Destin.

 The beach at Destin.

We got to the condo in Navarre Beach an hour before we could check in ... so we spent that hour out on the beach.

Just minutes after we checked in, we saw this fly-by.  This was taken from the balcony of our condo.

 Another pic taken from our balcony.  The view was spectacular!

T#2 and I went for an early-morning walk along the beach and saw a sea turtle nest.  Speaking of sea turtles, DD, DSIL and I were out in the water later that morning and saw a sea turtle swim by - no more than 15-20 yards from us.  It was spectacular!

The sun was too far north to get photos of a sunrise or sunset on the Gulf, so this was the best I could do.

As I mentioned, I couldn't snorkel, but that didn't mean that I didn't see anything while on the boat waiting.  That's a jelly fish.  Yes, some of our snorkelers were stung, but the stings were minor and alleviated with a spray of vinegar.

 T#4's artwork our final day on the beach.

 <3 <3 <3

 T#4's artwork at dinner our final night.

DH and I didn't head straight home Saturday morning.  We decided to go check out Ft. Pickens and were treated to a show by the Blue Angels (stationed over at Pensacola Naval Air Station, just across Escambia Bay).  I got a video which you can view here: 

The shells I found on my walks along the beach.

Don't forget that you can click on the pictures to see them even better.  ;-)

I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the best week of my life.  The memories we made are priceless, and I will cherish them the rest of my life.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Preparation ...

That's the mode we're in here at Chez Nana. Preparing for something fun ... a long overdue trip to the beach. Not our favorite beach (Hilton Head Island), but we've never been able to say "no" to the beach, any beach. DD and her family and her (step) sister and her family have been trying for almost a year now to get away together to the beach, and they've graciously invited us and their dad and his wife to join them.


Since I've been given a respite from ongoing treatment and since DH and I are, as I said, way overdue for some time at the beach (we had to cancel our two weeks in Hilton Head this last May), we decided to leave early and get in a few more days on the beach. We'll be leaving Tuesday morning, so the last few days have been busy ones ... as will today and tomorrow ... as we prepare for this trip.


Unfortunately that means that there's been no trip to Homestead Hearth (it's over 2 hours one way), so there's not been anything going on in the sewing room. I'm still debating what quilt block to use in my next quilt. I'm not sure that I'm any closer to deciding ... I change my mind every time I think about what block to use. Suffice it to say that I've got 3-4 blocks that are really high up on my list ... I suspect I'll choose whatever is at the top of the list on the day I head to Homestead Hearth. I do plan to take my Martha Washington's Flower Garden project with me ... even if I don't have time to stitch there on the beach, it'll keep me busy during the 12-hour drive there and back.


I also don't know how much time I'll have online ... after all. I've got a lot of beach time to get caught up on, and of course plenty of T time to enjoy as well. But I promise to get you all caught up when we return.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

OK, Maybe It Was a Bit of a Blogging Break

My next to last blog post mentioned taking a break ... but not a blogging break. But as it turns out, it really was both.


About a week after I finished up my last chemo, I started to exhibit some symptoms that I initially chalked them up to that last intense chemo treatment. But over time the symptoms have gotten more intense and enough time has passed that I should no longer be experiencing any symptoms of this magnitude, so I've consulted with my oncologist. He and I are working on figuring out what is going on so we can get them resolved.


He moved my CT scan up from the end of the month to last week and moved our follow-up appointment to Tuesday. The good news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms ... the bad news is that the scan didn't reveal anything that could be causing my symptoms. ;-) But there was more good news with the scan - everything looked the way he was expecting. And with my cancer marker staying stable, he doesn't need to see me for 3 months. He's ordered monthly bloodwork between now and October and another scan prior to my visit in October, but other than that, I'm a "free woman" for the next 3 months.


I haven't been doing any quilting since my last post, nor have I made it to Homestead Hearth to get fabric for my next project. I haven't even finalized what block I'll make my next quilt from ... I'm waffling between pinwheel, cake stand, scrap jar star and single wedding ring. Obviously triangles will be an integral part of whatever quilt I make next.


Since my last post, I have been watching the Ts swim ... their last regular season meet was last night, and they finished the season undefeated. League championships will be Saturday ... when it will be in the upper 90s with a heat index of around 110. :-o Gotta love summertime in southwestern Illinois. Ha!


Things should be slowing down next week, so I'm hoping that it will include a road trip to Homestead Hearth and some time back in the sewing room. I've enjoyed a bit of a break from the back-to-back-to-back sewing in May and June and am ready to get back to my needle and thread.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Lovely Blog Award

My good friend Katy at has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Normally, I’m not a fan of blog awards, but I have to admit that I like memes that allow us to share a few previously unknown facts so we can get to know each other a little better.  So, I’m going to make an exception and join in.

Like Katy did, I have pasted the award photo and the rules directly.  Here they are:
The Rules:
*Thank the person who nominated you, and give a link to his/her blog.
*List the rules.
*Display the image of the award on your post.
*List seven facts about yourself.
*Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award, and notify them to let them know you have nominated them.

Seven Facts About Me:
1. I started piecing my very first quilt on January 30, 1982.  How do I happen to know the exact date?  It just so happens that we had a blizzard in 1982 that began January 30, 1982.  We got 24” of snow.  I remember starting the quilt after dinner when the forecast was for light flurries.  The Blues were playing in Los Angeles that evening, so I was sewing while listening to the radio broadcast on KMOX, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis.  They kept interrupting the broadcast to announce that the forecast was changing … after several changes, it became apparent that we were in for a significant snowfall and that there would be no way that I was going to try to get out to go to church the next morning.  So I kept sewing … and stopped periodically to take a look at the snow falling. 
2. When I was a child, I wanted to be a groundskeeper at Busch Stadium when I grew up.  I thought it would be a good way to be able to watch the ball games and get paid.  Ha! 
3. I like food that most people don’t: braunschweiger, liver and onions, oysters on the half shell to name a few.  The list of foods I don’t like is a pretty short one: beets, parsnips, radishes, swordfish, tuna. 
4. I flunked chorus tryouts in junior high … you know, the ones where they feel obligated to pass you as long as you can carry a tune. I thought, for some obscure reason, that I’d have a better chance if I sang soprano.  I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t read music at all back then, so I couldn’t carry a tune and most likely wouldn’t  have passed anyway.  But I couldn’t have failed more convincingly if I had tried.
5. I am an anti-pack rat.  I save very little and have no regrets.  DH and I have moved about every 8-10 years of our marriage, and my philosophy on moving is “let’s move as little as possible”.  So when it comes time to pack, I’m ruthless in giving away/throwing away anything that doesn’t have sentimental or legal value or that I haven’t used/worn since our last move.  DH is, on the other hand, a quintessential pack rat and doesn’t allow me to pack anything for him.  ha!
6. After listening to my dad replay his round of golf, shot by shot, to my mom as I was growing up, I swore I wouldn’t marry a man who played golf.  You guessed it … DH enjoys golf.  At least he doesn’t regale me with play-by-play of his rounds. 
7. I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old.  Prior to having to wear glasses, I used to dream about wearing glasses, even poking out the lenses of sunglasses so it looked like I was wearing glasses.  Needless to say, I now dream of not having to wear glasses or contact lenses. 
I’m going to be a rebel and pass on nominating any other bloggers … if anyone wishes to play along, join in!
I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Taking a Break

No, not from blogging, but from the sewing room. Ha! Seriously, I worked like crazy to finish my Twinkle Twinkle mini Saturday. Alas, I made it take longer than necessary because as I went to trim a random thread, I snipped into a border that I was getting ready to stitch on. Ugh! I had to cut another border piece. No, it doesn't end there! I miscut the second border piece ... too short of course. Double ugh! At least the third time was a charm. I gave it a quick press and laid it out on my design floor just seconds before dinner was ready.
I see it's not laying nice and flat ... I hope that a good pressing will take care of that because my blocks were trimmed and the sashing and borders were cut per instructions and went on easily. If not, let's hope it'll quilt out. Ha! Regardless, I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I still haven't decided what to work on next and frankly, once I had semi-tidied back up the sewing room, I just didn't feel like pulling out fabric bins (which is why Twinkle Twinkle fabric is still in the daybed and why the sewing room is only semi-tidied up). So out came my Martha Washington's Flower Garden. If you remember (and if you didn't, I wouldn't blame you because I can't even remember when I last worked on this!), I'm stitching on the connector hexies. Once I get this step done, it'll be time to join together the blocks to form the stars/tumbling blocks. Of course, I need to baste more hexies for the setting blocks ... I have a few leftover from when I began this project but not enough.
That's how much I got done before calling it a day yesterday. Since I have just two blocks to add connector hexies to (that includes the block I started yesterday - see above), I should be able to get them done today and can lay them out to finalize placement and then start piecing stars/tumbling blocks. Hopefully after a couple of days of hand stitching, I'll have decided what I'm going to work on next.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Holiday Weekend!

It looks like it's going to be a quiet weekend here at Chez Nana. DD and her family have plans with their friends, so DH and I will be on our own this weekend. And honestly? While I'll miss them, it will be nice to just take it easy this weekend as this last week was a fairly busy one.


I got the results of Monday's bloodwork, and all my counts are good. In fact, my WBC was a little high, but my nurse told me that wasn't unexpected since I'd had the Neulasta injector last week. The great news is that I am free to get out and about as desired ... no more extraordinary precautions. Yay! I will have bloodwork again on Tuesday, but after that, I'm done until later this month when I'll have my scan and meet with Dr. Powell.


More good news, health wise, is that the muscle pain in my legs is resolving ... I was even able to walk a third lap through the neighborhood last night! As recently as Wednesday, I struggled to make one lap. And the sluggishness that I was feeling seems to be resolving as well. Now if I could just get my sleep habits straightened out.


Tuesday and Thursday nights we watched our grands swim. Thursday's meet was especially exciting ... not only did their team continue their unbeaten streak, but they broke 7 team records. And forgive this grandma's bragging, but 3 of those records were broken by my Ts. T#3 broke a long-standing record in the 25-yd breast stroke.


T#1 broke his own record in the 50-yd butterfly.


And T#2 helps her relay team break a record in the 200-yd freestyle relay. It was too dark to get a good photo of that event, so here she is swimming the butterfly portion of her 100-yd IM.


And of course T#4 swam, too. She's got a long ways to go before she'll be even close to breaking any records, but hey, 6 months ago, she couldn't even swim, so we're not complaining. ;-)

Thanks for letting me brag on my grands.


I also spent a couple of days in the sewing room. I was able to get 3 of my Twinkle Twinkle blocks together ... I've trimmed one to 9"x9".


I've got the pieces for the 4th block cut and ready to sew. After I complete that block and trim the last 3, I'll cut out the sashing, cornerstones and borders. It looks like I should get this little mini finished before the weekend is over ... oops, I don't have anything in mind for my next project, let alone pulling fabrics. I still haven't had time to get to Homestead Hearth to get fabric for the cake stand quilt I want to do, and I don't think we'll get there next week either. So, I'll be making another project using my stash. Now, what block do I want to use? Decisions, decisions.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great weekend!



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Checking Back In

I had been having such insignificant side effects from my chemo, that when Dr. Powell wanted to do all three weeks' worth of Taxol last Tuesday, I said "bring it on"! Little did I know that much Taxol at one time would have made such a huge difference. Some severe fatigue kicked in Thursday, but thankfully it passed by Sunday. My energy level is now back to where it was prior to last week's chemo ... nowhere close to what it was prior to my diagnosis, but high enough that for the most part, I'm able to do whatever I'd like. I'd been having some muscle pain in my calves for the last 4-6 weeks, but with the extra doses of Taxol, the pain has gotten pretty intense. I don't let it keep me from my everyday activities, but it certainly does keep me from getting out to walk. I may have to revert back to the more frequent, shorter walks I took right after my surgery ... especially now that we're experiencing more seasonable temperatures. My energy level should continue to increase and my muscle pain should resolve with time. I'm praying for sooner rather than later.


Once my energy level jumped back up, I was able to get back into the sewing room and finished all my Twinkle Twinkle sawtooth blocks. That coin next to the stars is a quarter to give you an idea of size ... the blocks will finish at 3" square.

They're now waiting for me to cut the red setting blocks and piece the top together. My plan for today is to get in there and cut the setting blocks and maybe even get started on the sewing together. Since the weather is going to be so delightful today and since there's another swim meet tonight, that may or may not happen. Ha!


As soon as my WBC and ANC rebound, DH and I will be making that trip to Homestead Hearth. Once I get the sawtooth blocks and setting squares together, it won't take very long before it'll be time for a new project.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!



Friday, June 24, 2016

Back to Normal

In more ways than one.


My youngest sister arrived Monday and went with me to my appointment with Dr. Powell Tuesday morning (more on that later). My younger sister (the middle one of the three of us) arrived late Tuesday, swinging past my dad's to bring him down here as well. It was a delightful visit ... we learned (from my youngest sister) how to cook salmon properly. Even DH enjoyed it, which is saying a lot as he was definitely not a fan of salmon (they really don't know how to cook salmon properly here in the Midwest). We also watched our Cardinals sweep the Cubs.

Kay, the middle sister, me (complete with my post-chemo steroid flush), and Lisa, the youngest sister.


They returned home last night ... perfect timing on this trip because those post-chemo steroids meant another sleepless night, so I'm too tired today to have been much of a hostess. Ha!


Now, as promised: I got a phone call from Dr. Powell's nurse Monday evening with the report that my ANC and WBC were low. He wanted me to go over to Siteman early for a draw Tuesday morning hoping that my counts would bounce back high enough for chemo Tuesday afternoon. But alas, my counts were still too low, and since they've been trending lower each week, it was quite likely that we'd be facing this for the remaining chemos as well. But he had a Plan B to give me the Neulasta on-body injector (to increase production of white blood cells) which would allow me to receive the entire last cycle of chemo that afternoon instead of over the normal 3-week period. Lisa had planned to head back to my house anyway because DH would be able to keep me company during what would have been a 3-hour session (now a 5-hour session because of the increased chemo), so once I started the pre-chemo meds, she headed back. I texted DD who was in class ... her immediate response was that she'd be right there. Granted she had at most only an hour of her 5-hour class session remaining, but she didn't care ... she wasn't going to miss me ringing the bell! I have to tell you, that brought tears to this mama's eyes!


I am to get my blood drawn next week like normal to see how my ANC and WBC are (hopefully back to normal or very close). I'll see Dr. Powell at the end of July, after I have my ct scan. Please be praying that the scan comes back clear. My cancer marker continues to decrease ... down to 8 now. There's no specific goal we're hoping for as the change in the marker is what Dr. Powell is looking for. If the marker decreases or stabilizes in the normal range, that means the chemo is working/has worked. If the marker starts to increase fairly significantly (such as doubling), then that may mean that the cancer is active. Notice I say "may mean" ... the marker is but one tool he will use to monitor me. He will also order periodic scans and keep an eye on any symptoms that may indicate cancer activity. Unfortunately the type of ovarian cancer that I have starts as microscopic seeds that may not be visible even on a scan ... so if scans come back clear and my cancer marker stabilizes and I don't have any symptoms, I'll be considered in remission - with no evidence of disease (NED) - hopefully for a good long time. I told DH that I'm hoping to have another man in my life - Ned (NED). Ha!


I spent Sunday afternoon in the sewing room, where I finished up all my flying geese. Needless to say, with my sisters here, I didn't spend any time in the sewing room until this morning. I cut the center squares for my sawtooth stars and sewed one flying goose unit to each square. I really wanted to get the stars assembled today, but I ran out of energy. Hopefully I'll be able to get a good, restful night's sleep tonight so I can have a more productive day in the sewing room tomorrow.


We picked our first tomato Monday morning ... off our beefsteak plant. There are 3-4 more about the same size,that haven't ripened up yet. Beefsteak tomatoes are supposed to produce nice big tomatoes ... I'm hoping we didn't get a mis-tagged plant. :-o

There will be no BLTs with this tomato! Ha!


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!







Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wrapping Up Another a Week

It's been another busy week here at Chez Nana.

Tuesday was Chemo Day ... treatment #21 is now in the books, with just 3 more to go. I'm looking forward to ringing the bell and being a bit of a stranger at the Infusion Center. We finished up at Siteman and made tracks to get to that evening's swim meet just before the first event began. Whew! It was an exciting meet, against the team's arch rival ... the Ts' team won, by a mere 22 points. Papa and I were a little hoarse the next morning. ;-)

I spent Wednesday morning in the sewing room. I haven't been able to get to Homestead Hearth (and probably won't be able to for another week), so I decided to start a small quilt in the meantime.

This will definitely be a small quilt, finishing at 28" square. I culled my stash and came up with these fabrics
I'm showing two blacks (bottom row on the right), only one of which will make the cut (pun intended). I got four flying geese units pieced that morning.
Remember I said this was going to be a small quilt! ;-)

I spent Wednesday afternoon at DD's ... best way to spend a hot summer afternoon. And it was hot! My van registered 102 when the Ts and I got in the van to take T#1 to youth group. The rest of the Ts, Papa and I met Daddy at Red Robin for dinner, while Mama stayed home and studied for her Microbiology exam. A day spent doing the things I love and spent with the people I love ... it just doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday morning I took the Ts to swim practice. It was another scorcher, and I have to admit that I was sorely tempted to jump into the pool myself! ;-) It was a long day with an out-of-town swim meet that evening.

There was a very short turn-around as I tag teamed DD with the Ts swim practice. She took them to the pool and spent the first hour and a half there ... I spent the last 3 hours there and took them back home. I was so glad I got the second shift because I got to see T#3 teach himself to do a flip off the diving board after practice.

(Edited to add: it seems that this video is only viewable on a laptop; it doesn't appear to be viewable on mobile devices ... at least I'm not able to view it when I'm on my iPad.  Strange because the video was taken using my iPhone and downloaded it to my laptop from my iCloud ... I really expected it to be viewable from any device.  Obviously it must be a Blogger issue.  Grrrr)

The reason DD and I had to tag team practice was because she went to pick up T#2 from equestrian week at church camp. Doesn't this look like a girl who spent a week in her happy place?

I have to admit that I'm glad there's not a whole lot on the schedule for today. I think a relaxing day in the sewing room is just what I need after a busy week.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Weekend Wrap-Up


It was a very busy weekend here at Chez Nana.


I had lunch with a dear friend on Friday. We had BBQ, and I had my usual brisket sandwich with sweet potato fries ... and they seemed to be even better than usual. Yum! And of course, the company was absolutely wonderful. And look at the sweet gift she gave me ... just because!

And boy, is it true!


Saturday morning we watched our Ts swim - an intrasquad meet. And once again, T#4 spent refused to participate in the warmups. Once again she claimed the water was too cold (although she swam during practices in Thursday and Friday mornings ... and because it got so warm Friday afternoon, I'm confident that the water was warmer than it had been on Thursday or Friday). Yet when the meet started, she swam like a champ. Obviously that girl's got some issues when it comes to warmups. :-o Thankfully there was plenty of shade and a nice breeze, so it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as we were expecting given that the high for Saturday was pushing 98.


T#3 broke the team's record for 25-yard free for 7-8 y.o. boys, a record that has stood for 30+ years. It won't "count" because it was an intrasquad "meet", but I'm sure it'll fall before the summer is over. The question is who will be holding the record when the season ends because he and his buddy finish neck and neck in just about every event they swim. After the meet, we had lunch with DD, DSIL and the Ts to celebrate the "broken record".


I spent Sunday afternoon in the sewing room, and I got the top finished!

When I laid it out for the photo session, I noticed that I pieced the 4th row backwards (upside down?). That resulted in the same fabric in the same "column" (the second block from the left). I'm not happy about that, but I'm not unhappy enough to rip out the row, rotate it and restitch it. Ha! I'm so pleased with how it turned out ... the secondary design is what put this block on my "to-make" list.


We spent Sunday evening watch the Cardinals win and then the first two periods of the Stanley Cup finals.


T#1 arrived back home late Saturday night, and less than 24 hours later his sister was off to church camp ... equestrian camp. Horses, Jesus, crafts and good friends - you can see why she's got such a big smile on her face.


Today I will get my weekly blood draw, tidy up the sewing room, and check my stash to see if I can find something suitable for my cake stand quilt. I'm doubting it, since my stash enhancements are usually fat quarters ... but it won't hurt to look.


I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!



Friday, June 10, 2016

Welcome to Summer

Once again, Spring was short-lived.  It was only a little over 3 weeks ago that we had lows in the upper 30s.  Now our weekend forecast is for highs near 100.  

It’s been a fairly busy week here at Chez Nana.  Monday I finished up the last kaleidoscope block and starting piecing together the blocks into rows.  I also spent some time tidying up my sewing room, putting away the blue fabrics … and have started to think about what I might want to work on next.  I think I’ve narrowed it down to a cake stand quilt. 
I am thinking of setting the blocks on point with alternating blocks, like this:
I’m partial to two-color quilts, so I am leaning toward white/offwhite and a yet-to-be-determined color.  I’d thought about choosing white for the alternating blocks, but I have to admit that after seeing the quilt above, I like the idea of using a variation of the color for the alternating blocks.  I may not have enough yardage to do that, not even for a smaller quilt, so there may be a road trip to Homestead Hearth in the not-so-distant future.

As you may remember, Tuesdays are chemo days … this week I had treatment #20 in total, with 4 more to go.  Thankfully my WBC and ANC were high enough for chemo - whew!  My treatment was early morning … I was the first patient in the infusion center.  It made for an early morning, but it left enough time in the day for DD and me to take T#2 shopping for cowgirl boots … she’ll be leaving on Sunday for horse camp.  On our way back home, I asked her if she’d be mucking out stables … I was feeling quite proud of myself that I used the proper term “muck out” until she corrected me that she’d be mucking out stalls, not stables.  Oops!  

I got all my rows pieced by Wednesday afternoon. 
I will spare you all a close-up as my points aren't perfect ... there are 6 layers of fabric where the points come together, so trying to get my points all perfect would simply be an exercise in futility ... I'm good with close.  I was about ready to start piecing the rows together when we unexpectedly lost electricity for about an hour.

Since it was a nice day, I chose to instead go out and take a walk about the yard, checking on my flowers.  My hydrangea is surprising me … the last two summers it’s produced a single bloom and barely survived.  This spring it’s already got 3-4 blooms and a dozen buds that are going to bloom before too much longer.  My balloon flowers are budding … unfortunately only 2 of the 5 plants I planted are still alive.  My spirea has started blooming, my butterfly bush has started to bloom as well, and my hostas are going to be blooming in just a few more days. 

T#1’s youth group leader has been posting pictures of their mission trip on Facebook, which I’ve “borrowed” to share.  The kids have been leading VBS this week … and were able to take in a Texas Rangers baseball game.  I can’t wait to hear all about it when he gets back.  

Thursday was a busy day. DD is taking her last nursing pre-requisite this summer, so I've been "drafted" to take the Ts to swim practice on Thursdays.  And yes, she really had to twist my arm.  ha!  It means an early morning get-up, but I was able to catch a quick power nap when I got home this afternoon, which revived me enough to get out for a nice, long walk after dinner.  

I'm planning to meet a dear friend for lunch ... and to spend the rest of my day in the sewing room.  I am ready to start piecing the rows together.  

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Catching Up

When we last visited, I was getting ready to head over to see my oncologist and to get chemo #7. Dr. Powell is pleased with my recovery, but he was not pleased with my WBC or ANC counts. When I mentioned that I had to have my blood drawn earlier in the week (Friday rather than the usual Monday, thanks to the Memorial Day holiday), he ordered a stat draw, which thankfully came back with levels high enough to permit my chemo as scheduled. Whew! Oh, they're still lower than we'd like, but as long as they're high enough to allow me to remain on track for my chemo, I'm pleased.

I did get some good news ... my cancer marker as decreased to 10. Normal levels are less then 35 ... and while the marker level doesn't have a precise correlation between the presence (or absence) of cancer, decreasing levels are generally considered to be an indication that the chemo is working. Which is what I am hanging my hat on, so to speak. I'm on track to finish up my chemo on July 5, and Dr. Powell has mentioned ordering a ct scan for early August, when we will be able to see if the chemo is working as well as my cancer markers would seem to indicate.

Wednesday I spent the day at DD's watching the 3 younger grands so mama could take T#1 to the orthopedist ... so he could get a waterproof cast. Perfect timing as the first meet was Saturday (not that he swam ... but more on that later). It was fun to just hang out after they got back ... things had been so hectic the last 3-4 weeks as DD was finishing up spring semester and then doubling up on the homeschooling to wrap up the school year by Memorial Day. So it was even more special to be able to spend some time with my favorite people. <3

Thursday was kind of a "lost day" ... I woke up awfully tired and was tired all day long. I listened to my body and just took it easy. I thought I'd be able to spend the day in the sewing room, but after three blocks, I was just too tired to press on. Thankfully I woke up Friday feeling more energetic, and I made up for Thursday's lack of productivity by piecing 6 more blocks. I've only got 8 more blocks to piece, and then I can start to sew these blocks together ... after I arrange the layout (right now I'm just laying the pieces out as I finish them ... I will want to make sure that my fabrics are evenly distributed).

And now for the swim meet I mentioned earlier. It was the first meet of the summer swim season, on a very rainy Saturday morning.

But more importantly, it was the first swim meet for little T#4. I have to be honest and say that our expectations for her were not very high. After begging over the last year and a half to be allowed to join the team and after working hard to finally be able to swim the length of the pool, she's realized that practices aren't much fun, especially when they take place in an outdoor pool with cold water. I know I asked her several times in the weeks leading up to summer practice if she was ready to practice in the cold water ... she assured me that she was, but needless to say she wasn't! ;-) I had to laugh when talking to one of her coaches who isn't afraid to grab the little ones and "toss" them into the pool if they wouldn't go in on their own (nothing cruel ... he'd grab their hands, lift them up,and slip them into the pool). With tears in her eyes, she would look at Coach Joel and ask him why he was being so mean to her. I don't think she took any solace from his telling her that he had to do the very same thing to T#2 and T#3 (as recently as last summer for #3). When it was time for their team to warm up, sure enough ... she wouldn't get in the water. So Coach Joel picked her up and put her in the water. I'll give #4 credit that she knows that once she's in the water, she isn't allowed to come out until told that she may ... but that doesn't mean that she'll swim. ;-) Sure enough, she spent the warm up session hanging onto the edge of the pool. And when I met her after warmups to wrap her up in her towel, she was whimpering that she didn't want to swim. Nothing Nana said changed her mind. Mama and Daddy tried, too ... to no avail. When she and I walked over to the team tent to get ready for her first event :-o), she wanted to hold my umbrella and mentioned that she wished she had an umbrella of her own. Well, Nana has a mind like a steel trap (ha!) and jumped right on that ... promising her an umbrella if she finished both her events. No, I'm not above a little bribery. Ha! I was surprised, however, when she jumped right on that and agreed. And sure enough, she swam her events ... ok, not all that well, but didn't even get DQd although she came pretty close on her backstroke. So Nana got right on her iPhone and ordered her the rainbow umbrella she picked out.

Here's our swimmer with her post-event celebratory ring pop. ;-) Noticed the princess cap. <3

I mentioned earlier than T#1 wasn't swimming at this meet ... he'd left a few hours earlier on a mission trip to Arlington, TX. He left with explicit instructions to record #4's first events ... he and #4 have a particularly close relationship, so he was awfully disappointed to be missing her first meet. ;-)

The Ts' team did quite well at the meet, with at least one swimmer finishing in the top 3 in most every age group.
These two boys finished #1 and #2 in the 7-8 y.o. boys - as usual. They are so competitive and push each other to swim harder and faster. Thankfully they're good buddies, so the competition is very good natured. This time T#3 (on the left ... with the goofy grin to try to hide the dark blue lips and gums from his ring pop) finished on top.

By the time the awards ceremony wrapped up, most swimmers headed home (the meet was held at a pool about an hour and half away plus the event got started over an hour late because of the storms). But we were able to get a photo op of those who stayed until the very end. Notice that the rain had moved out and the sun popped out AFTER the meet was over.

Today will be another day spent in the sewing room, watching my Cardinals play while I stitch more kaleidoscope blocks. No, I don't expect to get the remaining 8 blocks done today, but I'm hoping to make good progress. And since there's now light at the end of this tunnel, I'm having to start thinking about what I'll work on next. I have a list of quilts that I want to make that is so long that there's no way I'll be able to make them all. ;-)

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Long Weekend Wrap-Up

It was a relaxing, yet productive weekend here at Chez Nana.

Saturday started with a trip to the local hospital for my weekly blood draw (which are normally done on Mondays but this week's draw had to be bumped up because the lab was closed for the holiday). Once I got home, I headed straight for the sewing room. I discovered that I can watch movies on my iPad, thanks to my Amazon Prime account. We have a tv in the sewing room, but we're waiting for our IT expert (aka DSIL) to hook it and the DVD player up. And not only that, I discovered that I can watch the Cardinals play while sewing.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I spent Sunday and Monday afternoons in the sewing room, watching the Cardinals. A wonderful way to spend a long weekend.

Here's where I stopped Monday afternoon.

I am still uncertain how big I want to make this wall hanging. It's going to hang above our bed, which is king sized, so I'm kind of leaning toward 45" square, which would mean I need to make 49 blocks (set 7x7). I've currently got 31 blocks pieced, so if I go with 45" square, I have 18 left to make. I pieced 5 blocks yesterday without breaking my neck, taking breaks to play Word Chums and to chat with DH. So It shouldn't take me too awfully long to finish the remaining 18 blocks.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Week in Review

It's been a busy week here at Chez Nana.

I had chemo #6 on Tuesday ... I'm now halfway through this round of chemo.  As usual, chemo was uneventful.  My WBC is down, and while I'm not to the point where I need to be in isolation, I do need to be very careful when out and about.  Thankfully we're past the winter season so the likelihood of being exposed to nasty germs is reduced ... I've never been that much of a germaphobe, but I'm turning into one, thanks to cancer. Ha!  After we finished up at Siteman, we headed back to the Illinois side of the river to do a little shopping for our master and guest room makeovers (more on that to follow) and grab some lunch.

Wednesday I finally bit the bullet and cleaned out/organized the closet in the master bedroom.  It was long overdue, and I have to admit that seeing it decluttered and organized makes me smile.  We watched the Blues wrap up their 2015-2016 season in disappointing fashion.  :-(  I might feel less disappointed if my Cardinals were playing better. 

I spent Thursday pressing the bedskirts and curtains and with DH's help, I set up the master and guest room.  
The quilt I'm currently working on will go on the wall above our bed.  And this is on another wall.  
My sister sent me this ... just because.  I love it!  And it's perfect as the goal of the aforementioned makeovers is to give our house more of a beachy feel.

Friday I finally got back into the sewing room and was able to get a couple more blocks finished.
I had to stop after two blocks, as we joined 4 other neighborhood couples for dinner.  

Thankfully I have everything caught up so I can spend this holiday weekend in the sewing room ... after I go get my weekly blood draw.  I normally get the draw on Monday before chemo on Tuesday, but the lab is closed on Monday for the holiday. So Saturday it is.

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.