Monday, December 8, 2014

Organizing the Attic

The past week has been spent tiling the backsplash in the kitchen and changing out electric outlets. Between thinset and grout drying, I've also been putting up Christmas decorations. For those of you who have a basement, go plant a big kiss on it the next time you are down there. Basements are not common in our part of Texas, so our only storage is the attic.  Pawing through unmarked boxes containing everything from Easter baskets to Christmas ornaments was enough to make me scream - and it wasn't just from standing up and hitting my head on a beam. Our garage attic is five feet 4 inches only at the very center so looking in unorganized boxes and bags is both frustrating and back breaking.  (Feel free to give your basement two kisses.)  After searching for thirty minutes with nothing to show for it, I decided to spend the weekend working on the attic.

Of course I didn't take a before picture of all the attic. It wasn't until I had done half that I thought to take pictures. It was a jumble from one end to the other, mainly from our "shove it up there now, put it up later" summer behavior. It's just too hot up there in summer to spend much time searching for a place to put anything. Hopefully, that will be easier now.

On one end of the attic, decorations on one side, sorted into tubs by month and arranged chronologically.



Family heirlooms and other non-useful things on the other side. I built some shelves (out of scrap wood of course) for some of the smaller items we'd like to be able to find easily and when it's filled, I'll cover it with a clear dropcloth.



Next, the other end of the attic, which is still a jumble much like the whole thing was. More decorations that never got put up along with all our lawn furniture cushions and boxes of stuff the kids didn't take with them when they left home. That stuff may go home with them in a few weeks.



Feels great to get things out of the house where they had been stuffed into every corner. I feel like I am finally rescuing my house from the clutter we have shoved from room to room for the last fifteen years.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Latest Diagnosis

When I had my last colonoscopy, there were a couple of polyps.  So it was recommended I have another colonoscopy after five years.  I tried putting it off but even my internist started nagging, so two weeks ago, I finally had it done.  And today I got the results.

No polyps but diverticulosis and inflammation (I knew that right afterward though).  The results today were that biopsies were all negative (yay) but the inflammation and reflux is from celiac disease (boo).

I have suspected gluten intolerance from things friends have said before, but I never felt like I had an immediate bad reaction after eating something with gluten in it.  After the initial consult with the gastroenterologist where he prescribed cholestyramine, I started doing a little research and found that gallbladder disease is often caused by gluten intolerance.  I sooooo wish I had had a way to research before having my gallbladder removed but it wasn't as easy back then.  I absolutely wouldn't go that route now.  But it's done and now I have to live with the resulting problems.  But now I wonder if I haven't had celiac disease all along and that is what caused my gallstones.

Celiac disease can cause most of the problems attributed to candida, but then it also weakens the immune system so something like candida can take over.  Either way, it appears I will be on a diet that controls both.

So now the doctor wants to put me on a post gallbladder removal diet that will heal the gut and of course be gluten-free.  It sounds really restrictive for awhile.  And right before Christmas too.  Great timing.

After a while I hope to go back to a normal, or fairly normal paleo diet.  Hubby will eat most paleo recipes for meats and vegetables but he still craves his sweets, and quite frankly, so do I.  I've tried several paleo muffins and cookies that reviewers said were so good that non-paleo people didn't know they were paleo.  I beg to differ.  After 6 weeks with no sugar or fruit, even an apple tastes like quite a treat and a paleo cookie may be also, but to the tongue used to Nestle's chocolate chip cookies, a paleo cookie is pretty bad.  Since Hubby isn't going to go totally paleo, it would be nice to find a treat that would please both of us.  I know I don't have the will power to make his treats without tasting.  Maybe much, much later.

Another bump in the road for me is that coconut is one of the best things for healing the gut.  And I loathe coconut.  I hate the taste and the smell.  I can't even stand to be next to someone wearing coconut suntan oil.  So learning to tolerate coconut is going to be quite a challenge.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First Snow of the Season

It wasn't much, just a thin layer and is mostly gone this morning. And finally, finally, finally, the wind has quit blowing. It would be the perfect day to spray paint something outside if it weren't so cold.

I didn't get a lot done this weekend even though Hubby was out hunting and I had the whole weekend to myself. Well, I take that back. I made a couple of fall topiaries for the front porch.

I thought they looked pretty good until Hubby saw them and said they looked like orange snowmen. Hmpff! Men!

Looks like those pots could use a coat of paint, but the weather is going to have to warm up a bit first.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Waxahachie Texas Invaded by German Army!

Saturday, the German army seized control of the train depot and we witnessed a heated battle between the German and Allied armies.



Then, an unsuspecting train came through and a temporary cease fire was called.



It was a really long train, and some of the Germans came over to talk to the crowd.



As the end of the train neared, the troops began getting back into position.



Then the battle resumed.





The Allied Forces broke the German line and all German survivors surrendered.











This World War II reenactment has been taking place in Waxahachie for many years, but this was the first year we had heard about it. Not very well advertised I guess. The participants gather into camps Friday night and spend the weekend living history.

Along with the reenactment, there were vintage cars and motorcycles, like this one.



Earlier Saturday morning, there was a ceremony at the civic center honoring veterans. We went because a high school classmate was playing in a swing band during the ceremony.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Remembering San Francisco - Vesuvio

After that last grousing post, I thought I'd show this really neat building in San Francisco and the sidewalk beside it. It's the Vesuvio Cafe, a landmark saloon established in 1948. We didn't visit it, but watched people coming and going from the restaurant across the street. Looked like a hopping place.













And right there, in an apartment over a business, someone was drying their laundry. Maybe that's where the term, 'airing dirty laundry' came from. lol



Another Day, Another Diet

I called my doctor's office October 21, and after relaying through his nurse through several calls, we he decided the BRAT diet was the best way to control my headaches and the resulting tummy problems. I had talked to him once before about having candida and he pooh-poohed it just like every other doctor I've ever been to, so I didn't argue with him this time when he said candida doesn't cause digestive problems. I should have. I really should have.

It took a week and a dose of Imodium before I was functioning normally, or as normal as anyone could function eating only rice, bananas, and applesauce. And on the upside, I've lost eight pounds. On the 31st, I added steamed carrots and was happy to wake up Saturday morning without a headache. That was especially good since I went to a garden swap in Fort Worth that lasted several hours. (I got a century plant and a couple of Manfreda plants among others. Very cool.) After my usual breakfast of rice and lunch of banana and applesauce, I was pretty pumped about eating carrots with my rice again for dinner. I know. What a sad life when carrots are a thrill. Then, for a reason that escaped me afterward, I added soy sauce to the mix. By bedtime, I had a headache, couldn't shake it all night, and this morning I was at the sick tummy stage.

It didn't last more than an hour, so I still had time to get to church. I haven't been there in three weeks, two of them because I was sick. Everyone said I looked good... better than ever.... very healthy. That's good I guess, but it annoys me that I look better when I don't feel good rather than when I do. That's one thing I've noticed a lot over the years, and I'm sure people with other invisible illnesses see also, that unless our eyes are sunken into our shriveled faces, no one believes us when we say we aren't well.

All that to say that I am tossing the BRAT diet and going back to the Candida diet. In the middle of the week, I wondered why the diet, especially the bananas and applesauce wasn't bothering me. I had noticed some of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth, but nothing like this morning. My doctor won't like this, and I don't think I'm going to tell him. A lie of omission. But I've decided to follow my instinct, which says this is a Candida issue, not just an allergy issue. There may very well be an allergy issue, or gluten intolerance, but if that were the case, the BRAT diet wouldn't have caused today's problems.

Usually, starting the Candida diet makes me feel very deprived, but two weeks of BRAT will make the Candida diet feel like a feast. I've already enjoyed a meal of fried eggs and rutabaga. It was.... interesting.




Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Email Spam, Are You Getting This One?

"explanation of your comment on blogspot." I get that from different names several times a day. I've never opened one but it must have a link in it to be sent to the spam folder. Why this question?

In other news, I started doing an elimination diet last Sunday after another week of migranes. Actually, it's the BRAT diet. I didn't have any bread when I started it, and I try to avoid yeast and sugar, so skipped that one for awhile. However, I made a stew for Hubby and then made biscuits to go with it, so I decided to toast a couple for me. The next day I had a mild headache. Bummer. But hopefully it was a coincidence. Even though I often eat paleo, I love bread and can't imagine never being able to eat anything with wheat in it again. I'll give it a few more days and try it again.

Just a few weeks ago, after cooking for hours and then facing the cleanup of lots of dishes, I whined to Hubby that it sure would be easier if there was people chow like there is dog chow and cat chow. But after being on this diet for a week, I've changed my mind. On the upside, I have lost some weight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Christmas Lists in the Twenty-First Century - On the Internet

The alarm on my phone woke me just as the morning light was beginning to filter through the blinds. I kept my eyes closed, waiting for the sound to stop so I could sleep another thirty minutes. My groggy, morning self bemoaned my industrious evening self for setting the alarm so early and putting it in the kitchen so I had to walk the length of the house to turn it off. Curled up in my covers with my head buried in my pillow, I was grateful that at least I had the sound set to the pleasant melody of 'Marimba' rather than the blaring honk of 'Alarm.' Finally, I opened one eye to peek at Hubby's clock-radio. Six minutes and it was still going, and I knew that even if it stopped at that moment, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. So I trudged to the kitchen, turned it off, and glanced out the window where I was treated to an almost magical sunrise through the mist rising from the ground.

Funny how I can have my morning tasks lined up in my mind before I go to bed, but the next morning I can't think of anything I need to do. Last night I decluttered and cleaned the foyer and coat closet. Today, I worked on the family room, but I knew it wasn't the first thing I intended to do this morning. Then I remembered. I was going to write a blog post. If I had a subject in mind last night, it has completely escaped me now. So I'll tell you about our Christmas lists.

Last Christmas, we decided to draw names for this year. Having never done this before, we drew names and kept them secret from each other. We've found that it is so easy to buy for each other when we've exchanged Amazon wish lists, or sent links to our wish list items in an email. I knew it would harder for my mother-in-law because she doesn't have a computer, but Hubby could walk her through it with his ipad. The kids much prefer buying online than in stores, and my mother buys online quite often, so we were all set. Well, except that we all tend to procrastinate about getting our lists done.

Yesterday, I received a letter from my mother. Since my birthday is coming up, I thought it might be a card or letter. But this is what was inside:



On pages where the website isn't printed at the bottom, she's written it in.

I'm reminded of that Esurance commercial where the lady taped her vacation photos to her living room wall to share them with all her friends and when her friend disagreed, she said, "I unfriend you."

The first time I saw that commercial, I thought to myself that, while funny, no one would do that. But then again.....

"That's not how it works. That's not how any of this works."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Such a Lovely Weekend

Friday evening, Hubby and I drove to Farmers Branch, Texas, for their Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Bluegrass Festival. We actually just went to see Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, Hubby's favorite group. The next morning I got up and drove to Belton, Texas to join my high school friends for a girls' weekend at D's house. They went to a spa while I drove up, and I got there in time to enjoy a picnic lunch D made and walk around the downtown area where they were having a third Saturday Market Days.

Then it was time for some nonstop talking and catching up, dinner out at a wonderful new Italian restaurant in Temple, and back to D's house for more talking and lots of laughing as we sat around her fire pit until almost midnight. Music set to a 70's station and we laughed about some of the songs and sang along to others. About 10 pm, we saw a bright light in the northeast coming toward us. As it got closer, we could see that it had both a white and red light, but was totally quiet. D turned off the music and dimmed the outdoor lights but we couldn't tell what it was. There was one, and then another, then a couple flying together, and they kept coming until we counted nine of them flying over us. We don't know if they were drones or some kind of stealth helicopter. They were apparently flying to Fort Hood though.

Sorry, no pictures for this blog post. Bad blogger here. I didn't take a real camera and my cell was nearly dead by the time I got to D's house.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Such a Cut Up Quilt Finished

My first, and possibly last, attempt at free-motion quilting the Such a Cut-Up Quilt I started here. And no, you will not see a close up of that stitching here. I assure it, it wasn't pretty, and I even used chalk lines to try to keep me in line. It not only needs to be viewed from the back of a galloping horse, but with glasses off - your glasses, not the horse.  Luckily, I used varigated thread on the front and black on the back, so it's hard to see the stitches.  I wanted to take this quilt to quilt group on Thursday and remembered I hadn't taken a picture for my blog. It was too windy to put it outside, so I made a makeshift design board in front of a window and then rushed out the door. Please ignore the drying pecans on the window sill.




I forgot to take a picture of the back, so included a scrap of the leftover backing fabric.



The ladies at quilt group didn't seem to think the quilting was too bad, so it went into the box to be given to the next man whose name is given to us.  White at quilt group, I picked up these blocks and found some fabric scraps to go with them. Our quilt group is a church group that makes quilts for elderly or ill members of the church family and all of our fabric has been donated. These blocks were in a bag of donated string blocks, but the others were either very bright colors or smaller. I'm going to have to recut these a half inch as some of them have strips that don't quite reach the edge. I have a month to make them into a 38x48 lap quilt.




Also, next month is our quilt guild Christmas party and I am supposed to make a mug rug, whatever that is. So, off to google that. Enjoy your long weekend. I'm going to be sewing.

I'm linking to MOP (My Own Progress) Monday at Tweety Loves Quilting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blogger is Driving Me Crazy(ier)

For a long time, I've noticed that I don't have an email for every comment made on my blog, and lately, nearly every comment I make on other blogspot blogs bounces back as undeliverable. I even did a little test yesterday and commented on blogs where I did receive their emails, and the email part of my comment still bounced back.

There have been other things about blogger, mostly having to do with google, that I don't care for also. I'm probably one of the few people who doesn't like Google Plus and wish I'd never signed up. Now I can't seem to get out of it without affecting my blog.

Years ago, when I was locked out of my blog (turned out to be a temporary glitch), I registered with wordpress. Same name as here, just with wordpress. But after becoming accustomed to the way blogger works, I found wordpress fairly difficult. By the time I learned the basics there, my blog here was working again. So I put the wordpress blog on the back burner - no, it was further back than that - it went to a closet in the basement. (and no, I don't really have a basement)

A few weeks ago, I decided once again to chunk blogspot and migrate over to the wordpress blog I had created. But then I couldn't find the password, and had no idea what email I was using back then. Apparently, it was an email I no longer use. So now I have to start over again with a new name if I go to wordpress. That's good in a way, because The Next Fifty Years is so common that it's hard to find in a search. Not that there are many unique and catchy names available now.

What do you think?

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Most Wonderful Gift for the Singer Featherweight

I showed you the Singer Featherweight I bought at an estate sale in this post. It came with the basic foot, and after researching it, I saw that the old zipper attachment I had held onto for many years would have worked on it - except I donated it to a thrift store just a couple of years ago. Then Nancy from Wyoming Breezes contacted me because she had found some attachments for the Featherweight and wanted to know if I wanted them. And then she gifted them to me!

I've been dying to show them to you, but I thought it would be best to identify them first. Aren't they wonderful?



Thank you Nancy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Do You See What I See?



Yes, it's that time again, Christmas decorations going up before Halloween. It's going to be a long, three months.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Such A Cut-Up Quilt Progress and a Tip for Stretched Block

The top is finished and I like it so much better than the original.



Now the tip, which you may already know, but was new to me.

I knew the bias cut triangles were going to be a problem, especially the larger ones, so I spritzed them lightly with spray starch. (That's not the tip for you, I already knew that would help prevent stretching.) I had a problem with the spray can and soaked one of them. Afterward, I noticed that it shrank as it dried but ironing it straightened it out. Originally, the strips were 7 inches, which was actually good for me because after I sewed the pieces into 12 inch blocks, there was enough excess to square them up nicely. Still, when I put the rows together, I found that one was a half inch longer. It had two of the large triangles in it and they had stretched. I pinned them together, matching the seams and spaced out the "ruffle" of the stretched triangles and pinned them. Then I saturated it with the spray starch. When it dried, no more "ruffles" and it sewed together perfectly. After ironing, the starch relaxed and it looked fine.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Have You Ever Wanted to Cut Up a Quilt Top You Just Finished?

I do, and I did.




A few months ago at our quilt guild meeting, someone demonstrated this fast and easy quilt. Online, it's called a strip and flip. I think theirs was in 1930's reproduction prints, and it was really cute. I thought I'd whip one out this weekend, and since our little quilt group needed some lap quilts for men, I chose masculine colors. The top went together in less than an hour, and was indeed fast and easy. But the more I looked at the finished top, the less I liked it because it was sooooo boring, so I decided to cut it up and see if I could come up with a more interesting pattern.

I did have to rip out a few seams, leaving three sections of two joined strips. I also left the reversed strip as it was.




I first cut the two strip rows into squares.




Then cut each square into two triangles.




And then cut each triangle in half.




Then laid out the pieces so the patterns and colors are spread out and started sewing them back together.




I have one leftover strip but haven't decided if I am going to use it or not.